Hydrogen Health, a startup that emerged from a joint venture between K Health, Blackstone Growth and Anthem, has unveiled a new virtual basic care product aimed at self-insured employers and insurers.
The New York-based company is also expanding its diagnostic and management services to treat more chronic conditions. The service uses K Health’s artificial intelligence and a network of clinicians to offer remote digital care.
Currently, patients can use the service for text-based chats and video visits on urgent, chronic or pediatric diseases. Patients can also use the personalized symptom checker and self-care tools.
Today’s announcement focuses on the company’s primary care tool. It distinguishes this tool from traditional primary care providers in that it does not require appointments, is virtual, has a digital care record, and patients can access on-demand wellness checks.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, by 2033, there could be between 21,400 and 55,200 primary care physicians missing. Hydrogen Health positions its new tool as a way to cut costs and contain unnecessary doctor visits.
“Too many people unnecessarily rely on the emergency room and emergency care for things a GP could have done, resulting in wasted cost and time and sub-par experience,” said Allon Bloch, CEO and co-founder of Hydrogen Health and K health.
“Hydrogen Health puts doctors in the pockets of people 24/7 with more medical data than you can imagine to make primary care less stressful and more effective than ever.”
THE BIGGER TREND
Primary care is becoming a major focus for virtual health companies. In October, Teladoc launched Primary360, a new primary care offering available to health insurers, employers and other payers.
Hybrid care providers Carbon Health and One Medial both have their roots in primary care. They have also expanded to include chronic care and other illnesses.
Some industry insiders predict the technology will turn traditional basic services upside down. Jonathan Bush, founder of Zus and executive chairman of the virtual care company Firefly Health, said the mindset behind primary care needs to change.
“People who still say primary care and expect that kind of person who comes off work every year to get birth control and a pap smear is so much holier than you are, they are likely to lose them.”Bush told MobiHealthNews in October.
“I think someone who says don’t worry about basic services. That is care. … If I have to take someone from Dana Farber with me in this chat, I’ll get myself [them]. You don’t have to go anywhere. “