Aledade Secures $100M for Value-Based Primary Care, Reaching $2.1B Valuation

Aledade Raises $64M for Value-Based Care Network of Physician-Led ACOs

What You Should Know:

– Aledade raises $100 Million in Series D funding to help
more primary care practices thrive in value-based care.

– The new funding will power the growth of a nationwide network of more than one million patients by further expanding into Medicare Advantage Contracts.


Aledade,
a Bethesda, MD-based provider of value-based primary care, today announced it
has closed a $100 million Series D funding round following a year of
significant growth for its national network of risk-taking primary care
practices. Returning investor Meritech Capital led the round, which included new growth
investors Tiger
Global Management and
IVP,
and returning investor OMERS Growth Equity. The latest round of funding brings the
company’s valuation to over $2.1 billion dollars.

Delivering Value-Based Primary Care

Founded in 2014 by former National Coordinator for Health IT, Farzad Mostashari, Aledade began building ACO networks for independent physicians through the Medicare Shared Savings Program, but now also partners with commercial payers across the country.  Aledade now partners with nearly 800 independent primary care practices, including more than 100 federally-qualified health centers, comprising more than 7,800 providers in 31 states. Through this nationwide network of independent practices, Aledade practices manage roughly $12 billion in health care spending through 35 Medicare and 51 other value-based contracts and care for nearly 1.2 million patients.

Why It Matters

As the healthcare system continues to be strained by the
COVID-19 pandemic, these value-based
practices are keeping patients healthy, at home, and out of the hospital with
proactive, coordinated primary care. Aledade technology helps practices
identify and better manage their most at-risk patients. Patients of practices
engaged with Aledade have fewer emergency department visits, inpatient stays
and readmissions; in the most recent year with public results from the Medicare
Shared Savings Program, Aledade practices reduced hospital stays by an average
of 9 percent, avoiding more than 10,000 unnecessary hospitalizations.

Aledade’s growth has been driven by the success of its
physician-led model, in which the company shares in the risk and reward of both
government and commercial value-based contracts with participating independent
practices. Aledade practices have improved the quality of care and health
outcomes while controlling costs in all types of public and private payer
contracts. To date, Aledade’s participating practices have received more than
$115 million in shared savings revenue.

Funding Will Support Strategic Partnerships with Medicare
Advantage Plans

Aledade will use this infusion of capital to expand its value-based care model with health plans across the country, with a particular focus on growing its strategic partnerships with Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to improve outcomes and quality for more seniors. Already, Aledade works with all of the largest MA payers and multiple Blue Cross plans to give Aledade practices access to Medicare Advantage value-based contracts. In 2020, Aledade more than doubled the number of patients served in these MA contracts, bringing the total to about 100,000.

As the company expands into more MA plan partnerships and
welcomes more practices to its national network of ACOs, Aledade will continue
to invest heavily in its cutting-edge technology platform to ensure primary
care physicians have a world-class operating system for population health.
Aledade also plans to launch several initiatives in 2021 to extend this
platform.

These include initiatives to extend the use of integrated
telehealth, predict and prevent the occurrence of unplanned dialysis, reduce
racial disparities in hypertension control, and enable even the smallest
primary care practices in the country to join value-based contracts with
Aledade. 

Tech-Enabled PBO RxBenefits Reaches $1.1B Valuation After Recapitalization

Tech-Enabled PBO RxBenefits Reaches $1.1B Valuation After Recapitalization

What You Should Know:

– Private equity firm Advent International announced that
it has completed a recapitalization of RxBenefits, the employee benefits
industry’s first and only technology-enabled pharmacy benefits optimizer (PBO).

– The transaction values RxBenefits at approximately $1.1
billion.


Advent International (“Advent”), one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors, today announced that it has completed a recapitalization of RxBenefits, the employee benefits industry’s first and only technology-enabled pharmacy benefits optimizer (PBO), which values the company at approximately $1.1 billion. With this investment, Advent joins Great Hill Partners (“Great Hill”), a leading growth-oriented private equity firm, which first invested in the company in 2016. Advent and Great Hill now each own equal stakes in RxBenefits, alongside a significant investment from the current management team.

Founded in 1995, RxBenefits offers comprehensive “white-glove” service throughout the prescription benefits process for employee benefits consultants, self-funded employers, hospital and health systems, and third-party administrators. RxBenefits serves as a trusted pharmacy adviser to employee benefits consultants and as the pharmacy benefits solution provider of choice for self-insured employers.

The company leverages longstanding partnerships with the leading pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), a proprietary data management and business intelligence platform, and tailored clinical strategies to deliver unmatched pharmaceutical cost savings to self-insured employers and small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). The RxBenefits team consists of over 500 pricing, technology, data, and clinical experts providing coverage to more than 2 million members.

The recapitalization will provide RxBenefits with capital to accelerate the build-out of its salesforce, broker channels, and technology and continue executing on its strong growth strategy, both organically and through M&A.

Why It Matters

As of October, pharmaceutical spending was up 6.3% YoY and
climbing. In fact, recent forecasts predict a 3.29% increase for pharmaceutical
purchases by health systems and a 4.47% spending increase for Specialty drugs
in 2021 due to ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19 and other market trends.
Rising prescription drug costs have put employers between a rock and a hard
place as they struggle to reign in dramatically increasing pharmacy benefit
spend while protecting the health of their members, especially in the midst of
a pandemic. In fact, over 60% of employers say their prescription drug and
medical spend is costly and unsustainable.

 RxBenefits is the
only company that combines market purchasing power equivalent to that of a
Fortune 10 employer, a proprietary technology infrastructure, a data-driven
clinical approach and high touch personalized service to optimize the value
self-insured employers receive from their pharmacy benefits investment. Its PBO
model is in a Category of One.

Cerner Leadership Changes, Other Key Executives Hires

Cerner announced some leadership changes promoting long-time associates Travis Dalton to Chief Client & Services Officer and Dan Devers to Chief Legal Counsel. After long, respected, meaningful careers at Cerner, John Peterzalek and Randy Sims will be departing.


Cognoa, the leading pediatric behavioral health company developing diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for children living with autism and other behavioral health conditions appoints Eric B. Mosbrooker as Chief Operations Officer. Mosbrooker will be responsible for overseeing and leading the global commercialization of the company’s product offerings, expanding Cognoa’s operational capabilities and implementing scalable business processes.


Discovery Health Partners announced that Sameer K. Mishra has joined the company as Chief Information Officer. Leveraging his significant health payer technology experience, Mishra will lead Discovery’s dedicated IT staff and evolve the company’s technology platform.


Medical Microinstruments (MMI) SpA, hires Mark Toland as Chief Executive Officer. He brings more than 25 years of experience in the medical device industry and most recently served as President and CEO of Corindus, a vascular robotics company that Siemens Healthineers acquired for $1.1 billion in 2019. Following the CE mark of MMI’s Symani Surgical System® in 2019 and successfully completing the first human use cases in 2020, Toland will drive the company’s strategic direction from the developmental stage to broad commercialization.


Dr. Marilyn Ritholz and Dr. David Horwitz will join Chairman Eric Milledge on Dario Health’s scientific advisory board. Dr. Ritholz is a psychologist at Joslin Diabetes Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, and Dr. Horwitz is the former Global Chief Medical Officer of Johnson and Johnson Diabetes Institute. They will work on advancing Dario’s technical leadership and help to guide the development of its technology roadmap.


DrChrono expands its senior leadership team with two new hires joining the company. Shahram Famorzadeh will be joining as Senior Vice President of Engineering, responsible for scaling DrChrono’s platform to the next level to support its growing network of physicians and practices, and Jason Rasmussen has joined as Senior Vice President of Revenue, contributing his expertise to DrChrono’s financial operations team.


Vave Health announced two additions to its executive team and advisory board to support the company’s accelerated growth in the medical imaging market. David Garner, a long-time veteran of point-of-care ultrasound and previous vice president at Butterfly Network, brings more than 22 years of experience to Vave Health, and Terri Bresenham, founder of TruNorth Health Advisors and recognized global healthcare expert, joins as a member of the company’s advisory board.


Anang Chokshi, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS joins Include Health as Chief Clinical Officer (CCO). Chokshi joins IncludeHealth’s executive team to provide clinical and technical expertise as IncludeHealth expands its portfolio of products. 


Conversion Labs, Inc. appoints licensed personal care and wellness physician and psychiatrist, Dr. Anthony Puopolo, to the new position of chief medical officer. Dr. Puopolo will be responsible for overseeing the company’s rapidly expanding network of state-licensed physicians and ensuring that the company is delivering the highest quality of care.


BioCardia®, Inc. appoints Krisztina Zsebo, Ph.D., a 31-year veteran of the biotech industry, to its Board of Directors following her election at BioCardia’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders in December 2020.


Achiko AG appoints biotechnology research scientist and entrepreneur Dr. Morris S. Berrie to the position of President, and business leader in the life science industry Richard Lingard to the position of SVP Commercialization.

ApprioHealth announces the addition of Carl Swart as chief operating officer (COO). Prior to joining ApprioHealth, Swart served as the vice president for revenue cycle for Ensemble Health Partners. Additionally, he spent nearly a decade with Mercy Health as a market vice president.

Healthcare PE Firm Heritage Group Launches $317M Health Tech Fund

Heritage Group
Partners David McClellan, Rock Morphis, Paul Wallace (Left to Right)

What You Should Know:

– Healthcare private equity firm Heritage Group launches a $300M fund to invest in high-growth healthcare services and technology companies.

– Heritage is backed by some of the leading healthcare organizations in the nation, including large provider systems, payers, and healthcare service providers.


Heritage Group, a Nashville, TN-based healthcare-focused private equity firm, today announced the closing of over $300 million in its oversubscribed third fund, an increase of nearly $100 million over its prior fund in 2016. Heritage will continue its successful strategy of investing in solution-oriented, high-growth healthcare services, and technology businesses that are addressing the industry’s most pressing challenges.

“We are very pleased with the market’s response to our offering, especially during such a challenging economic environment,” said Paul Wallace, partner at Heritage. “We are grateful for the ongoing support of our longtime investors, and we’re excited to welcome several new LPs.  We’re fortunate to have a great team and a unique model, which combine to create value for all of our stakeholders.”

Investment Model & Approach

The firm was founded by Rock Morphis and David McClellan in 1986, Heritage seeks to make majority and minority investments, ranging from $20 to $40 million per portfolio company, in high-growth healthcare services and healthcare technology businesses that address the challenges of the U.S. healthcare system. Heritage engages deeply with its strategic investors, who provide unique value and insights through all stages of the deal process, including the identification, evaluation, and subsequent growth of its portfolio companies. The firm’s strategic investors operate over 550 hospitals, with 90,000 beds, and handle approximately 3M discharges annually.

Strategic Investors

Heritage’s strategic investors and partners represent
national leaders in the payer, provider, IT, and service sectors of healthcare.
This diversity is particularly valuable as these sectors begin to converge in
the shift towards value-based care. Limited Partners include Adventist Health
System (Florida); Amedisys (Louisiana); Cardinal Health (Ohio); Cerner Corp.
(Missouri); Community Health Systems (Tennessee); Health Care Service
Corporation (Illinois); Horizon Healthcare Services (New Jersey); Intermountain
Healthcare (Utah); LifePoint Health (Tennessee); Memorial Hermann Health System
(Texas); Sutter Health (California); Tenet Health (Texas); Trinity Health
(Michigan); and UnityPoint Health (Iowa).

“Heritage’s strategic engagement is outstanding and allows us to work together as true partners. We are able to lend our expertise and share the key pain points that we encounter as we strive to provide care in a value-based model, which requires new ways of reaching and treating consumers and patients,” said Scott Nordlund, chief strategy and growth officer at Banner Health. “Heritage has been instrumental in identifying innovative businesses that solve these concerns for our organization.”

Portfolio

Heritage has invested in some of the leading healthcare
services and technology companies, including Aviacode, AllyAlign Health, Medical Solutions,
Sharecare, Abode Healthcare, MDLIVE, Lumere, Reload, Spero Health, etc.

Net Health Acquires Post-Acute Analytics Platform PointRight – M&A

Net Health Acquires Post-Acute Analytics Platform PointRight – M&A

What You Should Know:

–  Net Health acquires post-acute market analytics platform PointRight to deepen the company’s analytics capabilities, post-acute presence, and support for SNF networks.


Net
Health
, a provider of cloud-based software for specialty medical providers
across the continuum of care, today announced that it has acquired
PointRight Inc., a leading provider of
analytics and data-driven tools for the post-acute market. The acquisition adds
to Net Health’s expanding investments in analytics capabilities, which include
the recent acquisition of Tissue Analytics in April 2020 and the earlier
acquisition of Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes (FOTO).

Unlock the Power of Advanced Analytics for Post-Acute
Performance

Founded in 1995, PointRight provides analytics that shows a 360⁰ view of long-term and post-acute (LTPAC) facility performance and clinical outcomes. Equipped with these insights, LTPAC Provider and Payers can lower rehospitalization rates, improve clinical outcomes, and build and manage high-performing networks. Today, close to 2,400 SNFs use PointRight’s advanced analytics and data-driven decision support tools to further their clinical, financial, and operational objectives. 

SNFs use PointRight to improve the accuracy of their reimbursement and regulatory submissions and to enhance overall performance in readmissions, quality, and outcomes, including more accurate and compliant patient assessments, reduced rehospitalization rates, and optimized care transitions.

 More recently, health systems, ACOs, payers, and real estate investment trusts (REIT) have relied on PointRight to provide insight into the health of their SNF networks and to identify areas for improvement.

Acquisition Expands Net Health’s
Market Share in Growing Post-Acute Market

The
acquisition of PointRight expands Net Health’s position and scale in the
growing post-acute market. Additionally, the acquisition will enable Net
Health’s broad roster of hospital clients to better manage their skilled
nursing facility (SNF) networks and support outcomes measurement and performance
improvement in Medicare Advantage and managed Medicaid programs. As part of the
acquisition, Net Health
plans to fully integrate PointRight staff to accelerate the delivery of new
analytics solutions and expand the availability of PointRight to Net Health’s
customers and markets. 

“Through PointRight, Net Health will significantly expand how we support SNFs and their health system, accountable care organization (ACO), payer and REIT partners,” said Josh Pickus, Net Health’s Chief Executive Officer. “It also strengthens our growing analytics capabilities by providing insights into post-acute performance, which enables providers and payers to align around value-based care initiatives.”

Financial details of the acquisition
were not disclosed.

Transformation Capital Launches $500M Digital Health Fund

Transformation Capital Launches $500M Digital Health Fund

What You Should Know:

Transformation Capital
Partners, L.P.
(“Transformation Capital”) announced the launches of it’s
$500M growth equity fund, Transformation Capital Fund II, L.P.

– The new fund will focus on investing between $10 to $30M in
commercial-stage digital health companies and technology-enabled service
businesses that are improving the healthcare system.

– Led by Todd Cozzens, Dr. Jared Kesselheim and Mike Dixon, Transformation
Capital manages over $800 million across the investment funds it advises and
was founded on the premise that healthcare requires a highly
focused investment approach combining deep industry expertise and vast
connections. 

– Transformation Capital sees enormous opportunity to attack
waste and drive efficiencies, leverage patient-specific information to deliver
data-driven, tailored care with better outcomes, and give the consumer what they
need to select and pay for healthcare more proactively.

– Transformation Capital portfolio companies include Kyruus, H1,
Olive, Datavant, RapidSOS, PlushCare, Panalgo, LetsGetChecked, Protenus,
PatientPop, PatientPing, Health Catalyst, etc.


Why A Patient-First Strategy for Specialty Rx Pharmacists Is Critical to Optimize Outcomes

 Patient-First Strategy:  Uses Specialty Rx Pharmacists to Maximize Orphan and Rare Disease Management, Optimize Patient Journey and Outcomes
Dr. Brandon Salke, PHARM.D, Pharmacist-in-charge, Optime Care

One of the biggest challenges for biopharmaceutical companies of rare and orphan disease patient populations is optimizing disease management in a way that enhances the patient journey and improves outcomes. As these companies seek innovative solution partners, a patient-first approach that offers specialty Rx pharmacist expertise is critical for securing insurance coverage, coordinating care, ensuring compliance, and, ultimately, minimizing the daily impact of rare and orphan diseases. 

In today’s challenging healthcare environment, biopharma companies need to feel confident that their products are properly and promptly distributed, and reimbursements processed quickly and correctly. The best approach is to partner with a pharmacy, distribution, and patient management organization that offers a patient-first strategy for rare and orphan disorders, as well as personalized care programs designed to maximize the benefit of the therapies prescribed for patients. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both patient and caregiver with a dedicated support system for positive outcomes and long-term well-being.

The right patient-first partner can tailor IT, technology, and data-based upon client needs, combined with a high-touch approach designed to improve patient engagement from clinical trials to commercialization and compliance. 

High Touch Meets Technology

Rare and orphan disease patients require an intense level of support and benefit from high touch service. A care team, including the program manager, care coordinator, pharmacist, nurse, and specialists, should be 100% dedicated to the disease state, patient community, and therapy. This is a critical feature to look for in a patient-first partner. The idea is to balance technology solutions with methods for addressing human needs and variability.  

With a patient-first approach, wholesale distributors, specialty pharmacies, and hub service providers connect seamlessly, instead of operating in siloes. This strategy improves continuity of care, strengthens communication, yields rich data for more informed decision making, and improves the overall patient experience. It manages issues related to collecting data, maintains frequent communication with patients and their families, and ensures compliance and positive outcomes. A patient-first model also hastens time to commercialization and provides continuity of care to avoid lapses in therapy – across the entire life cycle of a product.

Key Components for Effective Patient-First Strategy

A patient-first strategy means that the specialty Rx pharmacist works directly with the patient, from initial consultation, and across the entire patient journey, providing counseling, guidance, and education-based upon individual patient needs. They also develop an individualized care plan based on specific labs and indicators related to patient behavior to help gauge the person’s level of motivation and identify adherence issues that may arise. 

The best patient-first partners enable patients to contact their pharmacist 24/7 and offer annual reassessments that ensure that goals of therapy are on track and every challenge is addressed to improve the patient’s quality of life. These specialty pharmacists also play a critical role on behalf of biopharmaceutical partners, providing ongoing regulatory and operations support and addressing each company’s particular challenges.  

Telehealth

As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes on, it’s also important to find a patient-first partner that offers a fully integrated telehealth option to provide care coordination for patients, customized care plans based on conversations with each patient, medication counseling, education on disease states, and expectations for each drug. 

A customized telehealth option enables essential discussions for addressing patient challenges and needs, a drug’s impact on overall health, assessing the number of touchpoints required each month, follow-up, and staying on top of side effects.

Each touchpoint should have a care plan. For example, a product may require the pharmacist to reach out to the patient after one week to assess response to the drug from a physical and psychological perspective, asking the right questions and making necessary changes, if needed, based on the patient’s daily routine, changes in behavior and so on. 

Capturing information in a standardized way ensures that every pharmacist and patient receives the same assessment based on each drug, which can be compared to overall responses. Information is gathered by an operating system and data aggregator and shared with the manufacturer, who may make alterations to the care plan based on the patient’s story. 

Ideally, one phone call with a patient can begin the process of optimizing medication delivery, insurance reimbursement, compliance, and education based on a plan tailored for each patient’s specific needs.


About Dr. Brandon Salke, PHARM.D

Dr. Brandon Salke serves as the pharmacist-in-charge and General Manager at Optime Care in Earth City, MO. He previously served as a team pharmacist for Dohmen Life Science Services, where he helped launch several new care programs and assisted in the management of clinical trial activities.

He is specialized in specialty pharmaceuticals, particularly ultra-orphan, orphan, and rare disease. Dr. Salke has been involved in all aspects of operations (planning, process integration, project management, etc.) for pharmaceutical manufacturers. This includes clinical trials to commercialization and assisting in commercial launches (and relaunch) of specialty pharmaceuticals.


UCHealth Taps Conversa Health to Track COVID-19 Vaccine Effects on Frontline Healthcare Workers

12-Available-COVID-19-Vaccine-Management-Solutions-to-Know-In-Depth-1

What You Should Know:

– Conversa Health’s COVID-19 programs now include patient monitoring pre- and post-vaccination, education on vaccines, and appointment reminders.

– Healthcare workers at UCHealth in Colorado are
receiving 24/7 monitoring of vital signs two days before and seven days after
receiving their vaccinations courtesy of Conversa Health.


Conversa Health, a Portland, OR-based automated virtual care and triage platform, has expanded its suite of COVID-19 programs with tools to help the vaccine effort. As part of its expansion, Conversa has partnered with BioIntelliSense to monitor healthcare workers at UCHealth in Colorado before and after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. UCHealth physicians, nurses, and other front-line staff members wear BioIntelliSense’s BioButton medical device two days before and seven days after vaccination. The BioButton continuously monitors temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate at rest. Conversa collects information from the BioButton and integrates the vital signs data with insights from a daily interactive vaccination health survey developed by Conversa.

“Automated vaccine monitoring for our frontline healthcare workers is an important step toward scaling the program for the larger population, particularly vulnerable patient populations and seniors in long-term care environments,” said Dr. Richard Zane, UCHealth chief innovation officer and professor and chair of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We are working closely with partners like Conversa and BioIntelliSense to navigate the ever-changing healthcare landscape and transform the way patients receive care.”

Vaccine education, tracking and screening

Conversa also is assisting health systems across the country
with the challenge of vaccinating millions of patients. This effort begins with
educating patients on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Patients want to
know when they will be eligible to receive vaccines and what their experience
will be like, including potential side effects. And patients need an easy way
to set up vaccine appointments and get reminders to follow through on their
visits. Health systems also want to monitor potential side effects, both to
ensure patients get needed follow-up care and to report any side effects to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“With millions of people needing to be vaccinated, we cannot have a manual, paper process to track who received a vaccine and who experienced side effects,” said Dr. Nick Patel, chief digital officer at Prisma Health, an 18-hospital system serving South Carolina. “We have to automate this process to track information accurately and at scale. With Conversa, we will be able to do that for the 1.2 million patients that Prisma Health serves annually. Digital tracking also allows us to provide vaccinated individuals with a digital badge for entering an airplane, a public building or an entertainment venue. That will be a key to allowing life to return to something close to pre-COVID normal.”

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Teladoc Health and Livongo Merge

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

The combination of Teladoc Health and Livongo creates a
global leader in consumer-centered virtual care. The combined company is
positioned to execute quantified opportunities to drive revenue synergies of
$100 million by the end of the second year following the close, reaching $500
million on a run-rate basis by 2025.

Price: $18.5B in value based on each share of Livongo
will be exchanged for 0.5920x shares of Teladoc Health plus cash consideration
of $11.33 for each Livongo share.


Siemens Healthineers Acquires Varian Medical

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

On August 2nd, Siemens Healthineers acquired
Varian Medical for $16.4B, with the deal expected to close in 2021. Varian is a
global specialist in the field of cancer care, providing solutions especially
in radiation oncology and related software, including technologies such as
artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis. In fiscal year 2019,
the company generated $3.2 billion in revenues with an adjusted operating
margin of about 17%. The company currently has about 10,000 employees
worldwide.

Price: $16.4 billion in an all-cash transaction.


Gainwell to Acquire HMS for $3.4B in Cash

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Veritas Capital (“Veritas”)-backed Gainwell Technologies (“Gainwell”),
a leading provider of solutions that are vital to the administration and
operations of health and human services programs, today announced that they
have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Gainwell will acquire HMS, a technology, analytics and engagement
solutions provider helping organizations reduce costs and improve health
outcomes.

Price: $3.4 billion in cash.


Philips Acquires Remote Cardiac Monitoring BioTelemetry for $2.8B

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Philips acquires BioTelemetry, a U.S. provider of remote
cardiac diagnostics and monitoring for $72.00 per share for an implied
enterprise value of $2.8 billion (approx. EUR 2.3 billion). With $439M in
revenue in 2019, BioTelemetry annually monitors over 1 million cardiac patients
remotely; its portfolio includes wearable heart monitors, AI-based data
analytics, and services.

Price: $2.8B ($72 per share), to be paid in cash upon
completion.


Hims & Hers Merges with Oaktree Acquisition Corp to Go Public on NYSE

Telehealth company Hims & Hers and Oaktree Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merge to go public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “HIMS.” The merger will enable further investment in growth and new product categories that will accelerate Hims & Hers’ plan to become the digital front door to the healthcare system

Price: The business combination values the combined
company at an enterprise value of approximately $1.6 billion and is expected to
deliver up to $280 million of cash to the combined company through the
contribution of up to $205 million of cash.


SPAC Merges with 2 Telehealth Companies to Form Public
Digital Health Company in $1.35B Deal

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Blank check acquisition company GigCapital2 agreed to merge with Cloudbreak Health, LLC, a unified telemedicine and video medical interpretation solutions provider, and UpHealth Holdings, Inc., one of the largest national and international digital healthcare providers to form a combined digital health company. 

Price: The merger deal is worth $1.35 billion, including
debt.


WellSky Acquires CarePort Health from Allscripts for
$1.35B

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

WellSky, global health, and community care technology company, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Allscripts to acquire CarePort Health (“CarePort”), a Boston, MA-based care coordination software company that connects acute and post-acute providers and payers.

Price: $1.35 billion represents a multiple of greater
than 13 times CarePort’s revenue over the trailing 12 months, and approximately
21 times CarePort’s non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA over the trailing 12 months.


Waystar Acquires Medicare RCM Company eSolutions

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

On September 13th, revenue cycle management
provider Waystar acquires eSolutions, a provider of Medicare and Multi-Payer revenue
cycle management, workflow automation, and data analytics tools. The
acquisition creates the first unified healthcare payments platform with both
commercial and government payer connectivity, resulting in greater value for
providers.

Price: $1.3 billion valuation


Radiology Partners Acquires MEDNAX Radiology Solutions

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Radiology Partners (RP), a radiology practice in the U.S., announced a definitive agreement to acquire MEDNAX Radiology Solutions, a division of MEDNAX, Inc. for an enterprise value of approximately $885 million. The acquisition is expected to add more than 800 radiologists to RP’s existing practice of 1,600 radiologists. MEDNAX Radiology Solutions consists of more than 300 onsite radiologists, who primarily serve patients in Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas, and more than 500 teleradiologists, who serve patients in all 50 states.

Price: $885M


PointClickCare Acquires Collective Medical

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

PointClickCare Technologies, a leader in senior care technology with a network of more than 21,000 skilled nursing facilities, senior living communities, and home health agencies, today announced its intent to acquire Collective Medical, a Salt Lake City, a UT-based leading network-enabled platform for real-time cross-continuum care coordination for $650M. Together, PointClickCare and Collective Medical will provide diverse care teams across the continuum of acute, ambulatory, and post-acute care with point-of-care access to deep, real-time patient insights at any stage of a patient’s healthcare journey, enabling better decision making and improved clinical outcomes at a lower cost.

Price: $650M


Teladoc Health Acquires Virtual Care Platform InTouch
Health

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Teladoc Health acquires InTouch Health, the leading provider of enterprise telehealth solutions for hospitals and health systems for $600M. The acquisition establishes Teladoc Health as the only virtual care provider covering the full range of acuity – from critical to chronic to everyday care – through a single solution across all sites of care including home, pharmacy, retail, physician office, ambulance, and more.

Price: $600M consisting of approximately $150 million
in cash and $450 million of Teladoc Health common stock.


AMN Healthcare Acquires VRI Provider Stratus Video

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. acquires Stratus Video, a leading provider of video remote language interpretation services for the healthcare industry. The acquisition will help AMN Healthcare expand in the virtual workforce, patient care arena, and quality medical interpretation services delivered through a secure communications platform.

Price: $475M


CarepathRx Acquires Pharmacy Operations of Chartwell from
UPMC

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

CarepathRx, a leader in pharmacy and medication management
solutions for vulnerable and chronically ill patients, announced today a
partnership with UPMC’s Chartwell subsidiary that will expand patient access to
innovative specialty pharmacy and home infusion services. Under the $400M
landmark agreement, CarepathRx will acquire the
management services organization responsible for the operational and strategic
management of Chartwell while UPMC becomes a strategic investor in CarepathRx. 

Price: $400M


Cerner to Acquire Health Division of Kantar for $375M in
Cash

Cerner announces it will acquire Kantar Health, a leading
data, analytics, and real-world evidence and commercial research consultancy
serving the life science and health care industry.

This acquisition is expected to allow Cerner’s Learning
Health Network client consortium and health systems with more opportunities to
directly engage with life sciences for funded research studies. The acquisition
is expected to close during the first half of 2021.

Price: $375M


Cerner Sells Off Parts of Healthcare IT Business in
Germany and Spain

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Cerner sells off parts of healthcare IT business in Germany and Spain to Germany company CompuGroup Medical, reflecting the company-wide transformation focused on improved operating efficiencies, enhanced client focus, a refined growth strategy, and a sharpened approach to portfolio management.

Price: EUR 225 million ($247.5M USD)


CompuGroup Medical Acquires eMDs for $240M

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

CompuGroup Medical (CGM) acquires eMDs, Inc. (eMDs), a
leading provider of healthcare IT with a focus on doctors’ practices in the US,
reaching an attractive size in the biggest healthcare market worldwide. With
this acquisition, the US subsidiary of CGM significantly broadens its position
and will become the top 4 providers in the market for Ambulatory Information
Systems in the US.

Price: $240M (equal to approx. EUR 203 million)


Change Healthcare Buys Back Pharmacy Network

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Change
Healthcare
 buys
back
 pharmacy unit eRx Network
(“eRx”),
 a leading provider of comprehensive, innovative, and secure
data-driven solutions for pharmacies. eRx generated approximately $67M in
annual revenue for the twelve-month period ended February 29, 2020. The
transaction supports Change Healthcare’s commitment to focus on and invest in
core aspects of the business to fuel long-term growth and advance innovation.

Price: $212.9M plus cash on the balance sheet.


Walmart Acquires Medication Management Platform CareZone

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Walmart acquires CareZone, a San Francisco, CA-based smartphone
service for managing chronic health conditions for reportedly $200M. By
working with a network of pharmacy partners, CareZone’s concierge services
assist consumers in getting their prescription medications organized and
delivered to their doorstep, making pharmacies more accessible to individuals
and families who may be homebound or reside in rural locations.

Price: $200M


Verisk Acquires MSP Compliance Provider Franco Signor

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Verisk, a data
analytics provider, announced today that it has acquired Franco Signor, a Medicare Secondary Payer
(MSP) service provider to America’s largest insurance carriers and employers.
As part of the acquisition, Franco Signor will become part of Verisk’s Claims
Partners business, a leading provider of MSP compliance and other analytic
claim services. Claims Partners and Franco Signor will be combining forces to
provide the single best resource for Medicare compliance. 

Price: $160M


Rubicon Technology Partners Acquires Central Logic

2020’s Top 20 Digital Health M&A Deals Totaled $50B

Private equity firm Rubicon Technology Partners acquires
Central Logic, a provider of patient orchestration and tools to accelerate
access to care for healthcare organizations. Rubicon will be aggressively driving Central Logic’s
growth with additional cash investments into the business, with a focus
on product innovation, sales expansion, delivery and customer support, and
the pursuit of acquisition opportunities.

Price: $110M – $125 million, according to sources


Patient-First Model: High Tech Meets High Touch for Individuals with Rare Disorders

Patient-First Model: High Tech Meets High Touch to Optimize Data, Inform Health Care Decisions, Enhance Population Health Management for Individuals with Rare Disorders
Donovan Quill, President and CEO, Optime Care

Industry experts state that orphan drugs will be a major trend to watch in the years ahead, accounting for almost 40% of the Food and Drug Administration approvals this year. This market has become more competitive in the past few years, increasing the potential for reduced costs and broader patient accessibility. Currently, these products are often expensive because they target specific conditions and cost on average $147,000 or more per year, making commercialization optimization particularly critical for success. 

At the same time precision medicine—a disease treatment and prevention approach that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person—is emerging as a trend for population health management. This approach utilizes advances in new technologies and data to unlock information and better target health care efforts within populations.

This is important because personalized medicine has the capacity to detect the onset of disease at its earliest stages, pre-empt the progression of the disease and increase the efficiency of the health care system by improving quality, accessibility, and affordability.

These factors lay the groundwork for specialty pharmaceutical companies that are developing and commercializing personalized drugs for orphan and ultra-orphan diseases to pursue productive collaboration and meaningful partnership with a specialty pharmacy, distribution, and patient management service provider. This relationship offers manufacturers a patient-first model to align with market trends and optimize the opportunity, maximize therapeutic opportunities for personalized medicines, and help to contain costs of specialty pharmacy for orphan and rare disorders. This approach leads to a more precise way of predicting the prognosis of genetic diseases, helping physicians to better determine which medical treatments and procedures will work best for each patient.

Furthermore, and of concern to specialty pharmaceutical providers, is the opportunity to leverage a patient-first strategy in streamlining patient enrollment in clinical trials. This model also maximizes interaction with patients for adherence and compliance, hastens time to commercialization, and provides continuity of care to avoid lapses in therapy — during and after clinical trials through commercialization and beyond for the whole life cycle of a product. Concurrently, the patient-first approach also provides exceptional support to caregivers, healthcare providers, and biopharma partners.


Integrating Data with Human Interaction

When it comes to personalized medicine for the rare orphan market, tailoring IT, technology, and data solutions based upon client needs—and a high-touch approach—can improve patient engagement from clinical trials to commercialization and compliance. 

Rare and orphan disease patients require an intense level of support and benefit from high touch service. A care team, including the program manager, care coordinator, pharmacist, nurse, and specialists, should be 100% dedicated to the disease state, patient community, and therapy. This is a critical feature to look for when seeking a specialty pharmacy, distribution, and patient management provider. The key to effective care is to balance technology solutions with methods for addressing human needs and variability.  

With a patient-first approach, wholesale distributors, specialty pharmacies, and hub service providers connect seamlessly, instead of operating independently. The continuity across the entire patient journey strengthens communication, yields rich data for more informed decision making, and improves the overall patient experience. This focus addresses all variables around collecting data while maintaining frequent communication with patients and their families to ensure compliance and positive outcomes. 

As genome science becomes part of the standard of routine care, the vast amount of genetic data will allow the medicine to become more precise and more personal. In fact, the growing understanding of how large sets of genes may contribute to disease helps to identify patients at risk from common diseases like diabetes, heart conditions, and cancer. In turn, this enables doctors to personalize their therapy decisions and allows individuals to better calculate their risks and potentially take pre-emptive action. 

What’s more, the increase in other forms of data about individuals—such as molecular information from medical tests, electronic health records, or digital data recorded by sensors—makes it possible to more easily capture a wealth of personal health information, as does the rise of artificial intelligence and cloud computing to analyze this data. 


Telehealth in the Age of Pandemics

During the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond, it has become imperative that any specialty pharmacy, distribution, and patient management provider must offer a fully integrated telehealth option to provide care coordination for patients, customized care plans based on conversations with each patient, medication counseling, education on disease states and expectations for each drug. 

A customized telehealth option enables essential discussions for understanding patient needs, a drug’s impact on overall health, assessing the number of touchpoints required each month, follow-up, and staying on top of side effects.

Each touchpoint has a care plan. For instance, a product may require the pharmacist to reach out to the patient after one week to assess response to the drug from a physical and psychological perspective, asking the right questions and making necessary changes, if needed, based on the patient’s daily routine, changes in behavior and so on. 

This approach captures relevant information in a standardized way so that every pharmacist and patient is receiving the same assessment based on each drug, which can be compared to overall responses. Information is gathered by an operating system and data aggregator and shared with the manufacturer, who may make alterations to the care plan based on the story of the patient journey created for them. 

Just as important, patients know that help is a phone call away and trust the information and guidance that pharmacists provide.


About Donovan Quill, President and CEO, Optime Care 

Donovan Quill is the President and CEO of Optime Care, a nationally recognized pharmacy, distribution, and patient management organization that creates the trusted path to a fulfilled life for patients with rare and orphan disorders. Donovan entered the world of healthcare after a successful coaching career and teaching at the collegiate level. His personal mission was to help patients who suffer from an orphan disorder that has affected his entire family (Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency). Donovan became a Patient Advocate for Centric Health Resources and traveled the country raising awareness, improving detection, and providing education to patients and healthcare providers.


