Wire #4

  • Wearable Health: Fitbit, now a subsidiary of Google, recently announced a multi-year partnership to integrate its mHealth apps with LifeScan’s blood glucose monitoring devices, similar to the Noom partnership that LifeScan announced only two weeks prior. Fitbit’s collaboration will provide diabetes patients with a more complete view of how lifestyle factors impact blood glucose levels, while also generating a treasure trove of its parent company’s favorite collectible: data.
  • SDOH in Maternity: New research from Verily (also a Google subsidiary for those keeping track) looked at the impact of social determinants of health on maternal morbidity, prompted by findings that a college-educated black woman is five times more likely to die from childbirth than a white woman of the same education level. The researchers found that the pandemic disproportionately impacted communities most affected by maternal morbidity, making timely intervention more critical than ever.
  • Extra App-etizers: A recent study published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth explored the user preferences of diet-tracking mhealth applications, finding that the primary criteria for app selection was ease of use (1,570/2,382, 65.9%). An app was less likely to be downloaded if it did not include local foods, highlighting the importance of a simple user-tailored experience when designing behavior change solutions.
  • Store-and-Forward: The Rural Telehealth Expansion Act was recently introduced to expand Medicare to cover store-and-forward telehealth services to all 50 states (currently covered only in Hawaii and Alaska). Store-and-forward services allow patients to send messages or images to providers for review before the provider sends a later message with a diagnosis or treatment plan. The reform’s expanded access is especially valuable to patients without high enough quality broadband for real-time telehealth.
  • Picking Up The Cadence: Remote care platform provider Cadence recently came out of stealth with $41 million in funding and a goal of better managing chronic conditions that are too difficult for patients to self-treat at home or too costly for hospitals to manage at scale (e.g. heart failure). Cadence’s Care in Sync platform uses AI to provide personalized treatments by enrolling, engaging, and monitoring patients before adjusting medications as needed.
  • Anemia Algorithm: Brown University researchers developed an algorithm with 72.6% anemia detection accuracy (n = 344) that allows remote patients to test for the disease by uploading a smartphone picture of their lower eyelid. The study opens the possibility of a future smartphone app for remote anemia screening as an alternative to invasive point-of-care testing, which would improve access for patients in rural areas disproportionately affected by the disease.
  • Care from Anywhere: Salesforce’s latest “care from anywhere” product launch bolstered its current patient service products with new tools aimed at helping organizations provide care with a single Health Cloud solution, including remote patient exception monitoring, intelligent appointment management, and medication management. Salesforce is positioning Health Cloud as a standalone solution for remote care, benefitting time-constrained teams with streamlined operations and workflows.
  • Virtual Primary Care: CVS Health subsidiary Aetna recently debuted its first digital primary care solution for self-funded employers: Aetna Virtual Primary Care. The experience is powered by Teladoc’s virtual care team model and provides additional flexibility for members by offering access to $0 co-pay visits either online or in-person at MinuteClinic and CVS HealthHUBs.
  • In-Person Intros: A new study from Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program (HCORP) investigated the patient preferences of virtual care with the goal of improving its long term utility. Researchers found that spine care patients had a significant preference for in-person first time visits, but the ‘backbone’ of the findings was the fact that this preference was not maintained for follow-up care.
  • Pharmaceutical Partnership: Online prescription leader Surescripts is now partnered with GoodRx, enabling providers access to out of pocket data costs on medication. The deal broadens Surescripts’ pricing coverage beyond insurance-covered costs, making it easier to address drug affordability during an appointment as opposed to at a pharmacy counter, particularly for the uninsured.
  • Siemens Medicalis Adds Patient Scheduling: Siemens Healthineers added patient self-scheduling to its Medicalis Referral Management solution, allowing patients to schedule their own outpatient imaging exams based on time and location convenience, and providing patients with pre-exam instructions and reminders to reduce no-shows/cancellations. This is a pretty significant expansion to Medicalis, which previously focused on referrals and internal scheduling management.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team