Why implementing telehealth is not just an IT project - MedCity News

For many Americans, navigating the country’s health care system ends up being a Kafkaesque experience. If a patient receives a new diagnosis of a chronic or high-risk condition, they typically experience a wave of stress and anxiety about their health—the last thing they want to deal with is the hassle of coordinating a second opinion appointment.

That’s why employee care navigation company Transparent recently announced a partnership with The Cleveland Clinic.

The clinic is a joint venture of Cleveland Clinic and a telehealth company Amuel. Through The Clinic’s platform, users have access to 3,500 Cleveland Clinic specialists in more than 550 advanced subspecialties. Through video consultations, these experts provide second opinions on diagnoses and confirm treatment plans.

Transcarent provides benefits to more than 1.2 million members who are commercially insured through employer-sponsored plans. Transcarent members now have access to The Clinic’s services as a benefit, meaning in most cases they won’t face any out-of-pocket costs.

“There has always been expert medical opinion, but access to it for everyday care consumers in the United States has not always been affordable,” Transcarent Chief Operating Officer Snezhana Mahon said in an interview. “With the advancement of technology and the ability for integrated care experiences – and with a partner like The Clinic, with world-renowned physicians and subspecialties – we are now able to bring these two worlds together in real time on behalf of the consumer and most importantly, in an affordable way .”

This partnership promises accessibility not only for patients but also for employers.

The clinic specializes in second opinions for high-risk and chronic conditions that often require expensive travel for treatment. However, the clinic provides an average savings of $13,000 per patient case for employers, said Kelly Keegan, the clinic’s senior vice president of sales.

Those savings typically come from identifying different treatment plans or treatment regimens, Keegan said. For example, a Cleveland Clinic expert can step in so a patient can avoid unnecessary surgery and receive physical therapy instead.

This is not the first time that Transcarent has entered into a partnership to democratize access to medical professionals. In August, the company partners with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) to provide its members with access to HSS orthopedic and musculoskeletal specialists. For its partnership with HSS, Transcarent handles all member referrals and coordinates travel when needed. The company also covers the costs of some orthopedic surgeries, as well as travel expenses.

“Transcarent is also on a mission to continue to expand its partnerships with local healthcare systems, as today’s consumers expect us to meet them where they are – whether in the virtual world, the local world or at home,” Mahon said. “As we continue to expand our partnerships — whether it’s in the pharma space, the behavioral space or the expert medical opinion space, you’re going to see us through that lens. We want to be able to manage that connectivity across all sites of care where that member might be, and expanding access to expert medical opinion is a great gateway.”

Photo: elenabs, Getty Images

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