CareLinx acquires Optimal Aging from Providence St. Joseph Health

The digital homecare company will help bring its long-time partner to scale.
By Jonah Comstock
02:45 pm
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CareLinx, a digital health company focused on in-home care, has acquired Optimal Aging, a fledgling startup still being incubated at Providence St. Joseph Health. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

What’s the impact

Optimal Aging is a program that coordinates non-clinical services like home care, transportation and meal support for accountable care organizations and Medicare Advantage Plans. The program actually incorporates CareLinx’s technology, and has since its Seattle-area launch in 2016.

“We scaled that program out from 2016, just starting out in Seattle, then moving through the state of Washington and out into Portland,” Sherwin Sheik, president and CEO of CareLinx, told MobiHealthNews. “The driver for doing the deal is we ran a program last year with their ACO where [Optimal Aging] served as the care coordination platform … and we customized our tech to facilitate this program. And it was through the customization and deployment of this test, and the service offerings that were coordinated by [Optimal Aging], which led to the great results that we saw.”

A small 100-person pilot saw a 43 percent drop in 30-day readmission rates.

“I wanted to take those learnings to effectively replicate what we successfully did at Providence to the other Medicare Advantage Plans and ACOs,” Sheik said. “I realized for me to get access to this, I needed to have [Optimal Aging] become part of CareLinx. There’s a lot of IP around specifically design and delivery to how we had to customize our technology that provides that visibility back in which we wanted access to.”

Sheik says Optimal Aging’s model won’t be incorporated into all CareLinx’s operations, but will look to replicate the combined program with many of its Medicare Advantage and ACO customers.

“We’re working with some of the largest Medicare Advantage plans in the country that are very much now investing in transitional care programs,” Sheik said. “How do they incorporate non-skilled homecare as an extension of these established care transition programs? And so lots of the learnings that we gained in knowhow and design that we gained through working with [Optimal Aging], [we] have the ability to now use in [our] own commercial relationships.”

What’s the trend

CareLinx, which was itself acquired in 2017 by Generali Global Assistance, has been one of the more successful startups in the digital caregiving space because of the company’s marketplace approach.

A number of other companies in the space, like HomeTeam and HomeHero, have faced problems gaining market traction.

On the record

“We developed Optimal Aging initially because we saw that aging adults were no longer able to live in their homes safely by themselves, and when we delved into the problem we found a significant opportunity to help our patients with personal and domestics needs that impacted their wellbeing but weren’t clinical in nature,” Aaron Martin, EVP and chief digital officer for Providence St. Joseph Health, said in a statement. “We believe the Optimal Aging model for helping adults age in place can be successfully scaled to reach more people and that CareLinx has the reach and depth of expertise for where the program needs to grow.”

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