Telemedicine, or virtual medical consults by phone or video, has been the "next big thing" in health care for more than a decade. But year after year, countless studies have found that telemedicine companies are held back by a lack of awareness among consumers. Now, thanks to a marketing boost from behemoths like Apple, Aetna and CVS, telemedicine might finally take off. When pitching the benefits of a merger with CVS, Aetna's chief executive, Mark Bertolini, detailed how technology that monitors patients from home — like bluetooth-connected glucose meters coupled with apps for virtual providers to nudge patients when their glucose levels are off — is a key part of his strategy. In other words, telemedicine. He described this strategy as an approach that will improve care and lower skyrocketing health costs for consumers by providing "a more holistic view of each individual." Apple's COO, Jeff Williams, also advocated for virtual medicine last week, when detailing the company's plans for its new heart-health study. In an important move, Apple chose to work with one of the largest telemedicine start-ups, American Well, so that even those without easy access to a doctor's office can still get the help they need.