Satchel Health utilizing telemedicine to serve post-acute care market
Jun 27, 2018
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Lanson Hyde says he has not been the founder of a start-up although he has been part of two private ventures that went public before accepting his latest leadership role. For the past year, the Nashville native and University of Tennessee graduate has served as Chief Executive Officer of Satchel Health , a company that is utilizing telemedicine to serve the post-acute care market, better known as skilled nursing facilities. “It was a tech-enabled services business, not a tech business,” Hyde told us in a recent interview. Yet, after meeting with the company’s board of directors and being very impressed with the individuals and their collective commitment, he was convinced that they could work together to grow the company to be a strong player in the population health world. Hyde says he has leveraged “a great engineering team” that he found with a new and much stronger business development team and a proven technology to bring much needed services to skilled nursing facilities. For anyone who has had a relative or friend in a nursing home, you know that the facilities are not staffed full-time by a physician. So, what happens when an episode occurs with a patient that requires an immediate action? Do you contact the on-call local physician? Hyde explains that the likely answer from that person is going to be to send the patient to the nearest hospital Emergency Room. “That might not be the best answer for the patient,” he says. If the patient can be treated at the skilled nursing facility, it is more convenient, not as disruptive, and less costly to the healthcare system. That’s where Satchel Health’s telemedicine solution comes into play as outlined in this infographic from the start-up’s webpage. Using a specially-designed telemedicine cart, the nurse at the facility enters data on the patient and engages multiple biometric devices. That data is then routed to a clinician to make an immediate assessment of the appropriate action to take. That medical professional could be the patient’s primary care doctor or a clinician who is part of the Satchel Health team. The diagnostic process is supported by a robust technology platform that includes a suite of real-time streaming diagnostic devices on the cart and a similar cart along with mobile/laptop apps available to the clinician. More important, particularly in rural communities, is the fact that the telemedicine system is designed for low bandwidth areas. Providing quality healthcare in a timely fashion to these types of episodes is just part of the Satchel Health model. There’s also a proactive approach that initially involves identifying on a daily basis patients at a facility who have experienced a “negative change” in their health in the past 24 hours and putting them on a “watch list” to be seen soon by the facility’s on call clinician. Another future path is what Hyde describes as development of a “care network” for assisted living facilities that utilizes the underlying telemedicine technology. He believes it will be particularly attractive to non-resident family members who want to be able to have more frequent and robust connectivity with a relative in an assisted living facility. “We believe this product will help them acquire more residents,” he said.