Included Health, Solv team up to connect virtual care to same-day medical office visits

Virtual care boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic when many doctors' offices had to close their doors to in-patient visits. More than two years later, many patients see telehealth as just another option to get care, and often more convenient as it can be done from their living rooms.

But many medical services, like an EKG or mammogram, require a visit to a doctor's office or urgent care center. As it stands now, patients often have to figure out that next step on their own.

Virtual care and health navigation company Included Health is teaming up with Solv to build what's often referred to as that "last mile" in digital health to connect virtual care to in-person medical visits.

The two companies plan to work together to connect virtual care to same-day, in-person medical visits. The partnership builds on Solv’s national network of in-person urgent care providers and speaks to a larger trend and focus on integration in the digital health space. 

"We're super proud to announce this partnership which we think is one-of-a-kind which allows people to take an amazing virtual care and navigation experience, like what we do at Included Health, and connect seamlessly to all the amazing providers, groups and capabilities that Solv enables around the country, so operating at real national scale to drive a connected, world-class, primary care and care experience overall," Owen Tripp, Included Health CEO, said in an exclusive interview about the partnership.

In the past few years, healthcare players have focused on building "digital front doors" that provide access to care. But, according to Tripp, many of those "doors" lead to dead-ends with no real connection to a complete health journey.

Tripp and Solv founder and CEO Heather Fernandez both came into healthcare from consumer technology. Tripp was the co-founder and then chief operating officer at, an online reputation management and customer experience management company. Fernandez founded Solv after experiencing firsthand the way a simpler, more transparent consumer experience transformed the real estate industry. She came to healthcare with more than a decade of experience in leading consumer-focused startups.

"The notion of a digital front door that leads to nowhere does not work for us. We're interested in connectivity. We're interested in complete experiences. We're interested in convenience, but not convenience that just drives more transactions," Tripp said.

Solv developed an on-demand care platform connecting patients to a national network of providers, with same-day appointment availability for in-person and virtual visits. More than 51 million health appointments have been booked through Solv, according to the company.

The company compares itself to other industry marketplaces that connect drivers and passengers in transportation, buyers and sellers in real estate, and restaurants and diners in food. Solv connects patients and providers in healthcare, according to company executives.

Solv boasts that 150 million Americans today are within five miles of a bookable, same-day appointment through its platform.

In 2021, telehealth company Doctor On Demand merged with Grand Rounds, a virtual medical second opinion service, and then the combined entity expanded again when it acquired Included Health to expand care for LGBTQ communities. The company has since rebranded as Included Health.

Included Health's services are now used by more than 10 million employees and their families and the company works with more than 130 employers. The company offers its members care guidance, advocacy, and access to personalized virtual and in-person care for urgent care, primary care, behavioral health and specialty care.

Together, the companies will work to add Solv's national network of care providers to the Included Health member experience. As part of that proposed service expansion, Included Health’s care team would be able to schedule local urgent care visits or facilitate the next step of a virtual primary care appointment for its members. The idea is to help providers and patients access the appropriate next steps of care without friction or confusion, the executives said.

To help power this partnership, Solv is launching technology to bridge the gap from online navigation and virtual care to in-person, local medical care across the country. Called the Solv Final Mile Network, the service is built on Solv’s proprietary APIs (application programming interfaces) and tools that link virtual and online care to in-person care through Solv’s national network of urgent care centers.

Included Health will be a Solv Final Mile partner at launch.

The integration between the two companies will help to make connected "hybrid care" a reality, the executives said.

This type of coordination is key to fully supporting people when specific, episodic, in-person care is necessary — for a vaccination, imaging test, pap smear, electrocardiogram, or more emergent or higher acuity needs, according to Tripp.

"Allowing a member to have that same-day connectivity to care and to be able to do that through the push of a button, that's incredible and a first-of-its-kind," he said.

While the volume of telehealth visits, after spiking during the COVID-19 pandemic, has declined since its peak, millions of consumers still want access to telehealth, especially for behavioral health services. Physicians also are interested in expanding telehealth as 93% of doctors say digital health is an advantage for patient care, up from 85% in 2016, according to a report by the American Medical Association.

"Very few people that I have met believe that virtual primary care alone or digital care alone is sufficient for the population. What we need is a hybrid connection and one that is multi-modal, starting digitally, connecting in person and sometimes the reverse," Fernandez said in an interview. "A partnership between the two companies enables a best-in-class navigator and connected experience of care with Included Health to connect to the largest national network of same-day care to complete those care journeys."

But one major roadblock is connecting patients to in-person visits when a virtual provider decides a trip to the lab or any other “hands on the patient” services are necessary - which happens in 5% to 15% of virtual care visits, according to data collected by Solv. 

That transition between virtual to in-person care is often disjointed and full of friction for both patients and providers.

If a telehealth provider recommends that a person needs a test or exam that requires an in-person visit, often, that patient "either goes to the ER, calls their provider or does nothing," Fernandez said.

"And frankly, we don't know what happens. With this partnership, that provider can say, 'Hey, we're going to book you an appointment at 10:30 today to go and get an EKG' and complete that care journey with the knowledge that the patient actually went," she noted.

Solv's Final Mile API technology will help make the connection between virtual and in-person more seamless. Digital-first healthcare providers will be able to connect their patients with the next step in the care journey, according to Fernandez.

Healthcare navigators, who help direct patients to the most appropriate provider, are used by employers to offer health-related benefits and services to their workers. Access to thousands of local providers with same-day appointments across the nation could take years to build and manage with huge resource requirements and financial burdens. Solv Final Mile helps to eliminate those hurdles, Fernandez said.

Speaking about the partnership with Included Health, she noted, "They're incredibly innovative and, frankly, willing to do really interesting partnerships to deliver on this healthcare future that people have been talking about for so long. It's a real complement to the business we were already building, unlocking this national in-person network for this virtual-first experience."