Health Tech, Startups

INVEST Digital Health Winner Spotlight: Voice startup routes patients to the right care

CareAngel, a company building a voice-based nurse assistant, won MedCity’s Pitch Perfect competition in September. Its virtual assistant calls patients to see how they’re feeling and if they’re taking their medication.

Care Angel Chief Revenue Officer Darren Hay (left) won the Pitch Perfect competition at MedCity INVEST Digital Health. The company’s virtual nurse assistant checks on patients through a phone call.

Numerous startups are testing technology to better care for patients with chronic conditions. But instead of creating another device for them to carry around, Care Angel is using a more intuitive method: voice.

The company’s virtual nurse assistant, dubbed Angel, makes calls to patients to see if they are feeling well, taking their medications, and if they had any questions about their care. If they need help, it can route them to their physician or a loved one. It’s used to help patients manage chronic conditions at home, or after they’ve been discharged from the hospital.

“The whole notion of Angel is to drive transform and scale healthcare by getting devices out of the equation,” Chief Revenue Officer Darren Hay said. “It’s making a phone call, having a conversation with a patient about their health.”

Care Angel was selected as a winner of the Pitch Perfect contest at the MedCity INVEST Digital Health conference in September. Judges said they were impressed by the company’s traction and its unique approach to AI enablement.

When they first started the company, Care Angel’s cofounders were looking for ways to make healthcare more accessible. Focusing on seniors, one of the fastest growing segments, made the most sense, so the company began working with Medicare Advantage plans.

The Miami Beach-based startup has grown by leaps and bounds since. Care Angel now has half-a-million members across the U.S. It’s also expanded its services beyond Medicare Advantage, working with Medicaid patients.

“We realized the voice-first agent works very well with Medicaid populations,” Hay said. “We’ve been really aggressively expanding programs across Medicare Advantage, but also additional lines with United and Optum.”

The company signed an agreement with UnitedHealthcare, and more recently began working with a large pharmaceutical company to support its digital therapeutics platform for patients with metastatic prostate cancer.

Care Angel has also begun expanding the information it collects on social determinants of health. Initially, it focused on prescriptions. If a patient said they didn’t take their medication, the voice assistant could see if it was because of the copay or a lack of access to transportation. The platform has since expanded to identify these needs upfront, such as referring patients that report issues with food security.

“A lot of people have the same issues. They go unrecorded,” Hay said. “For clients, we’re able to not only identify gaps in care, but address gaps in care.”

Care Angel continues to focus on working with health plans as it grows. It’s also found traction with accountable care organizations (ACOs).

“We’re growing very quickly, and very strategically,” he said. “We’re really getting into major plans as a viable opportunity to be a care extender for managing very large populations.”

Photo Credit: MedCity News