8 recent Optum updates

Optum continued to grow through the first quarter of 2020, even as the company turned its attention to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eight moves from the health services company in the last 60 days:

1. Optum reportedly is looking to expand its telehealth offerings. CNBC reported the company is in talks with AbleTo, a New York-based telehealth company focused on mental health services, as a potential target for acquisition. Optum Ventures already invests in the company and is trying to buy it for $470 million, about 10 times the company's forward revenue.

2. Optum reported its CEO, Sir Andrew Witty, took a leave of absence to help the World Health Organization's COVID-19 vaccine initiative. The company reported the news on April 15, in tandem with its first-quarter financial report, and said Mr. Witty will return to his post when his assignment at the WHO is complete. David Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, will oversee Optum during Mr. Witty's absence.

3. Optum reported first-quarter revenue hit $32.8 billion, a 24.6 percent year-over-year increase. OptumHealth revenue was up 36.9 percent to $9.2 billion, and OptumInsights grew 13.9 billion to $2.5 billion. Revenue backlog for OptumInsights also jumped 10.3 percent to $19.2 billion.

4. Optum Ventures led a Series A funding round for Heartbeat Health, a data-driven cardiology telehealth platform. Heartbeat plans to use the funding to develop its virtual care platform and reach more primary care providers, long-term care facilities and employers.

5. OptumServe, Optum's federal health services business, partnered with the state of California on April 23 to increase COVID-19 testing capabilities. Optum provided end-to-end testing to 80 sites across California and worked with state and local officials on the testing site locations.

6. In April, Optum and UnitedHealthcare took steps to speed payments and financial support to healthcare providers to address financial pressures caused by COVID-19. The company provided nearly $2 billion in accelerated payments and financial support to providers, including up to $125 million in small-business loans to OptumHealth partners.

7. By April 15, when the company released its first-quarter earnings, Optum said it had cared for more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients. It also said it operated 400 test sites across the U.S. and shifted more than 4,000 physicians to digital care clinics with a plan to transition 10,000 to telehealth.

8. Optum applied new COVID-19 clinical pathways to device-based remote-monitoring services to identify and prioritize high-risk individuals for follow-up care and developed a COVID-19 symptom checker to triage patients based on their results. The company also made their digital behavioral healthcare services available on demand to help clients with stress, anxiety and depression.

More articles on health IT:
COVID-19-proof IT projects: 13 health system execs on the tech moving forward amid the pandemic
Cleveland Clinic, Epic debut COVID-19 home-monitoring tool: 10 details
51 Florida hospitals form COVID-19 data exchange: 4 things to know

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