Google Cloud To Invest $100M In IPO-Bound Telemedicine Provider Amwell

As ‘preferred partners,’ Amwell will migrate its video healthcare platform to Google, then leverage advanced GCP and G Suite services to improve virtual doctor appointments and follow-up care. Google and Amwell will expand the platform’s global reach through a joint sales initiative.


Google Cloud revealed on Monday plans for a $100 million investment in Amwell’s upcoming public offering as part of a strategic partnership aiming to advance telemedicine with artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge cloud technologies.

Google and Amwell named each other “preferred” partners, and as part of that alliance, Amwell will migrate its video platform from colocation infrastructure and Amazon Web Services onto Google Cloud, Chris Sakalosky, Google Cloud’s managing director for healthcare and life sciences, told CRN.

Google will take an equity stake in Amwell proportional to the share price set in an IPO the Boston-based healthcare technology company just revealed to the SEC in an S-1 filing.

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[Related: Mass. General Hospital Doctor: ‘Telemedicine Is Here To Stay’]

While details of the partnership are still being worked out, Google will bring forward all resources in helping Amwell replatform to GCP. The companies will then proceed with “co-innovation” leveraging Google Cloud capabilities such as secure communications, data analytics, AI-powered chatbots and language translation, as well as G Suite collaboration tools, to enhance Amwell’s ability to enable clinicians to virtually treat patients, Sakalosky said.

Amwell will also take advantage of Google’s global reach through a joint sales initiative targeting both new and existing customers, starting in North America, he said.

“We’re opening up new solutions and opening up new markets,” Sakalosky told CRN.

Healthcare providers were already reimagining clinician visits before the outbreak of COVID-19, but the pandemic rapidly accelerated the trend toward telemedicine.

Data shows that before the pandemic, only 1 to 2 percent of patients sought virtual care. That skyrocketed to 82 percent at the peak of the crisis, and once the disease goes away, analysts expect the number to stay north of 60 percent, Sakalosky said.

Because of COVID-19, “we pushed across a huge chasm,” he told CRN. “That was an aha moment” that encouraged Google to look to forge a partnership with a company sharing its vision of expanding access to care—both for individuals and the broader population.

Google and Amwell still haven’t worked out if and potentially which Google Cloud partners would be involved in the migration.

But the investment and alliance opens up a new marketplace for solution providers to “engage in expanding on Amwell and Google Cloud’s current work,” Sakalosky said.

“This is extending an ecosystem of engagement, and puts a spotlight on accelerating the Internet of Medical Things,” he said.

Aided with Google Cloud technology, Amwell can do a lot to improve chronic disease management, wellness programs, home and hospice care, and bridging socioeconomic disparities in health care.

“Telehealth becomes a great equalizer,” he said.

In a blog announcing the deal, Aashima Gupta, Google Cloud’s global director for healthcare strategy and solutions, laid out a vision of health care services in a “not too distant future.”

Patients could first show up in a digital waiting room where they provide relevant information about symptoms and reasons for their visit, assisted by a chatbot speaking their preferred language. After being evaluated by a doctor during their virtual visit, the same cloud-based data analytics tools could help monitor chronic conditions and flag interventions when necessary.

“At Google Cloud, we are committed to helping the healthcare industry transform to meet today’s extraordinary challenges and to build a platform for the future that enables high quality, efficient, and cost-effective care from anywhere. A comprehensive, patient-friendly telehealth system is critical to providing high quality virtual care,” Gupta said.