Wire #21

  • EHR-Integrated App Growth: New data published in JAMIA shows that the number of unique apps that integrate with major EHRs (Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, Epic, SMART) increased 20% to 734 during 2020. The most common app functions were administrative (42%), clinical use (38%), and care management (31%). The authors note that standards-based APIs will help to support a more robust ecosystem of third-party apps in the future, but that the proportion of FHIR-enabled apps currently remains stagnant at 22%.
  • Elemy Series B: Pediatric behavioral health startup Elemy raised $219m in Series B funding ($323m total funding), which it will use to expand the reach of its in-home and online services for children with autism. After launching in May 2020, the company now has a $1.2b valuation, driven by the success of its customized care plans that can be delivered in the familiar setting of a patient’s home, where children are better able to focus.
  • Ransomware Tragedy: When Teiranni Kidd went to have her baby in Springhill Medical Center in July 2019, she was unaware that the hospital was in the midst of a ransomware attack that had disabled delivery room monitors. After the passing of her newborn child, who was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, Kidd is suing the hospital because the hack prevented heart rate monitor alerts from reaching the nurses’ station. If proven in court, the case will mark the first confirmed death from a ransomware attack.
  • Reducing Readmissions: Catholic Home Care halved its 30 day readmissions for patients with congestive heart failure from 26% in 2016 to 13% in 2018 following an RPM partnership with Philips. The program provides a tablet and connected scale that informs care teams when patient metrics exceed established parameters, allowing them to determine appropriate follow-ups and standardize care protocols. RPM programs have been a growing focus for many providers, with the Advisory Board indicating that 2.5k hospitals will face HRRP penalties this year.
  • Babylon Health Funding: Digital-first provider Babylon Health secured a $200m investment led by sustainability-focused firm AlbaCore, which was drawn to Babylon’s mission of providing healthcare to under-served populations. The new capital will be used to expand Babylon’s membership base and develop its value-based care applications that combine an AI-powered triage platform with physicians available 24/7.
  • Telehealth Utilization Declines: FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker showed that telehealth utilization fell 6.7% in July 2021, accounting for 4.2% of monthly medical claims. The July decrease represents a slowdown from the 10% telehealth decline in June, although the reasons for use remained similar: 60.7% of virtual visits were for mental health conditions, followed far behind by acute respiratory diseases (3.5%) and developmental disorders (2.3%).
  • OpenNotes Concerns: A survey of 30 ophthalmologists published in Nature found that most are worried about OpenNotes, citing concerns such as more patient worrying (75.9%) and confusion (82.8%). Patient confusion would lead 86.2% of respondents to document differently in the medical record. Although 90% of clinicians thought their patients would be offended by comments in open clinical notes, 83% said that effective communication surrounding the notes could improve trust in the patient-provider relationship.
  • BetterUp Expansion: In its second fundraise of the year, employer coaching company BetterUp closed a $300m Series E round ($600m total funding) to help reach more workers at its partner organizations. BetterUp provides coaching for topics ranging from diversity and inclusion to mental health, aiming to improve employee performance by developing mental well-being and resilience.
  • Medtech Chips: The Wall Street Journal detailed how the global microchip shortage is impacting the medical device supply chain, and how medtech manufacturers are taking advantage of a unique leverage point to get the chips they need. Because other industries order far more microchips, medical device manufacturers are increasingly forced to emphasize that their products “save lives” when asking microchip makers for priority shipments.
  • Patients Prefer Home Monitoring: According to a survey of 510 adults with hypertension from the American Heart Association, most patients prefer self-monitoring blood pressure at home, as opposed to at a clinic or kiosk. Patients reported home monitoring as more convenient and accurate, which led to a 90% adherence for home testing, compared to 87% for clinic testing and 68% for kiosk measurements.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team