Google and Amwell have announced a partnership to make inroads into the telehealth sector. The California-based IT giant will invest $100 million in the Boston-based healthcare technology company and have named each other as preferred partners. This partnership will also see the Boston-based firm move its video infrastructure from AWS to Google Cloud, as stated by Google Cloud’s MD for healthcare and life sciences Chris Sakalosky.
The Boston-based healthtech firm is also planning to go public, and the investment announcement from Google comes close at the heels of the same. In fact, Google’s investment will earn it a concurrent private placement at the IPO price of Amwell.
Telehealth has been resurgent in recent times amid the global threat of COVID-19. While talk for adoption of telehealth has always been around the corner, it was COVID-19 that kickstarted the quick adoption of the same. According to a study by US Department of Health and Human Services, virtual primary visits for medicare grew from less than one percent in February 2020 to over 40 percent in April 2020. Further, a study from Frost & Sullivan analysts forecasts that telehealth sector will witness a sevenfold growth by 2025.
What Does the Partnership Include?
While the specific details of Google and Amwell partnership are not yet out, the companies will collaborate to ensure virtual delivery of medicare services. Amwell will leverage Google’s global presence and will embark on a joint sales initiative starting from North America. The two companies will collaborate over utilizing Cloud capabilities such as secure communications, data analytics, AI-powered chatbots and language translation, as well as G Suite collaboration tools. According to Google, this will enhance Amwell’s ability to enable clinicians to treat patients virtually.
Announcing the partnership with Amwell via a blog post, here’s how Google put forth its vision of telehealth, “imagine a not too distant future in which your visit begins with a customized greeting and relevant information in a digital waiting room. A conversational chatbot agent is immediately available to assist you, in your preferred language. During your appointment, you continue to speak in your preferred language to your physician, while cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) provides live, translated captioning of the conversation. Your health information like medication, symptoms, and records from your past visits are immediately available during your telehealth visit and afterwards, your medical records are immediately updated, privately and securely. Your doctor can quickly share notes, fill prescriptions, send relevant information and schedule a follow-up visit via email.”
The Amwell investment by Google comes at a time when the world is looking toward innovation in healthcare sector. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will change the world in many ways, healthcare being among the primary. While Google has been involved in many initiatives in helping the community tackle the threat of COVID-19, the advances into telehealth sector are more than welcome. Lastly, as the world gears up to tackle COVID-19 and face its aftermath, we expect more and more organizations to come forward with innovations in the field of telehealth and medical care.