DENVER, Colo. – Consumer-facing health innovations like on-demand telemedicine services and home blood-testing kits have the potential to significantly reduce healthcare spending for payers, providers, and patients. In an attempt to accelerate the adoption of these innovations, BachHealth has been holding summits around the nation to introduce them to insurance brokers and benefits managers.
“We’re focused on helping employers and the brokers who work with them identify new ways of accessing and purchasing healthcare,” explained Tricia Schumann, the CEO of BachHealth, “especially now that they’re transferring more financial risk to their employees in the form of HSAs and high-deductible plans.”
At an Oct. 3rd BachHealth Summit in Denver, Colorado, attendees heard presentations from a range of consumer-facing health-tech companies, including 23andMe and HealthiestYou. Two members of the Colorado digital health ecosystem, DispatchHealth and Orderly Health, also had the opportunity to present their innovations to attendees during a panel on healthcare consumerism.
“DispatchHealth is an on-site acute care provider,” said Jeff Messer, the VP of market development at DispatchHealth. “The easiest way to understand what we do is to think of us as a mobile ER. We can bring 40-60% of what is done in an ER to your home or workplace for about a tenth of what it will cost you there.”
According to Messer, DispatchHealth can treat patients for a range of ailments – from fevers and coughs, to sprains and fractures – in the comfort of their homes. Since its launch three years ago, the company has kept hundreds of patients out of the ER, saving the healthcare system millions of dollars in the process.
(Read the CyberMed News profile of DispatchHealth here.)
“We provide a smart text-messaging platform that allows self-insured employers to save time and money by directing their employees to the lowest cost health services,” said Kevin Krauth, the CEO of Orderly Health. “Employers spend a lot of money providing their employees with great benefits. But these benefits often go unused because employees don’t know about them. We solve that problem.”
By texting questions to Orderly Health, employees can immediately receive information about what their health plans cover, where they can find affordable medical services, and what discounts exist for specific treatments and medications. Krauth views Orderly Health as a platform because it directs its users to a variety of innovative, consumer-facing health services that they might not have known existed.
(Read more about Orderly Health’s chatbot technology here.)
Yet for all of the advantages of using their innovations, both Messer and Krauth admitted that without the help of benefits managers and insurance brokers, making consumers aware of them was going to be a long and difficult process.
“How many of you knew that you could use DispatchHealth today and spend 10% of what you would spend at an ER for the same services,” asked Messer. “We need employers to help us get the word out. We need them to contract with a company like Orderly Health to provide the mechanisms for their employees to get access to the benefits they already have and start utilizing those cost savings.”
“Without employers driving this change, what happens is inertia,” agreed Krauth. “They’re the ones who are deciding what benefits you have as consumers, and that leaves you with very few choices unless your employers are pushing for them.”