Wire #115

  • Juli Shows Promise for Bipolar Disorder: Mental health treatment app Juli released some promising research demonstrating the efficacy of their app that helps bipolar patients manage their symptoms by tracking patterns that trigger manic-depressive episodes. The platform aggregates data from EHRs, connected devices, and a daily 3-5 question survey to nudge behavior change – and their study of 208 users found that 55.5% saw a reduction in mania after 8 weeks, while 18.7% saw a decrease in depression. Impressive results for a difficult-to-treat condition.
  • Nurse Staffing’s Slow Recovery: Two and a half years after the first COVID-19 lockdowns, a new IntelyCare survey of 450 post-acute care nurses found that 70% believe the staffing situation hasn’t improved as the pandemic wanes. 45% of nurses surveyed said that patients received poor care due to low staff during the pandemic, and two-thirds said there’s been no improvement since then. On top of that, nearly a third of the respondents said that safeguards were ignored as COVID spread, and half worry that this might become the new normal.
  • LifePoint & Google Cloud Partnership: Community-based care delivery network LifePoint Health is entering a multi-year partnership with Google to implement Google Cloud’s healthcare data engine at hundreds of care centers across 29 states. This looks like a solid momentum builder for Google Cloud’s DHE, which aggregates data from EHRs, clinical trials, and research to help clinicians gain longitudinal views of patient records in FHIR.
  • HBR Data Measurement Improvements: An HBR article penned by several digital health thought leaders highlighted the need for better metrics to track the ever-increasing amount of health data – particularly quality measures that don’t rely on medical claim lines. The authors outlined four imperatives for establishing that system: 1) reduce the cost of data collection by adopting wearables, 2) integrate this data with information from EHRs, PROMs, and SDOH, 3) enhance EHRs to help clinicians personalize care using more data sources, 4) standardize clinical measures for final quality measurements.
  • Online Symptom Checker Accuracy: A systematic review of 10 studies in npj Digital Medicine found that the diagnostic and triage accuracy of online symptom checkers was shockingly low, raising concerns about their widespread use. After analyzing data from the 48 symptom checkers included in the review, accuracy for listing the correct diagnosis first ranged from just 19% to 38%, listing within the top three diagnoses came in at 33% to 58%, and triaging patients to the correct level of care varied between 49% and 90%.
  • Osmind Zoom Integration: Mental health treatment startup Osmind is integrating Zoom virtual visits with its telehealth platform to create a collaborative workspace between researchers, psychiatrists, and patients. The integration allows providers to create appointments and launch virtual visits directly through the Osmind app, which alongside $40M in fresh funding will help Osmind advance clinical trials and important research into breakthrough therapies such as ketamine and psychedelics.
  • Appointment Wait Times Increase: The average wait time to schedule a new appointment with a physician is up to 26 days, according to a recent survey from AMN Healthcare and Merritt Hawkins. That’s up 8% since 2017, and 24% since 2004, wrapping some quantitative data around the growing physician shortage. Wait times are significantly longer for most specialists, but decreased by 30% for family medicine, which the authors attributed to the expansion of walk-in clinics and telehealth.
  • Mental Health Benefit Trends: The Employee Benefit Research Institute released a report showing that overall spending by employers on mental health services increased to 8.2% of total benefit costs in 2020, up from 6.8% in 2013. Pandemic-driven stressors continue to contribute to an increase in the percentage of employees diagnosed with mental health conditions (18.5% in 2020 vs. 14.2% in 2013), as well as a 20% increase in the average annual mental health service cost per employee ($2,380 in 2020).
  • Doximity Community Clinics: Doximity brought us the feel-good digital health story of the week by expanding access to its DialPro telehealth service to over 1k community clinics across the US at no cost. Doximity is supporting these clinics with DialPro features such as automatic language detection, patient-provider text messages, and easy-to-follow prompts to transition from video calls to phone calls during connection difficulties.
  • June Telehealth Use: Fair Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker showed that national telehealth use fell by 3.7% in June, accounting for 5.2% of total visits (vs. 5.4% in May). The June decrease breaks from two consecutive months of growth, and while COVID remained among the top five telehealth diagnoses, the leading telehealth procedure code across all regions remained CPT 90837: one-hour psychotherapy.
  • At-Home Breast Cancer Detection: Namida Lab launched its unique Auria at-home diagnostic test, which uses tears to identify protein biomarkers related to breast abnormalities. Targeted at women with low to average breast cancer risk, Auria provides a personalized score that tells women how soon they should schedule a mammogram. Namida reports that large components in blood can mask small cancer markers, but the absence of these components in tears makes the markers much easier to spot.
  • Medtronic + BioIntelliSense: Medtronic and BioIntelliSense inked a partnership giving Medtronic access to BioIntelliSense’s BioButton continuous remote patient monitoring device. With the addition of the BioButton wearable to its HealthCast portfolio, Medtronic can offer general care patients access to BioButton both in-hospital and post-discharge. BioButton can take 1,440 vital sign measurements per day, including heart rate, respiratory rate, and skin temperature.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team