Can MinuteClinic Video Visits change healthcare?
Image has been cropped and resized. Courtesy of CVS Health.
CVS Health is targeting telemedicine as a means to expand its burgeoning retail clinic empire, and it’s tapping one of the sector’s leaders, Teladoc, for help. The move furthers a trend in which retail clinics, insurers and health systems are leaning more heavily on telehealth.
CVS announced this week that its in-store provider, MinuteClinic, is launching the virtual care option for patients with “minor illnesses and injuries, skin conditions and other wellness needs.” Those individuals may take part in MinuteClinic Video Visits 24 hours per day, seven days per week, according to the company.
“At CVS Health, we’re committed to delivering high-quality care when and where our patients need it and at prices they can afford,” CVS Health Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., said in a statement. “Through this new telehealth offering, patients now have an additional option for seeking care that is even more convenient for them.”
The news follows the unveiling of similar telehealth initiatives by pharmacies like Walgreens and Rite Aid, some of which have roots in store and others via mobile apps. For health insurers and health systems, telemedicine programs have also proved appealing, mostly for their ability to expand access, particularly to rural patients, and decrease costs.
CVS Health isn’t new to the practice. Over the past several years, MinuteClinics have experimented with telehealth, finding that 95 percent of participating patients were “highly satisfied” with the quality of care. In an internal study, the same percentage said they were pleased with the convenience factor. CVS credited those findings for inspiring the full rollout.
But MinuteClinic Video Visits will benefit from the touch of a proven telemedicine leader. Teladoc, which recently changed its name to Teladoc Health, will provide its technology platform to CVS Health, enabling patients to initiate appointments through the CVS Pharmacy app.
Teladoc, of course, has emerged as a blue-chip player in the space. Last fall, it tore through Wall Street, boosting its stock price by 24 percent over Thanksgiving week. The company has also earned plenty of mainstream press and name recognition outside of healthcare circles.
Partnering with a star like CVS, then, could further elevate Teladoc and telemedicine as a whole.
“CVS Health’s expansion of their healthcare model to include video visits brings even more care delivery options to patients, and Teladoc is proud to work with them on this offering,” noted Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic.
Each MinuteClinic Video Visit costs $59. Right now, there is no insurance coverage option, but CVS Health said that will soon be possible. Residents of nine states and Washington, D.C., may take advantage of the service, which is slated to go national by the end of the year.
CVS telemedicine services will be open to patients who are 2 and older.
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