When Massachusetts General Hospital President Dr. Peter Slavin joins the board of your company, you know you just gained a powerful ally on your road to improving the healthcare world.
That’s just what happened to Boston-based telehealth company American Well, which announced Thursday that Slavin has joined its board of directors.
The announcement comes at a time when the company, whose live video technology connects doctors with their patients, has bolstered the number of healthcare systems and insurance providers it works with. The company has been profitable, seeing revenue double in the last two years in a row, with its number of employees growing from 142 at the end of 2014 to 244 today.
In a statement provided to BostInno, Slavin explained why he joined American Well’s board.
“Using technology to make healthcare better, more accessible, timelier and more convenient is essential as we look for ways to advance medical care while making that care more affordable,” Slavin said. “Tools such as telehealth, virtual visits and mobile apps that help people live healthier lives have fast become important aspects of high-quality medical care.”
American Well’s other board members include former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Anthem Regional President Douglas Wenners. Anthem Health was one of the investors in $81 million Series C round American Well raised at the end of 2014.
Slavin has roots in Boston’s medical and business community, having graduated from Harvard College in 1979, from Harvard Medical School in 1984 and from Harvard Business School in 1990. He now teaches internal medicine and healthcare management at Harvard Medical School.
“Tools such as telehealth, virtual visits and mobile apps that help people live healthier lives have fast become important aspects of high-quality medical care.”
Dr. Ido Schoenberg, chairman and co-founder of American Well, told BostInno that Slavin will help provide the company with guidance as it continues to make healthcare more accessible and not just for those with minor conditions. He said one of the focuses moving forward is providing telehealth services to those with chronic conditions.
While the company said it now works with more than 30 healthcare systems and more than 1,000 employers, it also works with more than 40 health insurers, another important sign of progress that brings the total number of people who receive telehealth as a covered benefit to around 48 million. Most recently, the company had announced in October that it has become the telehealth partner of choice for 29 independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans.
“I believe that most of those people are going to get American Well as a benefit, which is a big barrier for adoption,” Schoenberg said.
The company has also been experience success with its consumer app, Amwell, which lets users connect with a doctor over video in less than five minutes. According to app analytics firm App Annie, it has been the most downloaded telehealth app for two years in a row.
“The overarching idea is to create an environment where every patient will have first and foremost the ability to trust the services they choose,” Schoenberg said.
Disclosure: Dylan Martin’s spouse currently works at Mass General Hospital for a co-op.