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Scouting Report-Oshi Health: Virtual Care Comes to Digestive Health

The Driver:

Oshi Health, a digital gastrointestinal care startup, recently raised $23M in Series A funding from corporate investors including Flare Capital Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Frist Cressey Ventures, CVS Health Ventures, and Takeda Digital Ventures. In addition to the institutional investors, individual investors who joined the round included Jonathan Bush, founder and CEO of Zus Health, (and cofounder of Athenahealth), and Russell Glass, CEO of Headspace Health. The funding has been mapped out for expanding Oshi Health’s digital care platform.

Key Takeaways:

  • According to Vivante Health, $136B per year is spent on GI conditions in the US, that is more than heart disease ($113B), trauma ($103B), or mental health ($99B).

  • 90% of Oshi Health members gain control over GI symptoms within 10 weeks.

  • Direct costs for IBS alone are as high as $10 billion and indirect costs can total almost $20 billion.

  • 1 in 5 people who suffer from diagnosed GI conditions also suffer from undiagnosed chronic symptoms.

The Story:

CEO and founder Sam Holliday dealt with GI while observing his mother and sister’s ordeal when managing their own IBS care. Holliday’s experience watching his family deal with the difficulties of managing IBS without clinical assistance prompted his interest in companies like Virta Health that use food as medicine for treating diabetes. Holliday saw the contrast between his family’s experience and Virta’s approach of supporting people in reversing the impact of diabetes on their daily lives. Holliday was fascinated with Virta’s holistic approach of care that prioritized the user's experience while saving cost and providing easy access to virtual care that leveraged technology and was data-driven.

The possibilities that Virta’s virtual model presented for GI spurred the idea of creating Oshi Health. Oshi Health’s encompassing platform supports patients by granting them access to GI specialists, prescriptions, and lab work from the comforts of their homes. Oshi Health provides comprehensive and patient-focused care to patients with GI conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Oshi Health works is by connecting patients with an Oshi Health clinician that assesses symptoms and orders lab tests and diagnostics if needed. Following which the patient has an option of speaking to either a registered dietitian or GI-specialized psychologists that will help in forming a customized plan as many of these conditions often involve a mental health component as well. The customized plan attempts to capture the patient’s needs regarding anxiety, nutrition, or stress. The Oshi Health service extends beyond testing and planning by providing stand-by health coaches and care teams to support patients and help them stay on track.

Oshi Health’s platform also offers an app designed to help patients take action and stay organized through their GI care journey. With the app, patients can record their symptoms, quality of life measurements, and other factors known to impact their diet, sleep, or exercise. The app also features useful educational materials and recipes to help patients learn more about their condition.

Oshi Health is currently available in 3 states and works through individual and employer-based health plans. Holliday hopes to use the series A funding to expand Oshi Health and expand coverage throughout the U.S.

The Differentiators:

About 1 in 5 people suffer from diagnosed GI conditions and many more suffer from chronic undiagnosed symptoms. “GI conditions are really stigmatized”. says Holliday. Integrated GI care is a missing piece of the healthcare infrastructure. There’s a huge group of people who don’t have anywhere to go to access care that’s proven to work.” By using this virtual-first model and increasing access to care at a lower cost for patients, Oshi Health is attempting to revolutionize GI care. Oshi Health plans to use a community of IBD patients for disease research, personalized insights, and a new digital therapeutic. Oshi Health is one of the first companies to address GI disorders and is easily accessible for patients through a virtual approach. It is the only virtual platform exclusively for GI patients. Being virtual helps patients receive treatment from the convenience of their home, saving them time and hassle of commuting for GI treatment which can involve extensive and costly testing. Patients are in control of their care and have access to a team of medical professionals at their fingertips

The Big Picture:

Oshi Health’s commitment to making GI care accessible, convenient, and affordable is more likely to lower the costs of treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, colonoscopies, X-rays, sonograms, and more in healthcare centers. Oshi Health helps avoid preventable and expensive ER visits as well as unnecessary colonoscopies and endoscopies. By incorporating access to psychologists in the membership plan rather than requiring it to be paid out of pocket it allows patients to access the services of mental health professionals. Patients can schedule appointments within 3 days and there is always support between visits with care plan implementation. By incorporating both physical and mental health Oshi Health is attempting to treat not just the symptoms but the causes as well, helping to lower the costs versus receiving in-person which can lower the incidence of GI conditions and increase the quality of care they receive. Billions of dollars are saved annually on avoidable treatments and expenses because these patients are receiving the treatment they need rather than physicians ordering expensive tests without knowing the root cause of their problems. Due to the comprehensiveness of the virtual-first care model, physicians, dieticians, health coaches, care coordinators, psychologists are all involved in the patient's journey. Under traditional models, generally, patients with GI issues see just a gastroenterologist. By contrast, in Oshi’s model, a holistic team is involved every step of the way that is customized for each patient’s lifestyle that creates a personalized care plan for their lifestyle.


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