The 45 Best Digital Health Newsletters, Influencers, and Podcasts for 2023

We’re dedicating today’s top story to the people and publications that we rely on to find the most interesting digital health stories from across the web. Assuming that you already subscribe to Digital Health Wire, these are the 45 other newsletters, websites, and podcasts to follow if you want to keep up with the latest and greatest in healthcare.

Although we stay on top of all the mainstream outlets and digital health journals, some of the best content is usually found just off the beaten path. We’re a newsletter, we love newsletters, so we’re kicking things off with our favorite healthcare newsletters. 

When we’re done rounding up the headlines from the major news sites and back out of our morning newsletter rabbit hole, we can count on finding more fresh perspectives from these specialty publications and blogs.

These days most of our favorite content isn’t published, it’s tweeted. These all-stars are the ones doing the tweeting. (With sample tweets for your viewing pleasure.)

And finally, the podcasts that let our ears take over when our eyes are tired from all the blogs and tweets. We have a soft spot for founder interviews, B2B trends, and long form conversations.

It’s a lot to keep up with, but if you want the best digital health news out there, these sources will do more than get you started. You can also subscribe to Digital Health Wire and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you:)

PS – This list could easily have been a top 100, so if there’s a publication or news source that we’re crazy for not including, hit reply and let us know!

XRHealth and Amelia Virtual Care Merger

The extended reality (AR/VR) market has a new XR therapeutic powerhouse after XRHealth and Barcelona-based Amelia Virtual Care announced plans to merge into a new company capable of addressing both physical and mental health issues.

The combined company will retain the XRHealth branding as it becomes the largest XR therapeutics platform in the world, used by over 2,500 physicians globally and generating $7M+ in annual revenue.

XRHealth operates virtual therapeutic care rooms that allow patients with complex conditions (i.e. Parkinson’s, MS, chronic pain, fibromyalgia) to receive treatment from a medical professional without having to leave their homes.

  • Since its founding in 2016, XRHealth has raised $35M and counts XR hardware manufacturers such as LG and HTC among its shareholders. 
  • XRHealth isn’t in the hardware business, but the platform is compatible with most commercially available devices. XRHealth CEO shared a nice look at how far that tech’s come recently.

Amelia Virtual Care takes a different approach, offering a VR platform with over 140 environments intended to treat anxiety, OCD, ADHD, and different phobias through systematic desensitization or Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET).

  • VRET sessions last around 20 minutes, and physicians can access the content library for a monthly subscription “like a Netflix for mental health professionals.” 

In an interview with PlantaDoce, Amelia CEO Xavier Palomer acknowledged that a difficult funding environment makes partnerships more necessary than ever, and that the merger will help consolidate costs and offer bundles between their clients.

  • Palomer went on to say that the combined company now expects to break even in 2024, and that “nuestros objetivos concuerdan con un posible salto al parqué en 2025” – which if your Castilian’s a little rusty means we could have a Nasdaq debut in a couple years.

The Takeaway

After an early adopter craze led to a decent sized bubble in extended reality tech, a growing body of clinical evidence and strategic mergers like XRHealth are setting the stage for a new wave of growth… not to mention extended reality is one catalyst away from really breaking mainstream. By combining XRHealth’s virtual care rooms with Amelia’s VRET content library, the new XRHealth is making sure it’s positioned as well as possible to catch that wave when it gets here.

Memora Lands $30M for Care Automation

Among last week’s wave of HIMSS announcements was Memora Health landing $30M in fresh funding from General Catalyst and a group of strategic health system partners.

The investors included big names like Northwell and NorthShore/Edward-Elmhurst, which makes sense given the two major goals of Memora’s care automation platform:

  • Unburden care teams to allow them to practice at the top of their license
  • Proactively guide and engage patients throughout their care journeys 

The themes are familiar, but Memora’s platform tackles them in some unique ways.

  • An SMS-based asynchronous communication platform (vs. app based)
  • Tight integration with human providers for triage and navigation
  • Automation to push data to patients + pull new data via questionnaires and devices
  • AI-enabled care journeys that evolve with the behavior of patients

Memora works with its partners to understand how they manage their most complex patients, then takes their existing workflows and automates as much as possible into a text messaging protocol with reminders, check-ins, and scheduling.

