Health tech startup says wearables for the elderly reduce hospitalizations, increase doctors’ revenue

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Senior Adult Measuring Blood Pressure Concept

Originally published via San Francisco Business Times.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, going to the doctor’s for routine health care has been out of the question, especially for seniors, who are more likely to die from the highly infectious illness. The chance of catching the coronavirus or spreading it to others is too risky. Doctors, hospitals and digital health startups have tried to fill the gap with telemedicine.

Even so, Ryan Howard, CEO and founder of digital health startup 100Plus, said if the doctor isn’t collecting medical data, such as  weight, blood pressure or glucose levels, a virtual visit is basically a “FaceTime with Grandma.”

Howard’s company recently launched a remote patient monitoring platform to help doctors collect data on older patients with chronic ailments like high blood pressure and diabetes.

When something is amiss, an alert is sent to a doctor or nurse. What’s more, the doctor can actually make money by using 100Plus’ services— about $840 per patient per year.

Recent changes to Medicare now allow health providers to get reimbursements for remote patient monitoring. Roughly, 100Plus collects $60 per patient a month from the federal health care insurance payer for collecting the data. The doctor collects $70 per patient for spending 20 minutes a month going over the data and communicating with the patient.

That means if a doctor puts 30 Medicare patients on remote monitoring, he or she could bring in an extra six figures a year. And for the patients, remote monitoring reduces hospitalization and serious health events related to the chronic condition, Howard said.

Howard told me 100Plus takes all the financial risks. Doctors or patients don’t even pay for the wearable devices such as a digital scale, blood pressure cuff, glucose monitor and emergency watch. The company also does all the outreach and education to patients. The onboarding patient process takes a week, including shipping the wearables. Because the devices are cellular enabled, patients only have to turn them on. They don’t have to connect them to the internet or with Bluetooth.

Since the platform went live in January, the startup has landed 1,000 doctors as customers and 15,000 patients. Last month, 100Plus booked close to $1million in annualized revenue.

Howard told me the remote monitoring market value is huge — $60 billion a year — and highly competitive, and feels 100Plus has an early lead. The biggest barrier to success for 100Plus is on educating doctors on how the Medicare remote billing program works.

For doctors that don’t have the staff or bandwidth to handle virtual care, they can contract with a third-party virtual health care company that uses 100Plus’ platform for a 70/30 revenue split.

CEO Howard started 100Plus in 2016, its name derived from its core aim to help the elderly live past 100. The San Francisco-based startup has raised $15 million in venture-backed financing and has 19 employees.

Read more in the San Francisco Business Times.

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