Trapollo 2

Taking literally the maxim that health is where we live, work, play and prayCox Communications acquired Trapollo, a remote health monitoring company, extending the core business of cable TV into the world of health services to the home.

“We believe that the home will be an increasingly important node within the healthcare delivery architecture,” Asheesh Saksena, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Cox Communications, said in the company’s press release.

In the past year, Cox Communications entered in a joint venture with the Cleveland Clinic, to form Vivre Health for developing digital health care services. Cox also invested in HealthSpot, which has been called “the ATM of healthcare kiosks,” adding to the telecommunications company’s growing health/care portfolio.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  It’s a perfect storm in health care for disruption by new corporate entrants, especially projects that aim to extend primary care to people in convenient, lower-cost sites and channels. What’s more convenient and accessible than the person/patient’s home? Even closer than the retail pharmacy, which is a growing locus for primary care whether in retail chain pharmacy, grocery store co-located pharmacies, or in Big Box stores — most notably, Walmart, which now offers a $40 primary care visit ($4 for Walmart employees).

Growing Telehealth Options – On-Demand MedicineThat perfect storm is the convergence of:

  • On the demand side, growing consumerization in health plans, via high-deductibles and greater out-of-pocket costs (often leading to that healthcare sticker-shock moment)
  • On the supply side, proliferation of telehealth technologies and vendors; I include a slide here I’ve been using in presentations in the past few months which keeps growing with new telehealth vendors entering the market
  • The shift of value-based payment to health care providers (hospitals, physicians) from volume/fee-for-service reimbursement, incentivizing the legacy healthcare system to forge relationships outside of their more expensive settings where consumers, paying a larger share of the bill, would like to be treated — in quality environments, at a lower cost, conveniently.

Cox Communications is tapping into this convergence. As a cable company, the company also has access to programming (entertainment, documentary, and talk show) that can be tailored to a consumer-patient’s wants and “prescription” by physician. Watch out for this new era of infotainment therapy, along with medication adherence and other applications where we live. This is the new-new medical home: our own homes. Now health is where we live, work, play, pray…and watch TV.

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