Wire #37

  • Polychronic Management: Lyn Health recently emerged from stealth to create a new care model for the 34M US adults estimated to be “polychronic.” Lyn aims to support patients managing multiple chronic conditions by combining virtual primary care, medication management, and behavioral health support in a single point-of-contact. The model collaborates with employers, health plans, and providers to augment current programs in a way that better coordinates care and drives value for all stakeholders.
  • Virtual CBT Effectiveness: A study published in JMIR investigated the effectiveness of virtual cognitive behavioral therapy (vCBT) on 30 patients with chronic pain, finding that the integration of vCBT into standard pain care was associated with a significant improvement in pain interference with daily activity, but had no effect on pain intensity. The researchers point out that vCBT could lower care expenses for treating pain interference, but a larger sample size is needed to verify the findings.
  • Robo-Nurses: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has two new staff members designed to reduce nurses’ daily workloads: identical twin robots named Moxi (here’s a video of them in action). The mobile robots assist with tasks such as delivering lab samples and collecting medications from the pharmacy, reportedly saving clinical teams over 300 miles of walking since the pilot program began in September.
  • Financial Experiences Matter: A new survey of 1,500 adults by Cedar (no relation to Moxi’s parents) found that 93% of respondents list the quality of their financial experience as an important factor in deciding whether they’ll return to a healthcare provider. Over 25% of respondents have left a negative provider review due to unexpected expenses, which is likely tied to the 31% of patients who aren’t satisfied with the coordination between their healthcare provider and payor.
  • EMRs Should Be Like Spotify: A recent article by former athenahealth founder and current Zus Health CEO Jonathan Bush explored the evolution and “death” of the EMR, making the case that static record keeping is due to be usurped by a more dynamic solution. Bush draws an analogy to Spotify, stating that providers are ready to dispense with keeping an “out-of-date, memory-hogging copy of just their own songs” and are instead ready for a “database of all the songs in the world.” The logic is that the latter solution is better, and as he puts it, “we know how to do this shit.”
  • COVID’s Telehealth Impact: An American Medical Association (AMA) report revealed that telehealth accounted for 5% of Medicare’s physician services spending in 2020, peaking at a 16% share in April before leveling out at 6% towards the end of the year. Prior to the pandemic, telehealth accounted for only 0.1% of the Medicare total, but the AMA anticipates sustained levels of telehealth usage for the foreseeable future.
  • Fertility Funding: Femtech startup Proov recently closed $9.7M in Series A funding to help create and distribute at-home diagnostic tests for reproductive health. Proov created the first FDA-cleared PdG-testing kit to help women confirm ovulation and gain better insight into their fertility window, supported by an app that assists with tracking results and adhering to care protocols.
  • Pandemic Racial Disparities: New research from Komodo Health found that while overall hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction declined during the pandemic, they declined only 2% among patients of color, versus 11% among White patients. The findings add to the evidence that care was deferred during the pandemic, and highlights the ongoing disparities for people of color, which Komodo attributes to factors such as more frequent COVID-19 infections and lack of access to preventive care services.
  • Quartet + InnovaTel: Quartet Health had a busy week, which started with raising a $60M funding round ($222M total funding) and ended with the acquisition of InnovaTel Telepsychiatry. Both moves are geared towards advancing Quartet Health’s new strategic direction centered around helping patients quickly obtain mental health care during times of need.
  • Telehealth Growth Rebounds: Fair Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker showed that national telehealth use climbed by over 2% in September to 4.4%, the second consecutive month of growth following a sustained streak of declines earlier this year. Although the uptick in telehealth usage can be attributed to the spread of the delta variant throughout the month, COVID-19 was not among the top five telehealth diagnoses, which remain largely concentrated on mental health conditions.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team