2021: Pearl Health Year-In-Review | Milestones, Primary Care Trends & Resolutions

Pearl Health

Pearl Health

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2021 Year In Review | Primary Care Trends

2021

Pearl Health Year-In-Review
Milestones Primary Care Trends Resolutions

Looking Back: A Pearl Is Formed

This past year marked the first full year of Pearl Health’s existence. Although we made tremendous progress in 2021, we’ve only just begun to realize the promise and potential of our vision to empower and enable primary care practices to succeed in value-based models. Like a pearl in nature, future layers of understanding, iteration, and effort will continue the steady process and progress that will characterize the beauty of what we become.

As we prepare for 2022, we know that the year ahead will be defined by accelerated and increased growth, delight of primary care practices with whom we partner, and democratization of access to value in healthcare — all aimed at bringing humanism back to healthcare.

2021 In Review

  • Series Seed with AlleyCorp
  • Series A and venture debt with Andreessen Horowitz, AlleyCorp, and Silicon Valley Bank
  • Enabling primary care providers across 11 states and 42 counties to engage and capture value from risk under Medicare’s Direct Contracting model
  • Built a team of 30+ world-class individuals 
  • Preparing to enable physicians to manage care for ~6k Medicare patients through our Platform
Pearl Health - Year in Review - 2021 Timeline
Trend #1: Aligning Incentives to Value Created in Patient Care Journeys
For too long, primary care providers have been kept at a distance from bearing risk and capturing downstream value that they create for our healthcare system.
Trend #2: Primary Care at the Center of Managing Healthcare
2021 marked increased attention and investment in primary care, as recognition of its critical role in managing healthcare and unlocking value became mainstream.
Trend #3: Access & Visibility into Healthcare Data
Over the past year, we’ve been encouraged by the growing ecosystem of potential partners — buoyed by ever-growing demand — to aggregate and integrate the fragmented constellations of data across healthcare.

Trend #1: Aligning Incentives to Value Created in Patient Care Journeys

For too long, primary care providers have been kept at a distance from bearing risk and capturing downstream value that they create for our healthcare system. Instead, rewards from shared savings line the pockets of the wide range of stakeholders that disintermediate doctors from risk. Additionally (and perversely), fee-for-service incentives have been aimed at rewarding volumes of activities, instead of outcomes, disincentivizing doctors from making meaningful connections that don’t neatly fit into maniacally managed schedules.

This past year Medicare’s Direct Contracting model offered a window into the future, with innovative payment mechanisms — like capitation and shared savings for effectively managing risk — that recognize that incentives for primary care providers are currently misaligned.

At Pearl Health, we believe this trend will continue in 2022 and beyond. We anticipate that providers will embrace and move into value-based contracting and risk-bearing efforts at an accelerated rate. Intelligent payers — not just Medicare — will embrace and enable this, as will capital markets.

Related Resources

Trend #2: Primary Care at the Center of Managing Healthcare

2021 marked significantly increased attention and investment in primary care, as recognition of its critical role in managing healthcare and unlocking latent value (in the healthcare sense of the word) became mainstream. The list of industry-changing moves below illustrates and underscores this trend.

Big Moves in Primary Care in 2021

  • Walgreens announced that 45% of 9,100 stores will have primary care clinics (Source), as well as a $5.2B (63%) stake in VillageMD. (Source)
  • CVS Health announced its intent to acquire more physician practices and clinics as it expands its diversified strategy to grow its primary business. (Source)
  • Walmart acquired a virtual care startup to add nationwide virtual care options across primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health to its clinics’ service portfolio. (Source)
  • Amazon opened 17 health centers in cities across the United States to provide primary care to its employees — to start. (Source)
  • Dollar General announced its intent to provide rural communities with basic health care services and products through its stores, alongside hiring a Chief Medical Officer. (Source
  • Best Buy acquired a remote primary care service, focusing on serving senior citizens. (Source)
  • Aetna launched a virtual primary care program, encouraging members to see a doctor online and steering them to health hubs and CVS clinics for in-person care. (Source
  • Private equity deals rose by as much as 56% in the 12 months leading up to November, with physician medical groups being a prime target. (Source)

Why? There are at least two reasons.

  1. Primary care providers engender special trust from their patients, leading to a greater likelihood that patients will adhere to preventative health measures.
  2. Primary care providers sit at a unique vantage point on patient care journeys, enabled with perspective to most effectively understand patients’ needs and quarterback patients’ management of care.

If enabled and appropriately incentivized, we believe that primary care physicians can help shepherd our healthcare system to the promised land: better outcomes, lower costs, and higher patient and provider satisfaction. That’s one reason why, at Pearl, we’re so excited to accelerate our partnerships to empower and enable primary care practices across the country in 2022.

Source: American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Masterfile (2017)

Seen Around the Web

Trend #3: Access & Visibility into Healthcare Data

Over the past year, we’ve been encouraged by the growing ecosystem of potential partners — buoyed by ever-growing demand — to aggregate and integrate the fragmented constellations of data across healthcare. We see the industry making progress here, too — on both private and public fronts.

When it comes to keeping their patients healthy, one of the biggest obstacles that providers face — especially primary care physicians and their staff — is their lack of visibility into patients’ health care journeys. Optimizing quality and costs to increase value in healthcare requires visibility into information to inform better decision-making about allocation of resources to deliver care to the right patients at the right time. Data exist but are scattered across different systems in different formats, making it next to impossible for doctors and staff to know how a patient is doing when she goes through the system, from whom and where she’s receiving care, and whether ongoing care is aligned with the patient’s best interests.

Looking forward, we anticipate that stakeholders across healthcare — providers, patients, payers, and others — will demand more real-time data on patients, costs, and information to effectively manage the Total Cost of Care. Deeper integration of these data — and connecting the dots between them — will enable deeper connective tissue across the patient journey, supporting providers and patients with infrastructure similar to consumer experiences already seen in industries like food delivery, retail, transportation, and other parts of everyday life. That’s why we’re building a platform that aggregates and visualizes data to enable primary care physicians with strategic visibility into patient panel health, alongside easy-to-understand financial reporting to help them allocate and manage resources.

Related Resources

Looking Forward: Pearl Health New Year’s Resolutions in 2022

With wind in our sails from market and industry tailwinds, we’re excited to share Pearl’s new year’s resolutions with you. Here are five things we’re committed to doing in 2022.

Pearl Health’s (Not So) Secret Ingredient: Our Team

We recently published our point-of view on the mission-critical importance of our culture. While our values, ethics, and principles provide the foundation upon which we build our culture, it’s our people who build it, embody it, and give it a life of its own.

Working together as a small, focused team of authentic, mission-driven individuals has provided fertile ground for big thinking, tremendous progress, and rapid realization of our ever-growing ambitions to make our country healthier, happier, and more able to afford better quality healthcare for everyone. As we expand the Pearl family in 2022, we look forward with eager anticipation of all the future teammates we’ll welcome to join us on our mission.

If you’re excited as we are about what you’ve read, don’t wait — we’re hiring!