- Seven months after announcing plans to merge, virtual care company Doctor on Demand and clinical navigator Grand Rounds are launching a new brand for their combined company: Included Health.
- The name is meant to stress how the entity offers mental and behavioral healthcare, primary care, chronic care, specialty care, care for LGBTQ individuals and patient navigation tools all under the same roof, Included President Robin Glass and Chief Medical Officer Ian Tong told Healthcare Dive.
- The inspiration for the rebrand came from Included Health, a care navigation platform for the LGBTQ community, which Doctor on Demand and Grand Rounds acquired in May in a bid to strengthen their offerings for the underserved population. Included, which covers just under 100 million members, declined to share how much it is investing in the rebrand.
Doctor on Demand and Grand Rounds have operated under their own brands since mid-March, when the two first announced plans to merge, creating a multibillion-dollar digital health firm. The goal of the two was was to integrate medical and behavioral healthcare with patient navigation to try to better coordinate care in the fragmented U.S. medical system.
The company embarked on a months-long rebranding process, and after acquiring Included in May quickly realized the name hit a sweet spot for their aspirations in U.S. healthcare.
"It's this idea that healthcare should be more comprehensive, should feel like something where you’re not getting nickeled and dimed and contorting yourself in to the healthcare system, but that the healthcare system is wrapping itself around you in an inclusive and comprehensive way," Glass said.
Over the past year and a half, virtual care companies that sell to payers, such as Included and its peers Teladoc and Amwell, have raced to build out end-to-end offerings to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market.
The goal is to become a one-stop-shop for digitally delivered care, making telemedicine providers more attractive to potential employers and health plans increasingly look to rely on one player for more of their virtual care needs to lower costs. Some private payers have even folded in traditional telehealth vendors to achieve this aim.
That's kicked investment activity, public exits and M&A up to a feverish pitch. Last year, Teladoc had two major acquisitions, of chronic care manager Livongo for $18.5 billion and provider-focused vendor InTouch Health for $150 million; while Amwell snapped up two digital health startups focused on behavioral and longitudinal care in July. Meanwhile, health insurer Cigna's acquisition of telehealth provider MDLive was completed in April.
But Glass stressed Included is different from other companies in the market due to its technology platform, deep data integration and focus on previously underrecognized needs, like LGBTQ and mental health.
Clients' response to the combined entity has been "fabulous," Glass said. "There’s a lot of mergers going on but if you look under the hood there’s not a lot of building the deep integration that we’re building."
Included's broad patient data informs its clinical interactions, but also allows it to guide patients through virtual care and to needed in-person services in their communities, according to management. That's part of Included's goal to provide a more integrated clinical experience, which could see the vendor partnering with local providers and community groups.
"There's more we're going to be expanding into in terms of the clinical scope of what we offer in different areas of specialty care, for example," Glass said. "There's also a lot of room in the direction of extending out into the community and really reaching the member where they are, whether that's in their home or a different care setting."
Included also plans to double down on its focus on traditionally underserved populations. Its May acquisition of Included, a care navigator for lesbian, gay and transgender patients, as well as Black, indigenous and people of color, was the first of an LGBTQ-specific platform by a major telehealth company.
And in September, Included announced it was teaming up with a group of large employers including Walmart and Target to create a digital health program aiming to reduce health disparities for Black Americans.
Tong, who is an executive leader over that work, said he's most excited about Included's efforts to create culturally responsive care journeys.
"I look forward to that becoming a competitive differentiator," Tong said.