Loneliness Solutions during COVID-19: Healthcare Orgs Turn to AZ Startup

by Christina Rice

Pyxir

We are all now familiar with the loneliness that results from social distancing. But for many on Medicare and Medicaid, loneliness isn’t anything new.

Arizona-based startup Pyx Health aims to solve that problem by improving loneliness and the negative effects it has on a person’s social determinants of health (SDOH), from having shelter to buying groceries. The company has raised $3.5 million in funding since its founding in 2017, including the financial backing of former LifeLock CEO Todd Davis.

Pyx Health is a first-to-market scalable loneliness and social isolation solution combining Artificial Intelligence and human interventions. Consisting of two parts, a mobile app and compassionate call center, Pyx Health has been proven by an independent study to reduce inpatient hospitalizations by 46 percent for its users.

Providing 24/7 interaction with Pyxir, a funny and empathetic chatbot, while also engaging a patient’s family and friends, the app conducts health screenings and provides links to urgent resources. When a score in the app indicates a need for SDOH support, the call center reaches out to help. Contracted by health plans, all services are offered at no cost to the patient.

Since the pandemic, Pyx Health has seen an increase in patients downloading and interacting with the app as well as increases in patient decline measured by the UCLA Loneliness Scale survey administered in the app. As a result, the call center is busy helping patients fulfill their needs and providing relief from loneliness.

One healthcare partner in southern Arizona added 200,000 Medicare Advantage patients to its program and new health plans are fast-tracking their long decision cycles to bring on Pyx Health to meet the growing needs of their members. The demand leaves Pyx Health on track to more than double new client contracts in the first quarter over all of 2019.

Christina Rice, MBA is chief operations officer of Pyx Health

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