Google Cloud is investing $100 million into telehealth provider Amwell as part of a new partnership to equip providers, insurers and patients with technology required for high quality and more affordable virtual care.
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“This is a critical partnership for the healthcare industry and has the potential to dramatically transform the telehealth space through the use of modern cloud technologies," said CEO of Google Cloud, Thomas Kurian, in a blog post. "We are thrilled that together we can bring groundbreaking digital health solutions to so many providers, patients, and health plans across the globe. Our joint work will drive innovation in health in a new and powerful way.”
Amwell will migrate its video performance capabilities to Google Cloud's platform as well as work together via Google's G-Suite on new artificial-intelligence and machine-learning technologies to assist patients and front-line workers and services for secure handling of healthcare data in the cloud.
"Imagine a not too distant future in which your visit begins with a customized greeting and relevant information in a digital waiting room," Google Cloud's Global Director of Healthcare Strategy and Solutions Aashima Gupta added. "A conversational chatbot agent is immediately available to assist you, in your preferred language, by asking about your symptoms and the reason for your visit, and provides this information to your physician before she enters your virtual exam room. During your appointment, you continue to speak in your preferred language to your physician, while cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) provides live, translated captioning of the conversation."
According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services data, more than half of Medicare's primary visits were conducted virtually in April. A study from consulting firm Frost & Sullivan also found that there will be a "sevenfold growth in telehealth by 2025."
The move will also boost Amwell's plans to go public after filing for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday.
In the second quarter, the company has seen an average monthly visit volume and average monthly active providers on its platform increase by over 300% and 400%. The company also reported that 2.2 million telehealth visits were performed on Amwell's platform with 77% of those visits performed by health systems' own providers.
Visits in April 2020 reached as high as over 40,000 per day, versus approximately 2,900 visits per day during the same period the previous year.
"We view this rapid embrace of healthcare delivery by a patient’s own doctor as evidence that doctors are increasingly using telemedicine to reach their patient population, patients are amenable to receiving care by their doctor virtually, and overall, providers and patients within the Amwell ecosystem are increasingly receiving care virtually on the Amwell Platform," the company wrote. "While the COVID-19 crisis is a unique event, we believe that utilization of the Amwell Platform will remain at higher levels after the crisis versus levels previously forecasted before the crisis."
Google has agreed to purchase $100 million of Amwell's Class C common stock at a price per share equal to the purchase price to the public in the IPO.