NeuroFlow Secures $20M for Tech-Enabled Behavioral Health Integration Platform

NeuroFlow Secures $20M for Tech-Enabled Behavioral Health Integration Platform

What You Should Know:

– NeuroFlow raises $20M to expand its technology-enabled behavioral
health integration platform, led by Magellan Health.

– NeuroFlow’s suite of HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based tools
simplify remote patient monitoring, enable risk stratification, and facilitate
collaborative care. With NeuroFlow, health care organizations can finally
bridge the gap between mental and physical health in order to improve outcomes
and reduce the cost of care.


NeuroFlow, a Philadelphia-based digital health startup supporting technology-enabled behavioral health integration (tBHI), announces today the initial closing of a $20M Series B financing round led by Magellan Health, in addition to a syndicate including previous investors. Magellan is a leader in managing the fastest growing, most complex areas of health, including behavioral health, complete pharmacy benefits and other specialty areas of healthcare. 

NeuroFlow for Digital Behavioral Health Integration

NeuroFlow works with leading health plans, provider systems,
as well as the U.S. military and government to enhance virtual health programs
by delivering a comprehensive approach to whole-person care through digital
behavioral health integration – an evidence-based model to identify and treat
consumers with depression, anxiety and other behavioral health conditions
across all care settings.

Key features of the behavioral health platform include:

– Interoperability: Seamless EHR and system integrations minimize administrative burden and optimize current IT investments.

– Measurement-based Care & Clinical Decision Support: NeuroFlow enables MBC at scale, keeps the patient in the center of care, and continuously monitors for a consistent connection to critical data and clinical decision support.

– Performance Management & Reporting: Recognize
the impact of your BHI program, monitoring the impact of clinical interventions
on quality and cost of care while recognizing outliers requiring program
adjustments.

– Consumer Engagement & Self-Care: personalized
experience that encourages, rewards and recognizes continuous engagement and
monitoring

Maximize Efficiency, Revenue and Reimbursements

By integrating behavioral health into the primary care setting, increasing screening and self-care plans – NeuroFlow’s BHI solution can reduce ED utilization by 23% and inpatient visits by 10%. 80% of NeuroFlow users self-reported a reduction in depression or anxiety symptoms and 62% of users with severe depression score improve to moderate or better.

Telehealth Adoption Underscores Need for Behavioral
Healthcare

With record growth in telehealth adoption and historic spikes in depression and anxiety due to the ongoing pandemic, workflow augmentation solutions and the delivery of effective behavioral health care have been identified as top priorities in the industry. NeuroFlow’s technology increases access to personalized, collaborative care while empowering primary care providers, care managers, and other specialists to most effectively support patient populations by accounting for and addressing behavioral health. 

“Behavioral health is not independent of our overall health — it affects our physical health and vice versa, yet most underlying behavioral health conditions go unidentified or are ineffectively treated. Most healthcare providers are overburdened, so introducing the concept to account for a person’s mental health in addition to their primary specialty can be overwhelming and lead to inconsistent and inadequate treatment,” said NeuroFlow CEO Chris Molaro. “Technology, when used strategically, can enhance and augment providers, making the concept of holistic and value-based care feasible at scale and easy to implement.”

Strategic Partnership with Magellan

Magellan Health’s network of more than 118,000 credentialed
providers and health professionals are now poised to join NeuroFlow customers
across the country by leveraging the best-in-class integrated data and
analytics platform to meet the rising demand for enhanced mental health
services and support. By partnering with and investing in NeuroFlow, Magellan
has the opportunity to drive further adoption of NeuroFlow’s behavioral health
integration tools and drive collaborative care initiatives with its customers
as well as its vast network of credentialed providers and health professionals
across the country.

Expansion Plans

NeuroFlow will use the Series B proceeds to scale its
operations and support its growth in data analytics, artificial intelligence,
and direct health record integrations. NeuroFlow’s contracted user base has
grown 10x to over 330,000 in support of almost 200 commercial health systems,
payers, accountable care organizations, independent medical groups, and federal
agencies to provide technology-enabled care solutions.


Despite COVID-19: Providers Should Not Lose Sight of MIPS Compliance

Despite COVID-19: Providers Should Not Lose Sight of MIPS Compliance
Courtney Tesvich, VP of Regulatory at Nextech

When 2020 began, no one anticipated that complying with the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)—the flagship payment model of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Payment Program (QPP)—would look so different halfway through the year. Like many other things, the COVID-19 crisis has delayed, diverted, or derailed many organizations’ reporting efforts and capabilities. Lower procedure volumes, new remote work scenarios, and shifting priorities have taken attention away from MIPS work. 

Despite the disruptions and uncertainties associated with the pandemic, healthcare organizations should not lose track of MIPS compliance and the program’s intent to improve care quality, reduce costs, and facilitate interoperability. Here are a few strategies for keeping a MIPS program top of mind. 

Understand the immediate effects of the pandemic on MIPS reporting 

Due to COVID-19, CMS granted several 2019 data reporting exceptions and extensions to clinicians and providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs. These concessions were enacted to let providers focus 100% of their resources on caring for and ensuring the health and safety of patients and staff during the early weeks of the crisis. For the 2020 MIPS performance period, CMS has also chosen to use the Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances policy to allow requests to reweight any or all of the MIPS performance categories to 0%.

