Wire #51

  • Athelas Funding: Remote patient monitoring startup Athelas became a digital health unicorn after completing two consecutive $132M funding rounds, pushing the company’s valuation to $1.5B. The Athelas platform and proprietary LTE-connected devices enable clinicians to monitor chronically ill patients in their homes. The services and devices are offered with no upfront expenses for the providers, which has allowed Athelas to quickly scale the number of patients it serves to 40k, up 10x in the last year.
  • Withings Acquires 8fit: Withings is acquiring fitness app 8fit that provides personalized nutrition and activity programs to help users reach their goals. Withings is aiming to improve 8fit’s workout and meal planning recommendations by incorporating smartwatch-generated user data in the model. The acquisition is part of a three-year $30M investment Withings announced to combine medical devices with personalized health and wellness plans.
  • Hybrid Care for Asthma: A combination of telehealth and in-person visits may be the most effective strategy for treating asthma patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of Asthma. Researchers analyzed EHR data for 502 asthma patients, finding that telemedicine use was significantly lower among non-English speakers (OR=0.12) and school-aged children (OR=0.43). Focus groups with 12 parents of pediatric patients revealed that nearly all agreed that a physician’s in-person presence was more effective for counseling pediatric patients, due to children being more actively engaged during in-person visits, but that accessing specialist care without having to travel made telehealth appropriate once rapport has been established.
  • $190B in Health Tech Losses: Healthcare strategist Air Gottlieb recently outlined how publicly traded health tech startups have had their market caps shrink by a combined $190B since their 2021 peaks, a decline of over 73%. Gottlieb predicts that the repricing of these companies could cause many startups to reevaluate the timing of their planned IPOs, delaying them until market conditions improve, while the reduced valuations make it likely that we’ll start to see more consolidation as larger healthcare businesses look to take advantage of the discounts to acquire revenue.
  • Medicine’s Great Resignation: A recent survey of 20k healthcare workers from the AMA found that 1 in 5 doctors are planning to leave the profession within the next two years, while nearly 1 in 3 intend to reduce their work hours. Burnout, fear of COVID-19 exposure, and workload were predictors of intent to leave, although workers that felt valued by their organization were less likely to report an upcoming career change.
  • Info-Blocking Influx: Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology lived up to its name by detailing how complying with the 21st Century Cures Act’s information-blocking rules can lead to a surge in questions to referring physicians. A survey of 249 MGH referring physicians found that the majority were contacted by patients about their radiology reports (195, 78%) and received a higher volume of patient calls (165, 66%) during the 60 days after MGH began giving patients immediate access to their radiology reports.
  • Walmart + Health at Scale: Walmart is partnering with Health at Scale to provide personalized provider recommendations across 25 medical specialties and 34 procedures to employees enrolled in the company’s health plan. Health at Scale’s Precision Navigation tool uses machine learning to assess a patient’s unique health needs before identifying providers who have successfully treated patients with similar characteristics, and then pairs patients with the providers most likely to deliver the best outcome.
  • Exchange Ultimatum: A JACR editorial by some of medical imaging’s biggest influencers called for the major image exchange companies to start working together or face consequences. The authors blamed competitive motives (not technology factors) for the fact that images are still mainly exchanged via physical media, proposing a vendor-to-vendor exchange model. They also asked exchange vendors to “immediately commit” to this model, while encouraging healthcare institutions to only contract with committed exchange vendors by 2024.
  • Jasper Series A: Jasper Health recently completed a $25M Series A funding round to help develop its cancer care navigation platform. The platform helps cancer patients organize their care needs and understand their treatment options, while its intelligent recommendation engine and cancer care coaches have been proven to reduce expenses for the healthcare providers, payors, and employers that Jasper works with.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team