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Problem Tech Solves

Tech Brief

The U.S. Surgeon General recently said our country is facing an “epidemic of loneliness.” From 2020-2022, we’ve seen a 67% increase in individuals reporting severe loneliness during our initial assessments. According to the CDC, social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death and is responsible for a 50% increased risk of dementia, 29% increased risk of heart disease, and 68% increased risk of hospitalization. As people feel more lonely and isolated than before, the gap in how we address loneliness and social health as key factors in our overall health and wellness urgently needs filling. This is especially true for those in marginalized groups; a 2022 study presented at AcademyHealth's Annual Research Meeting of 30,000+ Medicare Advantage members evaluated for Papa found members residing in majority Black, Latinx, or Asian communities were more likely to be at risk for loneliness and 200% more likely to have no one for social support. We’re also facing a national caregiver shortage, resulting in fewer resources and new levels of burnout, employee resignations, and clinically significant levels of stress, anxiety, and depression for the 45 million unpaid family caregivers in the U.S. Prior to Papa, these social issues had not been tackled meaningfully in healthcare. We introduced a new, scalable platform to fill this unmet need and became the first to work with health plans to offer non-medical support to combat loneliness and address social health as a key to overall health improvement.

Tech Differentiators

Through our technology and marketplace-type model, Papa has created an opportunity for meaningful work on a flexible, part-time basis, without typical home-care responsibilities, like bathing and toileting. As a result, we’ve unlocked a new workforce of empathetic, energetic, mission-driven individuals at a time when caregivers are at an all-time low. Our Papa Pals are our superpower. They have access to members’ homes and hearts and often come from the same community as the members they serve. While health plans and other stakeholders have historically struggled to truly access and understand people’s barriers to health, Papa Pals build trusted relationships that allow them to better understand—and address—members’ unique social determinants. Our Papa Pals speak 27+ languages and come from all walks and stages of life. They bring human care and companionship right to a person’s front door when they need it, rather than asking members to navigate yet another digital front door. This is especially important in historically underserved populations, which are often under-connected and overwhelmed. And beyond their work in the home, Papa Pals connect members to vital services that can advance their health and wellbeing, addressing issues like food insecurity, home safety, and medication adherence. They are bringing humanity to health, to care, and to life, at the points when people most need a helping hand and an open ear. Today, our platform and delivery model represent a much-needed sustainable, scalable, equitable, and trusted solution that is helping people to feel truly well.


Papa is committed to improving health outcomes, driving better patient experiences, and providing economic value to clients and the health-care system. We methodically measure against these objectives to drive improvement: - 69% of chronically ill Humana members reported a significant reduction in loneliness after using Papa’s services, while 39% reported no longer being lonely at all (randomized, controlled study; n=848; presented at AcademyHealth’s 2021 Annual Research Meeting; soon-to-be-published in Journal of Population Health Management). - 45% of Papa members who provided ≥1 follow-up assessment(s) between December 2020-March 2021 reported a meaningful increase in days they feel physically and mentally well, based on the CDC’s Healthy Day Measure (internal analysis; n=1,273). Papa participants in Humana RTC above experienced a reduction in days they felt physically and mentally unhealthy by 4.5 and 4.0 respectively. - Members who enroll in Papa are 70% more likely to renew with their health plan, compared to members who don’t enroll (2021 internal analysis of Medicare Advantage plans using Papa for ≥2 years). - 60% of severely lonely individuals who actively participated in their health plan’s Papa program experienced clinical improvements, moving to a lower category of loneliness. We also reduced mentally unhealthy days by >6 days. (To be presented at GSA 2022; n=435; adults ages 65+) - A claims-based analysis by Meridian of Medicaid members aged 45+ with a high rate of ED utilization found the Papa program reduced overall healthcare costs by 33%, ED visits by 25%, and hospital readmissions by 14%. - Preliminary claims studies suggest a 19-33% reduction in total care costs for members enrolled in Papa versus not enrolled, depending on the population.

Why Us