- Verizon Virtual Visits, debuted on Wednesday, partners with an unnamed provider network to provide secure telehealth services to consumers. The product is available to health systems, insurers and health plans that can offer it under their own label or keep the Verizon Virtual Visits brand.
- When a patient registers, Verizon verifies eligibility, presents the patient's self-reported medical history and collects co-pay. The patient is then matched with the next available participating physician in their state, who initiates a video-chat, provides consultation and can send a SureScripts e-script if permitted by local law.
- Large health systems who offer the service can use their own clinicians or a mix of their own employees and external clinicians.
Two things are holding back explosive growth of telehealth: reluctance by health plans to reimburse adequately for services, and regulatory limitations. But consumers are increasingly demanding the convenience, and across the country, the industry is focused on diverting unnecessary ED visits. Insurers and regulators will have to catch up before long — the market will demand it. Industry research firm IBISWorld is predicting that revenue in the telehealth services industry will grow 30.7% to $320.2 million over the next five years, including revenue growth of 23.1% this year. Verizon won't be the last big player to start developing products in advance of the day when telehealth restrictions ease.