Health Tech

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.  

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.

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

Sharecare’s SPAC IPO: A Second Success for WebMD Founder Jeff Arnold?

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Sharecare, the population-health-slash-care-navigator of the stars (literally, celebrity doc Dr. Oz is a co-founder, and Oprah’s Harpo Productions, Sony Pictures Television, and Discovery Communications are partners) is about to hit the public market via a $4-Billion SPAC IPO with Falcon… Read More »Sharecare’s SPAC IPO: A Second Success for WebMD Founder Jeff Arnold?

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.

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. 

Inside Cano Health’s SPAC IPO & Tailoring Medicare Advantage Primary Care for the Latino Market

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Healthcare SPAC-trackers interested in placing bets on value-based primary care for the lucrative Medicare Advantage market will love hearing Cano Health’s CEO Marlow Hernandez dive into the details behind his company’s $4.4B valuation and 7,000% three-year growth rate. Cano Health’s… Read More »Inside Cano Health’s SPAC IPO & Tailoring Medicare Advantage Primary Care for the Latino Market

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.

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

Our Healthcare System Needs More Than Policy Overhaul: It’s Time for Private Sector Innovation to Kick into High Gear for Our Health’s Sake

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By SACH JAIN Last year I was heading to a meeting on a Fortune 500 business campus and stumbled upon a bake sale. It was odd to see someone selling cupcakes and breads on the grounds of a major corporation, so I inquired. As it… Read More »Our Healthcare System Needs More Than Policy Overhaul: It’s Time for Private Sector Innovation to Kick into High Gear for Our Health’s Sake

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. 

Firefly Health’s CEO & Exec Chairman on $40M Raise & Becoming a “Bloat-less Kaiser”

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Virtual-first primary care company Firefly Health is becoming a health plan! Backed by a $40M Series B, CEO Fay Rotenberg and Executive Chairman Jonathan Bush stop by to explain how they’re providing “half-price healthcare that’s twice as good.” (Or, as… Read More »Firefly Health’s CEO & Exec Chairman on $40M Raise & Becoming a “Bloat-less Kaiser”

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. 

The Medicaid Plan of the Future: Sean Lane on Building Circulo on Top of Olive’s AI Platform

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH What’s better than being the CEO of one blazing-hot disruptive health tech company that’s raised $450M to build “the internet of healthcare”? How about becoming the CEO of a second company – a new managed Medicaid health plan company –… Read More »The Medicaid Plan of the Future: Sean Lane on Building Circulo on Top of Olive’s AI Platform

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.

Meet Rightway: The Little-Know $1.1B Care Navigator PBM Startup That Just Scored $100M

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Despite nearly 900 employer clients (including big brands like Burger King, Kroger, and DoorDash), a net promoter score of 84, and a new pharmacy benefits management (PBM) program launched mid-pandemic, healthcare navigator startup, Rightway, seems to have come out of… Read More »Meet Rightway: The Little-Know $1.1B Care Navigator PBM Startup That Just Scored $100M

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.

Nanoparticles On My Mind

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By KIM BELLARD Nanoparticles are everywhere!  By that I mean, of course, that there seems to be a lot of news about them lately, particularly in regard to health and healthcare.   But, of course, literally they could be anywhere and everywhere, which helps account for… Read More »Nanoparticles On My Mind

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.

Ofer Leidner, Happify Health

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by MATTHEW HOLT Happify Health is a online mental health company that is focused almost exclusively on scaling care by offering self-service tech solutions across the patient journey. After R&D starting in 2012, they’ve been scaling since 2017 and now are working with large employers… Read More »Ofer Leidner, Happify Health

Grand Rounds strikes merger with Doctor on Demand

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In another big tie-up between a telehealth and digital health company, Grand Rounds and Doctor on Demand reached a merger agreement. Grand Rounds CEO Owen Tripp will serve as CEO of the combined business.

Care coordination startup Unite Us raises $150M

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Unite Us, a New York-based technology company that makes coordination of care software, passed a $1.6 billion valuation. It build networks with local providers and works to connect members with community resources.

Inside Owlet’s SPAC IPO: From Smart Sock Baby Monitor to Data-Driven Pediatric Healthcare Co

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Oh Baby! Connected digital nursery startup, Owlet Baby Care, just announced their SPAC IPO and intention to take their infant smart sock from baby monitor to FDA-approved medical device. I talk with Owlet’s co-founder & CEO, Kurt Workman, to find… Read More »Inside Owlet’s SPAC IPO: From Smart Sock Baby Monitor to Data-Driven Pediatric Healthcare Co

Kelsey Mellard, CEO Sitka

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By MATTHEW HOLT Kelsey Mellard is CEO of Sitka, one of the emerging companies that’s providing specialty consults online to primary care docs. They’ve been building a specialty care network that can be accessed by asynchronous video, slightly different to some of their competition. Most… Read More »Kelsey Mellard, CEO Sitka

