Every healthcare company will eventually be a home health company. In the future, providers, payors, and diagnostics companies will find it difficult to compete, and to bear risk in value-based care, without the ability to extend their care models from solely facility- and virtual-based encounters into more continuous, in-person relationships that meet patients where they are.
By having labs, physical exams, and basic therapeutic procedures performed in the convenience of a patient’s home or community, providers can make more efficient use of expensive clinic capacity and be better prepared with patient data to fill in the gaps between in-person visits. At a more basic level, the ability to offer convenient, home-based services also confers a competitive advantage to providers vying for patient loyalty, especially given new consumer norms and preferences that arose as a consequence of the pandemic. Given the choice of taking an hour out of your day to schlep to a patient services center where hundreds of other, potentially sick, patients have been, or scheduling a 5-minute phlebotomist visit in your home or office, which would you choose?
This mode of “untethered healthcare” is one of the release valves that has sprung open in response to the severe patient satisfaction and supply-demand mismatch pressures ailing our traditional healthcare system. We’ve historically been constrained by the opaque schedules of physicians and nurses in centralized, monolithic facilities, resulting in weeks- or months-long wait times for even the most basic, low-acuity services. Rather than try to create and hire more physicians and nurses, or squeeze more appointments into their already exhausted schedules, digital health companies are lighting up under-leveraged clinical labor pools (e.g. EMTs, pharmacists, health coaches, phlebotomists), making them a core part of their care teams and applying tech to extend their reach into distributed settings, on patients’ terms.
This is all happening at a time when the value of on-demand diagnostic testing and continuous monitoring are in the spotlight. While the majority of healthcare decisions are already influenced by lab tests and biomarker monitoring, there are many areas in which we severely under-utilize lab tests that would otherwise allow us to detect disease earlier, or help better manage already diagnosed conditions. It turns out there’s even a non-trivial amount of drop-off from tests that are ordered but not completed—research shows that in areas like type 2 diabetes management or medication monitoring programs, upwards of 1 in 4 of lab tests orders go unfulfilled, perhaps in large part due to the inconvenience factor for the patient. Biotech and pharma clinical research is another area where decentralized testing and monitoring capabilities have the potential to significantly enhance the productivity and diversity of clinical trials.
Thus, at the intersection of the new tech stack for virtual-first care and the establishment of the home as a primary site of care lies a fast-growing market opportunity for on-demand, last-mile care delivery capabilities. Sprinter Health is leading the charge in this domain, with a platform that deploys a fleet of mobile clinical professionals and instruments the distributed logistics and care team operations, flipping the supply-demand equation and letting care come to the patient, versus forcing patients to come to the care. Their equivalents of the “driver app” for providers and “rider app” for patients enable the type of real-time visibility, feedback, and course correction that is entirely absent from traditional healthcare experiences. And the ability to standardize sample collection, patient data intake, and clinical data analysis across multiple providers through their workflow automation and data platform also represents profound possibilities for interoperability, scalability, and network effects in the long run.
We gravitate towards founders who have seen what great looks like, and who know what it takes to lean into new category creation opportunities that come along with such rarity in any given industry’s lifetime. Max Cohen and Cameron Behar played critical roles at Oculus / Facebook AR/VR in setting the stage for a new tech platform to become a mainstream consumer application that overcomes the constraints of physical location and distance. They’re now channeling their exceptional vision and execution chops into enabling this paradigm shift towards unbundled, virtual-first, value-based care delivery, with world-class technology at the core and an amazing set of early customers who also believe in the future of untethered healthcare. We couldn’t be more excited to be leading Sprinter’s Series A and joining their board, and partnering with Max and Cameron as they build towards making “Sprinters” a core part of every patient’s healthcare journey.