5 Post-Acute Care Industry Trends to Watch in 2021

5 Post-Acute Care Industry Trends to Watch in 2021

What You Should Know:

– Healthcare technology company Forcura names the five
most significant trends for the post-acute care industry in 2021.


The post-acute care (PAC) sector saw some of its most
profound challenges this year, from deadly COVID-19
outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to a suddenly accelerated need
for the services provided by home health and hospice. The biggest question now
is that what does the post-acute care future hold for all of us?

Forcura, a healthcare technology company that enables safer patient care transitions along the care continuum recently released their report, What Happened and What’s Next in Post-Acute Care,” which synthesizes the top takeaways for the post-acute care industry in 2020, and explores the five themes it projects will be the leading business influencers on the sector in 2021 and for years to come.

The report names these as the five most significant drivers
for the post-acute care industry in 2021:

1. Interoperability: The Industry Inches Closer to a
Lofty Goal

In its guide to “Interoperability in Healthcare,” HIMSS
defines interoperability
as “the ability of different information systems, devices and applications
(systems) to access, exchange, integrate and cooperatively use data in a
coordinated manner, within and across organizational, regional and national
boundaries, to provide timely and seamless portability of information and
optimize the health of individuals and populations globally.”

Individuals and organizations have worked tirelessly for
years to create a technological foundation that will make care transitions
safer and more holistic. They’ve made incredible progress…with patients and PAC
providers beginning to reap the benefits of increased data sharing.

2. Healthcare will be Increasingly Built Around the
Consumer

Service providers talk about the “user experience” and now
users are finally seeking better care experiences. People are becoming savvier
and more demanding about their healthcare in the same ways they have done so in
consuming other services. While technology is certainly a component of the move
towards patient centricity, it is a tool that enables or enhances care
delivery. Post-acute care is poised for the shift to patient centricity.

3. Payment Models and Reimbursement Plans Remain in Play

The post-acute care industry will continue to be shaped by
regulatory and financial forces. By being proactive, fully understanding the
impacts of payment models (like unified payments), learning from the lessons of
acute care payment reform, and choosing the right partners, PAC providers
should be able to more confidently control their bottom lines in the coming
year

4. New Business Models are Not Your Parents’ PAC

PAC companies themselves also are beginning to explore new
options for their business operations. Post-acute care is being asked to
deliver better patient outcomes and greater value – and it’s time to respond.
Driven in part by the explosion of home-based health care services from legacy
players and new entrants, PAC organizations will be scrambling to retain as
much patient share as possible. By diversifying, providers can reduce the
vulnerability experienced by single service line agencies.

5. Healthcare for All Remains Elusive

COVID-19 has revealed some harsh realities about the ongoing
effects of structural inequity…to no one’s surprise. Some steps towards equity
are occurring. Research led by Oregon Health & Science University shows
that a new national care program for hip and knee joint replacements seems to
reduce health outcome disparities for Black patients. The CMS Comprehensive
Care for Joint Replacement model is a bundled payment model designed to reduce
spending and improve outcomes for all joint replacement patients. “Although
Black patients were discharged to institutional post-acute care more than white
patients, the gap narrowed under the new bundled payment model. Readmission
risk decreased about 3 percentage points for Black patients under the new
model, and stayed roughly the same for Hispanic and white patients.”

“Everyone realizes that 2020 is historic for the unprecedented disruption and lives lost to the COVID-19 public health crisis” says Forcura founder and CEO, Craig Mandeville, “and operating in-the-moment has been a necessity. It has also possibly reduced the time the industry has to plan for what else is around the corner.” Craig continues, “Our original research and conversations from our CONNECT Summit clearly point to five market drivers that everyone should factor into their strategic initiatives. We’re proud to offer this report and believe it will guide health industry companies to focus more on patients and better secure their bottom lines.”

For more information, download the report here.

Amazon, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck to Build $10M Digital Health Innovation Lab in Israel

Amazon, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck to Build $10M Digital Health Innovation Lab in Israel
Rehovot Science Park

What You Should Know:

– Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Teva, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been selected by the Israel Innovation Authority to establish an innovation lab in the fields of digital health and computational biology.

– The innovation lab located in the Rehovot Science Park will
receive a government budget of $10M over the next five years and is slated to
start operations in 2021.


Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Teva, as well as the Israel Biotech Fund and tech giant
Amazon Web Services (AWS)— to establish an innovation lab in the fields of digital health
and computational biology. The companies were selected from a competitive bid process
conducted by the Israel Innovation
Authority
together with the National Digital Israel Initiative at the
National Digital Ministry.

The group will establish the Lab at the Rehovot Science Park
and invest in building a wet computational lab infrastructure in order to
assist early-stage entrepreneurs and startups to meet the challenges of the
healthcare industry, from the ideation stage to attaining proof of concept. The
Lab, scheduled to open in 2021, will be joining existing innovation labs as
part of the Israel Innovation Authority’s Innovation Lab Program.

$10M Operational Budget Over Next 5 Years

The innovation lab will operate on a government budget of
NIS 32 million ($10M USD), as well as additional funding from the partner companies.
The group will operate over the next five years, during which the Innovation
Authority, together with the National Digital Ministry, will finance 85% of a
total NIS 3 million budget for each startup that joins the lab, enabling them
to reach significant milestones in their technological development. The
Innovation Authority and National Digital Ministry will also participate in the
operating costs and in setting up the lab’s infrastructure.

Innovation Lab Focus Areas

The purpose of the Lab is to assist in the establishment and advancement of new startups developing innovative AI-based computational technologies aimed at discovering personalized solutions and treatments. The Lab will also help its startups — with the assistance of the lab partners and access they provide to their unique scientific know-how and leading experts — in developing groundbreaking medications and treatments. 

“This last year proved that the healthcare sector is rapidly transitioning to development and use of advanced technologies integrating engineering and biology, which has already led to more accurate results within a shorter time framework. This lab is part of the ‘Bio-convergence Strategy’ promoted by the Innovation Authority over the last year, aimed at establishing a successful, innovative ecosystem in the healthcare sector, which will serve as a proper basis for establishing innovative companies based on groundbreaking academic research performed in these areas in Israel. The expertise and vast experience of the lab partners will enable these companies to establish a significant, trailblazing industry in Israel,” said Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Innovation Authority.

Virginia Gov Announces $10M in CARES Act Funding to Create Statewide Coordinated Care Network

Unite Us Expands Social Determinants of Health Platform to 6 States

What You Should Know:

– The governor of Virginia announced that the state
will allocate $10 million from the federal CARES Act to
implement a statewide integrated technology platform, Unite Virginia designed
to connect vulnerable Virginians to crucial health and social services.

– Unite Virginia will utilize the Unite Us platform to create
a statewide coordinated care network to help government
agencies, health care providers, and community-based partners ensure
medical care and social services are appropriately delivered to
Virginians, identify gaps in the system to better target resources, supporting
ongoing COVID-19 response/recovery, reduce barriers to care, and advance
health equity.


Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia will allocate
$10M in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
funding to create Unite Virginia, a statewide technology platform designed to
connect vulnerable Virginians to health and social services. Powered by Unite Us, a technology company that builds coordinated care
networks
of health and social service providers, the Commonwealth will
implement an integrated e-referral system that unites government agencies,
health care providers, and community-based partners and supports Virginia’s
continuing COVID-19
response and recovery efforts.

Unite Us Network

Unite Us provides unifying infrastructure between health
care providers and community-based organizations as the foundation for social
care transformation at scale. With networks in more than 40 states, Unite Us is
the statewide technology platform in North Carolina and the company is
developing programs similar to what is planned in Virginia in communities in
Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, and South
Dakota. In Virginia, Unite Us already powers networks in the Hampton Roads and
Shenandoah Valley regions. When fully established, this network will be an
integral part of the Commonwealth’s broader public health framework.

This initial funding allocation will cover startup and
implementation costs to operate the e-referral system, which can integrate with
widely used electronic medical record systems in place at hospitals, health
systems, and medical practice groups across Virginia. Establishing those links
will enable health care providers to refer patients to social service
organizations that can provide other supports such as food, transportation assistance,
housing, employment services, and more. In turn, participating organizations
will be able to refer patients and clients to each other.

This interconnected approach also increases the likelihood
that vulnerable Virginians will access support services to manage their health
conditions and the environmental factors that contribute to them. Data insights
gleaned from the integrated technology platform will help state government,
providers, and other partners identify critical needs and better focus efforts
to serve these Virginians.

“The ongoing and widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the need to unite traditional health care settings and community organizations that address social determinants of health,” said Governor Northam. “This is about connecting people with the supports they need to live healthy lives. Having this critical infrastructure in place will also position our Commonwealth to better respond to and recover from the twin public health and economic crises we face, and advance health equity by ensuring medical care and social services are appropriately delivered to Virginians, reducing barriers to care, and identifying gaps to better our target resources.”

Amazon, CVS Health, Thermo Fisher Scientific Form Alliance for Employer-based COVID-19 Testing

Amazon, CVS Health, Thermo Fisher Scientific Form Alliance for Employer-based COVID-19 Testing

What You Should Know:

– Amazon, CVS Health, Thermo Fisher Scientific join forces to
promote employer-based testing As part of a comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy.

– The coalition, named Workplace Employers Alliance for
COVID-19 Testing (WE ACT), believes
that employer-based testing programs are essential to keeping employees safe
during the current public health emergency.

WE ACT aims to
advance a comprehensive national testing strategy that includes clear guidance
for the implementation of testing programs and results reporting; to ensure
access to high-quality, FDA authorized COVID-19 tests for employers; and to
serve as a resource for any employer who wishes to launch or expand an
employer–based testing program.

– As a nonpartisan coalition, WE ACT and its partners
believe that combating the COVID-19
pandemic requires an all-hands-on-deck approach.

Lyft Launches 60M Ride COVID-19 Vaccine Access Campaign with Anthem, Chase, Epic, United Way, Others

Lyft, Launches 60M Ride COVID-19 Vaccine Access Campaign with Anthem, Chase, Epic, United Way, Others

What You Should Know:

– In partnership with JP Morgan Chase; United Way; top
healthcare organizations including Anthem, Centene, One Medical and Epic; and
other non-profit and community partners, Lyft’s goal is to facilitate 60M safe
rides to vaccination sites.

– Lyft’s vaccine access campaign will help the communities who need it most safely travel to receive the vaccine. These rides will be facilitated through its business segment, Lyft Healthcare, and social impact initiative LyftUp.


 Lyft,
Inc.
announced the launch of a nationwide campaign to support universal
access to the COVID-19
vaccine. The goal of this effort is to provide 60 million rides to and from
vaccination sites for low-income, uninsured, and at-risk communities, when the
vaccine becomes available.


Program Partners

Corporate partners JP Morgan Chase and Anthem Inc. and community partner United Way will be working alongside Lyft to lead the effort, with many other businesses, healthcare, and technology partners preparing to join the campaign as vaccines become available in the coming weeks.

Additional program partners signing on to launch the effort include Epic, Centene Corporation, Modern Health, One Medical, National Hispanic Council on Aging, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, National Urban League, and the National Action Network.


Lack of Transportation Could Prevent Millions of People
from Being Vaccinated

Lyft, Launches 60M Ride COVID-19 Vaccine Access Campaign with Anthem, Chase, Epic, United Way, Others

Lyft’s on-demand transportation network provides critical
access to healthcare services for at-risk communities disproportionately
affected by COVID-19, including non-emergency medical transport for home-bound
seniors, people living with disabilities, and dialysis patients. Many of these
patients belong to vulnerable populations who will be prioritized for early
vaccine distribution, and Lyft’s healthcare transportation services will play a
critical role in transporting them to and from vaccination sites. 

“Access to reliable transportation represents a major barrier to care for millions of Americans across the country,” said Megan Callahan, MPH, VP of Lyft Healthcare. “In fact, lack of transportation is one of the top reasons people miss medical appointments. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem, creating a huge challenge in making sure vulnerable populations have access to the vaccine — especially for seniors living alone, low income workers, and parents with young children. We estimate that 15 million Americans will face transportation issues trying to get to vaccination sites. That’s where Lyft can make a difference.”


LyftUp Initiative to Serve Underserved Communities

Lyft, Launches 60M Ride COVID-19 Vaccine Access Campaign with Anthem, Chase, Epic, United Way, Others

The universal vaccine access campaign is part of the
company’s LyftUp initiative, a partnership of companies, community
organizations and individuals working together to make sure everyone has access
to affordable, reliable transportation to get where they need to go.  Working
together using Lyft’s transportation platform, companies and social impact
organizations will help underserved communities access vaccination appointments
by providing subsidized rides for employees and members, and free or discounted
rides for those in need. 

In addition to directly funding rides, corporate partners
will leverage their customers and member networks to promote individual
contributions to the campaign as well as provide social media and marketing
resources to connect people in need with community partners.  Community
partners will then route ride credits to those in need.


12 Recently Launched COVID-19 Vaccine Management Solutions to Know

12 Recently Launched COVID-19 Vaccine Management Solutions

An in-depth look at twelve recently released COVID-19 vaccine management solutions as COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed nationwide.

1. Microsoft

Microsoft
launches a COVID-19 vaccine management platform with partners Accenture and
Avanade, EY, and Mazik Global to help government and healthcare customers
provide fair and equitable vaccine distribution, administration, and monitoring
of vaccine delivery.

Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) has deployed over 230 emergency COVID-19 response missions globally since the pandemic began in March, including recent engagements to ensure the equitable, secure, and efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

2. Accenture

Accenture recently rolled out a comprehensive vaccine management solution to help government and healthcare organizations rapidly and effectively plan and develop COVID-19 vaccination programs and related distribution and communication initiatives. Expanding on Accenture’s contact tracing capability that leverages Salesforce’s manual contact tracing solution, the platform is rapidly deployable and designed to securely track a resident’s vaccination journey, from registration and appointment scheduling to final vaccine administration and symptom follow-ups.

3. VigiLanz

VigiLanz, a clinical surveillance company launched their new mass vaccination support software, VigiLanz Vaccinate provides end-to-end management of the entire vaccination process, enabling hospitals to maximize the success of mass vaccination events for healthcare workers. VigiLanz Vaccinate streamlines vaccine administration and management by making it easy for staff to register and provide consent while automating workflows for program administrators. Its real-time insights into volume needs to reduce vaccine waste, while analytics give visibility into vaccination and immunity rates at the individual, department, hospital, and system-level.

4. BioIntelliSense

UCHealth recently deployed BioIntelliSense BioButton™ Vaccine
Monitoring Solution
, an FDA-cleared medical-grade wearable for continuous
vital sign monitoring for up to 90-days (based on configuration) to healthcare
workers receiving COVID-19 vaccine UCHealth’s staff and providers will wear the
BioButton device for two days prior and seven days following a COVID-19 vaccine dose
to detect potential adverse vital sign trends. Together with a daily
vaccination health survey and data insights, the wearer may be alerted of signs
and symptoms to guide appropriate follow-up actions and further medical management.

5. VaxAtlas

VaxAtlas launches a
digital platform to support the COVID-19 vaccination process making it easy for
anyone to schedule and manage their vaccinations. Through a comprehensive suite
of on-demand tools, VaxAtlas manages the process of getting COVID vaccinations
from beginning to end. The platform provides access to a national certified
pharmacy network for local appointment scheduling, recall alerts, second dose
reminders, as well as QR clearance passes for vaccine validation. VaxAtlas
alleviates the complexity associated with vaccine logistics and helps to get
people back to work and back to living their lives.

6. DocASAP

DocASAP launches COVID-19
Vaccination Coordination Solution to help healthcare providers and payers meet
the urgent demand for vaccinating the nation. DocASAP’s COVID-19 Vaccination
Coordination Solution will help providers and payers guide people through the
vaccination process with pre-appointment engagement, online appointment scheduling
and reminders, and post-appointment wellness tracking. This will help reduce
the burden on staff and call centers to manage the sheer volume and complexity
of these appointments, and better coordinate the influx so providers can
effectively deliver the needed care. DocASAP will support the phased approach
to rolling out vaccinations, beginning with front-line healthcare staff.

7. Allied Identity

Allied Identity announced the launch of Vaxtrac, comprehensive vaccination management and credentialing platform designed to aid in the local, national and international response to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Vaxtrac uses SICPA’s proprietary CERTUS™ service in order to ensure the security of vaccination records and credentials.

8. Net Health

Net Health has developed a proprietary web-based Mobile Immunization Tracking platform to more efficiently manage on-site
immunizations. To ensure compliance, Net Health’s Mobile Immunization
Tracking platform tracks verification and enables employee consent forms to be
electronically recorded. Immunization data and the Vaccine Information Sheet
(VIS) are pulled directly from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) database
and fields are auto-populated so clinicians do not have to manually enter data.
This ensures information in the employee record is accurate and saves time as
the clinician moves from one employee to the next.

9. Traction on Demand

Vancouver tech company, Traction on Demand,
has developed a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Accelerator. The accelerator helps
health authorities track all the critical details of their clinics including
type, location, staff members, and cold storage units available on-site and
applies CDC’s COVID-19 Temporary Clinic Best Practices to a
Salesforce-based mobile app, providing organizations with a digitized CDC
checklist, auditable clinic administration including a permanent auditable
record of all vaccination clinics an organization holds, critical risk
identification, and shift tracking.

10. MTX Group

MTX Group launches a
comprehensive end-to-end COVID-19 vaccine administration, management, and
distribution Solution for state and local public health agencies built on
Salesforce. The MTX vaccine management solution brings together the various
components of a COVID-19 vaccination program, including vaccine administration
and inventory management. MTX also works with public health departments to
identify necessary steps to promote vaccination adoption within a community.
The vaccine management solution is secure, portable, interoperable, and
provides data-driven vaccination program management capabilities.

11. Infosys

The Infosys
Vaccination Management (IVM) Salesforce Solution
is an end-to-end offering
for automating tasks, integrating data sources, and delivering a seamless
vaccination program that offers supply chain visibility and future demand
forecasting. Disparate systems won’t work for this unprecedented health crisis.

12. Phresia

Phresia provides an end-to-end COVID-19 vaccine management solution for outreach, intake, reminder, and recall tools to increase vaccine uptake. Key features include communicating with patients about vaccine availability, send appointment reminders and boost recall, manage your waitlist, automate patient intake for vaccine visits, including consents, questionnaires, and patient education, and screen patients for vaccine hesitancy and maximize uptake by delivering personalized messaging based on those survey results.

More Than 45 Million Medical Images Are Openly Accessible Online

More Than 45 Million Medical Images Are Openly Accessible Online

What You Should Know:

– CybelAngel tools scanned approximately 4.3 billion IP addresses and detected more than 45 million unique medical images left exposed on over 2,140 unprotected servers across 67 countries including the US, UK, and Germany.

– The report highlights the security risks of publicly accessible images containing highly personal information including ransomware and blackmail.


The analyst team at CybelAngel, a global leader in digital risk protection, has discovered that more than 45 million medical imaging files – including X-rays and CT scans – are freely accessible on unprotected servers, in a new research report.

Medical Device Data Leaks

The report “Full Body
Exposure
” is the result of a six-month investigation into Network Attached
Storage (NAS) and Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM), the
de facto standard used by healthcare professionals to send and receive medical
data. The analysts discovered millions of sensitive images, including personal
healthcare information (PHI), were available unencrypted and without password
protection.

CybelAngel tools scanned approximately 4.3 billion IP addresses and detected more than 45 million unique medical images left exposed on over 2,140 unprotected servers across 67 countries including the US, UK, and Germany.

The analysts found that openly available medical images, including up to 200 lines of metadata per record which included PII (personally identifiable information; name, birth date, address, etc.) and PHI (height, weight, diagnosis, etc.), could be accessed without the need for a username or password. In some instances, login portals accepted blank usernames and passwords.

“The fact that we did not use any hacking tools throughout our research highlights the ease with which we were able to discover and access these files,” says David Sygula, Senior Cybersecurity Analyst at CybelAngel and author of the report. “This is a concerning discovery and proves that more stringent security processes must be put in place to protect how sensitive medical data is shared and stored by healthcare professionals. A balance between security and accessibility is imperative to prevent leaks from becoming a major data breach.”

3 Steps to Safeguard The Way Providers Share & Store
Data

CybelAngel advises there are simple steps that healthcare facilities can take to safeguard the way they share and store data including:

– Determine if pandemic response exceeds your security policies: Ad hoc NAS devices, file-sharing apps, and contractors may take data beyond your ability to enforce access controls

– Ensure proper network segmentation of connected medical
imaging equipment: Minimize any exposure critical diagnostic equipment and
supporting systems have to wider business or public networks

– Conduct real-world audit of third-party partners: Assess
which parties may be unmanaged or not in compliance with required policies and
protocols.

– CybelAngel provides a complimentary, comprehensive 30-day
data exposure assessment healthcare and other organizations use to measure
their risk and uncover priority issues.

Innovaccer, SyTrue Partner to Generate Actionable Insights from Healthcare Data

Innovaccer, SyTrue Partner to Generate Actionable Insights from Healthcare Data

What You Should Know:

– Innovaccer partners with SyTrue to uncover powerful insights
and accelerate its efforts to drive healthcare’s digital transformation.

– The integration of SyTrue’s proprietary NLP OS with
Innovaccer’s FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform will empower healthcare
organizations to identify diagnosis codes and Hierarchical Condition Categories
(HCC) from patient care progress notes and other unstructured texts.


Innovaccer, Inc., a San
Francisco, CA-based healthcare
technology
company, announces its partnership with SyTrue, a leading provider of clinical data
extraction, to generate robust, actionable insights from healthcare data. The
partnership allows Innovaccer to leverage healthcare’s most-advanced Natural
Language Processing Operating System, NLP OSTM, and dive deep into clinical
data,  extracting valuable details about patient health journeys. 

Empowering Healthcare Organizations to Improve Patient
Risk Scores

The integration of SyTrue’s proprietary NLP OS with
Innovaccer’s FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform will empower healthcare
organizations to identify diagnosis codes and Hierarchical Condition Categories
(HCC) from patient care progress notes and other unstructured texts. With the
ability to gain insights from the unstructured datasets, providers can improve
the accuracy of patient risk scores. 

SyTrue’s NLP OS will empower Innovaccer’s data platform to
semantically search, identify, and discover key elements from medical records
across the organization, delivering relevant, actionable insights at the moment
of care. NLP OS will allow Innovaccer to help its clients extract details about
lab records, medications, vital signs, diagnoses, and other elements from
structured and unstructured sources to successfully meet quality requirements.

The partnership will allow Innovaccer’s customer provider organizations to understand their patients’ medical records in a more comprehensive manner and optimize reimbursement through advanced coding, smart cohort identification, and unstructured data normalization. 

“Creating a longitudinal record is paramount to enabling an intelligent journey throughout our complex healthcare system. Too often, crucial patient data is not included as part of the complete medical record because it is locked in faxes, portable document formats (PDFs) and other unstructured documentation. To unlock the insights contained within these files is expensive and time-consuming,”  says Kyle Silvestro, CEO at SyTrue.  “Our partnership with Innovaccer will reduce the time and cost to create intelligent and comprehensive insights which will significantly enhance the patient journey.”

Microsoft Deploys COVID-19 Vaccine Management Platform

Microsoft Deploys COVID-19 Vaccine Management Platform

What You Should Know:

– Microsoft launches a COVID-19 vaccine management platform with partners Accenture and Avanade, EY, and Mazik Global to help government and healthcare customers provide fair and equitable vaccine distribution, administration, and monitoring of vaccine delivery. 

– Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) has deployed
over 230 emergency COVID-19 response missions globally since the pandemic began
in March, including recent engagements to ensure the equitable, secure and
efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.


With COVID-19 vaccines soon to be available, Microsoft
announced it has launched a COVID-19 vaccine management platform together with
industry partners Accenture, Avandae, EY, and Mazik Global. The COVID-19
vaccine management solutions will enable registration capabilities for patients
and providers, phased scheduling for vaccinations, streamlined reporting, and
management dashboarding with analytics and forecasting.

These offerings are helping public health agencies and
healthcare providers to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals in an
efficient, equitable and safe manner. The underlying technologies and approach
have been tested and deployed with prior COVID-19 use cases, including contact
tracing, COVID-19 testing, and return to work and return to school programs.

To date, Microsoft
Consulting Services (MCS)
 has deployed over 230 emergency COVID-19
response missions globally since the pandemic began in March, including recent
engagements to ensure the equitable, secure and efficient distribution of the
COVID-19 vaccine. MCS has developed an offering, the Vaccination Registration
and Administration Solution (VRAS), which advances the capabilities of their
COVID-19 solution portfolio and enables compliant administration of resident
assessment, registration and phased scheduling for vaccine distribution. 

Key features of the solutions include:

– tracking and reporting of immunization progress through
secure data exchange that utilizes industry standards, such as Health Level
Seven (HL7), Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and open APIs.

– health providers and pharmacies can monitor and report on
the effectiveness of specific vaccine batches, and health administrators can
easily summarize the achievement of vaccine deployment goals in large
population groups

Partnership Offerings

Microsoft partners have leveraged the Microsoft cloud to
provide customers with additional offerings to support vaccine management.
These offerings also apply APIs, HL7 and FHIR to enable interoperability and
integration with existing systems of record, artificial intelligence to
generate accurate and geo-specific predictive analytics, and secure
communications using Microsoft Teams.

EY has partnered with Microsoft for the EY Vaccine
Management Solution to enable patient-provider engagement, supply chain
visibility, and Internet of Things (IoT) real-time monitoring of the vaccines.
Additionally, the EY Vaccine Analytics Solution is an integrated COVID-19 data
and analytics tool supporting stakeholders in understanding population and
geography-specific vaccine uptake.

Mazik Global has created the MazikCare Vaccine Flow that is built on Power Apps and utilizes
pre-built templates to implement scalable solutions to accelerate the mass
distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Providers will be able to seek out
specific populations based on at-risk criteria to prioritize distribution.
Patients can self-monitor and have peace of mind to head-off adverse reactions.

DispatchHealth Launches New Clinic Without Walls for Enhanced Virtual Visits to MultiCare Patients

DispatchHealth Raises $135.8M to Expand On-Demand In-Home Care Model

What You Should Know:

– DispatchHealth launches Clinic Without Walls, a new service line offering patients a telemedicine visit with in-person assistance for more complex medical visits.

– The initial service line will be available in a pilot to MultiCare patients in the Tacoma and Spokane areas in an effort to its senior patients’ alternative visits during the pandemic.


DispatchHealth, a provider of in-home high-acuity medical care, today announced
the launch of Clinic Without Walls. The new service line expands access to care
for vulnerable patients by offering enhanced virtual visits with hands-on
support. Clinic Without Walls is initially being offered to MultiCare patients
in the Tacoma and Spokane areas.

Meeting the Growing Needs of In-Home Medical Care Options

Telemedicine
visits have become an increasingly popular option to help decrease a patient’s
risk of exposure to COVID-19. More
advanced capabilities are often required for vulnerable patients who are facing
chronic disease or require medically complex care. The Clinic Without Walls
model offers these patients hands-on support with an emergency medical
technician (EMT) to help guide them through a telemedicine presentation and
connect them with a physician. 

“The pandemic has highlighted the need for more in-home medical care options during the pandemic and beyond,” said Dr. Mark Prather, chief executive officer and co-founder of DispatchHealth. “Our unique model continues to expand and meet the growing needs of patients, payers, and provider partners. We are excited to continue to grow our partnership with MultiCare to help their most vulnerable patients by treating medically complex issues through hands-on support and tele-presentation.”

How It Works

During a Clinic Without Walls visit, an EMT from DispatchHealth will visit a patient where they live. The EMT comes equipped with a handheld, telehealth exam kit developed by TytoCare, manufacturer of the hand-held telehealth device DispatchHealth uses. The kit allows them to assist a guided medical exam including assessment of the lungs, ears, throat, skin, and abdomen. In addition, comprehensive vital signs, social determinants of health intervention, and moderate-complexity lab work are available in the home. If additional lab work or imaging is required, the service will be coordinated by DispatchHealth.

“The goal of this program is to keep MultiCare’s vulnerable patients safe and healthy”, said Christi McCarren, senior vice president of retail health and community based care at MultiCare. “Many of these patients have been deferring care due to the fear of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, this program helps patients facing significant mobility and transportation issues receive the care they need.”

Clinical Without Models Care Model

DispatchHealth’s Clinic Without Walls model complements the organization’s additional service lines, which include Advanced Care, Extended Care, and Acute Care. Combined, DispatchHealth is able to reduce avoidable ER visits, hospital admissions, or a stay at a skilled nursing facility. The company has experienced a period of rapid expansion and record growth and has more than doubled its national footprint in 2020, with services available in 28 cities across the United States. DispatchHealth is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including holidays. For more information, including market hours and areas of service, visit DispatchHealth.com

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.  


Cityblock Health Reaches $1B Valuation, Raises $160M to Address Systemic Healthcare Inequity

Cityblock Health Reaches $1B Valuation, Raises $160M to Address Systemic Healthcare Inequity

What You Should Know:

– Cityblock Health, a transformative, value-based healthcare provider focused on improving healthcare outcomes for marginalized communities, today announced a $160M Series C round, bringing its total raised to $300M.

– Cityblock is a care delivery trailblazer working to right the injustices of a healthcare system that cycles vulnerable communities through frequent ER visits and hospital stays. Its tech-enabled model delivers primary care, behavioral care, and social services, virtually and in-person, to the Medicaid and lower-income Medicare beneficiary communities.

– Cityblock provides social services that address core
aspects of poverty in order to improve health outcomes, including access to
nutritious food and support to safely care for oneself.


Cityblock
Health
, a Brooklyn, NY-based healthcare provider for lower-income
communities, announced today the completion of a $160 million Series C funding
round and a valuation of over $1 billion. New Cityblock investor General Catalyst
led the round, with participation from crossover investor Wellington Management
and support from major existing investors, including Kinnevik AB, Maverick
Ventures, Thrive Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and more. The investment round
brings Cityblock’s total equity funding to $300 million, as they look to grow
their footprint to democratize access to community-based integrated care in a
more than $1.3 trillion market.

Care That Meets You Where You Are

Cityblock Health Reaches $1B Valuation, Raises $160M to Address Systemic Healthcare Inequity

Spun out of Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet Company in 2017 and anchored in a first partnership with EmblemHealth, Cityblock is a transformative, value-based healthcare provider focused on improving outcomes for Medicaid and lower-income Medicare beneficiaries. The company provides medical care (both primary care and complex specialty services), behavioral health, and social services to its members virtually, in their homes, in the community, and in its neighborhood hubs. Their model reflects an underlying philosophy that improving health outcomes and minimizing systemic healthcare inequities requires fundamentals that address the root effects of poverty, like having access to nutritious food or the ability to safely care for yourself and others.

Value-Based Care Model

Cityblock Health Reaches $1B Valuation, Raises $160M to Address Systemic Healthcare Inequity

Cityblock leverages a value-based model, instead of a
fee-for-service basis, like most healthcare providers. Cityblock splits the
cost savings that come from better outcomes with the healthcare payer. Cityblock’s
financial structure squarely aligns the health needs of its members to continuously
deliver patient-centric care.

Cityblock is powered by Commons a groundbreaking care delivery platform that brings together distributed community-based care teams, care delivery workflows, data feeds, and multimodal member interactions. It allows social workers, pharmacists, doctors, paramedics, and our virtual care teams to all come together on the same page in real-time. With each new market we enter, our technology reinforces our care model, allowing us to serve more members while ensuring consistently high quality, empathetic, and effective care.

Integrated Care Team

Cityblock Health Reaches $1B Valuation, Raises $160M to Address Systemic Healthcare Inequity

Cityblock’s integrated care teams include doctors, nurses,
advanced practice clinicians, behavioral health specialists, licensed clinical
social workers, and community health partners, and leverage close partnerships
with existing healthcare providers and community-based social services
organizations.

Today, Cityblock provides care to 70,000 members in Connecticut,
New York, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C., with high member engagement and
NPS scores of high 80s to 90s across its markets. Over the past year, Cityblock
members have seen reductions in in-patient hospital admission rates and
improvements in quality outcomes, keeping people healthier and driving down
costs across the board, while more than doubling membership and revenue,
year-over-year.

The Impact of COVID Has Magnified Health Disparities

According to Cityblock, the COVID-19 pandemic has
significantly magnified health disparities highlighting three fundamental
problems:

–  Inequity of
America’s social infrastructure, including the legacy of systemic racism, has
created unacceptably disparate health outcomes

– Healthcare’s volume-based, fee-for-service payment model contributes
poor outcomes, especially for marginalized communities

–  The models that
have to-date addressed key components of these challenges have not successfully
scaled.

Story of Cityblock Member Sonia

Cityblock Health Reaches $1B Valuation, Raises $160M to Address Systemic Healthcare Inequity

The story of Sonia, a Cityblock member, is featured in the blog post announcing the raise. Counted out and considered
a ‘nuisance’ by the healthcare system, Sonia was visiting the emergency room
several times a week for care and services, resulting in poor outcomes for the
health system and for herself. Cityblock enrolled Sonia in their high-risk
short-term housing program, placing her into a hotel during the peak of her
community’s Covid-19’s outbreak. As her trust in Cityblock grew, Sonia worked
with Cityblock and its community partners to secure permanent housing. Over the
course of two years, Sonia saw a 21% reduction in hospital use and a 24%
reduction in monthly costs, and has had zero ER visits since April 2020. 

“The devastating impact of COVID-19 has been a painful
reminder of the vulnerability of lower-income communities and communities of
color,” said Iyah Romm, Cityblock Health co-founder and CEO. “We cannot turn a
blind eye to a healthcare system that cycles vulnerable communities through
frequent ER visits and hospital stays. We believe that new models of care
delivery, rooted in preventative care and augmented with social services, are
one major path forward to righting the injustices of our healthcare system.
This starts with listening to our members, extends through changing payment
models to create sustainability for primary care providers and building
technology to democratize access to the care models that we are building.”

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.

LeenTaaS Secures $130M for ML Platform to Help Hospitals Achieve Operational Excellence

LeenTaaS Secures $130M for ML Platform to Help Hospitals Achieve Operational Excellence

What You Should Know:

LeanTaaS
raises $130 million in Series D Funding to strengthen its machine learning platform
to continue helping hospitals achieve operational excellence during a time
where they are facing mounting financial pressures due to COVID-19. 

– LeanTaaS provides software solutions that combine lean
principles, predictive analytics, and machine learning to transform hospital
and infusion center operations to improve operational efficiencies, increase
access, and reduce costs.

– LeanTaaS’ solutions have now been deployed in more than
300 hospitals across the U.S., including five of the 10 largest health networks
and 12 of the top 20 hospitals in the U.S.


 LeanTaaS, Inc., a
Silicon Valley software innovator that increases patient access and transforms
operational performance for healthcare providers, today announced a $130
million Series D funding round led by
Insight Partners
with participation from Goldman Sachs. With this
investment, LeanTaaS has raised more than $250 million in aggregate, including
more than $150 million from Insight Partners. As part of the transaction,
Insight Partners’ Jeff Horing and Jon Rosenbaum and Goldman Sachs’ Antoine
Munfa will join LeanTaaS’ Board of Directors.

Lean + Predictive Analytics = Operational Excellence

LeenTaaS Secures $130M for ML Platform to Help Hospitals Achieve Operational Excellence

Healthcare reform, an aging population, and a higher
incidence of chronic disease has caused the demand for healthcare services to
escalate quickly. At the same time, pressure from payers to eliminate waste
requires that healthcare providers do more with less to meet this skyrocketing
demand with the resources in which they have already invested. And this
situation is only going to get worse.

