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Truepill becomes a ‘triple threat’ with diagnostics

Truepill, a company operating behind-the-scenes of several well-known digital health brands and health plans, added another tool to its repertoire: diagnostics. The San Francisco-based company is now ‘triple threat’ of sorts, offering white-labeled pharmacy fulfillment, telehealth and lab testing all in one place. 

“There’s no other company that offers all three under one roof where it’s a seamless experience,” CEO Umar Afridi said in a phone interview. 

Truepill hinted at these plans last year, when it raised $75 million in funding. Since then, it has built out a network of CLIA-certified labs that plug into its API, and has already processed 500,000 tests to date. 

Afridi’s goal was to make the current system — which involves a doctor’s visit, a separate trip to the lab, and separate copays for each — much more manageable.  And with the pandemic, people’s expectations changed; they didn’t always want to drive in for an appointment.  

“When you think about digital health, each one of the pieces has always existed in some form or another,” he said. “The reason for low uptake is that it’s still a clunky experience… you still have to go see a doctor in person, you still have to log into the manufacturer’s portal.” 

Truepill will be able to offer both in-person and at-home tests through its network, along with telehealth visits to help interpret results.

Many of its early partnerships have been around Covid-19 testing, though its plans are much broader than that. The company started working with UnitedHealth Group to offer Covid-19 tests, treatment and masks shipped directly to members’ homes, as part of its Well At Home program. It also worked with the Health Transformation Alliance, a cooperative of 58 employers, to offer Covid-19 diagnostics and other health tools. 

 Truepill has some other big projects in the works, including a colorectal cancer screening program with an undisclosed partner. 

“With digital health, you can deliver these kinds of population health programs at scale, and you get high adherence because it’s very convenient,” Afridi said. 

In the future, Truepill is looking to build out more of these large-scale partnerships with health plans, by making it easier for them to reach patients directly. But there’s also plenty to do with buzzy digital health startups, which have been raising funding at record rates.  

“We’re always working with startups and looking for new ways to solve some of the problems in healthcare, and we always want to be the partners that they think about when they want to launch these services,” he said. 

Photo credit: Jmsilva,Getty Images

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