Wire #30

  • Parkland & Current Health: Dallas-based Parkland Health & Hospital System is partnering with Current Health (also known as Best Buy’s care-at-home division) to help patients manage hypertension and lower their blood pressure from the comfort of their own homes. Although historically RPM programs have focused on high acuity patients, health systems like Parkland are quickly adopting similar solutions for low acuity diseases like hypertension, allowing for more convenient care to reduce hospital visits and disease progression.
  • CBT for Tinnitus: A study published in JMIR investigated the effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) for managing tinnitus, a notoriously heterogeneous condition due to its wide range of causes. Researchers used decision tree models to determine whether 33 variables (including demographics, education, condition severity) were able to predict ICBT efficacy, finding that education was the most predictive factor. The researchers concluded that education was predictive because a patient’s reading comprehension is key for successful self-help interventions, a conclusion about ICBT that can be extended to other conditions outside of tinnitus.
  • Teladoc Health Plan: Teladoc is partnering with Trustmark Health Benefits to offer a virtual-first health plan called myVirtualCare Access centered around the company’s Primary360 primary care solution. The plan includes no copays for online services and preferential rates for in-person visits referred by Primary360 providers, a similar structure to competing telehealth-led plans launched in the past few weeks by Cigna (through MDLIVE) and UnitedHealthcare (NavigateNOW).
  • Patient Experience Report: A Press Ganey HCAHPS data analysis found that patients have become 4.5% less likely to recommend a hospital to their families and friends since the start of the pandemic, with 75% of COVID patients willing to give a recommendation (vs. 72% for non-COVID patients). Press Ganey noted that healthcare leaders should begin viewing patient experience ratings “as operating data as opposed to punitive data,” allowing them to better align operations with shifting patient needs.
  • Oak Street Investigation: During Oak Street Health’s Q3 earnings report, the primary care provider announced that the DOJ is investigating its relationship with third-party marketers and its transportation assistance for patients. Although the inquiry won’t necessarily lead to litigation, the news caused nervous investors to head for the exits, with the stock (NYSE: OSH) sliding more than 20% following the call. Oak Street CEO Mike Pykosz stated that the company plans to fully cooperate with the DOJ, but could provide little other information given that he had only been notified a week earlier.
  • Health Info Sources: A survey of 2k adults released by CMI Media Group found stark contrasts between generations regarding the most effective way health information reaches them. While health information from a physician’s office led all generations, Gen Z listed social media as the second most effective source, while all others listed email second – underscoring the need to match delivery channels to your target demographics.
  • GenieMD CONTINUUM: Virtual-first provider GenieMD recently launched CONTINUUM, an all-in-one platform with telehealth, remote patient monitoring, remote therapeutic monitoring, and chronic care management. CONTINUUM allows providers to extend care beyond the brick-and-mortar setting to the home, supporting ePrescriptions, lab requests, and medical device integration. Platforms like CONTINUUM have seen a lift from value-based care reimbursement models, requiring technology to support both patient and provider journeys.
  • Average Visit Times: A study published in Telemedicine and e-Health analyzed data from 176k telehealth visits at Nationwide Children’s Hospital across four specialties, finding an average appointment time of 57 min for behavioral health (BH) visits, 51 min for physical therapy (PT), 42 min for speech pathology (SP), and 25 min for primary care (PC). After combining the telehealth timestamps with scheduling data to demonstrate how the information can be used to improve schedule adherence, the researchers found that average wait times were 4.1 min (BH), 2.7 min (PT), 2.8 min (SP), and 3.1 min (PC).
  • Philips Acquires Cardiologs: Philips announced that it is expanding its RPM portfolio with the acquisition of Cardiologs, which provides FDA-cleared cloud-based software to screen for heart disorders in ECG data. Although the terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, Philips stated that it intends to use its global footprint to accelerate the worldwide availability of Cardiologs’ technology.
  • Valera Funding: Virtual mental health startup Valera Health announced a $15 million funding round ($27m total funding) to help drive its transition from a tech platform to a fully integrated care provider. Valera connects telehealth-enabled care teams to patients with high acuity conditions such as severe depression and anxiety, emphasizing measurement-based care to deliver improved quality scores for health plans.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team