As more patients seek tech-enabled care in the palm of their hand, providers are increasingly looking to expand their slate of virtual care offerings.
Cedars-Sinai is doing just that for new and existing patients in California through a new mobile app that lets them quickly access its experts for sick, chronic and preventive care.
The app, Cedars-Sinai Connect, was developed through a new joint venture between the medical center and K Health, a digital primary care startup, first announced earlier this July. The app will make virtual care providers available around the clock for urgent issues and same-day appointments for primary care with the goal of reducing wait times for patients. All insurance types that Cedars-Sinai takes will be accepted.
“Patient care plans and visit information are integrated into the Cedars-Sinai health record, making it easy for patients to move between online and in-person care in a coordinated way, and for patients to access our broader network of specialists when needed,” Caroline Goldzweig, M.D., chief medical officer of Cedars-Sinai Medical Network, said in the announcement. “This new platform will help us expand and enhance care for patients across California.”
The new app leverages the technology developed by K Health, which has a chat function that uses AI to suggest potential diagnoses for users. Similarly, Cedars-Sinai Connect’s chat feature gathers health details and symptoms from patients to help assess their medical concerns and presents that information to a clinician for review.
This helps streamline the intake process and data entry to empower providers to focus more on patient care, the partners claim. After the guided intake, patients can choose to connect with a clinician for a video appointment.
“We’re excited to work with Cedars-Sinai, an esteemed institution that shares our vision to provide people with unfettered access to exceptional medical care around the clock,” Ran Shaul, K Health’s co-founder and chief product officer, said in the announcement. “By fusing K Health’s technology with Cedars-Sinai’s renowned care, we are advancing primary care delivery by extending essential services to a wider spectrum of people in need while alleviating physician burnout.”
Digital health is becoming an increasingly crowded market as retail companies and startups continue to enter the market. Investment in digital health startups has been cooling since its peak in 2021. Startups have reportedly raised $8.6 billion to date this year compared $10.4 billion in the first half of 2022 alone.
In 2023, digital health funding is shifting away from pandemic-era focuses of on-demand healthcare and life science R&D catalysts toward digital health products and services that support disease treatment, nonclinical workflow and management of complex conditions such as kidney disease.