Wellpoint Health Services to offer WorldCare's 2nd opinion e-Consultation services for serious illness

Cambridge 10 January 2006WorldCare Inc., a pioneer and expert in the development and distribution of global health care services and solutions, including specialist and sub-specialist 2nd opinion e-consultation, serious illness treatment plans and clinical trial services, has signed a contract with Wellpoint Health Services, a Toronto-based Corporate & Family Health Services Company, to provide expert Second Opinion e-Consultation Services for serious illness. These services enable patients to receive specialist input in collaboration with their local attending physician without the expense and anxiety of leaving home.

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Such e-consultations will be rendered by some of America's best academic medical centres: Duke University Health System, and Partners HealthCare System which includes Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare.

This unique service allows a Wellpoint member who may have developed a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, neuro-degenerative disease or any life-threatening illness to make an informed decision about their treatment options. Utilizing encryption technology, following rigorous quality control and quality assurance protocols, Wellpoint physicians send a patient's medical records, including medical imaging, laboratory reports and history and physical to WorldCare's Hub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. These medical records are then digitized and securely transmitted to the appropriate telemedicine centres of a provider institution for specialist and or sub-specialist physician review.

A written second opinion, including a confirmed diagnosis and recommended treatment plan, will be returned to a Wellpoint physician within four working days of the receipt of a complete set of medical records by WorldCare.

"WorldCare is pleased to announce this new contract with Wellpoint because it will enable Wellpoint members to have timely, affordable electronic access to specialists at the best hospitals for the evaluation of serious illness, including the confirmation of a diagnosis and the recommendation of a treatment plan", stated Nasser Menhall, CEO, WordCare Inc. "With today's encrypted and secure technology, no health care consumer should be deprived of timely e-access to high quality health care at the time it may be needed most ... namely upon the initial diagnosis of a serious illness"," concluded Nasser Menhall.

"Wellpoint is also pleased to announce its agreement with WorldCare as it enables us to provide a truly comprehensive suite of services to our clients", stated Sanjeev Sharma, M.D., President & CEO, Wellpoint Health Services. "WorldCare's service provides our members with seamless e-access to some of America's best hospitals should our screening reveal the existence of a serious or complex disease", continued Dr. Sharma. "Today because of advances in information technology, none of our clients need to wait to secure an expert second opinion. Such timely intervention, offered through this partnership, will contribute to increasing optimal health care decision making and improving health care outcomes should serious illness occur."

Wellpoint Health Services, Canada's leading-edge corporate and family health services company, provides comprehensive medical screening and preventative health care. Wellpoint offers customized health and wellness programmes empowering individuals to take a pro-active approach to their health. Through multi-disciplinary clinical teams, Wellpoint tailors health programmes to individual needs. Wellpoint's extensive diagnostic resources provide opportunities for their members for early detection of serious illnesses. In addition to preventative screening, customized wellness programmes include nutrition counseling, post-operative care when required, and international emergency and referral services.

Wellpoint, through Worldcare, will now also provide expert Second Opinion e-Consultation for serious illnesses, working with leading specialists at Duke University Health System and Partners HealthCare System Inc.

Duke University Health System is a world-renowned medical institution dedicated to providing outstanding patient care, educating tomorrow's health care leaders, and discovering better ways to treat disease through research. For the last 16 years, Duke has been ranked as one of the top ten hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report. Duke University Health System draws patients from around the nation and the world.

Partners is one of the leading academic health care systems in the world and the largest private not-for-profit biomedical research enterprise in the United States. Founded by Harvard Medical School's teaching hospitals - Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital - Partners also includes Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, McLean Psychiatric Hospital and over 4000 Harvard faculty physicians.

WorldCare Limited, specialized in the development and distribution of global e-health services and solutions, facilitates international access to high quality United States health care through the delivery of highly specialized and personalized electronic second medical opinions and the provision of insurance plans for the United States treatment of serious illness. In partnership with the very best medical centres in North America, WorldCare utilizes Internet-empowered technologies and FDA approved protocols to transmit medical records and provide referring physicians and their patients with second opinions.

Consultation and treatment are rendered by the WorldCare Consortium, comprised of Duke University Health System and Partners HealthCare System Inc., which includes Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana Farber Partners Cancer Care. Special programmes sponsored by life and health insurance carriers throughout the world offer WorldCare's second medical opinion services and its serious illness insurance product, the WorldCare Global Health Plan. Founded in 1994, through a joint effort with Massachusetts General Hospital, WorldCare maintains offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Paris, France, as well as operations in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Malaysia, South Korea, Mid-Europe (Croatia), Turkey, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, India, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Slovakia, Russia and the United Kingdom. To date, WorldCare has processed over 15.000 second opinion e-consultations. WorldCare also offers digital image analysis for pharmaceutical clinical trials, health care consulting and continuing medical education (CME) services.


Leslie Versweyveld

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