CareLinx is teaming up with virtual primary care provider Doctor On Demand to give high-risk seniors access to services in their homes. 

Burlingame, California-based CareLinx is a tech-enabled home care platform that connects seniors and their families to its nationwide network of 400,000 caregivers. The company was acquired by Generali Global Assistance in 2017.

Under terms of the partnership, CareLinx clients with high levels of functional needs will receive free initial visits with physicians through Doctor On Demand. In part, the move is a response to the COVID-19 emergency, Robin Glass, president of Doctor On Demand, told Home Health Care News in an email.

“As we all know by now, seniors are at highest risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19, given their age and likelihood of having at least one pre-existing chronic condition,” Glass said. “We believe that by offering high-quality, personal care in their homes, where they can remain safe, we can have a profound impact on their immediate well-being and longer-term health.”

Doctor On Demand is a San Francisco-based health care platform that gives users virtual access to physicians, psychiatrists, therapists and a care coordination team. In July, the company raised a funding round of $75 million, led by private equity firm General Atlantic.

Since the start of the public health emergency, Doctor On Demand has seen a sharp increase in its business.

In March, when the COVID-19 emergency began, Doctor on Demand recorded a 154% year-over-year increase in its new member registrations among the 65-and-older age group.

“COVID showed us all — providers and patients alike — that we can put much of the front-line, day-to-day traditional brick-and-mortar primary care online,” Glass said. “We’ve already seen that once patients try virtual care, they are likely to come back time and time again – even prefer the experience to in-person care.”

While some have predicted telehealth utilization to level off, Glass said she believes that virtual care can sustain its surge if companies focus on forging relationships with patients.

CareLinx’s desire to partner with Doctor On Demand stemmed from the company’s recent move to make its services available to Medicare Part B beneficiaries, Sherwin Sheik, CEO of CareLinx, told HHCN in an email.

“[Doctor On Demand] has done an amazing job building out their capabilities to address the needs of Medicare Part B beneficiaries,” Sheik said. “A large portion of CareLinx customers have Medicare Part B, and we have seen great interest from our clients to be able to access a doctor on demand safely at home amid COVID. We are continuing to explore additional ways our partnership can better serve geriatric and high-risk patients with functional needs at home.”

As a home care operator, Sheik believes the combined efforts with a primary care organization strengthens its services.

“CareLinx’s innovative approach amplifies the effectiveness of remote telehealth clinical teams by using tech-enabled caregivers who serve as their eyes, ears and arms in the homes of patients,” he said. “This partnership of telehealth coupled with tech-enabled home care, we believe, will become the future of health care, as it safely keeps patients at home, thereby reducing the cost of care and improving outcomes.”

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