Cost savings are not the only metric employers consider when choosing digital health solutions. Ellen Kelsey, CEO of employer-focused non-profit advocacy organization Business Group on Health, said large employers in her organization are looking for digital health solutions that can be integrated with each other and with traditional health care providers.
“Many of these virtual health solutions were offered as one-time use,” Kelsey said. “This is a thoughtful and compelling one-time solution, but there will be no sustainability unless these systems are integrated more holistically.”
Companies that sell goods to employers have noticed a shift in priorities. At the JP Morgan Healthcare conference earlier this month, Teladoc Health CEO Jason Gorevich has been advancing the company’s telemedicine efforts for the whole person, including primary care, mental health and specialist visits. The company recently put all of its virtual health offerings into one app.
“There are many virtual care companies that are narrower in focus, smaller in scale and pinch the boundaries of individual [software] solutions,” Gorevich said.
The phrase “point solution”, an industry term for software products focused on only one area of healthcare, has become a derision among investors, buyers, and other digital healthcare companies. According to Donald Trigg, CEO of medical navigation company Apree Health, which formed when Castlight Health and Vera Whole Health have teamed up.
“There are some macro tailwinds in terms of cost, and because of COVID, there is an appetite to offer an integrated solution, as opposed to the blizzard of pinpoint solutions that we have seen over the past few years,” Trigg said.
Omada Health, a digital chronic care company, has begun selling to healthcare systems, including partnership with Intermountain announced earlier this month. Sean Duffy, CEO of Omada Health, said employers are starting to get tired of too many digital healthcare solutions.
“We’re seeing more RFPs where employers are saying, ‘I just need to consolidate my point solutions,'” Duffy said.
Experts say some companies in this space may be looking for potential M&A partners. At the very least, companies need to better understand what employers are looking for in digital health solutions.
“The more they can prove over time that they have truly improved patient care and outcomes, that will bode well for their market sustainability,” Kelsey said. “But many of these companies come in and talk about the merits of their solution in a vacuum. They don’t pay attention to what success will look like for the patient and the employer.”
This story first appeared in Business and digital health technologies.