Wire #84

  • Move Slow and Test Things: Google AI’s principal research director Greg Corrado recently spoke at STAT’s Health Tech Summit about his plans to address concerns surrounding machine learning in healthcare. Corrado said that Facebook’s infamous “move fast and break things” slogan is the exact opposite of how tech companies should approach health AI problems, and listed several considerations such as performing rigorous testing at each step of algorithm development and ensuring that models are tested with data from populations where they’ll be used.
  • Employee Data Breaches: Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report found that employees are responsible for 39% of data breaches in the healthcare industry, more than double the 18% average across all industries. The findings show that most insider breaches are tied to unintentional errors as opposed to malicious misuse, with employees being 2.5 times more likely to make an error leading to a breach (e.g. send an email to the wrong address, lose a document) than purposefully abuse their access privileges.
  • Parallel Learning Raises $20M: Digital behavioral health startup Parallel Learning secured $20M in Series A funding to jump-start its nationwide launch and expand its services for students with learning differences. Parallel works with families and school districts to provide specialized care beyond initial psychological evaluations, such as skill-based tutoring and executive function coaching. Alongside the funding news, Parallel announced that it is expanding into behavioral and speech therapy, since these areas are often associated with learning disabilities (e.g. students with ADHD often also have anxiety).
  • Patient Portal Privacy: Researchers from Mount Sinai and NYU recently published an ethical framework for patient portals designed to maintain privacy in a world where information blocking regulations have made it easier for caregivers to access sensitive information. The authors list several case studies where a proxy account with more confidentiality would be preferable to a shared account, such as a spouse happening upon information about their partner’s suicidal ideation or a child discovering their parent’s decision to halt cancer care in favor of hospice.
  • The UnitedHealth Kraken: This Medium post does a great job exploring UnitedHealth Group’s rise over the last decade and is definitely worth checking out for those interested in the blueprint to its success. It goes into a ton of detail on the company’s diversified portfolio of businesses and gives a deep dive into Optum’s transition from a “dumping ground for assorted United acquisitions” into a “Kraken” with the ability to be either a powerful friend or fearsome foe to the hospital management community
  • Health Plan Transparency: HealthSparq’s Annual Consumer Sentiment Benchmark Report surveyed over 1k US consumers to find that 44% of patients have avoided healthcare this year because they didn’t know the cost, up from 25% in 2021. The report makes the case that the health plans that take advantage of the upcoming CMS Transparency in Coverage Mandate to improve their services will gain a significant advantage over those that don’t, and suggests designing transparency tools to meet top patient requests such as finding in-network providers (72%) and in-depth provider profiles (60%).
  • Wise + Biofourmis: Dallas-based Wise Health System is partnering with Biofourmis to rollout hospital-at-home services that enable the four-hospital health system to participate in the CMS’ Acute Hospital Care at Home program, which allows hospitals to “admit” certain patients to their home while receiving the same reimbursement as if they were located in a medical facility. Biofourmis’ [email protected] program is a turnkey solution that incorporates inpatient-level clinical services with operational support like supply chain management.
  • Patient Expectation Report: A new KLAS report found that health systems aren’t delivering the patient engagement solutions that many patients want and are instead overdelivering on tools like post-visit communication and satisfaction surveys. Providers most frequently fall short of expectations for patient-facing solutions like self-scheduling and medication refill requests, but have performed well offering provider-benefitting features like updating health plan information.
  • Companion Robots for Seniors: Intuition Robotics is entering a $700k partnership with the State of New York to put “proactive and empathetic” ElliQ robots in the homes of more than 800 isolated seniors. In order to combat loneliness, ElliQ will proactively initiate conversations and activities with its users, including trivia games and informational discussions on nutrition. Although this partnership was the first of its kind for the startup, more states could implement something similar as they work to alleviate the health consequences of social isolation, such as an increased risk of dementia.
  • Miga Health Funding: App developer Miga Health closed a $12M seed round to create a heart health consumer brand similar to Headspace or Duolingo and combine it with clinical care. The funding will be used to develop an app that will allow patients to monitor their blood pressure from home before connecting them to educational content and clinical services to address their needs.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team