I first met Andrey Ostrovsky a few years ago when we were both presenting at a conference. I was impressed with his background (practicing pediatrician at Harvard) and his passion (preventing avoidable hospital admissions). His startup, Care at Hand (CAH), was just acquired by Mindoula, a technology-enabled case management company headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, that provides 24/7 virtual and in-person support to individuals and families facing behavioral health challenges.
Care at Hand was one of the first companies in GE Ventures-sponsored class, the Startup Health incubator. Its proprietary predictive insights platform uses non-medical personnel, such as home health aides or Meals on Wheels delivery people, to collect data on medical and psychosocial risk factors from their clients they see in their homes (e.g., homebound seniors). This information has been shown to predict the risk of admission.
Lay people, like these, are trained to use the platform to ask a few simple questions relevant to the individual. An example is to inquire if the person needs more pillows than usual in order to fall asleep; if the answer is yes, this could indicate worsening heart failure. According to an interview I did with Andrey last year, about 1 in 5 to 1 in 10 answers to these questions end up triggering an alert to a case manager who can reach out and intervene, hopefully, early enough to prevent a hospital admission.
According to Mindoula’s press release,
“Unlike episodic predictive models limited to claims and EMR data, Care at Hand predicts hospitalization risk in the blind spot between doctor visits using the observations of frontline staff.”
It’s a brilliant concept, but does it work?
According to Steve Sidel, Founder & CEO of Mindoula, the company acquiring CAH:
“Care at Hand stood out from other digital health companies because of the impressive BODY OF RESEARCH validating their impact with notable studies showing $9,056 in Medicare A savings per beneficiary per year (AVALERE 2015) and a 39.6% reduction in readmissions (AHRQ 2014), among others.”
The combined company will offer integrated case management and care coordination solutions to significantly reduce hospital readmissions. Andrey says,
“The Care at Hand team is thrilled to join forces with Mindoula in a way that will allow us to extend our mission to help people thrive in their homes and avoid hospitalizations”
Andrey will remain CEO of Care at Hand and also serve as SVP of Medical Affairs at Mindoula.
Timing is everything. Let’s hear it for MACRA
Andrey told me that there are several regulatory and legislative vehicles that made CAH ripe for acquisition, including the following:
“The Affordable Care Act primed the engine for digital health innovation, but MACRA will be the ongoing fuel to make digital health selling into value-based care a mainstay of healthcare reform. Beside Medicare innovation, the growing number of states moving to managed Medicaid is replicating, albeit in a slower way, the value-based innovation of Medicare. And the growing recognition by regulators that quality measurement has to evolve is opening the door for new verticals of technology and technology-enabled services.”
Perhaps these changes and this acquisition signal the advent of Digital Health maturation?