As more healthcare data gets digitized, the opportunity exists to leverage that data to help providers meet these challenges and more efficiently match supply and demand. Founded in 2010, LeanTaaS believes hospitals should use objective data and predictive analytics – not intuition and “tribal rules”– to better match resource supply with demand and to amplify the business impact of investments they have already made in EHR, BI, and Lean/Six Sigma.

Better Healthcare Through Math

LeenTaaS Secures $130M for ML Platform to Help Hospitals Achieve Operational Excellence

LeanTaaS develops software that increases patient access to
medical care by optimizing how health systems use expensive, constrained
resources like infusion chairs, operating rooms, and inpatient beds. More than
100 health systems and 300 hospitals – including 5 of the 10 largest systems,
12 of US News and World Report’s top 20 hospitals. These hospitals use the iQueue
platform to optimize capacity utilization in infusion centers, operating rooms,
and inpatient beds. iQueue for
Infusion Centers
is used by 7,500+ chairs across 300+ infusion centers
including 70 percent of the National
Comprehensive Cancer Network
 and more than 50 percent of National Cancer Institute hospitals. iQueue for
Operating Rooms
is used by more than 1,750 ORs across 34 health systems to
perform more surgical cases during business hours, increase competitiveness in
the marketplace, and improve the patient experience.

Related: How
Hospitals Can Create Better Inpatient Bed Capacity Through Math

Expansion Plans

The funds will be used to invest in building out the existing suite of products (iQueue for Operating Rooms, iQueue for Infusion Centers, and iQueue for Inpatient Beds) as well as scaling the engineering, product, and go to market teams, and expanding the iQueue platform to include new products. 

“LeanTaaS is uniquely positioned to help hospitals and health systems across the country face the mounting operational and financial pressures exacerbated by the coronavirus. This funding will allow us to continue to grow and expand our impact while helping healthcare organizations deliver better care at a lower cost,” said Mohan Giridharadas, founder and CEO of LeanTaaS. “Our company momentum over the past several years – including greater than 50% revenue growth in 2020 and negative churn despite a difficult macro environment – reflects the increasing demand for scalable predictive analytics solutions that optimize how health systems increase operational utilization and efficiency. It also highlights how we’ve been able to develop and maintain deep partnerships with 100+ health systems and 300+ hospitals in order to keep them resilient and agile in the face of uncertain demand and supply conditions.”

Chief Marketing Officer Appointment

Concurrent with the funding, LeanTaaS announced that Niloy Sanyal, the former CMO at Omnicell and GE Digital, would be joining as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Also, Sanjeev Agrawal has been designated as LeanTaaS’ Chief Operating Officer in addition to his current role as the President. “We are excited to welcome Niloy to LeanTaaS. His breadth and depth of experience will help us accelerate our growth as the industry evolves to a more data-driven way of making decisions” said Agrawal.

Banner Health, WellSpan, Others Invest in Virtual Maternity Care Platform Babyscripts

Banner Health, WellSpan, Others Invest in Virtual Maternity Care Platform Babyscripts

What You Should Know:

– Virtual maternity care platform Babyscripts announced a
new round of investments from Banner Health, CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, The
Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network, and WellSpan
Health

– Using internet-connected devices for remote monitoring,
Babyscripts offers risk-specific experiences to allow providers to manage up to
90% of pregnancies virtually, allowing doctors to detect risk more quickly and
automate elements of care.


Babyscripts,
the leading virtual care
platform for managing obstetrics, today announced a new round of
investments through their Strategic Partners Program,
a unique investment bloc composed of health systems interested in
forwarding Babyscripts’ cutting-edge digital solutions for pregnant
populations. Partners include Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the largest
nonprofit health care systems in the country; the CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, located on
the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado; the Froedtert & the Medical College of
Wisconsin health network
, an integrated health care system based in
Wisconsin; and WellSpan Health, an
integrated health system serving central Pennsylvania and northern
Maryland. 

This investment round is structured to leverage the input
and support of clinical and health system partners, ensuring that Babyscripts’
product development and future roadmap aligns with customer needs. 

Babyscripts has spent the last six years building a
clinically-validated, virtual care platform to allow OBGYNs to deliver a new
model of prenatal care. Using internet-connected devices for remote monitoring,
Babyscripts offers risk-specific experiences to allow providers to manage up to
90% of pregnancies virtually, allowing doctors to detect risk more quickly and
automate elements of care.

3-Tier Approach Virtual Maternity Care

Banner Health, Health Systems Make Strategic Investment in Virtual Maternity Care Platform Babyscripts

Babyscripts’ three-tiered approach to virtual maternity care
allows providers to deliver risk-specific care to pregnant mothers at any time,
in any place, through a mobile app and internet-connected monitoring devices:

Maternal Digital Education: Virtually connect with expectant and new mothers between visits with a custom mobile app.

Maternal Health Monitoring: Virtual management of
pregnant patients through remote monitoring for blood pressure, weight, blood
sugar, social determinants of health (SDOH)

Maternal Population Health: Improve patient/member
care through a unique collaboration between the care team and the payer.

The solution is powered by a robust set of vetted user
experiences, integrations, workflows, and best practices.

“From the beginning, we’ve set ourselves apart from other tech companies by partnering with physicians to make sure that we’re developing solutions that will actually be useful and improve outcomes, not just look and feel ‘cutting-edge’,” said Juan Pablo Segura, co-founder and President of Babyscripts. “This investment is validation that health systems see the value of our solution — and they’re willing to put their money on it.

Freespira Secures $10M for FDA-Cleared Digital Therapeutic to Eliminate Panic Attacks, PTSD Symptoms

Freespira Secures $10M for FDA-Cleared Digital Therapeutic to Eliminate Panic Attacks, PTSD Symptoms

What You Should Know:

– Lightspeed Venture Partners, the VC behind Nest and GrubHub, is leading a $10 million round for Freespira, an FDA-cleared digital therapeutic proven to significantly reduce or eliminate panic attacks and PTSD symptoms by training users to normalize respiratory irregularities.

– In 28 days, Freespira can reduce or eliminate panic
attacks and PTSD symptoms from home with just a tablet, sensor, and custom app.
There’s no medicine with possible side effects and no need to see a doctor or
therapist in person.


Freespira, Inc.(formerly
Palo Alto Health Sciences, Inc.), a Kirkland, WA-based maker of the first
FDA-cleared digital therapeutic that significantly reduces or eliminates
symptoms of panic attacks, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) in only 28 days, announced it has completed a $10 million capital raise led
by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Joining
the financing round, the largest in the company’s history, were previous
investors Aphelion Capital, Medvest Capital, and Freespira Chairman,
Russell Siegelman.

Free from Panic Attacks & PTSD in 28 Days

Founded in 2013, Freespira® is the only FDA-cleared digital therapeutic proven
to significantly reduce or eliminate Panic Disorder and PTSD symptoms by
training users to normalize respiratory irregularities in just 28 days. This
4-week medication-free program can be done from the comfort of your home for 17
minutes, twice daily. Treatment is authorized and completed under the
supervision of a licensed healthcare provider and is clinically proven to
reduce or eliminate panic attacks and other symptoms of panic disorder. Freespira
uses a custom sensor to train patients to stabilize their respiration rate and
exhaled carbon dioxide levels, thereby reducing or eliminating panic attacks
and PTSD symptoms.

Recent Peer-Reviewed Studies

Numerous peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated the
clinical effectiveness and cost savings of the Freespira solution, including:

– A clinical trial conducted at the VA Palo Alto Health Care
System in Palo Alto, Calif. demonstrated the efficacy of Freespira for veterans
and non-veterans suffering from PTSD. Significant reductions in measures of
PTSD severity were achieved by 85% of subjects post-treatment, with half of
subjects reporting remission scores six months post-treatment. Patient
satisfaction was 84% at six months post-treatment, and mean patient adherence
to the treatment protocol was 77%. 

– A large multi-center trial conducted by David Tolin, PhD,
Director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at The Institute of Living, and Adjunct
Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, found that
Freespira produced a clinically significant reduction in panic symptoms 12
months post-treatment in 82% of subjects, with 84% adherence and 88% patient
satisfaction.

– A study led by Alicia Kaplan, MD at the Allegheny Health
Network in Pittsburgh found that use of Freespira not only resulted in 91% of
patients reporting significant reduction in symptoms at 12-months but also
significant cost savings for the patients’ insurance provider, Highmark Blue
Cross Blue Shield. These included a 65% reduction in emergency department
costs; a 68% reduction in pharmacy costs; and a 35% reduction in total medical
costs for treatment of the study subjects. 

“We’re honored that Lightspeed, one of Silicon Valley’s premier venture firms, has joined our existing investors to help speed the commercialization of Freespira to benefit the millions of people who suffer from panic attacks and PTSD, including veterans, first responders, and increasingly, frontline healthcare workers,” said Dean Sawyer, Chief Executive Officer of Freespira. “Now that we have accumulated overwhelming evidence of the clinical and cost effectiveness of Freespira and achieved FDA clearance for its use treating both panic disorder and PTSD, we believe health plans and employers across the country will support the use of Freespira for their members and employees.”

Pear Therapeutics Raises $80M to Advance Prescription Digital Therapeutics

Pear Therapeutics Raises $80M to Advance Prescription Digital Therapeutics

What You Should Know:

– Pear Therapeutics today announced that it has
successfully closed an $80 million Series D financing led by SoftBank Vision
Fund 2.

–  Pear is the
leader in prescription digital therapeutics and the first company to receive
FDA authorization for a prescription digital therapeutic (PDT) to treat
disease.

– Pear currently has three FDA authorized therapies, reSET, reSET-O and Somryst, for substance use disorder, opioid use disorder, and chronic insomnia, respectively.


Pear Therapeutics,
Inc.
, (“Pear” or the “Company”) today announced that it has successfully
closed an $80 million Series D financing led by SoftBank Vision Fund 21 with
participation from existing investors including Temasek, 5AM Ventures,
Arboretum Ventures, JAZZ Venture Partners, Novartis, CrimsoNox, and EDBI, and
new investors, Forth Management, Pilot House, Sarissa Capital, Shanda Group,
and QUAD Investment Management.

What are PDTs?

PDTs are a new therapeutic class that uses software to treat
disease. Just like traditional medicines, prescription digital therapeutics are
prescribed by a physician and backed by clinical data that has been validated
by the FDA. As a new method of care, they offer patients a wide variety of
benefits, including: increased access to therapies, improved engagement and
adherence compared to face-to-face therapies.

Pear’s FDA Authorized Products

Pear’s products reSET®
and reSET-O® for the treatment
of substance use disorder and opioid use disorder, respectively, are the first
two PDTs to receive market authorization to treat disease from FDA. Pear
recently launched Somryst,
for the treatment of chronic insomnia, its third FDA-authorized PDT and the
third PDT to receive market authorization from FDA. Pear also recently launched
its end-to-end virtual care experience combining virtual doctor visit(s) via
telemedicine provider with PearConnect, the industry’s first patient service
center for PDTs.

The Company’s three FDA-authorized products address large
market opportunities with more than 20 million patients suffering from
substance and opioid use disorders and more than 30 million from chronic
insomnia, in the U.S. alone. These diseases are on the rise as the pandemic has
exacerbated the country’s mental health crises.

Expansion Plans

Pear plans to use the latest round of funding to accelerate
reimbursement coverage for its three commercial products, creating the first
market access pathway in the PDT industry. The Company collaborates with
innovators to build a broad and deep pipeline that has the potential to
redefine standard of care in a range of therapeutic areas, including specialty
psychiatry, specialty neurology, and a host of other non-CNS diseases. Pear has
built the first scalable platform infrastructure to discover, develop, and
deliver PDTs to patients.

“Pear is pleased to welcome our new investors and our new board members. SoftBank Investment Advisers represents an ideal partner to support Pear as we build the digital therapeutics industry,” said Corey McCann, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Pear Therapeutics. “This oversubscribed round of funding will allow us to continue to invest in the launches of our three commercial products to accelerate revenue growth, which we intend to reinvest in our robust pipeline and platform.”

5 Steps for Interoperability Excellence for Healthcare Providers

5 Steps for Interoperability Excellence for Healthcare Providers
Shanti Wilson, Consultant, Freed Associates 

As if 2020 couldn’t be
any more challenging for healthcare providers, new federal rules on
interoperability and patient access, granting patients direct access to their healthcare
data, begin taking effect this November and continue into 2022. These rules,
while ultimately beneficial to patients, bring an additional level of
operational complexity to many revenue-stressed healthcare organizations. 

If anything, the 2020 pandemic has illustrated the vast potential of interoperability. For example, consider the huge increase in 2020 in virtual care visits, projected to be more than 1 billion by year’s end, and with an estimated 90% related to Covid-19. Many of these new virtual health patients will move through different care networks, using different health plans, and seeking remote access to their health records. These are precisely the type of patients’ interoperability is meant to help. 

What should healthcare providers be doing now to ensure they’re not only compliant with new interoperability rules, but also applying them as optimally as possible to benefit their patients and organizations? In this article, we review the upcoming rules and suggest five key steps providers can take to ensure their interoperability implementations proceed as smoothly as possible.  

What’s Ahead with
Interoperability? 

After several years of discussion on interoperability standards, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Healthcare IT and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued their final rules on interoperability in the spring of 2020. The new rules, covering both health systems and health plans, are intended to ensure that patients can electronically access their healthcare information regardless of health system or type of electronic health records (EHR) and covering all CMS-regulated plan types, including Medicare Advantage, CHIP, and the Federally Facilitated Exchanges. 

Starting Nov. 2, 2020, healthcare systems must begin complying with interoperability rules preventing information blocking, which means not interfering with patients’ access to or use of their electronic health information. Providers must also attest they are acting “in good faith” regarding preventing information blocking, with any non-compliance flagged on the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System. By May 1, 2021, hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and critical access hospitals with an EHR must send notification of their patients’ admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) events to providers. 

Interoperability will replace the current fragmented and error-prone ways of exchanging vital healthcare information. Near-term benefits of interoperability include improved care coordination and patient experience, greater patient safety, and stronger patient privacy and security. Longer-term benefits include higher provider productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and more accurate public health data.  

For providers, the good
news about interoperability is that they’ve had years to think about and
implement many of its fundamental tenets, based on their work meeting
meaningful use requirements. That’s borne out in a 2019 HIMSS survey of
healthcare organizations which found nearly 75% of respondents past the
“foundational” level of interoperability – “foundational” defined as allowing
data exchange from one IT
system to another, but without data interpretation.  

Five Steps for
Interoperability Excellence 

While healthcare systems
will achieve significant interoperability gains through technology investments,
they should not consider technology as the ultimate sole key to
interoperability success. If anything, financial and political considerations
may be far more important to your organization’s interoperability success. Here
are five critical non-technology factors to consider: 

1. Determine your “master”
interoperability strategy

All pertinent stakeholders in your organization should be on the same page about your interoperability strategy, resources, and timing. Know up-front that those implementing interoperability may not have previously worked with patient-centric analytics, partners, or departments in your organization. Plan your resources and timing accordingly. Your strategy should focus on the value-add of interoperability internally, such as access to additional data points on your patients, and externally, such as how you describe the upcoming benefits of interoperability to your patients.

2. Convey your vision, expectations
and expected return

An interoperability implementation is
a massive change management initiative, which requires continuous, top-down
leadership and championship, and proper expectation-setting. Communicate where
your organization currently stands regarding its interoperability capabilities,
and where you wish to have it go. Convey how the organization plans to get to
its future desired state. And perhaps most importantly, share the likely return
on investment in this effort. Be as specific as possible. For example, if you
believe interoperability gains will ultimately enable a 5% decrease in your
hospital readmissions, state that.

3. Examine workflows and identify
specific use cases

Every type of ADT event in your
organization, and its corresponding workflows and system interactions, should
be under review. Consider all types of clinical use cases, the types of data to
be exchanged, and those involved in providing patient care. This will help
determine your optimal approach to data-sharing and how your organization can
strategically use the additional data you receive from other health
systems. 

4. Rigorously prep your data

Standardized data collection and reporting
which produces quality data is the heart and soul of successful
interoperability. Be sure your organization’s data is clean and meaningful, and
will ultimately be understandable and useful to your patients. 

5. Think big-picture differentiation

There’s nothing in the ONC and CMS
interoperability rules that says you need to stop at mere rules compliance.
Consider your pursuit of interoperability as a singular opportunity to be a
patient-centric leader in your market. Let everyone relevant know of the
success you’ve achieved. 

While interoperability
offers a chance for healthcare systems to achieve multiple operational gains,
when handled well, it is ultimately a patient-centric endeavor. Always keep the
needs and interests of your patients at the core when facilitating access to
their personal health data. It’s the ultimate smart long-term interoperability
strategy. 


Shanti Wilson is
a consultant with 
Freed Associates,
a California-based healthcare management consulting firm.
 

5 Myth-Busting New Hospital ADT Notification Requirements

5 Myth-Busting New Hospital ADT Notification Requirements
 Claudia Williams, CEO of Manifest MedEx

When doctors know their patients have been to the hospital, they can act fast to provide needed support. Widespread use of hospital event notifications is associated with all kinds of health benefits, including a 10 percent decrease in readmissions for Medicare beneficiaries. These event notifications are one of the simplest, easiest (most-bipartisan!), and most impactful changes we can make to improve patient outcomes in U.S. healthcare. 

To this goal, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new regulations in March that will require hospitals to share event notifications with community providers when a patient is admitted, discharged, or transferred (ADT). Hospitals have to comply by May 2021 if they want to keep getting paid by Medicare and Medicaid. 

This policy will improve care, reduce costs, and save lives. It’s also simple and straightforward.  CMS explains, “Lack of seamless data exchange in healthcare has historically detracted from patient care, leading to poor health outcomes, and higher costs.” ADT notifications close these gaps and many healthcare organizations have been using them for years, vastly improving care for patients.

Take the Utah Health Information Network (UHIN) which has utilized ADT notifications to reduce costs and readmissions for over a decade. According to the former UHIN President and CEO, Teresa Rivera,

“This level of care coordination quite literally saves both lives and money.” She continues, “This secure and cost-effective method provides the patient’s entire medical team, regardless of where they work, with the important information they need to coordinate care. That coordination is important to reducing readmission rates, and helps health care professionals provide a better experience to patients.”

ADT notifications are a standard set of messages that most electronic health record (EHR) systems can generate with minimal set-up. In fact, in a 2019 letter from the National Association of ACOs in support of CMS’ proposal to require hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid to send event notifications, they expressed that new standards efforts are not needed for the successful implementation.

The authors wrote, “In numerous conversations with HIEs, other intermediaries and providers, we were unable to find a single example where a hospital was unable to send an ADT notification today due to lack of standards.”

But you wouldn’t know it if you listened to the misconceptions that are currently being spread to hospitals about this requirement. Here are five myths that I’ve encountered just this month:

Myth 1: The ADT notification policies are strict and difficult to comply with. Not true. CMS listened to feedback that Meaningful Use requirements were too regimented and promoted a “check the box” not “get it done” mentality. CMS purposely worked to keep these ADT requirements broad and non-prescriptive. Hospitals don’t need to comply with any specific technical standard. The CMS regulations released in March are final.

Myth 2: You have to connect to a nationwide network. Wrong. Hospitals can choose from a wide variety of regional and statewide health information exchange (HIE) partners. The policy requires “reasonable effort” to send notifications to providers in your community. An intermediary can be used to comply with the rule as long as it “connects to a wide range of recipients.” Unlike what some nationwide companies are saying, the regulations do not mandate out-of-state alerts.

Myth 3: The policy creates a big technical burden for hospitals. More than 99 percent of hospitals have EHR systems in place today, and most of those can produce standard ADT transactions with relatively minimal effort. While the time to activate ADT notifications varies, it can usually be done in as little as a day by a hospital IT team

Myth 4: The timing isn’t right. It’s happening too fast. A global pandemic is exactly the moment when we need this kind of data sharing in our communities. With COVID-19, it is even more crucial that care teams are alerted promptly when a patient is seen in the emergency department or discharged from the hospital so that they can reach out and provide support. Regardless, CMS has given an additional six months of enforcement discretion for hospitals, pushing back the deadline to May 2021.

Myth 5: There’s no funding available for this work. Wrong again. In California and several other states, hospitals can take advantage of public funding to connect to regional HIEs that provide ADT notification services. There’s $50 million in funding available just in California. 

This new policy is an exciting step forward for patients and providers. It gives primary care and post-acute providers crucial, needed information to improve patient care. Hospitals can meet the requirements with minimal burden using existing technologies. Patients will have a more seamless experience when they are at their most vulnerable.

In healthcare, it’s easy to assume that great impact requires great complexity. But time and again the opposite is true. So let’s bust the myths, get it done, and keep it simple. 


About Claudia Williams

Claudia Williams is the CEO of Manifest MedEx. Previously the senior advisor for health technology and innovation at the White House, Claudia helped lead President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. Before joining the White House, Claudia was director of health information exchange at HHS and was director of health policy and public affairs at the Markle Foundation.

Israeli Digital Health VC Firm OTV Closes $170M Venture Fund

Israeli Digital Health VC Firm OTV Closes $170M Venture Fund

What You Should Know:

– OTV (formerly Olive Tree
Ventures), Israel’s ‘digital health first’ venture capital firm closes $170
million venture fund to support innovative digital health companies worldwide.

– OTV also announced today a new China
office and the appointment of Jose Antonio Urrutia Rivas as Head of Asia
Pacific.

OTV (formerly Olive Tree Ventures), Israel’s ‘digital health first’ venture capital firm, today announced the closing of a fund with a total value of $170M. OTV is the only venture capital fund in Israel whose primary focus is digital health, specializing in supporting their portfolio companies reach maturity, refine execution, tackle regulatory hurdles, and ensure a global imprint on validated products.

“OTV’s goal for the upcoming period is to harness our expertise in facilitating the growth of digital health companies, and, with laser sharp focus, identify the market leaders of tomorrow,” said Alejandro Weinstein, General Partner, OTV. “Digital health technology is increasingly important for strained healthcare systems seeking to provide accessible and affordable treatment, especially to traditionally under-served populations. The Covid-19 pandemic elucidated the importance of digital products to the global healthcare ecosystem, but industry pain points predated the current crisis and clear solutions will be needed in the years to come.”

OTV
Background & Investment Thesis

Digital health technology is a young yet high growth vertical, with a market that has grown 150% since 2017 and is expected to be a $540 billion dollar industry by 2025.OTV was founded in 2015 by General Partners Mayer Gniwisch, Amir Lahat and Alejandro Weinstein with the mission of finding entrepreneurs with the most innovative, disruptive ideas in the digital health arena, that improve and save lives, and enable them to build successful, impactful companies.

Prior
to forming the VC firm, the team founded 7 successful companies that generated
over $4B in gains. Together with Partner Manor Zemer, the OTV leadership
team is comprised of investors with a wide range of backgrounds, encompassing
healthcare, technology, private equity and financial services, and with
experience in the US, LATAM, Israeli and Asian markets.

Over
the course of the past five years, OTV has prioritized investment in
digital health companies that develop cutting-edge solutions to today’s most
pressing healthcare problems. OTV’s portfolio includes some of the world’s
highest-profile digital health leaders, including TytoCareLemonaid HealthEmedgeneScopio and Donisi Health.

New
China Office & Head of Asia Pacific Appointment

OTV also announced today the appointment of Jose
Antonio Urrutia Rivas as Head of Asia Pacific. Jose is a graduate of the China
Europe International Business School in Shanghai’s MBA program, and previously
worked at LarrainVial as the Asian Market developer. Equipped with a wealth of
experience in the region, Jose will manage OTV’s new Asia Pacific office,
based in China. The new office will complement existing branches in New York,
Tel Aviv and Montreal, and will offer portfolio companies the opportunity to expand
in a region where the digital health field is robust and well-developed. 

“I am excited to lead OTV’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific region, which plays a vital role in the global digital health economy,” said Jose Antonio Urrutia Rivas, Head of Asia Pacific, OTV. “OTV provides a unique connection between West and East, linking portfolio companies to Israel, North America and Asia and enhancing cooperation between these different markets. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the OTV team, whose investment experience in a wide range of fields makes them perfectly placed to develop and implement winning growth strategies for best in class digital health companies..”

M&A: CarepathRx Acquires Pharmacy Operations of Chartwell from UPMC for $400M

CarepathRx Acquires Specialty Pharmacy Operations of Chartwell for $400M

What You Should Know:

CarepathRx will
acquire the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s pharmacy operations in a
$400M deal.

The company fully
integrates pharmacy operations, expands healthcare services, improves
ambulatory access, minimizes clinical variation and creates new health system
revenue streams.

– CarepathRx serves more than 15 health systems and 600
hospitals, with more than 1,500 employees nationwide, 400 payor contracts.
Already CarepathRx has treated more than 100,000 patients.

CarepathRx, a leader in pharmacy and medication management
solutions for vulnerable and chronically ill patients, announced today a
partnership with UPMC’s Chartwell subsidiary that will expand patient access to
innovative specialty pharmacy and home infusion services. Under the $400M landmark
agreement, CarepathRx will acquire
the management services organization responsible for the operational and
strategic management of Chartwell while UPMC becomes a strategic investor in CarepathRx. 

This new partnership expands CarepathRx’s specialty and home infusion capabilities. “Our partnership with UPMC and Chartwell is an important step for CarepathRx. We set out to create a new approach to pharmacy care in the market—one that is centered on the patient and that works collaboratively with both the provider and the payor of health care,” said Figueroa, chief executive officer of CarepathRx. “We welcome the team at Chartwell to the CarepathRx family and are thrilled to partner with UPMC to help us achieve our mission.”

Optimize Your Hospital Pharmacy
Operations

Founded in 2019 by seasoned health care executive John Figueroa and middle-market private equity firm Nautic Partners LLC, CarepathRx has rapidly become a leader in delivering comprehensive pharmacy solutions to patients undergoing complicated medication therapies. By focusing on the most vulnerable patients, CarepathRx is seeking to break down the barriers of typical pharmacy care and medication management. Its suite of solutions caters to patients undergoing specialty and infusion therapies, often for a variety of chronic conditions. CarepathRx works closely with partners across the health care spectrum—including health systems, community physicians, home health agencies and payors. Today, CarepathRx delivers its services to more than 600 hospitals across the country.

The transaction is expected to close
within 30 days. Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. served as financial advisor to
Chartwell in the formation of the management services organization and
partnership with CarepathRx.

Google Cloud Launches Healthcare Interoperability Readiness Program

Google Cloud Launches Healthcare Interoperability Readiness Program

What You Should Know:

– Google Cloud launches Healthcare Interoperability
Readiness Program to help healthcare organizations achieve healthcare data interoperability.


Today,
Google Cloud launched the Google Cloud Healthcare Interoperability Readiness
Program, helping organizations achieve data interoperability in advance of
upcoming HHS deadlines and to enable future innovation. Alongside partners like Bain, BCG, Deloitte, HCL,
KPMG, SADA, and more, the Healthcare Interoperability
Readiness Program will help healthcare organizations understand the current status
of their data and where it resides, map out a path to standardization and
integration, and make use of data in a secure, reliable, compliant manner.

Google Cloud Interoperability Readiness Program

This program provides a comprehensive set of
services for interoperability, including: 

HealthAPIx Accelerator provides
the jumpstart for the interoperability implementation efforts. With best
practices, pre-built templates and lessons learned from our customer and
partner implementations, it offers a blueprint for healthcare stakeholders and
app developers to build FHIR API-based digital experiences.

Apigee API Management provides the underpinning and enables a security and governance layer to deliver, manage, secure and scale APIs; consume and publish FHIR-ready APIs for partners and developers; build robust API analytics, and accelerate the rollout of digital solutions.

Google Cloud Healthcare API enables
secure methods (including de-identification) for ingesting, transforming,
harmonizing, and storing your data in the latest FHIR formats, as well as HL7v2
and DICOM, and serves as a secondary longitudinal data store to streamline data
sharing, application development, and analytics with BigQuery. 

– Interoperability toolkit that includes solution architectures, implementation guides, sandboxes, and other resources to help accelerate interoperability adoption and streamline compliance with standards such as FHIR R4. 

COVID-19 Pandemic Underscores Drive to Accelerate
Interoperability

“With COVID-19 underscoring the importance of even more data sharing and flexibility, the next few years promise to accelerate data interoperability and the adoption of open standards even further—ideally ushering in new and meaningful partnerships across the care continuum, new avenues for business growth, and new pathways for patient-centered innovation,” stated in the announcement blog post.  

HealthStream Acquires Change Healthcare’s Staff Scheduling Business for $67.M

HealthStream Acquires Change Healthcare’s Staff Scheduling Business for $67.M

What You Should Know:

– HealthStream acquires Change Healthcare’s staff
scheduling business for $67.5M in cash which includes the ANSOS™ Staff
Scheduling (“ANSOS”) platform and related products.

– The acquisition will help establish HealthStream as a
market leader in healthcare workforce scheduling business.


HealthStream, a
leading provider of workforce and provider solutions for the healthcare
industry has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire
Change Healthcare’s staff
scheduling business, which includes their market-leading ANSOS™
Staff Scheduling (“ANSOS”)
application and related products. : The purchase
price payable upon the closing of the ANSOS acquisition will be approximately
$67.5 million in cash (subject to working capital and other customary purchase
price adjustments), which will be funded with cash on hand.

ANSOS Platform Background

ANSOS is an enterprise solution for healthcare providers
that want to anticipate workload requirements, manage labor costs, apply
complex work rules, and meet credential requirements for shifts—all for the
purpose of optimizing staff deployment. Today, the platform is used by over 300
hospitals and health systems and continues to be recognized as a market leader
in nurse and staff scheduling by KLAS™.

In addition to the ANSOS Staff Scheduling application, the
contemplated acquisition includes related products: Enterprise Visibility™, a
patient tracking system, and Capacity Planner™, a predictive analytics tool.
Importantly, all three products (i.e. ANSOS, Enterprise Visibility, and
Capacity Planner) work in concert with each other, creating a powerful solution
suite for aligning staff and scheduling based on patient acuity, predicting
patient demand, and adjusting resources for optimal outcomes.

Acquisition Expands HealthStream’s Portfolio of Staff
Scheduling & Workforce Solutions

The addition of Change Healthcare’s staff scheduling
business will expand HealthStream’s growing portfolio of solutions for staff
scheduling and workforce management, which began in early 2020 with the
acquisition of NurseGrid and grew further with the acquisition of ShiftWizard
last month. The complementary positioning of ANSOS, ShiftWizard, and NurseGrid
will enable future data integrations and advanced analytics that yield smarter
schedule development while enhancing engagement with staff.

“We are excited to add ANSOS to HealthStream’s growing nurse
and staff scheduling business for healthcare providers as we believe this is a
major win for everyone: customers, partners, employees, and shareholders,” said
Robert A. Frist, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, HealthStream. “The closing of
this transaction will establish HealthStream as an industry leader in nurse and
staff scheduling for healthcare providers. Considering our strong track record
of strengthening acquired products and solutions to deliver even greater value
to customers, I believe we are well positioned for continued growth and
innovation in workforce management.”

Post-Acquisition Plans

Following the acquisition, customer support for each of
these products will remain in place. Approximately 90 employees from Change
Healthcare will join HealthStream upon closing. Together, ANSOS, ShiftWizard,
and NurseGrid represent HealthStream’s portfolio of nurse and staff scheduling
solutions with executive oversight provided by Scott McQuigg, Senior Vice
President, HealthStream. These solutions will be included in HealthStream’s
Workforce Solutions business segment.

Financial Details

Revenues for the business to be acquired are primarily
associated with sales of perpetual software, maintenance, and professional
services. HealthStream expects incremental revenues in 2021 to range between
$16.5 and $19.5 million, taking into account an estimated reduction of between
$7.0 and $8.0 million related to deferred revenue write-downs. While the
business has historically sold perpetual software licenses, future product
development and sales efforts are anticipated to be directed towards a
software-as-a-service model.

HealthStream plan to make investments in the areas of sales,
marketing, product development, and operations to support this initiative. In
addition, we anticipate the amortization of acquired intangible assets to range
between $3.0 and $4.0 million during 2021. Considering the additional investments
intended during 2021, the deferred revenue write-downs, the amortization of
intangible assets, and transition services expenses, we expect the acquired
business to generate an operating loss in 2021.

Hospital Sustainability Demands that Revenue Integrity Move Front and Center

Hospital Sustainability Demands that Revenue Integrity Move Front and Center
Vasilios Nassiopoulos, VP of Platform Strategy and Innovation, Hayes

Razor-thin operational margins coupled with substantial and ongoing losses related to COVID-19 are culminating in a perfect storm of bottom-line issues for U.S. hospitals and health systems. A study commissioned by the American Hospital Association (AHA) found that the median hospital margin overall was just 3.5% pre-pandemic, and projected margins will stay in the red for at least half of the nation’s hospitals for the remainder of 2020. 

The reality is that an increase in COVID-19 cases will not overcome the pandemic’s devasting financial impact. An internal analysis found that, in the first half of 2020, client organizations documented more than 1.2 million COVID-19 related cases. At least one study suggests that $2,500 will be lost per case–despite a 20% Medicare payment increase. And notably, a positive test result is now required for the increased inpatient payment.

The healthcare industry must face its own “new normal” as the current path is unsustainable, and the future stability of hospitals in communities across the nations is uncertain. If financial leaders do not act now to implement systems and embrace sound revenue integrity practices, they will face unavoidable revenue cycle bottlenecks and limit their ability to capitalize on all appropriate reimbursement opportunities. 

The COVID-19 Effect: A Bird’s Eye View

The financial impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching, impacting multiple angles of operations from supply chain costs to lost billing opportunities and compliance issues. Findings from a Physician’s Foundation report released in August suggest that U.S. healthcare spending dropped by 18% during the first quarter of 2020, the steepest decline since 1959.

Already vulnerable 2020 Q1 budgets were met with substantial losses when elective procedures—a sizeable part of income for most health systems—were halted for more than a month in many cases. Many hospitals continue to lose notable revenue associated with emergency care and ancillary testing as patients choose to avoid public settings amid ongoing public safety efforts. 

Outpatient visits also dropped a whopping 60% in the wake of the pandemic. While a recent Harvard report suggests that numbers are back on track, the reality is that a resurgence of cases could make consumers wary of both doctor visits and elective procedures again.

In addition, the supply chain quickly became a cost risk for health systems by Q2 2020 as the ability to acquire drugs and medical supplies came at a premium. Meeting cost-containment goals flew out the window as did the ability to create value in purchasing power.

Further exacerbating the situation is an expected increase in denials as healthcare organizations navigate a fluid regulatory environment and learn how to interpret new guidance around coding and billing for COVID-19 related care. For example, while telehealth has proved a game-changer for care continuity across the U.S., reimbursement for these visits remains largely untested. History confirms that in times of rapid change, billing errors increase—and so do claims denials.

While there is little that can be done to minimize the impact of revenue losses and supply chain challenges, healthcare organizations can take proactive steps to identify all revenue opportunities and minimize compliance issues that will undoubtedly surface when auditors come knocking to ensure the appropriate use of COVID-19 stimulus dollars. 

Holistically Addressing Revenue

Getting ahead of the current and evolving revenue storm will require healthcare organizations to elevate revenue integrity strategies. Hospitals and health systems should take four steps to get their billing and compliance house in order by addressing:

1. People: Build a cross-functional steering committee that will drive revenue integrity goals through better collaboration between billing and compliance teams.

2. Processes: Strategies that combine the strengths of both retrospective and prospective auditing will identify the root cause of errors and educate stakeholders to ensure clean, timely filed claims from the start. 

3. Metrics: Best practice key performance indexes are available and should be used. Clean claim submission, denial rate, bad debt reduction and days in AR are a few to consider.

4. Technology: The role of emerging technologies that use artificial intelligence cannot be understated. Their ability to speed identification of risks, perform targeted audits, identify and address root causes and most importantly, monitor the impact of process improvements is changing current dynamics. For one large pediatric health system in the Southwest, technology-enabled coding and compliance processes resulted in $230 million in reduced COVID-related denials and a financial impact of $2.3 million. 