Top digital health exec’s advice to startups: Once you think you “know” you’ve lost the game

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After Livongo sold to Teladoc last year, the company’s former president, Dr. Jennifer Schneider, is starting a new chapter on Cityblock’s board of directors. In an interview with MedCity News, she shared more about why she joined Cityblock and lessons learned during her time at… Read More »Top digital health exec’s advice to startups: Once you think you “know” you’ve lost the game

Wanna Buy Some Bitcoin

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By KIM BELLARD To healthcare organizations, digital currency is the thing you’re forced to deal with when your systems are held for ransomware.  To the rest of the world, it’s increasingly starting to look like the future. Tesla caused somewhat of a stir last month… Read More »Wanna Buy Some Bitcoin

4 takeaways from Teladoc’s earnings

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After a year of record growth, Teladoc set expectations for limited growth in its paid memberships and visits in 2021. But the company still sees long-term opportunities with a primary care pilot it is launching and its acquisition of Livongo.

Does digital mental health need to rethink user engagement?

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Gamification is being hailed as a promising tool within the digital mental health industry. But should the same tactics that are fueling our online addiction become the standard for driving engagement with solutions that are designed to improve our mental health?

More healthcare startups go public through SPACs — but will they succeed?

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More healthcare startups are choosing to go public through mergers with special-purpose acquisition companies— publicly-traded shell companies created with the purpose of taking a private company public. But as more SPACs search for targets, and company valuations grow, will the SPAC bubble burst?

Buoy Health Wins Over Three Health Plans, Turns Symptom Checking into Patient Decision-Making

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Symptom checker startup Buoy Health’s $37.5M Series C caught a lot of attention among health tech market watchers because of the collaborative support the funding round garnered from health plans. THREE payor orgs – UnitedHealth’s Optum, Humana, and Cigna –… Read More »Buoy Health Wins Over Three Health Plans, Turns Symptom Checking into Patient Decision-Making

Oscar Health looks to raise $1B in IPO

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Insurance startup Oscar Health plans to price its IPO between $32 and $34 per share.  The New York-based startup plans to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “OSCR.”

Apple limits pandemic ‘health pass’ apps  

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With a number of testing or vaccine pass apps being developed, Apple said it will only accept ones that are being developed in conjunction with test kit manufacturers, laboratories, healthcare providers or other entities recognized by public health authorities.

The Habit Change Provider? Newtopia & the Case for a New Category of Healthcare Provider

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Chronic disease prevention is often lumped into chronic disease management – but should it be? Aren’t there different nuances to preventing diseases than to treat them? Making the case that healthcare’s “primary prevention” businesses deserve their own category is the… Read More »The Habit Change Provider? Newtopia & the Case for a New Category of Healthcare Provider

Dexcom launches first VC fund

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Dexcom launched its first venture fund. The company, which makes continuous glucose monitors, plans to invest in glucose sensing technologies and metabolic monitoring.

Signify Health goes public in upsized IPO

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Signify Health, a company that provides services for value-based care programs, went public on Thursday in an upsized IPO. The company’s stock began trading at $24 per share, above its expected range of $20 to $21 per share.

Insightin Health gains $12M to help payers engage, retain members

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Insightin Health aims to help payers retain and engage their members via its proprietary platform. The funding round was co-led by the Blue Venture Fund, a collaboration between Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Sandbox.

Nuance buys healthcare voice assistant startup Saykara

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Nuance Communications acquired Saykara, a startup building a medical AI voice assistant to help with charting and other administrative tasks. The deal is expected to build on Nuance’s speech recognition tools for physicians.

The Home health landrush: Getting ahead in a complex market

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Few people question whether care delivery will continue to migrate out of the hospital into new settings such as the home. The better question is, what services – specifically – will migrate to the home, and what innovations are necessary to support these migrations?

Mental health startup Lyra passes $2B valuation

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Mental health startup Lyra Health raised $187 million in funding, giving it a post-money valuation of about $2.3 billion. The company also struck a partnership with EAP-provider ICAS, which would expand its mental health benefit to employees in other countries.  

Insurtech startup Sidecar Health’s valuation hits $1B  

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The new startup unicorn’s insurance product enables members to shop for medical services and pay directly for care. The company raised $125 million in a recent funding round, boosting its valuation, which it will use to increase its footprint and launch new products.

Value-based care platform Signify Health files for IPO

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Signify Health, a startup that provides in-home healthcare services and value=based payment programs, filed early paperwork for an IPO. The company plans to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “SGFY.”

Health-tech funding breaks another record in 2020

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Healthcare technology companies raised a record of $15.3 billion in 2020, according to a report from Silicon Valley Bank. For the first time, digital health companies surpassed biopharma for the number of deals.  

