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E-visit payment promising but not ready for prime time

Payers are recognizing the power of the Internet. In December 2007, Hartford, CT–based Aetna expanded its relationship with RelayHealth, an Atlanta-based provider of Web-based communication services between physicians and patients, to allow physicians in more than 30 medical specialties who participate in most of Aetna’s fully insured plans to be reimbursed for RelayHealth webVisit consultations. The clinically structured online interviews allow patients to report nonurgent symptoms to physicians for quick responses without an office visit. Previously, only primary care physicians in California, Florida, and Washington had access to the online service.

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