by Blake Wu and Mohamad Makhzoumi
In the United States, 150 million patients have chronic disease. Unsurprisingly, this patient population has a significantly elevated risk of hospitalizations and emergency events—resulting in $2.5T of annual associated costs. This has resulted in a tremendous opportunity to improve care for those living with chronic disease and also drive down costs for patients and providers alike.
At NEA, we pay precise attention to the niches of healthcare delivery that represent both unmet needs and large addressable patient populations (as evidenced by our prior investments in Radiology Partners, Strive Health, and Everside Health). We’ve had our eye out for new models for chronic disease care for quite some time. The chronic disease population is complex due to the tendency for mismanagement, avoidable hospital visits, and unnecessary treatment—all of which are burdensome to the care system, and more importantly, the patients.
We initially met Spiras Healththough our connections within the Nashville healthcare ecosystem, and quickly realized the expansive need for their innovative care solution. When managed care veteran Scott Bowers (who previously held leadership roles at UnitedHealthcare and Evolent Health) took over as CEO of Spiras earlier this year, it solidified our growing interest in partnering with the company.
Spiras works with health plans and providers (including recently announced partner, Clover Health) to offer a differentiated model of specialized whole-person care for patients living with chronic disease—leveraging their predictive modeling to identify and target higher cost and higher impact patients, often starting with those affected by COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and CHF (congestive heart failure). The Spiras model marries custom care teams with innovative technology to address patient needs before they escalate to emergency situations. This is achieved through: regular telehealth visits powered by Spiras’ technology platform that improves communication, collaboration, and patient monitoring; available in-home clinical services delivered by licensed providers; focus on education and improved self-care. This evidence-based approach is both effective in delivering top quality, accessible care, and is scalable based on the application of technology and predictive analytics.
In its commercial implementations, Spiras has already demonstrated its effectiveness with a significant decrease in hospitalizations for patients utilizing the program. This is invaluable to someone who may have been at risk for a life-threatening health event leading to an emergency room visit, expensive testing, fragmented care, etc. With the Spiras care model, the same patient can instead experience regular engagement with healthcare professionals, prescription monitoring, symptom tracking, need-based therapies, and more. This is especially transformative when you take into account the fact that the chronic disease segment is primarily made up of seniors that likely have little familiarity with tech-based tools and communications, low to no access to affordable in-home care, and a lack of empowered self-care.
The company’s early traction, scalable model, and ability to improve lives are both exciting and inspiring. Today, Spiras Health announced their Series B financing and we are both honored and thrilled to partner with Scott and the team to further the company’s reach and offerings. Patients suffering from chronic disease have constant challenges to overcome, their care experience shouldn’t be one of them.