Wire #57

  • WellSky Acquires TapCloud: Community care company WellSky is acquiring TapCloud for an undisclosed sum, bolstering its virtual patient engagement solutions through the addition of TapCloud’s patient-provider communication services. TapCloud’s AI-enabled platform provides real-time patient insights that allow providers to deploy interventions aimed at reducing readmissions while expanding WellSky’s clinical dataset to inform new care intervention models.
  • Low Acuity Injury Treatments: A NEJM study mapped process flows for low acuity injuries across four sites of care (virtual, urgent care, primary care, ED) before using time-based activity costing to determine which sites were most cost effective. Unsurprisingly, ED visits cost the most on average, while virtual appointments cost the least, as long as the condition required no in-person examination. When looking at ankle sprains, the in-person evaluation gave virtual care a higher cost of care delivery than going directly through a primary care provider.
  • Second Opinion: Christina Farr’s excellent Second Opinion newsletter recently interviewed former Livongo CFO Lee Shapiro, who helped guide the company through its $18.5B merger with Teladoc in 2020. Shapiro shared lessons learned through his tenure as CFO (it’s always about the team, companies are not their stocks), his predictions on the digital health market (a demonstrable path to profitability is taking center stage), and many other gems that make it a valuable read for any founders/CFOs in the healthcare industry.
  • Healthcare Optimism: A recent USA Today / Ipsos survey of 1,170 adult healthcare workers found that many are showing resilience two years into the pandemic, with 80% reporting that they are satisfied with their current job and a majority feeling “hopeful” (59%), “motivated” (59%), or “optimistic” (56%) about going to work. Despite the optimism, there were several warning signs of the pandemic’s ongoing strains, such as the fact that the 58% hopeful stat is down from 76% last year and over a third (39%) of the respondents agreed with the statement “the American healthcare system is on the verge of collapse”.
  • Minded Raises $25M: Digital psychiatry startup Minded closed $25M in Seed funding to accelerate the growth of its online platform aiming to improve access to treatment for anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Minded currently offers virtual appointments with its 30 staffed psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners and plans to double that number this year as it looks to strengthen its position as a provider of digital psychiatry rather than teletherapy.
  • AI Triage: New research published in BMJ outlines how an AI tool developed by the University of Michigan can accurately predict which patients are likely to become severely ill with an AUROC of 0.80, significantly better than alternative models. The model was based on nine clinical characteristic variables from the EHR and validated across 9,291 COVID-related hospital admissions at 13 medical centers, but maintained its accuracy across subgroups of sex, age, race, and had consistent performance when validated at 12 external medical centers, highlighting the tool’s potential for widespread use in optimizing resources.
  • RUSH + Transcarent: Rush University System for Health announced a partnership with Transcarent that will provide 9,000 employees with access to Transcarent’s digital healthcare app, 24/7 personalized Health Guides, and virtual visits. Transcarent operates a fully at-risk model that provides patients with a continuous care experience without any premiums, which aims to create better alignment between employers and payors, and has pushed the company’s valuation to a $1.62B valuation less than a year after its launch.
  • Store-Bought Telehealth: Walmart recently began offering a UTI telehealth kit from Physician 360 on store shelves, an interesting approach that could raise patient awareness of alternatives to visiting a doctor in person. The $50 kit comes with both an at-home test and an included telehealth call with a Physician 360 clinician to help with any needed medications in “less than 30 minutes,” which appears to be a patient-friendly solution that could translate well to other conditions.
  • Physician Frustrations: A recent survey of 240 physicians conducted by DocASAP revealed the leading frustrations currently experienced with telemedicine: (1) 58% stated that the quality of care provided via telemedicine isn’t as good as in-person care, (2) 55% stated that patients’ expectations regarding telemedicine may be too high, (3) 50% stated that current video/audio technologies need to be improved to deliver appropriate care. These frustrations caused 30% of respondents to report that telemedicine adds to burnout, although an equal portion reported that it helped with the issue.
  • HerMD Series A: Women’s health startup HerMD recently raised $10M in Series A funding to expand its clinical footprint and add a virtual care offering. HerMD currently operates care centers in Ohio and Kentucky and has seen rapid growth due to patients seeking out its holistic treatment model that addresses menopause, sexual health, medical aesthetics, and mental health – services that it is now planning to begin offering virtually.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team