Walmart is looking to scale its healthcare business in a brand-new way: setting its sights on self-insured employers. Today the retail giant announced a go-to-market partnership with Transcarent that will make its “everyday low price” prescription drugs and healthcare services available to self-insured employers for the very first time. Transcarent’s Executive Chairman & CEO Glen Tullman drops in to give us the inside story on the deal with Walmart, what it means for the industry, and how it could once-and-for-all ignite the ‘disruption of the payer’ that we’ve been waiting for since JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway, and Amazon came together to found Haven.
Transcarent and Glen are hell-bent on re-making the healthcare payment model by eliminating as many middlemen as possible, reshaping the health and care experience along the way. So, what does this partnership with Walmart mean for that mission and for Transcarent? Is this “THE Deal” we’ll look back on as the one that catapulted Transcarent into a new phase of growth? Remember when Glen’s last company, Livongo, shot into the stratosphere after its deal with CVS Health? I ask Glen if he’s running the same play in a much bigger game and finally concede: Transcarent is NOT a healthcare navigator!
The Teladoc Health-Livongo merger continues to expand Teladoc Health’s virtual care capabilities — this time in mental health. Dr. Julia Hoffman, Head of Mental Health Strategy for Teladoc Health, gives us the inside story on the launch of myStrength Complete, the souped-up, next-gen version of the digital mental health app that Livongo acquired in 2019 and integrated into its “AI-plus-AI whole person health” platform. So, what’s new now that all this is part of Teladoc? Think full-service mental health care, akin to what you might find in a digital mental health point solution, but with more providers… sitting on top of a gold-standard telehealth and remote monitoring infrastructure… and ready-to-move on an outsized opportunity for integration into Teladoc’s virtual primary care offering, Livongo for Diabetes, Livongo for Hypertension, and so on.
myStength Complete is now more than just a smart, cognitive behavioral therapy app; it’s the entry point into an entire mental health care continuum of services. Teladoc Health’s physicians stand ready for telehealth consults alongside a robust portfolio of coaching and self-service mental health care programs that are bolstered by the data-driven “health nudges” made famous by Livongo’s ever-improving AI-AI engine. Looking forward, the data integration strategy has a lot of potential to do a lot of good. Julia talks about how her team is already leveraging learnings from the Livongo products into a better intake process for members, helping them more quickly, easily, and accurately find the type of care they need. This is no small feat, especially when we find out that Teladoc Health consumer survey data shows that about 60% of people seeking mental health care say they have no idea where to start, or what their diagnosis would be. We get into all those survey findings (a little gold mine for those interested in consumer sentiment and digital mental health) and a full “under-the-hood” poking around of myStrength Complete in advance of its July roll-out to employers. This interview is one to watch now for the full details on how Teladoc Health is pushing further into virtual mental health care.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we have some hot gossip re: Glen Tullman starting his own SPAC. On Episode 161, Jess and I discuss Bind Benefits raising $105 million, BridgeHealth merging with Transcarent and raising $40 million in a Series A, and Loyal raising $12.5 million in a Series A. Jess also asks for my take on a slew of new partnerships between Lyra and Calm, Cigna and MDLive, and Doctor on Demand and CareLinx.—Matthew Holt
On Episode 144 of Health in 2 Point 00, Matthew has gingerly emerged from his office and gone into a Magical Forest! Jess asks me about Healthline media acquiring PsychCentral, the first-ever online psychiatry support group and I explain the history of how it has been passed around from Corporates to PE firms, Bridge Connector getting 25.5M for its interoperability platform, Cecelia Health raising $13M for its chronic condition management service, and Reify closing $30M to help pharma companies run clinical trials from home. Also, we had our first book club discussion with authors Hemant Teneja (VC at General Catalyst) & Stephen Klasko (CEO at Jefferson Health System) on their book “UnHealthcare: A Manifesto for Health Assurance”. Glen Tullman also made a special guest appearance during the discussion. The episode will be released soon! – Matthew Holt
On Episode 143 of Health in 2 Point 00, we have all the alphabets in the raising series represented ;)! Jess asks me about Lumeon raising a $30M Series D for their care orchestration centers, Nurx raising a $22M Series C to develop out its online pharmacy presence, Thirty Madison getting $47M and Johnson & Johnson is an investor this round, Bodyport closing an $11.2 M Series A for their weighing scale platform that can detect early cardiovascular disease, and Kumanu raising a $3M Series A to grow out its platform that helps people figure out their lives’ purpose.
