A boffo week for telemedicine. Will 2015 be online visits’ Big Year?

(Boffo: extremely good or successful, sensational–Webster)

Adding to Monday’s news of ATA’s telemedicine accreditation program was American Well‘s near-simultaneous announcement of an $81 million Series C funding.  This brings total funding for the eight year-old Boston-based company to over $128 million, though it is not yet profitable. According to Modern Healthcare, “The capital injection will be used to serve a number of big projects the firm has underway, company co-CEO Dr. Ido Schoenberg said in an interview. Among those are campaigning to ease regulatory constraints, scaling its provider networks and customer outreach, working with insurers to secure more favorable reimbursement and working on its technology, he said.” The institutional, private equity, and corporate investors alluded to in the company release were not disclosed. Its mobile app, Amwell, claims over 1 million downloads with a year-to-year 1,000 percent increase. Major partners include payers Anthem Health, EmblemHealth, the Blue Cross Blue Shields of Massachusetts and Louisiana, Optum Health as well as corporate clients. American Well press release, BostonInno, SEC filing. (Note to American Well: you’re telemedicine, not telehealth)

If this round of funding represents a substantial bet on American Well’s future, another is the new relationship between Walgreens‘ and rival MDLIVE. Walgreens, the largest US drug store (by store location count), will include MDLIVE video doctor consults on the popular Walgreens web and mobile sites for California and Michigan users, with a commitment to add other markets over time. (Ah, there’s the rub!) It’s not Walgreens’ first venture into telemedicine–Pharmacy Chat was rolled out last year. Walgreens release  MDLIVE just announced that they are also partnering with large employer/payer-sponsored consumer health engagement company RedBrick Health. RedBrick release

With Doctor on Demand‘s impressive $21 million Series A raise this past summer, adding mental and lactation health in time for mHealth Summit, Teladoc‘s September $50 million Series C, MDLIVE’s January $26 million venture funding, telehealth/telemedicine kiosk HealthSpot Station‘s $18.3 million raise this spring plus an undisclosed investment from Xerox last month [TTA 13 Nov], telemedicine providers received a $200 million+ vote of confidence from tough-minded investors. We’ll see if 2015 results fulfill these whale-at-Monte-Carlo wagers.

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