New health tech startup Switchboard Health launching in Boise

Paige Lyman//December 5, 2022

New health tech startup Switchboard Health launching in Boise

Paige Lyman//December 5, 2022

Switchboard Health is a new digital health startup that was launched in early November. Based in Boise, the company’s launch was announced by Route 66 Ventures, a Virginia-based health technology venture capital firm. The concept for Switchboard Health initially incubated for almost a year within Route 66 Ventures until initial funding was provided and Route 66 brought on Derek Baird as co-founder and CEO.

Switchboard Health
Image from depositphotos.com

“There have been billions of dollars invested in the digital health market, including virtual care solutions that can support patients with everything from cardiovascular disease to headaches to diabetes. Unfortunately though, receiving specialty care is still disjointed and costly. So much so, that many patients don’t receive the care they need, when they need it,” Baird said. “Switchboard is bringing specialty care solutions together in a national network so that employers, health plans and providers can more easily guide patients to specialists — delivering more convenient and affordable in-person and virtual care.” 

Baird also said the startup plans to grow quickly and make key hires in Treasure Valley.

“We won’t require that everyone lives in Idaho but expect to have a strong center of gravity here,” he explained.

The company’s specialty care network will allow payers, employers, health systems and at-risk providers to augment their current care networks by incorporating specialty-specific virtual clinic services. This is intended for patients to benefit from more affordable, timely and convenient access to specialty care on one platform from providers like Confidant Health, Heartbeat Health and Paloma Health.

Through its network, Switchboard Health ultimately aims to address a number of pressing industry challenges such as clinician shortages, increasing costs, rising labor costs and heightened consumer expectations. On rising costs, Baird said: “Everyone is fed up. Employers, payers and family members are all feeling increased cost burdens. It’s unsustainable. Specialty care is often expensive by the nature of the services, but it’s often unnecessarily expensive. Intelligent routing and use of digital health tools can dramatically change the cost structure for everyone, without compromising quality of care. Fixing these issues is imperative, and we’re excited to play an important problem-solving role in the coming years.”

The future for Switchboard Health will be centered around three key points: talent, client growth and capital.

“Hiring is at the top of the list, and I expect it will be for quite some time,” Baird said on next steps for the company. “We’re just getting started with our first few clients this month. It’s obviously a priority to delight them and make sure we are delivering outsized value. We will also bring in additional investors to fund our future growth.”

And while Switchboard Health’s origins began in Virginia, the choice to launch the startup in Treasure Valley was in part due to to a good track record of health care technology success in the area (such as Healthwise and Kno2) and a growing entrepreneurial scene, as Baird stated, adding, “I also appreciate the balanced mindset our area embraces. The valley is full of smart people who work hard and also know to carve out ample time for restorative activities like family time, exploring the outdoors and personal development.”

Switchboard Health will go live in the first quarter of 2023 with a set of early adopter primary care partners.