Chronic disease, cardiometabolic health in particular, is a massive problem in the United States—significantly impacting many lives in a negative way, leading to millions of deaths every year and costing nearly a trillion dollars.
It's clear there's an approach that could deliver better outcomes than the status quo of care, and Ryse Health, based in Maryland and DC and led by Richard Gurley, is providing it.
Their team of clinical talent closely monitors patients, providing a coordinated and accessible experience for managing their Type 2 Diabetes.
According to Gurley, many patients have had diabetes for decades and are just now having the experience of improving rather than declining in their health because of Ryse Health’s approach to care.
Q: Why do you feel like your coordinated care approach works so much better than typical treatments for Type 2 diabetes?
A: We’re thrilled by our results. More than half of our patients coming in with LDL cholesterol over 100 get it under 100 in 90 days and stay there. But there’s not a mystery secret sauce. When I share with endocrinologists what we do, they are not surprised by our results.
First, we’re accessible. We have new patient appointment availability in the next two weeks, whereas the typical wait time in Maryland for an endocrinology practice is roughly four months.
Second, our comprehensive team offers regular touchpoints through in-person or video appointments. People living with Type 2 diabetes need the support of a good physician but also a good dietician, a good diabetes educator, a good health coach, and for many, a good therapist. At Ryse all of those people sit under one roof.
Third, we use rich longitudinal data to get a full picture of what’s happening with a continuous glucose monitor. If someone is having a blood sugar spike every day at 2 p.m., our care team can quickly have an open dialogue to address it.
These factors allow us to seamlessly fit into a patient’s lifestyle, which is why it’s effective. Nearly 83% of our patients have interacted with our practice in the past 60 days, and we’re excited to keep this momentum going.
Q: What led you to apply to 1501 Health as an incubator? What was your biggest takeaway from the program?
A: Being a local startup, the chance to build partnerships with forward-thinking organizations in this area was a rare opportunity.
Both LifeBridge Health and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) have been wonderful. They are trying to solve health problems at scale, and we are a partner that can help them tackle one of them.
I'm grateful they both have chosen to lean in and invest time in us.
Speaking of, we just announced a partnership with CareFirst where we will roll out a value-based incentivized payment model for Type 2 diabetes that focuses on improving patient outcomes.
Q: What excites you most about this opportunity?
A: Continued growth and impact.
Right now, we serve 477 patients and we're really proud and grateful for the difference we've made in their lives.
CareFirst has more than 200,000 members with Type 2 diabetes, and many thousands of those people are struggling and need extra support. I'm hopeful that a year from now we will achieve the same outcomes for many more of them as we’re working with our first 500 patients.
Q: Back in March you closed a Series A funding round, which included funding from Healthworx. Are there any general tips you have for entrepreneurs as they raise money and find the right partners to bring on board?
A: Everyone's story is unique, so it's tough to generalize, but if I had to, I’d offer three pieces of advice.
First, talk to a lot of firms because you'd never know where the right match will be.
Second, make sure you’re solving a real problem and solving it better than the status quo. This is the biggest reason we were successful in a challenging funding environment.
Finally, even as you're proving your clinical outcomes or your broader mission impact, it's important to prove out your economics in the early rounds.
Q: Why was it important for you to start and scale in DC and Baltimore? Have you found there are significant advantages to being in the Mid-Atlantic versus the West Coast?
A: The Mid-Atlantic is really a wonderful place to launch a healthcare company. There's a deep well of clinical talent and a reasonable cost structure.
There's also a good ecosystem of partners to work with, like CareFirst and LifeBridge, that are forward-thinking and big enough to be material but not bureaucratic swamps that can’t get anything done.
Listen to meaningful feedback from Ryse Health patients here.
AXIOS | March 2023
Technical.ly | April 2022
About 1501 Health
1501 Health is a unique partnership between Healthworx and LifeBridge Health, representing expertise in both health insurance and financing (payers) and healthcare delivery and services (providers). The investment and incubation program empowers entrepreneurs to get their innovative solutions to market and expand their impact in healthcare quality, access and affordability. To learn more about 1501Health, visit www.1501Health.com.
Healthworx operates at the intersection of healthcare and innovation by creating, co-creating and investing in companies that are improving healthcare quality, accessibility, affordability and equity. As the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Healthworx envisions a healthier future for all people by changing the way health works. To learn more about Healthworx, visit https://www.healthworx.com.
About LifeBridge Health
LifeBridge Health is one of the largest, most comprehensive providers of health services in Maryland. LifeBridge Health includes Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Grace Medical Center and related affiliates. For more information, visit www.lifebridgehealth.org.