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Harvard's Connected Health Docs Service Fortune 500 Clients

July 30, 2012 | William Zimmerman

Partners Healthcare specialists will work with CHS Healthcare Services, a large onsite clinic operator, to provide telemedicine services to its corporate clients.

By Ken Terry, InformationWeek
July 30, 2012 08:30 AM
The Boston-based Center for Connected Health, a unit of Harvard-affiliated Partners Healthcare, has teamed up with CHS Health Services, which touts itself as the biggest provider of onsite healthcare, to offer telemedicine services to CHS' corporate clients.

CHS will initially market Partners' Online Specialty Consultation Services to its Fortune 500 customers across the country. Employees of companies that buy the service will be able to get second opinions from the 4,000 specialists who work at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women's Hospital, Partners' flagship institutions in Boston.

CHS expects that this service will attract corporations that have employees in remote office locations who don't have access to a worksite clinic.

Employees who use Partners' 10-year-old online consulting service must request consultations through local physicians, said Joseph Kvedar, MD, president of the Center for Connected Medicine, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare. The main purpose is to ensure that patients receive better care, he said. But they can also receive specialty consultations by having doctors at worksite clinics ping the Partners consultants.

[ For more background on e-prescribing tools, see 6 E-Prescribing Vendors To Watch. ]

Kvedar expects that CHS customers will initially choose the second-opinion service over more extensive telemedicine consults that involve videoconferencing. So at the start, CHS will offer video hookups between worksite clinics and Partners' specialists only to employers in Massachusetts, where the healthcare organization is licensed to provide remote consultations. But according to Kvedar, if there is demand for this service in other states, Partners could obtain the necessary licenses.

"Videoconferencing is a good tool for when you want to simulate an office session," he pointed out. In addition, he noted, "It would be easy for employers to see the value of using videoconferencing, because it's all about productivity. They want employees to get the care they need quickly so they can return to work."

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