Teladoc Health is taking its primary care pilot nationwide, expanding it to commercial health plans, employers and other payers.
The telehealth giant piloted its virtual primary care program, called Primary360, in 2019 with the aim of early detection of chronic disease. The service now offers 70 distinct diagnoses such as hypertension and diabetes, Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic said during a J.P. Morgan virtual presentation in January.
Teladoc says it has signed several Fortune 1000 employers onto the new primary care service, with other large employers and health plans such as Aetna launching nationwide in early 2022.
The company is pitching Primary360 as a way to expand access to primary care in the U.S.
Teladoc's pilot programs have shown that two-thirds of members previously lacked traditional primary care and are now benefitting from longitudinal relationships with physician-led care teams.
“Primary360 has the unique power to drive the unified health care experience that consumers are demanding by removing longstanding barriers like access, cost and convenience,” said Donna Boyer, chief product officer at Teladoc Health in a statement. “Primary360 gives people greater control over their healthcare experience without losing the personal connection they seek—all from a brand that they trust.”
Through the service, members have access to a Teladoc primary care physician and a care team offering a range of services including guidance for an individual’s care, and navigation to in-person, in-network providers. Users also get a personalized care plan that includes reminders and nudges for follow-ups.
The service provides members with access to prevention and screening, which has helped members to detect earlier and treat previously undiagnosed chronic diseases, according to the company. Early results with year one members show one in four chronic conditions identified for Primary360 members have been new diagnoses of common disorders such as diabetes and hypertension.
Preliminary findings from the first year of the pilot show that more than 50% of Primary360 members take advantage of at least one other Teladoc Health service and nearly 30% use two connected services, like mental health care, urgent care, dermatology and nutrition.
Teladoc says its physicians are currently available within a week for a new patient visit as compared to the average wait time of roughly a month for a new primary care physician.
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An Annals of Family Medicine study estimated that if everyone in the United States had a primary care physician, the annual savings would top $62 billion dollars.
Primary care has become a red-hot sector as startups like Carbon Health and VillageMD try to disrupt the traditional primary care model. Tech-enabled providers like One Medical, Oak Street Health, Privia Health and Forward also are looking to shake up the $260 billion market.
Primary care was the second largest sector for venture dollars in healthcare in the first quarter of 2021, according to Rock Health. The companies listed below raised a total of $8.9 billion, including $2.6 billion in 2020, and $1.8 billion in the first half of 2021.
There are also high-profile deals in the market. Health benefits platform Accolade plans to acquire virtual primary care company PlushCare for $450 million.
And payers are jumping into the virtual primary care market as well. In January, UnitedHealthcare launched a new, virtual primary care option as part of an effort to expand access to local clinicians in its employer-sponsored plans.