Xealth began as an entrepreneur-in-residence initiative within Providence. Then in 2017, Xealth was spun out on its own and EIR Mike McSherry became CEO.
Prior to Xealth, McSherry co-founded Swype, Boost Mobile, Amp’d Mobile, and Zivo and served in roles at Nuance and Microsoft.
In 2020, the Xealth platform that enables physicians to prescribe digital health tools, apps and services for patients came into the spotlight for its effectiveness at Providence as well as Baylor, Scott & White, MemorialCare Health System, Froedtert and other organizations during the early COVID-19 response.
Health Evolution Editor-in-Chief Tom Sullivan spoke with McSherry about how digital health innovation is evolving during 2020 and moving forward, what CMS could do to advance digital health and therapeutics, how CEOs can keep pace this year’s innovation explosion, and more.
Health Evolution: The word of the year in 2020 among innovators and technologists just might be “accelerate.” From AI to vaccines, we have witnessed progress at a pace very few people would have envisioned as recently as January. How do you see that reshaping the landscape?
McSherry: Business and competitive pressures are forcing CEOs to confront digital health in new ways. Payers are catching premium first dollar and pulling in large profit metrics, as well as building digital front doors and telling members to start with those. That leads to hospital systems being relegated downstream in the referral process or only doing complex surgeries, maternity or births, as examples. The COVID-19 shock to the system is proving how valuable capturing that first dollar is and all of our large hospital customer CEOs and board rooms are in a race to take on more capitation and risk, whether becoming ACOs or negotiating more aggressively with the plans in their regions. Market dynamics are forcing providers to become more digitally savvy in engaging patient populations and whole-person care.
Health Evolution: Another factor heading into 2021 will be President-elect Joe Biden, who has espoused digital health and cancer moonshots. What impact do you envision the new administration will have on innovation?
McSherry: Biden is going to have a broader engagement in health care, which leads toward more dollars and more covered lives. He’s been a proponent of digitalization in health care. Under the Trump administration, the telehealth rules have been relaxed, as has cross state licensure so providers are more enabled to build a front-door strategy than ever before. And that’s important to the future because if you’re going to own capitation and risk, you will have to manage lives in remote patient monitoring and chronic care management apps. Providers have to share risk, figure out entire digital strategies around attracting patients and then manage them in a capitated way with more digital tools because of the cost-efficiencies.