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Seeing an uptick in demand, athenahealth adds telehealth service

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Health IT company athenahealth is the latest to dip its toe into telehealth as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company’s bread and butter is its cloud-based EHR and practice management software, but after seeing an influx of virtual visits, athenahealth rolled out a new telehealth service for its users.

From mid-February to late April, the Watertown, Mass.-based company said it saw a 3400% increase in daily telehealth visits. Athenahealth Chief Product Officer Paul Brient said the company was able to build the solution from a proof-of-concept within a matter of weeks.

“The COVID-19 global pandemic has upended the U.S. healthcare industry and is transforming delivery of patient care. To remain solvent and provide essential care many providers have turned to telehealth, and athenahealth has been there for them,” Brient said in a news release.

The new functionality, athenaTelehealth, will allow providers to start HIPAA-compliant video visits from their computer without having to install any additional software. This feature is embedded within the company’s existing solution, which gives providers the ability to schedule visits, message patients, and update their chart in real time. Up to four people can join a visit.

It is available to current athenahealth users and will be opened to the broader public in the fourth quarter of 2020, the company said.

Seeing increased demand for telehealth services, other companies have added capabilities for video visits, even if it wasn’t part of their core business. Last month, medical networking company Doximity rolled out a telehealth app that allows physicians to make HIPAA-compliant video calls from their phones. Appointment booking company Zocdoc also added telehealth services to its platform.

Photo credit: Ian Hooton, Getty Images

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