Wire #33

  • Smartphone Wound Diagnosis: A recent study published in Nature investigated whether a smartphone-delivered wound assessment tool could expedite diagnosis of postoperative surgical site infections (SSI). 492 patients were randomised (smartphone intervention: 223; routine care: 269), with the smartphone group demonstrating 3.7-times higher odds of SSI diagnosis within 7 postoperative days, indicating that smartphone-delivered wound follow-up is can facilitate earlier SSI diagnosis and expedite triage to the appropriate level of care.
  • EasyHealth Expansion: The largest digital health funding round of the week belongs to EasyHealth, which raised a mammoth $135m to help build its “end-to-end Medicare platform” designed to help members identify the best plan and support them through their care journey. EasyHealth not only makes it easier to engage patients, but leverages a proprietary risk analytics model to help with early identification of potential health concerns, improving outcomes for all stakeholders.
  • Telehealth Predictions: A new report from Forrester estimates that 60% of virtual care visits in 2022 will be related to mental health, with analysts predicting that mental health will be the first specialty to transition to virtual or hybrid care models at scale. Forrester attributes virtual care’s strong mental health adoption to improved accessibility for underserved populations, and points out that rising competition has the potential to improve telehealth’s value in the near term.
  • Alira Acquires Patchai: Healthcare consultancy Alira Health announced its acquisition of Patchai, a digital health technology company that helps patients adhere to study protocols or care plans through the use of an “empathetic virtual companion.” The Patchai companion delivers personalized interactions to patients and relays collected data back to providers in real time, which the company reports raises a patients’ protocol adherence up to 95%.
  • Virtual Engagement: The latest research from GoodRx shows that 40% of patients interact with providers more frequently because of telehealth, with 11% reporting that they interact with providers “much more often because of virtual care.” Going forward, over 60% of patients plan on combining telehealth with in-person visits, but GoodRx encourages providers to be mindful of telehealth no-show rates, which 45% of providers report are higher than in-person no-shows.
  • MedArrive Series A: Remote care startup MedArrive raised a $25m Series A round ($30m total funding) to accelerate the expansion of its platform geared towards bringing accessible at-home care to vulnerable populations across the country. MedArrive enables payors and providers to extend medical services into the home by combining physician-led telemedicine with hands-on care from its network of EMTs, paramedics, and other skilled healthcare workers.
  • Digital Inequalities: A metastudy in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that digital interventions like wearables and apps are ineffective in increasing physical activity for individuals of low socioeconomic status (SES). In the 19 studies included in the analysis, the mean difference in physical activity between intervention and control groups for low SES groups was 0.06 (vs 0.34 for high SES groups), suggesting that the people who would benefit the most from digital interventions “are being left behind.”
  • Healthcare Map Expansion: Komodo Health is adding new demographic characteristics to its Healthcare Map, including patient race and ethnic data, in an effort to address racial disparities in healthcare. Komodo’s Healthcare Map compiles de-identified data for over 330m patients to provide a longitudinal view of encounters with the healthcare system, and the new characteristics improve the ability of the platform to identify gaps in care.
  • McKinsey Hospital Survey: An October survey of 100 hospitals from McKinsey found that patient volumes have surpassed 2019 levels, with ED visits and procedural volumes rising as the pandemic continues to strain health systems. Around 70% of respondents indicated that staffing challenges persistently create additional backlog (25% of delayed elective care still needs to be addressed), with the backlog expected to grow further in 2022 as technology struggles to fill the supply gap.
  • AptiHealth Funding: AptiHealth continues the surge of digital behavioral health investment with its recent $50m Series B round ($65m total funding), which it will use to expand its platform that streamlines patient referrals and engagement. AptiHealth gives providers the ability to refer patients to therapists through its online platform, allowing its health plan and health system clients to integrate physical and mental health care.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team