Cleveland Clinic, Amwell join forces to create new virtual medicine venture

Anjalee Khemlani
Senior Reporter
Modern hospital building surrounded by clouds - Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in Al Maryah island - Abu Dhabi, UAE July 07, 2019

The Cleveland Clinic — one of the premier hospitals in the U.S. — and telemedicine company American Well are joining forces to expand the use of remote medical services.

In an announcement made on Monday, the two medical giants plan to create a new venture — called The Clinic— to bolster the use of web-based health care delivery. Telemedicine can be used as a way to treat chronic patients who often have the burden of commuting to health facilities, and to treat as elderly patients, a demographic where use of technology have been steadily increasing.

And the latter is a new opportunity for many companies, as the expansion of Medicare Advantage coverage gives them access to the largest payor in the country: The government.

Enter the Cleveland Clinic, whose physical presence in Toronto, London and Abu Dhabi gives it influence that extends beyond U.S. shores.

That helps the institution “very much understand the need to, or obligation...to deliver a Cleveland Clinic level of care to patients around the globe,” William Morris, executive medical officer, told Yahoo Finance.

The Clinic, which will be based in Cleveland, shows that while a physical health center is important, “it’s not the only means to do it,” Morris added .

Cleveland Clinic and American Well didn’t provide much in the way of details about The Clinic’s costs and operating structure. The new vehicle is being funded by a capital infusion from both the parent companies, yet neither disclosed the amount.

“Both institutions are committing their brand reputation, resources and certainly capital,” Morris said.

“We know that this takes money and focus and effort, and both parent organizations are supporting this and going to nurture this, so it’s going to be unbelievably successful.”

American Well president and co-CEO Roy Schoenberg told Yahoo Finance that the numerous kinds of health care experiences and expectations can be served via telehealth.

“Today, telehealth and most of the work that was done between us over the last five years, has been around people who proactively needed to reach a clinician for usually an urgent care issues,” he said.

Bolstering technology to narrow the gap between patients and physicians — and getting the latter necessary care — “is a frontier that we all need to challenge ourselves with,” Schoenberg added.

With Cleveland Clinic already a growing force in virtual medicine, Morris believes the new venture will benefit from both of its “parents” as he called it.

“We have years of experience about what works,” he said. In addition to other key elements like cost and profit, Morris added that the industry needs to “dramatically shift our mindset in the care delivery and how we consume the technology. And so we are confident that there is profitability or revenue, but that’s not the goal.”

Ultimately, The Clinic aims to change the way telehealth is used — and both feel confident they can achieve that by joining forces.

“This is not something that can be done by either technology alone, or by the conditions alone, which is the reason why we came together to create the company,” Schoenberg said.

Anjalee Khemlani is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @AnjKhem

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