Wire #101

  • Telehealth Flexibilities Through 2024: Telehealth is here to stay, at least until the end of 2024. The Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act passed the House with a commanding 416-12 vote to enable a two-year extension of pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities while giving legislators more time to figure out a long-term game plan for virtual care.
  • Sepsis Early Warnings: A trio of studies published in Nature by Johns Hopkins researchers found that ML startup Bayesian’s TREWS sepsis early warning system reduced patient deaths from sepsis by 18.2%. The TREWS platform identified 82% of sepsis cases across five hospitals, and 38% of the total alerts were later confirmed by a doctor. If you’re wondering how that stacks up to current methods, a widely used model developed by Epic Systems flagged just 33% of sepsis cases in a different one-hospital study, despite generating alerts for 18% of hospitalized patients.
  • Health Note Series A: Health Note closed $17M in Series A funding to accelerate market expansion and build new EHR integrations for its pre-visit intake automation platform that prepares clinical notes for providers ahead of visits. The Health Note platform sends patients appointment reminder texts that evolve into a chatbot conversation to gather routine health information then uploads it to the EHR to save time during visits.
  • Value-Based Time-Out: A provocative opinion piece in STAT made waves last week after calling for a “time-out” for value-based care experimentation. The authors make the case that current approaches to value-based care have ambiguous quality metrics that do little to improve outcomes but plenty to incentivize reducing care and upcoding.
  • Cardiac Procedure Variability: A JAMA study of data from the 20 highest-ranking US hospitals found substantial variations in median payer-negotiated rates for common cardiovascular procedures: 1) Echocardiogram: $204 to $2,588; 2) Stress test: $463 to $3,230; 3) Pacemaker implantation: $506 to $20,002. The authors pointed out that the variations don’t seem to reflect differences in quality-of-care, but instead speak to which stakeholder – hospital or payor – “has stronger negotiating power in the boardroom, which is often dictated by market dynamics.”
  • Caraway Debut: Virtual care startup Caraway emerged from stealth with $10.5M in seed funding as it gears up for the fall rollout of its team-based care services for college-aged women. Caraway is aiming to improve Gen Z’s access to mental and reproductive healthcare through its virtual platform that makes it easier to see gynecologists, primary care physicians, and psychiatrists.
  • Patients Favor EHR Use: A study in Annals of Family Medicine found that patients and providers have differing views on EHR use during appointments, with 92% of patients viewing EHR use as positive despite only 37% of physicians believing that patients would agree with that statement (n=59 clinicians, 1k patients). Physicians reported EHRs cause them to focus less on patients (65%) and listen less carefully (54%), but nearly all patients felt that their doctors provide sufficient eye contact (97%) and listen carefully (97%).
  • Caption & HeartBeat’s Virtual Pathway: Ultrasound AI startup Caption Health unveiled a new partnership with virtual cardiology company HeartBeat Health, enabling early disease identification and management for patients from the comfort of their homes. This is an expansion of its Caption Care program, which began when Caption partnered with Portamedic to allow Portamedic technicians to perform AI-guided echo exams in patient homes. With the addition of HeartBeat’s remote cardiologists, it appears that Caption has established a complete virtual echo pathway.
  • High Patient Expectations: A pCare survey of 100 healthcare execs indicates that technology’s role in patient care is on the rise, with 65% reporting that a growing number of patients want tech-enabled care experiences. Although 95% of organizations believe digital engagement tools improve the patient experience, 42% felt there’s still “significant gaps” between patient expectations and what they can provide.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team