Wire #25

  • SPAC Frenzy: CB Insights’ State Of Healthcare Q3’21 Report revealed that healthcare companies are increasingly choosing to go public through mergers with SPACs rather than via traditional IPOs, with the first three quarters of the year seeing 25 SPAC exits (vs. 7 total in 2020). The popularity of the SPAC route is due in part to the $1.3 median exit valuation through Q3 2021, over double the $579 median exit valuation for an IPO over the same time period.
  • Bardavon Funding: Bardavon Health Innovations, a Workers’ Compensation and MSK treatment company, recently closed a $90m Series C ($109m total funding) to help broaden the reach of its technology platform that connects patients to physical rehabilitation services. In a large strategy shift for the company, Brightline announced that it is expanding its MSK platform beyond Workers’ Compensation, and is developing partnerships with “marquee clients” in the MSK commercial health industry.
  • Better Ratings, Better Outcomes: A cross-sectional study from UCLA examined online reviews of 95,120 health care facilities across 1,301 US counties, finding that facilities with a 1-point higher mean rating (5-point scale) had 18.1 fewer age-adjusted deaths per 100k people. While it may seem intuitive that regions with well-reviewed hospitals tend to have lower patient mortality, the study confirmed that online provider reviews can demonstrate regional health inequities while providing significant insight into quality of care.
  • The New Digital Health Playbook: a16z General Partner Julie Yoo recently wrote an excellent piece on the venture capital firm’s blog, titled The New Go-To-Market Playbooks for Digital Health Startups. Although it would be doing the blog post a disservice to distill it down to a few lines, the article is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in digital health go-to-market strategies and product distribution.
  • Digital Health Searches: A new study published in BMJ Open found that online searches for digital health services in the UK surged 343% between January 2019 and December 2020. Searches for online MSK and physiotherapy products saw the largest increase (+2,036%), followed by digital products to help allergies (1,253%) and healthy living apps (1,051%). Overall, 92% of medical conditions saw an increase in searches for digital solutions, with the magnitude of the search interest signalling that consumers are more willing than ever to consider digital tools for treatment.
  • Brightline ASD: Family digital mental health service provider Brightline is continuing its rapid expansion with the announcement that it is launching services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in early 2022, as well as additional programs for LGBTQ and BIPOC youth. Brightline’s new services include on-demand digital content and virtual coaching, arriving within months of the rollout of similar programs for pediatric behavioral health.
  • Value-Based Care Awareness: A survey of 970 US adults from nonprofit payor EmblemHealth found that only one in four respondents were aware of the term “value-based care,” while only a quarter of those familiar with the term could define it accurately. After reading the definition of value-based care on page 12 of the study, 75% of respondents reported feeling that it is extremely important for providers to utilize this approach, indicating that there’s a breakdown in communication preventing patients from understanding care options.
  • Navina Series A: AI-enabled primary care platform developer Navina recently raised a $15m Series A round ($22m total funding), which it will use to accelerate its machine learning research and expand within the enterprise healthcare market. Navina’s platform takes complex primary care EHR data and creates actionable Patient Portraits (concise clinical summaries of patients), designed to give clinicians immediate comprehension of an individual’s health record while informing them of potentially missed diagnoses.
  • Why Not Fear AI: A new JMIR paper detailed why future clinicians shouldn’t be as concerned about AI’s impact on their careers as many recent surveys say they are. The authors shared a long list of reasons why these AI concerns might be overblown (at least in the short term) including: 1) AI’s current performance limitations; 2) Healthcare’s disconnected and heterogeneous digital infrastructure; 3) Lacking AI literacy and training; 4) Liability and ethical barriers.
  • CMS Strategy Change: The CMS Innovation Center released its five primary healthcare transformation objectives that it aims to accomplish by 2030. They include: 1) increase the number of people in a care relationship including all Medicare beneficiaries; 2) advance health equity by mandating that new models report demographic information; 3) support innovation by sharing actionable data; 4) address affordability to reduce skipped care; 5) partner to achieve system transformation by aligning policies across CMS to engage payors, providers, and patients.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team