Wire #3

  • Healthy Texting: A recent JMIR report outlined the effectiveness of text messaging as a way to support behavior change techniques such as reinforcement, goal setting, and progress review. Although research is often aimed at finding the next high-technology solutions for health problems, established technologies like text messaging are often overlooked despite allowing providers to assist patients in a simple and familiar medium.
  • Zoom Goes Mobile: Zoom recently released the iOS mobile browser client beta for its Zoom for Healthcare platform, allowing patients to join telehealth appointments in a HIPAA-compliant setting without downloading the Zoom app. By eliminating the need to download an app to enter a meeting, Zoom has streamlined its mobile offering to make it easier for patients to access virtual care, the same convenience-first ethos that led to the platform’s rapid adoption at the onset of the pandemic.
  • Digital Downloads: A new IQVIA Institute study cast a spotlight on the proliferation of healthcare apps over the past year, finding that consumer apps are now the most widely used digital health tools. Over 90,000 new digital health apps were added in 2020 (now over 350,000 available), with apps increasingly focused on health condition management rather than wellness management – the former now accounts for 47% of all apps (up from 28% in 2015).
  • A Swift Series B: Swift Medical recently raised a $35m Series B round ($48m total funding) to help scale its digital wound management platform across the US. Swift Medical’s digital platform allows patients to capture a high precision image of their wound that the platform uses to autonomously determine clinical characteristics and provide AI-driven predictive insights.
  • Relatient + Radix: Patient engagement platform provider Relatient Inc. recently signed a definitive agreement to merge with Radix Health, which offers a suite of patient access and schedule optimization solutions. The merger positions the combined company to provide an all-in-one platform for patient engagement and outreach, a job that will be made easier with the $100m capital raise that Relatient announced alongside the merger.
  • Gamify Everything: A new JAMA Network Open study found that gamification of step tracking was associated with a modest increase in physical activity, especially when paired with loss-framed financial incentives (mean daily steps increased from 451 to 1,996 steps). The authors stated that gamification strategies like badges or points can motivate physical activity over shorter-term periods, but additional work needs to focus on increasing and sustaining the effect.
  • Vera Venture: Vera Whole Health recently raised a $50m venture round ($100m total funding) to build out its whole-person care services, which include physician teams as well as a technology platform that offers health coaching for patients. Vera’s interests in promoting healthy behavior is closely aligned with its at-risk style of operation, where its customers pay a flat monthly rate and the company retains any cost-savings it achieves while managing its members’ health.
  • Telehealth Survey: A recent Social Sciences Research Solutions survey (n = 1,776) found that nearly 1 in 7 respondents who had a telehealth visit in the last year would have sought care in an ED if the service was not available, while only 4% of telehealth visits result in a patient being redirected to an ED. The findings highlight telehealth’s potential to take non-emergency cases out of the emergency department.
  • Blocking Change: The US DOJ is reportedly considering a lawsuit to block UnitedHealth’s acquisition of Change Healthcare due to concerns that the merger would hinder competition. The Biden administration has made it quite clear that it will fight anticompetitive business consolidation, particularly within healthcare, and this would be an early example that they mean it.
  • Remote Antenatal Care: New research from Monash University and Monash Health found that antenatal care provided remotely to expectant mothers could offer the same level of care as face-to-face consultations, including the identification of common complications. The researchers overcame one of telehealth’s key limitations, the inability of doctors to do physical examinations, by providing soon-to-be mothers with instructional material on how to self-measure symphyseal-fundal heights.
  • Behavioral Health Funding: Connections Health Solutions recently raised $30m in its first round of outside investment, funds that will fuel the national expansion of its immediate-access behavioral health crisis stabilization tool. The expansion arrives as demand for behavioral health services continues to climb, accelerated by the opioid crisis and the lingering effects of pandemic-related social isolation.

You're signed up!

It's great to have you as a reader. Check your inbox for a welcome email.

-- The Digital Health Wire team