Wire #110

  • Hello Heart My Cholesterol: Fresh off the heels of its $70M Series D raise, Hello Heart is leaning in on cholesterol tracking as it focuses on becoming the first digital therapeutic to tackle all key cardiovascular disease factors – blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. With Hello Heart’s new My Cholesterol feature, users can easily import their cholesterol lab results to visualize trends over time and receive AI-powered coaching specific to their lifestyles, as well as personalized explanations of lipid panels that can be difficult to interpret without support.
  • Employer Virtual Care: A Business Group on Health survey of 135 large employers revealed that 74% believe virtual care will have a major impact on employee healthcare in the future. Employers are concerned about fragmented patient experiences (69%), lack of integration between providers (60%), and the quality of care through virtual platforms (57%). However, they’re not cutting off virtual care benefits. About 32% will offer virtual primary care services in 2023, while 69% plan to offer them by 2025.
  • Nursing Home Nightmare: A gloomy but thought-provoking New Yorker article explored the negative impact of private equity involvement with nursing homes, which often result in a 10% climb in patient deaths following a PE takeover. The piece does a great job detailing how PE firm Portopiccolo Group runs nursing homes similar to other operators, but dramatically shifts the focus toward profitability after it acquires a facility (AKA it immediately cuts staff). As you might imagine, less nursing home staff doesn’t exactly translate to fewer deaths.
  • Nuance Digital Front Door Expansion: RWJBarnabas Health and University of Michigan Health-West have enlisted Nuance’s Natural Language Understanding and Conversational IVR platforms to improve their digital front doors. Nuance’s platform extends the capabilities of organizations’ existing EHR and CRM systems by automatically routing common patient inquiries to self-service options, resulting in an average patient self-service rate of 30% and a 47% average reduction in call support costs.
  • The Smartphone Screening Advantage: Smartphone screening more than doubled AFib detection and treatment rates in older patients compared to routine screening. Researchers randomized 5.5k high-risk older adults to either conventional screening or smartphone groups (2x/day app-based heart rhythm screenings for 14 days, then 2x/week for the next 6 months), finding that AFib was significantly more likely to be detected and treated in the smartphone group (odds ratio: 2.12).
  • Happy Health Secures $60M: Happy Health scored $60M in Series A funding as it rolls out a waitlist for its upcoming Happy Ring, a stress tracking wearable that it’s labeling as “the first real mood ring.” The Happy Ring uses a proprietary electrodermal activity sensor to capture brain signals from the peripheral nervous system and translates them into real-time measurements of mood state. We’ll have to wait and see how well it works, but it’s tough to beat the price – Happy Rings are included at no cost with the data memberships that start at $20/mo.
  • ScionHealth RPM: Louisville-based ScionHealth is teaming up with Cadence to implement a chronic condition RPM platform, starting with 18 of the health system’s community hospitals. The intervention-as-needed platform will improve care for thousands of heart failure and diabetes patients by collecting daily vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen, glucose levels, weight) and transmitting the data to their care teams, with future plans to expand the program to ScionHealth’s full 79 hospital network.
  • Health Costs to Rise 6.5%: Professional services company Aon is forecasting that average health costs for US employers will rise by 6.5% in 2023 (more than $13,800 per employee). The report shows that the rise in employee healthcare costs is expected to nearly double its current growth rate of 3.7%, although it’s still trailing well behind inflation (which hit a 40-year high of 9.1% in June) due to the multi-year nature of payor-provider contracts.
  • Motivo Series A: Motivo Health raised $14M in Series A funding (total funding now $16.2M) to address the ongoing shortage of mental health professionals by pairing aspiring therapists with virtual supervisors to make it easier to complete state licensure requirements. Users can browse Motivo’s directory of over 1k supervisors to find a good fit based on geography, license type, and specialty area, then conduct virtual supervised sessions with automated time tracking and documentation.
  • Public Health Reporting Task Force: Although the gaps in US public health infrastructure were made pretty apparent by the pandemic, a recent ONC report found that only one in five primary care physicians exchanged patient data with public health agencies in 2019, while over 70% of hospitals experienced major challenges with public health reporting. To address the problem, the ONC kicked off a new Public Health Data Systems Task Force that will provide recommendations to the CDC for modernizing health data exchange.
  • Cardiology Digital Health Roadmap: The World Heart Federation published a Roadmap for Digital Health in Cardiology, a reference document for policymakers, healthcare professionals, and patient advocates. The report identified at least 17 “roadblocks” to implementing digital health technologies for cardiovascular disease (e.g. lack of monitoring and evaluation standards) and proposed corresponding solutions (e.g. continually monitoring software performance and safety when using rapidly changing algorithms).

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-- The Digital Health Wire team