  • Although companies like Conversa and Twistle also play in the automated engagement sandbox, Memora points to its enterprise scalability as a differentiator.
  • The platform includes a wide breadth of programs for areas like surgical care, chronic condition management, and maternal care, and Memora’s investor roster speaks to the fact that systems are actively looking for ways to consolidate solutions.

It was interesting to see Memora CEO Manav Sevak note that the round was “not something we intended to raise,” but as a way to “work more collaboratively with these sites.”

  • Sevak also mentioned that Memora is “exploring opportunities” to market its solution to more payors and digital health companies.
  • Memora already works with a few digital health startups like Luma Health and Reimagine Care, but its bread and butter still looks like the care delivery orgs after adding Virtua Health and Moffitt Cancer Center earlier this year.

The Takeaway

Memora’s value proposition reads like a Mad Lib of ways to address today’s biggest provider pain points, and $30M of strategic funding should definitely help it deliver. That said, it sounds like Memora is widening its focus to new customers, making execution even more important as the strategy shifts gears.

HIMSS23 Recap and Major Announcements

It’s Thursday morning on the final day of HIMSS23, and although most exhibitors are still diligently manning their booths in the Windy City, the announcement fireworks have already gone off and it’s time to round up some of the biggest stories from the trade show.

The exhibit hall chatter had a familiar ring to it, touching on the same themes of healthcare consumerization and workforce burnout that were favorites at ViVE, but with a good amount of HIMSS’ signature interoperability seasoning sprinkled on top.

The list of generative AI launches somehow managed to be longer than the line at a McCormick Place Starbucks, but it seemed like most of the ~35,000 attendees were balancing the initial shock and awe with a realistic understanding of the tech’s current limitations in healthcare.

HIMSS23 major announcements, launches, and partnerships:

  • Amazon rolled out several Alexa Smart Properties features designed to improve the patient and staff user experience at hospitals. The updates look like they make the lives of IT teams easier as they set up and maintain Alexa devices like the newly available Echo Show 15.
  • Caregility announced a new portfolio of hybrid care solutions built on Caregility Cloud that’s designed to reduce tech investment risks for health systems by offering the flexibility to choose apps that are a good fit for their environment without creating more IT silos.
  • eClinicalWorks introduced ChatGPT to its EHR and practice management solutions with the goal of making clinical workflows more efficient as it deepens its collaboration with Microsoft. Azure OpenAI Service will also be enhancing Scribe, eClinicalWorks’ AI dictation service.
  • Epic and Microsoft are bringing generative AI powered by Azure OpenAI Service to the Epic EHR, which might take the cake as the biggest announcement of the show. The partnership delivers a “comprehensive array” of solutions, including SlicerDicer self-service reporting. 
  • Health Gorilla took the lid off its HG Accelerator Program that gives startups access to its solutions, portfolio of healthcare data APIs, and interop mentorship. The inaugural class already includes Oatmeal Health (AI cancer screening) and Long Health (patient onboarding).
  • Innovaccer unveiled six new solutions that together look like the beginning of a new chapter in the company’s growth story. The Sara conversational AI leads the lineup that also includes Health Equity, Readmission Predict, Risk AI, Network Optimizer, and Health 1:1.
  • Memora landed $30M to scale its SMS-based care communication platform that automates clinical responses to frequently asked questions, nudges patients with care prompts, and sends reminders via text, escalating only the most urgent concerns to care teams.
  • Philips released its Future Health Index 2023 global report, which found that healthcare leaders are investing heavily in AI for both critical decision support and operational efficiency, and that these execs are leaning into outside partnerships to help provide the best possible care.
  • RevSpring launched Engage IQ to coordinate patient interactions from pre-service to post-service to payment. The platform handles intake, clinical reminders, and billing to improve clinical and financial outcomes while solidifying patient loyalty.
  • Rimidi’s clinical management platform is now integrated with MEDITECH, allowing clinicians to see remote patient-generated data and PROMs within disease-specific views in the patient chart alongside CDS support to drive next best steps.
  • Salesforce customers can now use Einstein GPT to generate info using natural language prompts directly within their Salesforce CRM, with a new Slack integration also allowing care teams to summarize chat information and complete CRM tasks.
  • symplr debuted four product suites as part of its Connected Enterprise initiative to help health systems address burnout and cost pressures. The new portfolio includes a Workforce Suite, Supply Chain Suite, Quality Suite, and Credentialing Suite.
  • Withings completed its new range of smart scales with the introduction of the Body Smart scale that brings body comp, heart rate, visceral fat, metabolic age, and basal metabolic rate analysis to the entry-level tier of the lineup.

