Conversa Health Expands Series B to $20M with Additional $8M in Funding

Backed by Northwell, Conversa Health Raises $12M for AI-Powered Chatbots

What You Should Know:

 – Conversa Health raises an additional
$8M, expanding its Series B round to $20M for its automated virtual care
platform, totaling $34M in funding to date.

– The Series B round, first announced at $12 million in
June, was co-led by Builders VC and Northwell Ventures, the corporate venture
arm of Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider with 23
hospitals and 800 outpatient facilities.

– Founded in 2014, Conversa enables health systems to
virtually engage, monitor and manage patients more effectively and efficiently
than ever before—for chronic care, acute discharge, perioperative, oncology,
OBGYN, prevention and wellness, and more. Conversa’s automated care platform
engages patients at high frequency and scale while triaging to
higher-touch/cost care venues when necessary, optimizing and improving the use
of telehealth e-visits, phone calls, and in-person consults.

– Conversa will use the additional Series B funds to
continue to scale its technology platform, expand its library of automated
virtual care digital pathways, and fuel growth with new and existing
customers. 


3 Steps to Maintain Telehealth’s Momentum Post-Pandemic

In the face of COVID-19, healthcare witnessed how crises can become the long-awaited push for creativity and innovation that the industry needs. When our healthcare infrastructure’s weaknesses were exposed, telehealth helped to stitch them up, with the number of telehealth claims increasing 8,336% nationally from April 2019 to April 2020. Out of need, patients quickly turned to telehealth as a new model of care delivery; clinicians adapted to a new avenue for engaging with patients, policymakers began to improve incentives for its use; and home became our hospital. 

As we continue the fight to control the virus in 2021, the industry is at a pivotal moment in ensuring this year’s telehealth momentum continues post-pandemic. Healthcare organizations should take time now to strategize how best to hardwire telehealth, so it is embedded into care delivery models long-term. In order to achieve this, leaders need to consider their collaboration with other stakeholders, longitudinal integration strategies that go beyond piecemeal solutions and transform the perception of what “home” means in healthcare to meet consumers where they are. 


Step 1: Collaborate to advance technology

If we’ve learned anything from healthcare’s digitization over the years, it’s that technology for technology’s sake is not enough – solving healthcare’s issues is a systems problem, not a disease problem. For telehealth to last, there needs to be a clinical transformation where workflows are rewritten, policies strongly incentivize its use and companies and hospitals partner on outcome-based models that support its scalability. 

In the last six months, we have seen more innovation and adoption in healthcare than we’ve seen in the last decade, with typical innovation timelines of years becoming weeks or days. In many ways, this creativity and open innovation saved the U.S. healthcare system from collapsing and helped us survive the initial surge. We also saw the collaboration of all sorts reach new heights, with organizations, federal agencies, private and public companies from different industries coming together to manage surge capacity while maintaining quality care. Another benefit of these partnerships is the emphasis on long-term policy changes that will empower lasting change and adoption of these innovative approaches. Industry efforts, like ours with the ATA, aim to promote telehealth’s growth and support hospitals, payers, and patients across care settings. The pandemic’s productive collaboration cannot stop here. Instead, we should continue to bring dimensions of policy, clinical experience, and consumer voices to imbed telehealth into our everyday systems. 


Step 2: Determine avenues for seamless data integration across settings

Telehealth’s power is not in its technical claims, but in the power of presenting caregivers with actionable, meaningful patient data so they can make data-driven care decisions with confidence. This is only made possible with interoperable, cloud-based solutions that collect, digest, and analyze data to inform care. With constant transfer of key patient data through connected devices, such as hospital-grade wearables and biosensors, and translating the data into useable insights, remote patient monitoring empowers care teams with the knowledge needed to intervene earlier and keep patients healthy at home. 

Telehealth’s power expands beyond the home, supporting a continuum of care no matter what setting a patient is in. Remote monitoring within the hospital is the crux of minimizing infection risk, handling sudden increases in patient volumes and allocating resources appropriately. These include solutions such as centralized clinical command centers to achieve remote, holistic patient views, or technology that activates scalable patient monitoring for ICU ramp-ups. The solutions we deploy need to be enablers of seamless data transfer – from the ED to ICU, to post-acute and home setting. We now must ensure our informatics backbones mature with these solutions, eliminating gaps in care while ensuring a secure flow of data where and when it’s needed. Deploying cloud-based platforms that bring together the right information across the care continuum will make for a powerful, integrated system that enhances patient and staff safety improves outcomes, and reduces costs.  


Step 3: Transforming what “home” means in healthcare 

2020 has transformed how we view “home.”  Home has become the center of life operations for people across the globe – we work from home, we educate our children at home and we exercise at home. Healthcare is now becoming another cornerstone of the home. With a growing volume of telehealth offerings and household names providing care services, consumer behavior is changing to expect customization, convenience, and instant gratification. The consumer’s voice is loud, and tomorrow’s healthcare will move it from a whisper to a shout – We must be prepared to deliver care when and where patients want to receive it, increasingly let go of healthcare’s brick-and-mortar blueprint, and enable healthcare to match the ease and convenience of other areas of a patient’s life. 

However, just like all these other ‘at-home’ activities that require getting used to or training, we need to support health literacy and engagement for all users. The pandemic has made the inequalities in our health system raw. Even before the pandemic, 5% of the patients account for about half of U.S. healthcare spending. This is a sign that they are not receiving the proactive care and support they need. We have an opportunity to change this equation with virtual care and bridge the digital divide by tailoring solutions to meet each patient’s needs and ensuring equitable availability to all patients.


Transforming telehealth into a standard of care

Technology isn’t the answer to telehealth’s success alone – it is virtualizing care where it is needed most and ensuring it is fully integrated across an institution. Healthcare organizations should reflect on where their greatest challenges and populations are, and look for systematic solutions for telehealth so that virtualization can scale efficiently and build from existing technology and workflows. With productive collaboration across sectors, robust data integration infrastructures, and an evolved perception of how we view healthcare, these tools have the power to influence how patients view and engage with their health, pushing the industry toward more proactive care that will have long-term benefits on outcomes and cost.


About Karsten Russell-Wood

Karsten Russell-Wood, MBA, MPH is the Portfolio Leader for Post-Acute and Home at Philips where he is responsible for Innovation and cross-business platform strategy and portfolio optimization. Prior to joining Philips, Karsten held global product management roles within GE’s healthcare businesses with an orientation to targeted patient populations and continues to be active in venture capital and startups in the digital health space.


UnitedHealth Rolls Out Employer Virtual Primary Care Plan

DPHO, UnitedHealthcare Launch Accountable Care Program

What You Should Know:

UnitedHealthcare is rolling out a virtual primary care plan for employers that will be powered by telehealth platform Amwell, CNBC first reports.

– The virtual primary care plan will allow patients access
to physicians with low or no co-pays for routine care via phone or computer.

– The virtual primary care program will be available for employers in 11 states including Colorado, Texas, and Maryland, as well as Washington, DC. 


IoMT Is Improving Patient Access: We Must Avoid Creating New Barriers

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is changing the face of healthcare and has the potential to significantly improve patient access as well as system efficiencies. The adoption of telemedicine, for example, spurred on by the Covid-19 pandemic, has spread rapidly.  Forrester revised its forecasts to predict that virtual care visits in the United States will soar to more than one billion this year—including 900 million visits related to Covid-19 specifically. Likewise, in the United Kingdom, 40% of doctor’s appointments now consist of phone or video calls.

Even before the pandemic, the adoption of IoMT was already growing rapidly, with the market valued at US$44.5 billion in 2018 and predicted to reach US$254 billion in 2026. There are more than 500,000 medical devices on the market, helping to diagnose, monitor, and treat patients – and more and more of these can, and are, becoming connected – not to mention innovations yet to enter the market. The connected medical devices segment specifically is expected to exceed $52 billion by 2022.

The COVID-19 Effect

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the healthcare landscape more than any other single event in recent memory. The urgent and widespread need for care, coupled with the challenge of physical distancing, has accelerated the creation and adoption of new digital technologies as well as new processes to support their adoption and implementation across healthcare. The MedTech industry is emerging as a key apparatus to combat the virus and provide urgent support.

A simple example demonstrating the potential benefits of IoMT can be seen even within a hospital setting, where monitoring COVID-19 patients is costly in terms of time and PPE (personal protective equipment) consumption, since simply walking into a patient’s room becomes a complex process. IoMT technologies enable medical devices to send data to medical practitioners who can monitor a patient’s condition without having to take readings at the bedside. The same technologies can enable patients who do not require hospitalization to be safely monitored while remaining at home or in a community setting. 

From the patients’ perspective, many are embracing virtual healthcare as an alternative to long waits or having to go to a clinic or hospital altogether. And given the growing number and scope of connected medical devices and services, such as remote patient monitoring, therapy, or even diagnosis, there will be even more options in the future.  

Catalyzed by the pandemic, the IoMT genie is fully out of the bottle, and it is unlikely to go back. 

Increasing Access

This is good news for healthcare and good news for patients and families. Patient access is improving as telehealth, supported by connected devices to enable the collection of health-related data remotely, is helping to lift barriers. This increase in accessibility has the potential to improve the convenience, timeliness, and even safety of access to healthcare services for more people in more places. 

IoMT is lifting geographic barriers that have impeded access to healthcare since its very inception. Individuals with transportation or mobility challenges will no longer need to travel to receive routine care if they can be safely monitored while at home. Historically underserved rural or remote communities can gain access to medical specialists without needing to fly or drive great distances, while services can be delivered more cost-effectively. 

Furthermore, with fewer clinic or hospital-based appointments required for routine monitoring of patients who are otherwise doing well, doctors would be able to concentrate their in-person time and clinic resources on those most in need of care. 

The capacity for specialized medicine enabled by IoMT could also have a dramatic impact. The vast quantities of health data becoming available (with the requisite permissions in place), can enable sophisticated AI-driven health applications that can, for example, predict complications before they occur, better understand the health needs of specific populations, or enable stronger patient engagement and self-care. These models can also equip healthcare practitioners with better sources of information, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.

Navigating Barriers

That said, while technology capabilities expand, innovation must take into consideration the needs of all the stakeholders within healthcare – from patients and caregivers to healthcare practitioners to administrators and payors/funders. Internet access, infrastructure, and comfort with technology, for example, can pose significant barriers for patients and health practitioners alike. 

One approach is to minimize the technological burden facing end-users. Devices should be user friendly and “ready to go” right out of the box, taking into consideration the circumstances and abilities of the potential range of users (patients and practitioners alike). Relying on the patient’s home Wi-Fi to provide connectivity is not ideal from either a usability or security perspective – not to mention availability and affordability. It is better for medical devices to have a cellular connection that can be immediately and securely connected to the network from any location, while also being remotely manageable to avoid burdening the user with network and setup requirements, or apps to download. 

Another barrier is the concern that both patients and healthcare providers have about security and data privacy risks. According to the 2016 edition of Philips’ Future Health Index, privacy/data security is second only to cost in the list of top barriers to the adoption of connected technology in healthcare across the countries surveyed.  

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, FBI, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have warned of cybercrime threats against hospitals and healthcare providers. The WannaCry ransomware attacks affected tens of thousands of NHS medical tools in England and Scotland. The enthusiasm in rolling out new digital health solutions must not overlook security principles or create systems that rely on ad hoc patches.

One way of meeting the stringent security requirements of healthcare is to ensure that connected medical devices have security literally built into their hardware, following the most recent guidelines set out by the GSMA for IoT security, including the GSMA IoT SAFE specifications. In accordance with this globally relevant approach, connected devices have a specially designed SIM that serves as a mini “crypto safe” inside the device to ensure that only authorized communication can occur.

Similarly, new medical devices and software that are difficult to implement or cannot communicate with other systems such as electronic health/medical records risk being “orphaned” in the system or simply not used.  The latter is a matter of both developing the necessary integrations and ensuring the appropriate access and permissions are managed. More easily said than done, fully integrated systems take time, and some of the pieces may be added incrementally – the key is that the potential to do so is there from the beginning so future resources can be invested in enhancements rather than replacements. 

Early Collaboration is Key

Accessibility and usability must be designed right into IoMT solutions from the outset, and the best way of ensuring that is for developers and healthcare stakeholders to have plenty of interaction long before the product enters the market. Stakeholders are many and healthcare systems are complex, so innovators can look to startup accelerators and other thought leaders to help navigate the territory. The time and effort spent by innovators and healthcare stakeholders in collaborating is a sound investment in the future, ensuring that technology is designed and then applied in meaningful and equitable ways to address the most pressing issues. 

The telehealth genie, powered by IoMT, is indeed out of the bottle and is set to revolutionize healthcare. By ensuring that IoMT technologies are developed and implemented with security, accessibility, and ease of use for all stakeholders as priorities, we can make sure that the full benefits of this new dawn can be enjoyed by all. 


Heidi Sveistrup, Ph.D. Bio

As the current CEO of the Bruyère Research Institute and VP, Research and Academic Affairs at Bruyère Continuing Care, Heidi Sveistrup, Ph.D. is focusing on increasing the research and innovation supporting pivotal transitions in care; meaningful, enjoyable and doable ways to support people to live where they choose; and creating opportunities to discover and create new approaches to identify, diagnose, treat and support brain health with individuals with memory loss. Fostering new and supporting existing collaborations among researchers, policymakers, practitioners, civil society and industry continues to be a priority.


Elza Seregelyi Bio

Elza Seregelyi is the Director for the TELUS L-SPARK MedTech Accelerator program, which offers participants pre-commercial access to a secure telehealth platform. L-SPARK is currently working with its first cohort of MedTech companies. Elza has an engineering and entrepreneurship background with extensive experience driving collaborative initiatives.


Transitioning from Traditional to E-Fax: How Healthcare Communications are Transforming Post-COVID

Telehealth After COVID-19: What's Next for the Healthcare Industry?
Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox

The majority of industries have decreased or eliminated their use of the traditional fax machine over the past decade, including aviation, retail, and even finance. While the healthcare industry is at the forefront of disease research and treatment, however, it is still heavily reliant on this aging technology. 

Traditional fax has become ubiquitous in healthcare. It worked for health systems for many years, but the overwhelming volume of patient data and paper documents the healthcare industry is now processing makes traditional faxing more challenging. In today’s environment, fax is no longer the most convenient, safe, or secure communications format but it is still an ingrained part of practice workflows. The good news is, there is no need to “axe the fax” in order to improve office communications and alleviate paper overload. By transitioning to electronic fax, healthcare providers can maintain their workflows and the benefits of fax, while incorporating it into their overall virtual communications strategy – further simplifying the business of healthcare. 

The Traditional Fax Challenge

The challenge with traditional fax isn’t new. In fact, in 2008 the Obama administration allocated nearly $30 billion to incentivize American hospitals and doctor offices to switch from paper to electronic systems. Since then, the industry has made small steps towards a more digitized system via fax servers and virtual patient communications such as secure text and broadcast messaging. While this solved part of the problem by making documents electronic and streamlining communications, it did not address the issue of inefficiency at its core, as practices are still printing, signing, and scanning paper documents. This inefficiency is causing a bottleneck when it comes to getting information transferred quickly, creates unnecessary costs for practices, and causes a lack of integration between health technologies across our healthcare system. 

A recent poll by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) found that 89% of healthcare organizations still use a fax machine, primarily to: 

  • Share patient records and lab and/or test results
  • Referrals
  • Payer communication
  • Pharmacy communication

This fragmented, outdated way of communication is not only inefficient and costly, it also impacts patient privacy and safety. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one Texas health department received so many test results via fax in one day that it simply couldn’t keep up with the amount of paper being spit out – resulting in hundreds of confidential results being dumped on the floor. In addition, the vast differences between old and new technology being blended together are making it difficult to keep track of patient records, share data between practices or report to the government, and more, including important racial, ethnic and geographic data that the Trump administration required for COVID tests. In addition to these challenges, traditional fax eats up staff time that could instead be spent on patient care.  

Addressing Outdated Systems and Driving Transformation 

While on the surface the solution seems simple, actually addressing this challenge at its core is not as easy as it seems. Many providers and large health systems face barriers when it comes to implementing this technology, such as: 

  • Compatibility between systems 
  • Fear of competition and/or losing patients to other health systems if e-fax enables patients to easily share data with other physicians
  • Cost considerations
  • Regulatory issues around the transfer of data between providers/EHRs through electronic fax

Despite these challenges, the pandemic has highlighted the delayed, disjointed communications that exist within our healthcare system – and underscored the need for practices and health systems to adopt electronic fax technology. For example, a CNBC survey found that due to COVID-19 tests results coming in via fax in such large amounts, almost 40% of Americans had to wait more than three days for their results, which was too late to be clinically meaningful.  

It’s time to address this challenge industry-wide. Last year’s MGMA 2020 virtual conference theme, Rise Above, focused on giving providers actionable tools to navigate through the challenges COVID-19 has presented. The importance of virtual care solutions, including communications tools like electronic fax and forms, are unprecedented. Electronic fax technology can help alleviate the bottlenecks and inefficiencies that currently exist in healthcare. These solutions can: 

  • Reduce costs spent on traditional fax hardware, such as paper, ink, toner, etc.
  • Increase accessibility, allowing providers to view documents via mobile, etc.  at their convenience 
  • Improve practice workflow and efficiency, allowing practices to edit, organize, assign and complete patient forms online

Additionally, electronic fax should integrate seamlessly with other patient management solutions that practices are leveraging, such as video chat, SMS text, electronic forms, and a virtual waiting room, ultimately streamlining the entire patient experience.

Healthcare has transformed dramatically this year and will continue to do so — there’s a new expectation of patient care post-COVID. In order to improve patient communications, practice efficiency, system interoperability, and data sharing, practices must adopt an entire virtual care strategy, including electronic fax. Offering telehealth but still communicating via traditional fax will hold your practice back. It’s time for our healthcare system to ditch outdated systems and go completely paperless. This is how we will tap into the true power of the inbox, drive practice profitability and efficiency, and better serve patients. 


About Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox
With a successful track record in helping organizations use technology to transform the way healthcare is delivered, Mike has more than 25 years of healthcare leadership within software, behavioral health, and HIT organizations. Updox was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America for the past six consecutive years.


CVS Health Launches Senior Medical Alert System, Symphony

CVS Health Launches Senior Medical Alert System, Symphony

What You Should Know:

– Today, CVS Health announced Symphony, a medical alert
system designed to keep seniors safe and connected at home.

– Symphony consists of a collection of in-home and wearable devices that offer a new at-home experience by connecting a suite of sensors that can monitor for falls, motion, and room temperature while also providing a 24/7 personal emergency response platform for use when needed.


CVS Health, today announced the release of Symphony medical
alert system to help caregivers monitor the safety and well-being of loved
ones, even from afar. This collection of in-home and wearable devices offers a
new at-home experience by connecting a suite of sensors that can monitor for
falls, motion, and room temperature while also providing a 24/7 personal
emergency response platform for use when needed. Symphony is designed to support
the growing number of seniors choosing to maintain an independent lifestyle at
home, as well as those involved in their care.

Spurred in part by COVID, as you may know, an increasing
number of seniors are choosing to “age in place.” But COVID has also
highlighted major challenges in staying connected to loved ones while socially
isolated. Enter Symphony…a collection of in-home and wearable devices that
are now available in approx. 650 CVSH HUBs and online. 

Unlike other systems that require a wearable alert device,
Symphony includes a voice-activated Smart Hub that lets seniors call assigned
caregivers or emergency responders hands-free 24/7. Sensors placed around
the house can monitor motion, temperature, and air quality and alert caregivers
of anything out of the ordinary through a free caregiver smartphone app.
Symphony system also provides alerts for falls or other emergencies and can
assist with facilitating care coordination when needed.

Symphony is the latest example of ways in which CVS Health is supporting seniors at home. Organizations like SilverSneakers® are providing virtual exercise classes to help seniors stay active from the comfort of their homes. And Aetna partnered with the companionship benefit company Papa, Inc., to connect Medicare Advantage members with college-age individuals who can provide remote companionship through the telephone. These are in addition to more traditional services, like virtual care, and SDOH resources like grocery delivery, housekeeping, and others.

Bundle Packages

Designed to fit a family’s specific needs and adapt to a variety of homes, two easy-to-use Symphony device options are available: the Basic Bundle and Essential Bundle. While both systems come equipped with the Smart Hub and a wearable care button, the Essential Bundle also includes motion sensors and a voice-activated Fall Sensor to automatically detect falls in the bathroom, where the majority of accidents occur. Complementary devices are available for both bundles if desired, including additional motion sensors to extend the range of coverage in larger homes, and entry sensors for use on doors, cabinets, or windows.

Pricing

Pricing starts at $149.99 for the Symphony Basic Bundle and
$249.99 for the Essential Bundle. A monthly service fee is required, although
no long-term contract is needed to activate. Once activated, each Symphony
bundle can help support safety at home as well as in the event of an emergency.

“We’re committed to helping consumers on their path to better health and new consumer health innovations like Symphony can help give caregivers peace of mind as they monitor a loved one’s safety and well-being through a truly differentiated connected health approach,” said Adam Pellegrini, SVP of Enterprise Virtual Care & Consumer Health at CVS Health.

How COVID-19 Reshaped Healthcare Consumerism & 4 Key Trends to Know for 2021

How COVID-19 Reshaped Healthcare Consumerism & 4 Key Trends to Know for 2021

What You Should Know:

– NRC Health today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer
Trends Report, which surveyed 2 million healthcare consumers against the
backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

– The latest report highlights the major trends that came to light last year, and how they will continue to impact the healthcare industry in 2021 and beyond – from declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of telehealth, a rise in wearable tech, and a broader focus on social media marketing.

– Hospital leaders will also find value in learning how
to recapture patient volumes lost in 2020 and how to bring more human
understanding into the care experience.


NRC Health, a provider of in-depth
customer intelligence in healthcare, today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report. For its
third-annual industry review, NRC Health surveyed millions of healthcare
consumers against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. From
declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of
telehealth, a rise in wearable tech and a broader focus on social media
marketing, NRC Health’s latest report shines a light on consumers’ evolving
preferences and behaviors related to key healthcare trends and offers insight
into how provider organizations can recapture patient volumes in 2021.


COVID-19 Accelerated the Trajectory of Consumerism in
Healthcare

“It cannot be overstated just how dramatically COVID-19 has accelerated the trajectory of consumerism in healthcare,” said Helen Hrdy, Chief Growth Officer, NRC Health. “The onus falls on healthcare leaders to move the industry forward by ensuring patient safety, building consumer trust and bringing more human understanding into every care experience. Those organizations that are willing and able to evolve with the times will be best-positioned for success in the aftermath of COVID-19.”

“For years, consumers have made consistent appeals for autonomy, convenience, and freedom of choice,” said Hrdy. “As unsettling as it’s been, COVID-19 has brought some of these consumerist-driven measures to the forefront. While healthcare leaders have proven they can be nimble and adaptable, even in the face of crisis, consumers want a partnership with their providers and a care experience that exceeds their expectations moving forward. But only with the right data and the right understanding, can we ensure that healthcare is capable of adapting.”


4 Key Healthcare Consumerism Trends to Know in 2021

1. Consumers favor convenience, provider rapport over brand loyalty

Consumer loyalty is a major driver of health system
profitability, but unfortunately for hospitals and health systems, overall
brand preference among healthcare consumers continues to decline, from 31% in
2018 to 36% in 2020. More than a third of consumers expressed no particular
preference for a healthcare brand, when compared against independent
practitioners, and 62% anticipate their brand preferences to change after the
pandemic.

Ironically, providers themselves are in the best position to
earn back consumer trust. An analysis from NRC Health’s Real-time Feedback
database shows that consumers report an overwhelming fondness for their
providers, especially since the outbreak began. To capitalize on that goodwill
and bring patients back into the healthcare fold, all evidence points to
convenience. Almost half of consumers say a convenient location is the number
one factor in their healthcare decision-making.


2. Patient deferment rates will continue to rise

Prior to the pandemic, healthcare deferral rates were
approaching a five-year low. But with consumer anxiety at an all-time high due
to the pandemic, those rates rose significantly in 2020, up from 22.4% at the
end of March to 30.4% by the end of June. Forty percent of patients who delayed
care in 2020 cited the coronavirus as the reason, while 17.2% said they prefer
to manage their care on their own for now.

Delaying care can have a number of repercussions, from
threatening hospital revenue streams in the near term to causing far more
serious outcomes for consumers in the long term. Patients 75 and older
accounted for nearly 68% of all care delays, revealing a huge challenge for
health systems as they try to recruit this generation back into regular care.


3. Future of care delivery looks
uncertain after rapid telehealth adoption

Lagging in widespread adoption for years, the pandemic fast
tracked virtual care delivery from optional luxury to operational necessity.
Fortunately, consumers have been receptive to the shift, with an overwhelming
92% reporting positive telehealth experiences during this time. However, only
27% of consumers say they will consider telehealth as a potential alternative
for future visits, underscoring what is still an uncertain future for virtual
health and overall care delivery beyond the pandemic. Prioritizing provider
time and attentiveness, as well as financial transparency, will be key as
healthcare organizations work to cultivate effective telehealth practices long
term.


4. Patients and providers still disconnected over digital
innovations

Telehealth
may have brought healthcare into consumers’ homes, but it is by no means the
only avenue to reach customers outside of the healthcare facility. By and
large, consumers are enthusiastic about digital innovations that bring them
closer to their provider — even as these innovations are underutilized by
healthcare organizations.

Wearable
tech
, for example, has become a huge part of the average consumer’s daily
life in regards to how they manage their health and wellness from home. Yet
only 50% of providers are asking about wearable tech data during appointments,
despite the fact that 57% of consumers believe this data would be useful in
conversations with their healthcare providers.

