Business Insider: Lark is an especially attractive partner for payers looking to reduce chronic disease spending.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

Lark Health launched its preventative health tool for patients at risk of chronic conditions — here’s why Lark will be an especially attractive partner for payers looking to clamp down on their share of chronic disease spending. 

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LARK LAUNCHES PREVENTATIVE HEALTH TOOL FOR AT-RISK PATIENTS: Chronic disease management startup Lark Health rolled out its “Lark Prevention” tool aimed at providing behavioral health coaching to patients at risk for developing chronic conditions, according to MobiHealth News. The AI-enabled program was designed to guide users through behavioral coaching to address health issues including weight management, smoking cessation, and stress — users can select an initial health area to address, and once that program is completed, they can select a second area to focus on.

The rollout of the tool is the latest move Lark has taken to expand its scope of services — and the launch could expand the size of its addressable market in the digital chronic disease management space:

  • Lark Health has been bolstering its diabetes and hypertension management services across the last year. The startup focused its early work in the chronic disease management space, aiming to personalize diabetes prevention and management. Lark expanded on its personalized prevention tools through a January 2019 partnership with genetic testing giant 23andMe to incorporate genetic test data into Lark’s diabetes prevention software — enabling Lark’s health coaches to give users more personalized health care recommendations. And Lark is seeing impressive results with its chronic disease management endeavors: Lark announced in September 2019 that its hypertension management program was able to significantly reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of stroke for patients following a period of six months.
  • With a growing number of US citizens at-risk for chronic conditions, the new launch could help Lark widen its addressable market as it branches into new treatment areas. For example, the new tool targets weight management, and obesity is a major health issue in the US: The prevalence of obesity was nearly 40% and affected about 93.3 million US adults in 2015-2016 alone, per the CDC. Further, obesity is often associated with chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and certain cancers — which represent some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death in the US. 

The launch of Lark Prevention tool makes the startup an attractive option to payers — thanks, in part, to its value-based care (VBC) billing approach. Payers — who are incorporating digital tools into their benefits packages — would likely view future partnerships with Lark Health as an enticing proposition: A whopping 90% of US healthcare spending is funneled into managing and treating chronic conditions, and payers are looking for ways to curtail their share of spending on members with chronic disease. And with Lark Prevention tool targeted to at-risk patients, payers could see the tool as a means to bypass the development or progression of costly chronic conditions, thus reducing spending in the long-term. Further, payers may have little to lose in a tie-up with Lark Health, considering it employs a VBC-based billing approach known as “no-risk performance-based billing” in which the startup only charges payers when its members enroll in Lark and achieve improved health outcomes, making it an even more attractive potential partner.

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