Going by the market size, the two best possible opportunities are:
1) Hospitals: The total sales of this avenue amounted to $718.4 billion and hence hospitals represent the largest possible market opportunity for American Well. The advantages of tying up with hospitals is that it will be able to access a large number of patients in the waiting area through its Online kiosks, thereby decreasing the waiting time of a patient before he gets his first consultation. Also, patients themselves might be confused regarding the nature of their ailment and whether it requires a PCP or a specialist and other such doubts. These can more effectively be addressed by the online kiosks.
The kiosk will also lead to better communication between patients and doctors. However, one serious drawback to this opportunity is the fact that hospitals might be apprehensive of losing out patients to American Well. Introducing online kiosks might encourage the patients to consult physicians online rather than visiting hospitals, or in some cases convince the patients that a physical examination by a doctor is not necessary. Thus the patients in the waiting area might never come back except for surgeries or emergencies. Hence it will be difficult to convince hospitals to install online kiosks in their premises.
2) Retail Clinics: The retail clinics are headed by Nursing Practitioners, who have approximately 600 million patient visits each year. Thus the market size represents a sizeable opportunity for American Well. Introducing online kiosks at retail centers could turn out to be a win-win situation for both American Well and retail clinics since this move might improve the perception of retail clinics as a legitimate and effective delivery centre of healthcare. The NPs too can have access to physicians’ advice in case of any doubts or queries about a patient. This will also reduce costs to health insurance companies as the patients will be more encouraged to visit NPs in retail clinics instead of going to hospitals which are costlier.
Best Course of Action for American Well
The most promising market opportunity for American Well is to go ahead with the launch of their product “Team Edition”. The new product “Team Edition” would be an extension for American Well’s business model. “Team Edition” aims to drastically cut down on the amount of time it would take for a patient to see a specialist after being referred by his PCP. Once the patient’s PCP decides that a specialist visit is required, the patient books an appointment to visit the specialist which requires a long wait time ranging from days to weeks. Once the specialist visit is done, the patient has to follow up with PCP which again could be time consuming. With the use of “Team Edition”, consultations with specialists occurred right away while the patient was still with his PCP making life easier for all the stakeholders. Following is the list of opportunities and challenges associated with exploring this new market opportunity.
1) Ensures reduction in wait time for the patients, Encouraging better coordination between PCP and Specialist about a patient and ensures there is no information loss. 2) The launch of “Team Edition” will not incur substantial cost to American Well as it can easily piggyback on its existing predecessor. 3) The new product can be a differentiator for American Well when compared to its competition. 4) It further adds value and at same time reducing cost to health insurance companies and patients. 5) Employers who are looking for employee coverage can be easily enticed by this technology wherein their primary purpose of providing faster access of healthcare to their employees is catered to. 6) The product also ensures addressing a fundamental problem faced by all insurance companies which is alignment of their financial incentives with physicians. By encouraging physicians and specialists to use online delivery mode of services to their patients, the feature will reduce the cost incurred by insurance companies substantially bringing benefits to all stakeholders. 7) Increases the number of addressable lives affiliated to Insurance companies ensuring larger revenue inflow to American well. 8) Eliminates barriers like geography and supply to access specialty care. Threats/Challenges:
1) Competitors: If American Well doesn’t go ahead with “Team Edition”, its competitors may develop a similar toolkit and capture the market base which makes American well lose its first mover advantage. 2) The perception among patients that physical examination by specialists will alone solve their problem will be difficult to change. 3) If Insurance companies fail to make expected savings, they might want to pull out their relationship with American well and go back to their traditional tie-ups with hospitals. 4) Regulations and policies: The US Government might come up with regulations later on which restrict inter-state accessing of doctors, virtually as well as physically. 5) Lack of Brand Awareness: Since American Well is a relatively newer company compared to its more established tele-medicine competitors like RelayHealth, Medfusion, TelaDoc, and Cisco TelePresence. By ensuring that American Well can venture with “Team Edition” pitching for Insurance companies with their product with added advantage, American Well should be able to penetrate the online health care market and become a market leader in the same.