Social media is another under-used digital venue for patient
interaction. Even though 72% of Americans have some kind of social media
profile, many health systems have not yet found an optimal strategy for
engagement. And while currently, only 23% of Internet users are actively
seeking health information on social media, that number is likely to soon rise
as 70% percent of consumers expressed interest in getting healthcare
information via social channels. Another 62% said they trust the health information
they get on social media, so long as it comes directly from their provider.
This was especially true during the worst of the pandemic, when consumers
trusted news from local healthcare organizations more than any other sources.


Teladoc Health, Dexcom Offers CGM-Powered insights to People with Type 2 Diabetes

Teladoc Health, Dexcom Offers CGM-Powered insights to People with Type 2 Diabetes

What You Should Know:

– Teladoc Health and Dexcom announced an expanded
partnership on a new offering measures the impact of continuous glucose
monitoring and real-time health recommendations for people with Type 2 diabetes
at no cost.


Teladoc Health, Inc., the first and only comprehensive virtual care system, and DexCom, Inc., the leader in real-time continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), today announced that joint Livongo for Diabetes and Dexcom members will now receive CGM-powered insights. In January of 2020, Livongo, which merged with Teladoc Health in October, and Dexcom announced the first phase of their strategic relationship, a data-sharing agreement for Livongo for Diabetes members using Dexcom CGM technology.

Expanded Partnership Details

“We are excited to announce the next phase of our relationship with Teladoc Health, along with launching a commercial pilot demonstrating how Dexcom’s leading CGM combined with Teladoc Health’s data science capabilities enhance the diabetes management experience,” said Matt Dolan, senior vice president and general manager of new markets for Dexcom. “We have received powerful feedback from people with Type 2 diabetes using our technology, and through additional innovative product features, we fully anticipate that we will deliver an even greater impact.”

The expanded partnership includes two developments: 

1. Enhanced product capabilities through CGM-powered
insights, a new set of features and reports that help members more easily
visualize their health information and understand how lifestyle decisions
affect their blood glucose levels. By combining Dexcom CGM data with additional signals from
Teladoc Health, including activity data and food intake, CGM-powered insights offer members a complete health profile and recommendations
that support ongoing diabetes management.

2. A pilot program demonstrating the impact of CGM-powered
insights for people with Type 2 diabetes. Eligible members will receive an
integrated product experience including the Livongo for Diabetes program, Dexcom
CGM technology and CGM-powered insights at no cost. 

“Teladoc Health’s partnership with Dexcom further empowers whole person health through an innovative combination of advanced technology and human expertise,” said Amar Kendale, chief product officer of Teladoc Health. “Our focus is to offer a consumer experience that makes it easy, safe and affordable for people to manage their health with confidence. We are excited about our continued work with Dexcom and new features that enable smarter care, leading to measurable consumer behavior change and better health outcomes.”

Why It Matters

It is estimated that 463 million adults around the world
live with diabetes[1],
a number expected to rise to 700 million by 2045. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity, weight management,
and improved blood pressure management are important factors for preventing
diabetes-related complications[2].


Nuance Launches AI-Powered Patient Engagement Virtual Assistant Platform

Nuance Launches AI-Powered Patient Engagement Virtual Assistant Platform

What You Should Know:

– Nuance Communications, Inc. launched an AI-powered
patient engagement virtual assistant platform to transform omnichannel digital
experiences for patients.

Healthcare provider organizations can now deploy
a single, common cloud-based platform to support their entire patient journey
across engagement channels using Nuance’s market-leading Intelligent Engagement
AI technology

– The launch comes as patients increasingly expect the
same level of engaging experiences from healthcare organizations that they have
with consumer brands.


Nuance
Communications, Inc.,
today launched an AI-powered patient
engagement virtual assistant platform
to transform voice and digital
experiences across the patient journey. The platform combines Nuance’s decades
of healthcare expertise and its award-winning AI technology trusted by consumer
brands like H&M, Rakuten and Best Buy. It works by integrating and
extending Nuance’s EHR, CRM and Patient Access Center systems to enable
healthcare provider organizations to modernize their “digital front door” and
improve clinical care experiences.

Holistic Approach to Healthcare’s New Digital Front Door

Patients are demanding the same conveniences from healthcare
organizations that they enjoy from major consumer brands. A recent survey reveals that consumers are ready for
digital changes such as telemedicine options (44%), digital forms and
communication (41%), and touchless check-in (37%). What’s more, 68% value a
customized patient experience. In fact, a poor digital health experience caused
more than a quarter of patients to change medical providers in 2020 — up 40
percent from 2019.

“Our new omnichannel Patient Engagement Virtual
Assistant Platform takes a holistic approach to powering healthcare’s new
digital front door, overcoming the shortcomings and inconsistencies of partial
point solutions,” said Peter Durlach, Senior Vice President, Strategy
and New Business Development, Nuance. “By marrying the capabilities of our
healthcare experience and the proven omnichannel customer engagement technology
trusted by Fortune 100 companies worldwide, we can help address the
urgent need of providers and patients alike to transform access to, and
delivery of, care in the modern age of digital medicine.”


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.”

12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021 Roundup

Dr. Paul Hain, Chief Medical Officer of GoHealth

Telehealth is Here to Stay in 2021

Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was a limited ad-hoc service with geographic and provider restrictions. However, with both the pandemic restrictions on face to face interactions and a relaxation of governmental regulations, telehealth utilization has significantly increased from thousands of visits in a week to well over a million in the Medicare population. What we’ve learned is that telehealth allows patients, especially high-risk populations like seniors, to connect with their doctors in a safe and efficient way. Telehealth is valuable for many types of visits, mostly clearly ones that involve mental health or physical health issues that do not require a physical exam or procedure. It’s an efficient modality for both the member and provider.

With the growing popularity of telehealth services, we may see permanent changes in regulatory standards. Flexible regulatory standards, such as being able to use platforms like FaceTime or Skype, would lower the barrier to entry for providers to offer telehealth and also encourage adoption, especially among seniors. Second, it’s likely we’ll see an emergence of providers with aligned incentives around value, such as in many Medicare Advantage plans, trying very hard to encourage utilization with their members so that they get the right care at the right time. In theory, the shift towards value-based care will allow better care and lower costs than the traditional fee for service model. If we are able to evolve regulatory and payment environments, providers have an opportunity to grow these types of services into 2021 to improve patient wellness and health outcomes.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Dr. Salvatore Viscomi, Chief Medical Officer, GoodCell

2021 will be the year of patient controlled-health

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the realities of a global-scale health event – and our general lack of preparedness to address it – to the forefront. People are now laser-focused on how they can protect themselves and their families against the next inevitable threat. On top of this, social distancing and isolation accelerated the development and use of digital health tools, from wellness trackers to telehealth and virtual care, most of which can be accessed from the comfort of our homes. The convergence of these two forces is poised to make 2021 the year for patient-controlled health, whereby health decisions are not dictated by – but rather made in consultation with – a healthcare provider, leveraging insights and data pulled from a variety of health technology tools at people’s fingertips.


Bullshit Metrics: Is Patient Engagement Real?

Anish Sebastian, CEO of Babyscripts

Beyond telemedicine

Telemedicine was the finger in the dyke at the beginning of pandemic panic, with healthcare providers grabbing whatever came to hand — encouraged by relaxed HIPAA regulations — to keep the dam from breaking. But as the dust settles, telemedicine is emerging as the commodity that it is, and value-add services are going to be the differentiating factors in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Offerings like remote patient monitoring and asynchronous communication, initially considered as “nice-to-haves,” are becoming standard offerings as healthcare providers see their value for continuous care beyond Covid.


Rise of the "Internet of Healthy Things"

Daniel Kivatinos, COO and Co-Founder of DrChrono

Telehealth visits are going to supersede in-person visits as time goes on.

Because of COVID-19, the world changed and Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other insurers, started paying out for telehealth visits. Telemedicine will continue to grow at a very quick rate, and verticals like mental health (psychology and psychiatry) and primary care fit perfectly into the telemedicine model, for tasks like administering prescription refills (ePrescribing) and ordering labs. Hyperlocal medical care will also move towards more of a telemedicine care team experience. Patients that are homebound families with young children or people that just recently had surgery can now get instant care when they need it. Location is less relevant because patients can see a provider from anywhere.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Dennis McLaughlin VP of Omni Operations + Product at ibi

Virtual Healthcare is Here to Stay (House Calls are Back)

This new normal however is going to put significant pressure on the data support and servicing requirements to do it effectively. As more services are offered to patients outside of established clinical locations, it also means there will be more opportunity to collect data and a higher degree of dependence on interoperability. Providers are going to have to up their game from just providing and recording facts to passing on critical insight back into these interactions to maximize the benefits to the patient.


Sarahjane Sacchetti, CEO at Cleo

Virtual care (of all types) will become a lasting form of care: The vastly accelerated and broadened use of virtual care spurred by the pandemic will become permanent. Although it started with one-off check-ins or virtual mental health coaching, 2021 will see the continued rise in the use and efficacy of virtual care services once thought to be in-person only such as maternity, postpartum, pediatric, and even tutoring. Employers are taking notice of this shift with 32% indicating that expanded virtual health services are a top priority, and this number will quickly rise as employers look to offer flexible and convenient benefits in support of employees and to drive productivity.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe

Digital expansion: The pandemic has accelerated patient technology adoption, and innovation remains front-and-center for healthcare in 2021. Expect to see areas of telemedicine and digital health monitoring expand in new and novel ways, with increased uses in remote monitoring and behavioral health. CMS has approved telehealth for a number of new specialties and digital health tools continue to gain adoption among healthcare companies, drug makers, providers, and patients. 

Digital health companions will continue to become an important tool to monitor patients, provide support, and track behaviors – while remaining socially distant due to the pandemic.  Look for crossover between medical care, drug monitoring, and health and wellness – Apple 

Watch has already previewed this potential with heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring. Data output from devices will enable support to become more personalized and triggered by user behavior. 


Kelli Bravo, Vice President, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Pegasystems

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed and disrupted our lives, it has wreaked havoc on the entire healthcare industry at a scale we’ve never seen before. And it continues to alter almost every part of life across the globe. The way we access and receive healthcare has also changed as a result of social distancing requirements, patient concerns, provider availability, mobile capabilities, and newly implemented procedures at hospitals and healthcare facilities.

For example, hospitals and providers are postponing elective procedures again to help health systems prepare and reserve ICU beds amid the latest COVID-19 resurgence. While level of care is always important, in some areas, the inability to access a healthcare provider is equally concerning. And these challenges may become even more commonplace in the post-COVID-19 era. One significant transformation to help with the hurdle is telehealth, which went from a very small part of the care offering before the health crisis to one that is now a much more accepted way to access care.
As the rise in virtual health continues to serve consumers and provide a personalized and responsive care experience, healthcare consumers expect support services and care that are also fast and personalized – with digital apps, instant claims settlements, transparency, and advocacy. And to better help serve healthcare consumers, the industry has an opportunity to align with digital transformation that offers a personalized and responsive experience.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Brooke LeVasseur, CEO of AristaMD

Issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be front-and-center in 2021. Every available digital tool in the box will have to be employed to ensure patients with non-COVID related issues are not forgotten as we try to free up in-person space and resources for those who cannot get care in any other setting. Virtual front doors, patient/physician video and eConsults, which connect providers to collaborate electronically, will be part of a broadening continuum of care – ultimately aimed at optimizing every valuable resource we have.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Bret Larsen, CEO and Co-Founder, eVisit

By the end of 2021, virtual care paths will be fairly ubiquitous across the continuum of care, from urgent care and EDs to specialty care, all to serve patients where they are – at home and on mobile devices. This will be made possible through virtualized end-to-end processes that integrate every step in patient care from scheduling, waiting rooms, intake and patient queuing, to interpretation services, referral management, e-prescribe, billing and analytics, and more.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Laura Kreofsky, Vice President for Advisory & Telehealth for Pivot Point Consulting

2020 has been the year of rapid telehealth adoption and advancement due to the COVID pandemic. According to CDC reports, telehealth utilization spiked as much as 154% in late March compared to the same period in 2019. While usage has moderated, it’s clear telehealth is now an instrumental part of healthcare delivery. As provider organizations plan for telehealth in 2021 and beyond, we are going to have to expect and deliver a secure, scalable infrastructure, a streamlined patient experience and an approach that maximizes provider efficiency, all while seeing much-needed vendor consolidation.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Jeff Lew, SVP of Product Management, Nextech

Earlier this year, CMS enacted new rules to provide practices with the flexibility they need to use telehealth solutions in response to COVID-19, during which patients also needed an alternative to simply visiting the office. This was the impetus to the accelerated acceptance of telehealth as a means to both give and receive care. Specialty practices, in particular, are seeing successful and positive patient experiences due to telehealth visits. Dermatology practices specifically standout and I expect the strong adoption will continue to grow and certainly be the “new normal.” In addition, innovative practices that have embraced this omni-channel approach to delivering care are also establishing this as a “new normal” by selectively using telehealth visits for certain types of encounters, such as post-op visits or triaging patients. This gives patients a choice and the added convenience that comes with it and, in some cases, increases patient volume for the practice.


How Big Data will accelerate the future of digital medicine in 2021

The pandemic has shed light on inefficiencies in healthcare systems, and provided an opportunity to adjust how we manage care in the future. Jennifer Haas, executive vice president of Noteworth, shares her 2021 predictions surrounding the future of telehealth and big data. 

Healthcare providers are grappling with the task of scaling digital care delivery operations for ambulatory patients in response to the cost dynamics of effectively treating large populations with limited resources, especially in a post-COVID-19 world. At the heart of this challenge is how to secure, aggregate, analyse, and action the data necessary to make proactive patient care decisions and diagnoses.

In the coming year, there will be a renewed focus on healthcare providers needing to shift their business models to highlight the new need to make healthcare accessible and effective, regardless of geography, location, and mobility.

This will need to be done while also engaging and empowering patients in their own wellness. A recent report highlighted that over 40% of US adults had delayed seeing a doctor during the pandemic. Powering digital medicine platforms with big data and IoT devices ensures clinicians receive access to the entire scope of a patient’s health information while reducing the need for in-person visits and improving patient outcomes.

The ability to use big data in healthcare through digital medicine will prove to be invaluable for healthcare organisations as they work through the pandemic and the new world it has created. Having access to relevant data through digital medicine is helpful because it provides more opportunities for proactive intervention and a more accurate view of the patients’ health with consolidated real-time information.

“Another key benefit to big data incorporated into digital medicine platforms is the healthcare providers’ ability to connect with healthcare apps to track and monitor patient health”

When it comes to digital medicine, big data can improve communication and strengthen relationships between patients and their various healthcare providers.  This is largely because the use of digital medicine platforms feel much more comfortable and personalised for many patients. It not only allows them to take a more active approach in their own healthcare, but gives them access to their clinicians more freely and frequently.  It also allows the care team to be much more connected to the patients’ day to day progress and highlights potential intervention needs before they become critical.  Risk modeling and stratification will continue to evolve, allowing clinicians to collaborate with AI and Big Data to make more accurate predictions of where a patient’s health is trending.

One of the focuses of digital medicine is remote patient monitoring. This technology is especially helpful during the current pandemic as it gives providers the information needed in order to track the patient’s health statuses and react quickly when a patient has an urgent need for proactive care. Remote patient monitoring can alert patients and their healthcare teams when intervention, including seeking in-person medical attention on a scheduled or emergency basis, is needed. Having this data is vital to the future of how patients and their healthcare providers work together. By combining the power of big data within healthcare, digital medicine platforms can help reduce the number of unnecessary visits patients take to the doctor or hospital and alert providers, caregivers, and patients when their status requires in-person care.

Another key benefit to big data incorporated into digital medicine platforms is the healthcare providers’ ability to connect with healthcare apps to track and monitor patient health. As we see within numerous apps or smartphones, they allow users to track health factors such as physical activity, heart rate, breathing rate, and diet. These data points can be transmitted directly to a doctor and be factored into any treatment decisions. Being able to bring this data together creates more insight into a patient’s preventive and personalised care.

The benefits of big data analytics range across the board in healthcare. Most, if not all, healthcare sectors stand to benefit from the implementation of big data analytics within digital medicine. The providers (hospitals or private practices) will be able to provide better care to their patients to make more accurate data-driven decisions more efficiently.  The biggest winner will be the patients themselves who can utilise telemedicine and remote patient monitoring to their advantage in order to enjoy more flexible and convenient access to care which in turn helps them to live healthier lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the once-niche telemedicine industry into the mainstream, creating a lasting shift in care delivery. In 2021 and beyond, we will see the healthcare industry shift even more towards digital medicine, specifically AI and risk stratification modeling.

If 2020 has taught the healthcare industry anything, it is that patients want choices and control over their own healthcare.  Healthcare providers and insurers need to listen. Leveraging digital medicine platforms allows providers the ability to draw on the desire for personalized, proactive care by utilising actionable data to proactively monitor a patient’s health status between visits while driving down care costs and improving patient outcomes.

About the author 

Jennifer Haas is executive vice president of sales for Noteworth, where she leads sales, channel partnerships, business development, marketing and social media including profit and loss management.

The post How Big Data will accelerate the future of digital medicine in 2021 appeared first on .

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


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

As we close out the year, we asked several healthcare executives to share their predictions and trends for 2021.

30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Kimberly Powell, Vice President & General Manager, NVIDIA Healthcare

Federated Learning: The clinical community will increase their use of federated learning approaches to build robust AI models across various institutions, geographies, patient demographics, and medical scanners. The sensitivity and selectivity of these models are outperforming AI models built at a single institution, even when there is copious data to train with. As an added bonus, researchers can collaborate on AI model creation without sharing confidential patient information. Federated learning is also beneficial for building AI models for areas where data is scarce, such as for pediatrics and rare diseases.

AI-Driven Drug Discovery: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on drug discovery, which encompasses microscopic viewing of molecules and proteins, sorting through millions of chemical structures, in-silico methods for screening, protein-ligand interactions, genomic analysis, and assimilating data from structured and unstructured sources. Drug development typically takes over 10 years, however, in the wake of COVID, pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and researchers realize that acceleration of traditional methods is paramount. Newly created AI-powered discovery labs with GPU-accelerated instruments and AI models will expedite time to insight — creating a computing time machine.

Smart Hospitals: The need for smart hospitals has never been more urgent. Similar to the experience at home, smart speakers and smart cameras help automate and inform activities. The technology, when used in hospitals, will help scale the work of nurses on the front lines, increase operational efficiency, and provide virtual patient monitoring to predict and prevent adverse patient events. 


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe

Healthcare policy: Expect to see more moves on prescription drug prices, either through a collaborative effort among pharma groups or through importation efforts. Pre-existing conditions will still be covered for the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

The Biden administration has made this a central element of this platform, so coverage will remain for those covered under ACA. Look for expansion or revisions of the current ACA to be proposed, but stalled in Congress, so existing law will remain largely unchanged. Early feedback indicates the Supreme Court is unlikely to strike down the law entirely, providing relief to many during a pandemic.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Brent D. Lang, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Vocera Communications

The safety and well-being of healthcare workers will be a top priority in 2021. While there are promising headlines about coronavirus vaccines, we can be sure that nurses, doctors, and other care team members will still be on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 for many more months. We must focus on protecting and connecting these essential workers now and beyond the pandemic.

Modernized PPE Standards
Clinicians should not risk contamination to communicate with colleagues. Yet, this simple act can be risky without the right tools. To minimize exposure to infectious diseases, more hospitals will rethink personal protective equipment (PPE) and modernize standards to include hands-free communication technology. In addition to protecting people, hands-free communication can save valuable time and resources. Every time a nurse must leave an isolation room to answer a call, ask a question, or get supplies, he or she must remove PPE and don a fresh set to re-enter. With voice-controlled devices worn under PPE, the nurse can communicate without disrupting care or leaving the patient’s bedside.

Improved Capacity

Voice-controlled solutions can also help new or reassigned care team members who are unfamiliar with personnel, processes, or the location of supplies. Instead of worrying about knowing names or numbers, they can use simple voice commands to connect to the right person, group, or information quickly and safely. In addition to simplifying clinical workflows, an intelligent communication system can streamline operational efficiencies, improve triage and throughput, and increase capacity, which is all essential to hospitals seeking ways to recover from 2020 losses and accelerate growth.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Michael Byczkowski, Global Vice President, Head of Healthcare Industry at SAP,

New, targeted healthcare networks will collaborate and innovate to improve patient outcomes.

We will see many more touchpoints between different entities ranging from healthcare providers and life sciences companies to technology providers and other suppliers, fostering a sense of community within the healthcare industry. More organizations will collaborate based on existing data assets, perform analysis jointly, and begin adding innovative, data-driven software enhancements. With these networks positively influencing the efficacy of treatments while automatically managing adherence to local laws and regulations regarding data use and privacy, they are paving the way for software-defined healthcare.

Smart hospitals will create actionable insights for the entire organization out of existing data and information.

Medical records as well as operational data within a hospital will continue to be digitized and will be combined with experience data, third-party information, and data from non-traditional sources such as wearables and other Internet of Things devices. Hospitals that have embraced digital are leveraging their data to automate tasks and processes as well as enable decision support for their medical and administrative staff. In the near future, hospitals could add intelligence into their enterprise environments so they can use data to improve internal operations and reduce overhead.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Curt Medeiros, President and Chief Operating Officer of Ontrak

As health care costs continue to rise dramatically given the pandemic and its projected aftermath, I see a growing and critical sophistication in healthcare analytics taking root more broadly than ever before. Effective value-based care and network management depend on the ability of health plans and providers to understand what works, why, and where best to allocate resources to improve outcomes and lower costs. Tied to the need for better analytics, I see a tipping point approaching for finally achieving better data security and interoperability. Without the ability to securely share data, our industry is trying to solve the world’s health challenges with one hand tied behind our backs.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

G. Cameron Deemer, President, DrFirst

Like many business issues, the question of whether to use single-vendor solutions or a best-of-breed approach swings back and forth in the healthcare space over time. Looking forward, the pace of technology change is likely to swing the pendulum to a new model: systems that are supplemental to the existing core platform. As healthcare IT matures, it’s often not a question of ‘can my vendor provide this?’ but ‘can my vendor provide this in the way I need it to maximize my business processes and revenues?

This will be more clear with an example: An EHR may provide a medication history function, for instance, but does it include every source of medication history available? Does it provide a medication history that is easily understood and acted upon by the provider? Does it provide a medication history that works properly with all downstream functions in the EHR? When a provider first experiences medication history during a patient encounter, it seems like magic.

After a short time, the magic fades to irritation as the incompleteness of the solution becomes more obvious. Much of the newer healthcare technologies suffer this same incompleteness. Supplementing the underlying system’s capabilities with a strongly integrated third-party system is increasingly going to be the strategy of choice for providers.


Angie Franks, CEO of Central Logic

In 2021, we will see more health systems moving towards the goal of truly operating as one system of care. The pandemic has demonstrated in the starkest terms how crucial it is for health systems to have real-time visibility into available beds, providers, transport, and scarce resources such as ventilators and drugs, so patients with COVID-19 can receive the critical care they need without delay. The importance of fully aligning as a single integrated system that seamlessly shares data and resources with a centralized, real-time view of operations is a lesson that will resonate with many health systems.

Expect in 2021 for health systems to enhance their ability to orchestrate and navigate patient transitions across their facilities and through the continuum of care, including post-acute care. Ultimately, this efficient care access across all phases of care will help healthcare organizations regain revenue lost during the historic drop in elective care in 2020 due to COVID-19.

In addition to elevating revenue capture, improving system-wide orchestration and navigation will increase health systems’ bed availability and access for incoming patients, create more time for clinicians to operate at the top of their license, and reduce system leakage. This focus on creating an ‘operating as one’ mindset will not only help health systems recover from 2020 losses, it will foster sustainable and long-term growth in 2021 and well into the future.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

John Danaher, MD, President, Global Clinical Solutions, Elsevier

COVID-19 has brought renewed attention to healthcare inequities in the U.S., with the disproportionate impact on people of color and minority populations. It’s no secret that there are indicative factors, such as socioeconomic level, education and literacy levels, and physical environments, that influence a patient’s health status. Understanding these social determinants of health (SDOH) better and unlocking this data on a wider scale is critical to the future of medicine as it allows us to connect vulnerable populations with interventions and services that can help improve treatment decisions and health outcomes. In 2021, I expect the health informatics industry to take a larger interest in developing technologies that provide these kinds of in-depth population health insights.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Jay Desai, CEO and co-founder of PatientPing

2021 will see an acceleration of care coordination across the continuum fueled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access rule’s e-notifications Condition of Participation (CoP), which goes into effect on May 1, 2021. The CoP requires all hospitals, psych hospitals, and critical access hospitals that have a certified electronic medical record system to provide notification of admit, discharge, and transfer, at both the emergency room and the inpatient setting, to the patient’s care team. Due to silos, both inside and outside of a provider’s organization, providers miss opportunities to best treat their patients simply due to lack of information on patients and their care events.

This especially impacts the most vulnerable patients, those that suffer from chronic conditions, comorbidities or mental illness, or patients with health disparities due to economic disadvantage or racial inequity. COVID-19 exacerbated the impact on these vulnerable populations. To solve for this, healthcare providers and organizations will continue to assess their care coordination strategies and expand their patient data interoperability initiatives in 2021, including becoming compliant with the e-notifications Condition of Participation.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Kuldeep Singh Rajput, CEO and founder of Biofourmis

Driven by CMS’ Acute Hospital at Home program announced in November 2020, we will begin to see more health systems delivering hospital-level care in the comfort of the patient’s home–supported by technologies such as clinical-grade wearables, remote patient monitoring, and artificial intelligence-based predictive analytics and machine learning.