#Healthin2Point00, Episode 176 | Optum acquires Change & deals for Hinge, Liva, and Metronom

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Insurgents have stormed the Capitol and we’re still here to talk about health tech deals. On Episode 176, Jess and I discuss Optum acquiring Change Healthcare in a $13.5 billion deal, bringing it back to Jess’s interview with CEO Neil Crescenzo bout what Change Healthcare… Read More »#Healthin2Point00, Episode 176 | Optum acquires Change & deals for Hinge, Liva, and Metronom

No Safe Haven to be Found!

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By MIKE MAGEE Can you wrestle a collusive, private, profiteering Medical-Industrial Complex to the ground by throwing more private entrepreneurs at it? Apparently not. The very public collapse of Haven – the widely heralded health joint venture of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase… Read More »No Safe Haven to be Found!

Health Care: Don’t Be Evil

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By KIM BELLARD Google’s corporate motto – written in its original Code of Conduct — was once “Don’t be evil.”  That softened over time; Alphabet changed it to “Do the right thing” in 2015, although Google itself retained the slogan until early 2018.  Some Alphabet… Read More »Health Care: Don’t Be Evil

Goodbye, 2020. Hello, 2030

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By KIM BELLARD 2020 is almost over; thank goodness.  It has been one of the strangest, and longest, years most of us have ever endured.  We’ve all probably known someone who contracted COVID-19; many of us have had lost loved ones from it.  Most of… Read More »Goodbye, 2020. Hello, 2030

EverCommerce buys healthcare communication platform Updox

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EverCommerce, a provider of solutions for businesses in the service sector, has added Updox to its roster of health services companies. Updox offers a variety of virtual care, patient engagement and office productivity solutions.

Primary care physicians outperform eight symptom checkers

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In a study that tested eight symptom checkers against seven primary care providers, physicians still outperformed the apps. But between them, there was wide variation in the apps’ accuracy and safety, as well as the conditions they could assess.

Olive CEO Sean Lane on 2020’s Big Numbers: 3 Funding Rounds, $450M, & a 5-Point Plan for the Future

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Arguably 2020’s hottest health tech startup, Olive (olive.ai) closed THREE funding rounds this year, totaling $450M and valuing the company at $1.5B. Backed by a “who’s who” of technology, healthcare, and health tech venture capital, Sean Lane, CEO, clues us… Read More »Olive CEO Sean Lane on 2020’s Big Numbers: 3 Funding Rounds, $450M, & a 5-Point Plan for the Future

How Verily plans to use $700M in new funding

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Alphabet and other investors poured $700 million in funding into Verily last week. The company, which is Alphabet’s life sciences subsidiary, plans to pour some of the funds into supporting Covid-19 vaccine studies and programs for businesses.

The Evernorth Digital Health Formulary & the Disruption of the Digital Health Payment Model

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Last December, Express Scripts — now a part of Evernorth — became the first PBM to go to market with a digital health formulary. Basically, adapting the vetting, organizing, and pricing functions of a traditional medication formulary to the digital… Read More »The Evernorth Digital Health Formulary & the Disruption of the Digital Health Payment Model

Docs are ROCs: a simple fix for a “methodologically indefensible” practice in medical AI studies

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By LUKE OAKDEN-RAYNER Anyone who has read my blog or tweets before has probably seen that I have issues with some of the common methods used to analyse the performance of medical machine learning models. In particular, the most commonly reported metrics we use (sensitivity,… Read More »Docs are ROCs: a simple fix for a “methodologically indefensible” practice in medical AI studies

Google rolls out health research app

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Google rolled out a Health Studies app, a rival to Apple’s research app. To start, it will offer a study on respiratory illness in conjunction with Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Michelin Star Medicine: Food Start-Up Epicured Delivers Meals for GI & Chronic Condition Care

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By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH Food-as-Medicine startup, Epicured, looks and acts a lot like the consumer meal delivery startups booming during this pandemic (think Freshly, which was just acquired by Nestle for $1.5B) but with one important difference: all the meals are based on diets… Read More »Michelin Star Medicine: Food Start-Up Epicured Delivers Meals for GI & Chronic Condition Care

Verily co-founder launches virtual specialty care startup

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Tom Stanis, Verily’s co-founder and former head of software, left the Alphabet subsidiary in February to found a new healthcare startup. Called Story Health, his new startup is focused on providing care in the gaps between specialty visits.

Level Ex pitches gaming as a tool for reaching doctors

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Interactive, cloud-based video games are designed to tackle pharma’s current challenge: engaging doctors virtually during a pandemic. But the tools are likely to outlive the circumstances in which they were born.

Healthcare on the Edge

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By KIM BELLARD Perhaps you read about, or were directly impacted by, the massive, multi-hour Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage last week.  Ironically, AWS’s effort to add capacity triggered the outage, although apparently was not the root cause.  It’s no surprise that AWS sought to… Read More »Healthcare on the Edge