Virtual healthcare might conjure images of doctors dispensing medical advice from smartphone and laptop screens, but your imagination should extend to an older media stalwart. The saturation of television sets presents an opportunity in healthcare technology: a 2018 report from Nielsen estimated that there are 119.9 million TV homes in the U.S.

In a press release, telehealth giant American Well recently revealed a partnership with Cisco Systems to increase their foothold in healthcare infrastructure. The company plans to leverage the technology leader’s collaboration software by converting in-home television sets into American Well patient CarePoints for care delivery targeting elder patients who wish to maintain their independence.

"Importantly, telehealth will allow us, and our elders, to expect a longer, safer and more graceful aging, in our homes."

"Telehealth is quickly becoming an effective way for Americans to get access to urgent care. While this revolution continues, a new breed of telehealth is emerging. This one will go the other way, empowering doctors and nurses to use technology to knock on our door and visit us at home regularly...Importantly, telehealth will allow us, and our elders, to expect a longer, safer and more graceful aging, in our homes," said Roy Schoenberg, MD, MPH, CEO at American Well.

This news comes shortly after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) announcement to expand telehealth access and coverage in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. More than 20 million Medicare beneficiaries, approximately one-third of total Medicare consumers, will benefit from this expansion.

"Our collaboration technology and the innovation we're driving throughout our portfolio will translate into truly personalized and amazing experiences for telehealth patients, especially the elder population who are often severely limited in their access to traditional medical care," said Amy Chang, Senior Vice President/GM, Cisco Collaboration. "Together with American Well, Cisco is committed to transforming how people receive quality healthcare.”

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