- Amwell and LG Electronics are teaming up to jointly develop new digital health devices and tools, starting with hospital care in the U.S., the companies announced Wednesday.
- South Korea-based LG, which manufactures a wide range of devices from refrigerators to computer monitors, already provides smart TVs for inpatient rooms.
- Now, through the partnership, LG will also create devices that can host services from Amwell's virtual care platform, Converge.
LG is ramping up its presence in healthcare beyond just hospital room devices to create new tools for the healthcare market, Sokwoo Rhee, SVP and head of LG North American Innovation Center, said in a statement.
The two are starting with co-developing devices in the hospital room before moving to other areas. It could be a bid to rejuvenate Amwell's hospital revenue, which saw tepid growth last year as major health systems have delayed new hardware deployments during COVID-19.
LG will start by developing a healthcare platform that hosts services from Amwell's Converge platform. The new platform will leverage LG products and peripheral technologies, many of which already exist in hospital rooms.
An Amwell spokesperson told Healthcare Dive the team is working aggressively to launch first offerings, though it's too early to know the exact go-to-market timing.
But LG and Amwell plan to eventually move beyond the acute care space.
"As in-person, virtual and automated modalities converge to create significantly improved healthcare experiences, unlocking the last mile for patients and providers to easily connect to these services is more important than ever," Amwell CEO Ido Schoenberg said regarding the LG partnership.
Care delivery outside of the hosptials' four walls has accelerated during the pandemic, with virtual care vendors like Amwell and Teladoc, along with devicemakers, looking to capitalize on the shift.
It's not Boston-based Amwell's first foray with a TV solution. During a company event in April, Amwell unveiled a home TV function co-developed with Solaborate that uses artificial intelligence to bring hospital care into the home.
Amwell, one of the largest telehealth vendors in the U.S., went public in September 2020 after COVID-19's onset caused demand for telehealth to skyrocket.
The company has spent much of the pandemic building out its offerings in a bid to differentiate itself in the crowded telehealth sphere and attract new clients calling for a one-stop shop for their virtual care needs, instead of contracting with myriad point solutions.
Amwell, which has roughly 2,000 hospital and 55 health plan clients, launched Converge in April of last year. It's an open architecture platform that combines all its own products and technology while supporting other digital health applications like remote monitoring.
Amwell has received an "extremely favorable, almost surprising, very violent market positive reaction" to Converge, Schoenberg told investors in November. "We continue to believe Converge will meaningfully fuel our results in 2022 and beyond."
One central draw of Converge is its ability to integrate third-party applications and devices, increasing its extendable functions and creating the potential for an ecosystem approach.
Amwell is currently working with Google Cloud on artificial intelligence and natural language processing, which would enable real-time captioning, translation and other patient engagement functions on the Converge platform.
Other partners include TytoCare, which provides a handheld exam kit to support diagnosis during telehealth visits; virtual second opinion service the Clinic through Amwell's joint venture with the Cleveland Clinic; and BioBeat, which provides a tool for the continuous monitoring of vital signs including blood pressure and heart rate through either a wrist or chest monitor.
Despite management bullishness around Converge, Amwell's initial 2022 revenue projection released in late February came in below consensus, sending its shares down. The company expects revenue between $275 million and $285 million, while analyst consensus was $312 million.