Current manual processes used by many healthcare organizations to assess denials and manage revenue cycle will not provide the transparency needed to both get ahead of problems and identify areas for process improvement and corrective action in today’s complex environment. 

About Vasilios Nassiopoulos

Vasilios Nassiopoulosis the Vice President of Platform Strategy and Innovation at Hayes, a healthcare technology provider that partners with the nation’s premier healthcare organizations to improve revenue, mitigate risk and streamline operations to succeed in an evolving healthcare landscape. Vasilios has over 25 years of healthcare experience with extensive knowledge of EHR systems and PMS software from Epic, Cerner, GE Centricity and Meditech. Prior to joining Hayes, Vasilios served Associate Principal at The Chartis Group. 

Microsoft Launches Dedicated HealthTech Startup Program in India

Microsoft Launches Dedicated HealthTech Startup Program in India

What You Should Know:

– Microsoft launches a dedicated HealthTech Startup Program and partners with startup incubator Social Alpha to accelerate the growth of healthtech startups in India.

– Selected startups into the program will benefit from
focused healthcare industry teams, co-innovation and collaboration, and
Microsoft AI for healthcare.


Today, Microsoft has announced the launch of a
dedicated healthtech
startup program
to drive healthcare innovation in India. India faces an
increasing number of healthcare challenges with a lack of infrastructure,
uneven doctor to patient ratio, and an increase in demand for healthcare
services. The program is designed
to help startups
scale with advanced technology and joint go-to-market support.

Microsoft HealthTech
Startup Program Approach

Spread across three tiers,
the program offers a range of benefits:

– All startups: Qualified Seed to Series C startups can boost
their business with Azure benefits (including free credits), unlimited
technical support and go-to-market resources with support for Azure Marketplace
onboarding

– Co-sell
startups:
Startups with
enterprise-ready solutions can scale quickly with joint go-to-market
strategies, technical support and new sales opportunities with Microsoft’s
partner ecosystem

– Co-build startups: Startups that are looking to create healthcare solutions have access to Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, the first industry-specific cloud that brings together trusted and integrated capabilities to enrich patient engagement and connects teams for improved collaboration, decision-making, and operational efficiencies

Being forced by the global pandemic to rethink how healthcare services across the world operate, startups in this industry are reimagining solutions for some of the most pressing healthcare challenges. Technology innovation with advanced data and analytics capabilities is a critical enabler as we build trusted and reliable solutions at scale. The Microsoft for Healthtech Startups program deepens our focus on specific industries and is aimed to accelerate the growth journeys of startups with the best tech enablement and business resources,” said Sangeeta Bavi, Director – Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India.

Partnership with Startup Incubator Social Alpha

In addition to the healthtech program launch, Microsoft is also collaborating with startup incubator Social Alpha to accelerate the growth of participating startups. To date, Social Alpha has supported over 20 healthtech startups working across devices, diagnostics, treatment, access and quality/UX.

The collaboration with Social Alpha will provide healthtech
startups programmatic support through product innovation labs, sandbox pilots
and structured incubation initiatives that offer knowledge services, bootcamps
and masterclass sessions with mentors as well as tech and industry experts.

As the startups accelerate, they receive access to
go-to-market resources, ecosystem networking, angel networks and investor
forums. Social Alpha supports entrepreneurs and innovators that enable social,
economic and environmental change through their ‘lab to market’ journey by
building access to technology and business incubation initiatives.

7 Best Practices for Third-Party Risk Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry

7 Best Practices for Third-Party Risk Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Dr. Aleksandr Yampolskiy, CEO of SecurityScorecard,

The globalization of the pharmaceutical industry has forced pharma companies to outsource, increasing their reliance on third-party vendors and suppliers. As this supply chain grows in complexity, companies find themselves grappling with a growing amount of cyber risk. 

A data breach in the pharmaceutical industry can cost companies upwards of $5 million and costs can rise significantly if a third-party vendor or supplier is the cause of a data breach. For this reason, organizations must ensure the third-parties that exist within their supply chain remain secure. 

Challenges in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

There are innumerable logistical, compliance, and cost-related issues that organizations must consider as they add third-parties and vendors to their supply chain. 

From a logistics view, a growing number of touchpoints between production and consumers, shipments that require refrigeration, packaging coordination, and shipment delays related to third-parties all may increase risk. 

This risk is compounded by compliance-related issues. The highly-regulated pharmaceutical industry must comply with a number of healthcare-related regulations, like HIPAA, and must also be sure that their third-party suppliers abide by rules set by supply regulations like Good Distribution Practice (GDP). If these companies and their third-parties do not comply, the organization becomes subject to costly fines – which can range between $10 million and $1 billion depending on various factors. 

Pharmaceutical businesses must protect their organizations in this challenging risk environment by working to mitigate third-party cyber risk as they also work to limit their own. 

Why Third-Party Risk Management is Critical for Pharma 

Due to the high value of the intellectual property they house, pharmaceutical companies are subject to a high-level of cybercrime. In fact, according to a study conducted by Deloitte, the pharmaceutical industry has become the number one target of cybercriminals at a global level, especially in relation to IP theft.

For a pharma organization, data breaches can be devastating, costing companies grief over lost or stolen data and large sums of money to remedy any business hindrances caused by the breach. According to Ponemon’s Cost of a Data Breach report, data breaches cost pharmaceutical companies an average of $5.2 million. When a third-party supplier or vendor causes a breach, the average cost rises by $370,000

In order to protect drug production and patient well-being, the industry must take care to minimize its cyber risk, specifically when it comes to third-parties. 

Best Practices for Third-Party Risk Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry

It is crucial that pharmaceutical organizations work to limit the third-party risk that may stem from vendors and suppliers. Use the following seven best practices for developing your third-party risk management (TPRM) strategy: 

1. Identify Your Suppliers

Pharmaceutical companies have a large, outsourced supply chain and it is imperative to understand exactly who your suppliers are at all points on the chain. Cyber risk can stem from any size or type of vendor, so make sure to list each third-party you work with – from small vendors who may work with only one department, to large vendors who develop drug labels and bottle caps. 

2. Understand and Qualify Potential Cyber Risks

Each third-party has the potential to introduce numerous risks that must be identified at the start of your business relationship. Make note of the types of software, networks, devices, and data that each of your third-parties access. Then, develop a risk inventory and map them against a standardized risk taxonomy, estimate the likelihood and severity of each risk, and rank each third-party in order of potential risk.  

3. Determine a Risk Rating

Once each third-party has been analyzed from a risk-perspective, assign a risk rating to each. Risk ratings generally range from low to high, meaning high-risk vendors receive the most attention when prioritizing risk monitoring strategies and determining your risk appetite. 

4. Define Controls

It’s important to make sure that third-parties have the same level of risk tolerance as your organization. When developing a TPRM policy, you need to define the types of controls your third-parties should be using like encryption, regular security patching, and data segregation. If possible, these controls should be worked into your business contracts. 

5. Measure Third-Party Compliance 

After setting controls, you must set metrics to measure third-party compliance. These metrics may include time to risk detection, time to risk remediation, or time to risk recovery. Monitoring third-party compliance regularly requires a review of security questionnaires or self-audits provided by the third-party. 

6. Align with a Risk Management Framework

In order to properly manage third-party risk, pharmaceutical organizations must develop a third-party risk management framework. Common frameworks like NIST and ISO help to identify which third-party vendors pose the greatest risk and require an immediate response.  

7. Continuously Monitor Third-Parties

In order to ensure security, pharmaceutical companies must continuously monitor their third-party business partners. Many organizations incorporate platforms that can monitor ecosystem risk, providing real-time visibility into the complex IT risks associated with the rapidly expanding pharmaceutical attack surface.

Final Thoughts

The supply chain for the pharmaceutical industry is increasing in regulatory complexity, logistics, and costs. Globalization has expanded the threat landscape, leaving many companies forced to upgrade their risk-management capabilities. Now is the time to adopt the best practices highlighted above to protect drug IP and patient lives. 


About Dr. Aleksandr Yampolskiy, CEO of SecurityScorecard

Dr.Aleksandr Yampolskiy is a globally recognized cybersecurity innovator, leader, and expert. He is co-founder and chief executive officer of SecurityScorecard and strives to create a new language for cybersecurity by enabling people to work collaboratively across the enterprise and with external parties to build a more secure ecosystem. 

Nuance Sells Off Transcription and EHR-Go-Live Services Businesses to DeliverHealth

Nuance Sells Off Transcription and EHR-Go-Live Services Businesses to DeliverHealth

What You Should Know:

–   Nuance announced that it’s planning to sell
two sections of its healthcare business – Health Information Management (HIM)
and Electronic Health Record (EHR) Go-Live Services – to a new independent
company, called DeliverHealth, in early 2021.

– Nuance will be a minority shareholder of DeliverHealth
and continue to provide its technology to the company.

Nuance
Communications, Inc.,
today announced the planned sale
of the Health Information Management (HIM) Transcription business and the
Electronic Health Record (EHR) Go-Live Services business to a new independent
company, DeliverHealth Solutions LLC
(DeliverHealth),
formed by Assured
Healthcare Partners® (AHP®)
in partnership with Aeries Technology Group (Aeries).  


Transaction Details

The HIM Transcription business includes both Nuance Transcription Services (NTS) and the eScription technology platform. The transaction is expected to be completed in early 2021. As part of the self-off, Nuance will be a minority shareholder of DeliverHealth and will continue to provide its technology to the company. DeliverHealth plans to build on HIM, transcription, technology and EHR services already in place while expanding into intelligent, technology-enabled revenue cycle automation and clinical documentation improvement services within the EHR’s workflow in 2021. DeliverHealth will include both Nuance Transcription Services (NTS) and the eScription technology platform. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.


Sell-Off Accelerate Growth as Conversational AI Market
Leader

 The sale
demonstrates Nuance’s continuing execution to focus R&D investments in the
healthcare and enterprise markets – where the company has substantial
competitive advantages and opportunities for growth and value creation. In
2019, for example, Nuance sold its document imaging business to Kofax and
spun-off its automotive business into Cerence, Inc., an independent,
publicly-traded company.

Nuance’s goal with the sale is to enable:

– Existing customers with continued service quality, newly
expanded offerings, and enhancements from DeliverHealth in close collaboration
with Nuance

– Nuance to focus its innovation and market resources as a
pure-play conversational AI market leader while providing continuity of EHR
Go-Live Services and HIM Transcription businesses to existing and new customers
via DeliverHealth

– DeliverHealth to leverage a leading position in healthcare
professional and technology-enabled services, expand global market share,
advance growth plans for the EHR Go-Live and Optimization Services, and provide
enhanced HIM technology and services to a worldwide market in partnership with
Nuance

Nuance’s growth and market leadership in healthcare are
driven by the accelerating adoption and development of its core cloud-based AI
solutions, including the Nuance® Dragon® Ambient eXperience™ (Nuance DAX™)
ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) solution, Nuance Dragon Medical One, Nuance
CDE One, and its array of diagnostic imaging solutions such as PowerScribe One™
and PowerShare™.


“The dramatic acceleration in the digital transformation of healthcare continues as organizations deploy the power of conversational AI and deeply integrated cloud-based solutions at scale to address physician burnout, expand patient access, and improve system efficiencies and the revenue cycle,” said Mark Benjamin, CEO of Nuance. “With this strategic transaction, we’re aligning our resources to increase our market and technical leadership position in high-growth, high-impact areas that help our customers in a transformative way to improve patient care and operational performance. At the same time, we’re enabling the medical transcription and EHR Go-Live Services businesses to reach their full potential as a separate, focused company benefiting from the enhanced investment and operational experience of AHP and Aeries and technology support from Nuance.”


COTA Lands $34M to Drive Innovation in Oncology Using Real-World Data

COTA Lands $34M to Drive Innovation in Oncology Using Real-World Data

What You Should Know:

– COTA, Inc., a healthcare technology company that uses
real-world data to bring clarity to cancer care, has secured $34M in funding.

– Access to over one million patient data records and additional
funding support enhanced real-world data and analytics services in oncology.


COTA, Inc., a Boston, MA-based healthcare technology company that uses real-world data to bring clarity to cancer care, today announced it has raised $34 million in Series D funding led by Baptist Health South Florida and ONC Capital with participation from EW Healthcare, Horizon BCBS and other existing investors. This also includes a $20M investment from Varian, who negotiated an option to acquire COTA at a later date.

Bringing Clarity to Cancer

COTA was founded in 2011 by a team of doctors, engineers,
and data scientists to create clarity from fragmented and often-inaccessible
real-world data. The company organizes fragmented, often hidden data from the
real world to provide clarity in cancer care. Combining clinical expertise in
cancer with proprietary technology and advanced analytics, COTA’s platform
helps inform decisions and action in oncology. COTA partners with
providers, payers, and life science companies to ensure that everyone touched
by cancer has a clear path to the right care.

COTA offerings include:

Providers: Curate EHR data that can be
used to drive research and standardization in order to improve patient outcomes
while also reducing costs at your institution.

Payers: Make clinical sense of claims data, providing
insight into performance and related outcomes across sites in order to support
value-based payment models.

Life Sciences: Deeplycurated real-world data accelerates drug development informing the decisions and actions that will deliver the best drugs to patients faster and at a lower cost.

Recent Traction/Milestones

The company will use the latest round of funding to expand
its data access by over 300%, which now well exceeds one million oncology
patient records. This growth will support the company’s commitment to
accelerating the use of real-world data to improve patient outcomes and
increase efficiency in oncology drug development. data helps life science
partners answer key research questions, and in 2020 alone, COTA is projected to
double its life science customers, growing from 8 to 16.

“COTA is proud to receive this validation from leading institutions across the oncology ecosystem.” said Michael Doyle, President and CEO of COTA. “The additional capital combined with our increased data access positions COTA for tremendous growth and enables us to drive innovation in oncology using real-world data. Our high-quality data and technology solutions will improve how cancer is treated and provide much needed clarity to patients as they navigate their cancer journey.”

M&A: Central Logic Acquires Patient Care Transition Platform Ensocare

M&A: Central Logic Acquires Patient Care Transition Platform Ensocare

What You Should Know:

– Central Logic has acquired Omaha-based Ensocare, which
automates the referral process for patients from hospital to post-acute care
(PAC) when they are being discharged.

– This acquisition means that Central Logic’s technology
solution will now expand its reach across the care continuum, from acute to
post-acute care—into, through and out of the health system. This combined
capability is key to increasing patient satisfaction while also increasing
patient census by ensuring beds are available when they are needed by new
patients.


Central Logic,
the leading healthcare access and orchestration company, announced today that
it has acquired
Omaha-based Ensocare, which automates
the inpatient referral process to post-acute care (PAC). Central Logic’s health
system technology solution currently focuses on referrals and transfers into a
health system by uniting all available provider, facility and transportation
resources. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Making Care Transition More Efficient

About 40% of Medicare beneficiaries are discharged from the hospital to post-acute facilities. With a
large aging population, U.S. health systems face growing pressures to improve
care access and streamline transitions of care to optimize patient outcomes,
increase operating margins, and control costs. 

Founded in 1999, Ensocare provides hospitals and post-acute care
providers software and proactive support to manage patient transitions of care,
improve efficiency in the referral management process and streamline
communication between healthcare organizations. Backed by live, 24/7 customer
support and tapping into the nation’s largest no-cost post-acute care network,
we’ll help you lower costs, enhance patient satisfaction and increase
profitability by automating workflows and eliminating inefficient systems.

Acquisition Expands Central Logic’s Solutions to Post-Acute
Care

The acquisition of Ensocare expands Central Logic’s solution
to include successful transitions out of hospitals to post-acute care
settings—including skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, long-term
acute care centers, and even the home—by tapping into Ensocare’s active,
curated network of more than 50,000 PAC providers nationwide. Placement
confirmations are secured on average within 30 minutes.

In light of the Ensocare
acquisition, Central Logic becomes the only solution in the market that
provides region-wide acute care transfer, transport and post-acute care
transfer capabilities in one platform, enabling health systems to more
cohesively operate as one.

Private Equity firm Rubicon Technology partners, a leading
private equity firm based in Boulder, Colo., made a strategic majority investment in Central Logic in June,
with a commitment to accelerating growth. Two weeks before Rubicon’s majority
investment in Central Logic, the PE firm announced a new $1.25 billion fund that exceeded the fund target
of $850 million in less than 6 months. The Ensocare acquisition marks the first
major milestone in Central Logic’s growth trajectory that Rubicon committed to
when making its strategic majority investment in the company earlier this year.

Expanded Footprint

Central Logic’s technology will now span 800 hospitals and
health systems, covering 150,000 providers and more than 5 million
patients—representing 14% of U.S. annual inpatient visits. he company now
employs 125 team members and will continue to operate Ensocare’s Omaha, Neb.,
location, as well as existing Central Logic offices in St. Paul, Minn., and
Sandy, Utah.

“This strategic acquisition means that our solutions will now span the care continuum from acute to post-acute care, which will improve transitions into, through and out of the health system, creating true ‘systemness’ for our clients,” said Angie Franks, CEO of Central Logic. “By operating as one, health systems can offer a more seamless experience for their patients across all acuity levels while enabling providers to stay connected and strengthening the relationships with PAC providers in their communities.”

Our fully integrated solution will provide visibility and access to data that ensures hospital beds are freed in a timely manner when inpatient care is no longer necessary. This decreases length of stay and increases throughput,” Franks said. “Further, this kind of efficient orchestration and navigation creates bed availability and access for incoming patients, creates more time for clinicians to operate at the top of their license and elevates revenue capture and reduction of system leakage.”

Central Logic’s existing solutions already deliver 10x ROI to health system clients in the first year, and Franks says that clients that expand their engagement to include the acute to post-acute orchestration and access solution will see even greater results. “This is more important now than ever as health systems across the country implement the necessary controls and programs to rebuild operating margin deficits due to COVID-19,” Franks added.

Addressing Social Determinants of Health: IT Solutions to Engage Community Resources

Addressing Social Determinants of Health: IT Solutions to Engage Community Resources

What You Should Know:

– The latest report from Chilmark Research examines the
new approaches and tools for utilizing community resources that can address
social determinants of health, giving providers the ability to extend care
beyond the confines of the clinic.

– This research indicates that the next two years will largely bring an expansion of product capabilities with slow and steady growth in implementation as the market better defines key variables and sets standards for performance.


COVID-19 has dramatically increased the overall population’s need for community resource engagement in traditional healthcare settings. The steady march to value-based care (VBC) continually amplifies interest in solutions that contribute to utilization management strategies. Vendors are rising to meet this need by connecting community-based organizations to various healthcare partners so that both may benefit from the coordination of service provision. 

The latest Chilmark Research report, Addressing SDoH: IT Solutions to Engage Community Resources, evaluates these solutions, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of options in the market and predicting how the market will develop in the future. Research in this report is based on interviews with executive leadership teams of solutions vendors, executives from the major EHR companies, and extensive secondary research. 

Vendors discussed in the report include aunt bertha, Cerner, Epic, HealthEC, Healthify, NowPow, Signify Health, Solera, Unite US, Xealth

Leveraging Community Partners Is Key
to Addressing SDoH

Community partners
are some of the best resources providers can
utilize to address the social factors impacting patients’ health status, but
this is a new need for HCOs, which under fee-for-service (FFS) tried to keep
all care within the clinic to maximize revenues. Data management and liquidity
make effective integration with external partners a key barrier to
implementation, while legal and internal engagement issues continue to slow
adoption.

Predicted 10-Year SDoH Adoption Trajectory

This research indicates that the next two years will largely bring an expansion of product capabilities with slow and steady growth in implementation as the market better defines key variables and sets standards for performance. Within five years, a public option for insurance will dramatically increase the rate of solutions adoption, culminating in >80% adoption in provider locations by 2030.

The report provides a roadmap and
predicts key inflection points for the greater adoption of these solutions, and which social determinants have historically been
the best predictors of increased health services utilization. It includes brief
profiles of key vendors providing this functionality, and how they plan to
impact community health.  

“This has been a major challenge to healthcare systems, and people now get that we need to address [SDoH] better. The pandemic has proven to be an additional, critical driver for continued expansion of VBC, which requires understanding all of the factors that can influence a member’s health status,” according to report co-author Jody Ranck. “We see an opportunity here from the pandemic, that it has basically shown us where the failures are in the system today, and that going forward we need to do more to engage resources beyond the clinic.”

Buoy Health Raises $37.5M to Expand AI-Powered Healthcare Navigation Platform

Buoy Health Raises $37.5M to Expand AI-Powered Healthcare Navigation Platform

What You Should Know:

– Buoy Health raises $37.5 million in Series C funding to
expand it’s AI-powered healthcare navigation platform, bringing its total raised
to date at $66.5M.

– Buoy will use the proceeds to further build out its IP with respect to artificial intelligence and other technologies, as well as grow the Buoy team.


Buoy Health, a
Boston, MA-based AI-powered
healthcare navigation platform, today announced the completion of a $37.5
million Series C funding round. Cigna Ventures and Humana led the funding round
and were joined by Optum Ventures,
WR Hambrecht + Co, and Trustbridge Partners. To date,
Buoy has raised $66.5 million.

AI-Powered Healthcare Navigation

Today, hospitals and insurance companies are increasingly
investing in digital health innovations like Buoy to solve problems related to
accessing the healthcare system and helping patients to get to the right care
setting on the first attempt.  By
addressing the problem that happens when people attempt to search their
symptoms online,

Founded in 2014 by a team of doctors and computer scientists working at the
Harvard Innovation Laboratory, Buoy Health uses AI technology to provide
personalized clinical support the moment an individual has a health concern. Buoy
navigates people through the healthcare system intelligently, delivering triage
at scale, and connecting them with the right care endpoints at the right time
based on self-reported symptoms.

Expansion Plans

Buoy will use the proceeds to further build out its IP with respect to artificial intelligence and other technologies, as well as grow the Buoy team. The fundraise will advance Buoy’s clinical and insurance-based navigation capabilities to help move the individual to a more consumer-friendly healthcare journey.

Recent Milestones

As of the Series C close, Buoy has helped nearly one million
Americans assess symptoms and locate the best places for them to seek care in
their community during the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the first digital
health companies in the U.S. to respond to the pandemic, Buoy was an early
leader in connecting individuals to care at the right time, saving more than
29,764 medical professionals’ hours, or 1,240 days.

Buoy also launched Back With Care, an employer platform that
provides health resource navigation, risk assessment and personalized guidance
for the transition back into the workplace for employers and employees across
the country. With numerous tech companies and large healthcare organizations launching
consumer-centric offerings to tackle this issue, Buoy remains committed to
humanizing the healthcare journey and assessing the COVID-19 risk in connection
with getting back to physical offices.

“We are honored by the continued support and commitment in Buoy from many of the industry’s most influential insurers and are proud to be working with a group of investors that truly believe in our mission to make healthcare more personalized and convenient,” said Andrew Le, MD, CEO and co-founder of Buoy Health.

Le continued, “Buoy was founded on the idea that turning to the internet for answers when you are sick can be overwhelming, confusing, and inefficient. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to help more than 9 million individuals make more informed decisions for their health, and the tools we have built to help consumers and employers navigate COVID-19. From the moment an individual has questions about their health, to ensuring they get the support they need as they seek care, Buoy will serve as the sidewalk to every possible front door of care, navigating the individual through their healthcare journey.”

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.”

Johnson & Johnson Innovation Launches 3 Collaborations to Advance Healthcare in China

Johnson & Johnson Innovation Launches 3 Collaborations to Advance Healthcare in China
Front row (left to right): Jian Chen, Vice President, Xian Janssen Pharmaceuticals; Dan Wang, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Asia Pacific; Sharona Tao, Leader, Communications & Public Affairs, Johnson & Johnson China; Jennifer Yang, Head, Lung Cancer Initiative China, Johnson & Johnson Back row (left to right): Alex Zhavoronkov, Founder & CEO, Insilico Medicine; Li Peng, Assistant General Manager, Taikang Online Insurance; Gary Ge, Founder, Diannei

What You Should Know:

– Johnson & Johnson Innovation announces three strategic
collaborations with a focus on advancing healthcare solutions in China.

– The three strategic collaborations are focused on leveraging advances in science and technology to address areas of high unmet medical need across several areas, including discovery science, lung cancer, and medical devices


Johnson & Johnson Innovation, a division of Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment Limited, today announced three new collaborations with strategic partners in China. These latest collaborations, facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson Asia Pacific Innovation Center, showcase its broad innovation efforts and focus on leveraging advances in science and technology to address areas of high unmet medical need across several areas, including discovery science, lung cancer, and medical devices.

The collaborations are as follows:

1. Leveraging AI in drug discovery – Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the
Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, has established a
multi-target drug discovery collaboration with Insilico Medicine Hong Kong
Ltd., a Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Shanghai resident
company specializing in AI-based drug
discovery.

The agreement will leverage Insilico Medicine’s AI-based platform to design small-molecule hits with the defined properties for several targets nominated by Janssen. The collaboration aims to generate novel and fully patentable chemical scaffolds for difficult targets using AI-based drug designing, potentially leading to significant reductions in time and cost in identifying biologically active hits against selected targets.

2. Developing AI solutions for lung cancer detection
– The Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson in China,
through its affiliate Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment Limited, has entered
into a research collaboration with Diannei (Shanghai) Biotechnology Co. Ltd., a
Chinese company specializing in AI solutions for lung cancer management. The
agreement will see both parties work together to develop computer vision AI for
lung cancer diagnosis. Diannei’s expertise is in developing AI solutions with
deep learning for medical image analysis.

3. Innovative healthcare solutions for sports injury
– Johnson & Johnson Medical (Shanghai) Limited (JJMS) announced an
agreement with Taikang Online Insurance Co. Ltd. (Tk.cn), a Chinese online
healthcare insurance company, to develop an innovative sports injury-related
insurance package. JJMS will support Tk.cn by offering its industrial insights,
while Tk.cn designs reimbursement coverage to sports enthusiasts which aim to
enable timely diagnosis and appropriate surgical treatment for patients.

Why It Matters

“Johnson & Johnson has deep roots in China for the past 35 years to address the growing needs of patients and consumers. We are delighted to mark the third annual CIIE, a significant platform that supports the expansion, innovation and internationalization of the Chinese business environment, by announcing these new collaboration agreements,” said Will Song, Global Senior Vice President, China Chairman, Johnson & Johnson*. “These agreements span a diverse range of focus areas and represent a valuable opportunity to advance human health for the country by connecting global and local innovators with the expertise of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies to help transform great ideas into breakthrough solutions.”

Ontrak Acquires Science-Backed, Behavior Change Platform LifeDojo

Ontrak Acquires Science-Backed, Behavior Change Platform LifeDojo

What You Should Know:

– Ontrak acquires LifeDojo Inc, a San Francisco, CA-based
comprehensive, science-backed behavior change platform.

– The acquisition broadens Ontrak’s addressable market
and footprint to lower acuity populations enabling new interventions and remote
patient monitoring.


Ontrak, Inc., a
leading AI-powered
and telehealth-enabled,
virtualized healthcare company, today announced that it has acquired
LifeDojo Inc, a comprehensive, science-backed behavior change platform.
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Behavior Change Platform for Consumers and Employers

Founded in 2013, LifeDojo is a platform that makes
transformative life changes possible for members in over 16 countries.
Supported by decades of public health research, the LifeDojo approach to
member-centric behavior change delivers lasting health improvement outcomes,
high enrollment, and better engagement than traditional programs. Clients
include Fortune 500 companies and high-tech, high-growth organizations who use
LifeDojo’s 32 behavior change modules.

COVID-19 Spawns Mental Health Surge

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this month reported accumulating evidence of a “second wave” mental health surge that will present monumental challenges for an already greatly strained mental health system and individuals at high risk for mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. A June 2020 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 5,412 US adults found that 40.9% of respondents reported “at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition,” including depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and substance abuse, with rates that were three to four times the rates one year ago.

4 Ways LifeDojo Acquisition Advances Ontrak’s Growth
Strategy

With the coronavirus pandemic rapidly increasing demand for
“telemental” health solutions, the acquisition of LifeDojo is expected to
advance the Ontrak growth strategy in four ways:

First, the acquisition adds a technology-first,
digital business deployed by blue chip customers in the employer space.

Second, LifeDojo enhances Ontrak’s market-leading
behavioral health engagement capabilities for new and existing customers, with
the addition of the LifeDojo digital tools that drive member value and lower
cost. The combination of behavioral health coaching and digital app-based
solutions meets accelerated payer demand for a comprehensive suite of
behavioral health services and solutions.

Third, the LifeDojo platform increases the company’s
addressable market by enabling the creation of lower cost, digital
interventions across behavioral health and chronic disease populations.

Fourth, LifeDojo’s member-facing apps enable remote
patient monitoring capabilities, initially focused on member reported data,
that will feed Ontrak AI capabilities and further personalize Ontrak’s
evidence-based coaching.

“As a public company and leader in virtualized healthcare, Ontrak is uniquely positioned to attract companies, products and technologies that expand our value proposition and footprint with health plan and employer partners. We will endeavor to make additional strategic purchases that expand our addressable market and maximize customer value. LifeDojo and these other intended acquisitions can possibly expand our total addressable $33.7 billion market by up to 100%,” said Mr. Terren Peizer, Chairman and CEO of Ontrak.

KēlaHealth Lands $12.9M to Expand AI-Powered Surgical Intelligence Platform

KēlaHealth Lands $12.9M to Expand Surgical AI Platform

What You Should Know:

–  KēlaHealth
announced their Series A round (combined seed and Series A) of $12.9M led by
Sante Ventures and new innovation VC, Intuitive Ventures.

– KēlaHealth, is a surgical intelligence engine that
applies a dynamic cycle of patient-specific predictions, stratified
interventions, and outcomes tracking to reduce surgical complications

– KēlaHealth is the first investment for Intuitive
Ventures, a new innovation fund spun out of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.


KēlaHealth, Inc.,
a San Francisco, CA-based surgical intelligence platform that applies a dynamic
cycle of patient-specific predictions, stratified interventions, and outcomes
tracking to reduce surgical complications, today announced the closing of
a $2.9 million Seed financing and milestone-based $10 million Series
A financing led by Santé Ventures and Intuitive Ventures, and inclusive of grant
funding from the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research
(SBIR) Program. These funds will accelerate the expansion of the KēlaHealth
platform to hospitals and surgical partners across the United States. KēlaHealth
is the first investment for Intuitive Ventures, a new innovation fund spun out
of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

Learning Ecosystem to Improve Surgical Care Outcomes

Founded by Bora Chang, MD, with a goal of harnessing machine
learning algorithms to reduce patient surgical complications and improve
outcomes. KēlaHealth uses advanced artificial intelligence techniques to
deliver a cloud-based software-as-a-service solution to healthcare providers,
surgeons, and hospital systems.

In the U.S., 51 million surgeries are performed annually, with an average complication rate of 15 percent. This results in millions of patients suffering harm and loss after a procedure. Tragically, half of these complications are known to be avoidable and contribute to $77 billion in wasted healthcare costs each year

KēlaHealth helps to prevent these avoidable complications
while enhancing surgical care by delivering stratified patient risk scoring.
The company’s state-of-the-art platform uses machine learning algorithms to
match individual risk levels with graduated pathways of care that align with
the unique needs of each surgical patient.

These personalized efforts bring surgery into a new era of
precision medicine: with KēlaHealth, surgeons can match the right patient with
the right procedure with the right precautions at the right time, leading to
improved patient outcomes and significant hospital savings.

To date, KēlaHealth’s hospital partners have applied the
company’s AI-powered platform in colorectal, vascular, cardiac, and orthopedics
surgical specialties.

The company has participated in highly selective accelerator
programs such as Cedars-Sinai Techstars Accelerator, Healthbox Studio, and Plug
and Play.

Dr. Chang, CEO of KēlaHealth added: “Our vision is to apply the lessons learned from millions of previous surgeries for the benefit of every patient undergoing a procedure. Patients and their families, clinicians, and hospitals deserve the assurance that the risks of any surgery will be safely navigated by surgical teams with the best information available to them at every point in the surgical journey. We are thrilled to have a stellar group of surgeons, hospital centers, investors, and advisors working with us to realize the opportunity of precision surgery.”

Medidata Acquires Digital Biomarker Business of MC10 / Clinical Trials & Wearable Sensors

Medidata Acquires Digital Biomarker Business of MC10 / Clinical Trials & Wearable Sensors

What You Should Know:

– Clinical trials technology company Medidata has
acquired the digital biomarker business of MC10.

– MC10’s offerings will bring novel clinical analytics
and biosensor capabilities to Medidata’s existing technology solutions,
enhancing Medidata’s capabilities to integrate data from wearable sensors –
including clinical grade metrics – in clinical trials.

– With this acquisition, Medidata’s integrated offering
will help provide life sciences companies and device developers with greater
understanding of diseases, transformational therapies, and novel endpoints.


Medidata,
a Dassault Systèmes company, the global leader in creating end-to-end solutions
to support the entire clinical development process, acquired
the digital biomarker business of MC10. MC10’s offerings will bring novel
clinical analytics and biosensor capabilities to Medidata’s existing Patient Cloud solutions
in ePRO (patient-reported outcomes), eCOA (clinical outcome assessments), and
biomarker discovery. This will enhance Medidata’s capabilities of integrating data from
wearable
sensors – including clinical grade metrics – to help
customers successfully virtualize clinical trials.

MC10 Background

MC10 is a Lexington, MA-based privately held
company focused on improving human health through digital solutions. The
company combines conformal BioStamp sensors with clinical analytics to unlock
novel insights from physiological data collected from the home or in clinical
settings. The company flagship product, BioStamp nPoint, is intended for the
clinical research community.

Why It Matters

Remote, patient-centered technologies have become
an essential part of clinical research, especially in the age of COVID-19; the
physical restrictions placed on patients and clinical sites caused by the
pandemic can interfere with launching a clinical study and carrying it to
completion. Wearable sensors are used in about 15 percent of studies, and the
use of sensors is expected to grow to approximately 70 percent by 2025.* 

Medidata leads the industry in building and integrating new technologies to revolutionize clinical research in pursuit of patient-centric therapy development. MC10’s focus on clinical-grade data capture and novel digital biomarker development represents an important next chapter – advancing the understanding of disease progression and treatment effect in the home. 

“Medidata is excited to add the pioneering work at MC10 to our ongoing efforts in building a new platform for ingestion and analytics across a wide array of mobile sensors,” said Anthony Costello, senior vice president, Mobile Health, Medidata. “Incorporating remote biometric data capture and analysis that includes the MC10 nPoint Biostamp, alongside other leading mobile devices, will further strengthen the Medidata platform and help propel the digital transformation of life sciences.”

Acquisition Builds Integrated Offering

An integrated Medidata offering will provide research companies and device developers new and innovative ways to collect, normalize, and analyze data in pursuit of new therapy development. This enhanced capability will also create a closer connection between patients and the ecosystem of trailblazing researchers, practitioners, and life science companies committed to deepening a shared understanding of the disease, transformational therapies, and novel endpoints.

“Medidata is an exceptional fit for MC10. Our combined expertise will help customers and partners take a more data-driven approach to bringing targeted therapies to patients,” said Ben Schlatka, co-founder and CEO, MC10. “We are looking forward to moving ahead together, accelerating the development and deployment of new innovative offerings for our customers and ultimately transforming therapy development to improve the lives of patients.”

COVID-19 Pandemic Further Exposes Systemic Racism…

Pandemic Further Exposes Systemic Racism… Healthcare Technology Digital Health
Michael A Greely, Co-Founder & General Partner at Flare Capital Partners

This will be ugly and sad. Racism has cost this country $16 trillion over the last twenty years according to a recent Citigroup report. Much of this loss ($13 trillion) was attributed to discriminatory lending practices and the 6.1 million fewer jobs created as a result, while disparity in wages ($2.7 trillion) and discrimination in housing policies and lost income due to restricted access to higher education accounted for the balance. The report estimates that if these gaps were to be closed, an incremental $5 trillion can be added to U.S. GDP over the next five years alone. Obviously, this does not even begin to account for the extraordinary pain and suffering racism inflicts on our country, much less the dramatic implications to the health and wellbeing for those impacted by racism.

