April 23 2021

Accolade and PlushCare: A new future in healthcare

By Rajeev Singh, Accolade CEO

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Since I joined Accolade more than five years ago, one question has come up more than any other when I talked with buyers about our advocacy and navigation capabilities. Buyers would get animated as we talked about how their people needed help navigating the unwieldy and complex healthcare system. When we outlined how our Frontline Care Teams built long-term longitudinal relationships with consumers and became their “easy button” for all things healthcare and benefits, you could see their anxiety start to melt away. 

We’ve been fortunate in the years since to become the market leader in our category, serving millions of people with our capabilities and delivering extraordinary engagement, industry leading customer satisfaction and independently validated cost savings for our customers.

Still, the question would come. “We love the incredible longitudinal relationship Accolade builds with our employees. You capture incredible data and insight into our people’s healthcare journeys. Is there some way you can integrate with their primary care physician (PCP) experience?”

As usual, our customers were way ahead of the game. 

It all makes perfect sense. The only other party on the healthcare landscape—outside of Accolade’s Frontline Care team—that aspires to a longitudinal relationship with the consumer is the PCP. And the PCP’s capacity to treat patients, order care and prescribe is the last mile of many healthcare journeys. In our own ways, and on our own separate paths, Accolade’s Frontline Care team and PCPs were both playing a role as the central point or quarterback of a consumer’s healthcare journey.

Today, those paths converge with Accolade’s announcement of our intention to acquire PlushCare.

We are excited about PlushCare because of their purpose-built technology stack designed for primary care, for their incredibly talented physicians and sky-high customer satisfaction ratings and for their mission driven management team that built an incredible company from scratch. We searched the entire industry for the right team and capabilities, and we found them in PlushCare. We can’t wait to tell you more about them in the days and weeks ahead.

But today, we want to focus you on what we believe. If you know anything about Accolade, it’s that we are not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom. We are never afraid to take a contrarian view. So, while the rest of the industry is focused on rebuilding the brick-and-mortar healthcare system virtually—replicating its transactional, condition oriented, fee-for-service roots and all its problems in the cloud—we don’t think that’s good enough. To make healthcare work in the future—the right way—we will focus on four simple principles as we add primary care to our services: Extend, Collaborate, Personalize and Validate.

Extend.  Accolade’s primary care physicians will become an extension of our Frontline Care Team—leveraging their data, relationships, and context—to deliver superlative service. Imagine a PCP who knows every medication you are taking, every doctor you have seen, understands your corporate benefits and how much is left on your deductible. We will extend our extraordinary satisfaction levels, data set and relationships.

Collaborate.  Our mission is not, like others in the industry, to replace brick-and-mortar care delivery. Our mission is to get our members to the care that they need, wherever it is best for them to receive that care. We will break down silos in healthcare by demonstrating a willingness to partner and collaborate with the existing ecosystem—not by trying to replace it all. And our partners will always play a role in the value we deliver.

Personalize.  What makes us unique are the incredible human relationships our Care Teams create, and those relationships are powered by an unparalleled data set that breaks down the silos of healthcare information. We now add electronic medical records, case notes and test results to our deeply detailed repository of information about the people we serve. As we invest in the integration of those data sets and platforms, we will be able to deliver personalized experiences previously unseen in healthcare.

Validate.  The world of healthcare is moving away from fee-for-service care to models that put a premium on value delivered. As our chief medical officer, Dr. Shantanu Nundy, frequently reminds us all, value in healthcare is measured by improving clinical outcomes for the people we serve. That’s why we all come to work every morning. The addition of primary care services further increases our ability to validate those clinical outcomes. As evidenced by the  Aon study results  earlier this year, we are company that believes in transparent validation—expect more of that in the months ahead.

Primary care. Two powerful words that, when paired with Accolade’s existing solutions, herald the promise of a new future in healthcare for our customers, their employees, and their families. 

To learn more about how this acquisition extends Accolade’s clinical capabilities, read the accompanying  blog post from our CMO, Dr. Shantanu Nundy.