Papa is a winner of FierceHealthcare's Fierce 15 awards. See our other honorees here.
Healthcare providers and payers are finally recognizing loneliness as a big health problem—and a big opportunity.
While some companies are exploring the use of technology to combat loneliness, such as voice-enabled devices like Amazon and Alexa, Andrew Parker wanted to foster face-to-face connections.
The idea was born out of a personal need in Parker's own family. Papa was initially built to support Parker's aging grandfather, who needed extra support around the home. Parker's family connected him with a local college student to help him manage his daily life and provide companionship.
Health insurers, particularly Medicare Advantage plans, see the value in what Papa is doing. Since launching in South Florida, the company has expanded to 16 states, and most major health plans, including Humana and Aetna, now cover the company's services.
In January, the company will have “several hundred thousand” members on its platform, Parker said.
The company is also exploring new business lines to offer its services through Medicaid and as an employee benefit to help family caregivers. And employee benefits provider New Benefits is working with Papa to make its services available to employees.
Fierce insights from Andrew Parker, Papa's CEO and co-founder
What is your best piece of advice for launching a healthcare company that challenges the status quo?
Healthcare requires tech and the right people. Without one the other doesn't work. You can't just slap a piece of technology on a complex problem like healthcare and expect it to work.
What is the failure you’ve learned the best lesson from?
Early on, we didn't have enough Pals to support our member growth. I had to do the visits. This taught us what it takes to provide the best experience to our older adults. Our inability to fill the visit at the time forced me to go myself. You really learn a lot when you do that.
What is one change you predict in healthcare that people wouldn’t expect?
That human connection is like medicine and improves healthcare outcomes and costs.