The dramatic increase in unemployment since the onset of COVID-19 has garnered significant attention. While the overall unemployment rate of 7.9% in September is down from the pandemic-high of 14.7% in April, this improvement masks the dramatic discrepancies in rates for minorities; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, white Americans are 7.0% unemployed while the Black unemployment rate is 12.1%. Somewhat jarring, last week Columbia University published an analysis showing that eight million more people are now living in poverty just since the expiration of the Cares Act three months ago, disproportionally hitting minorities.

The story is even more dire when looking at the “True Rate of Unemployment” as defined by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity which presumes that one needs to earn a minimum living wage of $20,000 to be deemed employed. Under such a definition, Black unemployment is 30.4%, although an improvement from what was seen for the ten years after the Great Recession of 2008.

Source Data: Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity; Chart: Axios Visuals

It is estimated that 100.6 million Americans are out of the labor force now, many of whom are from disadvantaged segments of the population. In fact, for those earning more than $60,000 annually, the unemployment rate is a mere 1.0% below where it stood at the onset of the pandemic. For those who make less than $20 per hour (equivalent to a salary of approximately $27,000), the unemployment rate is 17.5% below where it was in February 2020 according to Opportunity Insights. Shockingly, America’s billionaires net worth has increased more than $850 billion since April.

The difference in life expectancy between white and Black Americans is criminally high – nearly five years, even when adjusted for gender, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. While the underlying causes are complex and fraught with political overtones, this issue is now front and center as the country struggles with the pandemic.

Sutter Health recently published COVID-19 data that attributed the 2.7x increase in hospitalization rates in their hospitals for Black patients versus white patients to, in part, more advanced illness at the time of admission, arguably reflecting a cultural aversion to the healthcare system or challenges around adequate access. CDC data are even worse, tabulating a 5.0x higher rate of hospitalization, 2.3x greater mortality rate, and 3.0x greater infection rate for Black versus white Americans, respectively.  This is particularly troublesome now with case counts spiking 17% just this past week and as winter sets in.

Life Expectancy

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) forecasts that Medicaid roles will increase by 8.4% in 2021; in June there were 67.9 million Medicaid beneficiaries. It is quite clear that the pandemic is hitting minority and less educated segments of the population harder, often because they tend to be front-line essential workers and/or struggle with greater levels of unemployment. McKinsey recently estimated that as many as 10 million Americans will lose employer-sponsored health insurance due to COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

KFF also highlights the discrepancies in private health insurance rates by race: in 2018, white, Black, and Hispanic uninsured rates were 7.5%, 11.5% and 19.0%, respectively, which further exacerbates difficulties for minorities to access effective healthcare. The Affordable Care Act had a dramatic impact over the past decade as uninsured rates in 2010 were 13.1%, 19. 9% and 32.6%, respectively. This year the average family health insurance premium rose by 4% to more than $21,000.

While there is a heightened level of concern about the pace of coronavirus vaccine development, and whether there will be inappropriate political pressures applied to compromise long-cherished safety protocols, the Black community is expressing a particularly high level of skepticism. According to another KFF study, just under 50% of Black respondents would not take a free and safe vaccine, while only 17% would “definitely” do so. While further underscoring long-held distrust of the healthcare system, this phenomenon risks perpetuating the relatively poor health conditions experienced in many of those communities.

Recognizing this and the other numerous challenges introduced by the pandemic, the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) of 39 provider systems (many of whom are Flare Capital LPs) reiterated in September that racism is a public health crisis, putting forth a number of steps to chip away at these issues. First and foremost was a commitment to dramatically improve access to testing in underserved communities, as well as more robust inclusive hiring practices and greater spending with diverse suppliers and vendors. 

Importantly, the HAN spotlighted that systemic racism uncouples the public health infrastructure from the private healthcare system, often leading to “generational trauma and poverty.” A profound characterization. A recent Wall Street Journal analysis of CDC data showed a strong link between racism and mental health: in the week following the murder of George Floyd in May, 40.5% of Black adults exhibited symptoms of anxiety and depression (a five-point increase from the week just prior). While somewhat similar to post-traumatic stress disorders, racism is chronic and on-going much like an injury, and should not be considered a disorder. Clinicians have now developed a “Race-Based Traumatic Stress Symptom” scale when evaluating minority patients.

Advances in healthcare technology hold profound promise to improve the health and wellbeing of those most afflicted by racism, particularly during such difficult economic times. According to a provocative analysis by McKinsey (below), many of the most seminal transformative reforms in healthcare have come on the heels of major recessions. Arguably, what has been unleashed on the U.S. economy by COVID-19 may lead to a dramatic restructuring of the healthcare industry, which could usher in a wave of significant innovation to improve conditions for those most disadvantaged.

Entrepreneurship has been one of the great elixirs in the face of such devastating economic conditions and is often looked upon as one approach to reduce economic disparities due to racism. Here, unfortunately, the record is mixed. Given how critical access to capital is, the evidence that racial discrimination compromised many minority groups from accessing emergency funding programs like the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) this past spring is particularly painful. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, 46% of white-owned businesses had accessed bank credit over the past five years (compared to less than 25% for Black-owned businesses) which meaningfully facilitated their ability to secure PPP loans from those same institutions.

Furthermore, a 2016 Federal Reserve Bank study found that only 40% of minority credit applicants secure the full requested amounts of credit when applying as compared to 68% for white-owned applicants. Consistently minority-owned companies pay higher interest rates and have more onerous borrowing terms according to the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. The financial landscape confronting Black-owned businesses is materially more hostile than what white-owned businesses face. Full stop.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Rock Health, a leading seed-stage healthcare technology investor (and partner of Flare Capital), recently conducted an extensive diversity survey. These sober findings further highlight the issues around access to capital for minority entrepreneurs. White and Asian founders were nearly twice as likely to backed by venture capitalists; 48% of Black founders bootstrapped their companies versus 25% of white founders. Of the nearly 250 founder respondents in the survey, 12% identified as Black but only a disappointing 5% of the 425 senior executives in those companies were Black. Just over 80% of Black respondents felt that the digital health sector was either the same or less inclusive from when they initially joined the industry. Obviously, much work is still to be done.

Source: Rock Health

These issues are not at all lost on my partners and our firm. Since we started Flare Capital over six years ago, we have been committed to diversity and inclusion. In addition to simply being the right thing to do, it is the best thing for our business. We will make better investment decisions with a broadly diverse set of perspectives and experiences. 

But as inclusive as we felt we were, it is time to do even better. There are systemic causes to these inequities in our industry that we can help address. Over the last four months, we developed a set of new initiatives (summarized below) that we implemented earlier this summer. In summary, we identified two broad dimensions that we are committed to improving upon more equitable access and accelerated career development. Structural challenges exist for many underrepresented entrepreneurs to meet with venture capital firms, much less successfully raise capital. These are fundamental problems that require deliberate, measurable steps from engaging with more diverse founding teams, recruiting more diverse management teams, and partnering with venture firms equally committed to diversity.  



BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, People of Color

We recognize that it will take time and significant effort to address these inequities, and that success will be built, in part, upon many small victories. Arguably, Black Lives Matter is the largest movement in our country’s history. The New York Times recently estimated that between 15 to 26 million Americans likely participated in demonstrations since the death of George Floyd in late May. We are proud to be a part of that movement.


About Michael A. Greely

Michael A. Greely is the CoFounder and General Partner at Flare Capital Partners, a venture capital firm focused on investing in early-stage and emerging healthcare technology companies. Previously, Michael was the founding General Partner of Flybridge Capital Partners where he led the firm’s healthcare investments. Current and prior board seats include Aspen Health, BlueTarp Financial, Circulation, Explorys, Functional Neuromodulation, HealthVerity, higi, Iora Health, MicroCHIPS, Nuvesse, PolyRemedy, Predictive Biosciences, Predilytics, T2 Biosystems, TARIS Biomedical, VidSys and Welltok (observer).

VA Announces First Cerner EHR Go-Live at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center

VA Announces First Cerner EHR Go-Live at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center

What You Should Know:

– Cerner today announced the historic and successful
first deployment of a modern EHR at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in
Spokane, WA.

– The go-live marks the first time in history three federal departments (VA, DOD, and USCG) are using the same EHR.


Cerner Corporation today
announced the historic and successful first deployment of a modern electronic health record
(EHR)
at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical
Center
in Spokane, WA. The go-live marks the first time in history three
federal departments are using the same EHR — a historic milestone toward
improving the secure and seamless exchange of health information across the
federal government.

In addition to the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, the EHR was implemented at its four community-based outpatient clinics across Washington, Montana, and Idaho, as well as the West Consolidated Patient Account Center, a VA business operations facility in Las Vegas.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now joins the
Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Homeland Security, via the
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), in the successful deployment of  Cerner-powered
technology that will create a single health record for 18 million Service
members, Veterans plus their family members. The technology is designed to
provide Service members a smoother transition when they leave active duty, as
well as provide VA clinicians the information they need to help Veterans
get quality individualized care.

“This new system is much more than an EHR,” said Travis Dalton, president, Cerner Government Services. “It is a platform to help drive interoperability across the continuum of care and ensure data flows between federal agencies and to commercial partners. This can help improve health outcomes, create public health infrastructure, enable more effective predictive clinical models and create better informed research critical to solving some of the nation’s most pressing health challenges, such as suicide and the opioid epidemic. Though there is still much work to be done, this go-live, along with the deployment of Cerner’s Centralized Scheduling Solution at Columbus and joint health information exchange are key proof points that EHRM is and will continue to be a success. We congratulate VA on this historic achievement and are proud to support this momentous initiative.”

Humana Taps Cohere Health to Modernize Prior Authorizations for Musculoskeletal Treatment

Cohere Health Launches with $10M to Increase Transparency Across Care Journey

What You Should Know:

– Cohere Health partners with health insurer Humana to modernize
the prior authorization process for musculoskeletal treatment across 12 states.

– In addition, the company has closed an additional $10M
in funding led by Flare Capital Partners and Define Venture, bringing the
company’s total funding to $20M.


Health insurer Humana has signed an agreement with healthcare collaboration company Cohere Health to improve the prior authorization process for musculoskeletal treatment across 12 states, starting Jan. 1, 2021. Cohere aligns physicians, patients, and health plans on a patient’s optimal healthcare experience—enabling access to higher quality care while at the same time minimizing administrative burden and siloed decision-making.

The partnership leverages CohereNext Platform’s prior authorization capability which grants authorizations across an entire episode of care, in effect pre-authorizing a complete treatment regimen from the initial diagnosis to treatment plan selection, and, ultimately, to the patient’s return to good health. Cohere’s approach aims to expedite evidence-based treatment plans to improve the healthcare experience for doctors and patients alike.

Humana to Leverage CohereNext Platform to Streamline
Prior Authorizations

As part of the partnership, Humana will employ the CohereNext Platform to streamline prior authorizations in musculoskeletal treatment in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The platform will initially serve approximately 2 million members and more than 3,500 physician practices.

This partnership supports Humana’s vision to reimagine and modernize processes for prior authorization by reducing approval times and improving the delivery of care, all while preserving important benefits such as safety, predictability, and cost containment.

Cohere’s solution will initially focus on prior
authorization; the company is developing additional use cases such as
value-based contract performance, improving physician and patient engagement,
and optimizing health plan clinical programs. By facilitating physician and
health plan collaboration, Cohere’s technology will help accelerate the
evolution to value-based care models.

“Through this strategic initiative and collaboration with Cohere Health, Humana is building on its commitment to reduce the complexity and friction of prior authorization for our physicians and members,” said William Shrank, MD, MSHS, Chief Medical Officer, Humana and Board Member, Cohere Health. “Cohere’s solution was co-designed with physicians and represents a major leap forward in improved physician experience and the adoption of evidence-based medicine.”


Cohere Health Closes Additional $10 Million in Funding to
Accelerate Delivery of Patient Journey Platform

In addition, the company announced it closed an additional
$10 million in funding led by Flare
Capital Partners
and Define Ventures,
bringing the company’s total funding to $20 million. The funding will be used
to enhance the company’s scalable CohereNext® platform that is built on
next-generation cloud and data technologies and provides interoperability to
existing healthcare infrastructure as well as the emerging digital health
economy.

This
Series A extension comes just two months after Cohere Health’s initial $10 million Series
A funding, which was also led by Flare
Capital Partners with Define Ventures contributing as an investor and partner,
as well as participation from a leading national strategic partner.

The CohereNext Platform improves the physician experience
and quality by:

– Authorizations that begin with diagnoses and not billing
codes

– Facilitating and auto-approving evidence-based treatment plans

– Delivering a peer review process with a true peer
specialist or sub-specialist

– Sharing quality performance relative to peers for specific
care paths and patient cohorts

– Providing tools, data and technology that optimizes
value-based payment

“The tragedy of COVID-19 has reinforced that the basic infrastructure supporting healthcare innovation is fundamentally broken. The shift from fee-for-service to value-based-care requires enabling interoperable capabilities to facilitate care around the interests of patients, and as a result, Cohere Health continues to rapidly grow and attract additional investments,” said Siva Namasivayam, CEO and founder of Cohere Health. “The additional funding will enable us to expand the CohereNext platform to impact more failure points across patient journeys so that physicians can deliver better outcomes and we can continue building our team, which has grown by more than 95 people this year.”

5 Trends Driving The Future of Healthcare Real Estate in 2020 & Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed patient expectations for healthcare delivery, including offered services and health office operations. Although health systems have remained dynamic in adopting telehealth capabilities, their long-term capital, like real estate and supply chain management (SCM) protocols, have not adapted to match these expectations. Health systems must be aware of current trends in both areas to inform their future decisions. 

Divesting in healthcare real estate is also key to reducing unnecessary costs to a health system, especially if optimal use of these spaces is already lacking. The overwhelming costs of ownership and management lock money away in underutilized and obsolete real estate spaces. Divesting provides more capital liquidity, and frees capital to go towards investment in telehealth, diagnostic technology, and emerging specialties, assets that go towards increasing patient and workforce engagement and satisfaction. In addition, eliminating unused real estate assets allows freedom from liabilities and human capital investments, like facility maintenance and upkeep, not to mention the increased frequency of deep cleaning necessary in the post-COVID-19 bi-lateral operations era.

Further, years of mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare industry have left many health systems with the unwanted result of increases in real estate assets. This has led to increased consolidation of these assets, a trend that has been exacerbated by the pandemic pressure on health system funds. Future consolidation and reevaluation of assets should be informed by trends in patient expectations as well as trends in the market.

Here are five emerging trends driving the future of healthcare real estate and assets. Each encourages divestment out of health system real estate ventures or restructuring of existing spaces in order to better cater to forever changed patient expectations.

1. Rise of Telehealth

According to the Department of Health & Human Services, telehealth use is up around 50% in primary care settings since the beginning of the public health emergency and is projected to remain high in the time following. Most recently, in-person visits have increased and as a result, telehealth visits have declined due to the state’s reopening, and thereby some critics posit that this trend may not continue. However, that could not be further from the truth.

Moving forward, despite health system fear regarding long-term reimbursement may be lacking from federal, state, and commercial health plan payers for virtual care delivery, leveraging telehealth to augment traditional healthcare delivery will become a necessity because consumers will demand it and physicians in some studies have shown satisfaction with their video visit platforms. This will no doubt have an impact on office layout and services.

2. Convenience of Outpatient Services

Motivated in part by telehealth utilization, patients seek convenience and accessibility in their healthcare now more than ever. Health system expansion may therefore mean satellite offices in high traffic areas to cater to the patient’s need for accessibility, marking a movement away from the traditional, centralized hospital campuses.

3. Value-Based Care Transitions

As legislation and CMS regulation moves more towards a value-based care system, trends show a natural move towards lower-cost facilities that provide preventive care. These could also contribute to continued trends to more off-campus real estate and planning for alternative care delivery options, for example, mobile vans reaching more vulnerable, at-risk populations for care such as life-saving vaccinations. 

4. Pandemic Precautions

Bilateral operations are likely to be maintained for some time even after more normal operations return, and healthcare real estate, especially with consolidation, will need to accommodate this precaution, and others like it in all locations.

5. Technology

New diagnostic and testing tools are constantly being released, forcing health systems to reevaluate their current assets and make room for new ones which contributes to wasted space. Furthermore, remote monitoring apps will continue to proliferate in the market and become more affordable and accessible to consumers while advancing interoperability standards and federal information blocking requirements will allow information to flow more freely.  

Strategies to Optimize Healthcare Real Estate & Strategy

In order to unlock money trapped in assets, health systems should look to make their assets work better in response to current trends and patient expectations. To accommodate patient demands and changes to health industry regulation and reimbursement, it makes sense to ensure efficient use of all facilities and optimize real estate and assets using the following strategies:

– Divest underutilized assets of any kind: Begin with real estate and move smaller to reduce unneeded capital investment.

– Remove or reduce administrative spaces: Transition non-clinical workforces to partial or complete work from home status, including finance, legal, marketing, revenue cycle, and other back-office functions. Shared space or “hotel” workspaces are popular.

– Reconfigure medical office or temporary care buildings: As these are often empty several days a week, they must be consolidated. 

– Get out of expensive leases for care that can be given remotely or in lower-cost options or by strategic partners: Take full advantage of telehealth capabilities and eliminate offices that have become obsolete. 

Integrate telehealth into real estate only where it makes sense: Telehealth is more applicable to some services and care modalities than others. Offices should reconfigure to meet these novel needs where necessary, even if it means forgoing leases for the near term. 

– Assess other expensive assets: Appraise assets like storage and diagnostic tools. Those not supportive of the new post-COVID-19 care model or prioritized service lines and are otherwise not producing revenues should be sold or outsourced to strategic partners.

– Diversify with off-campus offices: Provide convenient access to outpatient care and new outpatient procedures by investing in outpatient medical offices in high foot traffic locations. 

– Create space for services in high demand: Services like preventive care and behavioral health should be given physical or virtual space in the system to cater to patient needs. 


About Moha Desai

Moha Desai is a Principal of Healthcare Strategy and Transformation where she focuses on driving forward strategic, planning, financial, revenue cycle, operational improvement, and patient engagement healthcare projects for providers, federal government health agencies, and various firms requiring growth, business development, and project implementation and management. She has previously served in leadership roles at Partners HealthCare, Deloitte Consulting, Bearing Point, etc. Moha received her B.A. in Economics and her M.B.A. at Yale University.

RLDatix Acquires Verge Health to Accelerate Proactive Risk Mitigation in Healthcare

RLDatix Acquires Verge Health to Accelerate Proactive Risk Mitigation in Healthcare

What You Should Know:

– RLDatix acquires Verge Health, creating
the largest safety-led compliance and credentialing software platform specifically
designed for healthcare.

– The acquisition will accelerate the adoption of RLDatix’s applied safety intelligence framework and create an industry-standard for proactive risk mitigation.

RLDatix, the leading global provider of intelligent patient safety solutions, announced today that it has acquired Verge Health, the recognized best-in-class credentialing software provider. This acquisition joins two leaders in the Governance, Risk, and Compliance (“GRC”) healthcare software market and will dramatically accelerate an essential shift from a reactive approach to risk management to one rooted in safety and prevention. The acquisition is effective immediately.

Medical errors
remain the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and the World Health Organization
estimates that adverse events due to unsafe care rank as one of the top 10 causes of death and disability around the world. These adverse, yet
preventable, events are incredibly costly and account for an estimated 15
percent of all hospital expenditures across OECD countries.

Creating Industry Standard for Proactive Risk Mitigation in Healthcare

RLDatix is the only
provider that partners with healthcare delivery organizations globally to provide a comprehensive
view of enterprise risk through a safety-first lens. With this acquisition, RLDatix unifies the four
key pillars of GRC under one roof: Safety, Compliance, Provider Management,
and Strategic Advisory Services. By elevating conversations about compliance,
credentialing, safety, and risk to the enterprise level, RLDatix helps leaders make
the systemic changes necessary to achieve true harm reduction in a way that
will transform the delivery of care.

“Healthcare’s traditionally siloed approach to risk management, patient safety, provider management, and compliance has limited the ability for organizations to mitigate avoidable harm,” said Jeff Surges, CEO of RLDatix. “With Verge Health, we are unifying at an enterprise level all of the tools necessary to recognize flawed practices and prevent adverse events. This acquisition represents an enormous acceleration of Applied Safety Intelligence and solidifies our position as the global leader in patient safety software at a time when accreditation organizations like The Joint Commission are expected to take more active steps to reduce adverse events.”

Why It Matters

The timing of the acquisition is important. Hospital safety has been under a microscope
all year as millions of Americans have avoided non-emergency medical care for fear of contracting COVID-19, impacting public health and costing
providers billions in lost revenue. Health systems that want
to make their facilities and procedures safer need a partner who can show them
how to minimize risk through an enterprise-wide approach that addresses all of the potential pitfalls. This a model that has been widely
accepted outside health care but scarcely so within medicine—until now.

With the added
provider management, compliance, and analytics solutions of Verge, RLDatix offers healthcare delivery and insurance companies a clear path forward to
strengthen trust, capture revenues and to prevent the occurrence of adverse safety events. 

“We’re excited to adopt RLDatix’s Applied Safety Intelligence framework and bring together several of our disparate processes,” said Sherri Hess, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer of Banner Health. “The opportunity to have two key vendors join forces so that our safety and provider data, CANDOR training, and oneSOURCE documentation can be united to drive our high reliability efforts is paramount in ensuring we continue to drive safe, efficient healthcare.”

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Blue Cross NC Launches No-Cost Virtual Programs to Quit Smoking and Reverse Diabetes

What You Should Know:

– Today, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina partners
with Carrot Inc. and Virta Health to help address two of the largest ongoing
health issues facing Americans today – smoking and type 2 diabetes.

– Virta and Carrot’s programs will be available to
individual under-65 members and fully insured group members beginning November
2020.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), today announced it is teaming up with Carrot Inc. and Virta Health to launch no-cost virtual programs to help members quit smoking and reverse type 2 diabetes. Virta and Carrot’s programs will be available to individual under-65 members and fully insured group members beginning November 2020 at no cost. They support Blue Cross NC’s commitment to make health care better, simpler and more affordable by providing members easy access to care through digital technology

“We resolve to make whole person care a priority, and that means we have to think beyond treating conditions, and work to prevent and reverse them,” said Von Nguyen, vice president of clinical operations and innovations at Blue Cross NC. “We are excited to team up with Carrot and Virta and bring their innovative, life-changing programs directly to the homes of our members and address some of North Carolina’s most pressing health issues.”

Carrot’s Clinically-Proven Program Empowers People to
Quit Smoking 

In addition to being the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., smoking remains a tremendous burden on our nation’s health care system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking, and for every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious, smoking-related illness such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, or cancer. Smoking-related illness costs the State of North Carolina over $13 billion every year.  

Carrot’s clinically-proven, app-based program Pivot, combines innovative technology, human-centered design, and behavioral science to empower people to quit smoking and remain non-smokers. In a recent clinical study 42 percent of participants achieved a successful quit over the course of the study, and seven months after the onset of the study, 86 percent of those who quit were smoke-free.

Pivot’s digital solution includes text-based access to
trained tobacco experts, a first-of-its-kind personal breath sensor to track
progress, nicotine therapy products, and access to Pivot’s online community for
collective wisdom and inspiration.  

“Carrot is excited to collaborate with Blue Cross NC to ease the burden smoking has long placed on the state of North Carolina and the American health care system,” said David S. Utley, M.D., CEO of Carrot Inc. “Quitting smoking is hard – every year, millions try to stop smoking. We’re proud to bring Pivot to the hundreds of thousands of Blue Cross NC members who want to live life tobacco free and help them prevent or reverse the severity of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and COPD.”

Diabetes Reversal with Virta Health
More than 3.7 million people in North Carolina—nearly half of the adult
population—have either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.  According to the
CDC, diabetes increases the risk for severe illness for those with COVID-19.

Virta Health, the leader in type 2 diabetes reversal, uses an innovative virtual care model that helps patients achieve normal blood sugar while eliminating the need for diabetes-specific medications. Patients receive near-real-time access to board-certified physicians and health coaches who provide expert, individualized guidance on nutrition and behavioral change through the Virta app. Virta also serves as a partner to Primary Care Providers, integrating its specialized diabetes reversal treatment into existing care plans.

In Virta’s peer-reviewed clinical outcomes, at one year 94
percent of participants reduced or eliminated the need for insulin. The
majority of patients eliminated all diabetes-specific prescriptions while
achieving normal blood sugar. Results also include 12 percent (30lbs) weight
loss, and improvement in over 20 markers of cardiovascular health, including
blood pressure.

“This is a massive opportunity to change the direction of health of an entire state, save lives, and significantly reduce healthcare spend along the way,” said Sami Inkinen, Virta Health co-founder and CEO. “Our collaboration with Blue Cross NC provides strong optimism that we can solve the type 2 diabetes crisis our nation is facing.” 

Cerner Releases Open Call for EHR-Integrated Voice Assist Testing Partners

Cerner Launches AI-Powered Chart Assist to Combat Physician Burnout

Cerner announces an open call for additional health systems to sign on as testing partners of their EHR-integrated Voice Assist technology. Voice Assist will allow clinicians to interact with the EHR by just using their voice. Clinicians will be able to issue voice commands to complete a range of tasks that can save significant time and reduce the administrative burden on care teams by replacing manual data documentation.

How Voice Assist Technology Works

 Using the phrase ‘Hey
Cerner,’ clinicians will be able to search for and retrieve information from
patient records, place medication orders and set up reminders. Clinicians will
be able to seamlessly switch between dictating the clinical note and navigating
the patient’s chart, improving efficiency and enhancing the health care
experience. 

Examples of Voice Assist’s current functionality
include:

Chart Search  “What is the latest white blood cell
count?” 
Reminders  “Remind me to call the patient in 6 months
about their high cholesterol”  
Orders  “Order Lipitor 40 mg oral
tablet”  
Documentation  “Show me my last note” 
Navigation  “Take me to family history” 

St. Joseph’s Health and Indiana
University Health
 are two clients who have already signed on
and are gearing up to roll out the technology.

“St. Joseph’s Health is excited to pilot Cerner’s Voice Assist technology, which will enable our clinicians to complete several tasks in the EHR via voice commands. We envision that this technology will be conducive to more meaningful clinician patient interaction since the clinicians will spend less time manually documenting. We hope to see improved efficiency, clinician and patient satisfaction throughout this trial period.” – Lisa Green, Director Clinical Information Systems, St. Joseph’s Health.

“At IU Health, we’re creating designated innovations centers where we trial the latest new technologies in real clinical workflows. This allows us to move new tools into our system rapidly and iteratively. We’re excited to pilot Cerner’s Voice Assist, which will allow our clinician’s to handle several tasks in the EHR with their voice. This technology will help our clinicians to focus their attention on their patients. We believe voice has the potential to increase clinician efficiency and hopefully, result in higher patient and clinician satisfaction.” – Cliff J. Hohban, Vice President, IS, Applications & PMO, IU Health

Availability

Voice Assist is supported with Nuance’s virtual assistant
capability and is expected to be widely available in 2021.

98point6 Lands $118M to Expand Text-Based Primary Care Platform

98point6 Lands $119M to Expand Text-Based Primary Care Platform
98point6 App

What You Should Know:

– On-demand text-based primary care platform 98point6
raises $118M in Series E funding to further invest in research and development
and expand its robust medical practice.

– 98point6 offers patients easy access to primary care in the same way they’ve grown accustomed to receiving the majority of services today—on their schedule and via a mobile app.


98point6, an on-demand digital primary care service that delivers personalized consultation, diagnosis, and treatment to patients across the country, today announced a $118 million Series E fundraising round to further invest in its success. Funding was led by L Catterton and Activant Capital, with additional investment from new and returning investors, including Goldman Sachs.


Get-Text-Based Primary Care Anywhere

Primary care is a necessity for all, serving as the front
line for healthcare and disease prevention. However, seeing a doctor is
increasingly difficult with an average wait time of 24 days just for an
appointment. 98point6 offers patients easy access to primary care in the same
way they’ve grown accustomed to receiving the majority of services today—on
their schedule and via a mobile app. Pairing artificial
intelligence (AI)
and machine learning with the expertise of
board-certified physicians, its patient-focused and technology-augmented
solution makes primary care more accessible and affordable, leading to better
health and total cost-of-care savings.

Rather than having doctors ask administrative questions, gather patient history, or chart information, 98point6’s AI technology does it for them. Patient profiles are automatically built and the 98point6 system learns from each visit, avoiding redundancy.


Recent Traction/Milestones

In just the past year, the company has grown 274 percent and serves more than three million members through more than 240 commercial partnerships with brands like Premera, Banner|Aetna, Boeing, Circle K, Sam’s Club, and others. The platform continues to see usage across age groups: pediatrics ages 1–17 (7%), 18–35 (47%), 36–50 (28%) and 50+ (18%), and 90% of patients surveyed say they would use the service again.

On average, 98point6’s commercial partners report 8x higher utilization than traditional telemedicine solutions as more people are choosing the convenience of on-demand care over higher-cost options like urgent care or the emergency room—or delaying care altogether. The round allows 98point6 to further invest in research and development and expand its robust medical practice. Last month the company announced a national rollout of its platform available to every Sam’s Club member.


“We’ve created an experience that patients use and love,” said Robbie Cape, chief executive officer and co-founder of 98point6. “98point6 has experienced accelerated growth over the last year, due in part to the pandemic, as more organizations recognized the existing and undeniable desire for on-demand, digitally enabled care. The increased interest in 98point6 put us in a unique position to serve many in a time of need. Our approach to care replaces the high cost and complexities of navigating the healthcare system while meeting the expectations and preferences of today’s healthcare consumer. This investment is a testament to the strength of our platform, and I am confident we will benefit from the deep expertise of both the L Catterton and Activant teams.”


HP Launches EMR-Integrated Print Solutions to Digitize Point of Care Workflows

HP Launches EMR-Integrated Print Solutions to Digitize Point of Care Workflows

What You Should Know:

– HP launches patient-first print technologies to help healthcare
workers stay safe and spend more time caring for patients.

– Innovations co-developed with healthcare professionals
include industry’s first sterilizable printers, exclusive EMR-compliant
workflow solutions, and services to improve patient safety and privacy.


Today, HP Inc.
officially launched new print solutions for the healthcare industry. Based on
deep customer insights and co-developed with healthcare providers, associations
and partners, HP Healthcare Print Solutions address the most pressing issues
facing the healthcare industry today including patient wellness and safety,
care coordination, mobility, privacy and security. 

Reducing the Risk of Virus Transmission and Healthcare-Associated Infections 

HP’s new Healthcare Edition MFP keyboards and touch-enabled
control panels are designed to be disinfected regularly, withstanding up to
10,000X industry-standard germicidal wipes, helping to reduce the risk of
health-care associated infections (HAIs) and viral pathogen transmission. 
HP has further enhanced the disinfection capabilities of high-touch areas of
the printer with removable covers/drapes that can be sterilized daily in an
autoclave up to 134 ºC. HP is also collaborating with Clorox Healthcare to
offer a guide detailing infection prevention best practices and other
educational tools.

In order to enhance support of infection prevention
policies, HP has also broadened disinfection capabilities of HP Personal System
devices to include HP Engage Go3 and HP Elite products such as HP EliteDesks,
HP EliteOne (display panel only), ZBook Mobile Workstations and Z Series
Desktop Workstations, HP Elite and Z Displays (Z, S, E and P series, Display
Panel Only) and HP Education Notebooks (keyboards only) .

The U.S. Centers for
Disease Control (CDC) estimate
s that healthcare-associated infections
(HAIs) are responsible for 1.7
million infections and 99,000 associated deaths
each year. Infections and
viruses add further strains to healthcare organizations’ ability to provide
safe, quality care to patients. Influenza alone accounts for an US$11B economic
annual burden. Studies show commonly used technologies, like printers and
mobile devices, are often highly contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and
viral pathogens. Most IT and IoT devices were not designed to be regularly
cleaned by hospital-grade disinfectant wipes. Repeated use has shown to damage
the integrity of the plastic and, ultimately, the device itself.  

Minimizing Contact with Common Points of Transmission

HP’s unique global Managed Print Services (MPS) program with
Zebra Technologies provides the HP Advance mobile app on Zebra’s TC52-HC
handheld touch computer to enable care providers to minimize contact with
common points of infection transmission at the point of care. Providers can
walk up to any HP Healthcare Edition MFP, authenticate with the TC52-HC mobile
computer and release critical patient documents without having to touch the
device.    

Reducing the Risk of Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)

Patient and clinical worker mobile and IoT devices add to a
very congested radio spectrum that can interfere via electromagnetic
interference (EMI) with life-saving medical devices. The new HP Health
Solutions portfolio of IoT hand-held devices and IoT print devices are EN/IEC
60601-1-2 certified for EMI safety. The EN/IEC 60601-1-2 certification
ensures these devices can be used within the patient sphere and shared patient
areas without risk of EMI to sensitive patients and surrounding medical
equipment. 

Helping Ensure Positive Patient ID 

Patient identification errors are common and can lead to
serious reportable events that harm not only the patient’s health, but also the
clinical standing of the healthcare facility where such an error occurred. Together,
HP and Zebra solutions empower clinicians to better manage positive patient
identification through integrated color patient ID wristbands, trackable
specimen labels printed on-demand with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
location services and point of care identification solutions for patients.

Digitizing Processes for Faster, More Efficient Care
Coordination 

HP Healthcare Edition MFPs include the HP Workpath Biscom for Healthcare app fully integrated
with EPIC and Cerner. This
enables the entire clinical team to digitally transmit and receive patient
information and high-resolution color imaging like MRIs or directly input data
into the electronic
medical record (EMR)
system right from an app on the printer.  As a
result, care providers can make timely critical decisions to improve the
experience of patients and the entire care team and give back face time with
their patients. 

68% of physician respondents reported feeling burned out at
the moment, largely because of paperwork, regulatory demands and electronic
health record (EHR) documentation. Important pieces of healthcare data can fall
through the cracks, frustrating patients who don’t understand why a specialist
can’t see last week’s diagnostic test result or why they were not offered a
diabetic-friendly hospital menu while staying as an inpatient, for
example. 

Protecting Patient Privacy and Security

As the implementation of technology advances, so too are the
security threats against healthcare systems.  To help healthcare
organizations defend against emerging threats, HP provides the world’s most
secure PCs16 and printing solutions to protect patient privacy and sensitive
information. The new Healthcare portfolio also offers Basic Print Cloud
Services delivered through a service, HP Print Security Advisory Services and
HP Security Manager that provides patient data protection to all HP devices,
with the added protection of PrintSecure on Zebra wristband printers.

Availability

HP Healthcare Print Solutions are now available for direct
MPS customers in North America with plans to roll out across Europe and Asia in
2021.

Thriving in a Value-Based Care Environment: Impacting Outcome-to-Cost Ratio

Thriving in a value-based care environment: impacting the outcome-to-cost ratio
Jerry Carlson, Product Support Manager, BG DI BU IC Sales, Dunlee

As the COVID-19 pandemic creates surges in acute care, many imaging departments are experiencing a decrease in volume, due to patients deferring or canceling non-urgent appointments and surgeries. The impact of this makes it painfully obvious that — because imaging departments rely on a fee-for-service model – when the volume is down, finances suffer. As an aspect of healthcare that has historically been hyper-focused on volume, adoption of a value-based care approach in radiology has evolved slowly, even before the pandemic. Despite the hurdles COVID-19 has presented, the rationale behind value-based care remains – there is a need to drive improved patient outcomes at a lower cost – and healthcare reimbursement will continue to shift, encouraging quality care and enhanced patient experiences. Radiology can take an important role in realizing this transformation, influencing the entire process of early diagnosis, efficient treatment, and follow-up care.

