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Dr Samyukta Mullangi: Thyme Care Provides Cancer Navigation Services at Scale With Aligned VBC Incentives


Samyukta Mullangi, MD, MBA, oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and incoming medical director at Thyme Care, explained Thyme Care’s value-based care (VBC) system in oncology and the benefits of care navigation.

Thyme Care’s proprietary tech platform combines navigation software with analytics to ensure equitable care delivery at scale, and conducts contracting directly with payers via risk sharing contracts to align value-based care (VBC) incentives, said Samyukta Mullangi, MD, MBA, oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and incoming medical director at Thyme Care.


Can you explain how Thyme Care’s VBC systems differ from traditional models, particularly in addressing structural barriers within cancer care?

Thyme Care is an oncology population management platform with a core product that delivers care navigation to patients with cancer. Care navigation has been shown in a variety of studies to improve patient outcomes on a variety of metrics, including symptom management, care coordination, medication adherence, and ultimately reducing cost.

There have been a fair number of studies that have shown a positive return on investment for patients enrolled in health systems that operate both in fee-for-service environments, as well as those that participate in alternative payment models. So, I would say that care navigation does not really require more evidence to show that it works. It can help patients maneuver through a complex and fragmented care delivery system, and I would say this is particularly important in cancer.

But despite the plethora of evidence showing benefit, the vast majority of patient navigation systems are perceived as financially taxing to a practice or a health system, and are often condemned to remain in pilot mode, reliant on grants or one off sources of funding. And the question is, why is this? Why do good evidence-based delivery system innovations not scale?

The [perception] is that cancer navigation works, but isn't widely available because it's hard to scale and incentives are hard to align. So, Thyme Care solves both. It solves the former through its proprietary tech platform, which combines navigation software with analytics. Navigation is able to scale when you have the ability to intelligently triage patients by their acuity level so that you're delivering the right dose of navigation to the right patient at the right time.

The platform is sophisticated enough to allow multiple team members to effectively and efficiently collaborate on the care of a single patient thereby extending their reach, but simultaneously reducing their administrative burden. It solves the problem about misaligned incentives by contracting directly with payers via risk sharing contracts, and also fostering deep partnerships with providers.

Thyme Care is still an early-stage company, but even within its short run, it's already proven that its model can yield cost savings for payers. And I'm hopeful that this track record will overcome some of that inertia or hesitancy that payers have in investing in programs that have upfront costs with the hope of downstream savings. I've been really impressed by Thyme Care’s mission-oriented leadership, and I believe that they really built this company with an eye towards driving value to patients.

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