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Scouting Report-Oxygen: AI-Based, End-to-End, Virtual-First Primary Care

The Driver:

Recognizing the opportunity in “virtual first primary care” Oxygen Healthcare was launched during the Coronavirus pandemic to provide an end-to-end solution for physicians looking to rapidly deploy virtual-first primary care. Backed by $3M from Paul Heywood and with a founding team that has been involved in a number of successful startups, Oxygen offers AI-based solutions that provide clinicians with an entire virtual primary care ecosystem

The Key Takeaways:

  • Nearly 40% of physicians have a side-gig and almost 75% of them say that enjoy it at least as much, if not more than their primary job

  • Integrated, virtual-first primary care practices like Oxygen will help clinicians streamline clinical workflows and improve the quality and cost of care

  • Virtual primary care doctor, consulting, expert witness and investor are all popular additional sources of income for physicians

  • Nearly 20% of primary care clinicians surveyed by the Primary Care Collaborative during COVID said someone in their practice plans to retire early or already had left the practice.

The Story:

Founded in 2020, Oxygen’s goal is to combine “the best of robotic automation, AI, and digital healthcare technologies to create an outstanding virtual healthcare experience.” Targeted primarily at independent practitioners, Oxygen allows them to quickly and easily establish their own virtual practice for approximately $200 per month. Oxygen also offers an affiliated group model but that is not as great a focus initially. The platform incorporates telehealth, an EHR, prescription ordering, and administration/billing all into one seamlessly integrated software package. The platform is designed to be “turn-key” so that a practice can be up-and-running within a matter of hours. Once operational, clinicians can prescribe medications, order lab tests, and have all data entered right into the integrated EHR. To get started on their platform, all providers have to do is set up their profile, declare their specialty and payment preferences, and establish their availability. Currently, Oxygen is in its initial rollout phase and the platform is open to all specialties. From the patient’s side, the Oxygen app is an intuitive, patient-friendly portal where patients are asked to complete their health profile and questionnaire before their appointments. Patients can choose their provider and request an appointment. Additionally, patients are sent push notifications for upcoming appointments. Currently, the Oxygen app has the capability to upload and integrate data from consumer wearables health apps such as the Apple Watch or Fitbit and is working on others. While Oxygen’s EHR does not currently integrate with the major provider-based EHRs , this capability is expected to be incorporated in the very near term. According to the company, their founding team has helped build investments with over $1B in value and been involved in successful startups with exits to Google, Oracle and others.

The Differentiators:

Oxygen’s platform gives independent physicians a rapid way to provide “virtual-first” telehealth services in a comprehensive, integrated platform, This eliminates the hassle and inconvenience of having to contract for separate EHR’s, billing/administrative functions, telehealth platforms, etc. In addition, Oxygen’s app is intuitive from both the clinician and patient side, the platform is easy to navigate, clear, and graphically appealing. In addition, Oxygen’s app allows clinicians to review lab/test results before they are sent to patients or have them sent directly to patients in a contextualized form (ex: high, low, within normal range), based on the clinician’s/patient’s preferences. This will become increasingly more important as healthcare consumerism increasingly drives the healthcare delivery model. In addition, by directly integrating data from consumer wearable devices, Oxygen’s system is allowing clinicians greater visibility into continuous monitoring of their patient’s daily lives and vital statistics. While there is some debate about the value of consumer-grade vs. medical-grade data, over time there is no doubt that this gap will close with improvements in technology and the information will become increasingly more valuable to clinicians in diagnosis and treatment.

The Implications:

Virtual first is increasingly gaining a lot of interest among both clinicians and digital healthcare investors as providers look to meet patients where they are. While it certainly won’t be appropriate for all cases, virtual-first can extend access to care for many who would not be able to or want to have to deal with the time or inconvenience of having to visit the doctor for a physical appointment. In addition, “virtual-first” is appealing for physicians who feel overworked and overburdened by the administrative portion of their jobs so are beginning to look at ways of supplementing or replacing income. For example, a recent article in Becker’s Healthcare noted that nearly 40% of doctors have side-gigs, prompted largely by income losses from COVID and that almost 75% of them like their side gig equally or more than their primary job. Services like Oxygen’s which are purpose-built for virtual care and help to optimize all facets of running a practice from billing right through referrals should benefit from this trend. In addition, by incorporating AI into their model, Oxygen will increasingly find ways to streamline the workflow and improve the quality and cost of care. Moreover, as providers and patients look to ways of extending care beyond facilities to incorporate remote patient monitoring “virtual-first” will already allow EHRs and other systems to incorporate the appropriate data and analytics so they can be analyzed and applied within clinical practice and workflows.


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