In July 2022, Amazon acquired One Medical in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3.9 billion. According to an Amazon press release, One Medical is a national human-centered, technology-driven primary care organization with a mission to make quality care more convenient, accessible, and enjoyable through a seamless blend of in-person, digital, and virtual care services that are convenient where people work, shop and live. The premise is to reinvent the healthcare experience. Even before this acquisition, One Medical sought to leverage technology and artificial intelligence to drive a strong patient and provider experience and to better manage population health.
Before One Medical hit the news, Patina was launched with $57 million in funding from Andreesen Horowitz and GV (Google Ventures) in late October 2021. Patina is led by Jack Stoddard, a healthcare executive with an impressive set of Experiences: Eden Health, Haven, Recognition and Optum. Patina’s mission is to profoundly improve the health care and aging experience for older adults and their loved ones who care for them. I spoke with Jack to better understand his case and his motivations with Patina. Here are some key points:
Why the focus on adults aged 65 and over?
Jack: Everyone deserves a better care experience led by a team that sees them; who understands their values, goals and preferences; and who creates a personalized plan that allows each person to live their life to the fullest. The current system is built with hospitals and clinics at its core and aligned to the needs of the average adult, resulting in one-size-fits-all care delivered in the production model of brief, episodic, and transactional outpatient visits. This model does not work for older adults, who have unique clinical and psychosocial needs that impact their ability to live independently and enjoy the highest quality of life. A model that achieves this doesn’t exist in healthcare today, so we’re building it.
Why primary care?
Jack: Primary care is the backbone to overall health. When done right, primary care reduces health care costs and improves health outcomes. Primary care providers have the opportunity to understand patients holistically – their history, values, preferences, goals – and help them make informed decisions. There are many opportunities today for innovation and growth in this market. Primary care lends itself to new approaches, leveraging technologies such as digital and virtual channels.
This is a busy space with lots of startups and lots of other established players. What are some critical elements of success for you?
Jack: We have the opportunity to build the care model of the future from the ground up. We are not locked into legacy technology and workflows. By building something brand new, we can align people, process and technology to focus on generating value for seniors and their loved ones. We’ve matched our business model to our care model, which allows us to proactively deliver coordinated care to the whole person. This is in contrast to many established players who serve multiple populations, have legacy technology and workflows, and have business models with misaligned incentives. It’s like trying to turn a combustion engine car into an electric car. It does not work. We’re starting from scratch to reinvent primary care.
Something that is unique about Patina is that you don’t have any clinics. Instead you send a nurse or nurse practitioner to the patient’s home. Because?
Jack: Clinics were created to maximize physician productivity in a paid healthcare world. When we laid out our first principles for reinventing primary care for older people, we found in our research that older people want to be independent at home, especially when they’re not feeling well. So we decided to bypass the “drive-park-wait” clinic model and use technology and people to care for them, on their own terms. We learn a lot about people when we visit them in their homes. Does the patient have sufficient social support? How do they handle the medications? Their meals? Are they alone? Often these factors determine outcomes even more than clinical interventions. When a patient comes to a clinic, we miss the opportunity to gain a complete understanding of her health. Our entire model is based on the idea that our care team comes from patients where they are and sees people, not as a data point but as dynamic individuals.
A lot has been done about digital transformation and the pace of digital in the last three years. And the same can be said of leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve health outcomes. Can you give me some specific ways Patina is leveraging new technologies and methods to improve outcomes?
Jack: What sets Patina apart is how we combine our technology with in-person care to create a superior, personalized experience for our patients and their loved ones. We bring technology into the home, allowing us to assess the health of our patients as if they were in a clinic. Patients are less stressed and more comfortable when they are at home. In turn, we build relationships that inform care along with the metrics-based evaluation we get from digital technology. For example, our sample nurses use digital stethoscopes to listen to a patient’s heart, and the remote PCP is able to receive the data in real time using telemetry. Additionally, AI is gathering that information and comparing your heartbeat against a huge data set, signaling heart murmurs or other heart problems to your doctor in real time. Together, our app, virtual visits, and AI-enabled technology help providers interact more frequently with their patients, build lasting relationships, and be proactive when additional care is needed.
Any closing thoughts?
Jack: Sixty million Americans are over the age of 65, and 90 million will reach this age by 2060. This population faces changes in function and mobility and often develops chronic conditions, leading to an increased need for high-quality health care and custom support. However, most older adults are faced with a fragmented and uncoordinated healthcare system. They end up with more doctors providing short visits to fix problems rather than prevent them. Adults over the age of 65 often go through treatment alone. Patina is here to turn these challenges around, letting each person age with dignity and be seen, respected and supported. We’re doing it with a team of knowledgeable and empathetic people who use modern technology to create a personalized care experience.
I wish you and Patina the best, Jack.