A randomized controlled trial by Brigham Health published in Annals of Internal Medicine earlier this year demonstrated that when compared with usual hospital care, Home Hospital programs can reduce rehospitalizations by 70% while decreasing costs by nearly 40%. Other advantages of home hospital programs include a reduction in hospital-based staffing needs, increased capacity for those patients who do need inpatient care, decreased exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses such as influenza for patients and healthcare professionals, and improved patient and family member experience.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Jake Pyles, CEO, CipherHealth

The disappearance of the hospital monopoly will give rise to a new loyalty push

Healthcare consumerism was on the rise ahead of the pandemic, but the explosion of telehealth in 2020 has effectively eliminated the geographical constraints that moored patient populations to their local hospitals and providers. The fallout has come in the form of widespread network leakage and lost revenue. By October, in fact, revenue for hospitals in the U.S. was down 9.2% year-over-year. Able to select providers from the comfort of home and with an ever-increasing amount of personal health data at their convenience through the growing use of consumer-grade wearable devices, patients are more incentivized in 2021 to choose the provider that works for them.

After the pandemic fades, we’ll see some retrenchment from telehealth, but it will remain a mainstream care delivery model for large swaths of the population. In fact, post-pandemic, we believe telehealth will standardize and constitute a full 30% to 40% of interactions.

That means that to compete, as well as to begin to recover lost revenue, hospitals need to go beyond offering the same virtual health convenience as their competitors – Livango and Teladoc should have been a shot across the bow for every health system in 2020. Moreover, hospitals need to become marketing organizations. Like any for-profit brand, hospitals need to devote significant resources to building loyalty but have traditionally eschewed many of the cutting-edge marketing techniques used in other industries. Engagement and personalization at every step of the patient journey will be core to those efforts.


Marc Probst, former Intermountain Health System CIO, Advisor for SR Health by Solutionreach

Healthcare will fix what it’s lacking most–communication.

Because every patient and their health is unique, when it comes to patient care, decisions need to be customized to their specific situation and environment, yet done in a timely fashion. In my two decades at one of the most innovative health systems in the U.S., communication, both across teams and with patients continuously has been less than optimal. I believe we will finally address both the interpersonal and interface communication issues that organizations have faced since the digitization of healthcare.”


Rich Miller, Chief Strategy Officer, Qgenda

2021 – The year of reforming healthcare: We’ve been looking at ways to ease healthcare burdens for patients for so long that we haven’t realized the onus we’ve put on providers in doing so. Adding to that burden, in 2020 we had to throw out all of our playbooks and become masters of being reactive. Now, it’s time to think through the lessons learned and think through how to be proactive. I believe provider-based data will allow us to reformulate our priorities and processes. By analyzing providers’ biggest pain points in real-time, we can evaporate the workflow and financial troubles that have been bothering organizations while also relieving providers of their biggest problems.”


Robert Hanscom, JD, Vice President of Risk Management and Analytics at Coverys

Data Becomes the Fix, Not the Headache for Healthcare

The past 10 years have been challenging for an already overextended healthcare workforce. Rising litigation costs, higher severity claims, and more stringent reimbursement mandates put pressure on the bottom line. Continued crises in combination with less-than-optimal interoperability and design of health information systems, physician burnout, and loss of patient trust, have put front-line clinicians and staff under tremendous pressure.

Looking to the future, it is critical to engage beyond the day to day to rise above the persistent risks that challenge safe, high-quality care on the frontline. The good news is healthcare leaders can take advantage of tools that are available to generate, package, and learn from data – and use them to motivate action.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Steve Betts, Chief of Operations and Products at Gray Matter Analytics

Analytics Divide Intensifies: Just like the digital divide is widening in society, the analytics divide will continue to intensify in healthcare. The role of data in healthcare has shifted rapidly, as the industry has wrestled with an unsustainable rate of increasing healthcare costs. The transition to value-based care means that it is now table stakes to effectively manage clinical quality measures, patient/member experience measures, provider performance measures, and much more. In 2021, as the volume of data increases and the intelligence of the models improves, the gap between the haves and have nots will significantly widen at an ever-increasing rate.

Substantial Investment in Predictive Solutions: The large health systems and payors will continue to invest tens of millions of dollars in 2021. This will go toward building predictive models to infuse intelligent “next best actions” into their workflows that will help them grow and manage the health of their patient/member populations more effectively than the small and mid-market players.


Jennifer Price, Executive Director of Data & Analytics at THREAD

The Rise of Home-based and Decentralized Clinical Trial Participation

In 2020, we saw a significant rise in home-based activities such as online shopping, virtual school classes and working from home. Out of necessity to continue important clinical research, home health services and decentralized technologies also moved into the home. In 2021, we expect to see this trend continue to accelerate, with participants receiving clinical trial treatments at home, home health care providers administering procedures and tests from the participant’s home, and telehealth virtual visits as a key approach for sites and participants to communicate. Hybrid decentralized studies that include a mix of on-site visits, home health appointments and telehealth virtual visits will become a standard option for a range of clinical trials across therapeutic areas. Technological advances and increased regulatory support will continue to enable the industry to move out of the clinic and into the home.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Doug Duskin, President of the Technology Division at Equality Health

Value-based care has been a watchword of the healthcare industry for many years now, but advancement into more sophisticated VBC models has been slower than anticipated. As we enter 2021, providers – particularly those in fee-for-service models who have struggled financially due to COVID-19 – and payers will accelerate this shift away from fee-for-service medicine and turn to technology that can facilitate and ease the transition to more risk-bearing contracts. Value-based care, which has proven to be a more stable and sustainable model throughout the pandemic, will seem much more appealing to providers that were once reluctant to enter into risk-bearing contracts. They will no longer be wondering if they should consider value-based contracting, but how best to engage.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Brian Robertson, CEO of VisiQuate

Continued digitization and integration of information assets: In 2021, this will lead to better performance outcomes and clearer, more measurable examples of “return on data, analytics, and automation.

Digitizing healthcare’s complex clinical, financial, and operational information assets: I believe that providers who are further in the digital transformation journey will make better use of their interconnected assets, and put the healthcare consumer in the center of that highly integrated universe. Healthcare consumer data will be studied, better analyzed, and better predicted to drive improved performance outcomes that benefit the patient both clinically and financially.

Some providers will have leapfrog moments: These transformations will be so significant that consumers will easily recognize that they are receiving higher value. Lower acuity telemedicine and other virtual care settings are great examples that lead to improved patient engagement, experience and satisfaction. Device connectedness and IoT will continue to mature, and better enable chronic disease management, wellness, and other healthy lifestyle habits for consumers.


Kermit S. Randa, CEO of Syntellis Performance Solutions

Healthcare CEOs and CFOs will partner closely with their CIOs on data governance and data distribution planning. With the massive impact of COVID-19 still very much in play in 2021, healthcare executives will need to make frequent data-driven – and often ad-hoc — decisions from more enterprise data streams than ever before. Syntellis research shows that healthcare executives are already laser-focused on cost reduction and optimization, with decreased attention to capital planning and strategic growth. In 2021, there will be a strong trend in healthcare organizations toward new initiatives, including clinical and quality analytics, operational budgeting, and reporting and analysis for decision support.


Dr. Calum Yacoubian, Associate Director of Healthcare Product & Strategy at Linguamatics

As payers and providers look to recover from the damage done by the pandemic, the ability to deliver value from data assets they already own will be key. The pandemic has displayed the siloed nature of healthcare data, and the difficulty in extracting vital information, particularly from unstructured data, that exists. Therefore, technologies and solutions that can normalize these data to deliver deeper and faster insights will be key to driving economic recovery. Adopting technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) will not only offer better population health management, ensuring the patients most in need are identified and triaged but will open new avenues to advance innovations in treatments and improve operational efficiencies.

Prior to the pandemic, there was already an increasing level of focus on the use of real-world data (RWD) to advance the discovery and development of new therapies and understand the efficacy of existing therapies. The disruption caused by COVID-19 has sharpened the focus on RWD as pharma looks to mitigate the effect of the virus on conventional trial recruitment and data collection. One such example of this is the use of secondary data collection from providers to build real-world cohorts which can serve as external comparator arms.

This convergence on seeking value from existing RWD potentially affords healthcare providers a powerful opportunity to engage in more clinical research and accelerate the work to develop life-saving therapies. By mobilizing the vast amount of data, they will offer pharmaceutical companies a mechanism to positively address some of the disruption caused by COVID-19. This movement is one strategy that is key to driving provider recovery in 2021.


Rose Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of HealthMyne

Precision imaging analytics technology, called radiomics, will increasingly be adopted and incorporated into drug development strategies and clinical trials management. These AI-powered analytics will enable drug developers to gain deeper insights from medical images than previously capable, driving accelerated therapy development, greater personalization of treatment, and the discovery of new biomarkers that will enhance clinical decision-making and treatment.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Dharmesh Godha, President and CTO of Advaiya

Greater adoption and creative implementation of remote healthcare will be the biggest trend for the year 2021, along with the continuous adoption of cloud-enabled digital technologies for increased workloads. Remote healthcare is a very open field. The possibilities to innovate in this area are huge. This is the time where we can see the beginning of the convergence of personal health aware IoT devices (smartwatches/ temp sensors/ BP monitors/etc.) with the advanced capabilities of the healthcare technologies available with the monitoring and intervention capabilities for the providers.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Simon Wu, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation

Healthcare Data Proves its Weight in Gold in 2021

Real-world evidence or routinely stored data from hospitals and claims, being leveraged by healthcare providers and biopharma companies along with those that can improve access to data will grow exponentially in the coming year. There are many trying to build in-house, but similar to autonomous technology, there will be a separate set of companies emerge in 2021 to provide regulated infrastructure and have their “AWS” moment.


Kyle Raffaniello, CEO of Sapphire Digital

2021 is a clear year for healthcare price transparency

Over the past year, healthcare price transparency has been a key topic for the Trump administration in an effort to lower healthcare costs for Americans. In recent months, COVID-19 has made the topic more important to patients than ever before. Starting in January, we can expect the incoming Biden administration to not only support the existing federal transparency regulations but also continue to push for more transparency and innovation within Medicare. I anticipate that healthcare price transparency will continue its momentum in 2021 as one of two Price Transparency rules takes effect and the Biden administration supports this movement.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Dennis McLaughlin VP of Omni Operations + Product at ibi

Social Determinants of Health Goes Mainstream: Understanding more about the patient and their personal environment has a hot topic the past two years. Providers and payers’ ability to inject this knowledge and insight into the clinical process has been limited. 2021 is the year it gets real. It’s not just about calling an uber anymore. The organizations that broadly factor SDOH into the servicing model especially with virtualized medicine expanding broadly will be able to more effectively reach vulnerable patients and maximize the effectiveness of care.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Joe Partlow, CTO at ReliaQuest

The biggest threat to personal privacy will be healthcare information: Researchers are rushing to pool resources and data sets to tackle the pandemic, but this new era of openness comes with concerns around privacy, ownership, and ethics. Now, you will be asked to share your medical status and contact information, not just with your doctors, but everywhere you go, from workplaces to gyms to restaurants. Your personal health information is being put in the hands of businesses that may not know how to safeguard it. In 2021, cybercriminals will capitalize on rapid U.S. telehealth adoption. Sharing this information will have major privacy implications that span beyond keeping medical data safe from cybercriminals to wider ethics issues and insurance implications.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Jimmy Nguyen, Founding President at Bitcoin Association

Blockchain solutions in the healthcare space will bring about massive improvements in two primary ways in 2021.

Firstly, blockchain applications will for the first time facilitate patients owning, managing, and even monetizing their personal health data. Today’s healthcare information systems are incredibly fragmented, with patient data from different sources – be they physicians, pharmacies, labs, or otherwise – kept in different silos, eliminating the ability to generate a holistic view of patient information and restricting healthcare providers from producing the best health outcomes.

Healthcare organizations are growing increasingly aware of the ways in which blockchain technology can be used to eliminate data silos, enable real-time access to patient information, and return control to patients for the use of their personal data – all in a highly-secure digital environment. 2021 will be the year that patient data goes blockchain.

Secondly, blockchain solutions can ensure more honesty and transparency in the development of pharmaceutical products. Clinical research data is often subject to questions of integrity or ‘hygiene’ if data is not properly recorded, or worse, is deliberately fabricated. Blockchain technology enables easy, auditable tracking of datasets generated by clinical researchers, benefitting government agencies tasked with approving drugs while producing better health outcomes for healthcare providers and patients. In 2021, I expect to see a rise in the use and uptake of applications that use public blockchain systems to incentivize greater honesty in clinical research.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Alex Lazarow, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation

The Future of US Healthcare is Transparent, Fair, Open and Consumer-Driven

In the last year, the pandemic put a spotlight on the major gaps in healthcare in the US, highlighting a broken system that is one of the most expensive and least distributed in the world. While we’ve already seen many boutique healthcare companies emerge to address issues around personalization, quality and convenience, the next few years will be focused on giving the power back to consumers, specifically with the rise of insurtechs, in fixing the transparency, affordability, and incentive issues that have plagued the private-based US healthcare system until now.


Lisa Romano, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, CipherHealth

Hospitals will need to counter the staff wellness fallout

The pandemic has placed unthinkable stress on frontline healthcare workers. Since it began, they’ve been working under conditions that are fundamentally more dangerous, with fewer resources, and in many cases under the heavy emotional burden of seeing several patients lose their battle with COVID-19. The fallout from that is already beginning – doctors and nurses are leaving the profession, or getting sick, or battling mental health struggles. Nursing programs are struggling to fill classes. As a new wave of the pandemic rolls across the country, that fallout will only increase. If they haven’t already, hospitals in 2021 will place new premiums upon staff wellness and staff health, tapping into the same type of outreach and purposeful rounding solutions they use to round on patients.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Kris Fitzgerald, CTO, NTT DATA Services

Quality metrics for health plans – like data that measures performance – was turned on its head in 2020 due to delayed procedures. In the coming year, we will see a lot of plans interpret these delayed procedures flexibly so they honor their plans without impacting providers. However, for so long, the payer’s use of data and the provider’s use of data has been disconnected. Moving forward the need for providers to have a more specific understanding of what drives the value and if the cost is reasonable for care from the payer perspective is paramount. Data will ensure that this collaboration will be enhanced and the concept of bundle payments and aligning incentives will be improved. As the data captured becomes even richer, it will help people plan and manage their care better. The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) to this data will also play a huge role in both dialog and negotiation when it comes to cost structure. This movement will lead to a spike in value-based care adoption


M&A: EverCommerce Acquires Healthcare Communication Platform Updox

EverCommerce Acquires Healthcare Communication Platform Updox

What You Should Know:

– Service commerce platform EverCommerce acquires Dublin,
OH-based Updox, a healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual
care.

–  The acquisition
expands EverCommerce’s health services portfolio and enables the companies to
further their shared goal of simplifying the business of healthcare and
facilitating the growth of healthcare practices.


Today, EverCommerce, a leading service commerce platform, completed the acquisition of Updox, a Dublin, OH-based complete healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual care. The company will join EverCommerce’s portfolio of health services companies, enabling it to provide customers with faster access to more products, a broader suite of solutions, and more resources.

The acquisition comes on the heels of a breakout year for
virtual care. Digital health is on track to hit over $12 billion in investments
by the end of 2020 – the largest funding year for the sector yet – and over 60
acquisitions through the end of Q3, including other telehealth breakouts like
Teladoc, which recently completed its acquisition of Livongo in a deal valued
at over $18B.

Deliver the Best in Virtual & In-Person Care

Updox provides next-generation virtual care, patient engagement, and office productivity solutions that enable practices to reduce costs and drive revenue. Based on increasing demand for solutions that seamlessly work together to improve practice efficiency and provide an engaging patient experience, Updox has continuously brought new functionality to market. Additional solutions are planned for 2021. 

Updox serves more than 560,000 users across healthcare practices, health systems and pharmacies, and more than 210 million patients. Updox has experienced rapid growth and adoption this year, as healthcare providers sought to quickly implement telehealth and other patient engagement solutions that enabled them to acquire new patients, operate more efficiently, and engage their patients as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Updox facilitated over 3.5 million telehealth visits since March and continues to support more than 15,000 visits per day.

The EverCommerce health services portfolio includes a
diverse mix of solutions including cloud-based medical billing, specialty EHR,
practice management, RCM software, lead generation, marketing solutions and
retention services for healthcare practices. With this acquisition,
EverCommerce will advance its mission to provide end-to-end mission-critical
solutions that enable healthcare practices to accelerate growth, streamline
operations and increase patient retention.

“Now more than ever, healthcare providers need a one-stop-shop to acquire new patients, operate more efficiently and engage their patients. They also need one single place to communicate with patients where they are – on their mobile phones,” said Michael Morgan, president of Updox. “We’re thrilled to join the EverCommerce team, which shares our vision for advancing healthcare. We look forward to accelerating innovative solutions that enable healthcare practices to more effectively market to patients, simplify payments, and effectively interact with patients both in and outside the practice.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Financial strain, new modes of care delivery to drive provider consolidation through 2030

Office workstation top view of business people working around M&A, keyboard, calculator, phablet and money on wooden table - merger and acquisition concept

As a result of rapid consolidation, the 10 biggest health systems controlled 24% of market share based on patient revenue by 2018. The trend is expected to continue through the next decade, with health systems facing growing financial pressures and an increase in demand for new types of care delivery.

OHSU to Deploy Virtual ICU Across 8 Sites to Extend Care to Patients in Rural Communities

OHSU to Deploy Virtual ICU Across 8 Sites to Extend Care to Patients in Rural Communities

What You Should Know:

– With ICU beds near capacity across the United States,
GE Healthcare announced a strategic partnership with Oregon Health and Science
University (OHSU) that will allow OHSU to oversee and help provide care to ICU
patients across eight hospital sites via a “Virtual ICU” (VICU), using the GE
Healthcare Mural Virtual Care Solution.

– The VICU provides critical care specialists at OHSU
with digital tools to deploy hospital defined care protocols to remotely
identify changes in patient status, respond in real-time, and support local
clinicians caring for patients in their local communities. The VICU will also
extend OHSU’s critical care expertise to patients in rural communities, where
specialists are not otherwise available.

GE
Healthcare
today announced a multi-year agreement with Oregon
Health & Science University (OHSU)
, Oregon’s only
academic health center, that will allow OHSU to oversee and help provide care to ICU patients
across eight hospital sites via a “Virtual ICU” (VICU), using the GE
Healthcare Mural Virtual Care Solution.

COVID-19 Underscores Shortage of Critical Care
Specialists

The COVID-19
pandemic is highlighting a pre-existing shortage of critical care specialists,
nurses and other clinicians across the United States and around the
world, according to a recent
report
 from the RAND Corporation. Furthermore, a 100-bed hospital may
have only one intensivist who can care for patients requiring
complex care.

In response to the critical care shortage and in
collaboration with OHSU, GE Healthcare developed a customized solution of care workflows
that powers the OHSU VICU. The VICU benefits patients by keeping them in their
local communities near family and friends; supports local economies by
maintaining resources, such as ambulances and revenue, in the immediate area;
and improves efficiency by allocating hospital beds, resources and staff for
the most critical patients.

“Through the Virtual ICU, we can supplement the
local expertise in a variety of ways and durations – from a single shift to
several a week – bringing much-needed relief and support to the clinicians on
the ground,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of OHSU
Healthcare Joe E. Ness, M.H.A., R.Ph. “The VICU allows us to execute our vision
of increasing the level of care in community hospitals, allowing
patients across the state of Oregon to receive the care they need
closer to home while reducing unnecessary transfers and optimizing ICU capacity
in the area.”

Providing Actionable Data

The GE
Healthcare platform that enables the OHSU VICU is called the “Mural Virtual Care Solution
(Mural),” which integrates data from multiple systems and devices to digitize
the hospital’s best practices and clinical protocols, and provide a
comprehensive, real-time view of patient status that is scalable
across a selected care area, hospital, or entire health system.

“I can fully focus on the patient – who may be
physically hundreds of miles away — in real time, by watching vital signs, lab
values, waveforms and other parameters,” said OHSU Associate Professor of
Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine and TeleICU Medical Director Marshall
Lee, M.D. “And by enabling audio and visual support in the patient room,
I can virtually visit and collaborate with the local, bedside team.”

Mural will also support the OHSU goal of enhancing the
quality of care throughout the system by providing analytics on
clinical information, such as minutiae ventilation data and metrics on clinical
and operational best practices, including pain, delirium and agitation
management. Data tracked and generated by the VICU translates into metrics –
such as length of stay and average ventilation days per patient —
that hospitals can use to refine operations to support improved patient outcomes
and increased efficiency.

Customization
Based on Specific Clinical Workflows

GE Healthcare’s Mural can be customized based on specific
clinical workflows, enabling intensivists and advanced nurses in a central
location to support bedside teams as they care for patients in their
communities. Mural can also support compliance documentation on healthcare
associated infections (HAIs), and prevention measures such as
thromboprophylaxis, stress ulcer prophylaxis and glucose management.

Enabled by Edison, GE Healthcare’s intelligence platform,
Mural can be deployed on-premise via GE Healthcare’s Edge infrastructure or on
the cloud, depending on customer preference and need.

Availability

Currently available in the United States, Canada, China,
Korea, U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia, Mural is designed to help reduce the time for
clinical teams to deliver responsive, timely, and compliant care by
digitizing hospital defined protocols, care pathways, and Early
Warning Scores (EWS).  

Cerner, Banner Health, Xealth Partner to Simplify How Clinicians Prescribe Digital Health

Cerner, Banner Health, Xealth Partner to Simplify How Clinicians Prescribe Digital Health

What You Should Know:

– Cerner Corporation today announced with Xealth new
centralized digital ordering and monitoring for health systems, starting with
Banner Health, to foster digital innovation.

– Health systems can prescribe digital therapeutics, smartphones, and internet apps directly within the EHR to address areas such as chronic disease management, behavioral health, maternity care, and surgery prep.


Cerner, today announced it’s building on the recent collaboration with Xealth to offer health systems new centralized digital ordering and monitoring for clients. These capabilities are designed to help health systems choose, manage, and deploy digital tools and applications while offering clinicians access to remote monitoring and more direct engagement with patients. Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit hospital systems, is one of the first Cerner clients to use the new capabilities to benefit its clinicians and patients.

Prescribe Digital Therapeutics Via EHR

With the new capabilities, health systems can prescribe digital therapeutics, smartphones, and internet applications to address areas such as chronic disease management, behavioral health, maternity care, and surgery prep. This access to a more holistic view of the organization’s digital health solutions supports the clinical decisions doctors make every day and provides real opportunities to improve medical outcomes and enhance efficiency, meet the increasing demand for telehealth and offer remote patient monitoring.

For example, the new capabilities can help simplify how
clinicians prescribe tools such as mobile mental health apps to monitor anxiety
triggers or a glucose device to help trace blood sugar levels for diabetes
patients.

Digital solutions will be available in a single location in
the electronic health record where health systems can use apps based on
clinical and financial metrics. A wide array of digital health tools is
integrated with Xealth’s offering today and the list is ever-growing. Early
examples of companies that have previously deployed in health systems using
Xealth include Babyscripts, Glooko, SilverCloud Health, Welldoc, as well as
Healthwise Inc., GetWellNetwork and ResMed that have existing relationships
with Cerner.

“As digital tools are increasingly included in care plans, health systems seek a way to organize and oversee their use across the health system. We anticipate the emergence of digital and therapeutic committees to govern digital tool selection similar to how pharmacy and therapeutic committees have historically governed medication formularies,” said David Bradshaw, senior vice president, Consumer and Employer Solutions, Cerner. “Digital health has extraordinary potential to reshape the way we care for patients and, working with Xealth, we are answering the need and helping providers create more engaging and effective patient experiences.”

Why It Matters

Digital health has great potential to make an immediate difference, especially as it relates to automating patient education, delivering virtual care, supporting telehealth, and offering remote patient monitoring. Health systems with a digital health program and strategy in place have the ability to respond faster and more efficiently.

“Now, more than ever, extending care teams to meet patients where they are is critical,” said Mike McSherry, CEO and co-founder, Xealth. “As digital health programs roll out, they should elevate both the patient and provider experience. Cerner building out a digital formulary, with Xealth at its core, is listening to its strong clinician base by delivering tools to enhance patient care, without adding additional steps for the care team.”

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.

Powered by Doctor on Demand, ArcBest Rolls Out Virtual Primary Care Health Plan to its 13k Employees

Powered by Doctor on Demand, ArcBest Rolls Out Virtual Primary Care Health Plan to its 13k Employees

What You Should Know:

– Publicly traded logistics company ArcBest announced its
deal with Doctor On Demand to introduce its virtual-first health plan to its
13,000 employees, who are largely “essential workers” as long-haul
truckers.

– Employees appreciated the convenience and safety of 24/7 virtual care – from their homes, from the road – and ArcBest is now doubling down on virtual care for 2021 – and offering a holistic, virtual-first primary care health plan – one where patients see the same PCP time and time again virtually and can receive many of the same services virtually that they’d typically receive in-person.


Doctor
On Demand
, the nation’s leading virtual care provider,
and ArcBest, a
multibillion-dollar leader in supply chain logistics, announced a partnership
to offer a new Virtual Primary Care health plan benefit to its employees and
their dependents nationwide. The partnership expands on the existing urgent
care and behavioral health services that Doctor On Demand has been providing to
ArcBest since 2017.

Virtual Primary Care Benefit

ArcBest is getting creative in how they deliver healthcare benefits to their thousands of field employees – many of whom are on the road or reside in rural areas throughout the country. As the pandemic hit, it became increasingly difficult or unsafe to seek in-person medical or mental health care, so ArcBest promoted the use of its telemedicine offering of urgent care and mental healthcare.