It’s now been three years since the pandemic stopped HIMSS20 in its tracks, but healthcare’s biggest IT conference is very much alive and well with an in-person energy that’s straight out of 2019. We hope that everyone had an awesome time if you made it to Chicago, and welcome all of our new readers that we met at the show. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into some of these announcements next week.

Care-at-Home Enabler MedArrive Closes $8M

Care-at-home enabler MedArrive is pedal-to-the-metal after closing an $8M growth round to accelerate its expansion into new markets.

MedArrive got its start in Redesign Health’s startup studio, powering care-at-home programs for payors and providers by integrating physician-led telemedicine with in-person care from EMS professionals.

  • The three-year-old company is led by CEO Dan Trigub, former Head of Uber Health, who was drawn to the company’s mission of helping vulnerable populations while simultaneously improving healthcare workforce utilization.

To accomplish that goal, MedArrive leverages a national network of over 50k EMS professionals to reach Medicaid or dual-eligible beneficiaries with complex needs.

  • That’s a pretty impressive network given the age of the company, and MedArrive built it by working with local EMS agencies to access their excess capacity then drive volume through its payor partnerships. 

These field providers handle everything from health assessments to complex condition monitoring, and the in-home presence also opens the door for SDOH interventions like transportation, mobility, or nutrition assistance.

  • Although EMS professionals can’t diagnose patients or do HCT coding, MedArrive connects those dots through telemedicine-enabled physician oversight, as well as its own team of social workers, case managers, and nurse practitioners.

All of those services are offered as a white-labeled platform that helps payors and providers engage their hardest-to-reach patients, frequently high utilizers that rely on the ED to fill care gaps.

  • That’s extended even further through partnerships where MedArrive provides the last-mile component to companies like Brave Health (behavioral needs) and Ouma Health (maternal care).

The Takeaway

Despite a difficult funding backdrop, MedArrive now has a longer runway to keep expanding its EMS network as it pushes into new markets. MedArrive’s platform gives it a sturdy frame for adding more capabilities through partnerships, and the focus is now on demonstrating its results to differentiate its approach from competing offerings.

DHW Q&A: More Care, Less Friction With Medallion

With Derek Lo
CEO, Medallion

In this Digital Health Wire Q&A, we sat down with Medallion CEO Derek Lo to discuss the emergence of virtual care and how to overcome the friction it brought with it.

Derek founded Medallion in 2020 to help healthcare companies automate credentialing, licensing, and compliance for their provider networks. He’s since helped scale Medallion into one of the largest provider network management companies in the US, with over 300 customers and $85M in funding.

Let’s kick things off with some background on Medallion. Can you share a little about the company and your platform?

First and foremost, Medallion exists to improve access for patients – to allow them to receive care where they want it and in the most cost effective way. Virtual care is here to stay, tons of studies are showing that both physicians and patients support it, but with that comes a whole new problem set.

A major component of that is licensing and making sure that telehealth providers can operate efficiently, but the second piece is insurance.

The multi-payor system in the US creates immense complexity, whether it’s claims and the entire revenue cycle industry, or more in our world: credentialing, enrollment, contracting, negotiation. All of these processes are wrapped around taking insurance as a provider.

That’s really what we’re trying to cut down on. We’re aiming to remove as many of these friction points as possible.

To fill in some more color on the platform, what are some of the ways that you remove this friction?

Like I mentioned, Medallion’s main goal is to automate away all of these operational and regulatory compliance tasks that companies have to do just to run their business. That starts with creating a system record for their provider data, so we’ve built our own CRM from the ground up.

What that’s allowed us to do is build different product lines on top of that, automations that tackle various operational pain points in those two main buckets of licensing and insurance.

