October 13, 2022

Stockhead: Bailador prescribes a dose of virtual care to treat overburdened healthcare system

Via stockhead.com.au

Digital healthcare could hold the key to providing both better outcomes along with increasing capacity to treat more patients.

Tech-focused growth capital fund Bailador Technology Investments (ASX:BTI)  has invested heavily across the virtual care space believing it will be a crucial to providing sustainable future healthcare.

In July 2021 global management consulting firm McKinsey penned a report based on a question as to whether telehealth was a quarter trillion post covid-19 reality.

Covid-19 changed many areas of our lives including such as the way we worked and shopped.

In healthcare the McKinsey report showed patient perception, changed regulatory environment, and continued investment has seen virtual care not only explode, but form a foundational way that healthcare is now delivered.

In the US telehealth use has stabilised at levels 38x higher than before the pandemic with the report suggesting the next chapter of virtual care has the power to:

  • Increase convenience to receive routine care
  • Improve access, especially for behavioural health and specialists
  • Improve care models, particularly those with chronic conditions or post-acute care support

Bailador partner James Johnstone said covid-19 was the catalyst for the medical community to be more accepting of telehealth to treat patients alongside in person care.

“Prior to the rapid adoption of telehealth and virtual care models it was generally accepted that you’d call your local GP, seek to get an appointment the next day and spend an hour or more seeing your GP in person,” Johnstone said.

“Now you can log on to your computer, see a doctor within an hour and commonly do so outside of 9-5.”

Bailador sees growth in healthcare businesses

Bailador has invested in three rapidly growing digital health businesses.

  • InstantScripts is a rapid digital prescription platform and telehealth consultation business.
  • Access Telehealth offers in-person and telehealth care to three community groupings in Australia including regional communities, NDIS participants and aged care.
  • Mosh is a digital healthcare service focused on men’s health across the areas of hair loss, weight management, sexual and mental health.

“From the growth that we have seen across all our digital health businesses it is clear that consumers are putting a high value on this new access and convenience,” Johnstone said.

Improving accessibility

Johnstone said Mosh treats several men’s health conditions that are often considered taboo, leading men to leave these conditions untreated.

“Mosh’s healthcare is all delivered virtually, privately, and discretely ensuring that an important barrier is broken down for men to seek the right healthcare treatments,” he said.

“The adoption of treatment is higher, and men are receiving treatment that they may have otherwise left untreated.”

Within the aged care setting, where patients may have limited mobility, access to telehealth is making it easier to bring care to the patient, rather than requiring the patient to get to care.

“Access Telehealth’s model of using in-person and telehealth models allows aged care residents to receive timely care from a range of specialists without having to travel,” Johnstone said.

Reducing burden on a stretched healthcare system

With concerns about a significant undersupply of GPs by 2030, long waiting times for specialist appointments and reduced access in regional areas, Johnstone said telehealth may help reduce the burden on a stressed health care system.

“It’s not going to displace seeing a GP or specialist for conditions requiring in-person care and treatment but it’s showing how beneficial these care models are for the community,”  Johnstone said.

“Virtual healthcare may be able to help someone who is sitting in regional Australia who wants to see a specialist before would have to drive hours or endure massive wait times.

“You’re widening access to specialist care while ensuring someone is seen sooner rather than later.”

“It also enables doctors to treat more patients who they really need to see more in person,” he said.

Help cut costs of Medicare 

Furthermore, InstantScripts is a user-pays system, reducing Medicare payments and healthcare costs on society.

“The user pays $15 to get a rapid prescription done and sent to your pharmacist or if you do a telehealth consultation its $49,” Johnstone said.

“If that person went to the GP instead, then the government or Medicare would be paying around $39 in both of those two examples.

“InstantScripts reduces some of the burden in terms of what Medicare must subsidise and diverts people away from overworked GPs into a virtual care setting where the user pays.”