“Telehealth has a much bigger role to play than just carrying out transactions,” says Amwell’s President & CEO, Roy Schoenberg, who joins Jess DaMassa for a sweeping philosophical discussion about how telehealth’s role will continue to evolve through the covid19 pandemic and the changes its forced on the healthcare market. Conversations about telehealth that were once about the value of improving “access to care” are now about the technology’s potential to drive “quality of care.” And Amwell – which says it is a “technology infrastructure company” focused on helping traditional healthcare players transition into digital distribution – is pushing past the old notion that virtual care is merely a “product to get a Z-pak.”
Roy gives us updates on Amwell’s much-buzzed-about partnerships with United Healthcare and Google, the later being focused on how the telehealth co is looking at integrating some of those famous Google technologies (think natural language processing, translation, and geolocation-ala-Maps) into virtual care delivery in a way that sounds like a lot more than just a “switchboard.”
Two other colorful Roy Schoenberg soundbites to tease you into this conversation about the immediate future of telehealth from the leader of one its biggest players: 1) “the notion that we are no longer looking at the home as an illegitimate place of care is drama in in every sense” and 2) “I think the next war-zone, the next place where there’s going to be a lot of heated confrontations and conversations, is state licensure.”
On Episode 185, Jess has beat us to an interview on WTF Health before we cover it here on Health in 2 Point 00 – Modern Health raised $74 million in a Series D, so how does this compare to other mental health and wellness companies? Owlet is going public via a SPAC for their infant monitoring tech, and Mymee raises $8.7 million for patient self-tracking on the autoimmune disease front. —Matthew Holt
Chronic disease prevention is often lumped into chronic disease management – but should it be? Aren’t there different nuances to preventing diseases than to treat them? Making the case that healthcare’s “primary prevention” businesses deserve their own category is the CEO of Newtopia, Jeff Ruby. Newtopia’s just announced the creation of a new category of healthcare provider, the Habit Change Provider, in effort to more accurately describe the role of companies working to change the way people behave in their everyday lives. What they eat, whether or not they exercise, how they deal with stress and anxiety – in short, this is the business of influencing the many micro-decisions that, cumulatively, add up to our overall health and whether or not we’ll be impacted by “lifestyle diseases” like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, mental health issues, and more.
Newtopia’s been in this business for over a decade, starting its path to commercialization with Aetna and a three-year randomized control trial of more than 2,800 Aetna employees that proved the power of prevention: physical risk reduction, clinical cost savings, and the “holy grail” of any population health model, in-year ROI. So confident is Newtopia in their approach that the company goes at-risk on outcomes, a compelling enough value proposition to attract clients like Accenture, JP Morgan Chase (and it’s now defunct joint-venture with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway, Haven) and the whole of CVS Health (which acquired Aetna.)
Is this starting to sound different than those chronic condition management companies yet? Listen in to hear more about the details behind Newtopia’s approach, which even leverages genetic testing to “remove blocks for habit change” by helping people identify what they’ve inherited from their parents (slow metabolism, difficulty processing fats, body’s ability to handle stress signals) so they can get past blaming themselves and start developing healthy lifestyle improvements.
Digital mental health startup Modern Health just closed a $74M Series D, bringing their funding total to $170M, and earning the company a $1.17B valuation that makes it the FASTEST-EVER female-founded company to hit unicorn status. CEO Alyson Watson explains what sets Modern Health apart in the incredibly crowded, well-funded, and highly-competitive mental health tech space where the growing issue of skyrocketing demand for care is likely soon to become a shortage of care providers.
Modern Health is hoping to win here by becoming a one-stop-shop for a full-suite of mental health services. They’re bundling together all the different kinds of mental health point solutions currently out there – from tech-enabled self-service cognitive behavioral therapy programs and peer-to-peer group therapy all the way to one-on-one virtual visits with clinicians – and differentiating by designing a better way to intake patients, so care can be more accurately and cost-effectively matched to patient needs. Says Alyson, “If you’re just solving mental health through the old-school way of connecting someone to a therapist, and that’s your be-all-end-all and your only solution…well, eventually, that bubble will burst.”
Founded in 2017, the company has grown both its client-base (220 employers) and coffers quickly. They’ve already acquired Kip, another digital mental health biz, and are looking for more. Tune in to hear what Alyson’s got on deck for 2021 and what she expects to be driving further growth in the mental health virtual care market.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I are back to cover more fun(draising) deals. First, Zocdoc raises $150 million and Jess asks me what’s going on with this old-school appointment scheduler? RapidSOS raises $85 million, bringing their total up to $220 in an infrastructure play for first responders, Capital Rx, which is a startup working to bring transparency to PBMs, raises $50 million, and eating disorder care startup Equip raises $13 million, bringing their total to $17 million.—Matthew Holt
Signify Health’s CEO Kyle Armbrester stops by on IPO day! Hours after ringing the bell on $SGFY’s launch on the New York Stock Exchange, Jess DaMassa digs into the health tech company’s $7.1B valuation and plans to help providers, payers, and self-insured employers scale-up their value-based care offerings. Kyle calls it “Value-Based Care 2.0” and, for the uninitiated, does a great job of stepping back and explaining this healthcare payment model’s history and how Signify is building its next-gen approach from the groundwork laid over the past decade.