The new Virtual Primary Care benefit will be available to all 8,000 members who are covered under ArcBest’s medical plan starting December 1st. This benefit comes at a critical time as COVID-19 cases are spiking again, and as the country simultaneously heads into cold and flu season. As a provider of essential freight and logistics services, ArcBest has a large field employee population that operates 24/7, making it challenging to access routine in-person care.

Virtual Primary Care Improves Access to Care

ArcBest believes that investing in this new virtual health
plan upfront will have a major impact on employees’ health long term –
promoting preventative healthcare and driving down long-term costs associated
with employees waiting until their chronic back pain or chronic disease
warrants more costly interventions.

“At ArcBest, we have a unique set of healthcare benefit needs, and Doctor On Demand’s existing urgent and behavioral health care services have been invaluable, especially this year,” said Rich Krutsch, Vice President, People Services at ArcBest. “The pandemic has also prompted us to double-down on our investments in virtual care, and we’re excited to expand our program with Doctor On Demand to include much more holistic, integrated virtual care for our employees.” 

Employees Can Select Primary Care Doctor Through Doctor
on Demand

Eligible ArcBest employees and their dependents will now be able to select a primary care provider through Doctor On Demand and access a comprehensive set of services to support whole-person health, including preventive wellness check-ups, vaccination referrals, nutrition consultations, chronic condition management, and more. Additionally, members are able to continue to see the same physician over time, allowing them to build a consistent, trusted relationship via video.

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.

Ensuring Telehealth Providers’ Virtual Care Dollars Make Sense

Ensuring Telehealth Providers’ Virtual Care Dollars Make Sense
Don Godbee Don Godbee, Mobile Solutions Architect at Stratix Don Godbee

Telehealth and virtual care are not brand-new phenomena suddenly cobbled together as a rapid response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the average US patient could be forgiven for thinking that it is. Indeed, virtual visits to care providers and remote patient monitoring have been available for quite some time, delivering two key benefits: 

– Providing a platform to address cost-efficiencies and accessibility to quality healthcare for the populace at large 

– Playing a key role in managing a growing population of chronically ill seniors. 

Prior to 2020, however, the rules of reimbursement and implementation for associated telehealth services were difficult to navigate, wildly differing at the state and federal level with a host of regulations further complicating matters. Federal reimbursement policies are centered on Medicare, via the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – the single largest payer for seniors and chronically ill patients. Additionally, compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) dictated rigorous standards for direct and monitoring communications between care providers and patients. Complicating matters further, US states offered a patchwork of individual telehealth laws dictating separate Medicaid policies. 

The result was a lack of clarity of how healthcare providers could overcome regulatory and financial reimbursement barriers to implement effective telehealth programs as well as a lack of parity in coverage services and payments for patients. To address this at the federal level, CMS released new guidance in 2020 to relax reimbursement restrictions for providers. Now, we’re at the cusp of a new era of telemedicine where providers could widely offer:

– Virtual office visits that address traditionally in-person services such as primary care, behavioral health, and specialty care (e.g. pulmonary or cardiac health rehabilitation)

– On-demand virtual urgent care to address pressing concerns and urgently needed consultations

– Virtual broader home health services such as remote patient monitoring, outpatient disease management, and various forms of therapy (e.g. physical, speech)

– Tech-enabled home medication administration helping patients receive injectable or consumable medication via monitored self-administration

This is all, of course, dependent upon the mobile technology (e.g. tablets, wearables, etc.) and associated services that telehealth providers will rely upon to make these services happen at parity and scale for their patients. Even more importantly, virtual care programs being scaled up to cover a larger percentage of patients will fall apart if providers don’t have the resources to offer robust support and maintenance options for these devices and services. Quality of virtual care is highly dependent on persistent device and service availability and dependability. 

Whether providers have already begun purchasing the mobile devices needed or are still struggling with the choice of what devices and services they need and/or can afford, however, they now face a different quandary: How to stand up these virtual care services at scale in a sustainable way that works within current budget resources and doesn’t pass on ballooning costs to your patients?

One way to make complex mobile technology deployments financially manageable is opting for a mobile device as a service (mDaaS) model which allows you to shift from a CapEx-based spending model to an OpEx spending model for purchasing hardware and allows telehealth providers to bundle or roll up a range of devices, accessories, services, maintenance and support into a single, predictable monthly per-device price. With mobile device technology rapidly evolving, telemedicine providers will need the operational agility to pivot to different solutions and quick technology refreshes as the need arises. 

When done with the right third-party partner, it offers the additional advantages of outsourcing end-to-end support and lifecycle management to highly trained agents, who can free up precious IT resources. Most importantly, it creates a level of control over technology and spend that makes standing up virtual care programs convenient and stress-free.

There are many options to consider when expanding telemedicine services rapidly to larger patient bases, whether during disruptive events such as the COVID-19 pandemic or in the years to come. The key to making these services sustainable is finding a financing model that will free up internal resources, offer greater spending flexibility, and offer end-to-end support for your healthcare mobile technology ecosystem. 


About Don Godbee Senior Mobile Solutions Architect at Stratix

Don brings a unique perspective to mobility in the Healthcare Vertical with over 25 years of consulting and delivery of critical solutions. Don has delivered various solutions from OEM integration of sensors in medical devices to mobile point of care solutions and services with major EHR software solution providers such as Epic, Cerner, GE Healthcare, Allscripts, and McKesson.

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.”

Highmark Taps Lark Health for AI-Driven Chronic Disease Management/Prevention

Highmark Taps Lark Health for AI-Driven Chronic Disease Management/Prevention

What
You Should Know:


Highmark, one of the largest Blues plans, has chosen Lark Health for its
chronic disease prevention and management platform.


Members will have access to Lark’s 24/7 AI-based coaching and programs to
manage diabetes, hypertension, and prevent chronic conditions.


Highmark Inc., America’s fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, announced a growing collaboration with Lark Health, virtual chronic disease prevention and management platform giving select Highmark members access to Lark’s 24/7 health coaching to prevent and manage conditions like hypertension and diabetes and to stay healthy through weight management and stress reduction programs.  

Costly Impact of Chronic Diseases

Chronic conditions are widespread and costly, and Lark’s
programs are aimed at providing personalized health coaching to address them at
scale. Six in 10 U.S. adults have a chronic disease, while 4 in 10 have two or
more. Diabetes affects an estimated 30 million Americans, and is a risk factor
for complications such as neuropathy, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and
kidney disease. Diabetes costs the nation an estimated $327 billion annually in
direct medical costs and indirect costs, such as lost productivity. Nearly 1 in
3 adults have hypertension, which is an underlying cause of over 1,000 deaths
each day in the U.S. Hypertension costs the country over $48 billion each year.
Nearly 2 out of 3 individuals with diabetes also have hypertension.

Expansion of 2-Year Collaboration

Highmark’s vision is to deliver tech-enabled
and consumer-friendly solutions that meet members where they are and allow them
to more easily manage their health with highly personalized coaching. Since
beginning the two-year collaboration, member enrollment in Lark has been
increasing year-over-year.

Highmark’s employer group customers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia, as well as commercial National group customers, are able to access Lark’s unlimited 24/7 personal counseling in real-time through an easy-to-use, text message-like modality.

Lark and Highmark have worked together throughout the collaboration to identify and reach out to individuals at risk of developing chronic conditions, increasing awareness of the virtual care offerings through social media advertising, direct mail, email, and text campaigns.

Virtual Care Platform that Addresses Health Plans’ Costliest
Challenges

Powered by conversational AI, the platform seamlessly addresses the whole person, with counseling for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, prediabetes, smoking cessation, stress, anxiety, and weight management, and it incorporates smart connected devices, like scales, that sync with the program to help remotely monitor conditions. When an emergent situation or complex question arises, Lark escalates the concern to a live interaction telephonically or provides a recommended next step.

“Preventing and managing chronic conditions is time-consuming, costly, and inconvenient. We need solutions that are scalable and meet people where they are, especially for individuals who might have comorbid conditions,” said Lark CEO and co-founder Julia Hu. “We are thrilled that Highmark members are choosing and embracing Lark to help them stay healthy, and we look forward to continuing our work with Highmark to offer engaging health coaching to more people.”

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.
 

4 Actions to Elevate the Patient Experience and Spark Growth

4 Actions to Elevate the Patient Experience and Spark Growth

What You Should Know:

– According to a new report from Accenture, 2 out of 3 patients are likely to switch to a new healthcare provider if their expectations for managing COVID-19 are not met, including sanitary and safety protocols, access to up-to-date information, and the availability of virtual care options.

–  Accenture identified four ways to improve the patient experience, and therefore your path to recovery, during, and after the pandemic.


The COVID-19 pandemic forced hospitals, providers, and payer networks to drastically overhaul and restructure their systems to accommodate virtual care models. As a result, health systems’ revenue and patient volume plummeted, made worse by the industry’s slow-to-adopt virtual care practices that deprioritized the importance of patient experiences.

Elevating the Patient Experience to Fuel Growth

According to a new report from Accenture, 2 out of 3 patients are likely to switch to a new healthcare provider if their expectations for managing COVID-19 are not met, including sanitary and safety protocols, access to up-to-date information, and the availability of virtual care options. Based on a survey of more than 4,600 U.S. respondents, the report, “Elevating the Patient Experience to Fuel Growth,” notes that patients are looking for a safer, more secure, and convenient healthcare experience — including strict sanitary and safety protocols as well as virtual care options. In addition, those who believe their healthcare providers handled COVID-19 poorly were three times more likely than satisfied patients to say they will either delay seeking services for at least a year or never return to that healthcare provider.

By prioritizing consumer experience and delivering new
virtual expectations, providers can maintain their patient base and
grow market share by capturing switchers ready to leave competitors –
potentially increasing their revenues by 5% to 10% pre-COVID levels within
12 months. For a $5 billion health system, this could be between $250
million and $500 million in additional annual revenues.

“Our research clearly shows that the patient experience matters now more than ever,” said Jean-Pierre Stephan, managing director, Accenture Health. “This should be interpreted as positive news because it means the future is in the hands of healthcare providers to embrace change and provide better healthcare experiences. We’re advising providers take this opportunity to offer a holistic, digital approach that centers on the patient’s access to quality care and post-care services; this will better position healthcare providers for long-term growth.”

In turn, Accenture recommends four actions that healthcare providers can
take to improve the patient experience.

1. Address patient concerns in a personalized manner

Communicate specific actions taken to protect patients —
such as offering separate entrances, allowing contactless payment and online
paperwork, or even describing the advanced level of protective gear used by
staff. When possible, physicians should deliver the message directly.

2. Meet people at the front door

Address unique patient needs and ease COVID-19 concerns before
a patient steps foot into the office or enters a virtual waiting room. Embed
new safety and wellness protocols and practices throughout every interaction,
from finding a doctor to scheduling an appointment or completing registration
in advance of a visit. In fact, the survey found that 74% of patients are now
likely to use online chat or texting to provide check-in information before
their appointment if such a service is available.

3. Enhance virtual care capabilities

Develop new models that use more virtual care, from bookings
to meetings, so that those who remain wary of in-person care have more options.
Patients have indicated a strong desire for this to happen. In a survey of 2,700 patients that Accenture conducted
in May, 60% said that based on their experience using virtual care and
devices during the pandemic, they want to use technology more for communicating
with healthcare providers and managing their conditions in the
future. 

4. Listen through social channels

Actively monitor local and national social channels to
gather real-time insight into patient perceptions and community sentiment. This
enables quick operational pivots to address consumer needs and measure progress
along the way.

“While many health systems have improved safety protocols in light of COVID-19, they must also make the patient experience a top priority, not just to convince people to return, but also to lead the way in re-imagining the future of healthcare,” Stephan said. “In this new future of care, health systems need to provide effective, trusted, reliable care—both in person and virtually—while instilling confidence and demonstrating safety and respect. Otherwise, patients are likely to switch to other providers who are reinventing how healthcare services are delivered.”

MEDITECH Launches New Subscription-Based Cloud Platform Built on Google Cloud

MEDITECH Launches New Subscription-Based Cloud Platform Built on Google Cloud

What You Should Know:

– Today, MEDITECH announced MEDITECH Cloud Platform—a
suite of solutions available to healthcare organizations of all sizes that
further extend the possibilities of the Expanse EHR.

– This offering includes: Expanse NOW, High Availability
SnapShot, and Virtual Care solutions, all created to work naturally in the
cloud, and available through a subscription model.


Today MEDITECH
introduced MEDITECH Cloud Platform—a suite of solutions available to healthcare
organizations of all sizes that further extend the possibilities of the Expanse
Electronic Health Record
(EHR)
.  Multiple MEDITECH Cloud
Platform solutions are built on Google Cloud, enabling healthcare organizations
to further personalize their EHR in a way that is secure, reliable, and easy to
maintain.

Subscription-Based Cloud Model

Healthcare organizations can select one or a combination of
the solutions from MEDITECH Cloud Platform. The flexibility of the subscription
model enables a quick setup as well as the ability to add solutions as needed.
Additionally, the cloud combined with the subscription model provides
opportunities to add solutions in the future.

MEDITECH Cloud Platform Offerings

The all-new MEDITECH Cloud Platform offering includes: Expanse NOW, High
Availability SnapShot
, and Virtual Care
solutions, all created to work naturally in the cloud, and available through a
subscription model:

Expanse NOW is a mobility app that empowers
physicians to manage everyday tasks and coordinate care on their smartphone
device. Integrated with Expanse, tasks and messages can flow between workload
and the app in real time.

High Availability SnapShot provides healthcare
organizations with immediate access to key patient data in the event of
unexpected or planned downtime. Patient information such as medications,
allergies, orders, and more is backed up securely and accessible via
cellular-connected devices.

Virtual Care gives new and existing patients access
to urgent virtual care on demand through the healthcare organization’s website,
as well as the ability to schedule virtual visit appointments. New patients who
request Virtual Care are automatically enrolled in the Patient Portal,
connecting them to the organization and in turn, enabling organizations to grow
their business.

Leveraging Google Cloud’s Capabilities

The Expanse NOW and High Availability SnapShot solutions
leverage Google Cloud’s core capabilities including compute and storage (as
well as their healthcare-specific data, analytics, security, and identity
management solutions) alongside existing on-prem solutions to provide high
availability and continuity of care in a secure and scalable service. They can
be easily accessible to critical care staff to improve healthcare continuity
across MEDITECH-powered healthcare organizations.

For more information about the MEDITECH Cloud platform,
visit here.

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

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

What You Should Know:

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

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


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

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

Amwell Now

Amwell Now

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

Touchpoint Tablet Software

Connect Patients to Remote Providers & Family

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

C500: Lightweight Telemedicine Cart

Performance that Lasts

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

Why It Matters

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

VHA, Ontrak Launch 3-Year AI Study to Help Prevent Veteran Suicide

Veterans Health Administration Taps Ontrak to Help Prevent Veteran Suicide

What You Should Know:

– The Veterans Health Administration has selected Ontrak
in collaboration with Harvard Medical School and Brown University to transform
suicide prevention care for veterans.

– Leveraging AI developed by a Harvard Medical School
professor and the core analytics of the Ontrak platform, the three-year study
will look at the effect of intensive care coaching in addition to the standard
of care for veterans at high risk of suicide after inpatient hospitalization at
a psychiatric hospital. The trial will include 850 patients at six VA
hospitals.

– Suicide prevention is a focus for the military as well
as for the population as a whole as the U.S. grapples with the COVID-19
pandemic.


Ontrak, Inc., an AI-powered
and telehealth-enabled,
virtualized healthcare company, announced a cooperative research and
development agreement with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to conduct
a 3-year research study on the effect of intensive care coaching in addition to
the standard of care for Veterans at high risk of suicide-related behaviors
after psychiatric hospital.

Research Study Details

The study will leverage AI developed by Dr. Ronald Kessler
of the Harvard Medical School, as well as the core analytics of the Ontrak
platform. Dr. Kessler is the McNeil Family Professor of Health Care Policy at
Harvard Medical School and a principal in the STARRS Longitudinal Study of
suicide prevention among US Army soldiers. “We are excited to have Ontrak
helping us evaluate the effects of an intensive intervention to prevent
suicidal behaviors among Veterans at very high risk,” stated Dr. Kessler.

 Why It Matters

Suicidal ideation has been elevated since the pandemic and
the CDC reported on August 14 that a survey of U.S. adults in June 2020
indicated that 11% had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days, which
was twice as high as in the previous 12 month period.

Addressing Veteran suicide is a top VHA priority and Ontrak is proud to apply their AI and virtual care coaching model in a trial of 850 patients at 6 VHA hospitals selected from a total of 98 in the country. This study has the potential to not only reduce suicide risk but also to produce secondary reductions in risk through interventions that address co-occurring medical conditions.

Dr. Judy Feld, Medical Director of Ontrak, stated, “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. with rates steadily increasing over the past decade and worsening during the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that individuals with behavioral health conditions such as depression, substance use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are at higher risk for suicidal ideation or attempt. Importantly, the rate of suicide among our country’s military Vets is double that of non-Veterans. As a pioneer in the development of evidence-based interventions for engaging individuals in care for anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders, Ontrak is honored to partner with the VHA healthcare system and collaborators from Harvard Medical School and Brown University to advance the medical community’s understanding of the most impactful case management for Veterans at high risk of suicide after inpatient hospitalization.”

Teladoc Health Completes Merger with Livongo

Teladoc Health Completes Merger with Livongo in Under 3 Months

Telehealth
leader Teladoc Health today announced
it has completed its merger with Livongo
in just under three months. Here are things to know about the completion: Under
the terms of the merger,
Livongo shareholders will receive 0.5920x shares of Teladoc Health plus cash of
$11.33 for each Livongo share (including the special dividend declared by
Livongo).

The company expects to directly deliver more than 10 million
virtual visits this year and has reported an additional three million enabled
visits for its health system clients so far in 2020.

“Both Teladoc Health and Livongo were founded with the same mission: to create a new kind of healthcare experience, one that empowers people everywhere to live their healthiest life. Today’s news dramatically accelerates our ability to make this a reality for the tens of millions of consumers and healthcare professionals we serve around the world,” said Jason Gorevic, chief executive officer of Teladoc Health. “Together, our team will achieve the full promise of whole-person virtual care, leveraging our combined applied analytics, expert guidance and connected technology to deliver, enable and empower better health outcomes.”

Fern Health Taps 10M Mass General De-Identified Patient Records for Pain Management

Massachusetts General Hospital to Deploy CarePassport’s Digital Health Platform for Clinical Trials

What You Should Know:

– Fern Health will reveal a
first-of-its-kind collaboration with Mass General Hospital where it will inform
existing and future digitally-delivered pain management programs through the
marriage of AI + predictive analytics with 10 million de-identified Mass
General patient records.

– MGH will validate emerging Fern Health products and pilot new products in clinical environments, setting the stage for Fern expansion into all aspects of non-invasive multimodal pain management.


Fern Health, a digital health company pioneering virtual musculoskeletal pain programs and pain neuroscience education through employers, announced that it has expanded its collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the MGH Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare (CIDH). MGH is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and home to one of the world’s leading pain management clinics.

Fern Health’s relationship with MGH, formed 18 months ago, will now broaden to entail a multi-year collaboration in which MGH will validate emerging Fern Health product lines, pilot new products in a clinical setting, and investigate new scientific approaches to pain management.

The expansion supports Fern Health’s long-term vision of democratizing access to non-invasive multimodal pain management. Fern Health’s current product suite, which includes an evidence-based, digitally delivered musculoskeletal (MSK) pain management program, was originally developed with experts from within Mass General, in consultation with their clinical collaborators at the world-renowned Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Fern’s biopsychosocial pain management solution was validated with the clinical rigor of MGH’s renowned hospital-based research enterprise.

“There are a multitude of gaps in the U.S. healthcare system that unfortunately fail our patients with chronic pain, from lack of access to high-quality pain care to the proliferation of costly and often ineffective treatments,” said Mihir M. Kamdar, MD, MGH Pain Physician and Digital Health Advisor. “Evidence-based models of care are still rare in digital health solutions even though they have the potential to address these gaps and give clinicians innovative and effective care options for their patients.”

Leverage Data-Driven Insights from De-Identified Patient Data

Fern Health will leverage clinical validation and implementation science, clinical protocol development, access to data-driven insights derived from de-identified patient data, third-party corroboration for peer-review publications, and FDA approval processes. 

“By evaluating digital health tools in a real-world clinical setting, we can provide distinctive insights, understand user preferences, and validate clinical protocols for optimal implementation and outcomes,” added Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Senior Advisor, Virtual Care, Mass General Brigham; Professor of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School; and Senior Advisor, MGH Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare. “This collaboration is designed to help advance pain management through digitally-delivered personalized exercise therapy, education, and health coaching—which early results suggest is occurring.” Dr. Kvedar is also President of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

Expansion into All Aspects of Non-Invasive Multimodal Pain Management

The collaboration also gives Fern Health substantial clinical and scientific data to expand into the broader ecosystem of digitally-delivered pain management platforms: 

– The Fern user experience will replicate how a patient might experience evidence-based, personalized treatment at a hospital-based pain management clinic. Rather than delivered in-person, treatment is delivered digitally and is accessible from anywhere.

– Informed by predictive analytics and an expansive MGH data set of 10 million de-identified patient records, personalized, evidence-based Fern patient treatment plans will leapfrog the performance of “one-size-fits-all” pain management platforms that are limited to publicly available data or their own user data.

– The collaboration will form the foundation from which Fern will launch new products and services rooted in collaborative care aimed at treating the whole person across physical, emotional, and behavioral considerations.

Why It Matters

One out of every two people suffer from MSK pain and the U.S. spends $380 billion on MSK conditions each year, contributing to MSK pain being the top driver of employer healthcare costs. Fern Health eases the burden on employers who face daunting pain management treatment economics. Provided as a benefits add-on for self-insured employers, Fern Health offers a biopsychosocial approach to pain management, including personalized restorative therapy, pain neuroscience education and virtual 1:1 health coaching. The company is currently engaged in pilot programs with several mid-size and large employers spanning the professional services, manufacturing and transportation sectors.

“At least half of the population suffers from physical pain and its cascade of effects across social, mental and emotional well-being,” said Travis Bond, CEO, Fern Health. “This initiative marries science, clinical rigor, artificial intelligence and incredibly rich historical patient data sets with digital care delivery. It’s a huge first step into a better future for pain management science and for the millions of people living with musculoskeletal pain today.” 

Nice Healthcare Nabs $5M to Power ‘Frictionless’ Virtual Primary Care

Nice Healthcare Nabs $5M to Power ‘Frictionless’ Virtual Primary Care

What You Should Know:

–  Nice Healthcare raises
$5M in seed funding to power the next phase of growth of its in-home and
virtual primary care services.

– Nice contracts directly with employers to provide
unlimited access to its service under a transparent and capitated rate of $30 –
$36 per employee per month.


Nice Healthcare, a Minneapolis, MN-based provider of in-home and virtual primary care services, today announced it has raised $5 million in seed funding to pioneer the next phase of “Frictionless Primary Care”. The seed round was led by Conductive Ventures and Waterline Ventures with existing participation from Indie.vc. Bryce Roberts of Indie.vc and Robbie Greenglass of Waterline Ventures will join the Nice Healthcare board of directors.

Free & Unlimited Primary Healthcare


What is Nice Healthcare? from Nice Healthcare on Vimeo.

Founded in 2017, Nice Healthcare is a provider of
“Frictionless Primary Care”, primary care in which financial friction and
access friction has been eliminated for both patients and clinicians. Nice
Healthcare brings healthcare services into the patient’s home using a combination
of in-person and virtual
visits
. Nice contracts directly with employers to provide unlimited access
to its service under a transparent and capitated rate of $30 – $36 per employee
per month.

Dependents are free and there are no visit fees billed to the patients for any of Nice’s services which include in-home primary care visits, virtual visits, 550+ prescriptions, in-home labs, in-home x-rays, and virtual physical therapy and chronic condition management. The company’s customers include small and medium-sized businesses.

“We made a couple of big bets that are really paying off. A belief that bricks and mortar clinics and fee for service has failed patients and clinicians,” explains co-founder and CEO, Thompson Aderinkomi. “Our model of bringing care to the patient – whether that is virtually or by sending a provider to the patient’s home – has never been more attractive to our patients. Pair that with a low, transparent, fixed, capitated rate of $30-$36 per employee per month for our services and we have suddenly established a new paradigm for how patients and providers develop a relationship.”

Expansion Plans

The Company plans to use the funds to launch its model of care into several new markets. By expanding its offering to include over 550 acute and chronic medications free of charge as well as virtual physical therapy to address the musculoskeletal needs of its patients, Nice is broadening the ways members engage with their Nice provider. Genevieve Swenson, co-Founder and COO, and FNP stated.

“We want every one of our members to know that we are in their corner. Whether they are healthy, have the sniffles, or are managing chronic health conditions, a Nice healthcare provider is going to be able to engage with them and help them accomplish their goals. Expanding our prescription formulary and adding access to licensed physical therapists are the two newest examples of how we are broadening ways we can help”.

Nice works closely with these companies to deliver the highest level of care to their employees.

“When we decided to offer Nice to our employees, we did so because we believed that improving access to primary care for our employees was the right thing to do and that it is a benefit that they would utilize,” said Gene Leistico, HR Director at ACR Homes. “For small employers like us, I can’t think of a benefit that delivers more value for our employees than Nice Healthcare, especially in this new world we live in.”

CareLinx, Doctor on Demand Partner to Bring In-Home Virtual Care to Seniors

CareLinx, Doctor on Demand Partner to Bring In-Home Virtual Care to Seniors

What You Should Know: 

– Doctor On Demand and CareLinx, one of the largest professional networks for in-home care, have announced a collaboration to bring in-home virtual care services to CareLinx clients. 

