A New Milestone for Healthcare On-Line

How many times have you wanted advice from a doctor, but didn’t have time to drive somewhere to see one? How often has a medical question gone unanswered because finding a doctor to ask was just too much of a hassle? How frequently have you delayed medical treatment because you couldn’t reach your own doctor and didn’t know who else to see? What if there was a more convenient way to receive care for a minor illness or injury? Well, for citizens of the state of Hawaii, there definitely is another way!


In January, one of the largest health plans in the state of Hawaii, HMSA, launched a new initiative that provides on-line care to every citizen. Residents can get answers to medical questions or treatment advice for a minor illness or injury from a participating doctor using on-line web messaging, video visits, or the telephone. The sponsoring health plan even discounts fees associated with using the on-line service. Partners in this exciting new initiative include American Well Systems in Boston and Microsoft HealthVault.


This week, we have released a new audiocast for my House Calls for Healthcare Professionals series. It explores the new on-line service from HMSA and what motivated the company to offer it.  Participants in the discussion include:

Dr. Roy Schoenberg, co-founder and chief executive of American Well Systems in Boston.

Dr. Patricia Avila, Medical Director for on-line services at the Hawaii Medical Services Association HMSA, an independent licensee of Blue Cross-Blue Shield and one of the largest health insurers in the state of Hawaii. Dr. Avila is also a primary care and preventive medicine physician practicing in Hawaii.

Dr. James Mault, a Director for Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group representing Microsoft HealthVault.

To listen to the audio-cast, click HERE.  You can also download the program here.

Bill Crounse, MD  Senior Director, Worldwide Health  Microsoft

Comments (2)

  1. Healthcare online sounds like a great idea for minor illness, as they are doing in Hawaii. I think using this approach when feasible is even becoming a necessity, given the need to reduce health care costs, and the shortage of primary care physicians in many parts of the country.

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