Mar 28, 2022 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: AmplifyMD eyes specialty care access problem

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

AmplifyMD, a telehealth startup, has raked in $23 million in funding to solve the painful issue of patient access to specialty care within hospitals, the company tells Axios.

Why it matters: No matter the specialty, there’s a scarcity of specialists in American hospitals, whether urban or rural, and that's directly affecting patients.

  • Over 3,300 of the country's 6,000 hospitals have a shortage of specialists across at least three areas, and most of the rest are missing at least one critical specialist.
  • Thus, patients are typically transferred to a tertiary medical facility to address gaps in care, a reality that patients dislike and is incredibly costly.
  • For hospitals, "a few [patient] transfers a month can be the difference between being positive and negative in terms of profitability," says CEO Meena Mallipeddi, who co-founded AmplifyMD with her husband Anand Nathan less than three years ago.
  • Hospitals lose $17 billion-plus annually from preventable patient transfers, the company says, and a single patient transfer can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, Mallipeddi adds.

How it works: With AmplifyMD, patients access specialty telehealth directly through hospitals that are connected to its network of specialists.

  • This contrasts with the direct-to-consumer model many virtual care providers like Teladoc have focused on.
  • AmplifyMD's software streamlines virtual care delivery and billing and can be integrated with existing electronic health records and workflows in hospitals.
  • Originally focused on small rural hospitals, it ultimately realized there is a need for this [almost] everywhere. "We can step in because we’ve made it so simple," Mallipeddi says. "it’s plug-and-play, where [hospitals] can say ‘this is a specialty I need, what can you do?"

What’s next: The funding will be used to invest further in AmplifyMD’s technology, while driving scale by adding more hospitals and also exploring opportunities to penetrate adjacent facilities.

  • As patients are discharged into skilled nursing facilities, long-term acute care or their homes, "it’s natural for AmplifyMD to follow the entire patient journey," Mallipeddi says.

The bottom line: AmplifyMD is modernizing the way in which inpatient telehealth has historically been used by health systems, and may ultimately help to lay the framework for value-based care.

  • "We want to ensure we are delivering value and that is laying the foundation for us to move to a value-based pricing model," Nathan says.

Get more details on this exclusive news in today's Health Tech Deals newsletter.

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