– At a time when seniors have been encouraged to stay home to avoid exposure to COVID, Doctor On Demand’s partnership with CareLinx will vastly improve their opportunity to receive comprehensive healthcare while remaining safe. 


After being the first and only telemedicine provider to roll out medical care for Medicare Part B beneficiaries, Doctor On Demand is doubling down on their efforts to support seniors in their homes. Doctor On Demand, the nation’s leading virtual care provider, and CareLinx, a nationwide, professional network for in-home care, today announced a partnership to bring in-home virtual care services to CareLinx clients. 

Supporting High-Risk Patients at Home

The partnership aims to expand CareLinx’s in-home care offerings and improve health outcomes for their clients, geriatric and high-risk patients who need support at home. Today, CareLinx tech-enabled caregivers have digital care plans on their smartphones — enabling quality delivery of everyday care services such as bathing and meal prep, as well as direct communication to a patient’s family. 

Doctor On Demand will augment these existing services by connecting CareLinx clients with virtual care providers in real-time. CareLinx caregivers will support the Doctor On Demand registration process and assist with in-home follow-ups and care coordination recommended by Doctor On Demand’s board-certified physicians as well. 

CareLinx Clients Receive Access to Virtual Visits, Powered by Doctor on Demand

Eligible CareLinx clients will receive initial visits with board-certified physicians through Doctor On Demand at no cost. These virtual visits can be used to treat a spectrum of health issues, including diagnosis and testing of COVID-19, typical ailments like infections, rashes, cold and flu, and ongoing chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid issues. Doctor On Demand physicians can also fill prescriptions and order lab work, and patients can see the same physician time and time again, building a trusted, personal relationship via video.

Why It Matters

“Now more than ever, finding high-quality, in-home care is pivotal during a time when seniors and high-risk patients are being encouraged to stay at home to minimize risk and exposure to COVID-19. Our partnership with Doctor On Demand enables CareLinx to continue equipping caregivers with digital tools and technologies to make caregiving easier, more transparent, and higher quality,” said Sherwin Sheik, CEO, CareLinx. “Additionally, this partnership is helping to supplement in-home activities of daily living with a telehealth option for our clients, who may not otherwise realize they have the option to see a provider virtually for medical ailments.  Combined with the in-home care they are receiving, these services can help provide an expanded continuum of care to help them stay healthy and safe where they want to be — at home.”

Rural Hospital Execs Can Beat COVID-19 By Shifting From Reactive to Proactive Care

The COVID-19 virus is ravaging the planet at a scale not seen since the infamous Spanish Flu of the early 1900s, inflicting immense devastation as the U.S. loses more than 200,000 lives and counting. According to CDC statistics, 94% of patient mortalities associated with COVID-19 were simultaneously suffering from preexisting conditions, leaving a mere 6% of victims with COVID-19 as their sole cause of death. However, while immediate prospects for a mass vaccine might not be until 2021, there is some hope among rural hospital health information technology consultants where the pandemic has hit the hardest. 

The fact that four in ten U.S. adults have two or more chronic conditions indicates that our most vulnerable members of the population are also the ones at the greatest risk of succumbing to the pandemic. From consultants laboring alongside healthcare administrators and providers, all must pay close attention to patients harboring 1 of 13 chronic conditions believed to play major roles in COVID-19 mortality, particularly chronic kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, and COPD.

Vulnerable rural populations must be supervised due to their unique challenges. The CDC indicates 80% of older adults in remote regions have at least one chronic disease with 77% having at least two chronic diseases, significantly increasing COVID-19 mortality rates compared to their urban counterparts.

Health behaviors also play a role in rural patients who have decreased access to healthy food and physical activity while simultaneously suffering high incidences of smoking. These lifestyle choices compound with one another, leading to increased obesity, hypertension, and many other chronic illnesses. Overall, rural patients that fall ill to COVID-19 are more likely to suffer worsened prognosis compared to urban hubs, a problem only bolstered by their inability to properly access healthcare. 

Virus Helping Push New Technologies

COVID-19 has shown the cracks in the U.S. healthcare technology system that must be addressed for the future. As the pandemic unfolds, it’s worth noting that not all lasting effects will be negative. Just as the adoption of the Affordable Care Act a decade ago spurred healthcare organizations to digitize their records, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating overdue technological shifts crucial to providing better care.

Perhaps the most prominent change has been the widespread adoption of telehealth services and technologies that connect patients with both urgent and preventive care without their having to leave home. Perhaps the most prominent change has been the widespread adoption of telehealth services and technologies that use video to connect patients with both urgent and preventive care without their having to leave home.

Even if COVID-19 were to fade away on its own, the next pandemic may not. Furthermore, seasonal influenza serves as a reminder that healthcare is not a skirmish, but a prolonged war against disease. Rather than doom future generations to suffer the same plight our generation has with the pandemic, now is the time to develop innovative IT strategies that focus on protecting our most vulnerable citizens by leveraging existing healthcare initiatives to focus on proactive responses instead of reactive responses.

On the Right Road

While some of the most vulnerable people are the elderly, rural residents, and the poor, the good news for them is that CMS has long advocated the use of preventive care initiatives such as Chronic Care Management (CCM) and Remote Physiologic Monitoring (RPM) to track these geriatric patients. To encourage innovation in this sector, CMS preventive care initiatives provide generous financial incentives to healthcare providers willing to shift from conventional reactive care strategies to a more proactive approach focused on prevention and protection. This should attract rural hospital CEOs who have been struggling even more than usual because of the virus.

These factors led to the creation of numerous patient CCM programs, allowing healthcare executives and providers to remotely track the health status of geriatric patients suffering from numerous chronic conditions. The tracking is at a rate and scope unseen previously through the use of electronic media. Interestingly enough, the patients already being monitored by CCM programs overlap heavily with populations susceptible to COVID-19. To adapt existing infrastructure for the COVID-19 pandemic is a relatively simple task for hospital CIOs. 

As noted earlier, one growing CCM program that could be retrofitted to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic are the use of telehealth services in rural locations. Prior to the pandemic, telehealth services were one of the many strategies advocated by the CDC to address the overtaxed healthcare systems found in rural locations. 

Better Access, Funding and User Experience for Telehealth

Today, telehealth is about creating digital touchpoints when no other contact is possible or safe. It offers the potential to expand care to people in remote areas who might have limited or nonexistent access, and it could let other health workers handle patient screening and post-care follow-up when a local facility is overwhelmed. As a study published last year in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine affirms, virtual care can cut the cost of healthcare delivery and relieve strain on busy clinicians.

Telehealth has also gotten a boost from the $2 trillion CARES Act stimulus fund, which provides $130 billion to healthcare organizations fighting the pandemic. The effort also makes it easier for providers to bill for remote services.

The reason for the CDC and hospital administrators’ interest in telehealth was that telehealth meetings could outright remove the need for patients to travel and allow healthcare providers to monitor patients at a fraction of the time. By simply coupling existing telehealth services with CMS preventive care initiatives focused on COVID-19, rural healthcare providers could detect early warning signs of COVID-19. 

Integration Key to Preemptive Detection

This integration at a faster and far greater scale could mean much greater preemptive virus detection through routine telehealth meetings. The effect of telehealth would be twofold on hospitals serving rural and urban health communities. It could slow the spread of COVID-19 to a crawl due to decreased patient travel and improved patient prognosis through early and intensive treatment for vulnerable populations with two or more chronic health conditions.

This integrated combination would shift standard reactive care to patient infections to a new monitoring methodology that proactively seeks out infected patients and rapidly administers treatment to those most at risk of mortality. This new combination of preventive care and telehealth services would not only improve patient and community health but would relieve the financial burden incurred from the pandemic due to the existing CMS initiatives subsidizing such undertakings.

In conclusion, preventative care targeting patients with pre-conditions in rural locations are severely lacking in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging CMS preventive care initiatives along with telehealth services, healthcare providers can achieve the following core objectives.

First, there are financial incentives with preventive care services that will relieve the burden on healthcare systems. Second, COVID-19 vulnerable populations will receive the attention and focus from healthcare providers that they deserve to slow the spread through the use of early detection systems and alerts to their primary health provider. Third, by combining with telehealth service, healthcare providers can efficiently and effectively reach out to rural populations that were once inaccessible to standard healthcare practices.

Priority Health Launches Telehealth PCP Plans for Members in Michigan

What You Should Know:

– Priority Health launches its virtual-first coverage
option with MyPriority Telehealth PCP plans, using top platform Doctor On
Demand.

– Members who choose one of the MyPriority Telehealth PCP
plans will have a doctor assigned as their primary care physician (PCP) through
Doctor on Demand and all visits will take place virtually.


Priority
Health
announced the launch of their new MyPriority Telehealth PCP plans
that will go into effect on January 1, 2021. The new plans are designed for
consumers who are seeking health coverage that is virtual-first and are
comfortable with online interactions with providers. Priority Health is now the
first insurer in Michigan to offer this type of virtual-first product.

How It Works

Members who choose one of the MyPriority Telehealth PCP
plans will have a doctor assigned as their primary care physician (PCP) through Doctor on Demand and all visits will take place
virtually. The member will need a referral from their doctor to seek care in a
traditional office setting with a specialist, as needed. Emergency care does
not have this same restriction.

The new Telehealth PCP plan options, while virtual-first,
still provide members with the same level of comprehensive coverage as a
traditional plan. Members who choose a Telehealth PCP plan will have full
coverage for preventive care and will also have access to added benefits like
reduced copays on prescription drugs, diabetes and chronic condition
management, global emergency assistance through Assist America, and discounted
prices for gym memberships.

Why It Matters

“There is no doubt that telehealth is here to stay. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a massive and sudden shift in the way health care is typically delivered, and many consumers used virtual care for the first time,” said Carrie Kincaid, Vice President of Individual Markets at Priority Health. “With more and more people realizing that telehealth can be a safe and convenient option for certain types of care, we knew that now was the right time to launch this innovative plan option.”

“This Telehealth PCP plan acts as a primary care doctor, urgent care, behavioral health, preventive health and chronic care provider all with the convenience of being able to seek care from the comfort and safety of home,” Kincaid noted. “We listened to what consumers want, and we are excited to bring this new offering into the market.”

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.

Babyscripts Forms Commercial Partnership with Roche to Develop RPM Programs for Pregnancy

Babyscripts Forms Commercial Partnership with Roche to Develop RPM Programs for Pregnancy

What You Should Know:  

Babyscripts today announced a commercial partnership with
Roche Diagnostics, a division of the world’s largest biotech company and a
global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. 

– Roche will partner with Babyscripts on the
development of Babyscripts’ remote patient monitoring (RPM) programs to
leverage groundbreaking data science through the next generation of RPM in
pregnancy. 


Babyscripts, a
Washington D.C.-based virtual care platform for managing obstetrics, today
announced a commercial partnership with Roche
Diagnostics
, a division of the world’s largest biotech company and a
global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche Diagnostics and Babyscripts will collaborate on the next generation of
digital and diagnostic combinations in women’s health.

Commercial Partnership to Power Next-Generation of RPM in
Pregnancy

Under the terms of this collaboration,
Roche will partner with Babyscripts on the
development of Babyscripts’ remote patient
monitoring (RPM) programs to leverage groundbreaking data science through the
next generation of RPM in pregnancy. These programs will be focused on solving
issues of blood pressure-related complications through RPM, such as prenatal
hypertension. Babyscripts participated in Startup
Creasphere
, Roche’s digital health accelerator
program, which was instrumental in initiating this collaboration.

Babyscripts Virtual
Care Platform Background

Babyscripts has spent
the last six years building a clinically-validated, virtual care platform to
allow OBGYNs to deliver a new model of prenatal and postpartum 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.

“Roche’s investment in Babyscripts solutions is a tremendous validation of our vision for improving maternal care, and an example of the kind of strategic collaboration essential to moving the needle on outcomes,” said Juan Pablo Segura, co-founder and President of Babyscripts. “Roche’s vast expertise in the field of women’s health diagnostics and clinical science combined with our on-the-ground experience in the virtual maternal health space is going to prove a game changer for rethinking how we approach prenatal and postpartum care.”

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.” 

The Future of the ICU? How Clinical Decision Support Is Advancing Care

The Future of the ICU? How Clinical Decision Support Is Advancing Care
Kelly Patrick, Principal Analyst at Signify Research

Without a doubt 2020 has been a devastating year for many; the impact of COVID-19 on both personal lives and businesses has had long-term consequences. At the end of September, the number of COVID-19 cases fell just short of 350 million, with just over 1 million deaths reported. The expectation of a second peak in many countries exposed to the deadly illness is being handled with care, with many governments attempting to minimize the impact of an extreme rise in cases.  

COVID-19 the aftermath will be the new normal?

Despite the chaotic attempts to dampen the impact of a second peak, it is inevitable that healthcare facilities will be stretched once again. However, there are key learnings to be had from the first few months of the pandemic, with several healthcare providers opting to be armed with as much information to tackle the likely imminent surge of patients with COVID-19 head-on. The interest in solutions that offer support to clinicians through data analysis is starting to emerge with several COVID-19 specific Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms filtering through the medical imaging space. 

Stepping into the ICU, the use of analytics and AI-based clinical applications is drawing more attention. Solutions that collect relevant patient information, dissect the information, and offer clinical decision support are paving the way to a more informed clinical environment. Already, early-warning scoring, sepsis detection, and predictive analytics were becoming a focus. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has also driven further interest in COVID-19 specific applications, and tele-ICU solutions, that offer an alternative way to ensure high-risk patients are monitored appropriately in the ICU. 

What does the future hold?

Signify Research is currently in the process of assessing the uptake of clinical decision support and AI-based applications in the high acuity and perinatal care settings. An initial assessment has highlighted various solutions that help improve not only the efficiency of care but also improve its quality. Some of the core areas of focus include:

Clinical Decision Support & Predictive Analytics

Due to the abundance of patient data and information required to be regularly assessed and monitored, the high-acuity and perinatal care settings benefit from solutions offering clinical decision support. 

The ICU specifically has been a focus of many AI solution providers, with real-time analysis and support of data to provide actionable clinical decision support in time-critical situations. Clinical decision support solutions can collate data and identify missing pieces of information to provide a complete picture of the patient’s status and to support the treatment pathway. Some of the key vendors pathing the way for AI in clinical decision support in the ICU include AiiNTENSE; Ambient Clinical Analytics; Etiometry; BetterCare; AlertWatch; and Vigilanz Corp.

Early-warning

Early-warning protocols are commonly used in hospitals to flag patient deterioration. However, in many hospitals this is often a manual process, utilizing color coding of patient status on a whiteboard in the nurse’s station. Interest in automated early-warning systems that flag patient deterioration using vital signs information is increasing with the mounting pressure on stretched hospital staff.

Examples of early-warning software solutions include the Philips IntelliVue Guardian Solution and the Capsule Early Warning Scoring System (EWSS). Perigen’s PeriWatch Vigilance is the only AI-based early-warning scoring system that is developed to enhance clinical efficiency, timely intervention, and standardization of perinatal care.

The need for solutions that support resource-restricted hospitals has been further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many existing early-warning vendors have updated their surveillance systems to enable more specific capabilities for COVID-19 patients, specifically for ventilated patients. Companies such as Vigilanz Corp’s COVID Quick Start and Capsule Tech’s Clinical Surveillance module for ventilated patients enables healthcare professionals to respond to COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses with customizable rules, reports, and real-time alerts.

Sepsis Detection

Sepsis is the primary cause of death from infection, accounting for 20% of global deaths worldwide. Sepsis frequently occurs from infections acquired in health care settings, which are one of the most frequent adverse events during care delivery and affect hundreds of millions of patients worldwide every year. As death from Sepsis can be prevented, there is a significant focus around monitoring at-risk patients.

Several health systems employ their own early-warning scoring protocol utilizing in-house AI models to help to target sepsis. HCA Healthcare, an American for-profit operator of health care facilities, claims that its own Sepsis AI algorithm (SPOT) can detect sepsis 18-hours before even the best clinician. Commercial AI developers are also focusing their efforts to provide supporting solutions.

The Sepsis DART™ solution from Ambient Clinical Analytics uses AI to automate early detection of potential sepsis conditions and provides smart notifications to improve critical timeliness of care and elimination of errors. Philips ProtocolWatch, installed on Philips IntelliVue bedside patient monitors, simplifies the implementation of evidence-based sepsis care protocols to enable surveillance of post-ICU patients. 

Tele-ICU

The influx of patients into the ICU during the early part of 2020 because of COVID-19 placed not only great strain on the number of ICU beds but also the number of healthcare physicians to support them. Due to the nature of the illness, the number of patients that were monitored through tele-ICU technology increased, although the complex nature of implementing a new tele-ICU solution has meant the increase has not been as pronounced as that of telehealth in primary care settings.

However, its use has enabled physicians to visit and monitor ICU patients virtually, decreasing the frequency and need for them to physically enter an isolation room. As the provision of healthcare is reviewed following the pandemic, it is likely that tele-ICU models will increase in popularity, to protect both the patient and the hospital staff providing direct patient care. Philips provides one of the largest national programs across the US with its eICU program.

Most recently, GE Healthcare has worked with Decisio Health to incorporate its DECISIOInsight® into GE Healthcare’s Mural virtual care solution, to prioritize and optimize ventilator case management. Other vendors active within the tele-ICU space include Ambient Clinical Analytics, Capsule Health, CLEW Med, and iMDsoft.

Figure 1 Signify Research projects the global tele-ICU market to reach just under $1 billion by 2024.

Interoperable Solutions

More and more solutions are targeted toward improving the quality of patient care and reducing the cost of care provision. With this, the requirement for devices and software to be interoperable is becoming more apparent. Vendors are looking to work collaboratively to find solutions to common problems within the hospital. HIMMS 2020 showcased several collaborations between core vendors within the high acuity market. Of note, two separate groups demonstrated their capabilities to work together to manage and distribute alarms within a critical care environment, resulting in a quieter experience to aid patient recovery. These included:

– Trauma Recovery in the Quiet ICU – Ascom, B Braun, Epic, Getinge, GuardRFID, Philips

– The Quiet Hospital – Draeger, Epic, ICU Medical, Smiths Medical, Spok​


About Kelly Patrick, Principal Analyst at Signify Research

The Future of the ICU? How Clinical Decision Support Is Advancing Care
Kelly Patrick, Principal Analyst at Signify Research

Kelly Patrick is the Principal Analyst at Signify Research, a UK-based market research firm focusing on health IT, digital health, and medical imaging. She joined Signify Research in 2020 and brings with her 12 years’ experience covering a range of healthcare technology research at IHS Markit/Omdia. Kelly’s core focus has been on the clinical care space, including patient monitoring, respiratory care and infusion.


From Virtual Care to Hybrid Care: COVID-19 and the Future of Healthcare

From Virtual Care to Hybrid Care: COVID-19 and the Future of Healthcare

Amwell,
a national telehealth leader, released the results of its annual Physician and Consumer Survey. The results show physicians
and consumers expect to use telehealth more often following COVID-19 than they
did before the pandemic. Telehealth usage is up considerably in 2020, with 22%
of consumers and 80% of physicians having a virtual visit this year, up from 8% and 22%, respectively, in 2019. This adoption is largely driven
by a shift to scheduled visits across all specialties, whereas prior to
COVID-19 the majority of visits were for on-demand urgent care.


Report Background/Overview

Amwell commissioned Dynata to conduct an online study among
more than 2,000 adults, and commissioned M3 Global Consulting to conduct an
online survey of 600 physicians—300 primary care physicians and 300
specialists—to measure consumer and physician perceptions and usage of
telehealth. Both surveys were fielded in June 2020.

Read the findings from Amwell’s
2020 Physician and Consumer Survey
for a deeper look into what happened
during the pandemic—including how consumer and physician experiences,
behaviors, and expectations shifted—and to better understand the quickly
evolving role virtual care will play in healthcare. In addition to new survey
data, the eBook covers:

How COVID-19 has accelerated hybrid care models that combine
in-person and virtual care

– The importance of usability in provider and consumer
adoption of telehealth technology

– How consumer access to virtual care and the know-how to
leverage it remain highly uneven

– How, when, and how much consumers and providers plan to
use virtual care in the future

– Strategic questions organizations should consider to
influence the future direction of virtual care


For more information on this report, click the download now button below:


Veterans Affairs Expands Telehealth Services Using Nuance Dragon Medical One

Veterans Affairs Expands Telehealth Services Using Nuance Dragon Medical One

What You Should Know:

– Nuance Communications, Inc. announced the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is using the Nuance Dragon Medical One
speech recognition cloud platform and its mobile app, PowerMic Mobile.

– The solution helps VA doctors better document patient
care in-person, and now remotely through expanded telehealth services necessary
in the COVID-19 era.


Nuance® Communications, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is using the Nuance Dragon® Medical One speech recognition cloud platform and PowerMic Mobile microphone app to help physicians document patient care provided through dramatically expanded VA telehealth services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helping Physicians Document Care During Virtual Visits

The cloud-based technology allows VA physicians to use their voices to capture and document patient stories securely, accurately, and more efficiently during virtual visits conducted by phone and the widely deployed VA Video Connect platform. Nuance Dragon Medical One is the leading medical speech recognition solution today used by over 550,000 physicians. Compatible with the VA CPRS and Cerner Millennium, it is a key productivity component in EHR solutions throughout the Federal Government, including Veterans Affairs and the Military Health System. Because the VA first standardized on Nuance cloud-based Dragon Medical solutions system-wide in 2014, physicians could readily adopt the added capabilities and mobile flexibility of Dragon Medical One for telehealth services.

“Helping frontline clinicians at the VA and other major health systems has been our highest priority since the pandemic began,” said Diana Nole, executive vice president and general manager of healthcare, Nuance. “The combination of our cloud-based platforms, organizational agility and deep experience working with the VA health system made it possible for us to act quickly and deliver the technology solutions needed to protect and assist physicians treating patients remotely. While our strong sense of mission and purpose in serving critical healthcare organizations and businesses already is very clear, it becomes amplified knowing that our technology solutions are playing a role in caring for our nation’s Veterans.”

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.”


GYANT Develops First-to-Market COVID-19 Vaccine Care Navigation Tool

GYANT Develops First-to-Market COVID-19 Vaccine Care Navigation Tool

What You Should Know:

– AI-driven virtual care company, GYANT, has announced its first-to-market COVID-19 vaccine care navigation tool to help health systems anticipate novel patient needs.

– GYANT Vaccine deploys as a white-labeled virtual
assistant on provider websites, mobile apps, and patient portals, managing the
patient journey from initial inquiry to post-visit follow up.


GYANT, the AI-powered
virtual assistant company, today announced its first-to-market vaccine care
navigation tool, GYANT Vaccine,
anticipating impending health system strain following emergency use
authorization of a COVID-19
vaccine. The solution offers support for each step of the patient journey, from
initial inquiry to post-vaccination follow-up.

GYANT Vaccine builds on the company’s successful COVID-19
SERA technology, which rapidly helped 25 payer and health system customers and
half a million patients screen and triage symptoms to access testing and care.
With the addition of Vaccine, GYANT’s AI-powered virtual assistant platform now
even more effectively connects the dots across patients’ digital journeys with
the existing Front Door (care navigation and triage), Engage (patient outreach)
and Clipboard (automated chart population) modules.


Is Your Health System Prepared for the Vaccine?

GYANT Develops First-to-Market COVID-19 Vaccine Care Navigation Tool

Anticipating the tsunami of inbound patient inquiries,
overwhelmed call centers, appointment scheduling demands, and eligibility
screening requests as the vaccine becomes available, GYANT Vaccine will
virtually guide patients through the entire pre- and post-vaccination process

GYANT Vaccine deploys as a white-labeled virtual assistant
on provider websites, mobile apps, and patient portals, managing the patient
journey from initial inquiry to post-visit follow up. GYANT Vaccine is
available 24/7, to relieve the burden of administrative staff, simplify the
research and appointment scheduling for consumers, and keep patients safe.

By empowering patients to learn about processes and options,
screen and assess prioritization, book appointments, and stay in touch with
their providers to schedule additional doses and monitor for side effects,
GYANT Vaccine adapts to each provider’s changing requirements over the course
of the vaccine roll-out.

“Navigating the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine will be the single biggest challenge healthcare systems face in 2021,” said Stefan Behrens, co-founder and chief executive officer, GYANT. “With our help, customers are poised to effectively anticipate and manage the vaccine’s deployment whenever it is approved, and play a role in controlled widespread adoption as we seek to overcome this crisis.”

Availability

GYANT Vaccine has already generated overwhelming interest in
the market with five health systems signed on to deploy the tool following
emergency use authorization of a vaccine.

Press Ganey Acquires Doctor.com, Acquires Majority Stake in Binary Fountain

Press Ganey Acquires Doctor.com, Acquires Majority Stake in Binary Fountain

What You Should Know:

– Press Ganey advances the healthcare consumerism movement with acquisitions of Doctor.com and a majority stake in Binary Fountain.

– Expanded technology platform enables industry-leading
management of providers’ online brand and seamless Web-wide patient acquisition
and loyalty strategies.


Press Ganey today
announced the expansion of its market-leading health care consumerism platform
with the acquisitions
of Doctor.com and a majority equity stake
in Binary Fountain. These acquisitions create the largest health care
consumerism platform in the industry that offers an unmatched opportunity for
health systems and providers to drive digital patient acquisition, retention,
and reputation management strategies that will deliver new levels of growth and
loyalty.


