Array Behavioral Care’s New CEO, Shannon Werb, has ambitious plans to streamline the patient experience by offering a unified continuum of virtual care services.
The behavioral health tech company recently announced a C-suite shakeup not only naming a freshly minted CEO, but also a new chief medical officer and chief financial officer. This comes as the company plans to capitalize on continued demand for telehealth services.
The Mount Laurel, New Jersey-based Array provides virtual care in business-to-business arrangements with other health care providers.
Werb told Behavioral Health Business that the company plans to connect its services, which include everything from acute care, longitudinal care and episodic, to offer its clients a more streamlined experience.
Werb is no stranger to the digital health space. Before joining Array, he served as COO of digital home health organization DispatchHealth, where he scaled the company’s reach from 15 markets to 50. He now plans to bring that expertise to Array as the company looks to expand.
And it could be a prime time for Array to scale. Earlier this year, the company secured $25 million from CVS Health Ventures, the investment arm of health care giant CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS).
BHB sat down with Werb to discuss what’s next for Array, the company’s current strategies and the status of the telebehavioral health care space. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
BHB: Array has announced plans to expand the breadth and depth of its telebehavioral services. What will this expansion look like?
Werb: Imagine a world where a patient who presents to the ED in a high-acuity scenario is now treated by one of our psychiatrists. And that patient ultimately will be admitted or eventually discharged from the hospital. On that discharge, what if we could connect them to a broader set of downstream mental health services provided by Array?
Today, they’re more loosely connected. We think there could be much more of a seamless connection from high acuity to low acuity, or from single episodic to longitudinal care, for that patient to take better care of them over the long run.
Now that we have all of these services really stood up and operating well, we can begin to connect them and deliver them as more of a single capability to our customer base.
What’s the timeline for that streamlining process?
The team has built a great plan for 2023 that they’re executing very well. As we continue to make sure that our team is organized for growth, and we begin building our 2024 plan, I think you’re going to see more emphasis on those areas.
[We’ll be asking questions like], can we integrate our clinical services around this full continuum of care? Can we apply technology standard procedures and really drive operational scale to our services as we grow it more nationally? Is there an opportunity for us to invest even further in technology to enable our clinicians?
These are going to be themes I think you’ll see from us as we move further into 2024.
Describe the temperature of the virtual behavioral health market right now. Why is now a good time for Array, and why should Array expand now?
As we exit COVID, the entire health care ecosystem is now focused on the fact that telehealth was a savior for patients in many different places.
I think mental health is one of those areas that we really shined a light on, as far as the opportunity and the need. The fact that the use of telehealth services hasn’t been curbed is a massive opportunity for Array to really continue to be the leader that it has been and scale across the country to deliver these services completely.
What are potential roadblocks for this growth?
Building a scalable telehealth business is not straightforward.
There are a number of barriers to entry. I hope to create key differentiators for the business by knowing how to build and execute a telehealth service that works across the entire country. That’s going to take technology, it’s going to take operational capabilities, it’s going to take leveraging data really appropriately. So that’s not a small feat by any means.
Over the last few years, Array has doubled down on treating patients with acute and serious mental illness. Is virtual ready to treat this population? Why or why not?
We feel very comfortable with telehealth being ready, and we actually think that’s going to become more and more part of the mainstream. You’re going to see more organizations than just Array delivering in this space. Some might look at that as competition but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That means there’s a tremendous amount of need and opportunity out there.
I think it’s our job to make sure that we continue to differentiate ourselves. It starts clinically but it’s also just backed in how we wrap our services appropriately to support our clinicians and our patients.
Partnerships have been a major part of Array’s model. Earlier this year the company announced a deal with CVS and US Acute Care Solutions. Any updates on those, and where do you see your partnership strategy going in the future?
I think the partnership strategy has actually been very successful within Array, so I wouldn’t anticipate a material shift from that strategy by any means. I think you’ll see US Acute Care-like partnerships, you’ll see more hospital-level partnerships, and you’ll see more payer partnerships as we continue to broaden the availability of our services across the country.
What else should we know?
We’re really building upon a great organization to date versus having to fix or build something brand new out of the box. My goal is to expand the great work that’s been done thus far.