Cigna Group will pay an undisclosed sum for digital health company Bright.md, the companies announced in a news release Tuesday.
Cigna’s Evernorth Health Services unit will integrate Bright.md’s asynchronous digital services into MDLive, a telehealth platform that covers 60 million commercial, Medicaid and Medicare enrollees. MDLive supports about 2 million virtual urgent care, behavioral health, tele-dermatology and primary care visits annually, MDLive Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric Weil said during an interview at the HLTH conference.
Beginning in 2024, more than 20 million commercial members will be able to correspond with Bright.md providers through MDLive for virtual urgent care services. Bright.md will convert their responses into chart notes that physicians can review and use to develop appropriate care plans, prescribe medications and schedule follow-up appointments.
“Employers and payers recognize that there are so many different flavors of engagement,” Weil said. “People lead very busy lives, so we want to offer as many different options as we can.”
MDLive aims to eventually expand Bright.md’s services to include chronic disease management and wellness visits, Weil said. The acquisition comes as employer and insurer uptake of MDLive grows and the telehealth provider expands its virtual primary care services through a partnership with Welldoc, a digital health coaching service for patients with chronic conditions.
In addition to selling the service to insurers and employers, MDLive also aims to serve as a physician enablement platform for clinicians and contract with providers in risk-based payment relationships, Weil said. The company plans to hire more physicians to staff the service, he said.
“Our long-term vision is to have a national network of contracted physicians and employed physician care teams to more broadly fill the experience of primary care,” Weil said.
Cigna has made other moves recently to expand its healthcare services capabilities.
Evernorth this month rolled out a new, value-based care management program for its behavioral health provider network to standardize the clinical and quality benchmarks for services provided and better measure their return on investment. About 44,000 health coaches, therapists and other behavioral health providers will participate in the program, according to the company.