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BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York/BlueShield of Northeastern New York Launch Online Care NY, On-Demand Healthcare Services

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York/BlueShield of Northeastern New York launch Online Care NY, on-demand healthcare services, which will enable eligible members to have immediate live encounters, via Internet or telephone, with credentialed physicians from the plans' provider networks.

Online Care NY, a service that offers on-demand healthcare services in New York State to eligible members and employers, is being launched by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York (BCBSWNY) and BlueShield of Northeastern New York (BSNENY). BCBSWNY/BSNENY completed the operational implementation in 90 days and begins the rollout of the service, first to their employees and its charter physician group, on August 1, 2010. The member launch in Western New York will follow September 1, with its Northeastern New York launch by year-end 2010.

Online Care NY is powered by technology from American Well, a Boston-based company that has created an Online Care system that allows consumers to connect with physicians from their homes or offices. The new service will enable eligible members to have immediate live encounters with credentialed physicians from the plans' established provider networks. Patients make these connections from their homes or workplaces at any time, by Internet or telephone. During live interactions, physicians will be able to review the patients' clinical information, speak with and see patients, prescribe medications as appropriate, and suggest follow-up care.

"Thirty-seven million more Americans will seek care in a system that is already struggling with a shortage of providers. For reform to succeed, we must offer new ways to access care," said Alphonso O'Neil-White, president and CEO of BCBSWNY/BSNENY, in a press release. "For patients, Online Care NY provides immediate and convenient access to care. For physicians, it means having more time to spend on in-office visits with patients who need face time, while also enabling providers to take care of the day-to-day health concerns - online or telephonically - of other patients."

The addition of Online Care NY to BCBSWNY/BSNENY’s offerings is aligned with the plans' goal of leading what they call “the evolution of health care:” how people access it, how they engage with it, how they can best serve all of their customers, and creating experiences that inspire better health.

American Well also is partnering with Wellpoint (Indianapolis) on a similar online healthcare offering.

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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