Why Cisco invested in RelayHealth

As reported here, Cisco recently made its first investment in a health care company, RelayHealth. Among other features, RelayHealth offers webVisits (also called E-visits) that are effective, efficient substitutes for certain office visits.

Like other employers, Cisco is trying hard to get a handle on rising health care costs. And like other technology companies such as Dell, they are hoping to leverage information technology –not just cost-shifting to employees– to do so. Jeff Rideout, MD, Cisco’s corporate medical director and VP of health for Internet business solutions told InformationWeek:

“We want to keep the lid on the rate of increase by using a health IT strategy.”

While the insurance industry has adopted a new billing code for E-visits, very few health-care providers offer those visits, and few health-insurance companies reimburse for them. More doctors would provide those E-services if payers reimbursed them, Rideout says, and Cisco wants some of its largest health payers, including Cigna and United Health Care, to do so.

Cisco is putting its money where its mouth is by taking a stake in RelayHealth.

June 29, 2005

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