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Sharecare, a digital health firm that powers a health and wellness engagement platform, acquired digital behavioral health platform MindSciences, per MobiHealthNews. Enterprise partners and consumers of Sharecare’s platform will now have access to MindSciences’ behavioral health digital therapeutics (DTx), which include programs to curb smoking, manage weight loss, and alleviate stress and anxiety.
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Sharecare has been aggressively broadening its reach this year — and we think boosting telemental health services is a smart bet, as it can bring in consumers amid the pandemic and retain their interest in its other services. The firm teamed up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona in January to expand its reach and grant Arizona residents access to its personal health tracking tools — and it snapped up population health platform Visualize Health in February, which will help providers identify any quality measure gaps in documentation.
And previously, it partnered with the state of Georgia and Walmart to boost the health of employees participating in the State Health Benefit (SHBP). But its latest play to offer clients a platform to navigate challenges like stress and anxiety is a smart move amid the pandemic, considering one-third of US individuals are now exhibiting symptoms of clinical anxiety according to Census Bureau data — Sharecare can use the MindSciences platform to hook in consumer interest now and retain it for its other services, placing it in a good position to expand its footprint.
Lesser-known virtual care companies have to contend with big-name telehealth vendors and the threat of big tech companies moving in on telehealth — so, we expect the likes of Sharecare to further diversify their products to remain competitive. For one, larger telehealth companies like Teladoc and Amwell have seen a massive surge in demand — and subsequently consumer mindshare — amid the pandemic.
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Further, big tech companies like Amazon have been elbowing in to every corner of the healthcare ecosystem — and we don’t think it’ll be long before they make a splash in the telehealth realm. For example, Amazon extended its telemedicine service, Amazon Care, to yet another segment of its Seattle employees covered under Amazon-sponsored health plans less than one month ago. And although the tech giant hasn’t made any moves to bring Amazon Care to the public just yet, we think its strategy to offer the service to more employees could indicate that it already has the providers and tech infrastructure in place to roll it out more broadly sometime this year.
As these giant firms with consumer mindshare continue to dominate — or encroach upon — the virtual care space, we think smaller or lesser-known digital health companies will likely find themselves pressured to continue diversifying their portfolios to include a variety of remote healthcare services — like integrating chronic disease management platforms, for instance — in order to remain relevant and ultimately attract more clients.
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