So how can imaging departments thrive when confronted with a value-based care model? One way is to make sure referrers value radiologists’ expertise as part of the care team. Active participation in care team discussions, as well as case study presentations, can demonstrate the extent to which imaging affects outcomes. Imaging departments can also invest in building referrals for areas where imaging intersects more directly with care, such as oncology. But perhaps the most direct way is to focus on an area over which the imaging department has the most control: the cost-effective use of resources. The strategies chosen today could help or hurt a practice in the future, and departments should look toward reliable technology that delivers consistent results and allows staff to focus less on technical issues and more on patient care.

An efficient department with the right mix of technology can thrive in a value-based healthcare environment. Answering these three questions can guide your technology strategy and help you weather the pandemic disruption and the continuing adoption of value-based care:

Are your imaging systems appropriate for your patient demand? 

As it relates to value-based care, you can expect the future to entail less “confirmation” imaging and more investigational, prevention-focused imaging. However, different imaging solutions have different purposes; while confirmation CT studies don’t demand as high performance, investigational imaging will often require more sophisticated systems with the image quality and performance to support complex studies and confident diagnoses, and potentially even spot incidental findings that circumvent health issues down the line. When purchasing new systems, consider the type of studies that make up the majority of your business, as well as new areas in which you’d like to increase expertise and referrals.

How cost-effective are your imaging technology operations? 

Consider every aspect of your operation to uncover opportunities to decrease costs without affecting quality. For best results, involve the entire imaging department team in these explorations. One possible budget drain is consumables. Sometimes the easiest way to service your car is by bringing it to the dealer, but that’s not always the most cost-effective option. The same goes for imaging technology; be sure to consider third-party options, in addition to Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. Today, alternate parts are available for almost every piece of your organization, even technically sophisticated components such as x-ray tubes.

Is your technology reliable? 

Speed to diagnosis may impact patient outcomes.  Your referrers are looking for a quick turnaround of imaging studies. Highly advanced technology with reliable uptime can help you become a partner of choice, and reduce time spent maintaining equipment. For example, radiation oncology depends on CT for treatment planning, and oncologists need radiology partners who have CT systems that are dependable, integrate easily into their workflow, and do not distract from patient care. Even a small change, such as CT tubes that use highly reliable liquid metal bearings to eliminate the need to wait for tube cooling between studies, will impact your throughput and thus your ability to meet referrers’ needs. 

Are you putting unnecessary stress on your imaging systems? 

Educate all system users about manufacturer-recommended procedures for system use and upkeep to keep your systems running at high performance. For example, shutting the system down by turning off the power, rather than by following manufacturer-recommended procedures, places unnecessary stress on components that need time to cool.

While it’s important to take a measured approach as we navigate the repercussions of COVID-19, now is the time to begin adapting to value-based care. As the pandemic has taught us, a nimble imaging department can adapt to changing circumstances and create lasting value. Revisit these questions frequently, because consistent assessment and vigilance is key to a department’s success.

Geisinger, OSF, Presbyterian Double Down on Digital Transformation with AVIA

Geisinger, OSF, Presbyterian Double Down on Digital Transformation with AVIA

What You Should Know:

– AVIA, a healthcare innovation network comprised of 50+
health systems and other healthcare stakeholder groups, today announced that
Geisinger, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, and OSF HealthCare have renewed or
expanded their partnerships with the organization to accelerate digital
transformation within their individual systems.

– While hospital spending has steeply declined due to the
COVID-19 pandemic, today’s announcement indicates that AVIA Members value the
Network’s shared learnings and rely on AVIA’s unique service model to better
understand new markets and select/scale digital solutions.


While hospitals and health systems across the country face
tremendous financial pressures and declining consumer confidence, AVIA Network
Members continue to lead healthcare toward practical, impactful, and
sustainable digital
transformation
. AVIA is the nation’s leading digital
transformation partner for healthcare organizations. Through renewed and
expanded partnerships with Members and new initiatives underway with consulting
clients, AVIA sees strong momentum across the country in the
strategic moves powered by digital.

This momentum is accelerated by AVIA’s differentiated
service model. Unlike other services firms, AVIA enables sustained
results through its membership insights and customized support. Insights are
distilled and delivered to Members from AVIA’s deep expertise coupled with
long-term relationships and understanding of where health systems are acting.

Renewed membership

Geisinger,
a nationally-renowned leading health system in innovation, renewed their
membership in the AVIA Network. “At Geisinger, we’re constantly
seeking new ways to improve care for our patients, our members, and our
communities,” said Dr. Karen Murphy, Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation
Officer, and Founding Director of the Steele Institute for Healthcare
Innovation. “In AVIA, we’ve found a partner to help us operationalize and
accelerate our innovation efforts.”

In the next chapter of Geisinger’s AVIA membership, the two organizations will work closely together in support of the Steele Institute’s Digital Transformation Office (DTO). With a charge that includes purview over advanced and predictive analytics, informatics, software development, experience strategy, product design, and product management, Geisinger will prioritize their key capabilities with AVIA’s support. AVIA will help the DTO team assess the market for digital solutions that enable these capabilities, and accelerate technology selection and deployment.

Expanded partnership and tailored support

Presbyterian Healthcare Services was
looking to innovatively improve how they digitally serve their patients, to
extend support both locally and to remote communities through telehealth and
innovative models of care. In a time of great uncertainty, Presbyterian wanted
to partner with an organization they trusted to catalyze the work, and chose to
partner with AVIA.

“AVIA knows us, and they’re already an extension of my team. The support they provide goes beyond what a traditional consulting firm would provide, because they have an active membership of like-minded health systems, and are gaining real-time insight into what other organizations are doing successfully, and where there are roadblocks. This sets us up to innovate effectively and with speed, especially during unprecedented times,” said Ries Robinson, Chief Innovation Officer at Presbyterian.

OSF
HealthCare
 engaged AVIA to assess the opportunity for
digital technology across the system to inform their operational and transformational
activities in support of current year financial targets. Specifically, AVIA mobilized
and assessed OSF stakeholders to identify where AI and robotic process
automation could enable Mission Partners to more meaningfully contribute to the
Ministry as well as support a sustainable cost structure for the system. In the
next phase of work, AVIA will develop a prioritization framework and
make final recommendations to the OSF executive team.

 AVIA furthers its Members’ insights through tailored support that provides strategic advice for action, grounded in what is possible, not theoretical. “It has been exciting to see health systems both embrace digital and AVIA’s service model. Through membership, we’ve been able to offer a combination of market research, advisory support, and peer collaboration,” said AVIA’s Chief Product Officer, Eric Jensen. “This unique mix is helping our members to move faster.”

Lyft Integrates with Epic EHR to Enable Hospitals to Schedule Rides for Patients

Lyft Integrates with Epic EHR to Enable Hospitals to Schedule Rides for Patients

What You Should Know:

– Lyft is continuing to expand rideshare for
non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) through a first of market direct
integration with Epic, the largest electronic health record (EHR) in the U.S.

– This will have an immediate impact on hospital operations and patients, with currently committed customers including Tampa General and Ochsner Health.


Today, ridesharing leader Lyft announced an integration with EHR provider Epic to enable
health system staff to schedule a Lyft ride for a patient directly from that
patient’s record. Lyft worked directly with Epic to create the Lyft for Epic integration
with Lyft Concierge directly into Epic that will make it
easier for healthcare staff to order a Lyft ride on behalf of a patient.

How Lyft for Epic Works

Staff can send reliable rides directly from a patient’s
profile in the EHR
simplifying their day-to-day tasks, saving time, and allowing them to focus on
what matters most: the patients. And patients can easily get to their
appointments and back home after the visit without needing an app.

– Simplify sending rides: Nurses, case managers, and
other healthcare workers are already familiar with Epic — adding notes to
patient files, scheduling appointments, and discharging patients. By accessing
Lyft directly from the EHR, staff can schedule rides by directly accessing Lyft
from a patient’s record, rather than needing to sign into a separate tool.
Patient and appointment information will also pre-populate in the ride request
form, reducing friction in the booking process.

– Improve appointment adherence: Arranging a Lyft ride when booking appointment results in fewer missed appointments. Our data shows that Lyft can help providers reduce no-show rates by up to 27 percent.

– Increase operational efficiency: Arranging a Lyft
ride at the time of patient discharge can lead to shorter waiting times, less
crowded waiting rooms, and improved patient throughput.

– Measure patient outcomes: Most health systems have
not collected data on the impact of their transportation programs. With Lyft
for Epic, we’re also working towards giving health systems the ability to generate
reports that make it easier to measure the impact of rideshare on health system
spend and population health outcomes — potentially even tracking patient
segments to proactively identify patients that would benefit from a Lyft ride.

Lyft Continues Significant Investment in Healthcare

Today, Lyft partners with 9 out of the top 10 health systems
in the U.S, representing thousands of hospitals and clinics across the country.
The Lyft for Epic integration will give these organizations even more resources
to ensure transportation is never a barrier to care. Many health systems in the
U.S. use Epic, nearly 30 percent of which already partner with Lyft for their
non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) programs. Several of our existing
health system partners — including Ochsner Health and Tampa General  —
have already committed to using the integration.

“Access to reliable transportation is a common barrier to seeking healthcare, especially for our most vulnerable patients,” said David Carmouche, MD, Senior Vice President, Community Care at Ochsner Health. “By teaming up to integrate Lyft into Epic – our established health record system – Ochsner is providing a solution that makes it easier for patients to seek out high quality care when they need it and without unnecessary delays due to a lack of transportation.”

Humana, Fresenius Medical Care Expand Partnership to Improve Care Coordination for Medicare Advantage Members

Humana, Fresenius Medical Care Expand Partnership to Improve Care Coordination for Medicare Advantage Members

What You Should Know:

– Humana Inc. and Fresenius Medical Care North America
(FMCNA) today announced an agreement to broaden their collaboration toward
improving the health of eligible Humana Medicare Advantage members

The
agreement between Humana and Fresenius Medical Care North America goes into
effect Jan. 1, 2021.


Humana Inc. and leading renal care company Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) announced an agreement to broaden their collaboration toward improving the health of eligible Humana Medicare Advantage and commercial members with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) through more coordinated, holistic care.

The expanded partnership is in keeping with the goals
outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act, which enables people with ESRD to
enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans, and with federal initiatives that call for earlier diagnosis and
treatment of kidney disease; a reduction in the number of Americans developing
ESRD; and support for patient treatment options such as home dialysis or kidney
transplant as applicable.

The agreement between
Humana and Fresenius Medical Care North America goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021,
and encompasses the following:

Expanded Availability of Care Coordination Services:
FMCNA currently provides specialized care coordination services for Humana
members with CKD in three states: Iowa, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The
agreement expands the availability of these services to eligible Humana members
in an additional 39 states, with the goals of improving quality of life and
health outcomes, increasing access to care and minimizing care gaps, slowing
disease progression and lowering hospitalization rates, and reducing the cost
of care.

FMCNA’s care coordination services include early detection of CKD to slow
disease progression; medication reviews and regimen adherence guidance;
behavioral health screenings; nutritional counseling; strategies for managing
multiple comorbidities; education about – and support for – home dialysis
treatment when applicable and beneficial to the patient; transplant education;
and palliative care.

FMCNA partners with InterWell Health, a physician-led population health
management company working to improve clinical outcomes and lower medical costs
through its network of over 1,100 nephrologists across the country.

Transitional Care Units: These units are
designed to help people recently diagnosed with kidney failure learn about
treatment options available to them – including transplant and home dialysis –
and be more empowered in managing their own care. Transitional Care Units may be either a space within a
dialysis center or a standalone facility, offering comprehensive, hands-on
education from dedicated staff that is individualized for each patient. This
includes the importance of renal nutrition, medication adherence, and vascular
access care; assisting patients transitioning between modalities (e.g., from
in-center dialysis to home dialysis); and supporting individuals returning to
dialysis from transplant. The agreement is intended to locate Transitional Care
Units in select areas where Humana has significant Medicare Advantage
membership.

Value-Based Agreement: The expanded
collaboration also improves upon the parties’ existing clinic network contract,
which provides eligible Humana Medicare Advantage and commercial members with
ESRD access to dialysis at more than 2,600 centers of Fresenius Kidney Care, the dialysis services division of
Fresenius Medical Care North America. By implementing a value-based payment
model for in-center and home dialysis services and at Transitional Care Units,
as well as for CKD care coordination services, compensation will be based on
meeting agreed-upon quality improvement and patient outcome goals, and reducing
overall costs to the system.

Why It Matters

Value-based renal care is aligned with the objectives of
CMS’s recently-released End
Stage Renal Disease Treatment Choices (ETC) Model
, which encourages
increased adoption of home dialysis and greater access to kidney transplants.

Individuals with CKD have kidneys that do not filter blood
properly, which causes waste and fluid levels that can be dangerously high. CKD
and ESRD affect a wide spectrum of the population but the degree of impact is
not uniform. For example, kidney failure rates among Black Americans are about
three times that of white Americans. In total, approximately 15% of American
adults, or about 37 million people, have CKD, but many are unaware of their
condition. CKD management is complex, and failure to appropriately manage the
condition may cause considerable symptoms and worsening health outcomes,
including ESRD.

This agreement represents an evolution of our work with
Humana and leverages our over 10 years of industry leadership in value-based
care,” said Bill Valle, Fresenius Medical Care North America’s Chief Executive
Officer. “Our scale, integrated nephrology network, and standardized clinical
interventions and protocols uniquely position us to predictably and
consistently improve health outcomes and reduce overall costs. We welcome this
opportunity to offer more coordinated, holistic care to Humana’s members, with
a keen focus on education, comorbidity management, early detection, and
treatment options, including home dialysis. This approach also helps eliminate
barriers to keep renal disease treatment uninterrupted for at-risk
populations.”

Butterfly Network Launches Mobile, Whole-Body Ultrasound with Integrated Telehealth Platform

What You Should Know:

–  Butterfly
Network launched its next-gen ultrasound product, the new Butterfly iQ+
featuring the world’s only Ultrasound-on Chip™ technology and announced a
landmark collaboration with the American College of Cardiology (ACC).


Butterfly Network,
Inc.
, today announced the launch of its next-gen ultrasound product, the
new Butterfly iQ+, the world’s only single-probe, whole-body
ultrasound system that connects to a mobile device and features an integrated
telemedicine platform. Butterfly iQ+ offers new capabilities, such as
faster frame rates, Needle VizTMtechnology, a longer battery life and
industry-leading durability. 

Ultrasound reinvented again

Butterfly iQ+ features an optimized manufacturing
process in partnership with TSMC, the largest and most advanced dedicated IC
foundry in the world. TSMC’s MEMS (microelectromechanical systems)
manufacturing technology enables the ultrasound transducer to seamlessly integrate
with CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) technology. In addition,
TSMC possesses manufacturing capacity that can scale to realize Butterfly’s
vision of making an ultrasound device as ubiquitous as the stethoscope for the
world’s 40 million healthcare providers.

Butterfly’s innovative product has been shown to be a
particularly useful tool during the global COVID-19 pandemic due to its lung imaging
capabilities, portability and ease of cleaning, as infection control has become
increasingly important. Butterfly iQ+ brings a suite of new
capabilities that make it even easier to make fast decisions at the bedside. 

Faster, sharp imaging

With patented on-chip digital micro-beamforming enabling 15%
faster frame rates and 60% faster pulse repetition frequency, healthcare
providers can see image details in the heart, lungs and bladder with optimized
clarity. High-performance shallow imaging capabilities help support fast,
confident interventional decision-making, while deep imaging capabilities in
the lung and deep cardiac presets allow for sharp details. The Butterfly iQ+ can
help healthcare providers save time in their diagnosis and treatment of
patients, improving overall patient outcomes.

State-of-the-art technology for new levels of control

The cutting-edge Needle VizTM technology available
on Butterfly iQ+ can provide healthcare professionals with an
enhanced ability to see a needle—improving confidence for central line
placements, regional nerve blocks and other guided procedures. Additionally, in
just four seconds, clinicians can calculate bladder volume automatically using
the AI-based Auto Bladder Volume tool, allowing faster decisions at the
bedside. 

More power and durability 

The Butterfly iQ+ extends battery life by 20%
and scanning time by 100% to help healthcare providers get through their shift.
With its durable, anodized aluminum body and replaceable compression- and
stomp-tested cable, the Butterfly iQ+ offers military-grade
durability to withstand tough shifts, and has been tested to withstand an
industry-leading 4-foot drop. This next-generation device has gone through
rigorous testing to ensure shock resistance and protection from dust and water
damage. 

Pricing & Availability

Putting ultrasound on a chip, Butterfly was able
to define a new precedent of affordability by providing a whole-body ultrasound
device at $1,999, plus membership. Today, as it reinvents ultrasound
again, Butterfly iQ+ will be available for the same affordable
price. 

“Two years ago, Butterfly introduced the world’s first handheld, single-probe, whole-body ultrasound system. Since then, the device has been used by tens of thousands of medical professionals across the globe with significant clinical, economic and societal impact,” said Laurent Faracci, Butterfly Network’s Chief Executive Officer. “We have collaborated with the Butterfly community of users to define our innovation path. The first result in that journey is the new Butterfly iQ+, a big step forward for point-of-care ultrasound, with our most advanced chip ever and a number of amazing innovations and improvements that our talented team and partners developed.”

Virta Expands Offerings to Treat New Group of Chronic Illnesses

Virta Expands Offerings to Treat New Group of Chronic Illnesses

What You Should Know:

– Virta is expanding its suite of treatment options to
include prediabetes reversal, obesity reversal, and type 2 diabetes management.

– By making this crucial expansion, Virta can scale its
treatment to support the tens of millions of additional patients with
prediabetes and obesity, as provide an on-ramp to reversal for those with T2D
that aren’t yet ready to reverse. 


Virta Health, the
leader in type 2 diabetes reversal, today introduced the addition of new
services including prediabetes reversal, obesity treatment, and provider-led
management for type 2 diabetes. The expansion provides payers and covered
beneficiaries a single, full-service virtual clinic that offers
industry-leading outcomes for the most critical needs in metabolic health.

Virta’s fully-virtual, high-touch model demonstrates hope
for change, and stands in stark contrast to approaches that only slow the
diabetes downward spiral, as opposed to reversing it. Virta provides
individualized guidance from medical providers and behavioral specialists,
whenever and wherever it is needed. Patients interact with their dedicated
clinical team often multiple times per day. This novel telehealth
approach—called Continuous Remote Care—ensures successful adoption of Virta’s
individualized medical nutrition therapies and long-lasting results.


Why It Matters

Nearly half of adults in the United States suffer from obesity,
prediabetes, or type 2 diabetes. Thirty people die per hour of diabetes-related causes. The
economic burden continues to grow, and people with diabetes incur nearly $17,000
in medical expenses
per year. They are also at high risk for severe illness
from COVID-19, and risk of dying from the disease is twice as high compared to
those without diabetes.

Obesity and prediabetes patients will benefit from the same
treatment that delivers the sustained type 2 diabetes reversal outcomes in Virta’s
clinical trial and commercially-covered population. Patients receiving type 2
diabetes management will receive support from a provider-led care team, with
personalized guidance and an option for a seamless transition to Virta’s
reversal treatment. All patients will receive individualized care via Virta’s
provider-led Continuous Remote Care platform.

Virta Type 2 Diabetes Reversal Results

Virta’s results in type 2 diabetes reversal have fueled continued triple-digit year-over-year growth for the company while creating strong demand to bring Virta’s evidence-based approach to other metabolic conditions. In Virta’s peer-reviewed clinical trial results, 60% of people at one-year reverse type 2 diabetes, and 94% reduce insulin use or eliminate it altogether.

Additionally, patients completing one year of the Virta
Treatment experience 14% weight loss. This figure exceeds the goal of the
National Diabetes Prevention Program and the FDA benchmark for weight loss
drugs by nearly 200%.

“This expansion provides our commercial partners and patients with the transformational outcomes they’ve come to expect from Virta, but don’t receive from other solutions on the market,” said Sami Inkinen, CEO & co-founder of Virta Health. “We can now meet every patient wherever they are on their metabolic health journey, while uniquely offering a path to reversing their chronic disease.”

Is Your Community Ready for Connected Community of Care Model?

Is Your Community Ready to be Connected?
Dr. Keith Kosel is a Vice President at Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI)

This question initially brings to mind many possibilities such as connection to the latest 5G cellular service, a new super-fast internet provider, or maybe one of the many new energy suppliers jockeying for market share from traditional utility companies. While all of these might represent legitimate opportunities to improve one’s community, here we are talking about a different concept; specifically, whether your community is ready to have a Connected Community of Care (CCC) to advance whole-person health.

The image of a CCC may seem obvious. After all, we all live in communities where we have some connections between hospitals, physician practices, ambulatory care centers, and pharmacies to name just a few. But here we are talking about a broader sense of connected community that includes not just health care organizations, but social service organizations, such as schools and civic organizations and community-based organizations (CBOs) like neighborhood food pantries and temporary housing facilities. A true CCC links together local healthcare providers along with a wide array of CBOs, faith-based organizations, and civic entities to help address those social factors, such as education, income security, food access, and behavioral support networks, which can influence a population’s risk for illness or disease. Addressing these factors in connection with traditional medical care can reduce disease risk and advance whole-person care. Such is the case in Dallas Texas, where the Dallas CCC information exchange platform has been operating since 2012. Designed to electronically bring together local healthcare systems, clinicians, and ancillary providers with over a hundred CBOs, the Dallas CCC provides a real-time referral and communication platform with a sophisticated care management system designed and built by the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) and Pieces Technologies, Inc.

Long before this information exchange platform was implemented, the framers of the Dallas CCC came together to consider whether Dallas needed such a network and whether the potential partners in the community were truly ready to make the commitments needed to bring this idea to fruition. As more and more communities and healthcare provider entities realize the tremendous potential of addressing the social determinants of health by bringing together healthcare entities and CBOs and other social-service organizations, the question of community readiness for a CCC is being asked much more often. But how do you know what the right answer is?

Before looking at the details of how we might answer this, let’s remember that a CCC doesn’t don’t just happen in a vacuum. It requires belief, vision, commitment― and above all― alignment among the key stakeholders. Every CCC that has formed, including the Dallas CCC, begins with a vision for a healthier community and its citizens. This vision is typically shared by two or more large and influential key community stakeholders, such as a   large healthcare system, school district, civic entity, or social- service organization like the United Way or Salvation Army.

Leaders from these organizations often initially connect at informal social gatherings and advance the idea of what if? These informal exchanges soon lead to a more formal meeting where the topic is more fully discussed and each of the participants articulates their vision for a healthier community and what that might look like going forward. This stage in the evolution of a CCC is perhaps the key step in the transformation process, as while all stakeholders will have a vision, achieving alignment among those visions is no small feat. Many hopeful CCCs never pass this stage, as the stakeholders cannot come to an agreement on a common vision that each can support. For the fortunate few, intrinsic organizational differences can be successfully set aside to allow the CCC to move forward.

It’s at this point in the CCC’s evolution that details begin to matter in truthfully answering the question, “Is this community ready to be connected?” While there may be agreement among the key stakeholders on a vision, the details around readiness may still divert or delay the best-laid plans. It is safe to say that the key to understanding a community’s readiness to form a CCC lies in the completion of a formal, comprehensive, and transparent readiness assessment.

A readiness assessment is a process to collect, analyze, and evaluate critical information gathered from the community to help identify actual clinical and socio-economic needs, current capabilities and resources (including technology), and community interest and engagement. Taken together, a comprehensive readiness assessment can help identify a community’s strengths and weaknesses in preparation for establishing a CCC.

A readiness assessment is not a tactical plan for building a CCC, nor is it a governance document that provides how all members of the CCC will relate to each other. Instead, the readiness assessment provides communities interested in establishing a CCC with an honest and unbiased yardstick to measure preparedness. Conducting and using the results of the readiness assessment is one of the best ways to ensure a successful CCC deployment.

A typical CCC readiness assessment covers five areas: (1) community demographics; (2) clinical areas of need (including trends); (3) social areas of need (including trends); (4) technology competency (e.g., what percent of the potential network participants are computer literate?), availability (e.g., what percent of the potential network participants have internet access?), and suitability (e.g., is the internet access, high speed?); and (5) what are the needs of potential network participants and can these be modeled as use cases for the information exchange network? This information is essential to help key stakeholder decision-makers decide to move forward with establishing a CCC and to know what specific challenges may lie ahead.

The collection of this essential information can be done in a number of ways, such as making use of existing publicly reported data or conducting surveys, interviews, focus groups and town hall meetings with community leaders and residents and clinical and CBO leaders and staff. Experience conducting the readiness assessment that provided the foundation for the Dallas CCC showed that no single information-collection method was sufficient to collect the necessary level and robustness of the data. In Dallas, we utilized all five approaches but found that in addition to researching publicly available data, initial surveys, followed by interviews and focus groups, yielded the most voluminous and reliable information to chart the course ahead.

In addition to the various methods to collect this essential information, the key to obtaining useful and reliable information requires a sufficient number of respondents/participants who are drawn from various organizations and organizational levels. Simply put, you must have a large enough sample and you must have diversity within the sample. It’s not enough to just interview leaders of potential network participants, as their understanding of the needs, trends, and capabilities may look very different from that of frontline staff.

Similarly, surveying only one category of potential network participants may not provide enough information to fully understand the socio-economic needs in the community or even the perspectives surrounding the prevalence of chronic conditions. Beyond the qualitative methods involved, it is important to note that if done right, this process takes a lot of time to complete. Cutting corners by reducing the sample size, for example, or doing selective sampling to speed the readiness assessment process along will only cause problems later when this insufficient information results in erroneous decision-making.

Once the data has been collected, it is important to carefully analyze what the data is trying to tell you. Results of the readiness assessment must be shared openly and honestly with all key stakeholders, particularly those serving in a governance capacity. The governance group (a topic for another day) that has formed in parallel with the readiness assessment must be able to evaluate and understand the main messages from the readiness assessment to make an informed decision as to whether to move forward with establishing a CCC.

Like the need for alignment around the key stakeholder’s vision for the CCC, there must be universal agreement by the key stakeholders as to the message of the readiness assessment and its implications for the road ahead. As with the vision alignment stage, substantive disagreements among the group at this stage are a sign of trouble ahead unless differences can be resolved.

At this point, you might be thinking that this all seems very complicated and fraught with potential land mines waiting to derail your effort to answer the original question “Is your community ready to be connected?” Again, I would emphasize the importance of unwavering commitment and alignment to achieve the vision. But I would also offer advice gleaned from working in the CCC space for the last eight years, which is to get help early and don’t wait until the horse is out of the barn!

We have seen first-hand many communities and consultants approach the conduct of a readiness assessment with a cavalier attitude, often exemplified by the statement, “we already know all of this,” only later to have to backtrack their pronouncements at substantial additional cost in time and resources. Fortunately, today there are a number of excellent organizations, including PCCI, with the experience, credibility, and integrity in the CCC space to help you on this journey. Don’t be afraid to seek them out. It will be a wise investment that you will not regret, particularly when you begin to see the results of improved whole-person health and well-being in your community.           


About Dr. Keith Kosel

Dr. Keith Kosel is a Vice President at Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) and is the author of “Building Connected Communities of Care: The Playbook for Streamlining Effective Coordination Between Medical and Community-Based Organizations,” a guide that brings together communities to support our most vulnerable. At PCCI, Keith is leveraging his passion for – and extensive experience in – patient safety, quality, and population health by focusing on understanding social determinants of health and the impact of community-based interventions in improving the health of vulnerable and underserved populations.

Remote Medical Documentation Startup Augmedix Closes $25M, Reverse Merger with Malo Holding

Remote Medical Documentation Startup Augmedix Closes $25M, Reverse Merger with Malo Holding

What You Should Know:

– Augmedix closes $25 million in private placement
funding and completion of a reverse merger transaction with Malo Holdings Corp.

– Following the transaction, the merged entity will be
named “Augmedix, Inc.”, and will continue the historic and innovative
business of Augmedix. 


Augmedix, a company
specializing in providing remote medical documentation and live clinical
support services, today announced the closing of a $25 million private
placement financing and completion of a reverse merger with Malo Holdings Corp.
In connection with the financing, current investors Redmile Group, DCM, and
McKesson Ventures invested alongside new investors.  Financial advisory firms, Stifel, Nicolaus
& Company, Incorporated, B. Riley Securities, Inc., and GP Nurmenkari, Inc.
(as consulted by Intuitive Venture Partners) acted as placement agents for the
private placement.  Montrose Capital
Partners was the sponsor for this transaction.

Reverse Merger Details

Augmedix further announced the completion of a reverse
merger transaction with Malo Holdings Corp., an SEC-reporting public Delaware
corporation. Following the transaction, the merged entity will be named
“Augmedix, Inc.”, and will continue the historic and innovative
business of Augmedix.  In connection with
the financing and merger, Augmedix agreed to cause its common stock to be
quoted on the OTC Markets QB tier, subject to certain terms and conditions.

Remote Medical Documentation & Live Clinical Support

Founded in 2012, Augmedix converts natural clinician-patient
conversation into medical documentation and provides live support, including
referrals, orders, and reminders, so clinicians can focus on what matters most:
patient care. The Augmedix platform is powered by a combination of proprietary
automation modules and human-expert assistants operating in HIPAA-secure
locations to generate accurate, comprehensive, and timely-delivered medical
documentation.

Augmedix services are compatible with over 35 specialties
and are trusted by over one dozen American health systems supporting
telemedicine, medical offices, clinics, and hospitals.  We estimate that our solution saves
clinicians 2–3 hours per day, increases productivity by as much as 20%, and
increases certain clinicians’ satisfaction with work-life balance by 49%

Manny Krakaris, Augmedix Chief Executive Officer, said, “We’re thrilled to complete this financing, which we believe puts Augmedix on the path of accelerated expansion, and will enable us to broaden our operational capabilities, accelerate our technology research and product development, and strengthen our marketing and sales.”  Krakaris noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of telemedicine and enabled Augmedix to showcase its competitive advantages in the medical documentation market.  “Because the Augmedix service is accessed through mobile devices and is telemedicine application-agnostic, our innovative technology allows clinicians access to medical note documentation, regardless of their location,” Krakaris said.

Getting Beyond the Telehealth ‘Stop-Gap’ Mentality

Getting Beyond the Telehealth's ‘Stop-Gap’ Mentality
Roland Therriault, President, InSync Healthcare Solutions

Since COVID-19 emerged as a major health threat, virtual care has taken off. As many as 46% of patients reported in late April that they had used telehealth to replace a canceled healthcare visit in 2020, while 48% of physicians said they had started using telehealth to treat patients.  

While a shift in care models was necessary to address business continuity amid the pandemic, these trends also represent positive movements as a growing body of evidence supports the real-life benefits of telehealth. Remote models of care are connected to safe and effective consultations across many use cases, low exposure to viruses, and much-needed access to care.  

Yet the fact that physician adoption isn’t higher suggests two things:

1) Physicians may be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach in the hopes that patients will want to return to in-person care as economies reopen; or

2) Some physicians haven’t yet figured out their long-term telehealth strategy. In truth, many providers are treating telehealth as a “stop-gap” — or temporary — solution until life returns to normal.

But given the increasingly positive data around telehealth as a safe alternative to in-person care, as well as its track record in successfully treating patients, it’s time for providers to reframe their thinking. In the future, practices will need a healthcare strategy that balances virtual with in-person care.

Rethinking Telehealth 

As recently as ten years ago, telehealth reimbursement was largely limited to patients in rural areas, as payers didn’t yet see the value of compensating doctors for virtual encounters. 

Today, most payers and providers recognize the value of telehealth on some level amid rising demand for services and severe professional shortages. In particular, remote care models have proven their worth during the pandemic as an effective means of preventing the spread of disease. Greater acceptance of telehealth is further demonstrated by the recent decision to relax HIPAA requirements by HHS’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR), allowing more providers and patients to virtually connect through FaceTime, Zoom, or other two-way communications systems during the current pandemic. 

This is an important first step, although many providers remain resistant to change for a variety of valid reasons. Some of these include discomfort with remote care models, reimbursement concerns, and the cost of deploying telehealth. 

Performing medicine in a way that doesn’t align with one’s training feels unnatural, and some providers have said that virtual encounters feel less personal. The fact is that most clinicians weren’t trained to diagnose patients remotely or engage over a screen and are simply hesitant to embrace this approach to care.

Also, providers may have trepidation about not getting paid. While CMS and private payers have expanded coverage, multiple healthcare providers have reported that bills are being delayed or only partially paid by health plans. 

With limited insight into the potential return on that investment, concerns over the cost of implementing telehealth are also reasonable. A physician who is consulting with patients remotely through FaceTime, for example, might wonder if the investment in a more secure, robust telehealth platform will make sense in 12 months, should a COVID-19 vaccine materialize. 

Yet by not adopting a more permanent telehealth solution, providers may be hurting themselves down the road. Patients increasingly believe virtual care is highly effective, and some even prefer it. According to a SYKES consumer survey administered in March, 60% of 1,441 respondents said the COVID pandemic has increased their willingness to try telehealth.  

Also, while HHS has relaxed HIPAA enforcement at the moment, there’s no indication this will continue. Healthcare organizations will need to ensure that the platform or program they’re using is designed to keep protected health information (PHI) safe.  

Investing in the Future

Given the upward trajectory of telehealth, it benefits providers to thoughtfully invest in the right strategies and solutions now to extract the greatest value and return on investment down the road. Here are four steps to take, when shifting to a long-term telehealth strategy:  

– Identify needs. Many primary-care practices may have seen a bump in interest in telehealth due to COVID-19, while specialty practices may see increases stay steady, even when fears of the coronavirus fade. When planning long-term, put patient needs first: In what ways can telehealth improve care delivery, going forward? Look at data, such as virtual-visit utilization patterns, to see where there are opportunities to grow telemedicine (e.g., expanding chronic care management) based on needs.

– Consider workflows. The ideal telehealth program doesn’t interrupt clinical workflows – it enhances them. If you’re using a ‘stop-gap’ video conferencing solution to provide telemedicine, is it easy to integrate practice notes with your EHR? Or, do you have to take extra steps to document patient encounters for clinical and billing departments? 

Seek supportive partners. You can use any number of technology platforms to conduct telemedicine encounters, but not all platforms are created equal. When looking at implementing a telehealth platform, consider not only ease of use, and interoperability, but also what a particular vendor is offering: How well the telehealth platform in question can accommodate the needs of a particular specialty? What are existing clients are saying about things like training, vendor support, and the patient experience?

– Proactively engage. Your patients have most likely heard of telehealth, but they may not realize that telehealth is multifaceted and can be used to diagnose conditions such as skin disorders or allergies and can be just as effective as in-person visits. Educating patients about telehealth’s benefits, and making it easy for them to try telehealth, is essential to success.  

Expanding telehealth’s role in the medical practice benefits everyone, from physicians to patients to payers. Moving past the “stop-gap” mentality now will reap greater benefits in the future, regardless of whether we’re in the midst of a pandemic, or simply trying to provide excellent care on a day-to-day basis.


About Roland Therriault

Roland Therriault
is the President and Executive Vice President of Sales at InSync Healthcare Solutions, a provider
of integrated EHR and practice management software, revenue cycle management
services and medical transcription to thousands of healthcare professionals
throughout the United States. Roland Therriault manages all operations of the
company, driving its go-to-market strategy and overseeing all sales activities.
His experience in healthcare and technology includes more than 20 years of
direct and channel sales, strategic planning and business development. Prior to
joining InSync, Roland served as Vice President of Sales for MD On-Line, a
provider of acute and ambulatory clinical and practice management solutions.


NIH Funds First Nationwide Rare and Atypical Diabetes Network

 NIH Funds First Nationwide Rare and Atypical Diabetes Network

What You Should Know:

– NIH awards funding for Rare and Atypical Diabetes
Network, or RADIANT
that will seek to discover the cause of
several unusual forms of diabetes.

– RADIANT plans to screen about 2,000 people with unknown
or atypical forms of diabetes that do not fit the common features of type 1 and
type 2 diabetes.


The National Institute of
Health (NIH),
announced this week it is funding a nationwide study with The Rare and Atypical Diabetes
Network (RADIANT)
that will seek to discover the cause of several unusual
forms of diabetes. For years, doctors and researchers have been stymied by
cases of diabetes that differ from known types. Through research efforts at 20
U.S. research institutions, the study aims to discover new forms of diabetes,
understand what makes them different, and identify their causes.


