Wire #68

  • Lyra Workforce Transformation: Mental health benefits company Lyra Health announced a new Workforce Transformation product suite designed to help organizations proactively build a culture of mental wellness. The suite includes on-demand educational courses, facilitated peer discussions, and live expert workshops that can be customized depending on an organization’s needs. These services represent a “major milestone” for Lyra as it expands beyond focused care for individuals to organizational solutions that identify a workforce’s unique needs then upskills HR managers to address them.
  • Patient Safety Concerns: A report by patient safety organization ECRI found that staffing shortages currently top the list of factors jeopardizing patient safety, followed by healthcare worker mental health concerns that directly contribute to the first issue. To address these challenges, ECRI recommends that health systems perform a thorough evaluation of the effect of staffing ratios on outcomes while creating a list of factors that lower departmental turnover.
  • PocketHealth’s $16M: Image sharing startup PocketHealth completed a $16M Series A round (total funding now $22.5M) to accelerate the product development and go-to-market expansion of its platform that allows patients to view their images “whenever and wherever they need them.” PocketHealth currently helps over 600k patients play a more active role in their care by allowing them to view their diagnostic imaging and reports on any device, then giving them the ability to click on medical terms within the reports to see easily understandable definitions.
  • Telehealth Workflow Improvements: A recent survey by the AMA asked 276 physicians how they would improve their telehealth workflows, finding that separate schedule blocks for in-person and telehealth visits was the most requested improvement (186). Other popular requests included formal processes for patient check-in and checkout (171) and technology that provides a digital waiting room (151), showing that many physicians still require more functionality from their current telehealth solutions.
  • Babylon Integration: Value-based care enabler Babylon announced the integration of its AI-enabled Symptom Checker chatbot with Higi’s mobile app, marking the first introduction of Babylon technology to Higi’s established users since it was acquired in January. Pairing the Symptom Checker with Higi’s biometric tracking app is a first step towards adding more tools that allow patients to address their health needs proactively, while also serving as a blueprint for other potential partners interested in integrating Babylon’s technology with their platforms.
  • CBT Popularity: A new study of medical appointment trends by ZocDoc found that bookings for virtual mental health services grew by 74% during 2021, with pandemic-related stressors named as a primary driver of the increase. The study found that cognitive behavioral therapy is gaining in popularity more than any other therapy type and could be an area requiring more resources going forward. CBT bookings grew 177%, significantly outpacing the growth of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (118%) and behavioral therapy (75%).
  • Jeenie Funding: Medical-interpretation company Jeenie recently raised $9.3M in Series A funding to help connect clinicians and patients to on-demand live interpreters. The Jeenie app provides access to HIPAA-trained interpreters in 300+ languages in as little as 30 seconds, addressing the language barriers that are frequently cited as a leading contributor to health inequality in the US.
  • Incentivizing Activity: A combination of wearables and financial incentives is effective in increasing physical activity in adolescents, according to a recent study published in JMIR. The study included 26 participants with a BMI in the 90th percentile who were given Fitbits and a 10k daily steps goal over the 12 week intervention, with financial incentives for reaching the goal consistently ($510 max). Participants increased their average daily steps by 924 steps during the program, although the activity increase did not lead to a significant reduction in BMI, leading the researchers to suggest including a dietary component in future research.
  • Blessing and Biofourmis: Blessing Health System announced a new partnership with Biofourmis to provide an end-to-end home hospital solution to rural patients in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. BHS providers will utilize Biofourmis technology to remotely monitor patients with wearables and a companion app that feeds data into Biofourmis’ AI analytics engine to establish a personalized patient baseline and deliver real-time notifications as patient conditions change.
  • Personalized Outreach: A study of 600 male participants at the University of Pennsylvania Health System found that individualized telephone messages significantly improved colonoscopy completion rates compared to usual care (generic mailed letter). Colonoscopy completion was higher for both the tailored phone call group (34.5% completion) and a group that received a generic phone call (32%) compared with the usual care group (18.5%), highlighting the importance of individualized outreach to promote cancer screening.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team

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