Wire #76

  • Predicting No-Shows: Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital developed a machine learning model to predict pediatric no-shows and identify risk factors that could be addressed to improve the hospital’s 20% no-show rate. The researchers found predictive ability in interesting factors such as local weather patterns and language barriers, eventually training the model to correctly identify 83% of no-shows. In their article published in npj, the researchers discuss how predicting no-shows in advance can support the design of interventions that reduce their likelihood, such as scheduling appointments for high-risk patients at off-peak times.
  • Teladoc Write Down: Last week wasn’t fun for Teladoc’s investor relations team, with shares of the company’s stock plummeting over 40% after it revealed a $6.6B write down on the value of its Livongo acquisition. The news came with a first quarter net loss 33 times larger than last year’s, which Teladoc attributed not only to the axed Livongo valuation, but also to lower-than-expected marketing returns for its BetterHelp direct-to-consumer mental health offering.
  • Employer Benefits Survey: With a tight labor market putting pressure on employers to improve benefits as a way to recruit talent, a WTW survey of 636 US companies found that 64% plan on taking steps to address employee healthcare affordability over the next two years. A majority of employers (55%) reported that expanding virtual care coverage will be key to lowering costs, while half believe it will help improve outcomes. WTW predicts that this will lead to more employers embracing virtual care for services such as physical therapy and behavioral health.
  • Is Consolidation Really the Answer? A recent Forbes article makes the case that digital health consolidation is eliminating choice for providers and patients, while doing little to improve the search and transaction costs faced by stakeholders assessing potential solutions. The piece argues that the answer to these challenges isn’t consolidation, but innovation from marketplaces like Buoy Health’s that help smooth out the friction of searching for new services, as well as more infrastructure platforms like Zus Health that streamline transactions by providing interoperable components for startups to build with.
  • mHealth Study Retention Challenges: JMIR recently published a systematic review of 62 studies involving mHealth apps, finding that many studies are hampered by high participant dropouts that undermine the effectiveness of the research. The review found that apps with lower barriers to entry (no cost, easy downloads) did not guarantee high adherence due to barriers to exit being equally low. The researchers provided several examples of features that appear related to improving retention, which included in-app feedback, appropriate reminders, and peer support.
  • IMPLICITY Series A: Remote cardiac monitoring company IMPLICITY recently raised a $23M Series A round (total funding now $27.5M) following the FDA clearance of its AI algorithm that analyzes ECG episodes from Implantable Loop Recorders. The investment will help with the rollout of IMPLICITY’s universal cardiac remote monitoring platform that aggregates data from all implantable cardiac electronic devices from major manufacturers then leverages its AI model to help care teams predict patient health status.
  • Tablets & Mental Health: A new study in JAMA Network Open found that video-enabled tablets might improve outcomes for rural veterans. Using a sample of 472k veterans with a history of mental health needs, researchers provided 13k patients with tablets and examined outcomes between March 2020 and April 2021. Tablets were associated with increases of 3.5 video psychotherapy visits per year, a 20% reduction in ED visits, and a 36% reduction in suicide-related ED visits. The study is among the largest evaluations of a tablet intervention for patients with access barriers and mental health needs, and the results suggest that tablets could go a long way towards preventing suicides in this population.
  • AppliedVR + Komodo: Digital therapeutics company AppliedVR is partnering with Komodo Health to study the clinical impact of its RelieVRx product on patients living with chronic lower back pain. Unlike traditional clinical trials with intervention and control groups, this study will also include a synthetic control arm made up of longitudinal patient journeys tracked using Komodo’s Health Map, providing the real-world evidence needed to drive coverage and adoption of alternative pain management therapies.
  • 3M Evaluating Health IT Exit: Reports suggest that 3M is in talks with a small group of interested parties to offload its Health Information Systems business. The news comes just a few months after sources informed Digital Health Wire that Amazon was considering the acquisition of 3M’s M*Modal medical dictation business. Although Amazon’s interest remains unconfirmed, the latest news suggests that 3M is indeed exploring options for its healthcare business.
  • Underdocumented LCS Discussions: A new UNC-led study published in JACR found that just 42% of lung cancer screening participants (n = 580) had their required shared decision-making conversations documented in the EHR, although 71% of the patients stated that these conversations did occur. EHR documentation was highest among patients with high body mass index, current smokers, and those referred by pulmonary clinicians, underscoring the fact that SDM documentation has plenty of room for improvement.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team