Set Up Your Virtual Practice in 5 Minutes or Less with
Doctor.com’s Turnkey Solution

Founded in 2013, Doctor.com provides the critical
infrastructure and integrations necessary to enable modern digital experiences
for patients. Doctor.com clients benefit from best-in-class provider data,
robust physician and patient engagement tools, and seamless integrations with
the most prominent health care directories, search engines, social media
platforms, and EHR/PM systems. As a result, thousands of clients, including
200+ leading hospitals and health systems, 30,000+ private practices, and
leading brands in the life sciences industry, have been empowered by Doctor.com
to enhance their digital presence and credibility, increase patient trust, and
grow their business.


Why It Matters

The COVID-19 crisis radically disrupted the health care
industry and altered consumer behavior. The result was massive growth in
telehealth services, with Press Ganey administering more than 15 million
telemedicine surveys year to date. Coupled with more than 71% of patients
seeking physician reviews online and 70,000 health-related Google searches each
minute, these fundamental shifts have escalated the need for health care
providers to enhance and streamline the online healthcare customer experience.

“This acquisition is game-changing for the industry. By pairing data and insights from Press Ganey’s 472 million consumer surveys a year with next-generation technology, health care organizations can finally unite their patient experience and patient acquisition efforts within one powerful platform. This unified solution drives performance improvement, accelerates transparency initiatives, and improves the patient experience,” said Andrei Zimiles, co-founder and CEO, Doctor.com. “As patients continue to ‘shop’ for care in increasingly competitive digital channels, this groundbreaking new platform from three pioneers in the consumerism space gives health care organizations the edge they’ve been looking for.”

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The benefits of online scheduling during a “twindemic”

In previous winters, anyone struck by a sore throat or fever might assume they had flu, and head to bed with a hot drink and some painkillers. This year, the looming specter of COVID-19 could prompt those with flu-like symptoms to seek medical care instead. Combined with a likely second wave of COVID-19 cases as lockdown requirements relax, healthcare organizations anticipate a surge in patients seeking tests and treatment this winter.

To protect against a possible “twindemic”, where COVID-19 and winter flu season collide, providers will want to ensure the patient intake and access process is as easy and efficient as possible—and not just for regular appointments with a primary care physician or specialist, but for pandemic- and flu-related services like COVID tests, flu shots, and more.

Online scheduling has been a game-changer during the pandemic: could it be the key to surviving a twindemic? With the right digital tools in place, providers can screen patients for their COVID-19 or flu risk before attending an in-person appointment, helping separate healthy patients from those suspected of having either illness. Providers can also leverage those same digital tools to streamline activity like flu shots, or even drive-through testing for COVID-19.

Four ways to leverage digital scheduling for a twindemic

These four steps could be key to protecting patients, streamlining workflows and reducing pressures on call centers during flu season as it collides with COVID-19:

1. Create screening questionnaires during patient scheduling

As soon as the patient logs on to book an appointment, they are asked to answer a few short questions about their symptoms. A screening questionnaire can triage people wanting to get tested, while the answers inform providers of the likelihood of a patient having COVID-19 and if that individual needs to quarantine. After being screened, the system can direct patients through the correct channel of care based on the information provided.

A similar questionnaire could be adapted during flu season for providers to assess and compare symptoms and risks ahead of time. Providers can even designate day and time slots available to patients for flu vaccinations, making it easy for patients to schedule on their own time and further minimizing the risk of unnecessary contact with other patients in office.

2. Direct patients to drive-through testing to minimize in-person tests

Depending on the answers given during screening, patients may be directed to virtual and disease-specific care, such as drive-through COVID-testing. An online scheduling platform can easily be used to book appointments for tests, presenting patients with any available time slots, either same-day or a few days out. The platform can also record information about the patient’s vehicle to quickly identify patients and avoid bottlenecks in the drive-through.

With so many patients hesitant to show for in-person visits today, a similar system for flu shots could serve providers well.

3. Use guided search to direct patients to the right virtual services

Virtual care has proven both necessary and valuable during the current pandemic. Not only has it kept patients in close contact with providers and specialists, but it has helped providers capture revenue lost from the cancellation or delay of in-person appointments.

Virtual care will be increasingly critical during a dual COVID-19/flu season. By asking the right questions during online scheduling, patients can be connected to the correct provider, whether virtual or in-person, for their needs and book an appointment quickly and easily.

4. Eliminate walk-through traffic at urgent care centers

Urgent care centers are already known to be the ‘doctor of choice’ for many patients, but this could pose a few challenges for both patients and providers during a dual pandemic. Rather than be a gathering spot for patients with both illnesses, urgent care centers may want to consider switching to an appointment-only system, where appointments must be scheduled online or by phone. This can help reduce the number of in-person visits and walk-in traffic, which will not only help keep everyone safe and healthy but contribute to a far better patient experience as patients wouldn’t have to sit and wait to be seen by a provider.

Interested in hearing more about how online scheduling could help your organization manage flu season as it collies with COVID-19?


Learn more.

The post The benefits of online scheduling during a “twindemic” appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

A Tipping Point for Care Virtualisation

Follow along with our blog series #HealthcareNow and #PublicSectorNow, where we’ll address healthcare innovation around the world and how to maintain business continuity in today’s health climate. 

One of the most remarkable impacts of the pandemic has been the speed with which it accelerated telehealth as a mainstream channel for clinical consultations. Issues that were once considered intractable were solved almost overnight out of sheer necessity and the need to protect our frontline workers and patients from infection.

The surge in telehealth is most likely a symbol of something much bigger, and more profound. Care virtualisation is a concept which has gathered pace in the wake of the pandemic. Put simply, virtualised care reflects the broad range of health services that are being delivered using digital channels. Some of these are reflected in recent Cisco deployments across Australia, including extensive uptake of the Webex platform to enable virtual visits, improve communication and connect families with patients at a time of extreme stress.

Cisco provided Flinders University with funding under its global Country Digitisation Acceleration program to look at the opportunities for virtualised care. The result is a compelling report titled `From Telehealth to Virtualised Care.’

“Up until 2020, it has been an ingrained part of Australian culture to receive healthcare in a face-to-face setting and in the provider’s rooms or clinic. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented culture interloper. It will shift our culture in many ways, not least in our societal expectations and understanding of how we receive healthcare. We believe that virtual care has an important role to play in the future of healthcare delivery in Australia: ‘right care, right place, right time’”

– excerpt From Telehealth to Virtualised Care report (quote attributed to PWC)

One of the most important themes from the report is the importance of underlaying digital infrastructure as an enabler of new care models that will increasingly be characterised by smart sensing, self-management and remote monitoring.

Virtualised care is a theme that will continue to rise in prominence as health care systems continue the quest to improve patient care and safety, redefine the patient experience, deliver cost efficiencies, and fortify their underlaying platforms against cyber attacks.

We’d love to hear what you think. Comment below and stay tuned for the next blog in our #HealthcareNow series. 

The post A Tipping Point for Care Virtualisation appeared first on Cisco Blogs.

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.


Digital Behavioral Health: Addressing The COVID-19 Behavioral Health Crisis

digital behavioral health and addressing the COVID-19 behavioral health crisis
Victor Siclovan, Director of Medicaid Transformation Project at AVIA

Living through a pandemic is stressful and anxiety-inducing. Stay-at-home measures are compounding this stress, resulting in social isolation and unprecedented economic hardship, including mass layoffs and loss of health coverage. Fully understanding the impact of these pernicious trends on overall mental health will take time. However, precedents like the Great Recession suggest that these trends are likely to worsen the conditions driving suicide and substance-related deaths, the “deaths of despair” that claimed 158,000 lives in 2017 and contributed to a three-year decline in US life expectancy among adults of all racial groups.

Even before the emergence and spread of COVID-19, the US was experiencing a behavioral health treatment crisis: 2018 data showed that only 43% of adults with mental health needs, 10% of individuals with SUD, and 7% of individuals with co-occurring conditions were able to receive services for all necessary conditions. 

The treatment gap is staggering, and COVID-19 is exacerbating it: an estimated 45% of adults report the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, to say nothing of the disruption of essential in-person care and services. In a similar vein, a recent CDC report has highlighted the staggering and “disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, [including] increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation” experienced by “younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers.”

Consistent with the CDC report’s findings, the crisis can be felt most acutely by the very workforce that must deal with COVID-19 itself. Hospitals, health systems, and clinical practices – together with other first responders – comprise the essential front line. They bear the burden of their employees’ stress and illness, and must also cope with the many patients who present with a range of mental illnesses and substance use disorder (SUD).

But providers don’t have to face this burden alone: numerous behavioral health-focused digital solutions can support providers in meeting their most urgent needs in the era of COVID-19. Many of these solutions have made select services available for free or at a discount to healthcare providers in recognition of the immense need and challenging financial circumstances. Some solutions also help systems take advantage of favorable, albeit time-sensitive, conditions, enabling them to lay the foundation for broader behavioral health initiatives in the long term. Several of these solutions are described below, in the context of three key focus areas for health systems.

Focus Area 1: Supporting the Frontline Workforce 

Health system leaders need to keep their workforces healthy, focused, and productive during this period of extreme stress, anxiety, and trauma. Providing easily accessible behavioral health resources for the healthcare workforce is therefore of paramount importance.

Health systems should consider providing immediate, free access to behavioral health services to employees and their families and consider further extending that access to first responders, other healthcare workers, and other essential services workers in the community.

Many digital product companies are granting temporary access to their services and are expanding their offerings to include new, COVID-19-specific modules, resources, and/or guidance at no cost. 

Fortunately, the market is rife with solutions that have demonstrated effectiveness and an ability to scale. However, many of these rapidly-scalable solutions are oriented toward low-acuity behavioral health conditions, so it is important that health systems consider the unique needs of their populations in determining which solution(s) to adopt.

The following are several solutions to consider:

Online CBT solutions. These tools are being used to expand access to lower-acuity behavioral health services, targeting both frontline workers and the general population. MyStrength, SilverCloud and others have deployed COVID-19-specific programming.

Text-based peer support groups. Organizations are using Marigold Health to address loneliness and social isolation in group-based chat settings, one-on-one interactions between individuals and peer staff, and broader community applications.

Focus Area 2: Maintaining Continuity of Care 

As the pandemic continues to ripple across the country, parts of the delivery system remain overwhelmingly focused on containing and treating COVID-19. This can and has led to the disruption of care and services, of particular significance to individuals with chronic conditions (e.g., serious mental illness (SMI) and SUD), who require longitudinal care and support. Standing up interventions — digital and otherwise — to ensure continuity of care will be critical to preventing exacerbations in patients’ conditions that could drive increased rates of ED visits and admissions at a time when hospital capacity can be in short supply.

In the absence of in-person care, many digital solutions are hosting virtual recovery meetings and providing access to virtual peer support groups. Additionally, shifts in federal and state policies are easing restrictions around critical services, including medication-assisted treatment (e.g., buprenorphine can now be prescribed via telephone), that can mitigate risky behavior and ensure ongoing access to treatment. 

The use of paraprofessionals has also emerged as a promising extension of the historically undersupplied behavioral health treatment infrastructure. Capitalizing on the rapid expansion of virtual care, providers should consider leveraging digital solutions to scale programs that use peers, community health workers (CHWs), care managers, health coaches, and other paraprofessionals, to reduce inappropriate hospital utilization and ensure patients are navigated to the appropriate services.

The following are several solutions to consider:

Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) via telemedicine. These solutions provide access to professionals who can prescribe and administer MAT medications, provide addiction counseling, and conduct behavioral therapy (e.g., CBT, motivational interviewing) digitally. Solution companies providing these critical services include Eleanor Health, PursueCare, and Workit Health.

Behavioral health integration. Providing screening, therapy, and psychiatric consultations in a variety of care settings — especially primary care — will help address the increased demand. Historically, providers have had difficulty scaling such solutions due to challenging reimbursement, administrative burden, and stigma, among other concerns. Solutions like Valera Health and Concert Health were created to address these challenges and have seen success in scaling collaborative care programs.

Recovery management tools for individuals with SUD. WEConnect Health and DynamiCare Health are both offering free daily online recovery support groups.

Focus Area 3: Leveraging New Opportunities to Close the Treatment Gap

As has been widely documented, the pandemic has spurred unprecedented adoption of telehealth services, aided by new funding opportunities (offered through the CARES Act and similar channels) and the widespread easing of telehealth requirements, including the allowance of reimbursement for audio-only services and temporarily eased provider licensure requirements.

Tele-behavioral health services are no exception; the aforesaid trends ensure that what was one of the few high-growth areas in digital behavioral health before the pandemic will remain so for the foreseeable future. This is unquestionably a positive development, but there is still much work to be done to close the treatment gap. Critically, a meaningful portion of this work is beyond the reach of the virtual infrastructure that has been established to date. For example, there remains a dearth of solutions that have successfully scaled treatment models for individuals with acute illnesses, like SMI or dual BH-SUD diagnoses.

Health system leaders should continue to keep their ears to the ground for new opportunities to expand their virtual treatment infrastructure, paying particular attention to synergistic opportunities to build on investments in newly-developed assets (like workforce-focused solutions) to round out the continuum of behavioral health services. 

COVID-19 has all but guaranteed that behavioral health will remain a major focus of efforts to improve healthcare delivery. Therefore, health systems that approach today’s necessary investments in behavioral health with a long-term focus will emerge from the pandemic response well ahead of their peers, having built healthier communities along the way.


About Victor Siclovan

Victor Siclovan is a Director on the Medicaid Transformation Project at AVIA where he leads work in behavioral health, chronic care, substance use disorder, and Medicaid population health strategy. Prior to AVIA, Victor spent nearly 10 years at Oliver Wyman helping large healthcare organizations navigate the transition to value-based care. He holds a BA in Economics from Northwestern.


Amwell, Tyto Care Expand Partnership to Power Augmented Virtual Care Experiences

Amwell, Tyto Care Expand Partnership to Power Augmented Virtual Care Experiences

What You Should Know:

Tyto
Care
 and Amwell® announced an expanded partnership, allowing
the companies to develop new integrations to enhance virtual care offerings for
providers.

– By pairing Tyto Care’s TytoHome device and platform
with Amwell’s platform, the two companies will together provide patients
and providers with augmented virtual care experiences and
broadly enrich the capabilities and satisfaction with healthcare organizations’
virtual care applications.


Telehealth
provider Amwell, today
announced it is expanding its partnership with Tyto Care, the
healthcare industry’s first all-in-one modular device and examination platform
for AI-powered, on-demand, remote medical exams. Together the companies will
introduce exclusive integrations and newly designed workflows and tools to
enhance the ability for providers using the Amwell platform to examine and
diagnose patients virtually. Additionally, Amwell will become a reseller of Tyto Care’s
integrated devices
.   

Tyto Care Background

Tyto Care seamlessly connects people to clinicians to provide
the best virtual home examination and diagnosis solutions. Its solutions are
designed to enable a comprehensive medical exam from any location and include a
hand-held, all-in-one tool for examining the heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat,
abdomen, and body temperature; a complete telehealth platform for sharing exam
data, conducting live video exams, and scheduling visits; a cloud-based data
repository with analytics; and built-in guidance technology and machine
learning algorithms to ensure accuracy and ease of use for patients and
insights for healthcare providers.

Conduct Exams and Diagnoses

By pairing the TytoHome handheld examination
device – which enables on-demand examinations of the heart, lungs, abdomen,
skin, throat, ears, heart rate, and body temperature – with Amwell’s telehealth
platform, providers can guide patients through
virtual health examinations and together gain real-time insight into a
patient’s health data and status directly in the visit. For patients and
providers, this will augment the virtual care experience and more broadly
enrich the capabilities and overall satisfaction associated with healthcare
organizations’ virtual care applications. This enriched workflow will be available to
thousands of Amwell hospitals, health systems, health plans
and employer clients who collectively serve millions of patients.  

“As COVID-19 wages on and more patients and providers adopt telehealth, it’s critical that we accelerate the depth of care that can be provided in the home – to keep patients and providers safe,” said Roy Schoenberg, President and Co-CEO, Amwell. “Our latest integration with Tyto Care will allow providers to clinically come closer than ever before to patients during telehealth encounters, allowing them to see, interact, examine and deliver care in ways that growingly resemble in-person care.”

Offering More Holistic Care for Patients

“Our longstanding partnership with Amwell exemplifies our shared goal of providing deeply integrated telehealth solutions that put health in the hands of consumers, creating a more impactful and seamless healthcare experience for both patients and providers,” said Dedi Gilad, CEO and Co-Founder, Tyto Care. “The integration with TytoHome will enable Amwell to offer more holistic care for patients, especially for urgent and primary care needs, as well as help to enable better adherence to treatment plans. We look forward to continuing our work together as we realize the full potential of clinic-quality, at-home care in this new era of telehealth.”

Telehealth Reality Check: Who’s Really Going to “Win” the Race to Virtual Care Market Leadership?

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

It’s the telehealth market reality check you’ve been waiting for! “Rogue” digital health consultant Dr. Lyle Berkowitz unpacks the numbers and the market potential for virtual care from the unique vantage point of a primary-care-physician-turned-health-tech-entrepreneur with nothing to lose. Having been 1) a clinician, 2) the Director of Innovation at Northwestern Medicine, 3) the founder of a health tech startup (Health Finch) that successfully exited to Health Catalyst, and 4) the former Chief Medical Officer at one of telemedicine’s biggest players, MDLive, few can boast such a wide-reaching, deep understanding of the inner workings of both the innovation and incumbent sides of the virtual care market — AND have a willingness to talk about it all with complete candor!

This is an analyst’s perspective on the telehealth market — with a twist of insider expertise — so expect to hear some good rationale behind predictions about how much care will remain virtual once hospitals and doctor’s offices return to normal, how “real” health system enthusiasm is for building out telehealth capacity to execute on the “digital front door” idea, and whether or not all these well-funded telehealth startups will have what it takes to win market share from traditional care providers.

BONUS on Primary Care: Is this the area of medicine that’s going to be the “battleground” where digital health and virtual care companies will be going head-to-head with incumbents for market share? Lyle says 50-plus percent of primary care “can and should be automated, delegated, virtualized, etc.” and boldly predicts that in 10-20 years we won’t even have primary care physicians anymore. Tune in to find out why starting at the 8:00 minute mark, where we shout out Crossover Health, Oak Street Health, Iora Health, and more.

Telehealth die-hards, don’t think for a second I’d miss this chance to also get some input on Teladoc-Livongo, Amwell, Doctor On Demand, SOC Telemed, the impending IPOs there, digital first health plans, virtual primary care, health systems (who Lyle hopes “don’t shoot themselves in the foot” with their opportunity to jump into the space) and, ultimately, who’s really going to ”WIN” in virtual care moving forward. For this, jump in at 17:00 minutes and hold on!

4 Areas Driving AI Adoption in Hospital Operations and Patient Safety

4 Reasons Why Now Is the Time for Hospitals to Embrace AI
Renee Yao, Global Healthcare AI Startups Lead at NVIDIA

COVID-19 has put a tremendous burden on hospitals, and the clinicians, nurses, and medical staff who make them run. 

Many hospitals have suffered financially as they did not anticipate the severity of the disease. The extended duration of patient stays in ICUs, the need for more isolated rooms and beds, and the need for better supplies to reduce infections have all added costs. Some hospitals did not have adequate staff to check-in patients, take their temperature, monitor them regularly, or quickly recruit nurses and doctors to help.

AI can greatly improve hospital efficiency, improve patient satisfaction, and help keep costs from ballooning. Autonomous robots can help with surgeries and deliver items to patient’s rooms. Smart video sensors can determine if patients are wearing masks or monitor their temperature. Conversational tools can help to directly input patient information right into medical records or help to explain surgical procedures or side effects.

Here are four key areas where artificial intelligence (AI) is getting traction in hospital operations and enhancing patient safety:

1- Patient Screening

We’ve become familiar with devices in and around our homes that use AI for image and speech recognition, such as speakers that listen to our commands to play our favorite songs. This same technology can be used in hospitals to screen patients, monitor them, help them understand procedures, and help them get supplies.

Screening is an important step in identifying patients who may need medical care or isolation to stop the spread of COVID-19. Temporal thermometers are widely used to measure temperatures via the temporal artery in the forehead, but medical staff has to screen patients one by one. 

Temperature screening applications powered by AI can automate and dramatically speed up this process, scanning over 100 patients a minute. These systems free up staff, who can perform other functions, and then notify them of patients who have a fever, so they can be isolated. Patients without a fever can check-in for their appointments instead of waiting in line to be scanned. 

AI systems can also perform other screening functions, such as helping monitor if patients are wearing masks and keeping six feet apart. They can even check staff to ensure they are wearing proper safety equipment before interacting with patients.  

2. Virtual Nurse Assistant 

Hospitals are dynamic environments. Patients have questions that can crop up or evolve as circumstances change. Staff have many patients and tasks to attend to and regularly change shifts. 

Sensor fusion technology combines video and voice data to allow nurses to monitor patients remotely. AI can automatically observe a patient’s behavior, determining whether they are at risk of a fall or are in distress. Conversational AI, such as automatic speech recognition, text-to-speech, and natural language processing, can help understand what patients need, answer their questions, and then take appropriate action, whether it’s replying with an answer or alerting staff.

Furthermore, the information recorded from patients in conversational AI tools can be directly inputted into patients’ medical records, reducing the documentation burden for nurses and medical staff.

3. Surgery Optimization 

Surgery can be risky and less invasive procedures are optimal for patients to speed up recovery, reduce blood loss, and reduce pain. AI can help surgeons monitor blood flow, anatomy, and physiology in real-time. 

Connected sensors can help optimize the operating room. Everything from patient flow, time, instrument use, and staffing can be captured. Using machine learning algorithms and real-time data, AI can reduce hospital costs and allow clinicians to focus on safe patient throughput.

But it’s not just the overall operations. AI will allow surgeons to better prepare for upcoming procedures with access to simulations beforehand. They will also be able to augment procedures as they happen, incorporating AI models in real-time, allowing them to identify missing or unexpected steps.

Contactless control will allow surgeons to utilize gestures and voice commands to easily access relevant patient information like medical images, before making a critical next move. AI can also be of assistance following procedures. It can, for example, automatically document key information like equipment and supplies used, as well as staff times. 

4. Telehealth

During COVID-19, telehealth has helped patients access their clinicians when they cannot physically go to the office. Patients’ adoption of telehealth has soared, from 11% usage in 2019 in the US to 46% usage in 2020. Clinicians have rapidly scaled offerings and are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did before. Pre-COVID-19, the total annual revenue of US telehealth was an estimated $3 billion, with the largest vendors focused on the “virtual urgent care” segment. With the acceleration of consumer and provider adoption of telehealth, up to $250 billion of current US healthcare spend could potentially be virtualized.

Examples of the role of AI in the delivery of health care remotely include the use of tele-assessment, telediagnosis, tele-interactions, and telemonitoring.

AI-enabled self-triage tools allow patients to go through diagnostic assessments and receive real-time care recommendations. This allows less sick patients to avoid crowded hospitals. After the virtual visit, AI can improve documentation and reimbursement processes.

Rapidly developing real-time secure and scalable AI intelligence is fundamental to transforming our hospitals so that they are safe, more efficient, and meet the needs of patients and medical staff. 


About Renee Yao

Renee Yao leads global healthcare AI startups at NVIDIA, managing 1000+ healthcare startups in digital health, medical instrument, medical imaging, genomics, and drug discovery segments. Most Recently, she is responsible for Clara Guardian, a smart hospital ecosystem of AI solutions for hospital public safety and patient monitoring.


Validic Launches New Remote Patient Monitoring Solution, Requires No EHR Integration

What You Should Know:

– Validic launches the newest version of its remote
patient monitoring (RPM) offerings, Validic Impact: Rapid Deployment.

– This new standalone version of Validic Impact requires
no EHR integration and can be used as a fully standalone solution.


Validic, a Durham,
NC-based provider of health data platforms and solutions for scaling remote
patient monitoring (RPM), has announced the release of a major update to its
remote patient monitoring solution, Validic
Impact
. This new release offers the ability to deploy an end-to-end
technology solution for chronic and acute condition monitoring, rapidly.

Validic Impact: Rapid Deployment Features

Validic
Impact: Rapid Deployment 
offers providers a standalone, web-based
application to manage device-driven RPM programs. The solution is designed for
scale and offered with an ease of use that allows provider groups to quickly
purchase and launch.

Validic’s RPM solutions offer the alerting, visualization
and analytics capabilities needed to engage and manage patients from their
home. The Validic Impact solutions can support the management of acute and
chronic conditions, such diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, and COVID-19
(coronavirus). This new version of Validic Impact requires no EHR integration
and can be used as a fully standalone solution.

– Set up and launch rapidly – with no technology
integration and minimal configuration requirements, providers can deploy
comprehensive RPM programs rapidly.

– Create protocol templates – standardize
templates for the conditions you want to manage with default programmed alerts,
consent language, etc.

– Enroll patients quickly – invite a patient to
a program within seconds – enabling them to consent and connect their device(s)
from any browser.

– Personalize and monitor – easily adjust and
personalize goals and alerts for each patient; automate outreach to patients
who are not submitting readings, trending in the wrong direction, or flag
readings of concern for timely interventions.

Validic’s RPM model allows physicians to tap into the
devices their patients already own and use. The solution can integrate over 480
consumer and clinical health devices via Validic’s core health data
platform. In addition to supporting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD), Validic
Impact also supports kitted device fulfillment and 24/7 device support through
strategic relationships with device logistics companies.

Why It Matters

“COVID-19 was a call to action for healthcare,” Drew Schiller, CEO of Validic said. “Our platform-first RPM approach enhances virtual visit offerings. Right now, that means quickly replacing clinical data usually gathered during in-person visits, such as weight and blood pressure, with home health data.”

Schiller added, “Beyond improving the quality of care delivered through telehealth, RPM will continue to serve as a staple of virtual care and extend in-person care offerings.”

