Cue Health, best known for its at-home COVID-19 molecular test, will launch its own virtual health platform, pushing the company outside of the diagnostics space.

The direct-to-consumer platform, available on Nov. 15, will include on-demand access to doctors, guided COVID-19 testing, prescriptions and physician-ordered lab tests. The virtual care offerings are part of a membership program, where customers can pay a monthly fee for a number of tests per year, plus discounts on a Cue Reader and additional tests.

“I think the differentiator here is that we lead with an extremely powerful, capable diagnostic product and the ability to connect that test result to a doctor immediately if you’d like to,” Clint Sever, Cue Health’s co-founder and chief product officer, told MobiHealthNews.

“Or you can come to the platform for any reason and access our suite of doctors. They can prescribe for any condition that they need to, so there’s a lot of flexibility built into the platform that we think is really important.”

WHY IT MATTERS

Once a more niche method of healthcare delivery, telehealth and virtual-care use exploded during the pandemic as patients and providers avoided unnecessary in-person care. Though telehealth utilization had been declining in June and July, FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker found utilization grew nationally in August, particularly in the South as the delta variant spread in the region.

And as more people return to travel, group gatherings and events, Sever said the supervised COVID-19 testing capabilities offered as part of Cue’s virtual care will also help differentiate its platform.

“A lot of people, especially when they travel, want that lab-quality result,” Sever said. “But they can’t get that lab-quality result unless they go through a really arduous process of showing up at a testing site and waiting 24 hours to 48 hours for test results, which may or may not get delivered to them on time, especially if you’re on a tight timeline.”

THE LARGER TREND

Cue has had a busy 2021. In March, it received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its diagnostic COVID-19 test that doesn’t require a prescription and can be used at home. It had first received an EUA for a point-of-care test in June 2020.

The company scored a hefty $235 million in new funding in May, and announced plans to go public in early September. By the end of the month, it had kicked off its $200 million initial public offering.

Sever said the company is working on expanding diagnostic offerings that will be compatible with the Cue Reader, including tests for flu, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), chlamydia, gonorrhea, fertility and pregnancy. But Cue’s long-term plans go beyond diagnostics.

“The goal is always enabling anyone to access the healthcare system, from home or wherever they are. To make that extremely easy, to bring the healthcare system to you,” Sever said. “So that digital transformation of the healthcare system remains our mission. And I think this DTC [direct-to-consumer] launch is the first major step in enabling that larger vision.”



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