MediTelecare has proudly partnered with Slice of Healthcare for a podcast series, where we’ll share more information about MediTelecare as a company, the people behind the scenes, and the critical role telemedicine plays in today’s healthcare industry.
Our second Slice of Healthcare podcast interview (episode #160) features Dr. Ed Mercadante, MediTelecare CEO and Founder. Below we recap the podcast, which covers how MediTelecare delivers care to patients, how the pandemic changed the stigma surrounding mental health, and introduces MediTely™.
MediTelecare is a company that focuses on delivering health care or mental health care to largely older adults who live in senior living type situations like assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, and independent living type settings. Just recently we’ve made a transition to take care via telehealth to people’s homes as well, specifically focusing on the older adult.
The company is approximately three years old, so it’s a startup. You can tell by my young look that I’ve been around and doing a lot of business buildups and startups over many years. This is my most recent venture. We grew throughout the pandemic and achieved a quarterly growth rate of about 20% quarter over quarter. Just last year we grew over 80% in growth overall. We measure growth by the client facilities that we work with and the resident patients that come to us through those client facilities. Our growth post-pandemic has actually accelerated. We think the demand has gone up because everybody understands that post-pandemic telehealth is the new modality to reach older adults that may have not been reachable in a traditional way in the past.
In 2021, we are growing about 40% quarter over quarter which is amazing. We are really excited about this growth. We have hundreds of new facilities that we’re servicing throughout 26 states. A typical facility for us is a skilled nursing or assisted living center that has about 120 beds. About 30 to 40% of the residents being cared for in these facilities come to us for behavioral health care on a regular basis. So, you can understand our growth in patient volume. Accompanying these residents are a network of clinicians including psychologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists. These clinicians are following a tight standard of care protocol we’ve developed in conjunction with them in order to deliver evidence-based results that get patients better. This protocol includes monitoring when to use and when not to use medications. We have an interdisciplinary team of clinical psychologists performing therapy while a nurse practitioner or psychiatrist prescribes the appropriate medications, resulting in a much better outcome for the patient. This has really fueled our expansion because we are truly the only interdisciplinary team in the nation treating older adults.
We’ve learned from the pandemic that there have been segments of healthcare that had been largely stigmatized pre-pandemic as well as post-pandemic and behavioral health is one of them. During the pandemic, we isolated this largely older adult population consisting of individuals who were really suffering from anything from mild depression all the way to pronounced Alzheimer’s disease. During this isolation period, the symptoms these individuals were experiencing were aggravated and more acute. We realized telehealth is the disruptive force that can reach these older adults. Now in post-pandemic times, all the skilled nursing centers who were under siege dealing with infectious disease like COVID-19 can refocus on those who need mental and behavioral health care.
A lot of people don’t recognize how mental health affects us. We recognize it as healthcare practitioners because we see how mental health plays a role in other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. If you are in a good state of mental health, many times your chronic conditions can get better. But, I think the industry now in post-pandemic times, is appropriately focused on mental health and as a result, the demand has gone up. The problem is that the number of caregivers has not. Telehealth is a disruptive force that allows caregivers to efficiently reach those patients. That’s one reason why post-pandemic, everybody is focused on mental health more. It’s being de-stigmatized as I like to say. In the past, people didn’t want to openly admit they were going to see a psychiatrist so there was a certain stigma around it. Now, I think we are more aware of it and more accepting of it as a society, especially among older adults who typically work and previously felt stigmatized by it. Also, we have a lot more stressors on us today than say 5, 10, or 20 years ago. The pandemic was the biggest stressor of all because it completely isolated the elderly population who were living in nursing homes and their neighbors or friends were battling an infectious disease. Nobody can deal with that amount of stress, not to mention how much stress staff were under as they continued to take care of this largely older adult population. These people really need a medal.
I like to say nursing homes were the first responders because they had the biggest population of people being affected. They need behavioral health support and we are really happy we can do that through telehealth. Now, we’ve developed an ambulatory app called MediTely. It’s a browser-based app and can also be found in the iOS and Android store. It’s what we call a care-coordinated app so it’s meant to be standalone. Users can reach out to our caregivers, clinical psychologists, counselors, nurse practitioners, or pharmacists and take part in live, real-time televideo. It’s augmented by a care coordinator who guides you through the whole process through either an online chat or voice call. It offers a personalized approach because we are working with an older population. We need to incorporate some kind of personalization that is similar to what they had when they went to their doctors in person. We launched about 30 days ago and are primarily using it with our customers and clients for transition of care. Our app is also designed to follow that person home so there is no void in care. This is unprecedented so we are really excited about it.
Tune in to our next episode on Slice of Healthcare, which can be found here.