Wire #64

  • App-Based Screening: A recent JAMA study shows that patients tend to disclose more sensitive information when they’re screened with a tablet instead of by nursing staff (n = 23,026). Those using the researcher-created mPATH app during their colorectal screening were more likely to report thoughts of self harm (1.1% vs. 0.3%), injurious falls (4.6% vs. 1.7%), and intimate partner violence (2.9% vs. 0.1%). Overall, the app detected more than twice as many instances of concerns that could need clinical attention.
  • Omada Update: Omada Health is embedding behavioral health support into its chronic condition management platform, an announcement that comes weeks after the company closed a $192M Series E round. Members will now have access to services such as upfront mental health assessments and resources to address social determinants of health. The integration is designed to enable the physical therapists within Omada’s platform to understand the connection between a patient’s behavioral health and pain levels in order to more holistically treat their chronic conditions.
  • Virtual Therapy: Evernorth’s latest survey of 3,000 healthcare consumers shows that patients are much more willing to embrace telehealth for certain types of care over others. In line with other research, 17% of respondents used virtual mental health care in 2021, up 55% year-over-year. Mental health remains one of the most resilient use cases for virtual care given that it often doesn’t require a physical examination, and the report highlights that patients still prefer in-person care when exams are needed. Only 6% of respondents were satisfied with their experience with telehealth nutrition services, while only 5% were satisfied with virtual physical therapy.
  • Medicare Enrollment: A new report breaking down Medicare enrollment numbers found that Medicare Advantage gained 2.3M lives, its largest single-year increase on record, as individuals continue to switch from their Original Medicare plans in favor of MA plans. Medicare as a whole added 1M beneficiaries to its enrollment this year (total now 62.6M), with the 1.9% growth representing a deceleration of senior enrollment attributed to pandemic-related deaths among the 65+ demographic. Medicare Advantage’s 28M members now account for 45% of all Medicare beneficiaries, a share that’s on track to surpass 50% by 2025.
  • BlueJeans Expansion: Verizon is improving access to patient data in its BlueJeans Telehealth video conferencing platform with new features designed to replicate the in-person experience. This includes expanded Apple Health integrations, SMS reminders, photo sharing, and improved interoperability via Redox integrations.
  • Clinician Of The Future: A survey of nearly 3,000 clinicians from Elsevier Health and Ipsos revealed that clinicians believe digital health technologies will enable a positive transformation of healthcare (70%), but that the shift is not without its drawbacks. Over half agreed that telehealth negatively impacts their ability to demonstrate empathy with patients, and 69% said they are overwhelmed with the current volume of healthcare data. The report indicates that medical training will need to be overhauled to better reflect the modalities being used to deliver care, especially as the rate of technological change increases.
  • GE + AliveCor: GE Healthcare announced a new partnership with AliveCor that will enable ECG data from AliveCor’s KardiaMobile 6L personal ECG devices to be integrated directly into GE’s MUSE cardiac management system. Patients using the portable KardiaMobile device will now have their ECG results automatically uploaded to MUSE as opposed to having to email them in a PDF attachment, making it significantly easier for physicians to interact with the data and compare previous results.
  • US Primary Care Is Lagging: The Commonwealth Fund’s report on primary care in 11 high-income countries showed grim results for the US. Adults in the US were least likely to have a longstanding relationship with a primary care provider (43%), access to home visits by a primary care provider (37%), or the ability to see a primary care provider after regular office hours (45%). The report calls on US policymakers to take actions such as investing in telehealth to increase patient access to primary care, especially for rural and low-income residents.
  • PocketHealth’s Report Reader: Medical image sharing company PocketHealth launched its new Report Reader solution, which helps patients understand complicated terminology in their radiology reports by allowing them to tap on words that they don’t understand to view a patient-friendly definition (300 words so far, like “percutaneous” or “unremarkable”). PocketHealth joins the growing list of vendors working to help patients better understand their imaging reports, including Scanslated (definitions & diagrams) and Visage (radiologist video explanations), which should help facilitate better conversations around the results.
  • Mental Telehealth: Telehealth continues to be an essential resource for those seeking outpatient treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders. A Kaiser Family Foundation report of more than 126M US patients shows that telehealth made up 36% of all outpatient mental health and substance use disorder visits from March-August 2021. While this is down slightly from its 2020 peak of 40%, it’s still significantly elevated from pre-pandemic levels of 1%.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team