Clinicians and groups can complete the application any time before the end of this performance year. If practices are granted reweighting one or more categories but submit data during the attestation period, the reweighting will be void and the practice will receive the score earned in the categories for which they submit data

Seize the opportunity to improve interoperability 

Interoperability is a key area that organizations were focused on before the crisis, and this work still warrants attention. If an organization is not on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, it should use this time to shore up communications with other entities so, once things return to “normal,” it will be well prepared to seamlessly exchange information with peer organizations. 

Establishing processes for sending and receiving care summaries via direct messaging is important for practices to earn a high score in the Promoting Interoperability category. Direct messaging is a HIPAA-compliant method for securely exchanging health information between providers, which functions as an email but is much more secure due to encryption. A regular pain point organizations face is being unable to obtain direct messaging addresses from peer organizations, including referral partners.

To assist providers in this area, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and CMS has created a mandatory centralized directory of provider electronic data exchange addresses published by the National Plan & Provider Enumeration System (NPPES). The NPPES directory is searchable through a public API and allows providers to look up the direct messaging addresses for other providers. To meet current interoperability requirements, providers must have entered their direct messaging address into the system by June 30, 2020. If they haven’t done so, the provider could be publicly reported for failure to comply with the requirement, which could constitute information blocking. 

Take time now to ensure direct messaging addresses have been entered correctly for all members of your practice. This is also a good time to begin reaching out to top referral sources to make sure they are also prepared to send and receive information.

Look for ways to streamline quality reporting 

Over the next few months, the focus will return to quality measure reporting. As such, it’s wise to take advantage of this time to ensure solid documentation and reporting methods. Electronic medical records (EMRs) can be helpful in streamlining these efforts.

For example, dropdown menus with frequently used descriptions and automated coding can enable greater accuracy and specificity while easing the documentation process for providers. Customizable screens that can be configured to include specialty-specific choices based on patient history and problem list can also smooth documentation and coding, especially if screen layouts mirror favored workflow.

Regarding MIPS compliance in particular, it can be helpful to use tools that offer predictive charting. This feature determines whether a patient qualifies for preselected MIPS measures in real-time and presents the provider with data fields related to those items during the patient encounter—allowing the physician to collect the appropriate information without adding additional charting time later on. 

With respect to reporting, providers may benefit from using their certified EMR in addition to reporting through a registry. At the beginning of the MIPS program, providers could report through both a registry and EMR directly and would be scored separately for their quality category through each method. They would then be awarded the higher score of the two. This method had the potential to leave some high-scoring measures on the table.

Beginning in 2019, providers reporting through both registry and EMR direct are scored across the two methods. CMS uses the six highest scoring measures between the two reporting sets to calculate the provider’s or group’s quality score, potentially resulting in a higher score than the provider would earn by reporting through either method alone. 

A knowledgeable partner can pave the way to better performance

COVID-19 has impacted healthcare like no other event in recent history, and it’s not surprising that MIPS compliance has taken a back seat to more pressing concerns. However, providers still have the opportunity to make meaningful progress in this area. By working with a technology partner that keeps up with the current requirements and offers strategies and solutions for optimizing data collection and reporting, a provider can realize solid MIPS performance during and beyond this unprecedented time.


About Courtney Tesvich, VP of Regulatory at Nextech

Courtney is a Registered Nurse with more than 20 years in the healthcare field, 15 of which have been focused on quality improvements and regulatory compliance. As VP of Regulatory at Nextech, Courtney is responsible for ensuring that Nextech’s products meet government certification requirements and client needs related to the regulatory environment.  


Elation Health Nabs $40M for Clinical-First Solution to Power Independent Primary Care

Elation Health Nabs $40M for Clinical-First Solution to Power Independent Primary Care

What You Should Know:

– Elation Health, which provides an easy-to-use and
affordable clinical technology platform for more than 7 million independent primary
care clinicians serving 14M+ patients – including an EHR raises $40M in Series
C funding from Al Gore’s sustainable investment firm, Generation Investment
Management.

– Elation’s API-enabled platform also allows
organizations to transform the patient and provider experience and implement
their own models of data-driven, value-based care.

– Company will surpass a milestone this year of
delivering more than 20 million in-office and virtual visits through their
provider network.


Elation
Health
, a clinical-first technology company powering the future of
independent primary care, today announced a Series C financing round of $40
million led by Al Gore’s Generation Investment
Management
, a firm that invests in sustainable businesses accelerating the
transition to a more healthy, fair, safe, and low-carbon society. The round
also included participation from existing investors, including Threshold Ventures and Kapor Capital.

Clinical-First Commitment to Independent Primary Care

Independent primary care is one of the few areas in healthcare where upfront investment leads to significant savings in the long term. For every dollar spent on primary care, studies suggest that as much as $13 in downstream healthcare costs are avoided. Increased spending on primary care is also associated with fewer emergency department visits and reduced total hospitalizations and specialty interventions for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure

Elation Health was founded in 2010 after siblings Kyna and
Conan Fong struggled to help their father transition his solo primary care
practice from paper charts to a digital system. Born from that experience,
today Elation Health powers the largest network for independent primary care,
with 14,000 independent clinicians caring for seven million patients. The
company offers an EHR
solution, enterprise APIs, revenue cycle services, patient engagement app, and
access to interoperability partners.

The company surpassed a milestone this year of delivering more than 20 million in-office and virtual visits through its provider network. In addition to serving small practices, Elation has partnered with primary care innovators such as Crossover Health and Cityblock Health to provide the underlying clinical platform for technology-enabled, team-based care.

