Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2010 (Revised April 2011)

American Well: The Doctor Will E-See You Now

by Elie Ofek and Ron Laufer

Abstract

What is next for healthcare IT provider American Well, whose innovative Online Care technology allows physicians to deliver care to patients online in real time? Using American Well's platform, patients with non-emergency health concerns can communicate with physicians online or by phone and receive advice or even a diagnosis without having to visit the physician's office. American Well's co-founders, Ido Schoenberg and Roy Schoenberg, believe this platform will reduce the cost of care delivery; create new revenue-earning opportunities for providers; and contribute to a more efficient, convenient healthcare delivery system. While the platform could benefit insurers, providers, employers, and patients alike, the company has only marketed to a few health insurance companies to date. In November 2009, 3 insurers have adopted the technology, and American Well expects several more to do so over the next 12 months. As the company plans to accelerate adoption by health insurers, it is also considering other growth options. Is it too early to commit resources to developing and marketing American Well's second-generation product, which facilitates real-time connectivity between primary care physicians and specialists? Should American Well pursue new markets in the U.S., such as hospitals, chains of clinics, and pharmacies, or even expand internationally? In a broader sense, American Well's technology solves the economic obstacle of time and place by connecting excess supply (of physician capacity) with excess demand (for patient care). Could this model be adapted to other industries, such as legal and accounting services? Alternatively, should American Well continue to focus solely on its primary product and on becoming the leader in the Online Care Industry?

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Health Care and Treatment; Technological Innovation; Growth and Development Strategy; Market Entry and Exit; Service Delivery; Online Technology; Health Industry;

Citation:

Ofek, Elie, and Ron Laufer. "American Well: The Doctor Will E-See You Now." Harvard Business School Case 510-061, March 2010. (Revised April 2011.)