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CHIME CEO: Digital acceleration fueling cybersecurity concerns

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Healthcare is in the midst of a digital revolution, unlike anything the industry has experienced before. But, according to CHIME CEO Russell Branzell, the growing dependence on technology for patient care and remote work is raising concerns related to cyberattacks.

CMS’ price transparency rule offers providers, payers a win, too

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Patients are not the only ones who will benefit from the price transparency rule — providers and payers can also gain competitive advantages as a result of the regulation. These include being able to deepen relationships with patients and support payment contract negotiations.

CVS launches $100M venture fund

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The company launched CVS Health Ventures, a corporate venture fund that will make early investments in healthcare startups. It will start with a $100 million fund.

4 ways the pandemic has shaped healthcare

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While the long-term impacts of Covid-19 are still unfolding, here are four ways hospitals and health systems are beginning to understand the monumental impact of the pandemic on the healthcare industry.  

Humana purchases remaining 60% stake in Kindred at Home for $5.7B

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After initially purchasing a 40% stake in Kindred at Home for $2.4 billion in 2018, Humana is now fully acquiring the home health and hospice provider for an additional $5.7 billion. The provider will transition to Humana’s payer-agnostic healthcare services brand CenterWell.

Cigna covers Ginger’s mental health app as in-network benefit 

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Insurer Cigna plans to cover mental health startup Ginger’s coaching services as a covered benefit. Investors are pouring more funds into mental health startups as they companies and insurers alike look for more ways to meet people’s care needs during a challenging year. 

CMS proposes putting $2.5B into hospitals’ coffers, eliminating part of price transparency rule

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CMS has released its proposed inpatient payment rule for fiscal year 2022, which includes a payment bump that could increase reimbursement for hospitals by $2.5 billion. Further, in a win for hospitals, the proposal aims to repeal a part of the price transparency rule related… Read More »CMS proposes putting $2.5B into hospitals’ coffers, eliminating part of price transparency rule

Healthcare tech is failing patients

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The problem is that we’re approaching technology from a clinical and billing perspective, with little input from patients. We must demand and implement technology that is designed for the population you are serving.

Some proposed HIPAA changes could inadvertently expose the data it’s supposed to protect

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The government’s proposed changes to HIPAA aim to provide guardrails against data breaches and misuse, but some of the modifications may not work as intended. Three healthcare experts delved into the ways in which certain proposals could provide inappropriate access to health data during a… Read More »Some proposed HIPAA changes could inadvertently expose the data it’s supposed to protect

Wireless carriers wade into telehealth

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Mobile carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile are dipping their toe into telehealth through partnerships and acquisitions. Earlier this month, Verizon rolled out a telehealth platform based on video conferencing software BlueJeans

Keto-based digital diabetes program nets $133M  

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Virta Health, a digital health startup with an app-based coaching program for type 2 diabetes, raised $133 million led by Tiger Global. Unlike other digital health companies, Virta builds its program around a ketogenic diet.

Here’s a look at natural product drug discovery 2.0

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Plant-based drug discovery may be tens of thousands of years old, but in 2021, it feels exciting, rich, and full of potential. Companies are rapidly building scalable databases with hundreds of thousands of unique chemicals and their links to biological signatures.

The winners of INVEST Pitch Perfect are…..

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The finalists across health IT, biopharma, medical devices, diagnostics, and health services tracks were judged on criteria that included: completeness of overall plan, business idea, market opportunity, revenue model, and founder(s) experience.

AliveCor seeks ban on import of Apple Watches

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The digital health company filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last week, seeking a ban on the import of the Apple Watch. AliveCor cited copyright violations related to Apple’s ECG feature as the reason for seeking the ban. 

Accolade to acquire telehealth startup PlushCare for $450M

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Care navigation startup Accolade struck an agreement to buy telehealth startup PlushCare for $450 million. The goal is to support primary care physicians with information about a patient’s health and benefits, CEO Rajeev Singh said. 

Tech-enabled payer Brella Insurance snags $15M

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The health insurance technology company has raised $15 million in a Series A funding round. It will use the funds to expand access to its supplemental health plan nationwide and engage in new partnerships.

Vertex to pay CRISPR Therapeutics $900M for bigger share of gene-editing alliance

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals is amending its collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics, paying $900 million now for chance to grab a bigger share of a gene-editing therapy’s profits later—if the treatment is approved. Clinical trials evaluating the CRISPR-based therapy are underway in sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia.

Virtual care’s popularity notwithstanding, patient preference will still drive healthcare delivery

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It is clear that virtual care is here to stay, but it is not the availability of technology that will govern how care is delivered. Rather, patients’ preferences, along with their underlying social needs, will determine which care delivery strategy providers need to use to… Read More »Virtual care’s popularity notwithstanding, patient preference will still drive healthcare delivery

Providers, payers are ready to listen, root out racism and regain the trust of minorities. Here’s how.

