With the launch of the highly anticipated S8 mobile handset, Samsung also renamed its health platform to “Samsung Health”. Beyond the standard health tracking and lifestyle management features, the company has enabled a deep integration of American Well’s telehealth services in its software. This is somewhat of a milestone for the virtual consultations market. American Well, as a third party service provider, has been available on most mobile platforms for a number of years, but the partnership with Samsung brings a completely new level of exposure – an exposure that should have a positive impact on the overall usage of virtual technology for doctor consultations.
As disease prevalence and proportion of the elderly will grow over the coming decades, demand for healthcare services will need to largely be addressed by virtual channels. Therefore, virtual technology is important for extending clinical reach, not only to those in rural areas, but also to segments of the market demanding easy and convenient access.
The collaboration between American Well and Samsung is overall positive for the industry, in terms of exposure and accessibility, but it is not transformative. The “Ask an expert” feature in Samsung Health does not support a deep engagement with consumers or patients, but cover an immediate need for speaking to a board-certified physician, at a cost of $59 per visit. In the long-term, these types of visits cannot deliver the appropriate care to patients.
The industry needs to ask itself – how should healthcare be delivered in a digital age? A transactional model does not support the best interest of patients, as these are expecting health improvements. On the other side of the spectrum, the changing risk profiles of providers are leading to shifts in priority, looking to transform the health of populations. New solutions should keep these forces in mind. Technology is not the issue, but merely the constellation of different health technologies hoping shape tomorrow’s healthcare sector.
For questions or inquiries, please contact Roeen Roashan, Roeen.Roashan@ihsmarkit.com.