Wire #0

  • Telemedicine’s Long-Term Focus: Telemedicine remains primarily utilized for long-term care, according to a recent JAMA study of serial data from the IQVIA National Disease and Therapeutic Index. Only 2.7% of telemedicine care during the pandemic (Q2 – Q4 2020) involved preventative diagnoses, focusing instead on long-term treatment (77.2%). By contrast, 25.6% of in-office visits involved preventative diagnoses, highlighting the gap left to be filled by digital health tech in certain areas.
  • WebMD Moves to Video: WebMD recently acquired healthcare video creator The Wellness Network for an undisclosed sum, giving it access to The Wellness Network’s complete library of educational videos and five television channels targeted at hospital waiting rooms. Although WebMD began by providing information directly to patients, this acquisition opens the door for the company to work with providers.
  • Alzheimer’s App: Merck and Evidation Health are partnering on a study to determine whether smartphone data can be used to detect and monitor early stage Alzheimer’s disease. The study will investigate whether user data can be used to differentiate between groups or indicate shifting behaviors over time.
  • Interoperability in 2022: The Biden administration now expects the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) to be in place by the first quarter of 2022. TEFCA aims to provide an interoperability framework for secure data exchange between healthcare networks, but has seen little progress since it was originally announced in 2018. 
  • Addiction Draws Investors: Digital addiction clinic Quit Genius recently closed a $64m Series B funding round after growing revenue 10x over the past year. Quit Genius partners with 55 employer and health plan clients, with the new funds intended to fuel further expansion in the US.
  • The Google Data Engine: Google Cloud unveiled its Healthcare Data Engine, which supports interoperability across healthcare data sources (medical records, claims, trials, research), gives clinicians a longitudinal view of patient records, and provides a cloud-based environment for analytics and AI.
  • Digital Depression Treatment: Happify Health recently launched a prescription Ensemble app designed to diagnose and manage both major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. The app’s 10 week cognitive behavioral therapy program includes a dashboard for PCPs to monitor patient progress, and is offered under the FDA’s post-pandemic policy that expanded the use of digital health solutions for psychiatric care.
  • Transparency Penalties: After months of non-compliance from many US hospitals, CMS is proposing more severe fines for healthcare cost transparency violations, potentially increasing penalties from $300/day to up to $5.5k/day ($2m/yr max). In many ways this is a problem in need of a digital health solution, given that hospitals are required to provide a cost estimator tool that creates greater visibility for healthcare consumers.
  • IPO Recap – Doximity: After going public on the NYSE for $26 per share on June 28, Doximity is now trading at over double its initial offering price. The “LinkedIn for Doctors” IPO was unique in that 15% of shares were reserved for physicians in the network. Over 10,000 physicians participated in the offering, and as a group own more stock than any single new investor.
  • Voice Diagnosis: Voice symptom detection startup, Sonde Health, announced an alliance with Qualcomm that would make its vocal biomarker technology available with Snapdragon-based mobile and IOT products. Sonde Health’s technology is intended to detect a range of respiratory issues (e.g. COPD, pneumonia, COVID), and it’s another example of how consumer mobile devices might serve as a future diagnostic starting point.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team