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Entrepreneurs Tackle Workforce Issues and Lung Cancer Screenings

May 2, 2023
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“We offer a virtual first, tech-enabled cancer screening as a service for underserved patients, starting with lung cancer,” said Jonathan Govette.

Addressing Burnout and Access to Care

Healthcare worker burnout has drastically increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. Burnout is most often attributed to factors like emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. Longer work hours and increased responsibility are making burnout a longer lasting issue. In cancer care, burnout can impact patients’ quality of care, satisfaction, and health outcomes. 

Two entrepreneurs have developed an intervention to improve burnout among healthcare workers, as well as increase lung cancer screening rates. As the second most common cancer in the United States, lung cancer accounts for approximately one in five cancer deaths. In fact, more people die from lung cancer than other cancers combined (i.e., colon, breast, and prostate cancers).

Enter Oatmeal Health

Founded in 2022, Oatmeal Health serves as a virtual clinic, providing patient engagement services and screenings for those at high risk for lung cancer, and later breast, colorectal, osteoporosis, and other image-based cancers. It does so by partnering with federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and health plans to provide case management services that focus on making lung cancer screenings more accessible to patients who face multiple social determinants of health. Oatmeal Health is striving to reduce costs for its partners, while simultaneously improving health outcomes.

Recently, ACCC Buzz had an opportunity to speak with Jonathan Govette, co-founder and chief operating officer at Oatmeal Health. 

ACCCBuzz: Oatmeal Health is an interesting name, how did you come up with it?

Govette: We chose Oatmeal Health as a name for our company because it is unique; it describes a healthy lifestyle and prompts questions that allow us to foster a conversation about chronic disease and health screenings.

ACCCBuzz: Why do you focus on lung cancer screenings?

Govette: My partner, Dr. Ty Vachon, and I were personally motivated to start this business venture because of the loss of family members to lung cancer. Dr. Vachon lost his mother, and I lost my grandparents. These losses were a result of inadequate screening, education, eligibility requirements, and healthcare access.

ACCCBuzz: What health insurers are you currently partnering with?

Govette: As a new business, we are currently working on our partnerships, but we have been successful in garnering interest from federally qualified health centers and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

ACCCBuzz: Where are you currently operating?

Govette: We currently operate in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma, though we are working on partnerships in 10 other states. 

ACCCBuzz: How does your organization connect with patients?

Govette: Patient outreach includes patient engagement solutions via our call center, text, e-mail, social media, and community events to ensure the right patients are being screened at the right time, continuously, year after year. We also incentivize patients through transportation vouchers or money for food. We try to meet patients where they are.

ACCCBuzz: How does your organization support healthcare workforce issues, such as burnout?

Govette: Health centers do not have time to manage one more thing—more software, or another login; they need an extension of their care team to support prevention activities. That is where we fit in. We serve as a partner who can take over the logistics and follow-up as needed to increase life-saving screenings.

ACCCBuzz: What sets you apart from other organizations in this space?

Govette: Our tech-enabled service stands out because we merge technology and clinical care to oversee the entire patient journey. We don't burden already resource-limited primary care facilities with additional responsibilities. Our care team manages the entire process.

By utilizing EHR [electronic health record] data prediction and machine learning, we strive to pinpoint underserved patients who are at risk for poor health outcomes, aiming to close the health equity gap. We offer high-quality, culturally sensitive education and virtual care services to these populations to enhance their access to and compliance with healthcare resources.

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