Helping Intendent Practices Shift to Virtual Care Amid The
COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2020, Elation Health’s customer base of independent
practices has faced significant business challenges as primary care shifts to
virtual settings and the pace of insurance and government policy change has
accelerated. The company has responded by expanding its role as a critical
technology partner — including adding HIPAA-compliant telehealth to its core
offering, deepening support for Medicare and Medicaid quality programs, and
delivering new patient engagement capabilities for patients to schedule
appointments and interact with practices. Elation’s API-enabled platform also
allows organizations to transform the patient and provider experience and
implement their own models of data-driven, value-based care.

Expansion Plans

In the year ahead, Elation Health will continue to invest in
its core platform, while adding new capabilities to support business operations
for independent primary care. The company has plans to develop solutions in
billing and payment collection, patient population management, interoperability,
and quality reporting — ensuring practices have the tools to drive high-quality
patient outcomes and business success.

Amwell Launches New Offerings to Increase Doctor-to-Patient Virtual Connectivity

Amwell Launches New Offerings to Increase Doctor-to-Patient Virtual Connectivity

What You Should Know:

– Amwell just announced some new offerings Amwell Now, Touchpoint
Tablet software, and C500 to help increase doctor-to-patient virtual
connections as patient and doctor preferences change in light of the pandemic.

– The new solutions (a quick-to-deploy video visit offering, new tablet software, and a telemedicine cart) are designed to be easy-to-use but fully integrated in the provider’s systems and secure.


Amwell, a
national telehealth
leader, today announced new connectivity, device and cart offerings, all
tailored to meet the evolving needs of care teams and patients. Spurred by the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amwell is introducing Amwell Now,
new Touchpoint
Tablet software
, and the C500
telemedicine cart to help health systems and other healthcare organizations
easily leverage telehealth as a safe, quality care option.

Amwell Now
and Amwell’s latest Carepoint tablets and carts are designed to make it easier
for providers to quickly onboard patients and use virtual care. These tools can
be integrated within and scaled across organizations’ current systems and
devices, making it simple to embed and launch telehealth across various
specialties and serve an entire care organization. New offerings include:

Amwell Now

Amwell Now

Amwell Now
enables a simple connectivity experience for patients and providers,
streamlining entry to the Amwell platform, which is purposefully designed for
healthcare interactions. Amwell Now addresses physicians’ needs for easy, fast
video visits, all on Amwell’s HIPAA compliant, clinically tailored platform. It
delivers simple reporting functionality and the ability for organizations to
put forward their own brand versus that of Amwell. Providers can deploy Amwell
Now with only a few clicks, invite patients by text or email, launch an instant
video connection, and experience an adaptable video visit workflow that is easy
for both themselves and their patients.

Touchpoint Tablet Software

Connect Patients to Remote Providers & Family

Amwell’s Touchpoint Tablet software offers a new and simple
way to connect remote providers to on-site patients and providers. With it,
health systems can use (existing or new) iPads to facilitate bedside video
connectivity and collaboration in a secure, reliable, HIPAA-compliant way. The
Touchpoint Tablet software is integrated with Amwell Fleet Monitoring, enabling
health systems to track their tablets as part of their Carepoint fleet.

C500: Lightweight Telemedicine Cart

Performance that Lasts

The C500
is Amwell’s latest-generation, lightweight telemedicine cart that empowers providers
to conduct efficient, high-quality remote exams across a variety of
specialties. Featuring an embedded 4K camera that responds immediately to user
commands and smart sensors that make the cart environment-aware, the C500
provides a seamless care experience that is fully integrated with the Amwell
telehealth platform.

Why It Matters

“Amid COVID-19, healthcare organizations’ needs for and expectations surrounding telehealth have fundamentally changed,” said Ido Schoenberg, Chairman and Co-CEO, Amwell. “Increasingly, virtual care is being used as core to all types of care delivery, whether it’s to safeguard care teams, limit unnecessary exposure for patients, or to prioritize the home as a go-to care setting. Our latest offerings are responsive to industry calls for simplicity, integration, and quality, and in service to the evolving landscape of healthcare and our lives overall.”

Eko Lands $65M to Expand AI-Powered Telehealth Platform for Virtual Pulmonary and Cardiac Exam

Eko Lands $65M to Expand AI-Powered Telehealth Platform for Virtual Pulmonary and Cardiac Exam

What You Should Know:

– Cardiopulmonary digital health company Eko raises $65M
in Series C funding to close the gap between virtual and in-person heart and
lung care.

– The latest round of funding will enable Eko to expand
in-clinic use of its platform of telehealth and AI algorithms for disease
screening and to launch a monitoring program for cardiopulmonary patients at
home.

Eko, a
cardiopulmonary digital
health
company,
today announced $65 million in Series C funding led by Highland Capital
Partners and Questa Capital, with participation from Artis Ventures, DigiTx
Partners, NTTVC, 3M Ventures, and other new and existing investors. The new
funding will be used to expand in-clinic use of the company’s platform of telehealth
and AI
algorithms for disease screening, and to launch a monitoring program for
cardiopulmonary patients at home.

Eko was founded in 2013 to improve heart and lung care for
patients through advanced sensors, digital technology, and novel AI algorithms.
The company reinvented the stethoscope and introduced the first combined
handheld digital stethoscope and electrocardiogram (ECG). Eko’s FDA-cleared AI
analysis algorithms help detect heart rhythm abnormalities and structural heart
disease. Eko seeks to make AI analysis the standard for every physical exam. The
company recently launched Eko AI and Eko Telehealth to combat the needs of the COVID-19
pandemic.

