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Engaging patients in behavioural change – Our investment in Perx

Published on
October 15, 2021
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Scott and Hugo, the founders of Perx, chose to tackle this problem after Hugo consulted on Qantas’ loyalty programs at Woolworths and thought:

What if you could use the same behavioural economics principles that successfully drive consumer engagement with Retail and Consumer Brands to help people stick to their care plans?

So they set about building a consumer app incorporating all the most effective nudges to motivate chronic patients to engage with their healthcare. This quickly expanded from extrinsic rewards, to include social motivators and intrinsic achievement to motivate everyone. Then they found the right customer to pay for it, health insurers and clinics with chronic patients, and gave them the tools to easily build their own custom remote patient monitoring solution to identify and engage their highest risk patients.

Over the last 5 years, Scott and Hugo have demonstrated admirable resilience on the arduous journey to get a digital health startup off the ground. They have conducted clinical studies and published an RCT in the British Medical Journal, analysed data to prove ROI for payers piloting the product, and survived the long sales cycles endemic to healthcare.

In that time, they’ve built a product with higher daily engagement metrics than most social media apps (patients use Perx 4–5 times per day), leading to better clinical outcomes for patients and cost savings for the health insurers who are Perx’s customers. While many digital health companies say they can improve outcomes, data shows that most are only effective in engaging low-risk, high-health literacy populations. In contrast, Perx engages the patients that cost insurers the most — lower socio-economic and lower health literacy populations who often have two or more chronic conditions they’re trying to manage.

While they’ve proven the business model with many major health insurers in Australia, the opportunity is global. The US is the obvious next market as public health payment models are already transitioning from fee-for-service to value-based, incentivising insurers to reduce the cost of care by paying them on a per-patient per-year basis regardless of the cost of servicing those patients.

Once you have the most expensive patients engaging with their healthcare via your app every day, what else could you do with them? Perx has solved the hardest problem in digital health; maintaining the attention of the most complex and most vulnerable patients. The opportunities are now endless for how they could use that attention to help payers and providers transition care from reactive and sporadic to preventative and continuous.

In Perx we found a resilient founding team that has solved one of the most challenging problems in healthcare, proven both clinical and commercial effectiveness, and signed and expanded with customers who are notoriously sceptical of new digital health solutions. With this round of funding, Perx will expand into the US market and lay the foundation to impact millions more lives in coming years.