Amwell, the product from the American Well Corporation, is based in Boston, Massachusetts and is a provider of telemedicine services over secure video connections. It was founded in 2006 by doctor brothers Ido and Roy Schoenberg.
Across over 40 states, Amwell’s technology is used to provide remote urgent care visits, over both desktop and mobile platforms, and has been accredited for online patient consults by the American Telemedicine Association since 2015. A juggernaut in the telehealth industry, Amwell indicates that 150 million individuals have access to Amwell health through their health insurance plan.
Amwell offers a flexible platform that can support telemedicine visits on a variety of platforms: smartphone, tablet or computer. There are also mobile apps available for both the iOS and Android platforms, enhancing the availability of care anytime and anywhere.
Amwell also checks the right boxes when it comes to the available hours of operation, which are a reassuring 24/7. It is also open all 365 days annually, including holidays, making this ideal for when you can’t locate your regular provider. For convenience sake, no appointments are required, so just get in the virtual line. From there you will be presented with an array of available providers, and you get to choose one.
Some telemedicine platforms do not accept any insurance, putting the cost of the visit fully on to the patient. Thankfully, Amwell is a preferred provider for many insurers. In fact, millions of members can rest assured that Amwell will accept their insurance, reducing the financial burden of the visit. Also important is that there is a full list of insurance providers accepted, so users can know upfront. In cases where the patient does not have insurance, the costs of the visits are still quite affordable (see pricing below).
It is a drawback that no labs are ordered by the providers, or follow ups performed. However, it is a plus that the providers can prescribe, when indicated. Prescriptions are electronically transmitted to the pharmacy of choice, via the e-prescribe platform, so the prescription will be ready and waiting for the patient when they arrive.
Some telehealth providers focus on only a limited area of medicine. Amwell goes in the opposite direction, with several focuses for telehealth. The first is Urgent Care, with a list of common diagnoses that includes the flu, sinus infections, and headaches. There are also specialist visits available with multiple specialties covered that includes nutritionists, cardiologists, pediatrics, and dermatologists. A final focus is in mental health visits, with options for a visit to a psychiatrist for psych assessments and medication adjustments, along with more affordable counseling sessions from providers with either a master’s degree or a PhD at a higher cost.
Users are generally pleased with Amwell as it is highly rated on Google Play, with a score that is over 4 stars. However, combing through the reviews, some trends do emerge.
One is that the wait times can be lengthy, and some folks gave up prior to seeing a clinician. In one case, the user was quite upset as they were charged for the visit, even though they stated that they did not actually see anyone, then was on hold with customer service over 45 minutes, and could not speak to anyone about refunding the charge.
Other users also had problems with the care received. While Amwell does refill prescriptions, it does not order any lab tests. In some cases, the purpose of the visit was for a prescription refill, and although it was requested to be refilled during the visit, days later the pharmacy had not received it, and the user could not get back in touch with their Amwell provider to remind them.
Users with questions are urged to start with the FAQ, that answers many commonly asked queries.
Beyond the FAQ, the support options are limited. The first option is a toll free number, and the second option is an email address. We caution against using email as it is not considered secure for transmitting Protected Health Information. Amwell states that support is available 24/7.
Unfortunately, other support options, such as chat, forums, or webinars are not to be found.
Pricing for Amwell’s telehealth services is not provided on the website. With over 140 different telehealth use case scenarios, it can be a significant challenge to provide detailed pricing for such a variety of products, and also the different options on each. Furthermore, there are likely to be different prices for various insurance companies and providers, as part of larger deals, and these are held strictly confidential, and not to be found on Amwell’s website.
The general price provided for common services include an Urgent Care visit that starts at $69 (£56), mental health visits that start at $79 (£64), and increase to $95 (£77) if the provider is at the doctoral level. There is also no pricing difference for visits that take place outside of business hours, such as at night, or on weekends.
Amwell is a popular telehealth provider, which provides benefits to many folks with insurance plans. The highlights include the available mobile apps, the range of services provided and the 24/7 availability of providers, making waiting for a callback from an on call doctor a thing of the past. The drawbacks we found cover the customer service niggles, the missing support options such as chat, and the lack of provider’s ordering of laboratory tests. We like to see that Amwell works well with many insurance plans, and that it offers a list of insurers that support it upfront. For those that have this benefit and need some healthcare, Amwell is a reasonable place to start.
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