The Coronavirus Crisis’ Silent Death Toll: Chronically Ill Patients

The Coronavirus Crisis’ Silent Death Toll: Chronically Ill Patients
Dr. Kayur Patel, Chief Medical Officer of Proactive MD

The impact of the coronavirus crisis is shining a bright light on many of the challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system. 

So much more than a lack of primary care physicians and hospital beds, the all-hands-on-deck approach to combating the spread of COVID-19 has forced patients fearful of engaging with the healthcare system for needs unrelated to the virus to put elective procedures, routine care and timely treatment for chronic or critical conditions on the back burner.

Compounding these issues, fears surrounding visiting the doctor’s office have forced primary care facilities to lay off or furlough clinicians and staff, deferring or skipping clinician salaries in some cases. When it comes to epidemic illness, primary care professionals serve as the first line of defense, preventing patients from flooding emergency rooms and hospitals when they don’t actually need to be there. However, in spite of the need for access to affordable primary care, many primary care practices will not survive the pandemic. 

Despite new CDC guidance showing people with underlying medical conditions like diabetes or hypertension are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, most regular wellness check-ups, cancer screenings, and nonemergency procedures have been put on hold. While COVID-19 is responsible for more than 140,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, experts predict this delay in care for chronically ill patients has resulted in a “silent” death-toll — and one that continues to climb as the world waits for a vaccine.

In the meantime, what can hospitals and clinics in the U.S. do to better serve chronic care patients and ensure no one else falls through the cracks during the pandemic?

Data Analysis

Healthcare generates a lot of data for patient records. It’s crucial that hospitals and medical clinics have the ability to analyze that data to identify and categorize vulnerable patients who are either: 

– high-risk due to potential coronavirus-related complications or

– require regular check-ups because of care related to chronic illness, mental health, or addiction. 

Facing the aforementioned barriers to primary care and treatments, many chronic and crisis care patients are exponentially more vulnerable to the impact of the virus. Even if these patients do not contract COVID-19, the regression that can happen when a condition is not properly managed can be equally dangerous.

Data analysis that allows healthcare providers to stratify patient population risk and engage patients based on care needs provides caretakers the information they need to create personalized treatment plans that ensure the needs of chronic and crisis care patients are not neglected. 

Safe and Continuous Outreach

Healthcare clinics that traditionally rely on in-office visits are now scrambling to provide access to their patients through telemedicine and virtual visits while navigating the challenging new landscape of billing codes and payment rules for these services. Previously derided as less than effective medicine, telemedicine, and virtual visits have become necessary to reduce staff exposure, preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and minimize the impact of patient surges on facilities.

Because systems have had to adjust the way they triage, evaluate and care for patients through the use of methods that do not depend on in-person services, telehealth, and virtual care services are helping provide necessary care to at-risk patients while minimizing the transmission risk of the virus that causes COVID-19 to healthcare personnel and other patients.

From phone calls and telemedicine appointments to apps, surveys, and regular check-ins, advances in technology empower hospitals and clinics to prioritize relationships that build the foundation enabling continuity of care, even using a new channel to communicate. Through proactive communication with patients about helpful resources and the option for virtual visits, providers can see significant success in their commitment to continued engagement with — and care for — patients.

Dedicated Patient Advocacy

Good patient-provider relationships foster better communication, which drives improved health and wellness. As such, it’s important that hospitals and clinics have ongoing and dedicated patient advocates to reach out to high-risk and chronic care patients. 

By serving as the link between a patient’s care provider and the real world, patient advocates strive to ensure that patients have access to the care and resources they need. Whether that involves access to prescriptions, medical supplies, food, financial assistance, mental health programs, or workforce navigation, care coordination needs to extend beyond simple community referrals. 

In the face of a global pandemic, patients often face complicated decisions concerning their health and overwhelming obstacles to receiving care. Ongoing, dedicated patient advocacy offers guidance that helps patients navigate the complicated health system, ensuring they get the care and support they need throughout the continuing COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite efforts to safely reopen businesses and get employees back to work, the virus itself has not gone away. With practitioners fearing the spread of the disease, patients afraid to keep their in-person appointments and clinicians being redirected to emergency rooms or coronavirus test sites, primary care doctors are seeing their patients far less frequently, and patients are struggling to effectively maintain their health. 

That strain on the primary care system will continue. However, by moving to value-based care models, such as advanced primary care, that leverage data, and analytics to identify and categorize vulnerable patients, facilitate safe and continuous outreach to these patients through telemedicine and other virtual means and have dedicated patient advocates reaching out to high-risk and chronic care patients, hospitals and clinics can continuously serve their most vulnerable patients throughout the duration of the coronavirus crisis.


About Dr. Kayur Patel

Dr. Kayur Patel serves as Chief Medical Officer of Proactive MD. A practicing physician with extensive experience in internal and emergency medicine, his specialty lies in bringing physicians and hospital leadership together in order to convert healthcare challenges into opportunities for growth. He is a nationally-recognized authority and a national speaker on the subject of quality in healthcare. 

Report: Modern Revenue Integrity Solutions Driving Payment Performance

Report: Modern Revenue Integrity Solutions Driving Payment Performance

What You Should Know:

– New Chilmark Research report on revenue integrity
in healthcare reveals a transitional market making strides to address the new
burdens of modern care economics.

– The ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency underscores
the imperative need for automation and reduced administrative costs even
clearer.


Revenue cycle
has and continues to be one of the most difficult challenges in healthcare.
These issues manifest in the claims process of submission, appeal, and
remittance, but the causes are found much earlier in clinical workflows. Rather
than think of these as separate issues, they should all be considered under a
broader category of revenue integrity. The latest report from Chilmark Research,
Revenue Integrity in Healthcare: Solutions Driving Payment Performance
,
reveals a market in flux as new technologies are applied to old problems,
increasingly complicated by contracts that include performance and reporting
requirements.

Modern Revenue Integrity Solutions Can Improve Financial
Performance

New software and platforms can accelerate, automate, and
improve the accuracy of these activities. Automated outreach, demographic and
eligibility checking, computer-assisted coding, natural-language processing,
and more traditional revenue cycle platforms.

These tools are offered by:

– Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

– Independent Platforms

– Best-of-Breed Solutions from outside the Revenue Integrity
space, but with powerful tools to address payment needs

These activities are essential for healthcare enterprises of
all sizes, scopes, and specialties. They are needed whether the organization is
primarily concerned with fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursement or value-based care (VBC).
The ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency has made the need for automation
and reduced administrative costs even clearer. With appointment volumes
dropping, provider organizations are faced with the need for reliable, accurate
payments for their care activities more than ever. These solutions are equally
valuable for traditional provider care and for modern virtual care solutions
like telehealth.

 “Accounting and revenue cycle work can never fix these issues. They need to be addressed where they occur and prevented from showing up in revenue cycle in the first place. One mistake in patient registration that was easy to fix can cause millions in complicated denials down the road.”– Lead Analyst Alex Lennox-Miller

Each type of solution (EHR, Platform, Best of Breed) is
evaluated based on how they address the needs of provider enterprises. The
report reviews the current state of the market, the maturity of solutions, and
the strengths and weaknesses of each solution type. While the current market is
valued at more than $20 billion, projections within the report show its
expected growth to nearly $35 billion in the next five years. The report shows
which segments of this market can expect annual growth rates exceeding 10% and
which will slow to under 2.5%.

Profile of Leading Revenue Integrity Vendors

In addition to the categorical analyses, this report includes 13 profiles of major and promising vendors: 3M, Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, Change Healthcare, Hayes|MDAudit, Medicomp Systems, Optum, PatientMatters, RevSpring, Sift, and ZOLL. Each profile includes an assessment of the vendor’s strengths and challenges, detailed descriptions and evaluations of the product capabilities and market execution, and rankings across 24 categories.

Managers and directors of healthcare organizations looking
for ways to address revenue cycle issues, lower clean claims rates, or improve
strategic revenue projections will appreciate the report’s clear breakdown of
vendor offerings and the impacts on their clinical and non-clinical staff.
Payers, including self-insured employers, and other organizations interested in
the total cost of care will find the market overview and product evaluations of
great value, helping them understand the tools and challenges their partner
organizations will be using.

The report is available to subscribers of the Chilmark
Advisory Service
or may be purchased
separately.

Genesis Health Taps Bright.md to Power New Telehealth Offering

Genesis Health Taps Bright.md to Power New Telehealth Offering for Patients

What You Should Know:

– Genesis Health System has signed a partnership agreement
with Bright.md to offer patients in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois access
to its Bright.md’s SmartExam solution.

– The new virtual care offering offers an affordable way to get care for hundreds of low-acuity conditions, mental health, urinary tract infections, and upper respiratory infections including the flu and COVID-19. 


Genesis Health System, today
announced it has selected Bright.md’s SmartExam solution to power its new telehealth offering
as part of an effort to expand its digital health strategy. Patients in the
bi-state region of the Quad Cities metropolitan area and the surrounding
communities of Iowa and Illinois will now have access to another convenient,
affordable way to get care for hundreds of low-acuity conditions.

How SmartExam Works

Bright.md’s care-delivery platform, SmartExam, works like a virtual physician’s assistant. The AI-powered platform automates 90% of a primary or urgent care visit, boosting provider efficiency 15x and increasing the capacity to treat hundreds of patients in a single provider shift. Healthcare systems use SmartExam to deliver treatment for hundreds of conditions, such as flu, pediatrics, dermatology, muscular-skeletal, and behavioral health issues.

By intelligently and automatically combining patient-intake data, interview information, electronic health records, and clinical-workflow integration, the platform enables providers to rapidly diagnose and treat patients with low-acuity conditions, escalating those with more serious conditions to a higher level of care.

Why It Matters

“Demand for virtual care options was growing even before people around the country were asked to stay home due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Kurt Andersen, Senior Vice President, Physician Operations/Chief Medical Officer President of Genesis Health System. “With Bright.md’s innovative telehealth delivery platform and our umbrella of convenient care services, we’re well-positioned to address the situation at hand—for both coronavirus-infected patients and those with other conditions—and be prepared to serve the needs of our patients in a post-COVID-19 landscape.”

The pandemic has shone a light on digital health and in particular telehealth. $5.4 billion has been invested in the digital health sector this year, and analysts predict that telehealth appointments could top $1 billion by year-end. Increased demand for virtual care solutions is fueling this funding frenzy. 

Genesis has offered virtual video visits with their providers since 2015. However, Dr. Andersen and his team recognized the demand for more innovative telehealth tools to complement their current convenient care of services, especially in times of high-demand due to the pandemic. “SmartExam gives Genesis patients another telehealth option and provider’s a greater ability to navigate, triage, and treat patients virtually,” said Dr. Andersen. “And because the automation built into SmartExam streamlines provider workflows, we know our providers will also agree it is a great tool to treat our patients.”

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.

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.”

Philips Launches Virtual Care Station to Deliver Personalized Telehealth

Philips Delivers Personalized Telehealth to Local Communities with Virtual Care Station

What You Should Know:

– Philips announced the launch of Virtual Care Station, a
telehealth environment delivering virtual care services to patients in
convenient neighborhood locations, such as retail settings, libraries, town
halls and universities.

– Using proven Philips technology developed for the ATLAS
program (Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations), which was created
to serve healthcare needs of U.S. Veterans, Virtual Care Station provides all
patients, including those in underserved rural or urban areas, with a low-cost,
community-based option to improve patient outcomes while minimizing infection
exposure.


Philips, today announced the launch of Virtual Care Station, a telehealth environment that delivers virtual care services in convenient neighborhood locations such as retail settings, libraries, town halls, and universities. The pod-based solution connects provider and insurance networks, allowing health providers and patients to have a local, community-based choice for care.

Whether in underserved rural or urban areas, Virtual Care
Station helps deliver on the Quadruple Aim by giving patients access to virtual
face-to-face care, and is designed to help improve clinical outcomes, lower
costs and increase patient and staff satisfaction. Virtual Care Station is
based on Philips technology developed for the ATLAS program (Accessing
Telehealth through Local Area Stations), which was created to serve the
healthcare needs of U.S. veterans.

Why It Matters

With the COVID-19 pandemic came a boom in the telehealth
industry, serving as a viable way to reduce staff and patient exposure to
infection, preserve PPE and lessen the impact of patient surges. However, at-home
telehealth isn’t always an option for those without reliable internet access,
or private areas to have sensitive clinical conversations.

Built with insights from patients, physicians and
caregivers, and designed to emulate traditional face-to-face visits, the
Virtual Care Station pod-based solution promises:

– Camera, lighting and speakers designed for enhanced
patient assessments

– Spacious layouts to accommodate the needs of patients in
wheelchairs or with service dogs

– Supplemental in-home virtual telehealth check-ins to track
patients between visits, allowing clinicians the opportunity to manage health
escalations

“By expanding our telehealth solution, we hope to give providers an option to engage in population health and support patients closer to home in lower cost settings that can lead to the potential for more follow-up visits, and the opportunity for clinicians to identify at-risk patients earlier and manage health escalations,” said Vitor Rocha, Chief Market Leader for Philips North America.  “Not only does it mean the convenience of shorter drive times for patients, it could mean better health outcomes and a safer environment for providers as people benefit from getting the quality care they need in the right place at the right time.”

$5M Research Grant Launches to Evaluate Efficacy of Virtual Diabetes Care

diabetes management qualcomm medtronic diabetes

What You Should Know:

– DreaMed Diabetes, the developer of personalized,
AI-based diabetes management solutions, will participate in a clinical study,
led by Jaeb Center for Health Research Foundation, to evaluate the efficacy of virtual
treatment for diabetes patients. The research is funded by a $5 million grant
from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. 

– DreaMed uses AI-powered technology to seamlessly treat
patients remotely with its virtual diabetes management service by providing
personalized recommendations on insulin dosage for people with type 1 diabetes.

– As part of Helmsley’s research, the study will
determine if the virtual clinic model improves clinical and psychological
outcomes for people with diabetes. DreaMed, together with Aetna and Cecilia
Health, will provide a multi-faceted platform to fully evaluate the
effectiveness of virtual clinics using DreaMed’s technology. 


DreaMed Diabetes Ltd., the developer of personalized, AI-based diabetes management solutions, announces it will be serving as a subcontractor on a $5,025,099 grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to the Jaeb Center for Health Research Foundation.  DreaMed’s technology will include a comprehensive data system that can pull information from CGM, SMBG, insulin pumps, and connected insulin pens. It will visualize this information for the healthcare provider and for the participants through web and mobile applications as well as operate decision support algorithms to optimize insulin treatment plans for people with type 1/type 2 on insulin pumps or multiple daily injections therapy. 

Growing Need for Virtual Diabetes Care

Due to the sheer size of the United States, many people with
diabetes lack the necessary medical support required, particularly access to
endocrinologists who provide them with critical guidance and information. This
includes the overseeing of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), insulin-dosing
support, and pertinent mental health support. The lack of support alongside
today’s social distancing guidelines has encouraged a host of remote medical
initiatives, many of which aim to provide people with diabetes a comprehensive
virtual solution. While virtual solutions have proved exciting, questions
remain as to whether virtual care, including CGM, provides better outcomes than
traditional methods.

Jaeb Center’s Pilot Study

In January 2019, the Jaeb Center’s pilot study assessed
whether CGM could be successfully introduced outside of a clinic over a
three-month period. The results found participants using CGM received
personalized support, enabling them to improve their glycemic outcomes and
quality of life. While the study proved invaluable, there was a need for a
larger study that truly evaluates the efficacy of remote diabetes care, which
will be accomplished within the scope of this new grant from the Helmsley
Charitable Trust to the Jaeb Center.

New Study Explores the Efficacy of Virtual Diabetes Care

The new study represents a more rigorous model for analyzing
virtual diabetes management, because it will evaluate CGM use over time,
glycemic- and participant-reported outcomes, healthcare utilization and cost,
the use of decision support tools, and the impact of mental health support.

Jaeb will evaluate the efficacy of a virtual specialty
clinic model for improving clinical and psycho-social outcomes for people with
diabetes. This evaluation will include 300 patients who don’t currently utilize
CGM, with type 1 and type 2 diabetes nationwide over the course of a six-month
period. To integrate the virtual management of insulin dosage, the initiative
will utilize the DreaMed Advisor Platform, which gives providers a way to view
and manage recommendations.

For the first time, DreaMed Advisor’s state-of-the-art
cloud-based technology will provide, in this study, personalized
recommendations on insulin dosage for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
treated with insulin pumps or multiple daily injections. The investigational
version of DreaMed Advisor will also manage the virtual presentation of
data  derived from CGM, glucometers, insulin pumps, and connected insulin
pens. Furthermore, the platform supports virtual communications of new
treatment plans as well as a virtual clinic team, which provides behavioral
health coaching to help participants address certain diabetes-related
challenges.

“We are thrilled to be involved in Jaeb’s VDiSC study,” says Eran Agmon, Chief Product Officer of DreaMed Diabetes. “Virtual care is the future of medicine, and the technology is ripe for deployment in diabetes. We are confident in the model and proud that our technology is providing the support necessary to enable its implementation”

Improving the Patient Experience by Optimizing Telehealth Through COVID-19 and Beyond

Improving the Patient Experience by Optimizing Telehealth Through COVID-19 and Beyond
Art Papier, MD, CEO and Co-Founder at VisualDx

We are facing a global healthcare crisis unlike any in our recent history. Within the span of a few short weeks, we saw our lives and practices drastically change. COVID-19 has fundamentally altered how medical care is delivered today and possibly for many years to come. We as clinicians need to rise to the challenge to provide the best possible care in this time of change and uncertainty. This includes adjusting the way we communicate with patients, adapting to the evolving landscape of telehealth, and incorporating new technologies into our daily medical practice to drive improved care and efficiency.

The Role of Clinical Decision Support in Telemedicine

Tens of thousands of doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners are now using telemedicine for the first time. How do we maintain our exacting standards of clinical excellence in evaluating and educating patients from afar? We must find new ways to facilitate patient interaction and engagement as we administer care virtually. Now more than ever before, we need the right tools and technology.

The use of tools such as clinical decision support software during virtual care visits can aid in the diagnosis, guide therapeutic decision-making, and enhance patient engagement while helping to keep as many patients as possible out of the acute care setting. It can assist in triaging patients with suspected COVID-19 as well as help with the diagnosis and management of patients with non-COVID-19 illnesses that require care. And it can help us deliver knowledge (patient information, medical images, and illustrations) to the patient via screen sharing and e-mail.

Trust Begins with Transparency

It is imperative that we find ways to build patient trust and confidence and reduce patient anxiety in the virtual environment. Clinical decision support, both during an in-person patient encounter and using telehealth services, facilitates greater transparency. We can show patients on the screen the set of diseases in our differential, thus bringing them into the diagnostic process; share images representative of their conditions, and show words describing their symptoms. 

We have made much progress in moving away from a paternalistic system of care delivery to one of partnership with the patient, where we allow and encourage patients to be more active participants in their healthcare decisions. We must continue to move toward a holistic system of care that is problem-oriented and patient-focused. We can transform the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic into opportunities. The rapid adoption of telehealth platforms by providers’ and patients’ necessary acceptance of virtual appointments instead of office visits sets the stage. In training healthcare providers and students on decision-making tools that support virtual care delivery, we can further normalize their use as well as the sharing of information at the point of care. 

The Dermatology Example

Today we are seeing a lot more live telemedicine in dermatology, and as a result, more referring providers and specialists are using decision support to provide an essential second opinion, acting as the co-pilot in the cockpit. This is not without challenges. What we see on the patient’s skin is of great importance. In the absence of an in-person visit, it’s essential to have clear, in-focus images of the lesion in order to ascertain the morphology and diagnose a patient’s skin condition when they are not physically in the exam room. Educating the patient in advance on best skin photography practices is key for empowering patients to improve the overall telehealth experience. Other specialties may need to educate patients in other ways to improve the experience.

The Future

This crisis has upset traditional models of delivering healthcare in all specialties, accelerating our use of telemedicine and technology. It is critical for our industry to implement proven strategies to optimize this burgeoning technology. Clinical decision support is a great example of an essential “cockpit tool” to assist providers in evaluating, diagnosing, and managing treatment strategies for patients as well as educating and building trust. We must embrace our future as information intensivists, expertly equipped to logically handle massive amounts of information. In doing so, we can emerge from the pandemic stronger than before, with a renewed sense of purpose and with a new set of tools to connect with and treat our patients. 


About Art Papier

Art Papier, MD, is Co-Founder and CEO of VisualDx, a University of Rochester affiliated medical informatics company.


Improving the Patient Experience by Optimizing Telehealth Through COVID-19 and Beyond

Improving the Patient Experience by Optimizing Telehealth Through COVID-19 and Beyond
Art Papier, MD, CEO and Co-Founder at VisualDx

We are facing a global healthcare crisis unlike any in our recent history. Within the span of a few short weeks, we saw our lives and practices drastically change. COVID-19 has fundamentally altered how medical care is delivered today and possibly for many years to come. We as clinicians need to rise to the challenge to provide the best possible care in this time of change and uncertainty. This includes adjusting the way we communicate with patients, adapting to the evolving landscape of telehealth, and incorporating new technologies into our daily medical practice to drive improved care and efficiency.

The Role of Clinical Decision Support in Telemedicine

Tens of thousands of doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners are now using telemedicine for the first time. How do we maintain our exacting standards of clinical excellence in evaluating and educating patients from afar? We must find new ways to facilitate patient interaction and engagement as we administer care virtually. Now more than ever before, we need the right tools and technology.

The use of tools such as clinical decision support software during virtual care visits can aid in the diagnosis, guide therapeutic decision-making, and enhance patient engagement while helping to keep as many patients as possible out of the acute care setting. It can assist in triaging patients with suspected COVID-19 as well as help with the diagnosis and management of patients with non-COVID-19 illnesses that require care. And it can help us deliver knowledge (patient information, medical images, and illustrations) to the patient via screen sharing and e-mail.

Trust Begins with Transparency

It is imperative that we find ways to build patient trust and confidence and reduce patient anxiety in the virtual environment. Clinical decision support, both during an in-person patient encounter and using telehealth services, facilitates greater transparency. We can show patients on the screen the set of diseases in our differential, thus bringing them into the diagnostic process; share images representative of their conditions, and show words describing their symptoms. 

We have made much progress in moving away from a paternalistic system of care delivery to one of partnership with the patient, where we allow and encourage patients to be more active participants in their healthcare decisions. We must continue to move toward a holistic system of care that is problem-oriented and patient-focused. We can transform the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic into opportunities. The rapid adoption of telehealth platforms by providers’ and patients’ necessary acceptance of virtual appointments instead of office visits sets the stage. In training healthcare providers and students on decision-making tools that support virtual care delivery, we can further normalize their use as well as the sharing of information at the point of care. 

The Dermatology Example

Today we are seeing a lot more live telemedicine in dermatology, and as a result, more referring providers and specialists are using decision support to provide an essential second opinion, acting as the co-pilot in the cockpit. This is not without challenges. What we see on the patient’s skin is of great importance. In the absence of an in-person visit, it’s essential to have clear, in-focus images of the lesion in order to ascertain the morphology and diagnose a patient’s skin condition when they are not physically in the exam room. Educating the patient in advance on best skin photography practices is key for empowering patients to improve the overall telehealth experience. Other specialties may need to educate patients in other ways to improve the experience.

The Future

This crisis has upset traditional models of delivering healthcare in all specialties, accelerating our use of telemedicine and technology. It is critical for our industry to implement proven strategies to optimize this burgeoning technology. Clinical decision support is a great example of an essential “cockpit tool” to assist providers in evaluating, diagnosing, and managing treatment strategies for patients as well as educating and building trust. We must embrace our future as information intensivists, expertly equipped to logically handle massive amounts of information. In doing so, we can emerge from the pandemic stronger than before, with a renewed sense of purpose and with a new set of tools to connect with and treat our patients. 


About Art Papier

Art Papier, MD, is Co-Founder and CEO of VisualDx, a University of Rochester affiliated medical informatics company.


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 Xealth
investors including Atrium Health, Cleveland Clinic, Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, MemorialCare Innovation Fund, Providence
Ventures and UPMC as well as McKesson, Novartis, Philips, and ResMed.

Xealth/Cerner EHR
Integration Details

At its core, the
relationship between Xealth and Cerner aims to give patients their own digital
data so they can be more engaged in their treatment plans. The Xealth platform
is designed to help clinicians easily integrate, prescribe and monitor digital health
tools for patients from one location in the EHR. Care teams will be able to
order solutions directly from the EHR to manage conditions including chronic
diseases, behavioral health, maternity care and surgery preparation. Incorporating Xealth into Cerner’s technology and patient portal
provides easier access to personal health information and gives care teams the
ability to monitor patient engagement with the tools and analyze the effects of
increased engagement on their healthcare and recovery.

The collaboration
between Cerner and Xealth will provide care teams and patients convenience and
help improve care accessibility. Better communications and engagement with key
members of their care team will create an experience that is connected across
settings before, during and after a care encounter.

Why It Matters

During the recent
surge of COVID-19 across the world, tools that automate patient education,
deliver virtual care, support telehealth and offer remote patient monitoring
have become even more prominent, creating new methods to inform care decisions
and keep care teams and patients connected.

“Today, we have the unique opportunity to improve people’s lives by allowing active participation in their own treatment plans,” said David Bradshaw, Senior Vice President, Consumer and Employer Solutions, Cerner. “Patients want greater access to their health information and are motivated to help care teams find the most appropriate road to recovery. Xealth and Cerner are making it easier and more convenient for patients and clinicians to accelerate healthcare in a more consumer-centric experience.”

