Quartet picks up InnovaTel Telepsychiatry to expand its reach in the digital mental health market

A mother is talking with a mental health professional via web conference at home while her children are playing in the background.
The acquisition will combine InnovaTel's differentiated expertise in treating complex conditions along with Quartet’s technology platform, care navigation services, and data and analytics, (recep-bg/GettyImages)

Quartet Health is doubling down on its efforts to build out its capabilities with the acquisition of fellow mental health company InnovaTel Telepsychiatry.

The news follows quickly on the heels of Quartet's $60 million funding round led by Independence Health Group. Existing investors GV and Oak HC/FT also backed the investment. The company has raised $219 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

Quartet Health connects patients to mental health services that fit their clinical and insurance needs, and the addition of InnovaTel Telepsychiatry will enable the company to provide quicker access to high-quality mental health care, according to Puneet Singh, CEO of Quartet Health. 

The acquisition also marks the company's next step to advance its new strategic direction to accelerate access to mental health care and better integrate mental and physical health care.

"This builds on our future strategy and next chapter of growth based on the idea of deepening our investment in being the digital front door of care and building a network of providers to serve that demand," he said.

As a result of the acquisition, Quartet will scale to more than 30 states by the end of 2022. 

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As one of the nation's leaders in virtual psychiatric care delivery, InnovaTel has 130 clinicians on staff, 51% of whom are prescribers and 27% of whom are clinicians of color. The company connects organizations to a network of mental health clinicians including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and licensed clinical social workers.

Quartet and InnovaTel Telepsychiatry are two companies that have been "running in separate lanes" within the mental health space but share deeply rooted missions, visions and values, Singh wrote in a blog post about the acquisition, along with Patrice Harris, M.D., Quartet board member and Jonathan Evans, president and CEO of InnovaTel Telepsychiatry.

"As we both see it, quality mental health care includes timely access to care (hours and days, as opposed to weeks or months), seamless patient and clinician experiences, improved health outcomes, and lower costs," they wrote.

Studies have found that on average, patients have to wait more than three weeks to see a psychiatrist for an initial evaluation. For those in need of inpatient psychiatric care, adult patients were found to have waited in emergency rooms or boarded on non-psychiatric medical floors for an average of 53 hours. 

"At Quartet, during this time of increased demand, we've seen first hand the limitations of the system's current capacity," Singh said. "Data shows that 65% of mental health organizations have had to cancel, reschedule, or turn away patients during the pandemic. By coming together with InnovaTel, we believe we can successfully meet this increased demand with a focus on speed to quality care for all."

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The acquisition will combine InnovaTel's differentiated expertise in treating complex conditions along with Quartet’s technology platform, care navigation services, and data and analytics, Singh said.

InnovaTel's model of working with community mental health centers to get patients in-network mental health care has improved the capacity to treat patients with mental health needs by anywhere from five to 10 times. More than 50% of the patients InnovaTel serves have a serious mental illness.

"As a longtime clinician and provider of care, I know first-hand the systemic challenges that people face every day across our country when they need to quickly access mental health care," said Evans, who is also a clinical psychologist. "Quartet's sophisticated data and analytics and technology infrastructure will provide the framework for InnovaTel to scale quickly to communities nationwide, with a continued focus on those with the most complex needs."

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Quartet plans to develop market-leading care delivery capabilities to complement its existing ecosystem of high-performing clinicians who practice in-network on behalf of health insurance plans. InnovaTel will also expand its reach to serve members of health plans and systems nationwide through this partnership. Over time, the two companies will expand their virtual care delivery capabilities, with an initial focus on providing timely and high-quality access to care for those with a serious mental illness

Capital infusion to build out data analytics, tech capabilities

Quartet uses data analytics capabilities that support the identification and engagement of patients with mental health conditions. More than 300,000 patients have been referred to Quartet since 2016, 80% of whom have come from primary care. Proprietary algorithms like SmartMatch technology, along with care navigation services that can provide more personalized support where needed, then allow for the most optimal patient and provider match quickly, according to the company.

With the $60 million in fresh capital, Singh plans to build out its clinical network by partnering with clinical providers and investing in its medical group.

The number of U.S. adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. "All data suggests that the demand for mental health care is going up and there is only so much supply," Singh said.

"Our company has deep bones in tech and data so we will continue to invest in tech and data. We know that even if we have great clinicians, if they are not armed with the right tools and data, it's hard to have an impact," he said.