A family physician by practice and training, Patrick Carroll, M.D., understands the challenge of managing care for patients with multiple chronic conditions.
Nearly 30% of the U.S. adult population has multiple chronic conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outside of doctors' appointments, it can be difficult for patients and their doctors to effectively manage conditions and prevent gaps in care.
Virtual care combined with therapists and coaches can make a big impact on how chronic conditions are treated, Carroll told Fierce Healthcare.
He cited his background in primary care as one reason he decided to jump on board Vida Health, a startup that provides a continuous care model for people with one or more chronic diseases.
"To have a solution like Vida Health is very valuable. It's valuable for primary care providers, for employers and valuable for payers," Carroll said during an exclusive interview about his move to the San Francisco-based startup.
Carroll joins Vida Health as its new chief medical officer after serving in the same position at Hims & Hers, where he oversaw all clinical programs, outcomes, patient safety and strategic initiatives. He sat on the executive team and helped take the company public in early 2021. Prior to joining Hims & Hers in June 2019, Carroll was the group vice president and CMO of Walgreens.
In his new position, Carroll will lead Vida’s clinical strategy and protocols, research, clinical partner collaboration and medical cost-saving strategy, he said. He also will oversee Vida’s team of more than 1,000 providers who range from registered dietitians and diabetes educators to licensed therapists and certified health coaches.
“As we double down on the highest cost healthcare problems in America, we’re excited to bring such a respected and experienced medical leader onto our team,” Stephanie Tilenius, Vida Health's founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Patrick has a great passion for virtual health and a wealth of experience that makes him a perfect fit to lead Vida’s clinical teams into this next stage of our growth."
Hims & Hers reported last week that the company transitioned Carroll to its board of directors, and his day-to-day responsibilities transferred to SVPs Peter Stahl, M.D., and Aimee Paik, M.D.
Vida Health launched in 2015 as virtual care platform that provides health coaching for both physical and mental conditions and serves members in all 50 states. Vida’s solution combines an AI-powered, personalized mobile app experience with a national network of providers. Vida’s app offers video sessions, asynchronous messaging and digital content and programs to help people prevent, manage and reverse chronic conditions—like diabetes and hypertension—and the mental conditions that accompany them—like stress, depression and anxiety.
Vida reports it has proven clinical outcomes across a range of conditions, including diabetes, depression, hypertension, anxiety and weight loss. In studies, the company's solution was able to help users with Type 2 diabetes reduce their HbA1c levels by up to 1.44 points at follow-up.
Vida takes a holistic approach to chronic condition management, Carroll said.
"Vida identified that there is a proliferation of chronic conditions and they all intersect. You can't deal with diabetes in isolation because if you’re a diabetic, particularly higher complexity diabetes, the risk for depression is two to three times. If you have diabetes, there's about a 70% chance you have hypertension," he said. "Treating these conditions more holistically really aligns with my experience as a practicing primary care physician. I see such a great opportunity to make an impact when we try to address all of these issues at once rather than in isolation."
The company is growing fast and reported rapid expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2021, Vida reported that revenue tripled since the beginning of 2020, and the company expanded its nationwide network of therapists, coaches, dietitians and diabetes educators by more than 400%.
To support its ongoing growth, Vida Health banked $110 million in a series D funding round in May led by General Atlantic and joined by Centene, AXA Venture Partners and Ardea Capital Partners.
The company works with many large employers like Boeing, Visa, Cisco and eBay along with some of the country’s largest health plan providers like Centene, Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Vida is looking to expand its partnerships with employers and health plans with a big focus on quality and outcomes, Carroll said. The company has brought on board Richard Frank, M.D., as SVP of medical affairs to tap into his "deep experience in the payer world," Carroll said.
"In the employer space, we’ve seen a major demand for these holistic approaches to chronic condition management on behalf of their employees," he said.
He added, "What I'm seeing in the market is that employers are more and more interested in a solution or a company that can come in and address all of those verticals—diabetes, hypertension, the elevated cholesterol and behavioral health issues rather than have four different companies come in addressing four different healthcare verticals."
Carroll said Vida is exploring opportunities to extend its capabilities to that "last mile of care" by enabling its providers to prescribe medications, which is currently not a service the company offers.
"We're going to look significantly into the prescribing piece because that could be another step up in terms of improving outcomes," he said. "There is a big access issue around behavioral health, both for employers and payers. We are bringing in some expertise to help lead us in that area. We are looking at mental health as an opportunity for prescribing and to continue our focus on counseling and coaching services for mental health issues. What we’ve been doing to date is really resonating with our clients, and there is a lot of room for growth."