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Exclusive: Concierge care startups partner for whole-body scans

Illustrataion of a doctor holding an MRI scan of a one hundred dollar bill.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Body scan startup Prenuvo is partnering with concierge care provider Sollis Health to introduce its whole-body screenings to more people, the companies' CEOs tell Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The partnership comes amid a mounting debate over the value of whole-body scans — specifically, whether they're instrumental in preventing disease or mostly an expensive, anxiety-inducing endeavor.

  • The companies claim the scans offer the latest in preventive care.
  • But several medical organizations have significant questions.

How it works: The partnership grants Sollis members one free Prenuvo torso scan, with options to upgrade to other scans at discounted rates.

  • Patients must obtain sign-off from a general practitioner (GP) or primary care physician for the scan and request that the results be shared with their GP and/or Sollis provider. (Sollis providers are ER clinicians and cannot approve the scan.)

By the numbers: Sollis memberships cost $3,500 per year or $291 a month. One Medical, a concierge primary care provider that does not offer urgent care services, costs $199 a year or $17 a month

  • Services include urgent and emergency care services including onsite MRIs, X-rays and ultrasounds, lab tests, same-day visits, and round-the-clock telehealth access.
  • All Sollis clinicians are board-certified ER and urgent care providers, per Sollis CEO Brad Olson.

Under the agreement, Prenuvo torso scans, which typically cost $1,000, are free.

  • Head and torso scans, typically $1,800, are $800.
  • Whole body scans, typically $2,500, are $1,500.

Flashback: Both Sollis and Prenuvo are venture-backed startups helmed by leaders outside the traditional health care sphere.

  • NYC-based Sollis has raised $53 million from investors including Montage Ventures and Torch Capital. CEO Brad Olson worked previously as an executive at Starwood Hotels and Peloton.
  • LA-based Prenuvo has collected roughly $71.8 million from backers like Felicis and Incite Ventures. CEO Lacy worked previously as an executive at gaming startup Azarus.io and telecom startup Lebara Limited.

What they're saying: Prenuvo CEO Andrew Lacy foresees the partnership helping to prove the value of its scans, which he says would eventually curb costs for everyone.

  • "Our goal is to transform the way that we do health care from something that's reactive ... to something that's proactive," he says.

Catch up quick: Prenuvo's scans — which are not classified as diagnostics and therefore not covered by insurance — have been endorsed by venture capitalists and celebrities like Kim Kardashian and investor Cindy Crawford.

  • The scans cannot definitively indicate an illness or condition, but rather identify potential problems — and those require further tests and procedures to confirm.

Reality check: It remains unclear how many general practitioners are willing to review Prenuvo results, given their lack of recommendation from professional medical organizations.

  • "There is no documented evidence that total body screening is cost-efficient or effective in prolonging life," the American College of Radiology said in a statement.

It's also unclear how Prenuvo's scans fit into Sollis patients' existing care flow, given the need for external GPs to approve and read them.

Case in point: Axios reporter Justin Kauffman received a Prenuvo scan and said his doctor "wasn't enthusiastic" about it.

  • The doctor "argued the scans cause undue anxiety," Kauffman wrote. "Our bodies have all sorts of nodules and cysts, [the doctor] said, and the scans make patients feel they may have problems, when in most cases they don't."

The bottom line: The partnership between Sollis and Prenuvo will test the premise that high-cost, concierge services can become less expensive — and more useful — with scale.

Editor's note: This story has been clarified to note that One Medical is a concierge primary care provider that does not provide urgent care services, which Sollis does.

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