Payers, Events

Why Devoted Health has put family at the center of its mission

Devoted Health co-founders Todd and Ed Park spoke at the StartUp Health conference about why they created a company  “working manically to care for everyone like mom.”

From L to R: StartUp Health Chief Medical Officer Howard Krein, StartUp Health CEO Steven Krein, Devoted Health Chairman Todd Park and Devoted Health CEO Ed Park

Unsurprisingly, family was the major theme of the StartUp Health festival event featuring brothers Todd and Ed Park, co-founders of insurance startup Devoted Health.

The fireside chat hosted by StartUp Health leaders (and brothers) Steven and Howard Krein, traced the origin of the duo’s business relationship from their time at Athenahealth to their current business efforts to launch what they characterize as a “next-generation Medicare Advantage payvidor, sprinkled in with plenty of anecdotes underscoring the Parks’ relationship from childhood onward.

Devoted Health was founded in 2017 with the central organizing mission of  “working manically to care for everyone like mom,” according to Todd Park, who serves as the company’s executive chairman.

“The standing order for the whole company is when doing any action or making any decision ‘close your eyes, imagine the face of someone in your family you love desperately and ask yourself if you were making the decision to impact him or her directly, what would you do?” Todd Park said.

Devoted isn’t alone in trying to disrupt the Medicare Advantage market and competitors like Clover Health and Bright Health have made similar claims about the prospect of using data analysis and machine learning tools to make better and more efficient decisions about care.

“The best care is the right care delivered at the right place at the right time. If you do that its axiomatic that it will cost a lot less money,” Todd Park said. “One of the things that give us such confidence is that pioneering medical groups … actually have split the atom – for the senior population specifically – and iteratively figured models that offer highly coordinated care.”

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

When asked about the main differentiation between Devoted and some of the other insurance startups? The Parks had a simple, if somewhat trite, answer: love.

“I can’t tell you the number of folks ranging from investors to employees to large health systems which that resonates with,” said Devoted Health CEO Ed Park.

Of course, those good feelings are spread much more easily with Devoted’s significant war chest, accumulated in part to the Park brothers reputations as long time successful healthcare technology leaders.

Last year, the company raised a massive $300 million Series B financing round at a $1.8 billion valuation from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and StartUp Health.

Outside of the Kumbaya-style rationale, the duo also spoke about their specialty built tech stack and their care guidance system which offers navigators to help members through complicated clinical care, logistics and insurance payments.

As part of their model Devoted also has its own medical group which can be sent on house calls – and eventually become telemedicine providers.

“The fundamental reason we started (Devoted) from scratch was so that we could affect the culture. We’ve been wearing our heart and our values on our sleeve,” Ed Park said. “This is the last company we’re ever going to work at.”

Picture: Kevin Truong, MedCity News