Health

Sprinter raises $33M for ‘last-mile healthcare delivery’  – MedCity News

 

Sprinter Health is looking to offer on-demand lab draws and testing at home. Photo credit: Sprinter

 

Amid the telehealth surge during the pandemic, virtual appointments have still left a few gaps in care.

For example, patients who need a lab draw would have to drive in for an appointment, or in some cases, they might need their vitals checked in person. For those cases, a Menlo Park-based startup is looking to build the “DoorDash for lab draws.”

Sprinter Health recently closed a $33 million series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Other backers include General Catalyst, which led the company’s seed round, GV, Accel, and DoorDash CEO Tony Xu.

Julie Yoo, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will be joining the startup’s board of directors. In a blog post explaining the deal, she made a bold prediction:

“Every healthcare company will eventually be a home health company,” she wrote. “In the future, providers, payors, and diagnostics companies will find it difficult to compete, and to bear risk in value-based care, without the ability to extend their care models from solely facility- and virtual-based encounters into more continuous, in-person relationships that meet patients where they are.”

The problem Sprinter is looking to solve isn’t just convenience. A significant portion of ordered lab tests go unfulfilled, potentially resulting in missed diagnoses.

The startup sends nurses and phlebotomists to people’s homes for lab draws, Covid-19 tests, or to take their vitals. Taking a page from delivery services, patients can book appointments online, and get text updates, including an ETA for when a nurse will arrive, and instructions before or after a test.

Like its direct-to-consumer kin, the startup doesn’t currently take health insurance. Lab draws cost $79 and a rapid antigen Covid-19 test costs $99.

The startup was co-founded by Max Cohen, the former VP of mobile for Oculus, which was acquired by Facebook, and Cameron Behar, a former Facebook engineer.

The idea for Sprinter, Cohen wrote in a blog post, was to extend the reach of telehealth services. He emphasized that the company is not looking to replace specialty labs, providers or other systems that already work well.

“We set out to create a modern version of what we call ‘last mile healthcare delivery’ — solving for ways to meet people where they are with high-quality care,” he wrote.

The company currently operates in San Francisco, and plans to expand to Los Angeles and San Diego by the end of the year. In 2022, Sprinter is looking to expand its operations to Florida and Texas.

Sprinter isn’t the only company looking to extend more health services to the home. Amazon’s telehealth service, Amazon Care, also includes at-home follow up for lab services, tests and vitals. But rather than taking a direct-to-consumer approach, Amazon is looking to offer it to employers as a covered benefit.

Lab testing companies are also looking to compete on at-home testing. Both Quest and Labcorp have rolled out a suite of test kits that can be shipped to patients’ homes.

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