Columbia health tech firm seeks to double staff, customers next year
Columbia, Maryland, April 24, 2018 – A health technology company that works with insurers to help reduce medical expenses among their costliest members is poised to double its staff and customer base in the year to come.
Health care costs remains top of mind for many people across the country, as concerns over spiking drug prices and increasing health insurance prices under the Affordable Care Act have risen over the past several years. It is against this backdrop that Columbia-based Vheda Health is readying for major growth.
Vheda Health aims to help insurers engage their high-cost members — namely Medicare and Medicaid patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension — and provide them with tools to make sure they are sticking to care plans. The goal is to ensure patients are visiting the hospital or emergency room less often, and thus racking up fewer medical bills.
CEO Shameet Luhar founded Vheda in 2013 with partner Philip Rub. Both were early employees of Resolution Health, a Columbia data analytics firm that was purchased in 2008 by Anthem, the largest for-profit managed health care company in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Luhar said he and Rub founded Vheda to try and address some key problems they’d seen in the industry through their previous work — like the age-old problem of patients not following their doctors’ directions.
Today, their company works with about a dozen health insurance firms, to reach more than 87 million people across 12 states. The company is seeking to double its customer base in the next 12 to 18 months, Luhar said.
To support that growth, Vheda will also need more staff. The company employs about 40 people, and Luhar expects to grow the staff to more than 100 by August next year.
Vheda’s platform has seen promising results so far, Luhar said. It has helped client companies save more than $17,175 per member per year, a savings driven by decreases in hospitalizations and emergency room visits for high-cost members with chronic conditions. Luhar said Vheda also has a member engagement rate of about 87 percent and compliance rate of 84 percent, meaning most of the targeted high-cost patients are using the platform and following directions.
The company employs a unique model for trying to make sure people stick to their care plans by providing every member participant with an iPhone preloaded with the Vheda mobile app as well as program services like a 24-hour nurse line. Participants are also paired with a health coach they can communicate with via video conferences, and given tools and devices they may need depending on their condition — like a blood pressure cuff or oxygen meter.
“We’re focused on humanizing healthcare through technology,” Luhar said. “And of course, reducing health care costs is a big topic right now.” Vheda received some early funding support from Maryland Technology Development Corp., but has been a mostly self-funded operation, Luhar said. The company is profitable, he said.
About Vheda Health
Vheda Health is a member compliance company dedicated to humanizing healthcare, through technology. With proven expertise in Medicaid, Medicare, and Duals populations, our telehealth programs deliver an average $17,175 per member per year savings by transforming the behavior of members with loosely-managed chronic conditions through human touch and technology. For more information, please visit www.vheda.com.