How OSF HealthCare and Regroup Therapy virtualized mental health treatment

When OSF HealthCare developed their innovation model, they turned to a world outside of healthcare for inspiration. Borrowing from such non-healthcare companies as Google, Apple, and Caterpillar, OSF CEO Kevin Schoeplein– along with President Sister Diane Marie, Chief Strategy Officer Michelle Conger, and Senior Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer Dr. Jeffry Tillery – deployed an innovation team with the freedom to operate separately from the rest of the organization.

OSF’s innovation team focused on building a culture that would allow them to operate more like fast-moving tech companies. According to Matthew Warrens, vice president of innovation partnerships, “tech is all about ‘fail and fail quickly’” – a mindset that has, for good reason, never been popular in healthcare. The idea of “embracing failure” does not come naturally in an industry where failure can mean deteriorating health outcomes and lost lives.

But the OSF innovation leadership team, which includes Warrens and Innovation Partnerships Director Rob Jennetten, understood that the tech industry’s strategy for developing innovative ideas and disrupting existing markets – casting a wide net and expecting many solutions to fail – could work in healthcare if they set it up correctly. And in addition to building their internal capabilities, OSF looked externally for partners to help them with their mission. OSF was a founding partner of MATTER, where they have connected with dozens of leading-edge healthcare startups.

One of the companies they met through their relationship with MATTER is Regroup Therapy, a telemedicine solution that helps healthcare facilities augment their behavioral health capabilities. For most patients, seeing a behavioral health specialist – even if only for a quick consultation – is a painful process, requiring a referral from a primary care physician, a separate appointment, and other out-of-pocket expenses. David Cohn founded Regroup Therapy in 2012 to use telemedicine to make behavioral healthcare more accessible to patients.

OSF initially moved forward by piloting Regroup Therapy’s “doc-to-doc” model of telemedicine. It works like this: if a clinician needs a behavioral health consultation for a patient (or if a patient requests one), the doctor can use Regroup Therapy’s software to immediately consult a behavioral health specialist remotely. This system avoids a long and slow referral process, and keeps the patient from having to schedule a separate appointment, often in another location, with a behavioral health specialist.

The initial rollout of Regroup Therapy’s product has been promising. Recently OSF Ventures, the corporate investment arm of OSF HealthCare, led a $6.1M Series A investment to help them expand their product nationwide.

Best practices

The OSF collaboration with Regroup Therapy is validation that their innovation model is working. They have the mandate from leadership to explore novel technologies that can help them achieve their vision to transform healthcare to improve the lives for those they serve. Their innovation team has the remit to engage externally with companies such as Regroup Therapy, and the resources to bring solutions inside the system. And their investment arm, OSF Ventures, led by Vice President Stan Lynall, accelerates the growth of the most promising healthtech startups.

OSF HealthCare is currently working with a number of other MATTER member startups, and we expect to make more announcements in the coming months as these partnerships continue to develop.