Partnering with Elemy to deliver high quality paediatric autism care | by PI | PI Growth | Oct, 2021

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By Dhiraj Malkani and Akshay Rai

At PI, we are humbled to partner with companies that we believe have uncommon potential. Our evergreen, established capital base allows us to invest over long-time horizons and we seek to serve as a sounding board for entrepreneurs as they look to execute their visions. We deploy capital using a synergistic crossover strategy, leveraging our understanding of public markets and operational benchmarks to the benefit of our partner companies through their growth phases.

Today, we are excited to announce a new partnership with Yury Yakubchyk, and the rest of the Elemy team as a part of their Series B growth financing. We are inspired by Elemy’s mission to improve access to care and clinical outcomes for children with autism, through its digital platform and in-home care model and are thrilled to be part of this journey.

Access to paediatric autism care remains a challenge

At PI, behavioral health has been a focus area for us over the past few years. Healthcare delivery has seen significant progress over the past few years with use of technology to drive significant improvement in quality-of-care delivery along with more data driven and informed decision making. However, on the behavioral health side, access still appears to be a significant hurdle to be solved for.

As per the CDC, 1 in 54 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)[1] while 1 in 6 children aged 3–17 years were diagnosed with a developmental disability. The American Academy of Paediatrics highlights that an early identification is critical to managing developmental disorders[2] and data suggests that 1 in 5 children who end up being diagnosed with autism experience developmental regression in skills such as language and social interests between the ages 1 to 3. Delays in diagnosis and treatment can have significant and long-lasting impact on the quality of life, with increased risk of developing additional behavioral health issues like chronic sleep problems and depression as well as other health issues[3].

There is increasing recognition that early interventions and improving access to treatments drives the best outcomes for patients while driving down overall medical costs. The pandemic has brought into focus the impact of behavioral health issues on medical costs down the line and managing these conditions can be a major lever in controlling the total healthcare expenditure. With an estimated 70–110k teens entering adulthood with autism every year, providing these children with the tools necessary to deal with the challenges they face is critical. Regulatory changes over the past few years appear to recognise this and have led to moves which are meant to improve access to paediatric autism care. Despite this, throughout our diligence process, we found that access remains constrained both in terms of availability of quality ABA therapy and in terms of time to access the care.

Elemy helps member families navigate the complex system and addresses key challenges on access and delivery

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is a widely accepted treatment approach for people with ASD. Due to progress over the last few years, ABA therapy is now covered by most major payors across all states in the US. However, we found that the administrative burden on families to gain access to these services is very high. Elemy actively engages with member families and payors to ease the access to care for its members. Elmey has contracted with over 100 health plans across states and guides families through approval processes enabling faster access to care for their children. Elemy’s digital platform also supports a seamless onboarding process for care givers and members.

Elemy delivers majority of the care in an at-home setting, which is considered to be more effective than an in-centre programs. Home based ABA therapy helps children develop skills in their natural environment, where they spend most of their time, as well as leading to a greater involvement of the child’s caregivers in the program. In the short period of its existence, Elemy has shown significant improvement in member behavior with a sharp decline in problem behaviors post 6 months of therapy. High NPS scores and a strong customer feedback further highlights the quality of service provided by Elemy.

In parallel, Elemy is also working towards improving the experiences for the providers by reducing their administrative requirements through use of digital tools and a strong support system. This allows the behavior analysts (BCBA) and behavior technicians (RBT) to focus on the care delivery aspects and increase engagement levels with their patients. The company also provides training support and implements a strong feedback system which helps the clinical team to track the member’s progress over time. The clinical team, led by Dr. Steven Merahn, has built a robust model supported by a strong data and analytics platform. We believe Elemy can be a pioneer in developing a more quantifiable outcomes measurement for ASD, which can over time lead to better infrastructure and access for people with ASD.

Elemy has made incredible progress in ~18 months

We are very impressed by Elemy’s progress in the short span of 18 months. The company’s growth in terms of the member base, payor contracts and market presence has been rapid while navigating the operational and regulatory challenges in the space. Yury and the rest of the team have built an incredible product ensuring high quality experience for member’s and providers’ while delivering on the growth expectations.

We believe the company is poised to be the paediatric behavioral health platform of choice as the platform expands its offerings and market presence. We are thankful for Yury and the entire Elemy team for engaging with us through the process. We are inspired by Elemy’s mission and look forward to being on board for this exciting journey!

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-recommendations.html

[3] https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-statistics-asd

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