Not too long ago, “telehealth” often meant connecting home- and community-based patients with their physicians via some sort of simple, tablet-like hardware.
Today, however, the term can mean so much more — and at-home care providers need to start preparing their operations for a wave of new telehealth possibilities.
TytoCare — which recently announced a retail relationship with Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and also has multiple health system partnerships across the country — is just one example of telehealth’s steady evolution.
With its U.S. operations based in New York, TytoCare is the maker of an FDA-cleared telehealth device capable of carrying out a long list of medical tests in the home setting, including comprehensive heart and lung evaluations, as well as ears and throat checkups.
Through the company’s software platform, that biometric data can then be sent to the company’s health care provider partners, whose physicians can subsequently diagnose and even treat patients’ conditions remotely.
“Our company was established in 2012 with the vision of essentially creating a technology that can bring virtual care to the next level,” Menahem Shikhman, vice president of strategic partnerships at TytoCare, told Home Health Care News. “We wanted to create the capability of doing remote diagnosis — an acute or primary care physical exam — but without the doctor and patient being in the same room.”
Overall, TytoCare has raised about $56.7 million in funding, according to online startup tracker Crunchbase. Its most recent round closed in January, with $9 million in new funding led by Ping An Global Voyager Fund.
TytoCare’s consumer-focused telehealth product — TytoHome — is available to Best Buy shoppers for roughly $300, with virtual visits conducted by American Well’s LiveHealth Online costing less than $60 each.
But more than 50 health care organizations have teamed up with TytoCare by using its enterprise-focused offerings, branded as TytoPro and TytoClinic.
Louisiana’s Ochsner Health System is among those entities, according to TytoCare. As is Sanford Health, one of the biggest rural health systems in the United States.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Sanford Health officially announced it was partnering with TytoCare on June 3.
The health system currently leverages TytoCare’s tech on an acute-care basis, but it hopes to expand its use into the home moving forward, Dr. Josh Crabtree, senior vice president of clinic operations at Sanford, told HHCN.
“The use case for this [TytoCare] device might be only limited by your imagination,” Crabtree said. “I think it would be safe and fair to say certainly [home health] is on our radar.”
The Sanford Health system includes 44 medical centers, 482 clinics, more than 200 senior living facilities, providing health care services across parts of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Its flagship home health division — Sanford Home Health — provides services in and around the Sioux Falls area, in addition to Luverne, Minnesota.
“With the exam capabilities this device has, I could see potential use cases being follow-up on post-surgical patients or chronic disease management,” Crabtree said. “I think that could fit with our home care population.”
Apart from its relationship with Sanford, TytoCare is also coming off a recent announcement that its telehealth platform has joined the Epic App Orchard marketplace, which streamlines electronic health record (EHR) integration.
In general, integration of technology solutions is a common pain point for home health providers.
“Since I’ve gotten into home health, there is no shortage of technology solutions for every problem that we can find,” LHC Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG) Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Bruce Greenstein previously told HHCN. “But they’re often disorganized, not integrated and not adopted in a way that equates to organizational or behavioral change on behalf of the provider or the patient.”