What’s unique about Signify Health’s model is that it’s not just relying on tech to make it easier to find where managed care organizations can help cut healthcare costs and drive better outcomes – they also provide in-home health services that send nurses, doctors, and social workers out into patient’s homes to physically look for potential roadblocks to recovery and wellness. It’s in this critical “last mile” where Signify is possibly making the greatest impact, connecting the social determinants of health (physical environment, social support networks, economic status, etc) back into the healthcare system in a way that not only helps patients, but is also aligned with how all the stakeholders along the care continuum are incentivized. (And that includes Signify, which goes at-risk along with their clients and only gets paid when they drive better outcomes and cut-out costs.) So, what is the ultimate opportunity for this kind of “deep healthcare” business? We get into Signify Health’s business model, the competition, and its plans for growth and M&A activity now that they’re backed by $564M in capital from their initial day on the public market.
Just 45 days after Teladoc Health closed its $600 million acquisition of hospital telehealth provider InTouch last year, it turned around and announced a surprise $18B acquisition of Livongo, extending its reach into patients’ homes via the digital health startup’s remote monitoring platform for diabetes, hypertension, and more. Now, four months past the signing of that deal, and at the start of yet-another pandemic year expected to be big for virtual care, the two big questions healthcare market watchers have for Teladoc Health are: 1) how’s that double integration going? and 2) just how much pushback are you getting from health system clients that look at this “hospital-to-home” virtual care pathway as a little too close to their own business models? Jess DaMassa gets the latest from InTouch Health’s former CEO, now Teladoc Health’s President of Hospital and Health Systems, Joe DeVivo and Livongo’s former Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bimal Shah, who’s now Teladoc Health’s Chief Medical Officer for Product and Analytics.
What’s the integration been like for our old friends from the InTouch and Livongo teams? What areas of the “hospital-to-home” digital infrastructure are priority for 2021? And, what about data integration? With more than 1-billion data elements from Livongo, 10.5 million visits on Teladoc’s platform, and 3.5-million Teladoc-enabled visits via hospital clients, it sounds like interoperability to provide “intelligence, not data” is paramount to the company’s strategy for driving growth. As Joe says, “Teladoc has just positioned itself to be “THE” partner to institutionalize virtual care for healthcare systems. Excellence around the delivery of care will always sit in the health system, but to the extent that we can improve the consumer experience in the onboarding into the healthcare system and to prop up our health system customers, all the better.” For lots more on winning over hospitals, outflanking the competition, and fully leveraging the AI-plus-AI engine Livongo built, tune in now.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we’ve apparently got 58 different SPACs looking to acquire health tech companies – so looks like Jess and I will be staying busy! On Episode 183, Jess asks me about Oscar Health filing their S1 and all the dirt people are digging up for IPO, Plume raising $14 million for their full stack clinic for transgender people, Sitka raising $14 million, and Alma raising $28 million providing practice management software for mental health providers. —Matthew Holt
The executive leadership team of UpHealth, the self-described “global digital health super-company” that’s headed toward the public market via a SPAC that’s brought together six companies, 10-years of health tech innovation, and a war chest of $285M dollars, stops by to talk about growth plans and grabbing market share. UpHealth’s Chairman & Founder, Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, Co-CEO & President Dr. Al Gatmaitan, and future COO Jamey Edwards talk through what Jamey says is “really a revenue story” about the fastest growth areas of digital health. Global telehealth, integrated care management, digital pharmacy, and behavioral health will be UpHealth’s sweet spots. The newco is positioning itself as a “one-stop shop” for the digital healthcare infrastructure that will support a local healthcare organization in rolling out digital care services and integrating them with their in-person care continuums. This is different than, say, a Teladoc or an Amwell, which in addition to providing infrastructure also have their own tech-enabled medical groups, which can sometimes be viewed as competitive to their customers. The global nature of UpHealth is another differentiator, particularly in how it hopes to ultimately make it possible for highly specialized care from the US to be “exported” to countries abroad AND for lower cost care for lower acuity issues to be “imported” in. With $190M in revenue projected for 2021 – and that’s NOT dependent on integrating the six companies – we talk through areas for potential growth, that aforementioned competitive landscape, and whether or not UpHealth is feeling the pressure to hurry their integration.
Apparently, self-insured employers hot on better managing their healthcare spend are finding truth (and dollars) in Embold Health’s mantra that “quality is the best, most sustainable way to control costs.” This health tech startup is applying the old “Centers of Excellence” framework to the individual physician level; helping identify high-performing primary care docs and specialists in local markets for employers who not only want to offer their employees better quality care, but also improve the healthcare system in the communities in which they live and work.
Daniel Stein, Embold Health’s co-Founder & CEO, explains the company’s model, which is being perfected with one of the most demanding-yet-coveted “health activist” employers out there: Walmart. In this particular case, Walmart is actually incentivizing its employees to go to the providers ranked highest by Embold’s assessment, which looks at physician performance along three categories: 1) appropriateness of care; 2) outcomes; and 3) cost-effective compared to peers in-market. Backed by the robust national BlueCross BlueShield dataset, the information Embold Health is collecting, analyzing, and doling out to employers can definitely cause some health systems to take pause — and their docs to bristle. So, how does Embold Health diffuse potential blowback? Here’s where the competitive nature of local healthcare, particularly in the world of primary care, becomes clutch. Tune in to hear the details, including some very interesting stats, as well as Embold’s latest endeavors to help docs make better referrals to specialists.