Eko Telehealth delivers:

– AI-powered and FDA-cleared identification of heart murmurs
and atrial fibrillation (AFib), assisting providers in the detection and
monitoring of heart disease during virtual visits

– Lung and heart sound live-streaming for a thorough virtual
examination

– Single-lead ECG live-streaming, enabling providers to
assess for rhythm abnormalities

– Embedded HIPAA-compliant video conferencing, or can work
alongside the video conferencing platform a health system has in place

Symptoms of valvular heart disease and AFib often go
undiagnosed during routine physical exams. With the development of Eko’s AI
screening algorithms, clinicians are able to harness state-of-the-art machine
learning to detect heart disease at the earliest point of care regardless if
the patient visit is in-person or remote.

“We are thrilled that our new investors have joined our journey and our existing investors have reaffirmed their support for Eko,” said Connor Landgraf, CEO and co-founder at Eko. “The explosion in demand for virtual cardiac and pulmonary care has driven Eko’s rapid expansion at thousands of hospitals and healthcare facilities, and we are excited for how this funding will accelerate the growth of our cardiopulmonary platform.”

Aptar Pharma Acquires the Assets of Respiratory Startup Cohero Health

Aptar Pharma Acquires the Assets of Cohero Health

What You Should Know:

– Apstar Pharma acquires the assets of respiratory health company Cohero Health to expands its digital portfolio with a focus on respiratory disease management.

– Cohero Health develops digital tools and technologies to improve respiratory care, reduce avoidable costs, and optimize medication utilization.


AptarGroup, Inc., a global leader in consumer dispensing, active packaging, drug delivery solutions, and services, announces that it has acquired all operating assets and the proprietary portfolio of Cohero Health, Inc. (“Cohero Health”), a digital therapeutics company transforming respiratory disease management for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Start breathing smarter

Founded in 2013, New York-based Cohero Health develops innovative digital tools and technologies to improve respiratory care, reduce avoidable costs, and optimize medication utilization. With this transaction, Aptar Pharma acquires Cohero Health’s turnkey digital health platform and device assets including:

· BreatheSmart Connect digital health platform – care coordination and HIPAA-compliant SaaS cloud service which captures and securely stores data from Cohero Health’s devices and BreatheSmart® software for remote monitoring and patient communications to help manage patient therapy;

· BreatheSmart® App – designed for patient habit creating and behavior change, driving appropriate medication utilization. Provides real-time tracking of medication adherence and lung function, along with reminders, educational materials, and symptom/trigger recording;

·
HeroTracker® Sensors
– Bluetooth enabled medication smart inhaler sensors
designed for both control and rescue medications. Attaches to respiratory
medications to automatically record time and date of doses taken

· mSpirometer™ and cSpirometer™lung function diagnostic sensors – enable comprehensive pulmonary lung function testing in a handheld wireless device.

Acquisition Expands Aptar’s Digital Portfolio

“Cohero Health further strengthens and expands Aptar’s digital portfolio, in this case, with a focus in respiratory disease management,” commented Sai Shankar, Aptar Pharma’s Vice President, Global Digital Healthcare Systems. “Aptar has made previous investments in digital respiratory company Sonmol in China and digital health company Navia Life Care in India. With this strategic bolt on, Aptar now has global capabilities to deploy digital respiratory health, utilizing either the Cohero or Aptar device portfolio/platform. The investment will also facilitate Aptar’s ability to provide diagnostic solutions in respiratory and a significant number of other disease categories.”

Innovaccer Launches AI-Enabled Patient Relationship Management Solution

Innovaccer Launches AI-Enabled Patient Relationship Management Solution

What You Should Know:

– Innovaccer launches its artificial
intelligence (AI)-enabled patient relationship management solution to
streamline communication between patients and their care teams.

– The solution enables
providers and member teams to move beyond treating illness to facilitating
proactive care by building productive, long-term relationships with patients.


Innovaccer, Inc., a San Francisco, CA-based healthcare technology
company, today launched its artificial
intelligence (AI)-
enabled patient relationship management solution to streamline communication between patients and their care
teams. The solution increases revenue by helping care staff use their time more
efficiently, enabling personalized outreach over a broad patient base with
comprehensive, data-driven, and fully-coordinated care.

The absence
of widely available, easy-to-use systems that automate tasks, such as
scheduling follow-up calls, developing and distributing targeted
communications, and properly responding to questions, makes managing ongoing
relationships difficult, especially for patients with complex medical
conditions. To eliminate such communication barriers, the solution uses
powerful analytics to provide a 360-degree view of patients along with their
utilization trends to easily stratify the most vulnerable patients. With these
views in place, providers can take suitable steps and group patients based on
shared conditions or goals for improved medical management and care delivery.

Enabling
2-Way Communication at Population & Individual Levels

Built on top of Innovaccer’s proprietary FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform, the solution enables HIPAA-compliant, two-way communication channels to engage patients at both the population and individual levels. The solution enables care teams to easily manage appointments, monitor patient ratings, and feedback, and conduct one-click appointment booking and prescription renewals. With the solution, the care teams can create patient cohorts based on disease, region, and various other parameters to send bulk outreach emails. It simplifies the process of connecting healthcare teams with patients to provide administrative and clinical support.

“Patient-centricity is the essence of healthcare, and artificial intelligence has always been viewed as the answer to achieving individualized, consumer-oriented healthcare,” says Abhinav Shashank, CEO at Innovaccer. “With our patient relationship management solution, we will   resolve the complexity that prevents healthcare organizations from building strong patient relationships. Our goal is to enable healthcare teams to care as one for their patients.”

