The Importance of Building a Virtual Care Platform from the Ground Up

October 17, 2023

Despite all the advances in medicine in recent decades, far too many people still have far too much trouble accessing healthcare facilities and specialist care when they need it.

Under our current, predominantly top-down healthcare model, patients often face severe delays in diagnosis and treatment due to geographic distance, lack of transportation, specialist shortages, employment requirements, or other factors.

For example, there are nine times fewer specialty care providers in rural America than in urban areas, while a mere 16 percent of Medicaid patients who are referred to a specialist end up seeing one, largely due to access issues. Access to physicians isn’t getting better, either, as the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects there will be a shortage of 124,000 physicians in the US by 2034.

These numbers have led to hospitals facing rising costs, shrinking margins, and critical staffing shortages. An increasing number of specialty physicians, under pressure to do more with less, are struggling with burnout, while countless patients struggle to get access to the care they need, resulting in frequent emergency room visits and readmissions for complications that could have been easily managed with earlier interventions at home.

Reversing this trend requires a shift away from merely reactively treating disease and toward proactively managing health via virtual care.


Helping Those In Need and Those Who Serve Them

While telehealth has helped expedite this shift via primary care consultations, it falls short when more thorough exams or urgent care is required. Remote physicians can interact with patients via telehealth, but can’t actually examine them.

Hippo Technologies, Inc. was founded with the mission of leveraging virtual care to overcome this limitation.

The Hippo Virtual CareTM platform combines the latest in hands-free, voice-enabled wearable computing with medical-grade software to provide a “through the eyes of the clinician” viewpoint – enabling remote specialists to collaborate virtually with local clinician extenders wearing the headset to diagnose and treat patients, as if they were physically in the room. Our technology improves access to specialty care, resulting in fewer delays, increased provider productivity, and better patient outcomes — all at a lower cost.

“Today, quite often, technology comes down from the top, with the hope that, when it gets down to the bottom where people care for each other, it’s acceptable. We started in reverse,” says Patrick Quinlan, MD, MHA, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Hippo Technologies, Inc.

Dr. Quinlan, a renowned physician leader who’s been recognized by Healthcare magazine as “the most powerful physician executive in the United States” and one of the 50 most influential leaders in US healthcare, explains that Hippo’s name is a nod to the Hippocratic Oath, which inspires the company’s mission to “help those in need and those who serve them.” By delivering immediate value to patients and caregivers — as well as the healthcare system as a whole — Hippo’s virtual care platform is helping the company fulfill that mission.

“We have a complete package that allows people to change the way medicine is practiced today and address the problems that arose from the old, facility-focused days when you had scarcity and people had to come see you,” says Dr. Quinlan. “We’re reversing that trend and creating a new model where we will see you at home, which is the ultimate destination, I think, for Hippo, as well as the right destination for medicine, because patients want that. Patients want convenience, and many who have multiple problems don’t have the time, money, energy, or physical ability to go elsewhere — and when they do, it’s with great hardship. Many just can’t come, and they suffer the consequences.”

Hippo Virtual Care helps solve the problem of staffing shortages, specialty care access, and unnecessary patient readmissions in three ways:

  1. Our platform effectively extends the capacity of specialty physicians by reducing (or eliminating) the cost and inconvenience of travel.
  2. Hippo can significantly improve access to care in rural communities, turning rural hospitals into treatment hubs rather than referral centers.
  3. Our technology can bring the specialist to the patient in the home and reduce the risk of readmission, allowing for more effective health management — and less need for disease treatment — of the 5 percent of high-risk patients requiring multi-chronic specialty care who drive 50 percent of healthcare costs.

Taken together, these benefits not only save patients and providers time and money, they can also save lives.

“We have an existing healthcare model that we need to keep alive and keep developing. We also have a new healthcare model that can take us to places that we couldn't go before at a lower expense and with greater satisfaction. By getting people to think differently and think with some imagination, and investing in our ideas to make them a reality, we can make a difference toward helping people who otherwise would have little chance of getting it.”

Hippo Virtual Care can help you help your teams provide better care and achieve better results for their patients.

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