Wire #16

  • Health Cloud 2.0: Salesforce recently rolled out its latest suite of tools designed to help businesses navigate a post-pandemic work environment. Dubbed Health Cloud 2.0, the new solutions include: 1) “Dreampass” for in-person event safety with registration management and vaccine verification 2) Contact tracing for organizations 3) Vaccine management to deploy company-wide vaccination programs 4) Value-based care from anywhere to enable “organizations to personalize patient experiences.” Although each of these services are individually available through separate vendors, Salesforce’s cohesive package and strong brand image among employers give Health Cloud 2.0 great “new normal” positioning.
  • Telehealth Usage: The AMA’s recent Physician Practice Benchmark Survey found that 70.3% of physicians worked in practices using telehealth services as of September 2020, but that usage varied widely by specialty. Telehealth was commonly preferred for consultations by dermatologists (87.3%), psychiatrists (85.8%), pediatricians (82.9%), while lower utilization was recorded for ophthalmologists (56.3%) and radiologists (37.2%). The technology also spanned across a wide range of use cases, such as managing chronic diseases (59.2%), diagnosing or treating patients (58%), and providing care for those with an acute disease (50.4%).
  • Apple Data Sharing: Following Monday’s launch of iOS 15, iPhone users now have the ability to share data from their Health app directly with their doctors through their EHR (only available for Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, CPSI, DrChrono, Meditech Expanse). Those that enable the feature will allow visibility to data such as heart rate, hours of sleep, and time spent exercising, with future updates planned to enable proof of vaccination cards. The feature is designed to improve communication around biometric data while creating a more longitudinal picture of patient health.
  • Staffing Shortage: Nomad Health recently raised $63m ($100m total funding) to expand its digital marketplace for temporary healthcare jobs amid an industry-wide labor shortage. Since the beginning of the pandemic, transactions in Nomad’s marketplace have grown seven-fold, and yet the healthcare staffing sector has seen a relatively low amount of new capital given the surging demand. Nomad will use the funding to help fill the supply gap for healthcare workers by expanding its online platform for transparent and flexible hires.
  • Patients on AI: A new Mayo Clinic paper provided some much-needed insights into patients’ opinions and concerns about healthcare AI. Their analysis of fifteen focus groups (87 participants, 2019-2020) revealed that patients are generally optimistic about healthcare AI, particularly if there’s proactive oversight from clinicians to avoid any AI-based harm to them or their loved ones. The participants also believed that patients should be able to choose whether AI is involved in their care, and were concerned about AI’s cost impact, potential for bias, data security, and vulnerability to IT crashes.
  • Hinge Physical Therapy: Online musculoskeletal clinic Hinge Health recently acquired wrnch, a computer vision platform that measures human motion. Hinge Health now has “the largest computer vision team in digital health,” and will use wrnch’s 3D motion tracking to augment its virtual physical therapy services with patient feedback and adjustments. If you’re a regular Digital Health Wire reader and this sounds familiar, this news arrives within the same week of IncludeHealth and Google’s co-developed MSK-OS platform rolling out to ProMedica Health System targeting similar remote physical therapy patients.
  • More Second Opinions: The Clinic has been busy. Just one week after the Cleveland Clinic / Amwell joint venture announced that it was working with Anthem on providing virtual second opinions to members, it signed a similar deal with telehealth company ReviveHealth. Members of ReviveHealth now have access to second opinions from Cleveland Clinic for more than 550 specialties, powered by Amwell’s digital platform. According to The Clinic, second opinions are expected to be a $7b market by 2024 (up from $2.7b in 2019), with 28% of life-altering diagnoses changed after receiving a second opinion.
  • Reducing Length of Stay: A new metastudy of 19 systematic reviews published in JAMA Network Open investigated which hospital interventions were associated with reducing length of stay for high-risk populations. Researchers found that for patients with heart failure, the most effective interventions were clinical pathways (mean reduction of 1.89 days) and case management (mean reduction of 1.28 days). The study found inconsistent results across other interventions such as discharge planning and medication management, highlighting an evidence gap for widely used programs and a need for further research.
  • Alpha Series B: Women’s virtual primary care provider Alpha Medical recently raised $24m in Series B funding ($35m total funding) to develop its platform that allows women to easily access services for reproductive health, mental health, and primary care. Femtech has seemed unstoppable in recent weeks, with Tia, Maven Clinic, and Flo all making significant moves. Alpha Medical is aiming to stand out in the market by positioning its platform as the most convenient and accessible option.
  • Rural Telehealth: For the 15% of Americans living in rural communities, a lack of telehealth access has widened healthcare disparities during the pandemic, prompting the HHS to allot over $19m to improving telemedicine in frontier and underserved communities. The funds will help update technology and train doctors on how to conduct virtual appointments in 11 states.The University of Mississippi was one of the largest beneficiaries, receiving $3.5m to aid medically underserved areas with widespread chronic disease and poverty.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team