Ever since the pandemic’s virtual care boom, the telehealth market has been a crowded one. Over the past year or so, healthcare stakeholders have been watching closely to see how various telehealth startups restructure their businesses to remain successful amid the changing economy and care delivery landscape.
Sometimes this restructuring involves tough decisions. For example, virtual care company TytoCare made the call to lay off about 10% of its workforce last month. But investors don’t seem to be viewing this as a sign of weakness — the New York City-based firm raised $49 million in growth financing on Thursday, taking its total funding to date to $205 million.
TytoCare CEO Dedi Gilad declared that his company was founded to solve a fundamental problem with traditional telehealth services: people do not trust them, so they do not use them.
“Telehealth has low adoption rates, low engagement rates, and low trust among providers and patients. It is not generating ROI for health plans or health systems, and as a result, virtual care at home is held back,” he said. “TytoCare aims to find a way to make virtual care something that people could actually use and like — something that replicates what happens in the doctor’s office at home and wins the trust of patients.”
TytoCare’s Home Smart Clinic promises to give providers and health plans the range of products and services needed to operate successful virtual primary care programs. The platform also changes the way patients access healthcare, Gilad pointed out. With remote physical exams from home, they don’t need to spend time traveling to a clinic to get examined by a physician.
“No more waiting for hours in doctor’s offices or heading to the ER in the middle of the night to find out that their kid’s screaming is an ear infection,” Gilad explained.
In a matter of minutes, patients using Home Smart Clinic can virtually connect with a physician who can walk them through an at-home exam of their ears, throat, heart, lungs or skin and give them a diagnosis “on the spot,” he said.
To conduct these at-home exams, patients use TytoCare’s FDA-cleared handheld remote device. The device is powered by AI software that helps guide patients through the exams, and its screen shows real-time images and data, as well as body temperature checks. It can also send live data or recordings to a patient’s clinician.
Exams can be synchronous, during which patients are connected to a remote physician via a live video chat. With this option, the physician is able to remotely control the device and see results live. The other option is an asynchronous exam, in which patients perform exams that were recommended by either a physician or TytoCare’s AI. Results for all asynchronous exams are sent to a clinician for review, Gilad explained.
TytoCare’s home clinic platform also provides diagnostic support, he added.
“Because TytoCare has an unmatched data set of remote exams, we have been able to train AI to recognize certain symptoms and provide valuable diagnostic support. For example, our recently-FDA cleared Tyto Insights for Wheeze Detection was trained on the largest lung sound database of its kind, and is able to prompt a clinician if specific abnormal lung sounds that indicate wheezing are detected. We believe that this AI assistance provides the equivalent value of a short consultation with a pulmonary specialist,” Gilad declared.
The company sells its platform to health plans and providers. Once TytoCare is contracted with a partner, their patients are able to obtain the company’s device through their insurance coverage or through their doctor’s office, Gilad said.
TytoCare’s customers comprise 220 health systems and health plans across the U.S., Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, he added. A few examples of these customers include Elevance, MemorialCare and UnitedHealthcare.
“The key differentiator is that while TytoCare uses the Home Smart Clinic to replicate the experience of a doctor’s visit at home, these companies are reliant solely on video visits,” he declared.
Additionally, TytoCare equips providers and health plans that adopt Home Smart Clinic with metrics to measure the program’s success. These metrics include measures for diagnostic capabilities, retention, inclusion, visits and engagement. By having these metrics, providers and health plans will have an easier time seeing the ROI that they get from home visits, Gilad said.
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