Sentara Healthcare, MDLIVE forge virtual medicine partnership
NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 20, 2012—Sentara Healthcare and MDLIVE announce an unprecedented partnership that will deliver secure real-time medical consultations to patients with an established regional network of physicians available via telephone and online video throughout the state of Virginia. The deal also gives Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare a first-of-its-kind equity stake in the privately held Sunrise, Fla.-based telehealth firm.
The broad availability of the secure telehealth platform addresses consumer interest in 24/7 on-demand healthcare options. The platform also increases Sentara’s patient capacity as more than 1 million uninsured Virginia residents gain access to health insurance in 2014 under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
While the MDLIVE service is currently available to consumers through MDLIVE.com, the new Sentara option will launch to consumers in Virginia beginning in October. Sentara employees and members of selected Optima Health commercial insurance plans will also receive this service as an additional benefit over the course of 2013. A preview of what’s to come with Sentara MDLIVE is available at www.mdlive.com/sentara.
“Healthcare is changing due to a variety of factors, including advances in digital technology, physician shortages, increased access to insurance and high deductible plans, decreased reimbursement and patient population management needs,” Sentara CEO David Bernd said.
“This collaboration expands access to care to hundreds of thousands of residents in our core and neighboring markets as well as offers them an alternate delivery option,” Bernd said. “And with an equity stake in MDLIVE, we become not just another client, but rather a partner focused on paving the way for future advances in virtual healthcare delivery.”
Patients will be able to use the MDLIVE virtual consult platform to consult directly with a licensed Sentara or partner physician who will diagnose low-acuity illnesses such as allergies or a urinary tract infection and provide care as appropriate, including prescriptions. Patients with more serious conditions will be directed to the nearest immediate care facility as appropriate. Should a prescription be necessary, MDLIVE’s connection to over 60,000 pharmacies enables them to send a prescription electronically to the pharmacy of choice.