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In this first of two-part video interview with MHE, Amwell Chief Medical Officer Peter Antall says the Boston-based telehealth company typically white labels its software to a client’s brand.
Amwell ($AMWL) is one of the high-flying companies of COVID-19-fueled telehealth boom. Google plowed $100 million into the Boston-based company this summer, and the company’s stock price surged after it went public this fall, although its stock, which is trading at about $29, has settled down since.
But as a business, Amwell works primarily work behind the scenes, Peter Antall, M.D., the company’s chief medical officer, explained in a recent video interview with Managed Healthcare Executive.®
“It sounds hokey to say but to borrow from another company and another technology, we are sort of the Intel inside,” quipped Antall .
Teladoc and Amwell are competitors, but Antall characterized Amwell as having a fundamentally different orientation than its rival, one that is focused primarily on supporting the telehealth efforts of provider groups and healthcare systems rather than direct-to-consumer services.
“What is really different about us, though, we are about software and hardware. When we provide software to an organization, we white label it under the brand,” Antall said.
Amwell does have a direct-to-consumer offering, Antall said, “but more often than not we bring our medical group to bear on the behalf of the owner of the white label platform.”
Antall said Amwell’s health system customers include the Cleveland Clinic, UPMC in Pittsburgh, Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
Antall, who was named Amwell’s chief medical officer in 2015 when the company was calling itself American Well, noted that when the company was founded in 2006 by Ido and Roy Schoenberg, who serve as co-CEOs, there were no smartphones. But he says their vision of creating a platform that allows patients and providers to interact electronically still holds true for Amwell.
Prior to the pandemic, providers in the community were embracing telehealth little by little, Antall said.
“But really Covid supersized that. So now really what we are seeing is that providers, en masse , have embraced telehealth. Patients have embraced telehealth — and we have seen the result, a massive increase in the utilization in telehealth in general.”
Antall was ready to share a number of statistics that illustrate the growth in the use of Amwell’s platform. He said the volume of visits on Amwell’s platforms increased by 300% from the first quarter of this year to the second. In April 2020, the average number of daily visits to Amwell’s platform was 40,000, a more than tenfold increase from the average daily visit tally of 2,900 in April 2019.
Antall said the second quarter was an “all-hands-on-deck” period for company. Some wait times increased but the company responded by hiring more providers. Amwell also adjusted by shifting some hosting functions a cloud-based system.
“When you are a software company, you plan for 2x, 3x, 4x growth,” said Antall. “You don’t plan for such dramatic growth overnight.”