Promising advances to the telehealth services industry, Amwell will integrate Google Cloud AI capabilities for natural language processing and medical transcription services, among other new services.
Since the onset of the pandemic, telehealth services have skyrocketed. A Department of Health and Human Services statistical report found that in April, about 43% of primary care visits through Medicare were via telehealth. Before the pandemic, more than 99% of Medicare-funded visits were in-person appointments. From March through early July, the agency says, more than 10 million Medicare beneficiaries used telehealth services. With broad telehealth coverage more vital than ever, though, demands for language services have risen considerably as well.
Seeing the opportunity for growth, Google recently pledged to invest $100 million into Amwell, formerly known as American Well, a company that builds technology for virtual doctors’ visits. Launching in 2006, Amwell currently works with 55 health plans, which support over 36,000 employers and represent more than 80 million covered individuals, as well as 150 of the nation’s largest health systems. It has powered more than 5.6 million telehealth visits for its clients, including over 3 million since the shutdown began.
The partnership will leverage Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to create a comprehensive virtual care experience for patients and providers that goes beyond visits and includes services like self-triage or remote patient monitoring (RPM) capabilities. Google plans to work closely with Amwell to integrate its AI capabilities into Amwell’s virtual care platform, particularly in natural language processing and medical transcription services. This could have interesting implications for the language service industry, particularly the life sciences sector.
Additionally, Amwell will move parts of its business from Amazon Web Services to Google Cloud, recognizing Google Cloud as its “preferred global cloud partner.” Specifically, Amwell will move some video performance capabilities to Google Cloud. The two companies will also collaborate on technology and work to expand Amwell’s footprint in the sector.
“With this partnership, Google Cloud and Amwell see an opportunity to improve patient and clinician telehealth experiences through technologies that can automate waiting room and checkout; provide automated language translation services; advance population health by making it easier for more patients to receive care; and assist payers and providers in routine tasks, by intelligently triaging cases and reducing clinician burnout,” mentioned a Google Cloud blog post.
The post went on to describe how machine translation is being integrated into the system: “A conversational chatbot agent is immediately available to assist you, in your preferred language, by asking about your symptoms and the reason for your visit, and provides this information to your physician before she enters your virtual exam room. During your appointment, you continue to speak in your preferred language to your physician, while cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) provides live, translated captioning of the conversation.”