Babylon Health’s CEO Dr Ali Parsa has said that the company needs to be “very cautious” about expanding its business in the UK as it loses money on every patient. The comments were made at an ‘Ask The CEO’ event for investors in late May.
Dr Parsa said the company is paid for one or two visits per year to a GP for the age cohort registered with its service, but “in reality, people use us six to seven times a year and we actually lose money on every member that comes in”.
Dr Parsa also said the company is ‘overwhelmed with demand’ for GP services in the UK.
Babylon Health provides digital-first primary care services in the UK as GP at Hand and in August 2021 was the first practice in England to register more than 100,000 patients on a single list.
Patients can access video consultations or see a GP in person at one of Babylon’s practices in London, where more than 90% of its patients are based. The company had seven practices in London, but despite the emphasis on digital-first and video consultations, there has been a big rise in demand for face-to-face consultations, forcing the company to open two new clinics in London – the Victoria-based Dean Farrar Street clinic opened in May, and Drummond Street clinic will open in Euston in June. GP at Hand also has a clinic in Birmingham.
In the past the provider has been accused by critics of ‘cherry-picking’ younger, healthier patients, leaving other practices to care for patients with greater needs. Data backs up this skew to younger healthier patients, as in August 2021 almost half of its patient list were between the ages of 20 and 29, compared with 13% of the general population registered to a GP practice and 85% of the patient list was aged between 20 and 39, compared to the national proportion of 28%.
In August 2021, Babylon announced a major 10 year partnership with Royal Wolverhampton Trust, to expand the use of digital consultations. However, recent years have seen Babylon make major investments outside the UK, in particular the USA.
In 2020, Babylon launched Babylon 360 in the USA, an app-based service giving 24/7 access to healthcare and personal health goals. In late December 2021, Babylon acquired the US company Higi Holdings, a consumer health engagement company and in January 2022, Babylon Health acquired the company DaytoDay Health, based in Boston, MA. DayToDay has developed technology to support patients newly discharged from hospital and pre-op patients.
The company also has investments in China, Rwanda and Canada.
An overview of the company can be found on the nhsforsale.info website
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