Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

American Well expands behavioural virtual care

William Payne
November 13, 2019

Telehealth provider American Well is expanding its behavioural health virtual care service in the United States with the acquisition of Aligned Telehealth, a telepsychiatry provider to hospitals and health insurance programmes.

The acquisition will allow American Well to combine its digital care delivery platform with Aligned Telehealth's network of clinical experts to provide hospitals and health plans with improved secondary care behavioural health and psychiatry services.

The company says its services can help address the challenges of clinician shortages, fragmented care and societal stigma that block adequate behavioural health access and treatment.

Behavioural health conditions account from one out of every eight visits to hospital ERs annually. Nearly 25 percent of Americans with a behavioural health diagnosis are enrolled in Medicaid, making Medicaid the main provider of mental health services for people affected by serious mental health conditions. Overall, the Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that only about one quarter of the nation's mental health patients' needs are met.

"Aligned Telehealth is the leading player in on-demand telepsychiatry services, supporting major medical centres and Medicaid plans in their efforts to meet the needs of patients," said Ido Schoenberg, M.D., Chairman and CEO, American Well. "By adding the Aligned clinical network and expertise, American Well can further expand and enhance our virtual behavioural health programmes, an exciting and important endeavour that will positively impact patients, their families, and the treatment teams providing their care, while advancing clinical outcomes and reducing overall costs."

"We've long believed that by applying powerful technology and the right clinical expertise we can improve access to mental health services for those who need it," said Nitin Nanda, M.D., Founder and CEO, Aligned Telehealth. "Within the hospital space and in service of the Medicaid population, we've proven this belief to be true. We're excited to join forces with American Well to help patients further overcome the barriers of access, cost, time, and stigma when it comes to getting the care they need and reducing the burden on providers."

"The increased utilisation of telehealth is re-shaping the healthcare landscape and there is no area that has been more affected than behavioural health," said Jason Close, System Director of the Dignity Health Telemedicine Network.

"Our goal is to transform healthcare by backing highly strategic and profoundly impactful organisations," said Michael Balmuth, Managing Partner at SV Health Investors, Aligned's sole institutional investor. "Aligned Telehealth has delivered proven results in the behavioural health space generally and telepsychiatry specifically. We're delighted to see Aligned join forces with American Well and to be stakeholders in this combination of two mission-oriented, results-driven companies. Together, we expect they will advance the cause of mental health treatment and more broadly change the way we all think about telehealth."

"American Well is focused on building the most comprehensive platform to enable digitally enhanced care services, online and in person, across the full continuum of care. We aim to connect and provide value to all healthcare ecosystem partners including providers, payers, consumers and the industries that support them. With this acquisition, we're yet another step closer to realising our mission," said Schoenberg.