Vocera Acquires Secure Communications Platform EASE Applications

Vocera Acquires Secure Communications Platform EASE Applications

What You Should Know:

– Today Vocera Communications acquires EASE Applications,
a provider of a secure communication platform and mobile application that
delivers updates, messages to patients’ loved ones, during surgeries and at
other times.

– The Orlando-based EASE offers a cloud-based service
that is built to improve the patient experience by enabling friends and family
members to receive timely updates about the progress of loved ones in the
hospitals. Care team members can send a patient’s loved ones HIPAA-compliant
texts, photos, and video updates putting them at ease and saving valuable time.


Vocera Communications,
Inc., 
a provider of clinical communication and workflow solutions,
today announced that it has acquired
EASE (Electronic Access to Surgical
Events),
based in Orlando, FL. EASE offers a cloud-based communication
platform and mobile application built to improve the patient
experience by enabling friends and family members to receive timely updates
about the progress of their loved one in the hospital. The EASE app
enables nurses and other care team members to send HIPAA-compliant texts,
photos, and video updates to patients’ loved ones, putting them at ease and
saving valuable time.

Patients can add friends and family members to their distribution list; and with a simple tap, caregivers can keep them informed and ease their concerns. Messages, pictures, and videos sent disappear 60 seconds after being viewed, and nothing is saved on the mobile device, providing an additional layer of security and privacy. The application also provides secure two-way video conferencing between patients’ families and care teams. Additionally, EASE enables care team members to customize in-app surveys, offering a quick way to track and improve patient engagement and satisfaction in real-time, and giving feedback and support for the caregivers.

Return on Investment

With more than 1.6 million sent messages, the EASE
application has demonstrated improved patient and family satisfaction and
reduced the number of phone calls from loved ones to the hospital. In one study
with approximately 2,500 family members, 98% said that EASE reduced their
anxiety, and 81% reported that the availability of EASE would influence their
choice of hospital. Additionally, patient satisfaction scores increased by an
average of 6% for patients who used EASE compared to patients who did not use
the application.

Issuance of Restricted Stock Units

As part of the onboarding process, Vocera will issue
restricted stock units totaling approximately 60,000 shares of Vocera common
stock to approximately eleven employees of EASE. These restricted stock units
will vest over three years after the closing and will be made from an
inducement plan adopted by the company’s board of directors pursuant to the
inducement exemption provided under the NYSE listing rules.

The Adoption of Telehealth During the Pandemic will Shape Healthcare’s New Normal

Beyond Interoperability: Data Activation and Artificial Intelligence for Healthcare
Abhinav Shashank, CEO and Co-founder of Innovaccer Inc.

COVID-19 has presented healthcare with a challenge like no other, with nearly nine million cases all over the world and over 470,000 lives lost. The speed of the outbreak and the disruption caused by it has created unforeseen challenges for communities and economies, and it’s especially apparent in healthcare delivery. Healthcare systems in nations around the globe have dedicated substantial resources to respond to the pandemic and the growth has only somewhat stymied. 

While the U.S. healthcare brings all hands on deck to treat the COVID-19 patients, we have seen a massive acceleration in the use of telehealth to make sure care delivery is not delayed for other patients. The U.S. telehealth market is expected to reach around $10 billion by the end of the year- a dynamic that will remain on its course after the pandemic as well. According to a report, the telehealth market is set to be valued at $175.5 billion by 2026. 

During this period, hospitals across the country will invest more in telehealth solutions to create familiarity with virtual care. However, virtual care encompasses many more benefits than video conferencing with patients. While many health systems have stepped up to leverage telehealth, there is still a long way to go. 

COVID-19 has led to wide-spread telehealth adoption

COVID-19 has certainly changed the outlook towards telehealth. While it was already experiencing significant momentum prior to the pandemic, it has gone from a ‘good-to-have’ to a vital component of care delivery today for providers and patients alike. A McKinsey survey revealed that the number of patients that had used telehealth increased from 11 percent in 2019 to 76 percent in 2020. Even the providers have witnessed 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than before. 

One of the most important considerations behind the increase in telehealth adoption is that while a significant number of the U.S. population is under stay-at-home orders, this is the only way people can communicate with their physicians. Additionally, the adoption of telehealth can also be instrumental in mitigating the competition for healthcare resources. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) can be saved for medical staff on the line while other providers can care for their patients from the safety of their homes or clinics. Importantly, the recent CARES Act waived the historical restrictions of telehealth availability to patients in rural areas, and that these services could only be offered from an institutional setting. Telehealth can now be provided to patients at any location with physicians connecting with them from their preferred location.

Another important development is the relaxed HIPAA privacy standards to allow the use of standard video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. As long as the use of these applications gives providers the flexibility to connect with patients remotely, this selective regulation could be in good faith. 

However, this begs the question: could non-HIPAA compliant solutions be a viable, long-term solution? Does the telehealth domain extend as far as video conferencing? How can telehealth be modified to suit the new normal in healthcare? 

Extending the use of telehealth to engage healthcare in a broader way

While the surge in telehealth adoption was somewhat dramatic, the shift to a new normal has to be step-wise and planned for a more efficient healthcare system. There are still factors to consider that could be a potential challenge in the adoption of telehealth, such as lack of awareness of telehealth offerings, poor infrastructure or access to support virtual care and suitable insurance coverage. 

The applications of telehealth can be leveraged in multiple ways. Healthcare organizations can leverage telehealth as an alternative to emergency departments (ED) and urgent care visits. Patients can connect with their physicians remotely regarding their immediate concerns such as an unexplained stomach ache or unusual skin rash to avoid a trip to the ED or urgent care. This could prove extremely important in reducing the number of ED visits and subsequently, lower the cost of care. 

