The doctor will see you now (no matter what time it is)

We have seen how technology is already improving overall healthcare with advances like MRIs, robotic surgery and DNA tests.

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But high-tech businesess are also reaching more into the personal level of doctor-patient relationships.

Dr. Ido Schoenberg is Chairman and CEO of Boston-based American Well, a company that uses telecommunications to deliver at-home healthcare. He told Gerry Baker on “WSJ at Large” on FOX Business about his firm’s technology that allows patients to get help from physicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"You have an app or website or even a television device, and you can reach out and talk to the same doctors in your community that you know and trust that have full access to your records."

- Dr. Ido Schoenberg, American Well Chairman and CEO

Dr. Schoenberg says it offers great advantages to patients.

"[It allows] me, the patient, to connect to people that I trust from the comfort of my home with a fraction of the price without compromising on the quality of care that I receive," Dr. Schoenberg said.

Dr. Schoenberg points out this system is a lot better and more personal than older versions of “telemedicine.” 

"Telehealth started as the call center, in many ways, as a solution that replaces my relationship with my doctor with someone that knows very little about me that I’ve never met."

- Dr. Ido Schoenberg, American Well Chairman and CEO

“We always felt that that type of solution has lots of limitations," Dr. Schoenberg said. "And our mission is not to do that but rather to help the doctors that we know in our community to interact with their patients, having full access to the full set of information through a hybrid model that allows me to see the people that I need to see in person when I need to, and otherwise, go online when it’s convenient for me and to my healthcare team.” 

And the costs to the patients for communicating online are no different than a traditional doctor’s visit.

“They’re usually fully reimbursed by your employer and your health insurance company,” Dr. Schoenberg said. “So, it’s really an extension of the care that we know for many, many years."

"It’s not a replacement.”

- Dr. Ido Schoenberg, American Well Chairman and CEO

Dr. Schoenberg says as advanced as this is, technology is going to give us even more intimate health care in the future.

“Telehealth alone is just one component of a huge revolution that happens in healthcare,” Dr. Schoenberg said. “What’s changing now is that very much like our car alerts us when something’s wrong, we’re going to continuously be connected to the healthcare system.”

So how will that work?

“Our bodies are going to emit continuous data to the cloud,” he said. "This data will be analyzed. And when something is wrong with us, the system will reach out and allow people that we trust to go back and provide us with what we need much faster and much cheaper in a very high quality.” Dr. Schoenberg sees this as a tremendous advantage to patients everywhere.

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“We may have the benefit, regardless if I live in a big town like Boston or a small village, to get access to the best minds in America, and maybe the world, in order to put algorithms and workflows that normally are not accessible to everybody today to truly make that intervention unbelievably impactful and really improve clinical and financial outcomes for everybody,” Dr. Schoenberg said.