CONNECTICUT – Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield members now have a fast, more convenient way to see a doctor for non-emergency needs when their own doctor is not readily available.
Members can now use their smart phone, tablet or computer to have a live video visit with a board certified doctor to discuss non-emergency health issues from home, work or wherever they happen to be as long as they have a Wi-Fi signal or Internet access.
This new online care service, LiveHealth Online, initially launched in late 2014 and made available to certain segments of Anthem’s health plan customers, is now available to many of Anthem’s customers, including health exchange members. Doctors are available 24 hours, 365 days a year, including holidays. Online care, for non-urgent medical conditions, is more convenient and affordable than a visit to the emergency room or an urgent-care clinic.
“Our members and employer groups are telling us they need access, convenience and affordability in health care. LiveHealth Online is one of several ways we are able to meet these needs,” said Peter Bowers, M.D, Anthem’s chief medical director. “It is important for our members to establish an ongoing physician-patient relationship with a primary care physician they know and trust and we promote these relationships. However, there are instances when it’s after hours or difficult to get to a doctor’s office. With the launch of LiveHealth Online, members have a secure means to have a visit with a board-certified, primary care doctor around the clock.”
A summary of each visit is created, and with the patient’s permission, can be forwarded to their primary care doctor -- supporting continuity of care and collaboration among providers.
Anthem members can download the LiveHealth Online mobile app for free on their mobile device by visiting the App Store or Google Play. A LiveHealth Online visit costs $49 but because out of pocket expenses for Anthem member visits are calculated “real-time” at the start of the visit, many members will pay less, such as their regular office copayment, depending on their health plan benefits.
To further Anthem’s support of the physician-patient relationship, Anthem is now making a Practice Edition of LiveHealth Online available to doctors in the Anthem’s network, starting with primary care organizations. The LiveHealth Online Practice Edition allows doctors to offer web-based visits to their established patients, not just those who are Anthem members.
Patients with non-emergency conditions can see their own doctor, or a medical professional from that physician group, from the convenience of their home, while traveling for vacation or work and outside of normal office hours when they might have otherwise gone to urgent care or a retail health clinic. Each practice that uses the Practice Edition decides what hours it will be available through LiveHealth Online.
ProHealth Physicians, Connecticut’s largest independent primary care practice that cares for more than 10 percent of the state’s population, will be the first medical group in Connecticut to implement Anthem’s LiveHealth Online Practice Edition. This system will allow ProHealth patients who have Anthem coverage to have a live video visit with a ProHealth doctor who has immediate access to the patients’ personal medical records. In addition, Anthem is in active discussions with several other large physician organizations from across the state who are anxious to implement the LiveHealth Online Practice Edition for their own patients. Based on discussions to date, Anthem expects the demand for its Practice Edition to be very high.
“Technology-savvy practices shared with us that they wanted the ability to leverage the most advanced and secure technology to offer greater and more convenient access for their patients with non-urgent conditions,” said Dr. Bowers. “The LiveHealth Online Practice Edition allows patients to connect directly with their regular primary care physician.”
As a Practice Edition participant, a physician can see all of their patients’ LiveHealth Online activity and access their records directly once the patient is tagged to the practice through a LiveHealth Online Practice Edition visit. The practice can also use the tool to communicate with patients with a chronic illness and reduce unnecessary travel time for follow ups.
“LiveHealth Online represents a true shift in the delivery of health care by using technology to make it easier and more consumer friendly,” said Dr. Bowers. “At this critical juncture in our nation’s healthcare transformation, Anthem is taking a lead in improving access to care and bringing a better healthcare experience to our members.”
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.
About LiveHealth Online
LiveHealth Online is a telehealth tool that provides consumers with a convenient way to have live video conversations with doctor, get a diagnosis, and receive treatment for common urgent care-type health conditions. Consumers can access board certified doctors through livehealthonline.com or on an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet using the free app. It is secure, private, easy-to-use and affordable. Consumers can have live, instant or planned visits with their choice of doctors seven days a week, 24 hours a day, using two-way video conferencing, along with instant messaging. LiveHealth Online is the trade name of Health Management Corporation, a separate company, providing telehealth services on behalf of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.