Why It Matters

Most forms of diabetes are classified as type 1 or type 2. A greater range of unrecognized types of diabetes likely exists. Most patients with rare forms of diabetes remain undiagnosed and often inappropriately treated. Precise genetic diagnosis of diabetes enables targeted therapy, leads to improved quality of life, and aids in the diagnosis of diabetes in other family members. Currently, patients with atypical diabetes are seen throughout the country, but in a random manner. This makes it challenging for providers and patients to learn from each other.

“It’s extremely frustrating for people with atypical diabetes when their diabetes seems so different and difficult to manage,” said the study’s project scientist, Dr. Christine Lee of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). “Through RADIANT, we want to help patients and the broader healthcare community by finding and studying new types of diabetes to shed light on how and why diabetes can vary so greatly.”


What is RADIANT?

RADIANT aims to discover and define rare and atypical forms of diabetes. These refined diagnoses will be used by diabetes researchers, physicians, and patients to accurately explain their disease. RADIANT plans to screen about 2,000 people with unknown or atypical forms of diabetes that do not fit the common features of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.


RADIANT Study Approach

RADIANT researchers will build a comprehensive resource of
genetic, clinical, and descriptive data on previously unidentified forms of
diabetes for the scientific and healthcare communities. The study’s researchers
will collect detailed health information using questionnaires, physical exams,
genetic sequencing, blood samples, and other tests. People found to have
unknown forms of diabetes may receive additional testing. Some participant
family members may also be invited to take part in the study.


RADIANT Network Partners

University of South Florida (USF) is the study’s coordinating center, and the lead centers include Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the University of Chicago. The Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Baylor serves as the genomic sequencing centers for the project. University of Florida, Gainesville, provides the study’s laboratory services. Other participating centers are:

– Columbia University, New York City

– Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

– Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pennsylvania

– Indiana University, Indianapolis

– Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

– NorthShore University Health System, Chicago

– Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle

– SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, Brooklyn

– University of Colorado, Denver

– University of Maryland, Baltimore

– University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

– University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

– University of Washington, Seattle

– Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

– Washington University in St. Louis

“The RADIANT study will further clarify diabetes as a disease that has many different forms, and for which diagnosis and management for some of those forms remain a challenge,” said NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. “The discoveries of the study should provide critical understanding of the spectrum of diabetes and improve lives of people with rare forms of diabetes and everyone who cares for them.”  

How Low-Code Solutions Reduce Headaches for Healthcare CIOs

How Low-Code Solutions Reduce Headaches for Healthcare CIOs
Ruby Raley, VP of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Axway

Twenty years ago, technology consultants started advising CIOs to build less. That’s when the movement towards Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) began. 

Today, there are many shops, especially those in small and medium-sized organizations, with few programmers who build new applications from scratch.  

Yes, they have programmers who configure, script, and integrate various applications but very little is built. For the provider community, we have a habit of either sourcing our needs from our Electronic Health Records (EHR) application vendor or buying a “best of breed” application from a niche vendor.

Moving to Software as a Service (SaaS) has even reduced the dread of upgrades. No doubt buying commercial software has enabled all of us to have access to better solutions and in some cases, may have reduced the ongoing run rate. Still, it means technology costs have gone up and a lot of our technology goals have not been achieved. 

For example, interoperability remains a point to point problem. ONC and CMS are still pushing to remove barriers to interoperability and have mandated data exchange with penalties.  

CIOs are struggling with the realities of constraint budgets where new programs are starving while dollars go to pay maintenance, integration costs associated with prior purchases (e.g. tech debt).

New Challenges

Then, in a year of the normal pull-and-tug between maintaining current and delivering new systems, COVID-19 arrived and our planning fell short. Technology teams were challenged as never before. They suddenly needed to:

– Enable teams to work from home – even teams who have never worked remotely.

– Stand up telehealth solutions in days – not months.

– Find a good external data source with statistics to integrate and then discover a newer, better source days later.

– Provide real-time updates on the availability of hospital rooms to leadership.

– Provide rapidly evolving guidance to patients on admissions changes, new requirements for entrance to facilities reduced access to admitted patients.

– Be a trusted, consistent source of guidance to reduce the spread of the disease.

Unplanned work

This was all new, unplanned work. Work that took resources from other budget areas and other teams. Work that didn’t always meet our aim for better patient care or patient experience.

For example, we saw some providers advertising the availability of telehealth services but requiring a patient to call their primary care doctor to schedule instead of requesting an appointment online. Then due to staff shortages, the patient would land in voice mail, further delaying access to care. 

Patients needing tests have been told to get an order from their physician. The truth is telehealth isn’t integrated and isn’t part of our daily processes.  

Unsung hero

The story here is the emergence of an unsung hero you can’t find on the nightly news: our IT Teams. We need to arm this group of heroes with better tools.  Tools where delivery of new programs, updates to existing processes and integrating new data from external sources can be done in days, not months. 

Did your clients link to external data sources such as John Hopkins? Did they need to enable test sources from new partners? Did they need to build new mobile applications to integrate workstations in parking lots and third-party locations?

New approach – Low-Code

Today’s challenges require a new approach that is “low-code.” Low-code is shorthand for an application development environment that is primarily visual and uses simple declarative statements to create applications. The primary goal of low-code is to accelerate program delivery.  

This is surely a goal for every healthcare technology team. As enterprise clients embrace low-code, they can ensure readiness by putting these building blocks in place so clients can realize the promised value:

– Authentication Management through APIs (OAuth)

– Standardized access through APIs

– Management and Monitoring

Preparation

In preparation for the adoption of a low-code application platform (LCAP), it is essential to assess the adoption of authentication best practices. 

The technology landscape now spans on-prem, private cloud, and public cloud solutions requiring a standardized, tokenized approach to authentication. Without this, security processes will inevitably fall short of the CISO’s goals or will require additional manpower to monitor and maintain.  

OAuth is the building block

Given the number of vendors, environments, and the velocity of human interactions (non-employee clinicians, temporary resources of all types, patients, etc.), OAuth is the building block for scalable secure authentication. OAuth is a delegated authentication framework that replaces the need to send credentials in program calls (APIs). 

It has been required by CMS for the interoperability rule as a foundation for data sharing. If you haven’t, invest in a centralized identity management system and move to use OAuth to authenticate service and access requests. Standardizing authentication is foundational. Do it before selecting a low-code vendor.

LCAP platforms deliver a variety of methods to access data from other applications. Typical integration patterns include files, database calls (ODBC, JDBC, etc.), and scripting.  

Now is the time to adopt API-First and design thinking. Stop building point-to-point integrations – the velocity of LCAP will result in a proliferation of connection methods if interfaces are not standardized.

Using APIs – fast delivery

Using APIs will enable faster delivery and better performance.  Providing a set of standardized interfaces that meet the needs of consumers (a fundamental goal of API-First) will reduce test time, production breakage, and upgrade complexity. Don’t wait.  

Doing APIs right requires a culture shift – slapping an API on an enterprise application is not the goal. Delivering APIs that drive consumption and adoption by citizen developers and go-to-market programs will power user experiences that truly do more with less.  

Management and monitoring 

Last but not least is the management and monitoring of your new agile applications, especially the application interactions with your core enterprise applications and external integrations. We have all seen it, a new program or upgrade is delivered, and performance slows to a crawl. 

Monitoring and metering access (limited access to X number of calls per time period) is essential to proactively prevent coding errors and shield your client from bad actors. Knowing who is accessing what, and how the load varies, is necessary to achieve the goals of delivery velocity and efficient use of resources.

API Management vendor leaders include policy engines, management, and embedded analytics in their gateways to protect and scale service integrations.  

Better, faster, cheaper is our mantra (once again, some of us mutter under our breaths). Adopting low-code will accelerate delivery and help us meet the demands of the new normal.  

LCAP demands standardized authentication, application program interfaces (APIs), and secure, monitoring gateways to accelerate adoption while protecting and securing enterprise resources. 


About Ruby Raley

Ruby Raley is VP of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Axway. Axway empowers customers to compete and thrive in dynamic marketplaces using hybrid integration solutions to better connect their people, systems, businesses, and digital ecosystems. More than 11,000 organizations in 100 countries rely on Axway to solve their data integration challenges. 

Accounting for the Social Determinants of Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Accounting for the Social Determinants of Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Andy Aroditis, CEO, NextGate

The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a medical crisis.  Since the highly contagious disease hit American shores in early 2020, the virus has dramatically changed all sectors of society, negatively impacting everything from food supply chains and sporting events to the nation’s mental and behavioral health.

For some people, work-from-home plans and limited access to entertainment are manageable obstacles.  For others, the shuttered schools, lost wages, and social isolation spell disaster – especially for individuals already living with socioeconomic challenges.

The social determinants of health have always been important for understanding why some populations are more susceptible to increased rates of chronic conditions, reduced healthcare access, and shorter lifespans.  COVID-19 is throwing the issue into high relief.

Now more than ever, healthcare providers need to gain full visibility into their populations and the non-clinical challenges they face in order to help individuals maintain their health and keep their communities as safe as possible during the ongoing pandemic.

Exploring correlations between socioeconomic circumstances and COVID-19 vulnerability

Clinicians and researchers have worked quickly to identify patterns in the spread of COVID-19.  Early results have emphasized the danger posed by advanced age and preexisting chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Further, data from the Johns Hopkins University and American Community Survey indicates that the infection rate in predominantly black counties is three times higher than in mostly white counties. The death rate is six-fold higher.

Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) confirms the trend: black Medicare beneficiaries are hospitalized at a rate of 465 per 100,000 compared to just 123 per 100,000 white beneficiaries. Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries had 258 hospitalizations per 100,000, more than double the white population’s hospitalization rate.

Researchers suggest that the social determinants of health may be largely responsible for these disconnects in infection and mortality rates.  Racial, ethnic, and economic factors are strongly correlated with increased health concerns, including longstanding disparities in access to care, higher rates of underlying chronic conditions, and differences in health literacy and patient education.

Leveraging data-driven tools to identify vulnerable patients

Healthcare providers will need to take a proactive role in identifying which of their patients may be at enhanced risk of contracting the virus and experiencing worse outcomes from the disease.  

They will also need to ensure that person gets adequate treatment and participate in contact tracing efforts after a positive test.  Lastly, providers will have to ensure their public health reporting data is accurate to inform local and regional efforts to contain the disease.

The process begins by developing confidence in the identity of each individual under the provider’s care.  Healthcare organizations often struggle with unifying multiple electronic health record (EHR) systems and other health IT infrastructure, resulting in medical records that are incomplete, inaccurately duplicated, or incorrectly merged.

Access to current and complete medical histories is key for highlighting at-risk patients.  An enterprise master patient index (EMPI) can provide the underlying technical foundation for initiating this type of population health management.  

EMPIs help organizations create and manage reliable unique patient identifiers to ensure that records are always associated with the correct individual as they move throughout the healthcare system.

When paired with claims data feeds, health information exchange (HIE) results, and interoperability connections with other healthcare partners, EMPIs can bring a patient’s complete healthcare status into focus.

This approach ensures that providers stay informed about past and present clinical issues and service utilization rates.  It can also support a deeper dive into the social determinants of health.

Combining EHR data with standardized data about socioeconomic needs can help providers develop more comprehensive and detailed portraits about their patients’ holistic health status.  

By including this information in EHRs and population health management tools, providers can develop condition-specific registries to guide outreach activities.  Providers can deploy improved care management strategies, close gaps in care, and connect individuals with the resources they need to stay healthy.

Healthcare organizations can acquire socio-economic data about their communities in a variety of ways, including integrating public data sources into their population health management tools and collecting individualized data using standardized questionnaires.

Once providers start to understand their patients’ non-clinical challenges, including the ability to avoid situations that may expose them to COVID-19, they can begin to prioritize patients for outreach and develop personalized care plans.

Conducting effective outreach and interventions for high-needs patients

COVID-19 has taken a staggering economic toll on many families, including those who may have been financially secure before the pandemic.  Routine healthcare, prescription medications, and even some urgent healthcare needs are often the first to fall by the wayside when finances get tight. 

Healthcare providers have gotten creative about staying connected to patients through telehealth, drive-in consults, and other contactless strategies.  But they must also ensure that their vulnerable patients are aware of these options – and that they are taking advantage of them.

Contacting a large number of patients can be challenging since phone numbers, emails, and home addresses change frequently and are prone to data entry errors during intake. Organizations with EMPIs can leverage their tools to ensure contact information is up to date, accurate, and associated with the correct individual.

Care managers should prioritize outreach to patients with complex medical histories and known clinical risks for vulnerability to COVID-19.  These conversations are a prime opportunity to collect social determinants of health information or refresh existing data profiles.

Looking to the future of healthcare in a COVID-19 world

Combining technology-driven strategies with targeted outreach will be essential for healthcare organizations aiming to provide holistic support for their populations during – and after – the COVID-19 pandemic.

By developing certainty about patient identities and synthesizing that information with data about the social determinants of health, providers can efficiently and effectively connect with their patients to offer much-needed resources.

Taking a proactive approach to addressing the social determinants of health during the outbreak will help providers maintain relationships with high-needs patients while building new connections with those facing unanticipated challenges.

With a combination of population health management strategies and innovative technology tools, healthcare providers and public health officials can begin to view the social determinants of health as a fundamental component of the fight against COVID-19


Andy Aroditis, is CEO of NextGate, the global leader in healthcare enterprise identification.

Lyra Health Reaches $1.1B Valuation After $110M Series D to Meet Demand for Teletherapy

Lyra Health Reaches $1.1B Valuation After $110M Series D to Meet Demand for Teletherapy

What You Should Know:

– Mental health benefits provider Lyra Health raises $110M
in Series D funding, bringing its valuation to $1.1 billion.

– Lyra has grown significantly in 2020. So far this year,
the company has added more than 800,000 new members to the population eligible
to receive Lyra benefits, bringing its total member population to more than 1.5
million. 

– Amid, the COVID-19 pandemic, Lyra is focused on
expanding its enhanced teletherapy offering — Lyra Blended Care — which pairs
video therapy sessions with personalized digital lessons and exercises based on
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) principles.


Lyra
Health
, a Burlingame, CA-based provider of mental healthcare benefits for
employers, today announced a Series D financing round of $110 million. Addition
led the round and was joined by Adams Street Partners and existing investors,
including Starbucks chairman emeritus and former CEO Howard Schultz, Casdin
Capital, Glynn Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP, Meritech Capital Partners,
Providence Ventures, and Tenaya Capital. This financing enables Lyra to invest
more aggressively in innovative, tech-enabled mental health treatments; to
partner with more customers; and to expand and diversify its high-quality
provider network.

Accessing and receiving mental healthcare is notoriously
challenging for many Americans today. Cost, social stigma, and navigating the
mental health system make it daunting for individuals to get the care they need.
In addition, only a small fraction of therapists in traditional health plans
are practicing proven methods and accepting new patients.

Founded in 2015, Lyra connects employees to high quality, effective mental health providers, and gives employees the flexibility of in-person care, live video therapy, and digital self-care tools. Lyra’s therapists only practice evidence-based therapies, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and are available for appointments in just a few days.

Expanded Teletherapy Offering

The company is also focused on expanding its enhanced
teletherapy offering — Lyra Blended Care — which pairs video therapy sessions
with personalized digital lessons and exercises based on Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy (CBT) principles. Lyra Blended Care provides a scalable, tech-enabled
solution optimized for better care quality and clinical outcomes. In July, new
peer-reviewed Lyra research was published demonstrating the effectiveness
of this treatment program for clients with depression and anxiety. The company
plans to continue the expansion of Blended Care to serve Lyra members —
including couples and adolescents — who are experiencing a range of mental
health challenges. Lyra’s solution offers a simple and supportive member
experience, ensures immediate access to care, and prioritizes fast and durable
symptom improvement.

Why It Matters

American workers are experiencing a surge in mental health
challenges as they grapple with historic adversity amid the COVID-19 pandemic,
economic uncertainty, and a national reckoning with racial injustice. Arecent
study
 led by Lyra Health and the National Alliance of Healthcare
Purchaser Coalitions found that 83 percent of U.S. employees today are
experiencing mental health issues.

“Whether you’re dealing with a preexisting mental health condition that has intensified or new symptoms that have arisen during the pandemic, these are challenging times for many people. We are proud to support employers that are prioritizing mental health and will use this new funding to help even more organizations support the mental health and well-being of their most important asset — their people,” said David Ebersman, Lyra Health CEO and co-founder

Recent Traction/Milestones

Lyra has grown significantly in 2020. So far this year, the company has added more than 800,000 new members to the population eligible to receive Lyra benefits, bringing its total member population to more than 1.5 million. Lyra also is on track to surpass a milestone this month by delivering the one-millionth session of care through its exceptional provider network. In the last several months, leading employers in the retail, tech, energy, financial services, and the food and agriculture industries — including Morgan Stanley, Asurion, and Zoom Video Communications — have stepped up to prioritize workforce mental health by partnering with Lyra to offer employees immediate access to proven, evidence-based care from thousands of Lyra providers nationwide. This financing, on top of the Series C round completed earlier this year, positions Lyra to take advantage of the burgeoning market opportunity and the urgent need for better mental health solutions.

Boarding Appointments

The company also announced the addition of Kerry Chandler to its Board of Directors. Chandler is Chief Human Resources Officer at Endeavor, a global entertainment, sports, and content company, and she previously served as a senior executive at Under Armour; Christie’s; the National Basketball Association; ESPN; and ESPN’s parent, The Walt Disney Company. She has also served in human resources leadership roles of increasing responsibility at IBM, Motorola, Exxon, and McDonnell Douglas. Chandler brings an extensive background in human resources operations, strategy, and executive leadership.

Sonde Health Acquires NeuroLex Lab’s Voice-Based Survey Platform

Sonde Health Acquires NeuroLex’s Voice-Based Survey Platform

What You Should Know:

– Sonde Health acquires NeuroLex Laboratories, Inc. to forms
one of the world’s preeminent biobanks focused on vocal biomarkers.

– NeuroLex’s core product, SurveyLex, makes it easy to
create and distribute voice surveys in less than a minute as URL links through
web browsers.


Sonde Health, a
Boston-based digital vocal biomarker technology platform announced it has acquired
NeuroLex Laboratories, Inc., a leading
voice-enabled survey and data acquisition platform. The
acquisition brings together two of the leading forces in the vocal biomarker
space.

Sonde will acquire NeuroLex’s popular web-enabled voice
survey and analysis platform, as well as its rich dataset, which when combined
with Sonde’s leading voice-based dataset, forms one of the world’s preeminent
biobanks focused on vocal biomarkers. In addition, merging Sonde’s mobile and
voice-assistant platforms with NeuroLex’s web-based capabilities will enable
the delivery of voice-enabled heath detection and monitoring over any platform.

Democratizing Voice Computing

Over the past two years, NeuroLex has built one of the
largest laboratories in the world to collect, label, and model voice data
tagged with health conditions comprised of over 40 research fellows across 12
universities that have published over 5 peer-reviewed journal articles.
NeuroLex’s core product, SurveyLex, makes it easy to create and distribute
voice surveys in less than a minute as URL links through web browsers. With
this product, NeuroLex has curated a biobank comprised of over 500,000 voice samples
from over 30,000 individuals alongside a host of pharmaceutical and academic
partners. 

Acquisition
Benefits for Sonde

“At Sonde, we have unlocked voice as a new vital sign to enable secure, accessible, and non-intrusive monitoring of health. Incorporating NeuroLex’s impressive work in voice-based surveys and research moves us significantly forward in becoming the one-stop shop for health condition detection and monitoring through voice,” said David Liu, CEO of Sonde Health. “NeuroLex’s voice-based survey platform and biobank will accelerate our research and development, and our collection and analysis of high-quality voice data, bolstering all the products we provide to our customers.”

Sonde’s proprietary technology works by sensing and
analyzing subtle changes in the voice due to changes in a person’s physiology.
The company’s respiratory and depression health checks are available
today. 

As part of the acquisition, Jim Schwoebel, the chief executive
officer of NeuroLex, will join Sonde’s leadership team as Vice President, Data
and Research.

“I am thrilled to bring Jim and his team on board,” continued Liu. “His experience in building NeuroLex, shared mission of using vocal biomarkers to move healthcare forward, and expertise in building large voice-based datasets and machine learning make Jim a tremendous addition to the Sonde team.”

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Brightline Raises $20M for Virtual Pediatric Behavioral Health Platform

Brightline Raises $20M for Virtual Pediatric Behavioral Health Platform

What You Should Know:

– Brightline raises $20 million to bring its virtual behavioral
healthcare platform to kids and families across California and beyond.

– Brightline delivers integrated care through innovative
technology, virtual behavioral health services, and a collaborative care team
focused on supporting children across developmental stages and their families.


Brightline, a
Palo Alto, CA-based provider of technology-enabled pediatric behavioral healthcare,
announced it has raised $20M in Series A funding led by Threshold Ventures and
previous investor Oak HC/FT. Leading healthcare organizations Blue Shield of
California, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Boston Children’s
Hospital joined the round, as well as SemperVirens VC, Rock Health, and City
Light Capital. In addition, the company announced the expansion of its telehealth
services to children and families across the State of California, with
additional states coming soon.

Science-Backed Treatment

Founded in 2019, Brightline is reinventing behavioral health
care for children and families. Brightline’s treatment programs are grounded in
proven clinical methods and designed to track progress and move children
forward in their care. Their virtual behavioral health services available now
include:

● Behavior therapy with child and adolescent psychologists
and clinical social workers

● Psychiatry evaluation and medication support, in
combination with therapy

● Speech-language therapy

● Coaching support and training for parents

● Free clinician-led classes for parents

● Digital treatment programs families can use between
appointments

● Mobile app to make it all easier

Recent Traction

The round follows exciting news earlier this summer about
Brightline’s decision to launch four months ahead of schedule to bring urgently
needed telehealth services (including behavior therapy, psychiatry,
speech-language therapy, coaching support, and more) to families feeling the
overwhelming impact of a global pandemic on their kids. Brightline plans to use
the funds primarily to enhance its technology and innovations, expand
telehealth capabilities and treatment programs, and grow the team to support
children and families across the country.

We need behavioral health and developmental support for kids and their families more than ever,” said Naomi Allen, Brightline CEO and co-founder. “Bringing strong new investors and strategic partners into the Brightline family allows us to continue innovating on our breakthrough model of integrated clinical teams, coaching support for parents, and care through telehealth and our mobile app for families when they need it most. We’re thrilled to have an exceptional Series A investment to continue building a brighter future for families.”

Cerner Technology to Support COVID-19 Testing for HBCUs Nationwide

Cerner Technology to Support COVID-19 Testing for HBCUs Nationwide

What You Should Know:

– Cerner announces a commitment to help expand COVID-19 testing at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the U.S through a partnership with Testing for America.

– As part of the partnership, Cerner will serve as the national technology partner for a return to school effort led by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and The United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The strategic initiative aims to support HBCUs in their COVID-19 testing of students, faculty, and staff to help safely reopen campuses.

– Cerner recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for people of all races, colors, and socio-economic backgrounds to have access to quality health care and is proud to partner in this important initiative.


Cerner Corporation® announced it will serve as the technology partner in partnership with non-profit Testing for America and others, including the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ (HBCUs) efforts to offer rapid, consistent and affordable COVID-19 testing for students, faculty, and staff. Testing for America and its collaborators are helping these academic institutions develop comprehensive reopening safety strategies and linking them to lab partners and other support in the hopes of helping them safety return to classes.

Why It Matters

The effort to support HBCUs comes as communities of color
around the nation are disproportionately impacted by the economic and health
effects of the novel coronavirus. Testing of everyone on campus is one tool in
an overall safety plan to help identify and contain the virus, often spread by
asymptomatic carriers, and to help the campuses of HBCUs, which will serve a
vital role in our nation’s recovery.

Cerner’s interoperable technology can be employed to make sure each COVID-19 test result is reported directly to the student, faculty, and staff member, as well as their physicians, for better, seamless medical care coordination and guidance and to all required public health agencies.

Importance of HBCUs Talent Infrastructure

This country’s HBCUs are a vital part of our national talent infrastructure. Our 101 HBCUs are responsible for 23% of all black college graduates, 60% of engineers, and 70% of doctors. Notably, they also have just one-eighth of the endowment of their non-HBCU counterparts. Cerner recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for people of all races, colors, and socio-economic backgrounds to have access to quality health care and is proud to partner in this important initiative.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for innovative
solutions to deliver equitable care across all populations, and Cerner has
vowed to use its technologies and leverage data to build a better,
healthier world for us all
. Cerner’s commitment to diversity and inclusion
has been recognized for the past two years by Forbes naming
the company as a leading Diversity Employer
. Last year, Cerner CEO Brent
Shafer signed
the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion
, uniting leaders from
more than 900 companies in a common commitment to advancing diversity and
inclusion in the workplace.

“The nationwide effort to provide access to COVID-19 testing
holds the promise to be a key pillar of the safe return to campus for these
essential institutions. We are excited to have Cerner’s technology help scale
this important initiative.”

“Robust testing protocols will help give the university community more confidence in coming back and will support our comprehensive approach to reopening,” said Tony Allen, president, Delaware State University. “We want to ensure that the kind of space so many of our students call home is perceived as a safe one, so that they can continue their education without pause.”

Former KKR Vet Jim Momtazee Launches Healthcare Investment Firm, Patient Square Capital

Jim Momtazee and Maria Walker form health care investment firm Patient Square Capital
Jim Momtazee,
Managing Partner at Patient Square Capital

What You Should Know:

– Former KKR veteran Jim Momtazee announced the launch of
Patient Square Capital, a partnership being purpose-built to become the
preeminent investment firm in healthcare. 

– Patient Square will partner with best-in-class
management teams whose products, services, and technologies improve
health. 

– Prior to Patient Square, he spent over 21 years
at KKR, initially joining in 1996. He helped establish the firm’s health
care industry group in 2001 and subsequently was Head of the Americas Heath
Care Team for over 10 years.


Private equity veteran Jim Momtazee, today announced the
formation of healthcare investment firm, Patient Square Capital.  Patient
Square will partner with best-in-class management teams whose products,
services, and technologies improve health. The Patient Square team has a shared
vision to create an investment firm capable of managing large pools of capital
and with the expertise to meet the considerable and critical needs of the health
care world. 

Jim Momtazee Background

Mr. Momtazee is the Managing Partner of Patient
Square. He is a 21-year veteran of KKR, where he helped form its
Health Care Industry Group in 2001 and subsequently led the group for over 10
years.

In that role, he managed a team of over 20 dedicated health
care professionals overseeing five different health-care-related investment
strategies including private and growth equity.  He was a member of the
Americas Private Equity Investment Committee beginning in 2013 and was Chairman
of both the Health Care Strategic Growth and Health Care Royalty & Income
Investment Committees. 

Among the major health care investments made during Mr.
Momtazee’s tenure at KKR was Jazz Pharmaceuticals (2004); HCA (2006),
a $33 billion transaction which at the time was the largest cash buyout in
history; PRA Health Sciences (2013); and BridgeBio Pharma (2016). Mr. Momtazee
currently serves on the Boards of Directors of BridgeBio, PRA Health Sciences
(lead independent director), and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association.
He previously served on the Boards of Directors of Ajax Health, Alliance
Imaging, Arbor Pharmaceuticals, BrightSpring Health Services, Covenant Surgical
Partners, EchoNous, Entellus Medical, Envision Healthcare, Global Medical
Response, HCA, Heartland Dental, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Lake Region Medical, and
Spirox.

Maria Walker to Serve as CFO

Mr. Momtazee is joined by Maria Walker, Partner & Chief
Financial Officer of Patient Square.  Ms. Walker has extensive experience
across private equity and health care, including 17 years at KPMG where she
served as a senior partner and a global lead in its private equity
practice.  

Patient Square Capital Investment Focus

Patient Square intends to build a distinctive and diverse
partnership with deep health care experience and a shared commitment to build a
world-class investment firm.  Patient Square will seek opportunities to
invest broadly across the healthcare industry, including technology-enabled
services, biopharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical value chain, medical devices,
diagnostics, providers, digital health
and consumer health.


Geisinger Launches New Social Care Platform for Pennsylvania Residents

Geisinger Launches New Social Care Platform for Pennsylvania Residents

What You Should Know:

– Geisinger inks a partnership Aunt Bertha to launch a
new social care platform, Neighborly for Pennsylvania residents.

– Powered by Aunt Bertha, Geisinger’s Neighborly platform provides residents in Pennsylvania the ability to easily search and connect with organizations that provide social services including food, housing, childcare, transportation, utility assistance, healthcare, financial assistance, and other needs. 


Geisinger, one of
the nation’s largest health service organizations has announced a partnership
with Aunt Bertha, a
search and referral platform of social service organizations to support the
launch of Geisinger’s new social care platform, Neighborly.

Growing Importance of Social Determinants of Health

Social
determinants of Health
– such as where people live and work – play a
significant role in a person’s overall wellbeing. Ensuring individuals have
access to the proper social care services is key to any healthcare effort – yet
navigating the web of providers and coordinating care for patients is often a
challenging process. That’s why Geisinger is now partnering with Aunt
Bertha to help healthcare providers streamline the process of connecting
patients with vital social services. 

How Neighborly Works

Powered by Aunt Bertha, Geisinger’s Neighborly platform
provides residents in Pennsylvania the ability to easily search and connect
with organizations that provide social services including food, housing,
childcare, transportation, utility assistance, healthcare, financial assistance
and other needs. The platform also helps social care providers more easily and
effectively coordinate care for clients in need of multiple forms of social
assistance. With Aunt Bertha’s technology, organizations can now provide a
simple and easy path to refer patients to free and reduced-cost services in
their local communities. Since 2015, nearly 130,000 Pennsylvanians have used
Aunt Bertha to connect to social services.    

Why It Matters

Currently serving more than 3 million residents throughout
central, south-central, and northeastern Pennsylvania — as well as counties in
southern New Jersey — Geisinger has long been a leader in defining strategies
for addressing social determinants of health (SDoH) such as where individuals
live, work, and socialize. After exhaustive research into the social care
landscape and all available solutions over a two-year period, Geisinger
selected Aunt Bertha to create their new community resource network. After
initially planning for a community-by-community rollout of the platform across
an 18-month timeline, the healthcare provider realized it needed to rapidly
accelerate its deployment in the wake of COVID-19 and its impact on
Pennsylvania communities. With Aunt Bertha’s experience and understanding of
the social care landscape in Pennsylvania, as well as its extensive nonprofit
network that was already in place in Pennsylvania, Geisinger was able to move
swiftly from a pilot in Lackawanna County to a social care platform available
to every community in just 18 days.   

Pilot Phase Results

Following the launch of the platform’s pilot phase in March
this year, more than 2,400 neighbors have been able to connect with, and
benefit from, social care providers on Neighborly in just a 4-month period.
Even in its early stages, the platform is changing the way Geisinger cares for
its patients, serves its members, and partners with the community. Search data
on the platform provides new insights on the services Pennsylvanians need the
most, uncovers coordination gaps that currently exist, and guides the
allocation of resources.

“Neighborly opened its doors in March amid a global pandemic with a laser focus on making it easy for our neighbors to connect with the resources they need close to home,” said Brian Ebersole, Senior Director of Springboard Health at Geisinger, “the partnership with Aunt Bertha was the right choice for our communities and our organization.”  

Backed by Johnson & Johnson, Thirty Madison Raises $47M for Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth Brands

Backed by Johnson & Johnson, Thirty Madison Raises $47M for Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth Brands

What You Should Know:

– Direct-to-consumer telehealth company Thirty Madison raises
$47M in Series B round from Johnson & Johnson and Polaris Partners.

– Thirty Madison’s three portfolio brands — Keeps, Cove,
and Evens — enables patients to easily access specialist-level care
combined with the convenience of telemedicine and treatment delivery. 


Thirty
Madison
, a New York City-based digital health
company reinventing the patient experience for the estimated 133 million
Americans living with chronic conditions, today announced a $47 million Series
B round led by Polaris Partners.
New investor Johnson & Johnson
Innovation – JJDC, Inc.
(JJDC) also participated in the funding, along with
existing investors Maveron and Northzone. Thirty Madison has raised a total
of $70 million to date.

Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth Brands

Backed by Johnson & Johnson, Thirty Madison Raises $47M for Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth Brands

Founded in 2017 by Steven Gutentag and Demetri
Karagas, Thirty Madison was launched with a single vision: To build the
highest quality care experiences for treating chronic health conditions. Through
Thirty Madison’s three portfolio brands — KeepsCove, and Evens —  patients can easily access
specialist-level care combined with the convenience of telemedicine and
treatment delivery. Each platform offers individualized health care to patients
suffering from hair loss (Keeps), migraine (Cove), and acid reflux (Evens) at
an affordable cost. With virtual doctor visits and a wide range of therapeutic
treatments, tools, and educational content individually tailored to the needs
of patients, these groundbreaking brands are reimagining and improving the way
chronic conditions are treated.

Thirty Madison offers not only a differentiated platform –
which allows Keeps, Cove, and Evens to deliver specialist-level care across a
spectrum of health issues, but also a novel approach to modernizing healthcare.
For Thirty Madison, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to
treatment—or to products. In addition to providing a range of issue-appropriate
treatment options, the brands also partner directly with innovative healthcare
companies to provide patients with increased access to the latest treatment
options and offer meaningful cost savings.

Traction/Milestones

Thirty Madison’s first brand, Keeps, launched in January
2018. Halfway through 2020, Keeps has surpassed its 2019 revenue and is a
recognized leader in the hair loss space, helping hundreds-of-thousands of
customers manage hair loss while improving and expanding access to treatments.
Using Keeps’ success as a proof-of-concept, Thirty Madison built on the
capabilities of their platform to launch their next care model, Cove, the first
direct-to-consumer treatment option for migraine, in early 2019. Cove has made
high-quality migraine care more accessible, affordable, and actionable than
ever, helping 70% of patients see a reduction in migraine severity and driving
a 79% reduction in ER visits due to migraine. Evens, launched at the end of
2019, is the first telehealth solution for acid reflux, a chronic condition
that causes heartburn and affects over one-quarter of Americans.

With this new round of investment, Thirty Madison plans to
further innovate in the digital healthcare space, specifically making the
overall experience more enjoyable for those with chronic conditions. Steven
Gutentag, co-founder and CEO of Thirty Madison notes, “We are excited to
have JJDC as an investor, given Johnson & Johnson’s leadership across
healthcare and consumer health, and their commitment to putting consumers and
patients first.”

CancerIQ Raises $5M to Expand Genetic Cancer Risk Assessment Platform

CancerIQ Raises $5M to Expand Genetic Cancer Risk Assessment Platform

What You Should Know:

– CancerIQ raises $5M in Series A funding led by HealthXVentures to accelerate the growth of its genetic cancer risk assessment platform to identify and manage patients at high risk of cancer.

– CancerIQ’s technology enables hospitals to use genomics
to personalize the prevention and early detection of cancer.

– Two new hires recently joined CancerIQ’s newly formed
Integrated Products team from Epic, with the goal of advancing CancerIQ’s
integration with leading EMRs.


CancerIQ, an
enterprise precision health platform for cancer, today announced it has raised
$4.8M in Series A funding led by HealthX
Ventures
, a digital
health-focused
venture capital firm led by Mark Bakken, the founder and
former CEO of Nordic Consulting, the
largest Epic consulting firm. CancerIQ will use the funding to accelerate the
growth of its current offering and deepen integrations with EHRs and genetic
testing partners. Other institutional investors including Impact Engine and
Lightbank, co-founded by Eric Lefkofsky (founder of Tempus and co-founder of
Groupon) and Brad Keywell (co-founder of Groupon), also participated in the
round.