On the licensing side, that includes things like getting new state licenses, maintaining and renewing licenses, continuing education tracking – all to help with network operations. On the insurance side, that’s where we’re removing friction by helping establish contracts with new payors, followed typically by enrollment, or in some cases, delegated credentialing.

There’s also a huge need for ongoing support with things like roster management, where provider groups have to share their rosters so everyone can track who’s in-network. That’s still a very manual process that a lot of companies are doing with spreadsheets, same goes for sanctions monitoring and compliance. That’s where we come in.

Looking at Medallion’s growth, it seems like plenty of companies share those pain points. How do you guide the direction of a company that’s growing so quickly?

I think a big part of leadership is finding a way to focus on the top one or two problems at any given moment, and being able to drill down on those problems that are right in front of you.

In one way, building a company is just a long sequence of decisions that plays out over many years. It’s the quality of those decisions, in aggregate, that ultimately decides how successful the company is.

There are obviously external factors – a great example being the SVB crisis – but even those are just another decision along the way. It’s our job to make sure that we get those decisions correct and back them with execution.

What’s a misconception that people have above provider management or credentialing?

At the end of the day, if you talk to any healthcare CEO, these functions are a cost center for their organization. They’re a strategic priority, but only because they’re a key gateway to revenue. Yet for that reason alone, people understand that they’re super important to get right.

We talk to companies all the time where things aren’t running optimally, so they’re worried about leaving revenue on the table because they aren’t getting credentialed fast enough, or claims are getting kicked back because enrollment wasn’t done correctly, and so forth.

It’s really important to tackle these problems, not only because of the missed revenue, but because solving them truly makes an impact in terms of growing efficiently, seeing more patients, and ultimately providing better care.

If Medallion had a secret sauce that you could share with other founders, what would that be?

I don’t think there’s necessarily a magic ingredient, but the biggest thing would have to be the execution component we were talking about earlier. That involves doing deep thinking on the market, and really focusing on the customer above all else

What does the customer need? What are their business problems? How are those problems being solved today? How could they be solved in an optimal scenario?

Every day we try to be as thoughtful as possible about how those answers align with what we’re doing and how we’re trying to serve those needs. We also have a fantastic team, so if we can keep focusing on what I just mentioned, in literally as many decisions as possible, then we’ll get a lot of decisions right in the long run. 

For more on Medallion, head over to their website or swing by booth #1831 at HIMSS.

a16z: Healthtech Business Model Magic

The news cycle took a bit of a breather ahead of the upcoming wave of HIMSS announcements, giving us a chance to highlight an excellent thinkpiece from the healthtech team at a16z.

After charting up a beautiful comparison of publicly traded healthcare companies versus other growth companies, a16z found that the healthcare outperformers leverage the same three types of “business model magic” as the world’s largest tech companies:

  • Increasing customer lifetime value (LTV Magic)
  • Expanding operating leverage (Operating Leverage Magic)
  • Declining customer acquisition costs (CAC Magic)

LTV Magic can be boiled down to creating “sticky” products with high retention. Healthtech companies that embed their platform into their customers’ core workflows can then build pricing power and widening revenue streams.

  • Outperformers can add new components to their platforms that increase LTV without a proportionate increase in costs. Ex. Flatiron Health’s provider network enabled it to efficiently build a pharma-facing, real-world evidence generation business on top.

Operating Leverage Magic revolves around reducing the marginal costs to serve customers as the business expands – mainly by leveraging software’s near-zero marginal cost dynamics.

  • Outperformers in a16z’s analysis also maintain modest operating expenditure growth at the central business level as they scale. Ex. Agilon and Oak Street command a valuation premium for impacting the cost of care without having to hire many central clinical staff.

CAC Magic involves finding ways to have declining marginal costs of customer acquisition. One of the most efficient ways to acquire new customers is by accessing groups of patients through partnerships with entities that already maintain those relationships, like MA plans.

  • Outperformers also have network effects that make their service more valuable as more people use it. Ex. Doximity gave more value to its 10,000th user than its 1,000th user, making it easier to acquire new users over time.

The Takeaway

a16z makes one thing very clear with its analysis: investors are ultimately underwriting a business’s ability to generate a lot of revenue over the long term. Every healthcare startup has to find its own way to reach that goal, but the three types of magic highlighted by a16z give a good sense of the ways that current outperformers are earning their premium valuations.

