Wire #5

  • Patient-Provider Communication: 40% of patients receive no communication from their doctor between visits according to a recent survey from patient management platform provider SymphonyRM. Over 70% of respondents said they would be more likely to schedule preventive screenings if they received an electronic nudge from their doctor between visits, indicating that healthcare teams that rely on patients to initiate contact are missing opportunities to minimize care gaps.
  • GenieMD Expands iVisit: Mobile-first healthcare provider GenieMD recently announced the expansion of its iVisit virtual care platform to include remote patient monitoring, enabled by a pair of new partnerships with AliveCor (personal ECG monitoring) and CMI Health (patient vitals monitoring). iVisit now serves as an end-to-end solution inclusive of telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and call triage services, increasing providers’ efficiency while mitigating miscommunication risks and reducing costs.
  • One Small Step for Health: One giant leap for telehealth. A HIMSS21 “Caring for Astronauts in Space: NASA’s Experience With Telemedicine” panel outlined how telehealth helps astronauts on the international space station. To make up for the lack of CT or MRI machines, portable ultrasounds are used in novel ways, with remote real-time guidance from ground control used to assist with capturing clinically relevant images. Although the circumstances in orbit differ from a patient’s home, the lessons in adapting to available tech and training levels translate well to terrestrial telehealth. 
  • The Power of Social Presence: Patients are far more likely to follow treatment recommendations provided by human physicians (with or without AI support) compared to recommendations from an automated AI tool. That’s from a study that posed hypothetical skin cancer treatment recommendations to 452 USA-based participants, finding that patients’ intention to comply was far higher when recommendations were provided by physicians (ß = 0.27 w/ AI, 0.40 without AI) than by AI.
  • Tech Literacy: A new survey of Alberta Cancer Exercise participants (cancer survivor exercise program) found that while electronic health literacy was low, 50% of respondents (n = 313/627) used mobile applications or wearable fitness trackers, which were useful to >80% of users. The findings highlight a need to increase electronic health literacy and take a patient-centered approach to designing physical activity interventions.
  • Audio Only: In a new exposé published in the New England Journal of Medicine, one physician outlines how telephone-only visits provided a level of candor that surpassed in-person care, with patients more willing to confide in her about sensitive topics such as smoking habits when they couldn’t see her face. Telephone visits also provided more flexibility to patients without a private room for video calls, challenging the hierarchy in which in-person care is the gold standard, video ranks second, and telephone calls are reserved as a method of last resort.
  • mHealth for Travelers: Virtual primary care provider 98point6 recently announced a partnership with health and wellness company XpresSpa to develop a mobile app aimed at providing health tips to travelers, remote access to physicians, and a travel wallet for medical records. As new entrants to the virtual care market continue arriving at a blazing pace, companies are turning to specialized use cases for differentiation. 
  • Virtual Effectiveness: A new metastudy from the University Hospital Waterford investigated evidence supporting virtual consultations for orthopedics, reviewing 15 studies comparing clinical outcomes of telemedicine against a matched traditional cohort. Of the 15 studies, 2 demonstrated noninferiority, 9 showed no statistically significant difference, and 4 found telemedicine to be superior – generating new evidence supporting telehealth’s effectiveness.
  • Digital Therapeutics: Mahana Therapeutics recently secured $61m Series B financing ($82m total funding) to support the launch of the first FDA-cleared prescription digital therapeutic for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Mahana IBS is a 3-month in-app treatment providing cognitive behavioral therapy to those with IBS, helping patients with limited access to an in-person therapist change their thought patterns to lessen the severity of symptoms.
  • BlueJeans Telehealth: Verizon recently announced that its HIPAA-compliant virtual care platform BlueJeans Telehealth is now integrated with Apple Health, allowing patients to share heart rate, sleep, and other data collected through their Apple devices. The information can be viewed in a new Telehealth Tile that showcases shared data during a BlueJeans visit, promoting seamless communication exchange and more closely replicating an onsite care experience.
  • CBT for Fatigue: A recent study published in JMIR investigated whether internet-based cognitive behavior therapy (I-CBT) is an effective treatment for fatigue in teenagers on the internet (FITNET) when implemented in routine clinical care (IMP-FITNET). The study found that post-treatment patient scores for fatigue level, physical functioning, and school attendance were in-line with the randomized controlled trial baseline, establishing IMP-FITNET as an effective and safe treatment for adolescents suffering from fatigue.
  • Controlling Information Access: The American Medical Group Association is fighting back against the US’ new “information blocking” rules, informing the US ONC that giving patients immediate access to their medical information (sometimes before their physicians) often does more harm than good. The AMGA proposed allowing providers to withhold certain results for 24 to 72 hours if it risks confusing or distressing a patient, expanding the current guideline that allows delays if information could cause physical harm.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team