Peer-reviewed research finds Babylon’s digital-first model of primary care is associated with significantly lower NHS hospital care costs
22 JULY 2021
The research builds on an independent NHS evaluation of Babylon GP at Hand, which found that A&E attendance rates reduced by 28% after members joined the service
- New peer-reviewed research finds that members of Babylon’s highly accessible NHS primary care service, Babylon GP at Hand, incurred between 15-35% lower acute hospital costs than the regional average
- Babylon GP at Hand is a highly accessible, digital-first, NHS primary care service providing full NHS primary care to over 100,000 people across London and Birmingham
- The research provides evidence that the Babylon model of highly accessible, digital-first primary care, where members have access to the full suite of Babylon technology, is associated with significantly lower downstream care costs
- The savings are observed after adjusting for differences in healthcare need between Babylon GP at Hand members and all other practices in the region, for example, age, sex and deprivation
LONDON , UK — [ 22 JULY] 2021 - Researchers at Babylon, a leading digital-first value-based healthcare company, have found that members of Babylon’s highly accessible, 24/7 primary care model incurred between 15-35% lower acute hospital costs than the regional average.
Babylon GP at Hand is a digital-first NHS GP practice, free at the point of need for members. Over 80% of appointments are virtual, which members can access at any time of day or night, 365 days per year. Every member has access to a full suite of self-care technology, including symptom checking, digital health assessment and digital twin avatars as well as virtual and in-person consultations. Over 100,000 people across London and Birmingham have registered with Babylon GP at Hand since November 2017.
Dr Sam Winward, lead author, said “This work shows that the Babylon model of highly accessible, digital-first primary care is associated with significantly lower downstream costs. The findings were observed after adjusting for healthcare needs, meaning they do not simply reflect the fact that Babylon members were typically younger than the comparator group. The savings in secondary care significantly outweigh the additional investment required to provide the Babylon model of primary care, making it an important proof point for our global mission, to provide an accessible, affordable health service to every person on earth.”
The peer-reviewed research titled ‘The effect of 24/7, digital-first NHS primary care on acute hospital spend: a retrospective, observational analysis’ published in JMIR, compared the spend per patient at the Babylon GP at Hand practice to all other practices in the North West London region. Lower costs were seen over two consecutive years, during which time the registered population of Babylon GP at Hand doubled in size, demonstrating that the effect is scalable. The work builds on findings from an independent NHS evaluation of Babylon GP at Hand, which reported that members were significantly less likely to use certain emergency services after registering with Babylon GP at Hand.
Ali Parsa, CEO of Babylon, said: “The triple-aim of healthcare has long been clear - to improve the patient experience of care; to improve the health of populations; and to reduce the per capita cost of healthcare. Preventative healthcare is now understood to be the key to unlocking these benefits, but all too often general practices are not resourced or able to provide the accessibility of high quality care required. As a result, primary care clinicians burn out, costs bankrupt people and patient populations are not well served. Babylon has invested in accessibility, in technology and in supporting staff, with the deliberate aim of solving more of our members’ problems in primary care. It’s great to see further evidence that our end-to-end digital-first services are benefiting patients and doctors by solving patient health problems and reducing expensive downstream care, through accessible and clinically effective primary care.”.
Darshak Sanghavi, CMO of Babylon and former group director of CMS during the Obama administration, added: "This is powerful evidence that by improving access through digital-first healthcare can lead to meaningful reduction on downstream care costs. This is a lesson that can apply outside the UK into markets like the US, Canada, and beyond.”
Some of Babylon's digital-first healthcare services are already available at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust Wolverhampton and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, reaching over 1.5 million patients. Both NHS Trusts partnered with Babylon to use the app-based service to help flag patients with potential coronavirus, as well as assist those who have been diagnosed with coronavirus to address their medical needs.
Notes to Editors
Babylon is a world leading, digital-first, value-based care company whose mission is to make high-quality healthcare accessible and affordable for everyone on Earth.
Babylon is reengineering healthcare, shifting the focus from sick care to preventative healthcare so that patients experience better health, and reduced costs. This is achieved by leveraging a highly scalable, digital-first platform combined with high quality, virtual clinical services to provide all-in-one healthcare. We endeavour to keep patients at the peak of health and get them back on their feet as quickly as possible, all from their devices, with the aim to promote longer and healthier lives. When sick, Babylon provides assistance to navigate the health system, connecting patients digitally to the right clinician 24/7, at no additional cost.
Founded in 2013, we have since delivered millions of clinical consultations and AI interactions, with c.2m clinical consultations and c.3.9m AI interactions in 2020 alone. We work with governments, health providers and insurers across the globe, and support healthcare facilities from small local practices to large hospitals.
On June 3 2021, Babylon announced its plans to become a public company via a merger with Alkuri Global Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:KURI), a special purpose acquisition company. Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will operate as Babylon and plans to trade on Nasdaq under the new symbol “BBLN”. The transaction reflects an initial pro forma equity value of approximately $4.2 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
For more information, please visit www.babylonhealth.com/us.
About the research
The paper, titled "The effect of 24/7, digital-first NHS primary care on acute hospital spend: a retrospective, observational analysis'' and authored by Winward S et al. will be published in JMIR and available from 22 July 06 am GMT.
Acute hospital spending for each practice was obtained through a freedom of information request; no patient-identifiable information was accessed or used. Each practice population was adjusted for healthcare need, using standard NHS methods, therefore removing any difference in spending that may arise due to the difference in populations, such as patients being younger. Three NHS methods were used to adjust for healthcare need, hence the range of percentages quoted in the findings. Although the study found 51% lower spending using the Carr-Hill weighting methodology, our quoted central finding is 15-35%. The Carr-Hill weighting takes into account demographics and other drivers of need, but is designed to determine primary funding / spend, which will not fully reflect acute care spend. This weighting approach was recommended in the FOI response and UK readers may expect to see it, hence it was included in the research and used as a cross check but not quoted in the central 15-35% finding.
North West London is used as the comparator as the Babylon GP at Hand practice is located in this area. Hospital spend across GP practices with different demographics and locations is compared by using the cost per weighted patient. Patient weightings are used by the NHS to ensure fair allocation of resources.
The NHS-commissioned independent evaluation of Babylon GP at Hand reported the likelihood of a patient attending Accident and Emergency for each of the 12 months before and after joining Babylon GP at Hand. The 28% difference reported is the difference between the average for the 12 months before and the 12 months after joining. For the full report, please see here.
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