Incorporating Xealth’s
digital health platform with clinician recommendations has been shown to
increase patient engagement rates as compared to a direct to consumer approach.
The company powers more than 30 digital health solutions, connecting patients
with educational content, remote patient monitoring, virtual care platforms,
e-commerce product recommendations and other services needed to improve health
outcomes.

“In order for digital health to have lasting impact, it needs to show value and ease for both the care team and patient,” said Mike McSherry, CEO and Co-Founder of Xealth. “We strongly believe that technology should nurture deeper patient-provider relationships and facilitate information sharing across systems and the care settings. It is exciting work with Cerner to simplify meaningful digital health for its health partners.”

“Combining our expertise in developing interactive digital solutions that improve the patient experience with Cerner’s world-class platforms creates immense opportunity for our clients to better meet the needs of today’s highly connected healthcare consumer,” concluded McSherry.

Teladoc Health and Livongo Merge in $18.5B Deal: 5 Things to Know

Teladoc Health and Livongo Merge in $18.5B Deal: 5 Things to Know

What You Should Know:

– Teladoc Health to merge with Livongo for $18.5B in cash
and stock to create a powerhouse leader in consumer-centered virtual care.

– Teladoc Health shareholders will own approximately 58
percent and existing Livongo shareholders will own approximately 42 percent of
the combined company.

– Jason Gorevic, current CEO of Teladoc Health, will be
the CEO of the combined company.


Teladoc Health
(TDOC) and Livongo (LVGO), today
announced that they have entered into a definitive merger
agreement to create substantial value across the healthcare ecosystem, enabling
clients everywhere to offer high quality, personalized, technology-enabled
longitudinal care that improves outcomes and lowers costs across the full
spectrum of health.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, each share of Livongo
will be exchanged for 0.5920x shares of Teladoc Health plus cash consideration
of $11.33 for each Livongo share, representing a value of $18.5 billion based
on the closing price of Teladoc Health shares as of August 4, 2020. The
transaction is expected to close by the end of Q4 2020

“This merger firmly establishes Teladoc Health at the forefront of the next-generation of healthcare,” said Jason Gorevic, CEO of Teladoc Health. “Livongo is a world-class innovator we deeply admire and has demonstrated success improving the lives of people living with chronic conditions. Together, we will further transform the healthcare experience from preventive care to the most complex cases, bringing ‘whole person’ health to consumers and greater value to our clients and shareholders as a result.”

Here are 5 things to know about this landmark merger deal:

1. Upon completion of the merger, existing Teladoc Health shareholders will own approximately 58 percent, and existing Livongo shareholders will own approximately 42 percent of the combined company.

2. The combination of Teladoc Health and Livongo creates a global leader in consumer-centered virtual care. The company will have expected 2020 pro forma revenue of approximately $1.3 billion, representing year over year pro forma growth of 85 percent. The combined company is expected to have pro forma Adjusted EBITDA of over $120 million for 2020.

3. The newly combined company will be called Teladoc Health and will be headquartered in Purchase, New York led by Jason Gorevic, current CEO of Teladoc Health.

4. 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. These opportunities include increased cross-selling and penetration into each company’s client base. They also include accelerating Livongo’s international expansion through Teladoc Health’s existing footprint, improving combined company member retention rates, and driving more efficient enrollment.

5. The combined company is expected to achieve cost synergies of $60 million by the end of the second year following the close, which can be reinvested to drive topline growth and margin expansion.

Imprivata Introduces Digital Identity Framework for Healthcare Organizations

What You Should Know:

– Imprivata introduces a new framework to help healthcare
organizations manage digital identities and support remote/virtual care.

– Framework designed to help organizations develop and
implement a robust, comprehensive digital identity strategy to address
healthcare’s unique security, compliance, and workflow challenges.


Imprivata, the
digital identity company for healthcare, building on the work done by H-ISAC,
today introduced the Imprivata Digital Identity
Framework for Healthcare
, a unified, security- and efficiency-focused
structure for managing identities across the healthcare delivery organization’s
(HDO’s) complex ecosystem. The framework provides CISOs, CIOs, and other IT leaders with strategic
guidance to drive their Identity and Access Management
(IAM) strategy, along with insights about how healthcare’s unique
considerations must necessarily govern solution choices. 

Digital Identity Framework Overview

The Imprivata Digital Identity Framework
for Healthcare is structured according to the key categories
required for a robust digital identity strategy that meets the unique
demands of HDOs. These categories: governance
and administration, identity management, authorization,
and authentication and access, are ordered in the
framework to support the planning process, beginning with the end in
mind. 

“Now, more than ever, our customers are challenged with navigating complex healthcare environments that demand a secure and efficient approach to IAM,” said Gus Malezis, President and CEO of Imprivata. “Our new framework shows our customers where existing IAM tools fit into a broader, more holistic approach focused on digital identities which are tantamount to efficient clinical workflows as well as rapid response to support remote workers, virtual care – and whatever unknowns the future may hold.”

The framework is designed specifically to address and
support the unique requirements of healthcare, drawing from customer feedback
and industry-leading schemes including H-ISAC, Microsoft, Gartner, KuppingerCole,
and Forrester, from which more than 120 functions were considered and
ultimately tailored.

Innovaccer, CareSignal Partner to Enable Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring


Innovaccer, CareSignal Partner to Enable Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring

What You Should Know:

– Innovaccer has recently partnered with CareSignal to
address healthcare’s urgent need amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: to create and
maintain solid, clinically actionable relationships with patients in a new set
of predominantly virtual care.

– CareSignal offers evidence-based end-to-end support services for chronic medical conditions such as asthma, CHF, COPD, diabetes, depression, hypertension, and hospital discharge support, and maternal health monitoring.


Innovaccer, Inc., and CareSignal today announce a partnership to address healthcare’s urgent need amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: to create and maintain solid, clinically actionable relationships with patients in a new setting of predominantly virtual care.

Partnership Details

The partnership combines more than two dozen
condition-specific patient monitoring programs with population
health
data insights for a more integrated care and improved clinical
outcomes with industry-leading financial returns.

CareSignal offers evidence-based end-to-end support services for chronic medical conditions such as asthma, CHF, COPD, diabetes, depression, hypertension and hospital discharge support, and maternal health monitoring. With a focus on prevention and addressing the social determinants of health, each program offers personalized clinically-validated features to deliver even more value from Innovaccer’s population health, care management, and organization-specific offerings. 

“Innovaccer has always stayed on top of delivering on promises to our customers, and our partnerships with leading organizations have been instrumental in achieving 100% client satisfaction,” says Abhinav Shashank, CEO at Innovaccer. “Working with CareSignal supports our mission to help healthcare care as one. With CareSignal as our partner, we will strengthen our approach towards better patient engagement and enable smart deviceless remote patient monitoring.”

Quality Virtual Care Is Within Reach – But Only If We Act Now

By JULIA HU

Though it will be impossible to overstate the devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving in its wake, we can also acknowledge that it has pushed humanity to creatively adapt to our new, socially-distanced reality—necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. Telehealth is not a new invention, but the necessity of keeping people physically apart, especially those particularly vulnerable to COVID, has suddenly put virtual health care at the center of our delivery system. 

Patients and providers quickly pivoted to at-home care as in-person visits were limited for safety, and use of telehealth spiked early in the outbreak. One survey of over 500,000 clinicians showed that by April—only about two weeks after the first stay-at-home orders were issued in the U.S.—14 percent of their usual number of pre-pandemic visits were being conducted via telemedicine. For many, that involved using unfamiliar technology and a big shift in procedures for providers. Congress recognized the need to support providers through this transition and allocated $500 million for waiving restrictions on Medicare telehealth coverage as part of the emergency funding bill that passed in March. 

But, as restrictions have begun to lift and hospitals and medical offices are beginning to reopen for non-emergent care, we have seen the use of telemedicine start to taper off. The same 500,000 clinicians were surveyed  in June, revealing that telemedicine was used for only 8 percent of the usual pre-pandemic number of visits. Providing quality, virtual health care won’t be as easy as flipping a switch, but we currently have an unprecedented opportunity to carry forward the best version of virtual care and create a more holistic health care system. As we work toward that goal, there are three components our virtual care system needs in order to be sustainable, feasible, and manageable for both patients and providers. 

Patients and providers need a range of services to be available virtually. 

When people talk about virtual care and COVID-19, they are most often referring to a telemedicine experience where a patient interacts with a provider through some type of video conferencing. Those visits are extremely useful for conducting certain types of appointments, including dermatological exams, triaging symptoms to determine best next care steps, and counseling or therapy appointments. 

But, not every virtual care interaction needs to include a video visit with a provider. Asking physicians to keep up a full schedule of virtual visits as they simultaneously work to safely reopen their in-person practices is unreasonable. Physicians are already experiencing some of the highest rates of burnout of any profession, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated that trend. 

Some virtual care, including certain check-up visits or assessments, can be conducted telephonically, giving more flexibility to both patients and providers when video conferencing is not needed. Digital health coaching tools offer another type of virtual care that can help relieve providers from some of that burden by managing patients’ routine care needs in-between either telemedicine or in-person appointments.

This is especially true for chronic condition prevention and management, which requires 24/7 support. Digital coaching can be available at any hour, outside of a physician’s normal 9-5 schedule. It also can help manage symptoms for certain behavioral health issues related to stress or anxiety. 

We need to carry forward the full suite of services that virtual care can provide. This will help physicians better manage their caseloads, give patients access to a variety of services right from their homes, and build more flexibility into our entire delivery system.

Our virtual care system should embrace Remote Patient Monitoring Tools with connected devices.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) allows both patients and providers to access real-time monitoring of key biometrics, such as blood glucose for a patient with diabetes, blood pressure for someone with hypertension, or weight for someone with heart failure. RPM typically uses a connected device, such as a glucose monitor or a blood pressure cuff, that records and sends data. 

RPM benefits physicians by providing them with up-to-the minute information about their patients, alerting them when biomarkers indicate potentially serious issues, and helping them manage their patient population without having to conduct telemedicine or in-person visits. Because RPM is reimbursable through Medicare, it can also help drive revenue for practices, an especially important component for those struggling financially because of reduced patient volumes due to COVID-19.

RPM also benefits patients. It helps ensure that their care is being personalized to their unique health situation, and allows for quick identification and intervention of possible acute or emergent issues. By accessing RPM data, patients can also better understand how their behaviors impact their health. 

Incentive structures, including reimbursement policies, need to be aligned to support these virtual care models.

To sustain quality, virtual care beyond the pandemic, we need to align incentive structures to support its continued adoption. There is much agreement, including among Members of Congress and CMS leadership, that some of the Medicare restrictions on telehealth that were loosened to address the COVID-19 crisis should be permanently extended. Key among them are: allowing providers to provide virtual care across state lines, expanding Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for a wider breadth of virtual services, and allowing doctors to conduct virtual visits using familiar technology, like FaceTime or over the phone.

Without the certainty that virtual care services will be adequately reimbursed, there is a risk that many physicians will abandon investment in the technology needed to provide those services. We need to act now to make sure that doesn’t happen, and that virtual care becomes an integral part of our larger delivery system moving forward. 

We also have a unique opportunity in this moment to shape our future virtual care system with value-based principles in mind. Aligning incentives between quality and cost can help ensure that virtual services meet the needs of patients, while helping reduce the overall cost of care.

Virtual care will remain especially important as our country continues to face rising COVID-19 cases, giving us the window of opportunity to cement quality, virtual care as a permanent piece of the delivery system. The benefits of building a more holistic system that weaves together virtual and in-person care will extend far beyond the current pandemic. From increasing access for patients, to filling critical gaps in care, to helping providers prioritize their caseloads—virtual services can help shape a better system. But we must act now to bring that vision to life.

Julia Hu is the Founder and CEO of Lark Health.

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 has led to wide-spread telehealth adoption

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparing for the new normal in healthcare

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

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

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


About Abhinav Shashank

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


Virtual Behavioral Health Could Reduce Costs, Improve Patient Outcomes, Report Finds

What You Should Know:

– A new Accenture report called “Breakthrough Behavioral
Health Access: Think Virtual” finds that the use of virtual behavioral health could
expand care for more than 53 million Americans facing these conditions.

– Demand for behavioral health specialists significantly outweighs current availability; in addition to severe wait times of 25 days for first clinical appointments, we are projected to have a shortage of 250,000 behavioral health and mental health professionals by 2025.

– Just a 1% increase in treatment for these disorders would save $2.4 billion annually and could yield as much as $2.4 billion in medical cost savings annually.


The use of virtual delivery channels could expand treatment
to 53 million Americans suffering from behavioral health issues, according
to a new report from Accenture. The
report, “Breakthrough Behavioral Health Access: Think Virtual,” is
based on a survey of more than 3,400 people in the U.S. diagnosed with or
having symptoms related to specific behavioral health conditions such as
anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, attention deficit disorder
or reported themselves as having addiction or substance abuse issues.

Access to Behavioral Healthcare Barriers

Access to behavioral healthcare is especially challenging.
Beyond the burden on individuals, the challenges of accessing and delivering
behavioral health services have a ripple effect across healthcare. Payers,
providers, employers, government and life sciences companies are all impacted
differently.

“The behavioral health crisis in the U.S. isn’t new, but the pandemic is clearly exacerbating it,” said Rich Birhanzel, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads the company’s Health practice globally. “The rapid expansion of virtual care models during lockdown in the current pandemic created new expectations for effective and reliable healthcare at a distance. While our research found that only 38% of respondents hadn’t been widely using a virtual channel for such treatment in the prior three years, they’re now overwhelmingly willing to do so.”

Virtual Health Can Shatters Barriers

Virtual Behavioral Health Could Reduce Costs, Improve Patient Outcomes, Report Finds

Current data indicates that nearly 58 million adults and
8 million youth between the ages of six and 17 in the U.S. have mental
health and/or substance use disorders, yet only 43% of affected adults are receiving
treatment for them. Four in five respondents (81%) of the Accenture survey said
they would either definitely or probably engage in a virtual channel to manage
their behavioral health condition. Applying this finding to the 66 million
adults and youths impacted by these disorders suggests that virtual channels
could expand care to approximately 53 million people. Furthermore, the number
of people with such conditions is likely to rise due to the current environment
of COVID-19, record unemployment, and widespread social unrest.
 
Among the channels respondents said they’d be willing to use include on-demand
videos (cited by 55%), webchat (63%), individual therapy via voice (59%) and
individual therapy via voice plus video (56%).

The research shows younger patients are much more likely
than older ones to engage in virtual behavioral health services. The report
notes that this is critical insight for employers as they develop their
workforce and talent strategies, particularly since millennials comprise the
largest percentage of the U.S. labor force, followed by Gen Zers.

In addition to improving people’s lives, better access to
care and treatment is a potential breakthrough in terms of overall outcomes and
medical spending as behavioral health patients typically have co-occurring
medical conditions and as a result, can have two to three times the amount of
associated health expenditures. Related Accenture analysis shows that even a 1%
increase in treatment for behavioral health disorders in the U.S. could yield
as much as $2.4 billion in medical cost savings annually, due largely to the
fact that individuals with behavioral health conditions often have other
medical conditions.

From Tipping Point to Transformation

The report notes three fundamental factors that healthcare
providers should consider to remain relevant and responsive to consumers’
needs:

· Control the personal cost. Four in 10 respondents
(44%) said they would only use such channels if the services are provided at
low or no cost to them. Public and private organizations sponsoring these
solutions will need to think through how to lower costs to
consumers—particularly those in need. 

· Orbit around experience. Beyond cost, consumers want convenience and positive user experience. While consumers are hungry for behavioral health services through virtual channels, the design of the programs and consumers’ experiences will make or break adoption no matter the demand.

· Make all the connections. Coordination and integration of care with a whole-person approach is critical. Services should be offered in the context of individuals’ physical health, and data-sharing and interoperability among different healthcare stakeholders are critical to providing the most effective care.

Report Background/Methodology

For the Accenture 2020 Behavioral Health Consumer Survey,
Accenture surveyed 3,448 US consumers ages 13 and over to better understand
attitudes and behaviors related to virtual health options for treating mental
health conditions and substance abuse issues. All survey respondents were
either diagnosed with and/or had symptoms related to specific mental health
conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, or reported themselves
as having addiction issues. Survey respondents received anonymity and
represented a cross-section of the population based on age, location,
ethnicity, insurance coverage, gender and income. The survey was conducted by
Dynata in May and June 2020.

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

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

What You Should Know:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Virtually or In-Person, Automation Improves The Healthcare Experience

Virtually or In-Person, Automation Improves The Healthcare Experience
Muthu Alagappan, MD, Medical Director at Notable Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented shift in the way consumers view and access a variety of goods and services—and healthcare is no exception. Recent studies show that many patients, including vulnerable populations like those living with cancer, are delaying recommended care and procedures—and will continue to do so for at least several months amid fears over the safety of in-person visits. In response, reports of providers adapting to offer care virtually are all the more commonplace, with almost half of physicians now treating patients through telemedicine platforms, up from just 18 percent in 2018.

These trends have solidified virtual care as a mainstay, and as a result, the virtual visit has become a commodity—a service that can be provided by many capable vendors. However, the logistics that power the adoption of virtual care are often overlooked. As healthcare administrators turn to telemedicine to resume “non-urgent” healthcare services, we must ensure that best-in-class technology solutions are utilized to improve the virtual care experience—for providers, clinical staff, and, importantly, patients.

Health systems and their networks face significant operational issues when delivering care in a remote setting, due to the range of potential interactions and diversity of devices—adding to the already recognized administrative burden that comes with routine patient care. With each patient visit comes over a dozen manual tasks, including patient intake and registration, in-visit clinical note writing, as well as back-office billing and claims processing. The virtual visit adds even more steps, such as helping patients access the appropriate technology for a two-way video interface or sending custom links to a “virtual waiting room” at the right time.

Facilitating a seamless virtual care experience before, during, and after a patient’s visit should be top-of-mind—particularly as patient expectations have heightened and healthcare has progressed towards a technology-enabled future. Fortunately, the automation of operational workflows can help healthcare administrators smooth the friction around conducting virtual visits at scale.

Intelligent automation extends our capacity in healthcare by enabling us to do more with the same workforce and technology infrastructure. In fact, digital medical assistants can use artificial intelligence to automate repetitive, cognitively tiring, and error-prone tasks. This technology can support the influx of virtual visits by offloading administrative processes, such as co-payment collection, clinical documentation, and pre-population of common clinical orders. 

For patients not as familiar with digital interactions and the variety of telemedicine modalities, which can include platforms like Amwell, Doctor on Demand, and Teladoc or video conference solutions like RingCentral and Zoom, participating in virtual visits can be a daunting change. Additional technological challenges associated with virtual care can result in heightened frustration, increased no-show rates, or decreased activation, so maintaining patient engagement throughout the patient journey is even more important in a virtual environment. Digital medical assistants can automate appointment reminders, offer detailed setup guidance for patients, and provide “just-in-time” virtual visit links to ensure patients and providers can make the most of their time together.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also introduced new variables and risks that patients, providers, and healthcare institutions at-large must consider when seeking and delivering care. Until recently, it was a relatively straightforward process to determine where a patient should receive routine care. Now given the risk of disease spread, providers find themselves considering which patients to see when to see them and whether to see them virtually or in-person.

This creates additional complexity in determining when to schedule patients and in which medium to conduct the visit. Platforms that leverage intelligent automation can help clinical teams to pre-screen all scheduled patients, collect a thorough medical history, intelligently segment patients into risk cohorts and triage each cohort to an individualized destination, be it a return to in-person care or a virtual environment.

In the “virtual exam room,” things also look a little different. From the provider’s perspective, one of the oft-cited drawbacks of virtual visits is the limited ability to measure vital signs, perform a physical exam or order point-of-care diagnostics. At-home diagnostics, wearable devices and remote patient monitoring tools allow providers to collect continuous clinical data that can be gathered asynchronously and quickly, resulting in a more comprehensive picture of a patient’s health. Further, platforms that use intelligent automation algorithms to organize data collected across the care continuum can parse these data streams to identify at-risk patients and then automate outreach and care management to follow clinical care pathways.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to reimagine healthcare using a modern suite of technology for patients, providers and staff that does away with outdated and inefficient processes. But we also have a responsibility to replace them with solutions that improve digital experiences by supporting patients before visits, automating repetitive workflows, and parsing large amounts of data to support clinical decision-making.

Combining intelligent automation with virtual visits creates a powerful tool to efficiently manage patient populations and offer an experience that feels intuitive while enabling healthcare systems to do more with less. By accelerating the digital transformation of healthcare today, we can position ourselves for a future of increased capacity, decreased overhead, and improved quality.


Muthu Alagappan, MD, is an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, a trained engineer, and medical director at Notable Health, a healthcare experience automation company. 

Curavi Health, CarePointe, U.S. Health Systems Merge to Form Arkos Health to Power Virtual Care for Seniors

Curavi Health, CarePointe, U.S. Health Systems Merge to Form Arkos Health to Power Virtual Care for Seniors

Curavi Health, CarePointe, U.S. Health Systems announced a merger agreement to form Arkos Health. Arkos Health will provide virtual care solutions and health insights to vulnerable populations across the United States. These three entities will become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Arkos Health, and the executive leadership teams will be merged. UPMC will continue to own a financial stake in Arkos Health, while remaining both a customer and service provider. 

CarePointe, founded in 2015 and headquartered in Las Vegas,
and USHS, founded in 2018 and based in Tempe, Arizona, together will provide a
technology-enabled care coordination solution for Arkos Health’s provider and
payer partners. Currently providing services to more than 110,000 seniors, they
serve at-risk and value-based organizations by driving down costs and improving
quality of care.

Curavi was spun out from leading health care provider and
insurer UPMC in 2016 and provides clinical care in post-acute and
long-term care settings via its telemedicine and software solution, which was
designed specifically for those facilities. Its physicians have performed
approximately 60,000 consults to date, maintaining a 94% treat-in-place rate
and reducing potentially harmful transfers to hospital emergency
departments. 

“With Arkos Health, providers and payers can effectively deliver quality care to frail seniors through a customized mobile and virtual platform using performance-based business models,” said Amish Purohit, M.D., chief executive officer of USHS. “Curavi, CarePointe and USHS have all demonstrated an ability to improve clinical outcomes while reducing costs, and together we will continue to elevate our clients’ experiences by providing differentiated care.”

COVID-19 Has Permanently Shifted Patient Behavior Towards Virtual Care

Report: How COVID-19 Has Permanently Changed Patient Behavior Towards Virtual Care

What You Should Know:

– The COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted the
patient care paradigm, and the ripple effects have altered patient behaviors
and expectations, requiring a significant change in how life sciences companies
engage with and support patients

– Accenture surveyed 2700 patients about changes in care
during COVID-19 and found a major shift to virtual care, which patients
embraced.

– Virtual care is here to stay and can be an integral
part of the patient experience with health care providers and as part of
clinical trials.

– With 70% of patients deferring or canceling treatment, virtual tools were widely adopted as an essential lifeline for continuing care.


The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently shifted patient behavior towards virtual care, according to a new survey from Accenture. The Accenture COVID-19 Patient Survey conducted in May across China, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. asked 2,700 oncology, cardiology, or immunology patients globally how patient care has changed during COVID-19. The survey revealed patients have embraced virtual care and communications at very high rates as a result of COVID-19 and nine out of 10 reported the quality of care was as good or better than before.

Patients Chose to Defer and Change their Care

As restrictions came into effect, patients faced difficult choices about whether and how to continue their treatments. Many healthcare providers canceled appointments, and transportation options were shut down. Patients were afraid to risk exposure to COVID-19 by going to their healthcare providers for regular treatment, and many (70%) deferred or canceled at least some elements of their treatment.
 
But nearly half of all surveyed patients also started getting some treatment at home instead of going to their healthcare provider’s office and they began using virtual tools such as video conference calls, online chat, and apps. 1 out of 5 patients switched to a different therapy due to COVID-19, while nearly half considered making a change. Patients were concerned about how treatment might affect their risk of COVID-19, and about the method and timing required for specific treatments.

Sixty-three percent of those who used video conferencing
said it was very good or excellent, an impressive response given 70% were using
video conferencing for treatment for the first time. By using technology to
support communication and care, healthcare providers were largely able to
maintain or even improve on the patient experience.

Other key findings of the survey include:

Trust in the Healthcare Ecosystem Increased

 Forty-seven percent of respondents said they received better, more personalized responses; 41% said quicker responses and 40% said it was more convenient to access through new communications channels.
 
In addition, the overall trust in the healthcare system has increased. Sixty percent of patients surveyed said their trust in healthcare providers has increased, and 45% said their trust in pharmaceutical and medical device companies has increased.

Virtual care helped keep some clinical trials going

Worryingly, many clinical trials were disrupted by COVID-19.
Seventy-seven percent of patients said their clinical trials were suspended or
delayed, which could have a knock-on effect on the speed in which new
treatments come to market.
 
However, for trials that continued, the use of virtual care was critical for
consultations, treatment, and monitoring. Consider that 61% of patients whose
trials continued used some form of virtual communication or care.

Using virtual technologies as a regular part of the clinical trial process would not only improve resilience to disruptions but would help to improve the patient experience.
 
Patients said they want to be consulted more, but they are currently far from the center of the clinical trial design process. As decisions were being made on how to modify clinical trials due to COVID-19, only 14% of surveyed patients were asked about what changes would work for them. This held true across all therapeutic areas and geographies.
 
“Increasing virtual communication and treatment options offers multiple benefits for clinical trials, as one-third of all patients in trials reported that even before COVID-19, they had difficulty making appointments or physically getting to clinics for treatment,” said Michel. “Patients want more video conferencing and fewer clinic visits, which would make clinical trials more convenient and accessible.”

For more information, the full report is available for
download