Vida Health launches service for prescribing and managing medications

Steven Loeb · May 10, 2022 · Short URL:

The company will create personalized prescription plans that adapt to each member’s needs

Vida Health takes a holistic approach to healthcare, operating on the idea that mental and physical ailments are not separate issues, but rather intertwined. That includes chronic diseases all along the spectrum, from low acuity cases to high acuity conditions, such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, as well as mental health problems, such as depression. 

Now, the company is taking the next step: on Tuesday, it announced the launch of a new medical prescribing service, which will allow its patients to easily get the medications they need to manage their conditions. 

This made sense as the next step for Vida due to the higher acuity patients on the platform who need these types of interventions, Stephanie Tilenius, founder and CEO of Vida Health, said in an interview.

"We have people who have an A1C over 12 or 13 and then we end up taking them to 6. So, there's diabetes, and there's mental health where we want to prescribe SNRIs. Some people do well with medication, and we’re continuing to offer coaching and therapy and all the other services we provide," she said.

"We wanted to make sure that we were handling the higher acuity individuals. So, medical prescribing is just a logical extension of what we're doing."

Founded in 2014, Vida Health provides a collaborative care model that provides access to practitioners including coaches, licensed therapists, registered dietitians, diabetes educators and personal trainers who help members with chronic disease management. The platform also has over 30 health trackers and integrates with over 100 apps and devices, including scales, heart rate monitors, blood pressure cuffs, activity trackers and glucometers, which it can ship directly to employees or members. 

In the mental health space, Vida offers evidence-based programs, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness, for problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, and resilience. It also provides 24/7 access to therapists through text, audio and video. 

Through the new prescription service, Vida be able to will find out right away, through surveys and assessments, if someone needs a prescription; if so, Vida will bring a medical prescriber as part of the care team, who will create a personalized prescription plan that adapts to each member’s needs. The patient will be able to pick it their medication at their local pharmacy, or have it delivered to their home, if they prefer.

Most importantly, Vida isn't just giving the patient a medication and then leaving them to figure it out on their own; rather, it will help and guide them throughout their prescription journey, starting with a synchronous care visit.

"We’re very careful about making sure that you really are mapping to what you need. We're not doing a text and then quickly prescribing, like some of the competition out there; we're doing a full synchronous video visit, we're doing an assessment. We figure out if you need a prescription, we then do a checkpoint with the prescribing provider. There's also content and a digital therapeutic intervention along the way," said Tilenius.

"We're helping patients and mapping exactly what they have to do and then checking in on them with text and synchronous and asynchronous care."

Unlike a company like Hims & Hers or Ro, which are direct-to-consumer companies that are solely focused on prescribing medications, Vida is providing an intervention that bundles behavior change and prescribing together in order to get better clinical outcomes, she explained. It also isn't prescribing drugs like Adderall and Xanax, which have gotten Cerebral in trouble with both the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice.

"We're not doing that; we're doing drugs that make sense. We're staying away from those drugs, so we don't have any risk of being investigated by the DEA," Tilenius said. 

Since raising its $110 million round of funding last year, Vida added Dr. Patrick Carroll as its new Chief Medical Officer, launched a small business offering, and saw an 8,000% increase in therapy and growth in diabetes.

With its prescription service, Vida will now be able to get closer to its ultimate goal of being able to manage chronic care in a continuous, ongoing manner.

"You'll use an app, you'll have connection to a provider, you'll be able to really know how you're doing on a day-to-day basis, on an hour-by-hour basis. And you'll bundle behavior change with prescribing so we'll be able to handle high acuity and low acuity. Prescribing is enabling us to handle the higher acuity folks and expand into more patients," said Tilenius.  

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