Wire #52

  • Laundromat Checkups: Throughout Philadelphia, people waiting for their clothes to dry can now also get a cancer screening or have their blood pressure checked, thanks to Fabric Health’s unique approach to improving healthcare access by partnering with laundromats. According to the company, millions of Americans spend 100+ hours in laundromats every year, and these same patients are less likely to have time to go to the doctor during the week. Fabric Health is focused on taking advantage of this idle time to improve health, with plans to expand to Pittsburgh later this year.
  • EHR Analytics: Utilizing text analytics to assess EHR inbox messages helps alleviate clinician burnout, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Managed Care. Researchers trained a model on 1 year of EHR messages from 184 PCPs, finding that 13.6% of messages involved ambiguous diagnosis issues, 13.2% involved condition management issues, and 9.5% involved paperwork challenges. The study demonstrates that text analytics provide a data-driven methodology for understanding EHR-related workloads, which could help inform workflow redesign to eliminate unnecessary tasks.
  • Home Ophthalmology: Remote care company MedArrive announced a partnership with mobile-ophthalmology startup Spect to begin offering at-home eye screenings for glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. Spect’s virtual ophthalmology platform is able to render diagnostic reports in minutes instead of days, improving access to eye care for the Medicaid populations that MedArrive serves that have a higher risk of blindness.
  • Staff Shortages Now Top Concern: The American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual survey of 300+ hospital CEOs found that personnel shortages are now their top concern, taking the place of financial challenges, which have consistently held the top spot since 2004. Within personnel shortages, 94% of CEOs ranked a deficit of registered nurses as the most pressing, followed by technicians (85%), therapists (67%), and PCPs (45%). The staffing issues also surpassed long standing concerns such as ‘patient safety’ (rank 3), ‘access to care’ (6), and technology (9).
  • A Place For Mom: Senior care company A Place For Mom raised a colossal $175M growth equity round (total funding now $185M) to help it expand its team of local experts that assist families with personalized senior care guidance. Although APFM already holds the largest network in the senior care industry, investors are excited about the fact that the global senior sector is projected to grow over 50% in the next 5 years, driven in part by a projected doubling of the percentage of Americans aged 85+ in the coming decades.
  • Digital Health Implementation: A Nature article written by executives from four large organizations (Atrium Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Intermountain Healthcare) put forth 9 dimensions along which clinically validated digital health tools should be examined by health systems prior to adoption. The authors lay out the case for acquiring tools vs. building them internally, provide a framework for predicting ROI, and offer resources to ensure that new products fit with existing institutional priorities.
  • Smartphone Blood Panels: EU-based diagnostic company PocDoc announced its “world-first” smartphone-based test for cardiovascular disease set to launch this spring. Users will be able to perform a full 5-marker lipid panel in 6 minutes (compared to a traditional multi-day timeline) by applying a finger prick blood sample onto the PocDoc lateral flow test and taking a photo of the results using the PocDoc smartphone app.
  • Predicting COVID Transmission: Researchers at the University of Texas published a new study showing that hospital admissions coupled with mobility data can reliably predict COVID transmissions and healthcare demand. The researchers collaborated with Austin city public health officials to develop the forecasting system and have since expanded it to 22 municipal areas in Texas, but can be used by “any city” to guide informed policy decisions.
  • SOC Telemed Goes Private: Virtual care company SOC Telemed is being taken private by Patient Square Capital less than two years after its debut on the public markets. SOC Telemed specializes in acute telemedicine services for health systems, with a platform that’s been deployed across over 1k facilities nationwide. Patient Square Capital appears to see a hidden value missed by other investors, given that they are acquiring SOC for $3.00/share (a hefty 366% premium).
  • AI in the NHS: The UK NHS provided an interesting breakdown of its AI use, while highlighting the stakeholders most impacted by its AI rollout. Of the NHS’s 240 active AI technologies, Diagnostic AI tools were the most prevalent ‘type’ (34%), followed by Automation (29%) and Remote Monitoring (14%). Radiology and cardiology were the top two ‘clinical areas’ (11% & 9%, after ‘multiple’ at 23%), and radiology, GPs, and non-clinical administrators were among the ‘most affected workforce groups’ (15%, 13%, 10%).

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-- The Digital Health Wire team