Wire #78

  • Fitness Tracker Adoption: A new npj Digital Medicine survey of 1,007 patients at six federally qualified health centers found that 21% of patients currently own a fitness tracker, but 58% of those that don’t own one would like to. The survey revealed that the biggest “hindering factors” to owning a wearable are cost and low understanding of features, suggesting that widespread adoption of wearables is possible across diverse communities, but would require a high-touch approach through education or private investment in the devices.
  • Tia + UCSF: Women’s health startup Tia is partnering with UCSF Health to develop a new network of hybrid care clinics to serve the Bay Area, allowing the health system to provide an integrated inpatient/outpatient experience, while allowing Tia members to access specialty care not offered at its clinics, like obstetrics. The partnership arrives months after Tia closed a $100M Series B round to support its “anti-fragmentation approach” that replaces transactional women’s healthcare with a relationship-based “whole-woman, whole-life” model.
  • Telemedicine Demographics: The highest increase in telemedicine usage between 2019 and 2021 was among patients in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods, according to a new study in Health Affairs. Researchers analyzed 30M Medicare claims to determine that telemedicine use increased for all minority groups during the pandemic, surprising findings that contrast earlier studies suggesting an inverse relationship between socioeconomic status and telemedicine use during the pandemic.
  • Sidekick Series B: Sidekick Health recently raised a $55M Series B round (total funding now $86M) to develop digital therapeutics that help manage chronic conditions in collaboration with various pharmaceuticals. Sidekick CEO Tryggvi Thorgeirsson stated that the pharma-linked strategy is a product of current market dynamics, but that in five years the company’s main revenue driver will be stand-alone “digital therapeutics, mostly with payer reimbursement.”
  • Chest Pain Disparities: Women wait 11 minutes longer than men to be evaluated for chest pain in the ER (48 min vs. 37 min) and are less likely to be admitted to the hospital following evaluation (12% vs. 18%), according to an American Heart Association analysis of 29M ER visits between 2014 and 2018. The study also found that Black patients waited 10-15 minutes longer to receive care for chest pain in the ER compared to white patients, leading the authors to call for more research to uncover if the differences are related to variation in hospital care quality or location.
  • Nuance Joins athenahealth’s Marketplace: Nuance announced that it is extending the availability of its Dragon Ambient eXperience automated clinical documentation solution through the athenahealth Marketplace. Nuance DAX reduces the effort needed to document patient care by securely capturing and contextualizing physician-patient conversations during visits, lessening the administrative workloads that lead to clinician burnout at a time when staffing shortages are a top priority for most health systems.
  • Mental Health Survey: CVS Health polled over 2,200 adults to find that 59% of respondents have experienced mental health challenges since the beginning of the pandemic, a 9% increase over 2020’s data. Although the prevalence of mental health concerns is on the rise, the survey also found that 56% of people agree that society has recently become more comfortable discussing mental health, while 63% are now comfortable using telemedicine for therapy. CVS Health’s own patients reflect this shift, with it delivering 10M virtual mental health visits in 2021, compared to 20k prior to the pandemic.
  • KardiaComplete Launch: AliveCor recently launched its KardiaComplete enterprise heart health solution for patients diagnosed with hypertension and arrhythmias. KardiaComplete leverages data from AliveCor’s KardiaMobile 6L personal ECG and Omron’s Evolv blood pressure cuff to offer patients personalized support from a virtual assistant “in the moments that matter.” The comprehensive virtual disease management program pairs the remote personal monitoring solutions with virtual cardiologist visits to help improve outcomes and reduce costs.
  • Statins Over Aspirin: A new RSNA study confirmed that statins are far more effective than aspirin for maintaining cardiovascular health. The researchers identified 2,815 participants with nonobstructive CAD and 3,125 without detectable plaque. Over a ~5.7yr follow-up period, the nonobstructive CAD participants who were taking statins at baseline had lower rates of major cardiac events (9.5% vs. 13%), mortality (8.25% vs. 10.8%), and myocardial infarction (4.28% vs. 5.1%) than those not taking statins. Meanwhile, participants taking aspirin had worse outcomes than those not following any therapy (MACE: 14.7% vs. 10.9%; mortality 10.85% vs. 9.59%; MI: 6.2% vs. 4.38%). Neither therapy showed benefits among participants without plaque.
  • Capable Funding: Healthcare infrastructure startup Capable Health closed $6M in Seed funding to support the development of its software platform that enables providers to launch their own HIPAA-compliant digital clinics with 80% less cost and time than building from scratch. Providers can launch their own branded digital clinic using Capable’s white-labeled platform without writing a single line of code, with included processes such as patient onboarding, personalized care plans, and direct messaging / video chat.

You're signed up!

It's great to have you as a reader. Check your inbox for a welcome email.

-- The Digital Health Wire team