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Santa’s Health Care Secret

Lawrence Schreiber
Larry Schreiber has been the President of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, since August 2009. He is responsible for the management of sales, marketing and underwriting functions for small and large group accounts in Wisconsin, and serves as the primary contact for state regulators. He oversees Anthem's social responsibility activities dedicated to promoting health and wellness throughout Wisconsin.

Children are always dazzled by Santa Claus’ ability to travel around the world in a single night. What I find more amazing is that the guy never misses a day of work! How does he do it?!

It turns out that Santa has a secret.

Just as our workplaces have changed, so have things at the North Pole. The Naughty List has given way to the Blocked on Social Media List, and Santa’s workshop has undergone radical transformations to streamline toy production and keep up with a growing, global customer base. It’s no wonder experts in supply chain management are always trying to reverse engineer Santa’s processes!

Still, there’s one tool in Santa’s modern toolbox that observers continue to overlook: telehealth. Once the stuff of sugar plum-fueled visions, today telehealth is a vital part of keeping North Pole operations running on time.

Telehealth allows anyone to use their smartphone, tablet or computer to have a live and secure two-way video visit with board-certified doctor – any time of the day or night, from anywhere in the world.

One such service is called LiveHealth Online. Doctors using LiveHealth Online can provide a diagnosis, treatment, and even write a prescription if needed.

Best of all, telehealth visits are quite affordable. Many Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield members already have access to LiveHealth Online as a part of their insurance benefits, and anyone can use the service simply by signing up at www.livehealthonline.com and paying with a credit card.

Doctors using LiveHealth Online typically charge $49 per medical visit. A summary of each visit is created, and at the patient’s request, can be forwarded to their primary care doctor – supporting continuity of care and collaboration among providers.

Telehealth is already a widely accepted mode of health communication, especially in rural areas where people may have to drive long distances to visit a doctor. Santa’s workshop is located in one such area, and options for timely health care can be difficult to come by. Even quick trips to medical hubs in Anchorage or Iceland are time away from the office that Santa and his elves cannot afford if they’re to meet their December 25 guaranteed delivery date.

Even if you don’t live at one of the poles, telehealth can still be an unbelievable convenience and timesaver. Patients typically use online care typically to communicate face-to-face with a doctor about colds, aches, sore throats, allergies, infections, rashes, as well as routine prescription refills.

The adoption of telehealth by businesses and individuals is set to take off faster than a flying reindeer. According to IHT Technology, an estimated 350,000 people worldwide used telehealth in 2013. That number is expected to reach approximately 7 million by 2018.

A great way to get started with telehealth is by downloading the mobile app and registering for the service before your or your little elves get sick. This allows you to save your insurance and billing information directly in the system so you don’t have to search for ID cards amidst a room full of stocking stuffers.

So no matter how you get to grandmother’s house this holiday, borrow a trick from St. Nick and take a doctor with you. How else do you think he prevents an itch in Ireland from becoming a horrible head cold by Hustisford?

The free LiveHealth Online app for mobile devices is available for Apple devices on iTunes and for Android devices on the Google Play store, and the service may be accessed by computer at www.livehealthonline.com.

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