App-based primary care provider 98point6 today announced a new integrated behavioral health offering for its employer, health plan and health system clientele.
Founded in 2015, the company's app-based platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to conduct a text-based conversation with users, allowing it to build up a patient profile before matching them to a clinician for virtual care.
Now, members who are using the company's app for primary care may also receive: therapy from licensed professionals, who can help diagnose or manage mental health conditions; behavioral health coaching for more common issues like stress; and built-in digital behavioral health programs.
Each of these can be delivered in conjunction with the company's existing primary care services, a collaborative care approach that 98point6 said will act as a one-stop shop for enterprises and members alike. The company began rolling out the new offerings to its existing customers earlier this month.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT?
With the COVID-19 pandemic entering its second year, more people are finding themselves in need of mental and behavioral health support. Recent reports suggest that nearly half of all U.S. workers are experiencing some kind of mental health issue since the start of the pandemic, and many employers are on the lookout for ways to address the issue.
With its new offering, 98point6 said that it is looking to drive earlier engagement with behavioral health resources by providing these services as a discreet, on-demand companion to the virtual primary care they may already be familiar with.
"Taking the first step toward mental wellbeing can be the hardest, but delaying care can lead to negative health outcomes and higher costs down the road," said Sara Smucker Barnwell, clinical director of behavioral health at 98point6, in a statement.
"By integrating behavioral health with 24/7 access to primary care physicians, we're removing the barriers to receiving mental health treatment, enabling earlier intervention that guides patients to the right level of treatment by the right provider."
98point6 is by no means the only digital health provider that's pushed into mental health over the course of the pandemic. Well-known names in the space like Onduo, Hims & Hers and Heal each fleshed out their platforms to include services like licensed therapy or behavioral health coaching.
Meanwhile, platforms that were already in the mental health market have enjoyed rapid expansion and investor attention. The last several months have seen major funding rounds for employee mental health benefits platforms like Modern Health, Lyra Health, Vida Health and Ginger, while consumer-targeted companies like Talkspace and Headspace have similarly signaled major growth.