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Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Gregor Petri, Elizabeth White, Georgiana Comsa

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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine Offers Members 24x7 Access to Medical Care via LiveHealth Online Telehealth Benefit

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine members have a new fast and convenient way to see a doctor for non-emergency needs when their own doctor is not readily available.

Members can now use their smart phone, tablet or computer to have a live video visit with a US-based, board certified doctor of their choice to discuss non-emergency health issues from home, work or wherever they happen to be with internet access. Doctors using LiveHealth Online can provide a diagnosis, treatment, and even a prescription if needed.

This new online care service, LiveHealth Online, launched in 2013 first to national employers. It has now been expanded to the majority of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine’s health plan customers, including some health exchange members. Doctors are available 24 hours, 365 days a year, including holidays. For eligible members, a LiveHealth Online visit costs the same or less than a primary care office visit. Consumers that do not have Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine as a health plan can also use LiveHealth Online, simply by signing up and paying for the visit with a credit card. Doctors working with LiveHealth Online charge $49 per medical visit.

“LiveHealth Online is part of a shift in healthcare delivery that is driven by technology and ultimately makes access to healthcare easier,” said Dan Corcoran, president and general manager of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “While it’s not intended to take the place of your primary care physician, we are pleased to offer our members another way to reach board-certified, US-based doctors anytime they need with their smart phone, tablet or computer.”

Patients use online care typically to communicate face-to-face with a doctor about colds, aches, sore throats, allergies, infections, rashes, as well as routine prescription refills. Doctors do not prescribe controlled substances or lifestyle drugs. A summary of each visit is created, and at the patient’s request, can be forwarded to their primary care doctor -- supporting continuity of care and collaboration among providers.

“We view Live Health Online as a valuable resource for our primary care physicians to offer to help them meet the needs of enhanced access for their patients,” said Dr. Jeffrey Holmstrom, D.O, the Medical Director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine.

A November 2012 study from the University of Pittsburgh published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that e-visits—using e-mail and electronic patient health records only—had similar outcomes to in-person visits for treating sinus and urinary tract infections.

LiveHealth Online can also lessen the burden on primary care doctors who are increasingly feeling the pressure from the growing doctor shortage. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. LiveHealth Online can help reduce wait time when trying to get in to a see a doctor. Getting care early on can help reduce the severity and duration of many typical illnesses such as the flu and infections.

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.

About LiveHealth Online

LiveHealth Online is a telehealth tool that provides consumers with a convenient way to have live video conversations with doctor, get a diagnosis, and receive treatment for common urgent care-type health conditions. Consumers can access board certified doctors through livehealthonline.com or on an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet using the free app. It is secure, private, easy-to-use and affordable. Consumers can have live, instant or planned visits with their choice of doctors seven days a week, 24 hours a day, using two-way video conferencing, along with instant messaging. LiveHealth Online is the trade name of Health Management Corporation, a separate company, providing telehealth services on behalf of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

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