In the ‘point solution versus platform’ debate, mark another score for integration as Vida Health jumps into the musculoskeletal (MSK) care space. This is a move we’ve seen before among the digital health chronic condition management set (remember when Omada acquired Physera, Dario Health acquired Upright, and everyone was waiting to see if Livongo would make a play for Sword or Hinge?) so why is Vida just jumping in now?
Dr. Patrick Carroll, Vida Health’s Chief Medical Officer, lets us in on the strategy behind the startup’s move into the MSK space and what it signals about how employers (and their employees) are starting to view digital health and virtual care within the larger scope of available care options out there.
As for Vida’s MSK program, it’s different than what you might expect. According to Pat, the program is strictly focused on lower back pain and helping members quickly find the physical therapy and, if needed, mental health care that can make a real difference to their overall health in a manner of weeks. If something more complex is discovered, Pat says Vida is working with partners – including those digital-first MSK clinics – to refer out. Is this the long-term play or will Vida eventually build out or buy its way further into MSK? We find out what’s ahead for the cardiometabolic care company as it launches yet another new offering to improve access to care.
Big news coming out of Vida Health today as the chronic condition care startup announces that it will now be able to prescribe meds, med devices, lab tests, and more to its members. This puts Vida Health among the first of the digital health chronic care companies to evolve its offerings beyond apps-and-coaching, leading on this trend to take digital health chronic care into a more full expression of virtual care.
Vida Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Patrick Carroll, introduces us to the new offering which he tipped us off about when we met him a few months ago, new to his role at Vida and coming in hot from Hims & Hers where he built similar services as he took that company public as CMO.
The new prescribing services will cover both sides of Vida Health’s integrated model: mental health and cardiometabolic health, but in different ways. On the mental health side, Pat says members will be able to receive prescription meds for anxiety and depression ONLY at this time; on the cardiometabolic side, members working with Vida Health will NOT be able to get prescription drugs to help with diabetes or heart health, but would instead be able to get continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) prescribed, specialized diets, and labs, like A1C testing, that require a script.
Do these prescribing services begin to turn Vida Health into a primary care provider? If not, how do these new prescribing and medication management roles integrate with whatever other primary care offering is in place through a member’s plan or employer without adding cost or confusion to the patient experience? We talk through the evolution of both care model and business model as Vida Health adds another layer to its full-stack chronic condition management platform.
Vida Health’s new Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Patrick Carroll is bringing a very unique expertise to the chronic condition management startup’s C-suite: pharmacy. Pat just left virtual pharmacy co, Hims & Hers, where he helped take the company public as CMO after building-out their virtual primary care practice. Before that, he was CMO at Walgreens…
We get to know Pat – brand-new in his role as Vida Health’s first-ever CMO – and catch glimpses of how his years of experience as a primary care doc and executive leader at leading consumer-focused pharmacy businesses will likely be shaping Vida’s future delivering care to poly-chronic patients.
Vida Health’s current approach to diabetes management and mental health care has stood apart for being fully-integrated from the get-go, tackling the mind-body connection through digitally-based coaching and counseling. While Pat acknowledges that this approach has thus far yielded “remarkable outcomes,” he definitely seems interested in finding out if those outcomes could be even better if a virtual prescriber group were involved as well.
Will this be a partnership with a medical group? Or something Pat sees Vida Health building out itself to fully support its 100% at-risk-on-outcomes model? A compelling set of questions, particularly when you consider Vida Health’s investor-and-client relationship with the largest managed Medicaid plan in the U.S. (Centene participated in their $110 million Series D round in May 2021), the prevalence of complex diabetes cases (30% are multi-chronic), and the interesting data point Pat shares about Vida’s ability to get more people to see their primary care docs, increasing PCP visit rates by 10%. Interesting opportunity for Vida Health to further compete with Teladoc-Livongo and other virtual-first primary care providers aiming to deliver on the chronic condition care spectrum.
To hear Vida Health’s CEO Stephanie Tilenius talk about what she’s hearing from payers, providers, and employers about at-risk value-based models, the shift to virtual care, and the growing importance of mental health services as a culture-builder for businesses forced into a part-virtual-part-in-office world, you get a sense of how her past work leading the various payments and commerce businesses of Google, eBay, and PayPal probably comes in handy. For example, the shift to virtual care, she says, is, “like the Internet in 1999…It’s happening.”
We get an update on exactly how Vida Health is making it happen themselves, and how they expect their newly expanded at-risk model will help. Vida’s always been fees-at-risk on physical outcomes related to diabetes management, hypertension, etc. BUT the mental health side of their offering (which experienced 6000% growth year-over-year during the pandemic) is now at-risk on outcomes too. With so much happening across the industry to move to value-based models, we deep-dive with Stephanie to hear what she’s hearing from her clients, including client-and-investor Centene and hear about growth in the employer market where she sees a major shift in how employers are thinking about healthcare as the new sexy job perk. “Instead of snacks or transportation or other benefits,” says Stephanie. “It’s all about healthcare.”
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, I am over the moon excited about Chelsea’s Champion’s League semi-final win. But on Episode 204, we have some big deals to cover too. First, Vida Health gets $110 million in a Series D bringing their total to $188 million. Next, R1 RCM acquires VisitPay for $300 million, integrating patient financial engagement into their revenue cycle management offerings. It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and mental health startup Headway raises $70 million – do they have a chance in that crowded space? Finally, Neuroelectrics gets $17.5 million for their neurostimulation cap helping with epilepsy and depression.—Matthew Holt
It’s another mega-round for a digital health chronic condition management startup, as Vida Health closes its $110M Series D – AND adds a pair of big-name insurers to their cap table. Vida’s Founder & CEO, Stephanie Tilenius, gets into the good news about the funding round, which was led by growth equity fund, General Atlantic, and brought managed care giant Centene (a Vida customer) and multinational insurer AXA into the mix.
Beyond the funding – and the extra “insurance side” endorsement it gives to the virtual chronic condition care space – what’s interesting about Vida now is how its “whole person” approach, which integrates physical health care and mental health care, is very much tilting to mental health these days.
While overall revenue has tripled since last year, Stephanie talks about how the 6000% year-over-year growth for her mental health services has played into that rise, and how the new funding will be used to further expand those offerings.
Does this mean we need to start naming Vida as a competitor to digital mental health companies like Ginger, Modern Health, and Talkspace? And, how does this impact their positioning among the field of other health tech chronic care co’s? For those who may have forgotten, Vida went out the gate with a platform that was designed to treat both the mental-and-physical aspects of chronic disease, while others like Omada and Livongo-now-Teladoc acquired-and-integrated behavioral health providers to augment their physical-first offerings and satisfy customer demands. Will it now prove easier for Vida to scale-up and scale-out, having been built for both “mind and body” from the very beginning? Stephanie’s got her opinion, big plans, and now a treasury to rival those key competitors across both fields of care. Tune in for all the details!
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.
Today on Episode 122 of Health in 2 Point 00, Jess asks me about LetsGetChecked raising $71M for at-home testing, Vida Health raising $25M for virtual chronic-conditions-management programs, Medable securing $25M for clinical trials, and Livongo publishing their Q1 earnings report (and their stock rising 10% days before the report was released!). I am excited to see their CFO, Lee Shapiro, go on a buying spree in the space now — Matthew Holt
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