MetroHealth, MUSC Health create virtual in-home care company

MetroHealth and the Medical University of South Carolina health system (MUSC Health) have partnered to create Ovatient, a virtual and in-home care company that aims to transform the delivery of healthcare while staying connected to the clinical expertise of health systems.

Given the demand for convenient, digital health tools, many nontraditional healthcare companies are entering the health care ecosystem to offer tools, according to a news release. MetroHealth and MUSC Health, based in Charleston, S.C., are creating Ovatient to offer convenient solutions while maintaining connectivity to acute and procedural care sites, according to the release, which notes that, given their commitment to research and best practices, health systems and their caregivers are best positioned to serve patients across a wide spectrum of health conditions, according to health outcomes data sources.

Ovatient is “built for health systems, by health systems,” said Dr. Patrick J. Cawley, MUSC Health CEO and executive vice president of Health Affairs, University, in the release.

Ovatient will offer a hybrid model of care to the home, with options for telehealth and for a provider in the home. For instance, a virtual hospitalist could use digital tools to consult with a paramedic or nurse that’s in a patient’s home, said Michael Dalton, Ovatient CEO and entrepreneur-in-residence at MetroHealth.

Ovatient’s platform would support the facilitation and coordination of that care. The company plans to scale its platform not just across MetroHealth and MUSC, but to other health systems across the country as well.

“This will be an extension of the MetroHealth and MUSC Health brands within their market, and I think that’s what matters to the patient,” said Michael Dalton, Ovatient CEO and entrepreneur-in-residence at MetroHealth. “It’s not about the newest technological solution. It is really about being able to provide the best care delivery and getting access to care.”

This need was “acutely experienced” by patients, communities and caregivers throughout the pandemic, he said.

Dalton said Ovatient will begin to deliver care late first quarter of 2023, followed by a full deployment of its initial product offerings with primary care and access to specialty physicians and clinical offerings, as well as virtual on-demand care for physical and mental health needs.

Ovatient offers an opportunity for health systems to pool resources and tackle common challenges in the healthcare workforce. For instance, they can work together to increase access to behavioral health and specialty care providers rather than competing against one another for those workers.

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“We are positioning Ovatient not just as a company but as a care model that puts patients first,” said Dr. Akram Boutros, MetroHealth president and CEO, in a provided statement. “Ovatient redesigns the way patients receive care and through its holistic, innovative approach will help patients access high-quality care, informed by the clinical experts at our respective health systems, anytime and everywhere.”

What competitors offer today is a vendor relationship, Dalton said. Ovatient is looking for other founding health systems, who, along with its customers, will be partners in the product. One of the core tenants is being able to maintain and grow patient populations, he said.

“We think that by coming together as health systems, especially using the same digital health and virtual care mechanisms, we can do this, and we can serve our own our own patients and our own health systems,” Dalton said.

This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain’s Cleveland Business.

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