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Racism has always existed in healthcare, but the Covid-19 pandemic laid bare how entrenched the problem still is. In response, providers and payers have vowed to fight for health equity by examining the racism within their organizations, listening to minority communities and mounting strategies that… Read More »Providers, payers are ready to listen, root out racism and regain the trust of minorities. Here’s how.

Infusing call centers with strong human connections

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The volume of calls to hospital call centers has led to an industrialized approach thereby sacrificing the human touch and personal connection between doctors and patients. Ironically, artificial intelligence can help to rekindle that by handling call center calls more efficiently.

Compliance with HIPAA may offer some clues on how providers will fare with new info blocking rules

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Despite a 20-year head start, providers still fall short of HIPAA requirements around fulfilling patient requests for their medical records. In light of the federal information blocking rules, providers should first examine their compliance with HIPAA and then address the new demands imposed by the… Read More »Compliance with HIPAA may offer some clues on how providers will fare with new info blocking rules

The Key to SDOH: Health literacy

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As a country, we must do a better job supporting people and communities throughout their health journey because communities with greater access to information and increased levels of health literacy will ensure better health outcomes.

Anthem, K Health, Blackstone launch digital health company

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The new joint venture will bring K Health’s artificial intelligence-driven technology to the consumer, employer and insurer markets. The solution enables patients to understand their symptoms and connect with a doctor if needed.

Public health, racial equity, climate action drive Biden’s budget requests for healthcare

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President Joe Biden has submitted his discretionary budget for 2022 to Congress. Among its healthcare provisions are funding requests for the CDC, mental health and social determinants of health programs. But there are some unusual requests as well, such as funding for an Office of… Read More »Public health, racial equity, climate action drive Biden’s budget requests for healthcare

In MedCity Pivot podcast, Glen Tullman says other care navigation firms aren’t really taking risks

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Livongo’s founder has created a new care navigation venture because he believes that both the experience that people undergo as they look for care and the level of risk that vendors are willing to take when they work with self-insured employers leave much to be… Read More »In MedCity Pivot podcast, Glen Tullman says other care navigation firms aren’t really taking risks

Cleveland Clinic researchers measure pandemic’s effect on Medicare population

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Research conducted by the Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts-based startup Health Data Analytics Institute (HDAI) measured the difference in mortality during the pandemic  between people covered by Medicare in long-term care facilities and in the community. While a Covid-19 diagnosis increased deaths in both settings, there… Read More »Cleveland Clinic researchers measure pandemic’s effect on Medicare population

3 changes coming to drug pricing

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No matter if Democrats or Republicans are running the show in Washington, here are three solid bets for pharma companies to plan for in the changing drug-pricing landscape

Better Therapeutics plans to go public through SPAC merger 

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Digital health startup Better Therapeutics plans to go public through a SPAC merger that would value it at $187 million. The company is currently running a pivotal study to see if its app-based program could be used as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. 

Fitbit tests if smartwatch could measure blood pressure

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Fitbit is launching a trial to see if its its newest smartwatch could use pulse arrival time to measure blood pressure. Other wearable companies have tried to add wrist-based blood pressure features to their devices, but so far, they have limited accuracy. 

How eConsent empowers more participant engagement in clinical trials

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Creating the simplest process for informed consent benefits the potential participant by allowing them the time and resources to understand fully what they are consenting to. Through eConsent processes, research also opens the door to a more diverse population to engage in trials.

A preview of the INVEST Precision Medicine conference June 9-11

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The conference highlights the intersections of technology and life sciences through the prism of precision medicine. The topics at the conference span pediatric innovation in precision medicine, how tech companies are addressing clinical trial challenges, supply chain management, and more.

Bright Health acquires Zipnosis, enters telehealth market

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Insurance technology startup Bright Health has purchased Zipnosis, which provides telehealth services. Though details of the new transaction are sparse, the acquisition aims to lower healthcare costs and expand access to quality care.

FDA warns of infection risk from reusable urological endoscopes

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The agency said it had received more than 450 reports of infections or other issues in the last four years from reprocessed urological endoscopes, which are used to view or access the urinary tract. Three patient deaths were associated with these infections. 

SOC Telemed buys specialty telemedicine provider for $194M

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After going public through a SPAC merger last year, SOC Telemed bought acute telemedicine provider Access Physicians for $194 million. The deal is expected to bolster the company’s specialty consults and telemedicine services for hospitals. 

Lawsuit: Like a “boa constrictor,” UnitedHealthcare squeezed anesthesia group out of competition

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U.S. Anesthesia Partners has filed lawsuits against UnitedHealthcare in Colorado and Texas, accusing the payer of forcing it out of network and intentionally interfering with its relationships with providers in those states. But, according to UnitedHealthcare, the lawsuits are an attempt to get the insurer… Read More »Lawsuit: Like a “boa constrictor,” UnitedHealthcare squeezed anesthesia group out of competition

How to overcome AI’s healthcare headwinds

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AI has already shown tremendous promise for everything from automating patient communication and non-clinical administrative tasks to reducing physician burnout. But realizing that promise more broadly requires AI developers to establish trust with their healthcare users.