Genetic Cancer Risk Assessment Platform to Manage
Patients at High Risk of Cancer

Founded in 2013, CancerIQ helps healthcare providers use genetic information to predict, preempt, and prevent cancer across populations in both urban and rural settings. By analyzing family history, running predictive risk models, and automating NCCN guidelines, CancerIQ empowers providers with the genetic expertise to prevent cancer or catch it early.

CancerIQ’s workflows enable health systems to execute
precision health strategies for patients predisposed to cancer, by:

• Identifying the 25 percent of the patient population that
qualifies for genetic testing

• Streamlining the genetic testing and counseling process,
via telehealth if required

• Managing high-risk patients over time

• Tracking outcomes at the individual and population levels

In addition, the platform allows hospitals to convert their
cancer risk assessment and management programs to virtual visits with its
complete telehealth cancer risk platform. CancerIQ has been rapidly adopted by
some of the top health systems in the country and fully integrates with
genetics laboratories, EHRs, and specialty software vendors to streamline
workflow, guide clinician decision making, achieve cost savings, and — most
importantly — improve patient outcomes.


Recent Traction/Milestones

CancerIQ will use the funding to accelerate the growth of
its current offering and deepen integrations with EHRs and genetic testing
partners. The company is experiencing a rapid growth year despite the COVID-19
crisis. Precision health has become an even more important technique for early
detection and prevention of disease. Over 80,000 patients have missed their
cancer screening appointments, but health systems are rapidly adopting CancerIQ
to triage and prioritize those in need of most urgent care.

“Partnering with HealthX allows us to build on the solid foundation we have serving over 70 institutions, and enable system-wide precision health,” said Feyi Ayodele, CEO, CancerIQ.


Addition of Strategic Hires to Epic Integration Team

Two new hires recently joined CancerIQ’s newly formed
Integrated Products team from Epic, with the goal of advancing CancerIQ’s
integration with leading EMRs:

Lisa Glaspie, Director of Integrated Products

– Glaspie spent 16 years at Epic, where she was directly involved in many integrations, data management, and conversion projects spanning a wide array of clinical and specialty system vendors, as well as custom in-house products. She will inform how CancerIQ can be deeply integrated across more clinical specialties.

Ashar Wasi, Integrated Product Specialist

– Wasi spent the last 11 years at Epic on the implementation
team for Epic’s radiology and cardiology modules. At CancerIQ, he will help
client teams understand different integration methods and provide context on
the scalability of CancerIQ’s FHIR-based approach.

“To engage primary care, radiology, and cardiology in precision health — we need our content to be deeply embedded in the EHR systems they already use. We’re excited to bring Lisa and Ashar on board for their domain expertise with Epic, so fewer high risk patients fall through the cracks,” added Ayodele.


Waystar Acquires Medicare RCM Company eSolutions at $1.3B Valuation

Waystar Acquires Medicare RCM Company eSolutions at $1.3B Valuation

What You Should Know:

– Revenue cycle management provider Waystar acquires eSolutions, a provider of Medicare and Multi-Payer revenue cycle management, workflow automation, and data analytics tools at a $1.3B valuation.

– The acquisition will create the first unified
healthcare payments platform with both commercial and government payer
connectivity, resulting in greater value for providers.


Waystar, a provider of healthcare payments software, today
announced a definitive agreement to acquire Francisco Partners-backed eSolutions, a revenue cycle
technology company with unique Medicare-specific solutions at a $1.3B valuation,
according to sources close to the deal. In bringing these two industry leaders
together, Waystar will be the first technology to unite both commercial and
government payers onto a single payments platform. The transaction is expected
to close later this year, subject to customary conditions and approvals.

eSolutions Background

Founded in 1999, eSolutions’ technology maximizes revenue
collection, accelerates cash flow, and reduces administrative burden across
numerous sites of care. The company has over 6,000 payer connections and
maintains a powerful and growing data set of billions of transactions. In addition
to hospitals and ambulatory providers, eSolutions has deep expertise in serving
the post-acute market across the entire revenue cycle, including skilled
nursing, senior living facilities, home care, hospice, federally qualified
healthcare centers (FQHCs), and durable medical equipment providers. eSolutions
is backed by Francisco Partners.

“eSolutions is thrilled to be joining forces with Waystar, a company like ours that relentlessly focuses on delivering exceptional customer service,” said Gerry McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer of eSolutions. “The combination of our technology platforms and data solves a major pain point in revenue cycle management to drive stronger results for our clients, partners, and for healthcare.”

Acquisition Creates Unified Healthcare Payments Platform 

Medicare has become the largest payer in the United
States and as baby boomers age, the mix of insurance coverage is
increasingly shifting to Medicare. Historically, providers have had to leverage
two different systems – one to handle commercial claims, and another to handle
Medicare. For healthcare providers, leveraging a single, end-to-end platform to
manage both private and government payments solves a major pain point and
creates significant efficiencies, freeing up time to deliver care.

“Together, Waystar and eSolutions will deliver unprecedented innovation to the industry, helping healthcare organizations accelerate revenue collection while reducing administrative expenses and repetitive tasks,” said Matthew Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer and board member of Waystar. “Uniting our companies’ data sets will further power Waystar Hubble, our artificial intelligence solution, providing access to even greater insights and value for our clients. We have long-admired eSolutions for its unique Medicare-specific revenue cycle capabilities, which are a perfect complement to the Waystar platform. We are excited to move forward as one team.”

6th Waystar Acquisition Since 2018

Waystar has integrated several other transformational
technologies onto its single instance cloud-based platform since uniting
Navicure and ZirMed in 2017. This marks Waystar’s sixth acquisition in the last
couple years, as the company rapidly expands within the space (not including
their own $2.3B acquisition by two private equity firms last year). 

Recent acquisitions include Recondo, a patient estimation and prior authorization
technology, PARO, a presumptive charity scoring solution, UPMC’s Ovation, a claims monitoring tool, and Connance, leveraging predictive analytics to offer agency
manager, advanced propensity to pay (AP2P), and presumptive charity. Waystar is
backed by EQT, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Bain Capital.

Eden Health Lands $25M to Bring On-Site and Virtual Care To Employers, Commercial Real-Estate

Eden Health Lands $25M to Bring On-Site and Virtual Care To Employers, Commercial Real-Estate

What You Should Know:

– Eden Health raises $25M to give employers and
commercial real estate owners and operators the ability to offer medical care on-site,
near-site, and virtually.

– Eden’s membership model makes high-quality healthcare an affordable benefit for the average employer, with low to no out-of-pocket costs for their employees.

– Since the first signs of the US coronavirus outbreak in
early February, Eden Health has worked with Boylan Bottling, Connell, Convene, Emigrant
Bank,Golf Magazine,
Harry’s, Kramer Levin, Newscred, evidence-based, medically-informed plans and
protocols for supporting essential workers and bringing workforces back. And
they’ve embedded dedicated, on-demand doctors (called Medical Directors) in the
C-Suites of several customers. 


Eden Health, a New
York City-based national medical practice, today announced it has raised $25
million in Series B funding led by Flare
Capital Partners
with participation from principals from Stone Point Capital, a private equity
firm that focuses on the financial services industry including the HR benefits,
insurance and real estate sectors. Existing investors who participated in the
Series B round include GreycroftPJCMax
Ventures 
and Aspect
Ventures
. The oversubscribed round brings Eden Health’s total
raise to $39M.

Founded in 2016, Eden Health is known for its innovative
direct-to-employer healthcare delivery model, bringing in-person and virtual
healthcare together to deliver an exceptional patient experience to the
employees of mid-market companies. Eden Health empowers employers to
supercharge their benefits packages whether or not they are self-insured.
Designed to meet the needs of companies of all sizes, Eden Health lets them
fill gaps in their employees care with a fully integrated healthcare option.

Eden Health membership services are not tethered to open
enrollment, meaning employees and their families can join at any time and begin
using services immediately. And one of Eden Health’s core services is insurance
navigation, to make sure employees get the care they need without surprise
costs Although Eden Health’s approach is direct-to-employer, its mission is to
ensure that superior care is as widely available as possible.

Eden Health’s medical practice provides members with a
dedicated Care Team. Care Teams are composed of highly credentialed clinicians
delivering evidence-based, top-quality care. Each Care Team offers digital care
around the clock, same-day in-person primary care, behavioral health services
and benefits navigation. Employees interact with the same dedicated Care Team,
regardless of whether they are communicating virtually or in-person. Where
necessary, Eden Health consults specialists to determine needs, before
connecting employee members with fully-vetted, cost-effective in-network
specialists.

Recent Traction/Milestones

Over the past four years, Eden Health has become a trusted
benefits partner for more than 33,000 employees, spanning more than 100
employers across a broad range of industries, including finance, retail, real
estate and technology. Since the very first signs of the US coronavirus
outbreak in early February, Eden Health has worked with Boylan Bottling, Connell, Convene, Emigrant Bank,Golf Magazine, Harry’s, Kramer Levin, Newscred, and others
to roll out evidence-based, medically-informed plans and protocols to support
workforce health. It has guided employers, property owners and workers through
the outbreak using real-time monitoring, proactive outreach, and team-based
care. And as employers and property owners began to phase workforces back into
offices and worksites, Eden Health introduced a comprehensive back-to-work
program spanning COVID-19 screening, virtual primary care, PCR testing,
on-site antibody testing, immediate triage and patient consults.

Through the crisis, Eden Health customers have also chosen
to embed dedicated Eden Health Medical Directors into their c-suites to manage
employee population health. Thanks in large part to early monitoring and proactive
protocols to slow the spread, Eden Health employers have been able to maintain
high levels of productivity, deploying essential workers safely while
protecting their health and the health of fellow employees.

Allergy Amulet Nabs $3.3M To Launch World’s Smallest, Fastest Consumer Food Allergen Sensor

What You Should Know:

– Today, Allergy Amulet announces $3.3M in seed funding
to launch the world’s smallest and fastest consumer food allergen sensor and
empower the allergy community by alleviating fears about what’s in their food.

– Allergy Amulet’s novel technology can improve the
quality of life for the millions of people living with food allergies or
intolerances by testing for common allergenic ingredients in seconds. The portable
device is made to fit every lifestyle — it’s small enough to fit on a
keychain, a necklace, or in a pocket. 

– Every 3 minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the
ER. For the 32 million Americans and between 220-520 million people globally
who live with food allergies, the potentially fatal disease is a constant
threat. 


Allergy Amulet, a Madison, WI-based company empowering the
food allergy community by alleviating fears about what’s in their food, today
announces $3.3 million in seed funding led by TitletownTech, a joint venture between Microsoft and the
Green Bay Packers.

Every 3 Minutes, a Food Allergy Sends Someone to the ER

Food allergies affect 32 million Americans and between 220
to 520 million people globally—that’s one in 13 children and one in 10 adults.
They can be fatal, even after ingesting only trace amounts of a known allergen.
The company has developed the world’s smallest and fastest consumer food allergen
sensor, which is capable of testing foods for common allergenic ingredients in
seconds. The patented technology fits on a keychain, a necklace, a wristband,
or in a pocket, and doubles as a medical alert system, making it easier and
safer to manage food allergies and intolerances. 

Simple + Fast Detection

Allergy Amulet Nabs $3.3M To Launch World’s Smallest, Fastest Consumer Food Allergen Sensor

Allergy Amulet helps: 

Individuals with food allergies: It makes testing for food allergens
easy, giving people additional assurances that their food is safe. 

Parents with children who have food allergies: It gives
parents another tool to manage their children’s allergies, and helps children
live a normal childhood, maintain independence, and safely attend sleepovers
and birthday parties (or just school) with friends. 

Businesses: It gives restaurant owners, schools, childcare
providers, summer camps, and hotels the power of extra precaution to save them
time, money, and worry. 

How It Works

Allergy Amulet Nabs $3.3M To Launch World’s Smallest, Fastest Consumer Food Allergen Sensor

The Allergy Amulet is a fast and portable food allergen and
ingredient sensor, designed to fit every lifestyle. Its first-of-its-kind
detection platform pairs molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) technology with a
conductive electrochemical platform to detect target allergenic ingredients.
The Amulet consists of two parts: a USB-sized reader (the “Amulet”) and a test
strip that houses the proprietary sensor chips. The case also accommodates
epinephrine and antihistamines, giving users a complete allergy care management
platform. 

For consumers, testing for food allergens is made possible
in four simple steps:

Step 1:  Users collect a sample of the food with
the test strip, and turn the top of the tester to grind the sample.

Step 2: A chip slides out from the test strip and is
inserted into the reader. 

Step 3: Test results appear on the reader within
seconds, indicating the presence or absence of the target allergen.  

Step 4: Optional: store test results in the mobile
app, connect and share results with the food allergy community, or hold down a
button on the reader to alert your emergency contacts.

The Team 

The Allergy Amulet team has deep connections to the
communities they serve — Barnes has managed life-threatening food allergies
since childhood, and experienced a near-fatal anaphylactic event as a teenager.
After meeting her Co-founder and Scientific Advisor, Dr. Joseph BelBruno, a
Dartmouth chemistry professor emeritus with life-threatening food allergies,
the two worked to make Allergy Amulet a reality.  

The company holds one issued U.S. patent with multiple
applications, and its waitlist has thousands of individuals signed up to
participate in an early beta release, scheduled to kickoff later this
year. 

Expansion Plans

This infusion of new capital will be used to manufacture beta units, help to launch pre-orders, expand product offerings to cover more allergens, grow the company’s world-class team, add additional restaurant and company partners to its roster, and educate consumers on the benefits of additional food allergen management tools. In addition to Titletown, its seed financing includes participation from Great North Labs, Colle Capital, Great Oaks VC, DeepWork Capital, Dipalo Ventures, and Bulldog Innovation Group.

“The current standard of care — avoiding certain foods,
injecting epinephrine to treat reactions, and visiting the emergency room —
can take a serious emotional, financial, and physical toll on individuals,
caregivers, and families,” said Abigail Barnes, Co-founder and CEO of Allergy Amulet.
“Our hope is to help individuals more safely engage in the activities that
bring them joy, whether that means going to a restaurant with friends and
family or eating a cupcake at a party.”

Availability

Allergy Amulet is slated for pre-sales Fall of 2020 and
launch Fall of 2021.   

Lumeon Lands $30M to Expand Care Pathway Management Platform

Medtronic to Leverage Lumeon’s Care Pathway Management Platform to Deliver Value-Based Care in Europe

What You Should Know:

– Lumeon, the leader in care pathway orchestration
announced it has raised $30M in Series D funding to extend the reach of its
Care Pathway Management (CPM) platform.

– The platform empowers providers to improve care
quality, deliver better outcomes, reduce costs, and ultimately develop and
scale new models of care delivery – particularly important right now as
COVID-19 accelerates the technology-driven transformation of healthcare.


Lumeon, a Boston, MA-based provider of care pathway orchestration, today
announced that it has closed $30M in Series D funding led by new investors
Optum Ventures and Endeavour Vision, with participation from current investors
LSP, MTIP, IPF Partners, Gilde and Amadeus Capital Partners. The investment
will enable the company to extend the reach of its Care Pathway Management
(CPM) platform, which helps healthcare providers automate their patient care coordination
to improve care quality, deliver better outcomes and reduce costs.

Why Care Pathways?

With proven ability to reduce unwarranted
variation and lower the overall cost of care delivery, care pathways are
an increasingly attractive proposition for healthcare providers. 
The challenge, however, has always been to take paper-based pathways off the
page and into operational reality. This means being able to direct tasks and
coordinate care across clinicians, ward managers, nurses, patient educators –
the entire team responsible for successful care delivery – even the patient
themselves.

Deliver Engaging Virtual Care Journeys

Founded in 2005, Lumeon’s platform connects
the care journey across the care continuum, operationalizing care plans beyond
the four walls of your hospital. Lumeon’s CPM platform
uses real-time data to dynamically guide patients and care teams along their
care journeys. By automating, orchestrating and virtualizing care delivery
across care settings, Lumeon’s solutions allow health systems to operate with
predictability and efficiency, delivering optimal care to each patient while
substantially lowering costs for healthcare providers.

Lumeon’s CPM platform
integrates with all electronic health record (EHR) systems in addition to
incorporating required clinical and administrative data from point solutions
and devices, addressing the fragmented nature of healthcare technology and the
challenge of interoperability. By extending beyond the confines of a healthcare
provider’s EHR, Lumeon’s configurable solutions maximize current investments as
organizations evolve their care delivery models.

“While the markets for data analytics, clinical decision support and patient engagement are well established, what is missing today is the ability to effectively connect them to solve the problem of personalizing care delivery in a scalable way,” said Lumeon Founder and CEO Robbie Hughes. “The ‘last mile’ that turns the insight into action is the hardest part for health systems, and is the core of the Lumeon proposition.”

Top 5 RCM Challenges for Healthcare Executives in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond

Top 5 RCM Challenges for Healthcare Executives in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond
Brian Robertson, CEO at VisiQuate,

There have been many memorable “where were you?” events since the 21st century began. But few can match the COVID-19 pandemic, at least from a healthcare perspective. 

The effect on healthcare (and healthcare executives) has been particularly profound since our industry is in the center of everything. From the search for personal protective equipment (PPE) to setting up secure wings and field hospitals to instantly redeploying nurses from other floors to the emergency department (ED), the changes have been profound. 

Yet it’s not just the front-line care areas that have experienced these challenges. They’ve also extended to the core operational functions, such as revenue cycle management (RCM) and business intelligence. 

If there is a silver lining to all the trauma it’s that the pandemic has turned up the volume on the need to remove administrative waste and long-held assumptions. Many in healthcare have been far too comfortable for far too long saying “healthcare is 10 years behind other industries” in terms of business and operational technology. The pandemic has shown us the folly of that sentiment. 

We have the opportunity now to take what we have learned and are constantly discovering and apply it to make hospitals and health systems data-driven paragons of efficient operations. Here are five RCM challenges healthcare executives are currently facing and how the industry can improve on them moving forward. 

1. Allowing some employees to work from home

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, work from home was mildly embraced by some and driven more by increasingly expensive and/or unavailable office space.  Many hospital and health system executives believed that RCM personnel were best managed and supported when together in the same building or campus as their managers. As such, few had plans in place to enable a real work-from-home option. 

Then came the pandemic, and the options became A) allow work from home or B) cease RCM activities until the clinical side sounded the “all clear.” 

While there were certainly challenges on the mechanical side, many healthcare organizations quickly discovered that their RCM staff was capable of performing most of their duties effectively while at home.   

As they consider continuing work-from-home options, at least for those who want them, healthcare executives will need to be able to measure the productivity and effectiveness of their RCM staffs. This means they will need to get very good at workforce performance analytics. 

The best analytics will be about performance versus activity and will enable them to gain an auditable, objective measure of the value-based performance of each employee and the department as a whole. They will then be able to set incentives and take a more practical look at workloads and what people can do. For example, if someone is currently working 50 claim exceptions per day with two touches, what can be done to incent them to double that amount? If a biller/collector can do double their current volume and get better yield while working seven hours instead of eight, then they should be paid for performance versus activity.  

Organizations may still need to offer a minimal office environment for those who prefer to work that way. But they will have options that enable them to increase throughput and yield while also increasing employee satisfaction with their jobs. 

2.  Getting good at vendor/partner analytics

Let’s hope that the days when vendors and partners could make up for any mediocrity in their performance by dropping off a bigger box of donuts are long gone. Today, thanks to advanced analytics and data mining, healthcare executives can easily monitor and manage vendor performance to determine who is performing best on which types of issues so they can drive the best outcomes in each area.  The reality is that partners should be measured as much as possible in the same manner as staff members.  In RCM, cash remains king so key measures tied to cash performance, liquidity ratios, yield improvement as well as cost and “quality of touch” are best to measure the quantitative performance of a vendor, partner, or supplier.

3. Replacing dashboards with real-time command centers

If healthcare executives hadn’t already stopped relying on basic dashboards and scorecards by now the pandemic should have demonstrated why they should. Hospitals and health systems have no room for mistakes at present; they must capture every penny they can to make up for the revenue shortfalls driven by the canceling of non-emergent yet essential procedures.

Add to that a landscape that seems to be changing daily, or even hourly at times, and static and stale, dated views of organizational performance are no longer sufficient. It’s like looking at today’s weather forecast in yesterday’s newspaper. 

What they need instead is a robust command center that offers streaming, real-time views of their current performance levels with deep insights including leading indicators into prospective problems, patterns, or other anomalies.  With an RCM based command center, RCM executives can see how the organization is performing in multiple ways including yield, cost, quality, and velocity of payment from third-party payers and patients as well as internal process efficiencies or operational leakage. 

They can compare the effectiveness of staff working in the office versus working from home to determine whether work-from-home is delivering value. They can also slice and dice the data further to determine if individual employees are more productive in the office or at home so they can make even better, more granular decisions. 

The data-driven command center also enables decision-makers to look at what is being written off, where the leakage is occurring, and other factors in real-time so they can preserve and capture as much revenue as possible. The more molecular and atomic they can get at the source data level, the more effective they will be in managing organizational performance when it counts – as it’s happening. A data-driven command center delivers that capability.  A robust data-driven command center also tends to put the spotlight on process problems and where the potential for robotic based automation exists.

4. Getting smarter through AI, Machine Learning & Robotics

There is a huge need right now to remove costs while improving yield. Fortunately, that is what artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and analytical process automation (APA) are specifically designed to do because they are rooted in data. 

Much of this is understanding what goes wrong and why claims are stalled or denied. For example, if Payer A requires two touches to resolve a denial or downgrade and the same denials or downgrades require four touches for Payer B, providers should ask themselves “Why?”. It could be a training or systems issue, but it could also be something occurring on the payer side. 

Hospitals and health systems need to understand the patterns so they can ensure they are implementing the proper corrections. They should also be using APA to determine where costly manual labor can be replaced with automated systems. 

When they are looking to increase RCM efficiency via Robotic Process Automation, healthcare organizations often start with authorizations and eligibility. Those are always the obvious places to start but yield improvement and process and cost efficiencies live in many places throughout the revenue cycle. 

Data-driven APA can help them intelligently determine where the greatest potential gains from automation can be realized so they can start there, then work their way down. 

5. Improve compliance efforts

While there will always be some exceptions, most compliance issues are unintentional. Fortunately, the more organizations get molecular and atomic with their data and processes, the more they have controls they can test, giving them full audibility and traceability of potential risk areas. These capabilities will help avoid false claims act violations, improper coding, and other unintentional risk markers. 

More change to come

Although the overall number of daily COVID-19 cases may be trending downward, we are not out of the woods yet. Infectious disease experts are recommending caution for reopening the country; some are even predicting another surge in the fall to coincide with the start of the flu season, which could make the challenges even greater. 

If that scenario takes hold, hospitals and health systems will be further challenged to get patients with chronic conditions who are fearful of the virus to come to the office for regular screenings so they can avoid negative outcomes in these other areas. More data-driven innovation will be required. And as it occurs on the care side, it will need to be matched on the business side so hospitals and health systems can continue to deliver these services. 

The key is understanding not just what is happening but why it is happening so healthcare executives can make intelligent data-driven decisions. Hospitals and health systems would be wise to implement the appropriate technologies now so they are prepared for whatever the next “where were you?” moment brings. 

Murder hornets anyone? 

Analysis: July Health IT M&A Activity; Public Company Performance

– Healthcare Growth Partners’ (HGP) summary of Health IT/digital health mergers & acquisition (M&A) activity, and public company performance during the month of July 2020.


While a pandemic ravages the country, technology valuations are soaring.  The Nasdaq hit an all-time high during the month of July, sailing through the 10,000 mark to post YTD gains of nearly 20%, representing a 56% increase off the low water mark on March 23.  More notably, the Nasdaq has outperformed the S&P 500 (including the lift the S&P has received from FANMAG stocks – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, Google) by nearly 20% YTD. 

At HGP, we focus on private company transactions, but there is a close connection between public company and private company valuations.  While the intuitive reaction is to feel that companies should be discounted due to COVID’s business disruption and associated economic hardships facing the country, the data and the markets tell a different story.

While technology is undoubtedly hot right now given the thesis that adoption and value will increase during these virtual times, the other more important factor lifting public markets is interest rates.  According to July 19 research from Goldman Sachs,

“Importantly, it is the very low level of interest rates that justifies current valuations. The S&P 500 is within 4% of the all-time high it reached on February 19th, yet since that time the level of S&P 500 earnings expected in 2021 has been pushed forward to 2022. The decline in interest rates bridges that gap.”

Additionally, Goldman Sachs analysts also estimate that equities will deliver an annual return of 6% over the next 10-years, lower than the long-term return of 8%.  Future value has been priced into present value, and returns are diminished because the relative return over interest rates is what ultimately matters, not the absolute return.  In short, equity valuations are high because interest rates are low. 

What happens in public equities usually finds its way into private equity.  To note, multiple large private health IT companies including WellSkyQGenda, and Edifecs, have achieved 20x+ EBITDA transactions based on this same phenomenon.  From the perspective of HGP, this should also translate to higher valuations for private companies at the lower end of the market.  As investors across all asset classes experience reduced returns requirements due to low interest rates, present values increase across both investment and M&A transactions. 

As with everything in the COVID environment, it is difficult to make predictions with certainty.  Because the stimulus has caused US debt as a percentage of GDP to explode, there is an extremely strong motivation to keep long-term interest rates low.  For this reason, we believe interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future.  Time will tell whether this is sustainable, but early indications are positive.

Noteworthy News Headlines

Noteworthy Transactions

Noteworthy M&A transactions during the month include:

  • Workflow optimization software vendor HealthFinch was acquired by Health Catalyst for $40mm.
  • Sarnova completed simultaneous acquisition and merger of R1 EMS and Digitech.
  • Payment integrity vendor The Burgess Group acquired by HealthEdge Software.
  • Ciox acquired biomedical NLP vendor, Medal, to support its clinical data research initiatives.
  • Allscripts divests EPSi to Roper for $365mm, equaling 7.5x and 18.5x TTM revenue and EBITDA, respectively.

Noteworthy Buyout transactions during the month include:

  • HealthEZ, a vendor of TPA plans, was acquired by Abry Partners.
  • As part of a broader wave of blank check go-public transactions, MultiPlan will join the public markets as part of Churchill Capital Corp III.
  • Also as part of a wave of private equity club deals, WellSky partially recapped with TPG and Leonard Greenin a rumored $3B transaction valuing the company at 20x EBITDA.
  • Edifecs partnered with TA Associates and Francisco Partners in another club deal valuing the company at a rumored $1.4B (excluding $400mm earnout) at over 8x revenue and 18x EBITDA.
  • Madison Dearborn announced a $410mm take private of insurance technology vendor Benefytt.
  • Nuvem Health, a provider of pharmacy claims software, was acquired by Parthenon Capital.

Noteworthy Investments during the month include:

Public Company Performance

HGP tracks stock indices for publicly traded health IT companies within four different sectors – Health IT, Payers, Healthcare Services, and Health IT & Payer Services. Notably, primary care provider Oak Street Health filed for an IPO, offering 15.6 million shares at a target price of $21/ share. The chart below summarizes the performance of these sectors compared to the S&P 500 for the month of July:

The following table includes summary statistics on the four sectors tracked by HGP for July 2020:


About Healthcare Growth Partners (HGP)

Healthcare Growth Partners (HGP) is a Houston, TX-based Investment Banking & Strategic Advisory firm exclusively focused on the transformational Health IT market. The firm provides  Sell-Side AdvisoryBuy-Side AdvisoryCapital Advisory, and Pre-Transaction Growth Strategy services, functioning as the exclusive investment banking advisor to over 100 health IT transactions representing over $2 billion in value since 2007.

New Tech Solution Lets People Securely Share COVID-19 Testing Results

New Tech Solution Lets People Securely Share COVID-19 Testing Results

What You Should Know:

– TransUnion, in partnership with CLX Health, a joint venture from UST Global and SiriusIQ, announced the launch of HealthyAmerica, a technology solution that will give individuals the power to securely share their COVID-19 testing results while maintaining their individual privacy – helping businesses and schools across the country to minimize risk and reopen with greater confidence.  

– Businesses and schools seeking to welcome back their
employees and students will be able to use the solution to help prevent the
spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases by asking individuals to
download the HealthyAmerica app and, if the individual agrees, share their health
status.


To support
U.S. efforts to move forward safely and confidently in the wake of COVID-19, TransUnion and its partners are
developing the HealthyAmericaM solution.
HealthyAmerica gives people the power to securely share COVID-19 testing results
while maintaining individual privacy, helping businesses and schools to
minimize risk and reopen with greater confidence.

Helping Individuals,
Businesses and Schools Assess COVID-19 Risks 

HealthyAmerica
combines TransUnion’s verified data identity with confirmed test results
through CLX Health, which indicates the presence of illness and/or the
existence of COVID-19 antibodies. The results, when received from a national
network of CLIA-certified laboratories performing FDA-approved tests, are
displayed in a simple application. The solution will easily adapt to changes in
testing and COVID-19 care management, including the ultimate development and
use of a vaccine. This
initiative is being led by TransUnion Healthcare and does not utilize any
credit information.

Businesses and schools seeking to welcome back their employees and
students as well as airlines, hotels and other organizations and events across
the country will be able to use the solution to help prevent the spread of
COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. 

“People want to protect their health and lives and
they want the country to open,” said David Wojczynski, President of TransUnion
Healthcare. “With
HealthyAmerica, we can help them do both. The app helps people share their
vital information when they choose to do so. This helps avoid risks related to
COVID-19 in everyday interactions while maintaining privacy for individuals.”

HealthyAmerica Deployment

HealthyAmerica will be rapidly deployed and delivered in a simple
application with a user experience and process readily accessible by
individuals, employers, businesses and schools. The solution provides real-time
access to an established network of clinical laboratories, major hospital
systems and Federally Qualified Health Clinics, which combined perform over 90%
of all lab transactions in the United States. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the world’s health – physical, mental and economic. This partnership was created leveraging each organization’s expertise to help make the country safer by deploying a solution individuals and businesses can access to make decisions and evaluate health risk based on real-time information,” said Joseph Gonzalez, Chief Strategy Officer with CLX Health. “Having the ability to assess the risk of where you’ve been and where you want to go is the cornerstone of what we all need to help mitigate the spread of the virus and help the economy to open safely and back to capacity.”

How The HealthyAmerica App Works

Organizations utilizing the solution to help ensure the safety of
customers, employees and/or students will prompt individuals to download the
HealthyAmerica app. If the user agrees, they can then schedule testing at a
certified laboratory near them. Once testing has been completed, results will
be added to HealthyAmerica and the individual may choose whether to share their
status-verified QR code.

An optional feature of the app leverages publicly-available “heat
maps” of known cases of COVID-19 and adds the general and de-identified
location of users who opt in, allowing to see their proximity to known COVID-19
viral areas which they may have visited or may be planning to visit. The Virus
Encounter Risk Analysis (VERA) feature creates the most current map of virus
location so people can better assess risk of visiting specific locations and
potentially reduce the number of people exposed to the virus. HealthyAmerica is
fully operational for those who do not choose this option. 

“HealthyAmerica enables individuals to protect themselves from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 and to share their health status with the schools and businesses they choose to. TransUnion, a leading global provider of risk and information solutions, is well suited to provide the data identity functionality of this solution,” added Jim Bohnsack, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for TransUnion Healthcare.

Ginger Lands $50M to Expand On-Demand Mental Health Support Platform

Ginger Lands $50M to Expand On-Demand Mental Health Support Platform

What You Should Know:

– Ginger announces $50 Million in Series D funding to expand
access to its on-demand mental healthcare system led by Advance Venture
Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners; joined by Cigna Ventures and existing
investors.

– Company has more than tripled revenue over the past year, now brings access to on-demand mental healthcare to millions around the world through 200+ employer clients and leading health plans.


Ginger, a San Francisco, CA-based provider of on-demand
mental healthcare, today announced a $50 million Series D funding round led by
Advance Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners. Additional participants
include Cigna Ventures and existing investors such as Jeff Weiner, Executive
Chairman of LinkedIn, and Kaiser Permanente Ventures. This latest round of
investment brings the company’s total funding to over $120 million. 

On-Demand Mental Health Support

Founded in 2011, Ginger’s on-demand mental healthcare system
brings together behavioral health coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists, who
work as a team to deliver personalized care, right through your smartphone. The
Ginger app provides members with access to the support they need within
seconds, 24/7, 365 days a year. Millions of people have access to Ginger
through leading employers, health plans, and its network of partners.

By delivering evidence-based behavioral health coaching,
therapy and psychiatry right from a smartphone, Ginger is the only end-to-end
telemental health provider designed to meet this skyrocketing demand at a
fraction of the cost of traditional care.

Key benefits of Ginger’s on-demand mental health platform
include:

On-demand, anywhere: On average, members in 30
countries around the world can text with a Ginger behavioral health coach
within 44 seconds, 24/7, 365 days per year; first available video appointments
with a therapist or psychiatrist are available on average within 10.5
hours. 

Measurement-based: The company’s proprietary
collaborative care model has been proven to be more than twice as effective as
standard therapeutic interventions; 70 percent of people using Ginger
experience an improvement in their depression symptoms within 10-14
weeks. 

Loved by members: Ginger members give an average
rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars after each session.  


COVID-19 Underscores Record Demand for Mental Health
Support

This announcement comes at a time when the world’s mental
health crisis has reached an all-time high following the onset of the COVID-19
pandemic. According to Ginger’s 2020
Workforce Attitudes Toward Mental Health Report
, nearly 70 percent of U.S.
workers believe this is the most stressful period of their careers, including
major events like the September 11 terror attacks, the 2008 Great Recession and
others. Ginger has observed record-high demand for mental health support;
during July 2020, weekly utilization rates were 125% higher for coaching and
265% higher for therapy and psychiatry when compared to pre-COVID-19 averages.

Recent Traction/Milestones

Millions of people have access to Ginger through the
company’s partnerships with innovative employers, health plans, and strategic
partners. Today, over 200 companies ranging from startups to Fortune 100s,
including Delta Air Lines, Sanofi, Chegg, Domino’s, SurveyMonkey, and Sephora,
partner with Ginger to cost-efficiently provide employees with high-quality
mental healthcare. Ginger members can also access virtual therapy and
psychiatry sessions as an in-network benefit through the company’s
relationships with leading regional and national health plans, including Optum
Behavioral Health, Anthem California, and Aetna Resources for Living.  

The company recently announced the formation of the Ginger Advisory Board, bringing together world-renowned experts from MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Washington to advance mental health research and innovation. 

“Our mental healthcare system has long been inadequate. But in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and a tumultuous sociopolitical climate, we’re facing uncharted territory,” said Russell Glass, CEO, Ginger, “People are demanding better care, and the largest payers of healthcare are recognizing the need to respond. Ginger is uniquely able to reverse the course of this crisis at scale. With this investment, we can accelerate our work to deliver incredible mental healthcare at a fraction of the cost to the hundreds of millions of people around the world who deserve it.”

Cerner Invests in Xealth to Jointly Develop Digital Health Solutions for Clinicians

Digital Prescribing Platform Xealth Raises $11M to Expand Digital Health Tools

What You Should Know:

– Cerner and Xealth announce a collaboration to foster
tighter physician-patient relationships by giving patients easier access to
digital health tools.

– These assets will be prescribed directly within the physician’s EHR workflow to manage conditions including chronic diseases, behavioral health, maternity care, and surgery preparation.

– Cerner and LRVHealth have together invested $6 million
in Xealth as part of this agreement, with Cerner and Xealth planning to jointly
develop digital health solutions that extend the value of the EHR.

– Already integrated into Epic, the integration puts
Xealth in the EHR of record for more than half of the U.S. hospital systems.


Xealth, a Seattle, WA-based company enabling digital
health at scale, and Cerner
Corporation
, today announced a collaboration that will bring digital
health tools to clinicians and patients to improve the healthcare experience.
As part of this agreement, Cerner and Xealth plan to jointly develop digital health
solutions that extend the value of the electronic health record
(EHR).
Already integrated into Epic, this integration puts Xealth in
the EHR of record for more than half of the U.S. hospital systems.

In addition, Cerner
and LRVHealth have together invested $6M in Xealth. Cerner joins Xe