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The company, a joint venture between K Health, Blackstone, and Anthem, formed earlier this year
Steven Loeb and Bambi Francisco speak with Brad Kirkpatrick, Chief Commercial Officer at Hydrogen Health, a company formed earlier this year by K Health, Blackstone and Anthem to increase access to primary care.
Our overall goal with these podcasts is to understand how technology is radically changing healthcare: the way we screen, treat and measure progress and outcomes. How we’re empowering the consumer. Whether we’re creating productivity that drives economic costs down? And how tech advancements change the role of the doctor.
- There is a primary care crisis right now in which large and medium sized employers find that 30 to 50% of their population doesn't have a meaningful relationship with a primary care provider, leading to higher costs.
- Hydrogen Health believes that primary care is the cornerstone in improving health and also healthcare costs, so it doesn't just focus on acute care, but also chronic and preventative care as well.
- K Health's technology powers Hydrogen Health, and K has over 5 million direct-to-consumer members in place. Anthem and Blackstone bring deep expertise, industry respect and knowledge, and financial backing and support to the company, creating a powerful combination.
- The difference between Hydrogen and Haven, a company that was also a combination of three big companies (Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathway), and which folded after only a few years, is that Hydrogen is much more focused on primary care, while Haven was too broad in its goals.
- The options in primary care have traditionally been brick and mortar, which still has long wait times, which can be weeks for a new patient; clinics that potentially have limited hours; and then traditional telemedicine, which is mostly taking the brick and mortar approach and adding an overlay to it. All are expensive and aren't designed to meet the employee and their family where they are.
- Hydrogen doesn't just solve the primary care crisis for the employee, but the company is also giving doctors personalized information about the patient so they can operate at the top of their license.
- People generally want care when they have an urgent need. There are a lot of points of care, but it's confusing for the consumer, so the answer is to put it all together in one place that's simple and easy to use, and that's available for them 24/7. That means they don't have to decide what is and isn't primary care; this gets away from the traditional primary care approach that has caused people to think they don't necessarily need it.
- The first things employees do after joining is create a medical profile, and they can pull other medical records in. They also communicate with a chatbot, which is the company's AI layer, about needs they have. If necessary, they can connect with a doctor specific to a symptom, or around their care plan that's set up with the primary care provider. They can also use the platform to get prescriptions refilled.
- Users can't select their doctor but they work with a care team because Hydrogen's belief is that the way to keep people engaged with primary care is to keep the wait times low and be as accessible as possible. Tying it to one single provider would break that model.
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