OB/GYN health system Advantia Health acquires telemedicine perinatal specialist Pacify

The two women’s care organizations are blending their care operations to build on each other’s strengths. The vendor’s telehealth technology has helped decrease ER visits by 26%.
By Bill Siwicki
01:21 PM
OB/GYN health system Advantia Health acquires telemedicine perinatal specialist Pacify

OB/GYN specialist Advantia Health.

In the past, OB/GYN specialist Advantia Health’s approach to care had focused on in-person, doctor-patient relationships.

THE PROBLEM

Clinical support effectively paused each time a patient left one of the offices. With OB/GYN, many patient interactions have to happen in person – but not all. There had to be other ways to offer services such as breastfeeding care and behavioral health that are best provided between visits and often by physician extenders and specialists.

“Women want fast, accurate answers, and the traditional healthcare model can’t always deliver that,” said Sean Glass, founder and CEO of Advantia Health. “Convenience is something that patients have come to expect in other aspects of their lives, from streaming movies to ordering food. Modern women expect on-demand availability.”

PROPOSAL

Going all in on telemedicine was a natural decision for the health system, Glass said. So Advantia didn’t just partner with telehealth vendor Pacify, it acquired it.

“A few things set Pacify apart,” Glass explained. “First, Pacify is flexible, which made it a perfect foundation for Advantia’s technology roadmap. Second, instead of appointment scheduling, which is difficult to integrate within practices and inconvenient for patients, Pacify uses a novel technology to find the first available expert.”

Third, Pacify focuses on physician extenders, not physicians, so it is an easy sell to existing physicians who are rightly concerned about the patient medical home, Glass added. Finally, Pacify has proven its ability to reduce total cost of care – a critical feature as Advantia Health shifts toward value-based contracts, he said.

“All of this convinced us to make our biggest bet to date on Pacify,” he said.

Advantia has a nationwide network of OB-GYN practices and Pacify provides a telehealth platform – both companies contract with payers and serve women and their families. The idea of coming together is to form a blended model, marrying the capabilities of both to better deliver a comprehensive care experience, the companies said.

MARKETPLACE

There are many vendors on the market today offering telemedicine technology, including American Well, Avizia, GlobalMed, MDLive, Novotalk, SnapMD, Teladoc, TeleHealth Services and Tellus.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

Pacify members live all over the country, from rural Mississippi to Los Angeles. In serving this diverse group, Pacify members confirm that parenting is a great equalizer – all families want fast access to quality healthcare regardless of ZIP code or income, Glass said.

"Convenience is something that patients have come to expect in other aspects of their lives, from streaming movies to ordering food. Modern women expect on-demand availability."

Sean Glass, Advantia Health

“In many ways, what has enabled Pacify to drive change in such different populations and what sets the technology apart is simplicity,” he said. “While the platform has plenty of flashy features, the simple innovations like an audio-only feature for rural families with limited bandwidth or a home screen with clear calls to action, often have the most impact.”

RESULTS

Pacify empowers members to access the right care at the right time for them, and Advantia Health has strong data that backs up this approach. Here are some recent results from Pacify’s 24/7 perinatal support services, according to Pacify:

  • Realized greater than 3:1 return on investment in savings per birth (based on an independent claims analysis of ER and office visits);
  • Decreased ER visits by 26%, suggesting more informed site of care decisions;
  • Contributed to a 10% increase in reported rates of exclusive breastfeeding among women in a statewide Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

“Telemedicine is not a singular solution,” Glass advised. “In some instances, virtual care even adds cost to the system when antibiotics and other medications are overprescribed. Telemedicine should not be viewed as a separate form of medicine or a replacement to the medical home.”

In its most effective form, telemedicine should be an extension of great care that patients receive in person, Glass said.

“We envision a future in which telemedicine is simply medicine,” he added, “and virtual care is one of the most high-value services we can offer patients and insurers.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com