Health care’s innovation challenges are expanding. Whether it’s increasing access, making care more affordable, finding more diverse candidates for leadership roles or developing ways to schedule staff more efficiently and effectively, entrepreneurs from inside and outside the field are building solutions.
At the recent AHA Leadership Summit, attendees got an inside look at six startups at the forefront of transforming health care. The companies shared their novel approaches to addressing some of the field’s most complex and pressing challenges and their strategies were probed by a panel of experts, including Anuradhika Anuradhika, system vice president, strategic partnerships with CommonSpirit Health; Hank Capps, M.D., executive vice president of Wellstar Health System; and Dipa Mehta, system vice president, corporate development and ventures, Advocate Aurora Enterprises.
Here’s a snapshot of each company and its value proposition.
Focusing on increasing access to reproductive and sexual health for underserved communities, the company’s goal is to provide longitudinal care from contraception, perinatal to menopause through telemedicine, medication delivery and ongoing care. Twentyeight Health has a proprietary network of Medicaid-registered physicians who serve patient needs in primary care deserts, including rural areas, said Amy Fan, the company’s co-founder and president. The company delivers prescriptions to patients’ homes to improve medication adherence, offers educational resources to help women advocate for their own care and provides ongoing care to help triage and monitor complex pregnancies.
In a time of great change on reproductive rights and access to care, this platform ties together educational resources, virtual care and other services for those most in need.
Health care’s new normal has resulted in a disrupted workforce that includes unprecedented clinical labor shortages, extended levels of staff turnover and vacancies and significantly inflated labor costs. Flexwise is helping organizations to restore workforce balance among core staff, flexible staffing and traveling caregivers. The company’s intelligent workforce platform and forecasting algorithms help organizations optimize workforce planning, staffing and scheduling while providing on-demand access to resource pools across health systems, said Kevin Godsey, CEO.
Addressing arguably health care’s greatest challenge — optimizing the clinical workforce — this resource offers a data-driven approach to help leaders build core staff schedules and plug in flexible resources when and where they’re needed.
The company offers a career acceleration and talent-sourcing platform for underrepresented leaders in health care and life sciences. It recently raised $6 million in series A funding from Jumpstart Nova, a firm in which the AHA has invested, with follow-up participation from Deerfield Management. The company is committed to including greater representation of females, Blacks, Indigenous people, and people of color in leadership and aims to drive more inclusive and equitable institutional priorities, said Ronald Mitchell, CEO and co-founder. The Humanity Talent Network is a private membership community for senior health care leaders who are women and/or people of color and provides resources to help leaders prepare for their next career moves, navigate new career opportunities and flourish not only in current roles but also in recent career transitions.
This platform addresses many critical factors required to increase C-suite diversity while providing needed resources to help build the pipeline of aspiring future health care leaders.
Addressing the ubiquitous problem of how to increase access to behavioral health services, the company helps health systems provide the care their communities need. Iris employs 300 psychiatrists, licensed social workers and other professionals to support hospitals and health systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers and community mental health centers, noted Dan Ferris, chief marketing officer. Currently, the company helps hospitals and health systems in providing ambulatory and acute care services, including consulting for emergency departments. This year Iris is piloting referral services and next year plans to launch payer-provider programs such as seven- and 30-day patient follow-ups.
With the company’s build-out vision, this telehealth platform can help hospitals and health systems provide greater access to behavioral health services.
The company’s multiexperience platform consolidates fragmented data and provides a centralized user interface and machine-enabled toolkit to shepherd patients efficiently through their care and improve their experience. Loyal Health raised $12.5 million in Series A funding late in 2020 in a round led by Concord Health Partners, which partnered with the AHA Innovation Development Fund. Loyal’s online directories help patients research the right kinds of care, schedule appointments, stay informed, prepare for their appointments and receive billing support and other services after their appointments, explained Brian Gresh, president.
Many patients continue to have difficulty navigating the health care system. This platform provides tools to help create a better patient experience.
Determined to improve the cardiac rehabilitation system, the company has created a virtual rehab program accessible through a mobile app. The company’s Movn app provides real-time exercise tracking, reminders, electrocardiogram monitoring, mindfulness and breathing exercises to help patients with their rehab. The program has been used by thousands of patients to improve their cardiovascular health, avoid second heart attacks and improve their quality of life, said Ade Adesanya, president and co-founder.
With a national provider network and a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, nurses, nutritionists and exercise physiologists, this organization holds promise for reshaping care delivery and helping patients adopt healthier lifestyles.