Wire #102

  • Mayo Clinic + Mercy: Mayo Clinic and Mercy Health entered a 10-year partnership to share deidentified patient data from over 500M visits to develop novel AI algorithms focused on “personalized, predictive, and proactive medicine.” Most larger health systems do similar work with their own data, but this collaboration is designed to take advantage of Mayo Clinic and Mercy’s different populations and geographies to help reduce model bias while improving the accuracy of treatment recommendations.
  • Evolving Primary Care Landscape: Nontraditional primary care providers could capture over 30% of the US market by 2030, according to a new report from Bain and Company. Primary care is currently dominated by traditional providers in FFS arrangements, but Bain predicts that rising costs and digital disruption will cause this model to fall to a 50% share before the end of the decade as a wide combination of nontraditional providers gain traction. Check out this chart for a quick peek into Bain’s crystal ball.
  • Cleerly Closes Series C (Again): Even though we called Cleerly’s $192M Series C “colossal” in our original coverage last week, the heart attack prediction startup wasn’t done yet, and has now officially closed the funding round after bumping the total raise to $223M. Cleerly plans to use the investment to expand the commercial reach of its AI software that evaluates noninvasive CT angiograms for plaque build-up to enable earlier detection of heart disease and calculate the likelihood of a patient having a heart attack.
  • RPM Adoption: A study in JAMA Internal Medicine quantified the rise of RPM following the introduction of Medicare reimbursements for “general remote patient monitoring” (monitoring of physiological data of any kind) in 2019. The analysis of Medicare claims found that sensor-based claims are now six times higher than pre-pandemic levels, with ~60% of them originating from primary care physicians (mostly for monitoring blood pressure). The authors note that Medicare has separate codes for data monitoring and management, which has begun raising concerns about potential overuse due to a lack of robust evidence on the clinical benefits of RPM.
  • a16z Marketplace Playbook: VC powerhouse a16z shared the latest piece in its go-to-market strategy series, this time focusing on healthcare startups building two-sided networks. It’s a deep dive into the nuances of successfully creating network businesses in healthcare (the 40min podcast is a great listen), and explores topics such as “what side of the marketplace to start with” and “what metrics are worth focusing on.”
  • PCORI Research Funds: The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) approved a whopping $258M to fund 26 new research studies addressing mental health, heart-related care, and chronic conditions. Each study aims to fill evidence gaps in research areas that have been put in the spotlight since the beginning of the pandemic, including one that compares outcomes for in-person vs. telehealth cardiac rehab and another that investigates the effectiveness of patient smartphone apps for treating serious mental illness.
  • Four Strikes and You’re Out: A 2,000 consumer survey from ModMed found that 73% of patients keep a “mental scorecard” of their doctor visits, and give an average of four strikes on poor experiences before picking a new provider. Timeliness and modern technology use were the top factors contributing to a good experience, although 67% said friendliness of staff influences their provider choice and one-third said they’ve switched providers due to an unpleasant encounter with office staff.
  • Hospital Margin Loss Streak: Patient volume and expense improvements haven’t been enough to offset the hospital industry’s growing cost of care, and the median operating margin for hospitals is now officially in the red through the first six months of the year (-0.09%). Kaufman Hall’s latest National Hospital Flash Report showed positive month-over-month trends for both outpatient revenue (up 2.6%) and operating room minutes (up 2.4%), but margins are still “nowhere near pre-pandemic levels” and “will likely end up with historically low margins for the remainder of the year.”
  • Diagnostic Robotics Series B: Diagnostic Robotics raised a $45M Series B round (total funding now $69M) to develop its AI-enabled tools for population health management and triaging patients to optimal care sites. The predictive models leverage “nuanced definitions of risk” to shift focus from purely risk-based targeting to clinically-actionable targeting, and have shown success with preventing avoidable emergency room visits, congestive heart failure deterioration, and serious mental illness.
  • Telehealth Opioid Treatment: Audio-only telehealth has proven to be a lifeline for veterans with opioid addiction. A University of Michigan study showed that 14% more veterans were receiving buprenorphine care in February 2021 compared with March 2019, while the total number of vets receiving any sort of addiction treatment dropped 6% over the same period. Audio-only visits accounted for 50% of veteran visits relating to buprenorphine due to ease of use and privacy, easily eclipsing video visits (32%) and in-person treatment (17%).

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-- The Digital Health Wire team