Into the Mainstream and onto the U.S. Mainland, American Well will be offered in Minnesota by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSMN) health plan. This is a market signal that online health has come to Main Street.
When American Well first launched in the state of Hawaii, some critics said that was an anomalous market, a one-off that didn’t represent the breakthrough that others of us believed it to be. Furthermore, others have criticized that American Well’s model could not play a role in the future of the primary care medical home. American Well has countered this with their white paper, “A Practical Solution for Enabling the Medical Home.”
BCBSMN sees the adoption of American Well as a new model to use to meet consumers’ demands for more accessible and convenient health services, as well as to rationalize costs of providing that care. The Plan’s plan is to offer American Well first to 10,000 employees and dependents in Minnesota this year; if all goes well, American Well will be rolled out to BCBSMN enrollees and individual Minnesotans in 2010.
To help ensure continuity of care, the American Well encounters will link with Microsoft HealthVault to electronically feed into consumers’ personal electronic health records. BCBSMN wants to include not only statistical data, but biometric information such as that derived from blood glucose monitors and blood pressure readers.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Once again, the Blues plan of Minnesota brings innovation to lucky Minnesotans. I’ve talked before about how BCBSMN is an innovative leader among health plans in this consumer-facing health era: see more The Health Care Scoop, the plan’s online social network that allows Minnesotans to review health services in the state.
Now that American Well has penetrated a second state, and a very different health marketplace than unique Hawaii, we can expect further market adoption of both the American Well model as well as other online health services ongoing.