Building on that, virtual consultations with an established provider can also be considered. These consultations can include primary care visits for regular check-ups for chronic conditions, a common cold or psychotherapy. Providers can also conduct follow-up visits and decide later if the patient requires in-person care. This combination of virtual care along with in-person care can help in devising a dynamic care plan for patients and better manage population health

Combining telehealth with a healthcare data platform can be the foundation of a connected care framework that can focus on improving access to care and its continuity. A platform that is HIPAA-compliant can be easily used by the providers to connect with their patients and is an optimal way to have effective virtual consultations. Ideally, providers and patients should connect on a platform that gives providers access to their patients’ previous clinical information from across the continuum of care. This would help in reducing the time that goes into shuffling patient files, gathering patient histories, and keying it back into electronic health records.

A virtual, connected care framework could be crucial in connecting all the dots in care. With virtual visits and remote monitoring being conducted on the same platform, providers can coordinate care among each other to ensure minimal friction in the care for patients. For example, real-time changes in the vital signs of a patient diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes can be recorded by the primary care physician and be communicated to the care team. The care team can devise a care plan to address the needs of the patient or direct them to an urgent care clinic to be further assessed. This could be followed by a virtual check-in call with the physician and appropriate follow-up care. 

Preparing for the new normal in healthcare

Amid the urgency of the pandemic, it is important to consider what the U.S. healthcare system may look like after the pandemic is over and how the strategies we have implemented during this time will evolve. 

For healthcare systems to truly embrace the potential for virtual care, physicians have to realize that telehealth is not just a substitute for face-to-face care delivery but a way of enhancing the care experience. To have telehealth as a concrete foundation for virtual care, all digital capabilities and patient information have to be accessible in real-time. Virtual care in healthcare has emerged as an enabler of change and healthcare organizations should sufficiently leverage this opportunity to improve their outcomes, their management of population health, and enhance the health of all of their patients.

COVID-19 will alter our healthcare permanently. The demand for care has changed and any future value-based care efforts will likely be accelerated. The goal is to achieve a lower cost of care while improving the quality of care leading to a healthier population- telehealth is an important tool to achieve that goal. The future of healthcare will be dependent on taking on risk, delivering care to patients in real-time and implementing strategies that are focused on providing care using the most efficient technologies. 


About Abhinav Shashank

Abhinav Shashank is the CEO and Co-founder of Innovaccer Inc., a leading healthcare data activation platform. In his role as the CEO, Abhinav has laid the foundation for Innovaccer’s success as a leading data activation platform company and registering a 400% y-o-y growth. Abhinav has also been given a coveted spot in ‘Forbes- 30 Under 30 Asia 2017: Enterprise Tech’ and recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the ‘Top 50 rising leaders in US healthcare under 40.’”


Cerner Integrates Nuances Virtual Assistant Platform with Millennium EHR to Reduce Physician Burnout

Cerner Integrates Nuances Virtual Assistant Platform with Millennium EHR to Reduce Physician Burnout

What You Should Know:

– Cerner expands its AI collaboration with Nuance to
provide joint customers with more advanced natural language virtual assistant
technology to navigate electronic health records (EHRs) using just
their voice, giving clinicians more time to spend with patients and less time
with a computer.

– As part of the expanded collaboration, Nuance will
offer Cerner deeply embedded virtual assistant technology that
delivers sophisticated conversational dialogues and skills to automate
high-value clinical tasks inside Cerner Millennium, such as chart
search, navigation, intelligent computerized physician order entry (CPOE), and
scheduling.


Nuance®
Communications, Inc. 
today announced that it has expanded its
long-standing AI collaboration with Cerner
to include the integration of Nuance’s virtual assistant technology into
the Cerner Millennium® electronic health record
(EHR).
Building upon the existing integration between Nuance’s Dragon®
Medical platform and Cerner Millennium, joint clients can utilize
Nuance’s advanced natural language virtual assistant technology to navigate the
EHR using just their voice, giving clinicians more time to spend with their
patients and less time with their computer.

COVID-19 Underscores Importance of Addressing Physician
Burnout

The expanded Nuance-Cerner relationship is driven by the healthcare industry’s need to mitigate what the World Medical Association is calling a “pandemic of physician burnout” with 51 percent of physicians reporting frequent or constant feelings of burnout. This is caused by a staggering administrative workload of electronic paperwork to document patient care and to meet requirements for insurance coverage, financial reimbursement, and medicolegal liability protection. 

Research shows that more than 80 percent of physicians believe virtual assistants in health care can reduce the burden on care teams and improve the patient experience. Nuance’s virtual assistant technology helps physicians rapidly accomplish tasks and communicate more naturally while allowing them to use specialized medical terminology across a range of devices and applications with high accuracy.

Virtual Assistant Platform Integration Benefits

Nuance’s deeply embedded virtual assistant technology delivers sophisticated conversational dialogues and skills that automate high-value clinical tasks inside Cerner Millennium, such as chart search, navigation, intelligent computerized physician order entry (CPOE), and scheduling. Nuance technology’s high accuracy rates, rich set of voice-activated skills and ability to understand the user’s intent in context provides higher levels of workflow automation, and more efficient and complete documentation of patient care. Additionally, Nuance’s pre-built, HIPAA-compliant natural language understanding models and cloud platform will support Cerner to deploy the solution quickly and easily to joint clients.

