Medibank's Amplar signs US deal for prevention programs


Tuesday, 20 February, 2024

Medibank's Amplar signs US deal for prevention programs

Amplar Health, part of Medibank group, has partnered with health tech provider Amwell to support the delivery of its prevention programs to support more Australians at risk of chronic disease.

“The top 10 chronic conditions in Australia contributed to 89% of deaths in 2021 and 66% of the total burden of disease,” said Group Lead Amplar Health Robert Read, emphasising the growing prevalence of preventable chronic diseases and how they cost the Australian healthcare system billions.

“We need a range of solutions to improve the health of Australians. Tools that provide information in a digestible and timely way can improve health literacy and health outcomes,” Read said.

“Virtual solutions that allow individuals to set personal health goals, make positive lifestyle changes and sustain those changes over time are crucial to the sustainability of the broader health system.

“Hospital admissions arising from preventable disease continue to climb, putting hospitals under pressure and risking poor outcomes for patients. We need to be smarter about healthcare delivery and embrace technology to enable widespread access to preventative programs across our communities,” he said.

Pilot lifestyle management program

Medibank customers will be the first to benefit from prevention programs using the Amwell technology, with the anticipated launch to Medibank customers of a new pilot lifestyle management program, designed to promote wellness and prevent chronic disease.

Following a health check with an Amplar Health Registered Nurse, eligible Medibank customers will be referred to the program.

“Customers will be supported by a digital assistant, and where needed, a health coach, to ensure they achieve the best outcomes from the program. Amplar Health medical professionals are configuring the programs with the Amwell clinical team, ensuring programs are designed to be clinically safe and effective for Australian patients,” Read said.

Medibank customers with the following risk factors for chronic disease will be eligible to access the program: currently smoking and/or vaping; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; physical inactivity; poor diet; weight and/or waist measurement outside the healthy range.

The announcement of the Amwell partnership is in line with Medibank’s commitment to grow its preventative program enrolments to 50,000 customers by FY25, said the company in a statement. Amplar Health’s collaboration with Amwell will allow Medibank to accelerate expansion of its suite of prevention programs to more customers.

“Medibank’s range of prevention programs has already been highly successful as part of our ambition to help patients live better lives for longer. The additional benefit of these new programs is that they facilitate a combination of digital tools and healthcare practitioner involvement, which helps provide impact at scale,” he said.

Reducing the preventable disease burden

“We’re calling on other healthcare funders to follow Medibank’s lead and work with us to reduce the cost of preventable disease. Funding of health care in this country has necessarily been focused on delivering care for the sick, but there is a great opportunity to invest in preventing illness in the first place. Virtual health care will be an essential component of the future Australian health system. Our work with Amwell is a reflection of our commitment to improve access to care and deliver support to patients when and how they need it,” Read said.

Amwell’s Chief Strategy Officer, Murray Brozinsky, said, “We have seen significant adoption of Amwell’s automated and digital care technologies by healthcare organisations in the US and UK. These technologies are flipping the sick care paradigm on its head through the use of patient-generated health information to become more proactive in caring for patients and private health insurance customers.”

Delivery of digital mental health programs through SilverCloud by Amwell has been well received internationally, said Amplar Health in a statement. The technology has a 93% patient satisfaction rate among the nearly 700,000 people who have used the technology through the United Kingdom’s NHS mental health programs. In addition, SilverCloud has a 94% patient satisfaction rate among the more than 12,000 people in Ireland who have used the program for mental health care and support.

Amplar Health will also be an Australian reseller of SilverCloud by Amwell and Amwell Automated Care technology platforms.

Image credit: iStock.com/Natee Meepian

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