Papa, a tech-enabled service that coordinates in-home senior companionship and assistance, has released a new health-management platform called Papa Health.
With this launch, Papa is expanding on its existing services to offer virtual primary care, urgent care and chronic care management through the platform.
The platform continues to utilize Papa Pals, the young adults that assist senior members. They can help seniors navigate the Papa Health platform, provide support during the virtual appointment, provide transportation if necessary and facilitate care when needed.
Appointments through Papa Health are facilitated by Papa Docs, a board-certified clinical team including physicians, nurse practitioners and behavioral health specialists.
Papa services are available through health plan providers, including Aetna, AvMed, Florida Blue Medicare, Humana, Priority Health, Regence Blue Shield and more.
WHY THIS MATTERS
This service can help seniors maneuver their care in a virtual setting, an increasingly common way to receive healthcare now during the pandemic. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, more than 40% of the senior respondents say they have used telemedicine, according to a survey from healthinsurance.com.
The companionship aspect of Papa can help address the growing social isolation problem for the 13.8 million older adults living alone in the United States, according to the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging.
Social isolation can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even death, according to the National Institute on Aging.
"Engaging in a healthy lifestyle is imperative to leading a long, fulfilling life and our Papa Pals represent the missing link in delivering high-quality and effective healthcare to older adults,” said Joel Rabasco, the head of Papa Health, in a statement.
“Whether it's helping coordinate a successful virtual primary care visit or providing a trusted companion to assist in chronic care management, their guidance and advocacy will lead to dramatically better health outcomes for our members."
Beyond these health benefits, technology like this can help seniors age in place, something that 77% of people over the age of 55 say they want to do, but only 50% believe they will, according to Rock Health.
THE LARGER TREND
Papa recently raised $18 million in a Series B round, with the goal of expanding to all 50 states by early next year. The company’s growth has accelerated during the pandemic, and membership increased 500% year over year, Papa said in an announcement.
One of Papa’s most clear competitors is Mon Ami, a startup that links college students to seniors. The company secured its first $3.4 million in seed funding last year.
Big tech companies like Amazon are also working their way into the senior care space. The online retail giant recently added new features for its Alexa personal assistant that will help U.S. users check in on an aging family member from afar.
ON THE RECORD
“Never before has it been more important to support older adults and families throughout the aging journey,” said Andrew Parker, founder and CEO of Papa, in a statement. “With companionship at our core, we have a unique opportunity to encourage and facilitate medical care into the home, where our members prefer to be for routine consultations and healthcare planning.”