“Together with Cerner, we’re bringing the next level of conversational AI directly to our joint clients with the goals of improving patient experiences, combating clinician burnout, and reducing costs,” said Joe Petro, CTO, Nuance. “Building on our Dragon Medical platform, already used by over 550,000 physicians in the U.S. alone, our new virtual assistant technology will help deliver solutions that automate time-consuming tasks, eliminate inefficiencies, and bring clinical intelligence and better decision-support to clinicians at the point of care.”

 Availability

Select joint Cerner and Nuance clients can expect
to start deploying this integrated virtual assistant technology late this
year.

Ciox Health Acquires Biomedical NLP Company Medal

Ciox Health Acquires Biomedical NLP Company Medal

What You Should Know:

– Ciox Health has acquired Medal, Inc., a biomedical
Natural Language Processing (biomed-NLP) technology company.

– The acquisition will lead Ciox to better and more
quickly enable real-world data in support of research that advances patient
care.


Ciox
Health
, a leading health technology company, today announced its acquisition
of San Francisco-based biomedical Natural Language Processing (biomed-NLP)
technology company, Medal, Inc., a leader
in the application of AI techniques to the interrogation of unstructured
medical record data. The acquisition accelerates capabilities to enable
real-world data (RWD) in support of research that advances patient care.

The Real-World Data Advantage

As more pharmaceutical and research organizations look to real-world data to accelerate clinical research, reliable identification, and interpretation of phenotypic data from deep inside medical records are becoming paramount. The most relevant information resides in the unstructured data: the surgical reports, pathology reports, imaging reports, discharge summaries, and other clinician-scribed narrative text. Medal’s software helps identify, contextualize, and interpret narrative-based medical notes, leading to the creation of research-grade data sets at scale. The company’s approach to biomed-NLP and deep learning AI is guided and informed by consensus from clinical expert reviewers across therapeutic areas.

“More than 100 million medical records are retrieved and reviewed by Ciox each year from the vast majority of U.S. providers, presenting an unprecedented opportunity to actually bring a true longitudinal perspective to clinical investigation. Ciox works at the first and last mile of U.S. healthcare data,” says Andy McMurry, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of Medal. “Using Medal AI, Ciox will reduce human expert time and increase the utility of patient data to support biomedical discovery and clinical trials research across many disease areas, including COVID-19. Combining vast biomedical knowledge sources with clinically trained Artificial Intelligence enabling human experts, we are reinventing real-world data for clinical investigation.”

Acquisition Benefits for Ciox Health

This acquisition is the third major recent announcement from
Ciox’s growing Real World Data business, following two prior announcements of
strategic collaborations with LabCorp and Merck. As health data remains
fragmented throughout the U.S. healthcare ecosystem, Ciox is attracting
interest in its RWD division from medical research organizations and other
partners. This additional feature of the Ciox DataFit Platform through the
acquisition of Medal will enable faster and more consistent translational
research. 

Why It Matters

“We’re proud to bolster the Ciox Real World Data offering with Medal’s technology and team,” says Pete McCabe, CEO, Ciox. “The team and the biomed-NLP product, combined with Ciox’s technology-enabled ability to create longitudinal records across EHRs and provider systems, remove the friction related to medical records-based clinical research.  We will consistently supply consented, HIPAA-compliant, de-identified, research-grade RWD for complex clinical use cases to commercial researchers in pharma and biotech, as well as government sponsored researchers. The need is particularly highlighted in the COVID-19 research questions being asked by agencies like the FDA, CDC and NIH.”

Central Maine Healthcare, Innovaccer Partner to Power Data-driven Telehealth Capabilities

Central Maine Healthcare, Innovaccer Partner to Power Data-driven Telehealth Capabilities

What You Should Know:

– Innovaccer has recently partnered with Central Maine
Healthcare (CMH), an integrated healthcare delivery system that serves over
400,000 people in the central, western, and mid-coast regions of the state, to
connect providers with their patients through data-driven telehealth, powered
by its FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform.

– The care delivery system will conduct data-enabled
virtual visits to assist its providers with efficient, remote care amid the
COVID-19 crisis and beyond.


Innovaccer, Inc., a
San Francisco, CA-based healthcare technology company, has partnered with Central Maine Healthcare (CMH), an integrated
healthcare delivery system that serves over 400,000 people in the central,
western, and mid-coast regions of the state, to connect providers with their
patients through data-driven telehealth,
powered by its FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform. The collaboration will
empower physicians at CMH with the ability to care for their patients with
real-time virtual visits and remote consultation experiences during the
pandemic.

When many patients are reluctant to visit the clinic to
avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus, healthcare organizations are
implementing virtual exam rooms and data-enabled telehealth visits for
chronically-ill patients in their care. 

With Innovaccer’s Virtual Care solution built on top of its
FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform and its data-driven telehealth
capabilities, the providers at CMH can conduct online patient consultations as
seamlessly as traditional onsite visits. The care teams at CMH can streamline
their workflows with the solution’s automated bulk messaging and outreach
capabilities. The platform will also assist providers in expediting the
follow-up process through telehealth consultations with secure messaging and
improve patient engagement with the health system. 

In addition to scheduling HIPAA-compliant HD video visits,
the solution’s virtual patient examination room can empower providers at CMH to
send and receive pre-visit assessments, texts, and email through secure
messaging.

Providers at CMH will be using the Virtual Care solution to
provide educational material for their patients, conduct smart outreach and
enable pre-visit planning with accurate patient self-assessments. With the
solution, providers at CMH can manage post-call logs to streamline their care
management approach.  

