Ka‘u Community Will Have More Access to Doctors with Donation from HMSA and American Well

Ka‘u Rural Health Community Association will host a kiosk for HMSA’s Online Care that allows people to talk with a physician by video

BOSTON, MA, and Honolulu, HI (January 13, 2017) American Well, the leading national telehealth technology company, and the Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA) today announced a new collaboration to bring telehealth visits with doctors to residents of the Ka‘u community on Hawaii Island.

The companies have donated a kiosk for HMSA’s Online Care® for video doctor visits at the Ka‘u Rural Health Community Association’s (KRHCAI) Resource and Distance Learning Center on Puahala Street. Until now, Ka‘u residents would often travel one to two hours to the nearest clinic. This donation makes the KRHCAI’s Resource and Distance Learning Center a new and important destination for convenient health care services.

In addition to providing better access to care, the kiosk will establish a new internship for clinical support staff (certified nurses aides, community health workers, and practical nurses) on how to educate others in underserved areas on the benefits of telemedicine technology.

“KRHCAI’s board of directors is excited and eager to promote the use of the telehealth kiosk in our rural medically underserved community because many who don’t have medical insurance, primary care, or access to specialists often wind up in the emergency room or are hospitalized, which adds to the high cost of health care,” said Jessie Marques, KRHCAI executive director. “When residents talk with a doctor through the telehealth kiosk, they’ll receive timely care and assistance that they otherwise would not have had access to. And they’ll avoid unnecessary emergency room visits or hospitalization.”

KRHCAI improves the lives of underserved community members through programs and outreach focused on health, education, research opportunities, and economic sustainability. The Ka‘u Rural Health Academy is a good example of an educational program that serves University of Hawai‘i at Hilo students and for whom the kiosk internship will serve as an opportunity to learn and then educate remote communities in critical need of health care access.

“Serving the Ka‘u community has been HMSA’s privilege for generations,” said HMSA President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Stollar. “We deeply appreciate our partnership with the Ka’u Rural Community Association to connect residents with doctors on Hawaii Island and with specialists on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai through HMSA’s Online Care. These innovations are part our Māhie 2020 vision to improve the health and well-being of everyone in the state of Hawaii.”

Danielle Russella, President of Consumer solutions at American Well, noted, “American Well has always believed that we could use the power of technology to deliver care further into communities – particularly if access is a real barrier – and where it’s most needed.”

“We have the unique advantage to take what we’ve developed and use it to make a profound impact on people’s lives. With our longtime partner HMSA and through their relationship with the Ka’u Rural Community Association, we’re contributing to healthier living by making care easier and more accessible.”

Media RSVP to Unveiling Event

The kiosk will be unveiled at the Ka’u Rural Community Health Association as part of a dedication ceremony on Friday, January 13. Members of the media are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Robyn Kuraoka at robyn_kuraoka@hmsa.com or (808) 948-6826 on Oahu.

For more information on the Ka’u Rural Community Health Association, please visit krhcai.com.

To learn more about HMSA’s telehealth approach, visit hmsaonlinecare.com. For more about American Well, one of the nation’s only telemedicine kiosk services and technology makers, please visit americanwell.com.

About American Well

American Well uses telehealth to improve people’s access to quality care. Through our partnerships with the nation’s largest health systems, insurers, employers, and retailers, our award-winning telehealth Exchange and our direct-to-consumer service Amwell™ we connect millions of Americans to the doctors they trust for live video visits. Through the power of telehealth, we help patients get the care they need in a timely fashion, and help doctors be there for their patients. We build technologies to make healthcare go where people need it most. For more on how we are changing healthcare delivery through telehealth, visit AmericanWell.com.

American Well and Amwell are registered trademarks or trademarks of American Well Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

About HMSA

Caring for the people of Hawaii is our promise and our privilege. Working together with employers, partners, and physicians and other health care providers, we promote wellness; develop reliable, affordable health plans; and support members with clear, thoughtful guidance.

HMSA is the most experienced health plan in the state, covering more than half of Hawaii’s population. As a recognized leader, we embrace our responsibility to strengthen the health and well-being of our community.

Headquartered on Oahu with centers and offices statewide to serve our members, HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

AmericanWell® is an independent company providing hosting and software services for HMSA’s Online Care platform on behalf of HMSA.

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