"Crossover Health closes a deal that creates an innovative healthcare delivery model for self-insured employers and presents opportunities for health systems." – Mandy Roth, Innovations Editor at HealthLeaders
While mergers and acquisitions aren't normally something we cover, there are exceptions—and this one has special lessons for self-insured employers and health systems alike.
On February 26, a California–based provider of comprehensive health services for self-insured employers called Crossover Health acquired the digital health platform Sherpaa, a virtual primary care provider headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.
Mandy Roth, Innovations Editor at HealthLeaders, published an in-depth analysis of the acquisition and its implications for the industry, which we highly suggest you read. We've included our take below, organized around Roth's four main observations, because we believe these are big signals of change within the industry—change we're also seeing and celebrating.
1. Find ways to combine in-person and digital care
Finding the sweet spot between in-person and digital care is critical. Along with pretty much everyone else on the planet, today's employees have gone mobile with convenience-based interactions in the palm of their hand. It only makes sense for the health industry to follow. Because that's where patients already are.
But a word of caution here: when we talk about technology and digital care in the context of health, we have to be vigilant about defining our goals. Is it better health? Or is it to remove the need to see providers in person? If it's the former, we're golden. But the latter just isn't healthy.
At the end of the day, regardless of digital technology, primary care is just that: care from one human being to another. Sure, there are efficiencies to be gained, along with the potential for better access. But you can't remove the human interaction element from the mix entirely, and you shouldn't want to.
2. Make remote care flexible and responsive to patients' schedules
To be as effective as possible, we have to be better at meeting the needs of our patients by fitting their healthcare in to their typical, natural human interactions.
Text, email, and real-time exchanges are only a few examples. This naturally saves time. And it makes health and primary care like everyday companions, available for questions and interactions at any time of the day or night.
The only caveat is that remote care has to be an enhancement of the healthcare experience, not a replacement of human-to-human primary care. You can communicate a ton of helpful information on today's devices, but some things just don't translate well into a text message.
3. Embrace the growing self-insured market
Employers are beginning to take control over the system we know is dying. Costs are out of control, unnecessary and wasted care is common, and we're sicker than we've ever been. And for many companies, choosing to go self-insured means more control and a better system for both the company and the employees.
While mostly popular with mid-sized and smaller companies, more employers are seeing "self-insured" as the right way to support and give value to their employees. And here's the potential they're seeing (especially when combined with an on-site, primary care model):
- A healthier population: A healthier workforce is a happier workforce.
- Less productivity lost to medical appointments and illness: When your employees are healthy, they work better.
- Preventive care that drives down the overall cost of claims: Employees only get care they actually need, driven and guided by primary care.
- Coordinated support for employee benefits: No dropped balls. No medical gaps. A primary care team plans and monitors a patient's journey.
4. Evaluate partnership opportunities
At Vera, our managed primary care approach is based on partnerships: between primary care providers, care teams, and the patient. This allows us to create a personalized approach for the health and wellness of each patient.
On- or near-site clinics become a medical home—where each patient can complete important annual screenings, follow up on referrals, and manage difficult diagnoses. It’s another step toward personal and effective healthcare management.
At the same time, because of centralization, it saves both time and money by relieving HR professionals from the gauntlet of managing vendors.
For more about the acquisition of Sherpaa by Crossover Health and insights from the HealthLeaders team, read the article linked above, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for insights into managed care, on- and near-site clinics, and much more.