Cigna to offer round-the-clock telehealth

Cigna to offer round-the-clock telehealth services in 2014

Cigna announced May 10 that it will enlist the help of MDLIVE, a developer of telehealth technology and services, to offer eligible health plan members round-the-clock online video consultations with internal medicine, family practice and pediatric doctors.

MDLIVE's telehealth network offers integrated software that enables health information to be captured and transferred to a patient's primary physician. MDLIVE physicians are state-licensed, U.S. board-certified and have an average of 15 years of practical experience, company officials said.

Under this initiative, eligible Cigna customers will be able to choose an appointment time or request to speak to an available healthcare professional on demand – with a reported average response time of 11 minutes – for non-emergency medical issues such as cold and flu, rashes, sinus issues and headaches.

"MDLIVE's telehealth services enable our increasingly mobile and time-constrained customers to schedule a virtual consult with a board-certified physician and resolve a non-emergency medical issue in less than one hour," said Jackie Aube, the head of product development at Cigna, in a press statement. "It's cost-effective and convenient for minor illnesses such as allergies, pink eye and sinus infections."

Cigna will begin offering the MDLIVE program to several self-insured employers interested in testing this approach with their employees as part of their health program effective Jan. 1, 2014, officials said.

"We have a closely shared vision for bringing the best technology to bear on providing consumers with an experience never before seen in healthcare that focuses on each person as an individual, accessible where and when they want it, and in a confidential and convenient virtual environment," said Randy Parker, CEO of MDLIVE, in a statement. "We are proud to work with Cigna and look forward to a relationship that will literally redefine how quality healthcare can be available to all, and on their own terms."

Photo attributed to Steven Depolo via Creative Commons license.