Posted June 18, 2024

Demand for behavioral health resources had been climbing for a decade before skyrocketing during COVID-19 pandemic and has shown no signs of slowing down. There’s also a growing acknowledgement within the healthcare community that mental health challenges are often accompanied by physical health comorbidities, and stemming the rising cost of health care requires addressing both elements of patient care. Despite this, there remain significant barriers to delivering high-quality mental healthcare—chiefly, limited access to psychiatrists and the lack of technology that can improve both the quality and efficiency of care.

Talkiatry addresses both of these barriers for the acute end of the behavioral health market—psychiatric care—by offering virtual treatment covered by patients’ insurance. 

Talkiatry is a full-stack provider group that employs its own full-time psychiatrists, allowing them greater control over the consistent quality and cost effectiveness of care at scale. By employing the providers directly and embedding into their workflows, Talkiatry standardizes the quality of physician care and influences patient outcomes over time. In a study of over 1,800 patients, 65% of patients with anxiety or depression no longer have clinically significant symptoms after visiting Talkiatry for an average of five sessions.

Talkiatry’s full-stack telehealth approach also allows them to deliver more care to more patients, more quickly. Talkiatry’s virtual platform consolidates psychiatrist supply and demand on a national level. This allows patients to book appointments much more quickly than if they were limited to the providers in their local geography—where there’s often a long waiting list or no psychiatrists at all—and consequently avoid higher-acuity, more expensive care settings like the emergency room. Providers, on the other hand, can spend their time treating patients instead of tending to administrative duties.

While plenty of experts talk about value-based care as the cure-all for high healthcare costs in the United States, few have actually delivered tangible outcomes for patients. What excites us the most about partnering with Talkiatry is that they’re one of the first companies to provably deliver superior outcomes to a major payor. Based on the results of a recent cohort study with a national insurer, Talkiatry has both improved behavioral health outcomes and reduced downstream medical costs from comorbid physical ailments by over 30%. We’re excited to see the company build on this success to eventually drive down total healthcare spend—the “holy grail” of higher-quality care.

The benefits of Talkiatry’s model compound with scale: as their differentiated full-stack care model continues to improve patient outcomes, they can enter into more partnerships with payors and reach more patients. Since its inception in 2020, Talkiatry has built a network of more than 320 psychiatrists, and surpassed one million patient visits. It’s also become the trusted partner for some of the largest health systems in the US, like the HCA. But we believe Talkiatry is still in the early days of scaling their network relative to the size of the opportunity. The supply–demand imbalance in psychiatry continues to persist between patients and providers, and Talkiatry is well positioned to scale their provider network and provide more patients with real-time, life-changing psychiatric care. 

We are thrilled to lead the investment in Talkiatry, and I’m excited to take a board seat to support them on their journey to deliver high-quality mental health care at scale.

Big thanks to Caroline Goggins for her contributions to this deal.