Companies involved in primary care, such as Skylight Health Group Inc. (TSXV:SHG) (OTCQX:SHGFF), Oak Street Health Inc. (NYSE:OSH), WELL Health Technologies Corp. (TSX:WELL)(OTC:WLYYF), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Teladoc Health Inc. (NYSE:TDOC) are all helping to disrupt a fragmented, multi-trillion-dollar healthcare industry. As noted by Canaccord Genuity, and highlighted by Fierce Healthcare, “Studies have shown the value of primary care through lower healthcare spending and improved health outcomes. But there has been an underinvestment in primary care in the U.S. compared to other developed countries.”
Remember “Primary care is critical to maintaining health and caring for chronic illness. The U.S. system sorely lacks adequate primary care, which reduces the quality and increases the cost of care. Part of the solution is increasing the compensation of primary care providers,” as noted by Harvard Business Review. To help address the need, multi-specialty health companies are stepping in to help lower healthcare spending and improve health outcomes.
Look at Skylight Health Group Inc. (TSXV:SHG)(OTCQX:SHGFF) for example
Skylight Health Group Inc. (TSXV:SHG; OTCQX: SHGFF), a multi-state primary care management group in the United States, announced today a partnership with ClinEdge, one of North America’s leading clinical research groups.
ClinEdge provides a full suite of services to support clinical research institutions, Contract Research Organizations (“CROs”), and sponsors. Their mission is to develop and grow service lines that positively affect the cost structure, timeliness and accuracy of administering clinical research. Their relationships with CROs and other industry sponsors ensure the success of their Study Lead Generation Services to identify clinical trials to suit the population of each research site in their network. ClinEdge works closely with clinical research sites to ensure their success in being awarded clinical research trials from highly experienced and well-known industry sponsors.
“Partnering with sponsors that share a similar vision on the importance of quality clinical research that puts patients first is vital to Skylight’s growth and the growth of the US healthcare system at-large,” said Alisha Garibaldi, Clinical Research Manager, Skylight Health Group. “ClinEdge brings unparalleled experience in this field, and we’re proud to have solidified this partnership.”
This partnership with ClinEdge will add to the 50+ years of experience on the Skylight Health Research Team and will bring clinical research trials investigating a wide range of indications beginning with the clinical sites in Massachusetts. This will provide an opportunity for patients in Massachusetts to participate in these trials, which may provide them access to new therapies, treatments or vaccines. Skylight Health understands the value of research, and not only wants to provide the best care of their own patients but wants to ensure that as a Company, they can contribute to the broader medical science community as it continues to progress. Based on the success in Massachusetts, Skylight will look to further expand this partnership across other US states.
ClinEdge brings trials opportunities in a wide range of indications, including diabetes, COVID-19, arthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder, hypertension, and many others. Patient participation in trials awarded to Skylight Health will be available for both existing patients, as well as individuals who may not be patients of Skylight Health but are interested in contributing to clinical research.
Apart from being able to contribute to scientific knowledge, participating in clinical research trials can financially benefit Skylight Health and patients alike. The award for clinical research sites may range from $1,000 - $15,000 per patient per trial, and patients receive stipends to compensate for their time and effort for participating in clinical trials as well as reimbursements for expenses incurred. The teams at ClinEdge and Skylight carefully screen all trials for scientific and ethic rigour prior to reaching out to potential patients.
“At Skylight Health we focus on continually improving the care of our patients through research, data, and innovation. We are excited to announce our partnership with ClinEdge as it is the next step in the expansion of our clinical research program. This partnership represents an opportunity for our clinics and patients to make meaningful contributions to the improvement of healthcare through clinical research while providing access to new therapies and the potential for subsidized care,” Christopher Smith, SVP of Digital Health and Research, Skylight Health.
Other related developments from around the markets include:
Oak Street Health Inc., a network of value-based primary care centers for adults on Medicare, is expanding access to more older adults in New York with the opening of its second center in Brooklyn located at 8923 Flatlands Avenue. The new center joins an existing Brooklyn center on Sutter Avenue that opened in October 2020. “We are excited to expand access to our high-quality, value-based care to members of the Brooklyn community with the opening of this new center,” said Dr. Ramon Jacobs-Shaw, Senior Medical Director at Oak Street Health. “The majority of older adults we care for have two or more chronic conditions, making this kind of care so important. As our organization continues its mission to rebuild healthcare as it should be, we look forward to improving patient outcomes in New York and helping older adults live their healthiest lives.”
WELL Health Technologies Corp., a company focused on consolidating and modernizing clinical and digital assets within the primary healthcare sector, announced its fiscal fourth quarter and annual financial results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2020. Hamed Shahbazi, Chairman and CEO of WELL commented, “Q4-2020 was another great quarter for WELL in which we achieved record quarterly revenue and gross profit, but I am most pleased to report that we achieved a significant milestone in the fourth quarter with this being the first time that we’ve reported positive Adjusted EBITDA(2) which exceeded analysts’ predictions. We have proven that our capital allocation model works and moving forward, we are only expecting profitability and cash flows to grow. During Q4 we also completed seven transactions and that pace has continued into Q1 with a number of completed and announced transactions, including the proposed acquisition of CRH Medical.”
Amazon.com Inc. is “expanding its virtual healthcare service to other Washington state employers starting on Wednesday and to its own employees and other businesses nationwide this summer, the company said in a news release,” as reported by Reuters. “The move shows how the No. 2 U.S. private employer is diving further into healthcare, the latest industry it has aimed to disrupt after retail, enterprise technology and Hollywood. Its playbook for offering healthcare in-house and then to other employers resembles how Amazon built data centers to satisfy its own Web needs, before opening up the same infrastructure to startups in what became its cloud-computing business.”
Teladoc Health Inc., the first and only comprehensive virtual care system, released its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, which highlights the company’s commitment to taking care of people, building trust, operating responsibly and having a positive impact on global communities. Through its inaugural CSR report, Teladoc Health sets an industry precedent for the ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility, transparency and reporting. “Now more than ever, Teladoc Health is committed to expanding equitable access to care and helping people attain their full health potential,” said Jason Gorevic, chief executive officer of Teladoc Health. “Our mission, values and culture guide our actions as we deliver on the promise of whole-person virtual care and serve stakeholders around the world.”
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