Rock Health Q1 2023 Funding Recap

Rock Health’s Q1 2023 digital health funding report is out and its title couldn’t have put it any better: we’re investing like it’s 2019 again.

Here are the numbers in a nutshell:

  • US digital health funding totaled $3.4B across 132 rounds ($25.9M average)
  • Trend: $2.2B (Q3 2022) -> $2.7B (Q4 2022) -> $3.4B (Q1 2023)
  • Q1 2023: 28 Series A rounds, 10 Series B, 3 Series C, 7 Series D+
  • 6 mega-rounds over $100M accounted for 40% total funding 

Looking at the past decade (Chart: Funding Trend), it’s clear that the pandemic funding environment was an outlier capped by absolute mania in 2021. The funding uptrend seen in the last few quarters is also a far cry from a true bull run.

  • If funding for the rest of the year matched the average funding of the past three quarters, 2023 would still see the lowest funding total since 2019.
  • Although January and February brought cooling inflation and some real signs of hope, March stepped on any blooming momentum with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Something that Rock Health gave a lot of attention to – and for good reason – is that 40% of last quarter’s funding was from six mega-rounds (Chart: Mega-Round Breakdown) : 

  • Monograph Health – $375M Series C (at-home dialysis)
  • ShiftKey – $300M PE Round (staffing marketplace)
  • Paradigm – $203M Series A (clinical trial platform – largest digital health Series A ever)
  • ShiftMed – $200M Venture Round (staffing and workforce solutions)
  • Gravie – $179M PE Round (insurtech)
  • Vytalize Health – $100M Series C (Medicare ACO)

The other 126 startups split the remaining $2B slice of pie, with an average round size of $16M (vs. $25.9M with the mega-rounds). It makes a big impact, but if you remember back to 2021, we’re currently looking more sane than 88 mega-rounds combining for 56% of total funding.

The Takeaway

Outside of a positive funding trend over the last few quarters, it’s hard to interpret Rock Health’s report as great news for digital health startups. We have a regional banking crisis that might be in its early innings, the IPO market’s been barren since the 2021 SPAC craze, and the end of PHE isn’t exactly a tailwind for many business models. 
That said, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Rock Health is optimistic about the permanent expansion of some telehealth flexibilities and the improving guardrails for data privacy. “Those that make it to daybreak (though we can’t predict exactly when that’ll be) will come out with patched up ships and resilient mindsets.”

Florence Debuts With $20M to Unlock Capacity

Patient experience startup Florence emerged from stealth with $20M in seed funding to address what it views as the most significant constraint in care delivery: clinical capacity.

Backed by venture teams from Google, Salesforce, and Thrive Capital, Florence is developing solutions to help patients track and accelerate their care journeys using their smartphones.

The first stop for Florence, as with a growing number of patients, is the emergency department. 

  • Using Florence’s mobile platform, patients in the ED can complete intake forms, update clinical information, initiate self-discharge, and schedule follow-ups.
  • The mobile-first self service solution is designed to eliminate operational overhead while cutting down on ED wait times and patients leaving before seeing a provider. 
  • The entire system is integrated into existing workflows to deliver an experience that rivals what consumers are used to in other industries. The idea is that patients get real-time updates, providers get better ED throughput, and everyone goes home happy.

Florence’s strategy leads with product, and the seed funding will be used to hire design and engineering talent to help advance that goal.

  • The “optimize capacity, streamline admin” value proposition is reaching providers at the right time. Since kicking off operations in 2021, Florence has added 40 health systems to its client roster, including its marquee partnership with Maryland-based Luminis Health.
  • “Non-clinical workflow” companies began topping Rock Health’s digital health funding charts back in Q3 2022, and between Florence, Vital, and LeanTaas’ activity within just the last week, that trend looks like it’s here to stay.

The Takeaway

Florence plays at the intersection of healthcare consumerization and workflow optimization, two themes that were definitely standouts at ViVE Nashville last week. If Florence can keep drawing a straight line between its solution and higher provider revenues, it should have no problem finding more health systems looking to streamline their EDs.

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