Expressable Revolutionizes Speech Therapy with Virtual Caregiver-Led Model

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Leanne Sherred, a pediatric speech therapist, has consistently faced challenges implementing caregiver-led therapy in traditional settings.

Studies indicate that caregiver-led speech therapy, which involves training caregivers of patients in therapeutic techniques for home use, can be quite effective. However, Sherred noted in her practice that therapists often lack sufficient access to caregivers and encounter significant educational and tech hurdles.

In 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, Sherred saw an opportunity to test a tech-driven speech therapy care model that placed caregivers “at the center of care” (in her words). She collaborated with Nick Barbara (her spouse), Spencer Magloff, and Ryan Hinojosa to establish Expressable, a platform that provides one-on-one virtual sessions with speech language pathologists.

“Layered on top of Expressable’s synchronous care is a platform offering multimedia home programming, interactive weekly practice activities, and therapist SMS support,” said Magloff, Expressable’s chief marketing officer, in an interview. “With Expressable, speech therapy isn’t restricted to one or two times a week without caregiver involvement.”

Expressable is accepted by some insurance plans (including Medicaid), provides private pay options, and accepts HSAs and FSAs. It aligns patients with speech therapists who fit their needs and schedules. The assigned therapist creates a treatment plan and meets regularly with the patient and/or caregiver for online sessions.

Expressable
Image Credits: Expressable

Some aspects of the plan are designed to be completed at the patient’s convenience, utilizing Expressable’s self-service platform. Patients and caregivers can monitor weekly progress toward their goals and milestones in their customized plans.

Expressable serves both adults and children with conditions such as language disorders, speech delays, aphasia, stuttering, and autism spectrum disorder. Unlike many other telehealth startups, Expressable distinguished itself early by hiring its health specialists as W2 employees rather than contractors. While this increased the company’s medical licensing responsibilities, it allowed Expressable to better manage complex speech cases, which often require long-term, intensive treatment plans, according to Magloff.

“With Expressable, parents and caregivers become active members of their patient’s care team, extending care into the home and throughout the entire therapeutic process for quicker outcomes,” Magloff stated.

The digital and telehealth sector saw an abundance of capital during the pandemic but has since slowed. Nonetheless, Expressable is defying this trend, having closed a $26 million Series B round led by HarbourVest Partners with participation from Digitalis Ventures, F-Prime Capital, and Lerer Hippeau.

With $50 million in funding, Expressable plans to enhance its care delivery model and core technology, expand payer relationships, and grow its network of therapists and operational team. The company is also exploring various AI applications, Magloff mentioned.

“We are investigating several relevant AI use cases to improve client experiences,” he added. “These could help catalog common speech errors, reduce administrative tasks for clinicians, and enhance operational efficiency.”

Kyle Wiggers
Kyle Wiggers
Kyle Wiggers is a senior reporter with a special interest in AI. His writing has appeared in VentureBeat and Digital Trends, as well as a range of gadget blogs including Android Police, Android Authority, Droid-Life, and XDA-Developers. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, a piano educator, and dabbles in piano himself.

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