Given the situation we are all in, healthcare needed a new approach to tackle the pandemic. Central Maine Healthcare adopted a modern approach to care delivery where our primary focus was to offer our patients a virtual care option to make it easier for them to seek care, wherever they may be. Innovaccer’s FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform expertise will be helpful for us in strengthening our virtual care and it will be a good addition to our strategy going forward,” says Steven Martel, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, CMH

Sharecare Launches Digital COVID-19 Return-to-Work Solution for Employers

Sharecare Launches Digital COVID-19 Return-to-Work Solution for Employers

What You Should Know:

– Sharecare launches its offering for employers: [email protected],  a virtual solution for COVID-19 that’s integrated with its app-based digital health platform for managing consumer health and well-being.

– The offering is designed for employers – organizations
of any kind – to support their workforces as they return to work when the time
is right (and whether they’re working virtually or remotely).

– The solution features digital health pass, daily screener, telehealth integration, access to testing, and employee readiness surveying capabilities.


Sharecare, the digital health
company that helps people manage all their health in one place, announced [email protected],
Sharecare’s comprehensive COVID-19
readiness solution. Integrated into Sharecare’s robust health management and
engagement platform, [email protected] empowers U.S. employers to address the
evolving emotional, educational, clinical and operational challenges introduced
by the pandemic, while equipping their employees with tools and resources to
stay safe and build resilience, whether continuing to work remotely or
returning to the physical workplace.

[email protected] Areas of Focus

Sharecare Launches Digital COVID-19 Return-to-Work Solution for Employers

Through
[email protected], these tools, programs and content, among other new features,
are now available to Sharecare’s enterprise partners. Sharecare’s new COVID-19
readiness solution covers three distinct areas of focus to support U.S.
employers throughout the pandemic and beyond, including:

Assessment & Triage: Empowers employers with a real-time perspective on the overall health and safety of their workforce; while providing employees with a simple and convenient way to track their health status on a daily basis and gain confidence that their colleagues are doing the same. Components include:

  • Readiness survey: Developed in partnership with Dr. Sandro
    Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health; assesses
    employees’ willingness to resume activities and what will make them feel safe
    at work.

    • Daily screener & digital health pass: Securely monitor an employee’s health;
      employer receives reporting status and test results for each employee as well
      as aggregated data.

      • Daily screener: Clinically validated. Provides
        employees with a personalized COVID-19 report to view daily entries and monitor
        progress; locate nearby testing sites by state and county; and see lab results
        from employer-ordered COVID-19 tests.
      • Health pass: Secure QR code-powered
        certification within the Sharecare app, validating each employee’s health
        status as part of an organization’s return to work protocol.1
    • Telehealth integrationEnables employers to seamlessly integrate Sharecare’s
      HIPAA-compliant telehealth solution or other third-party telehealth
      solutions.

Testing & Tracking: Provides a decision framework to ensure a safe, confident return to work for an employer and their employees. Features include:

  • COVID-19 testingSearchable database of all available sanctioned and credible
    testing options. Sharecare, in conjunction with testing and diagnostic service
    providers, guides employees through the process to understand if they need to
    get tested, which test is appropriate, where to get tested, and their results,
    which are privately available to them within the Sharecare app.

    • Contact tracing: Uses low-emission Bluetooth readings between
      mobile phones over time to approximate the proximity and duration of an
      encounter between Sharecare app users who opt-in.2 Privately
      notifies individuals who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
    • Reporting and analytics: Status and risks for each employee, including
      results of positive COVID-19 tests and exposure events. Additional dashboards
      can be segmented by geography, worksite locations, and segmentation tactics
      applicable to the organization; as well as real-time and actionable reporting
      analytics providing clients with insights on population outcomes.

Build & maximize
resilience
: Tools and resources to foster resilience
by addressing the emotional, physical and financial challenges that many
employees encounter during the pandemic and as they return to work, including:

  • Interactive map: Measures and monitors the progression of
    COVID-19 cases and mobility data across the country, down to a county-by-county
    basis.

    • Anxiety management: From its voice-based stress tracker to the
      award-winning relaxation and mindfulness videos, Sharecare has multiple tools
      to help people manage stress. Most recently, Sharecare acquired a digital
      therapeutics company founded by renowned neuroscientist Dr. Jud Brewer and
      whose suite of apps, including Unwinding Anxiety, are clinically proven to
      positively affect long-term behavior change.
    • Financial protection: Sharecare provides employees direct access to
      SmartDollar, an online program designed to help them get on a budget, save for
      emergencies, pay off debt, and start investing so they can retire with
      confidence.

Integration with Sharecare’s Existing Digital Health Platform

Sharecare
has integrated these capabilities into its comprehensive digital platform
currently available to 30 million covered lives. By offering an even more
robust solution, Sharecare is ideally positioned not only to support the health
and well-being of its client partners and their employees in the face of the
pandemic but also to enable them to return to work safely when the time is
right. 

“Although the ultimate goal of enabling employees to safely return to the workplace is clear, the path for getting there is less certain for many organizations – and that’s further complicated by the daily information overload that is often complex and contradictory,” said Jeff Arnold, founder, chairman and CEO of Sharecare. “A successful return-to-work strategy requires more than just a particular testing protocol; we have to create a new culture of well-being that can adapt and evolve over time while empowering each individual to build resilience and foster longevity. We are committed to helping everyone stay safe against the threat of the pandemic, while equipping our government, employer and health plan partners to work toward recovery as a key component of their comprehensive well-being strategies.”