How This NYC Company Enlists Employers in the Fight for Healthcare Access
For the past 14 months, Dr. Brendan Sullivan has witnessed the toll the pandemic has taken on the physical and mental health of his patients at Eden Health. And he’s doing all he can to help.
Dr. Sullivan is the associate chief medical officer at Eden Health, which provides tech-enabled primary and mental healthcare sold directly to companies as a benefit for their employees. Normally, he leads the firm’s national clinical care model, but during the pandemic, he’s taken on an even greater role.
“I’ve guided our company and employer partners in understanding employees’ healthcare needs and served as a reliable clinical resource, interpreting and updating rapidly changing guidelines for our clients to keep their workforces safe and healthy,” Dr. Sullivan said.
That has included playing an active role in testing, screening, and ongoing patient guidance. But lately, his biggest challenge is the same one the whole world is facing: the vaccine rollout.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there related to safety and efficacy, which leads to vaccine hesitancy,” Dr. Sullivan said. “To combat this, we organized a campaign to provide vaccine updates and education to our patients and employer customers, early and often.”
Built In NYC caught up with Dr. Sullivan to learn more about his position as an associate chief medical officer, and how Eden Health is playing a critical role during the pandemic.
What does an associate chief medical officer do at a health tech startup?
I am responsible for our national clinical care model, which unifies virtual and in-person primary care, behavioral health, physical therapy and specialty navigation. I lead our organization in the design and delivery of team-based care, collaborate cross-functionally with the product and operations teams to optimize clinical programming, and also dedicate time to direct patient care. I add a clinical perspective to the company’s greater strategy and ensure each decision we make improves the patient experience.
... I worked closely with our product team and employer partners to quickly develop a way to screen employees to allow essential workers to remain at work.’’
For example, at the onset of the COVID-19 lockdowns, I worked closely with our product team and employer partners to quickly develop a way to screen employees to allow essential workers to remain at work.
Tell us more about your work during the pandemic. How has Eden Health contributed?
As healthcare workers, we’ve seen the toll that the pandemic has taken on our patients’ physical health and mental well-being. The Eden team has been working tirelessly the past year to help in the fight against COVID-19: from testing and screenings, to ongoing patient care and guidance. Now we are at an incredibly important juncture in our fight — one of sincere optimism and enthusiasm for an accelerating vaccination campaign.
On your end, what has been the biggest challenge of the vaccine rollout?
Our efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy have taken the form of information directly accessed through the Eden Health mobile app, blog posts, and participation in webinars and town hall meetings. We also continually train our providers to ensure we are communicating consistent messaging to our patients and protecting their overall health and safety.
Before all adults were eligible for vaccination, another challenge was the dynamic eligibility criteria with variation by state and local geography. We solved this by creating a product feature that consolidated local eligibility information and state resources for patients to easily access. We also created a vaccine waitlist based on eligibility criteria to manage equitable access to the vaccines at Eden Health.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of working at Eden Health?
At a time when humanity in healthcare is more needed than ever, Eden is reimagining a model that is truly patient-centered. It’s incredibly rewarding knowing that the work we do supports thousands of patients — and their families — who look to us to stay healthy and navigate the broader healthcare system. Eden’s mobile app allows for ongoing conversations between a patient and their care team at no cost to our members. We find that this kind of ease of access and continuous preventative care leads to healthier patient outcomes down the line.
At a time when humanity in healthcare is more needed than ever, Eden is reimagining a model that is truly patient-centered.’’
Just this past week, we had a patient who was very stressed about finding her elderly mother a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. We were able to walk her through the steps of how to add a family member to her Eden membership, and we then vaccinated her mother at one of our clinics the very next day. Our ability to help this patient and her mother, and to see their gratitude firsthand, was a highlight of my week.
What’s on the horizon at Eden Health that you’re most looking forward to?
It’s an exciting time at Eden Health — we’re expanding the depth and breadth of our clinical services and investing in innovative, accessible virtual experiences for our speciality care, including mental health and physical therapy. We are prioritizing product features that will deepen our relationships with our patients, provide more value to our employer partners, and allow for integrations of third-party healthcare services.
We’re different from most practices because our patients have unlimited access to our clinical team 24/7. Our clinicians have the flexibility and space to give patients as much time and attention as required to meet them where they are and build trusted relationships rooted in preventative care and education. It’s fulfilling to see firsthand how we can transform our patients’ experience with the healthcare system and deliver better quality of care. I’m thrilled to grow our clinical team and foster opportunities for them to partner with the broader Eden organization to provide the best possible care to our patients.