Wire #35

  • Platform Preference Study: According to a new survey published in JAMA Network Open, 53% of the 2,080 respondents prefer in-person care to telehealth when expenses are equal. Among those who preferred in-person visits, only 24% would switch to a video visit if in-person care was more expensive. For those who initially preferred a video visit, 62% would switch to in-person visits if video visits were more expensive, highlighting the price-sensitivity of telehealth users.
  • Zoom + Cerner: Zoom announced the beta launch of its integration with Cerner’s EHR, which allows providers to perform telehealth visits directly within the platform. The integration aims to help providers more easily engage with patients through in-meeting features, including notifications, test result sharing, and the ability to invite other participants such as family members or interpreters to active sessions.
  • Best Buy Strategy: On Best Buy’s recent Q3 earnings call, the company laid out details surrounding its healthcare strategy following its acquisition of Current Health. CEO Corie Barry stated that Best Buy is aiming to “create a holistic care ecosystem” centered around consumer health, active aging, and virtual care, while also revealing the previously-undisclosed financial terms of the Current Health acquisition: $400 million.
  • Payvider Survey: A survey of over 100 hospital executives by the Healthcare Financial Management Association found that nearly two-thirds of health systems plan on becoming “payviders” by 2022. The survey found that a majority of health systems are looking to enter into risk-based Medicare Advantage models (59%), employer-based risk contracts (52%), and managed Medicaid services (36%), arrangements that could allow them to capture a larger share of risk premiums.
  • Playback Partnership: New York State’s largest healthcare provider Northwell Health announced a multiyear partnership with Playback Health to provide patients with care plans and medical information via clinician-created videos, audio, and text. Playback’s patient engagement platform is designed to allow patients to rewatch and share their care plans with family members or additional providers, a solution that Northwell has been piloting since investing in Playback in 2018.
  • Federal Aid: The Biden administration is allocating $1.5b from the coronavirus aid package to address the health care worker shortage in underserved communities. The funding will be directed towards the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery programs, reportedly impacting over 22k providers.
  • Pre-Visit Notes: A recent study by OpenNotes found that involving patients with pre-visit note generation and agenda-setting leads to higher clinician and patient satisfaction, as well as improved engagement during appointments. The study found that 97% (72/74) of providers and 92% of patients thought incorporating shared notes was a good idea, while both groups suggested that adding notifications to the process would improve the experience.
  • Ieso Series B: UK-based virtual therapy startup Ieso raised a $53m Series B round ($78m total funding) to advance the development of its digital therapeutics for mental health conditions. Ieso offers text-based CBT for anxiety and depression in addition to therapist-guided treatment for other conditions. The company stated that the new funding will help it create more AI-enabled autonomous therapeutics, which are currently seeking regulatory approval ahead of a US launch.
  • Remote Ophthalmology: A study out of Brazil compared the TeleOftalmo ophthalmology telehealth service to in-person visits within the Brazilian public health system, finding that there was no difference in patient-perceived utility between the two groups. The researchers noted that TeleOftalmo could operate with 31% lower expenses than in-person visits once the solution was fully implemented, demonstrating the viability of telehealth for ophthalmology and serving as a possible template for other regions.
  • Braid Health & Walmart: Braid Health announced a new partnership with Walmart, providing Walmart Health patients with real-time access to their diagnostic results through the Braid platform (primary care, dental, optometry, radiology, pathology). Braid will be integrated into Walmart’s Epic platform and launch across Walmart Health locations in early 2022.
  • Philips Integrates MedChat: Philips integrated MedChat into its Patient Navigation Manager platform, adding MedChat’s live chat and chatbot services to the platform’s existing communication methods (SMS, email, voice). Philips’ recent launch activity reveals a growing focus on helping providers improve their communication and administrative workflows, including Philips’ openDoctor integration earlier this year (imaging appointment patient self-scheduling).

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-- The Digital Health Wire team