About 7.7 million adults have a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental health condition, yet more than half don’t receive any treatment. A new digital health partnership launched to support this population.
Telemental health provider Talkspace is teaming up with Bicycle Health, a virtual opioid use disorder provider, the companies announced Tuesday. New York City-based Talkspace offers therapy, psychiatry and medication management. It treats patients for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other conditions. Bicycle Health, based in Boston, offers medication for addiction treatment, therapy and peer support groups.
Through the partnership, Talkspace clinicians can refer patients with opioid use disorder to Bicycle Health for its addiction services, while Bicycle Health can refer its patients to Talkspace to treat co-occurring mental health conditions. In addition to treating their own mental health, these patients can receive marriage and family therapy at Talkspace as well.
“Often, opioid use disorder is a co-occurring condition with mental health disorders like anxiety and depression and other behavioral health conditions,” said Ankit Gupta, CEO of Bicycle Health, in an interview. “We want to provide our patients with a comprehensive care model. While we have a robust national team of medication management providers, I think behavioral health access is so challenging that we’re really excited to provide behavioral health care through the partnership with Talkspace where we’re able to address both opioid use disorder and co-occurring mental health conditions that our patients have.”
The companies chose each other as partners because both have a significant reach and work with payers. Bicycle Health has treated more than 33,000 patients across 32 states, and Talkspace has 130 million covered lives in all 50 states.
“We wanted to ensure that we were working with an evidence-based program and we were specifically looking for a partner that is focused on having third-party payer relationships like we do,” said Natalie Cummins, chief business officer at Talkspace, in an interview. “Bicycle also predominantly works with payers and was really focused on that evidence-based approach combined with that payer coverage. Between Bicycle and Talkspace, that was a really nice match.”
There is no shared revenue in the partnership. Rather, each company is billing separately for its services.
Talkspace and Bicycle Health’s collaboration comes at a time when more and more digital health companies are teaming up to broaden the support they’re able to provide patients. Talkspace also recently partnered with Evernow to support women during perimenopause and menopause. Virtual psychiatry company Talkiatry recently announced a collaboration with NOCD, a virtual provider for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Vori Health, a company that treats musculoskeletal pain, announced a partnership in September with Ophelia, a virtual opioid use disorder provider.
Partnering with other healthcare players is important to improve care coordination for patients, Gupta said.
“Telehealth and virtual care were created in silos. … The more we can provide holistic care that really helps the patient throughout their care journey, the more we can integrate across systems, the more we can collaborate and share data and share information, the better we’ll be,” he stated.
Cummins echoed Gupta’s comments, stating that Talkspace is exploring additional partnerships in the future to support whole-person care.
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