Be sure to check out our talk from the 7 competitor CEOs to Teledoc & Livongo who weigh in about the $19B merger. If you want to join our book club, we are reading UnHealthcare: A Manifesto for Health Assurance, which is a how-to for creating a platform for a revolutionary future for healthcare, by Hemant Teneja (VC at General Catalyst) and Stephen Klasko (CEO at Jefferson Health System). We will have a video on our discussion with the authors which will be published on the 3rd Wednesday of every month! —Matthew Holt
Six competitor CEOs and one ex-CMO discuss the biggest-ever digital health merger
By JESS DAMASSA & MATTHEW HOLT
It was the news that stunned the world of health tech. And us! So we had seven of Teladoc and Livongo’s biggest competitors weigh-in on what the merger means for telehealth, digital health, the future of health care delivery–and their businesses! You’ll hear from the CEOs of Omada, Ginger, One Drop, Vida, Lark & Cloudbreak, with some spicy commentary from Lyle Berkowitz who was, until recently, CMO at MD Live. From reaction to the merger to speculation about how this will impact the future of digital health funding, fasten your seat belts for some impactful and fun infotainment about all the implications of the deal.
Today, a special Health in 2 Point 00. Jessica DaMassa asks me about the biggest news in public digital health companies ever: this morning’s merger of Teladoc and Livongo. We discuss the deal, the implications for digital health, what’s next for Continuous Clinics, whether our T-Shirts will become a collectors item, and of course what about our book club on August 19! —Matthew Holt
Even before Covid19, virtual care for chronic conditions was a hot and competitive area, with the heat turned up by Livongo Health’s IPO last year and big funding rounds for companies like Omada Health, Virta Health, and One Drop. Another contender in the space, Vida Health, has been best known for taking a “platform” approach to chronic condition management before “platforming out” became the-move-to-make for scaling health tech companies. Their digital health biz actually started out with a “whole health approach” to helping patients manage all their conditions at once, integrating care for diabetes, hypertension, COPD, high cholesterol, mental health conditions, and more from the get-go. Contrast that to some of their biggest competitors, who have adapted to that approach by adding on treatments for co-morbidities as their core businesses evolved.
Is there a benefit to starting out with a holistic care model that those who build it along the way can’t capture? We caught up with Vida Health’s founder & CEO, Stephanie Tilenius, to find out what advantage starting out as a platform play has brought to her business, which just closed a $25M funding round in April and is now available to more than 1.5 million people through employers and health plans.
How will the company scale from here? How will they remain competitive in such a crowded space? Stephanie talks through some of Vida Health’s post-pandemic plans AND how lessons learned from her “previous life” as an exec in Big Tech during that industry’s growth era of the 2000s & 2010s has shaped her thinking about the uptake of technology in healthcare. Not only did Stephanie work at eBay, PayPal, and Google during the birth of the online payment era, BUT she also helped take an online pharmacy company (Planet Rx) public during the dotcom boom.
Health tech deals are just back to back this week! On Episode 139 of Health In 2 Point 00, Jess asks me about Withings getting $60M in a new round to develop their connected devices & apps products, Neurovalens raising €5.5M to grow their headset technology that helps with obesity, insomnia, diabetes, & more, Pocket Health raising $6.5M to build out their image sharing platform within in EHRs, and Sidecar Health raises $20M for their price transparency direct pay option. I also talks about Livongo’s new DPP program which provides users with diet tips & coaching sessions to offset diabetes in high-risk populations —Matthew Holt
Matthew Holt and Jessica DaMassa gave a talk at the “Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech Conference” on June 17, 2020. They spoke about how technology is evolving the mental health space, along with their thoughts on where the future of the industry is headed.
Jess & Matthew first start off with their “Health in 2 Point 00” segment, discussing all of the funding deals in the mental health space, from Headspace to Mindstrong raising money in Q1, to Kaiser rolling out MyStrength to its members.
Then they jump into a deeper dive segment, where they discuss how the money is being distributed in the mental health space, and how startups are coming up with creative solutions to package their services. Some mental health companies are wrapping solutions into other digital health platforms that already manage chronic conditions, like Livongo & Omada, others are working to directly address and treat mental health issues, and some are developing digital therapeutic solutions to manage mental health problems. As this part of the industry grows, Matthew & Jess predict how the mental health tech space will change & develop with increasing demand, more investments, and a lot more innovative tools to serve the population’s needs.
Zoya Khan is the EIC of The Health Care Blog & a Strategy Manager at SMACK.health
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