FDA greenlights two more over-the-counter Covid-19 tests

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The Food and Drug Administration gave an emergency use authorization to two more over-the-counter Covid-19 tests that can be used without a prescription. They include Abbott’s BinaxNow test and an at-home test developed by Quidel Corp. 

Survey: 1 in 5 Americans can’t afford necessary care

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Healthcare is becoming increasingly unaffordable, with 18% of Americans saying in a new survey that they would not be able to afford the care they need. Respondents also reported cutting back on other expenses to afford healthcare, including money spent on food and utilities.

How to build a diverse innovation team (and why it’s critical)

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Why start with innovation? Because it’s where the products, tools, solutions, and ideas that will change the status quo are born. Without diversity of thought, experience, and perspective, the end result of innovation only serves those already at the table.

Chat-based telehealth provider CirrusMD snags $20M

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The Denver-based company provides a platform through which patients can text, send images to and have video calls with physicians. The new funds will be used to scale its operations, grow its clinical network and improve user experience.

Decentralized clinical trials are opening the drug development pipeline

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With the emergence of smart and connected devices and technologies, CROs and life sciences organizations are able to more easily perform decentralized, virtual clinical trials. Now, industry leaders are on a mission to make the practice of administering decentralized clinical trials the norm.

5 AI lessons from pharma world learned during Covid-19

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With the increased reliance on digital technologies, pharma companies’ outreach to healthcare providers needs to be thoughtful, efficient, and respectful. An AI-driven, omnichannel strategy makes this possible by giving every member of customer-facing teams visibility across communications.

Bristol Myers Squibb SVP Ho Sung Cho highlights legacy and ongoing research in protein degradation  [Sponsored]

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Cho discusses Bristol Myers Squibb’s research efforts in the field of protein degradation to advance potential treatments for a broad range of diseases. In a recent MedCity Pivot Podcast, he also shared insights on his approach to drug discovery, perspectives on dealing with failure, and… Read More »Bristol Myers Squibb SVP Ho Sung Cho highlights legacy and ongoing research in protein degradation  [Sponsored]

OIG: Pandemic forced hospitals into ‘survival mode’

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A new report from the HHS’ Office of Inspector General lays bare the varied challenges hospitals faced in the past year — and continue to face. These range from challenges in healthcare delivery to staffing shortages to shaky finances.

AstraZeneca updates Covid-19 vaccine data, now showing 76% efficacy

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AstraZeneca’s latest efficacy data for its Covid-19 vaccine are down slightly from the 79% it previously reported. The most recent data will form the basis of an application for emergency use authorization, which the company still expects to file with the FDA in coming weeks.

Amazon Care and privacy: A host of unknowns

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If HIPAA does not apply to Amazon Care, then absent another privacy regulation applying, avoiding exploitation of the data relies on the good faith of the entity operating the service.

Mental health startup Ginger raises $100M 

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Ginger, a startup that connects users with mental health coaches and therapists, raised $100 million in funding. The company is shifting to a risk-based model as it expands.

Providence’s newest digital health spinout snags $20M

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A new digital health company — spun out from Providence’s Digital Innovation Group — has raised $20 million in its first funding round. The company offers a platform that aims to help providers coordinate and manage digital care services.

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine data may have ‘outdated information,’ NIH cautions

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Federal health authorities say safety observers are concerned AstraZeneca did not release complete information about the efficacy of its Covid-18 vaccine. The company responded by saying its data were from a pre-specified analysis and it will provide the most up to date efficacy data within… Read More »AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine data may have ‘outdated information,’ NIH cautions

Alignment Healthcare aims to raise up to $516M in IPO

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Alignment Healthcare, an insurtech startup, has launched its IPO and plans to price its individual shares between $17 and $19. The company offers Medicare Advantage plans and says it uses predictive analytics technology to pinpoint seniors’ care needs.

Health analytics startup Komodo passes $3.3B valuation

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Komodo, a data analytics startup building out information on patient encounters and outcomes, raised $220 million in funding. It plans to use the funds to build out its platform and further integrate it in users’ workflows.

Suicide and the malpractice myth

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It may seem intuitive to avoid telehealth or remote care to avoid increased liability and malpractice exposure. But remote behavioral health assessment tools, real-time data-driven insights, and adaptive treatment plans are actually the things that protect clinicians from civil liability in instances of patient suicide.

Stroke detection startup Viz.ai raises $71M

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Viz.AI, a San Francisco-based care coordination startup, raised $71 million in series C funding. The company plans to use the funds to build out its platform beyond coordinating care for stroke.

SEC charges uBiome co-founders with $60M securities fraud

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The agency charged the co-founders of the failed fecal microbiome startup with defrauding investors. The SEC is seeking a court order that would bar uBiome’s co-founders from serving as officers or directors, and require them to give up any ill-gotten gains.