Wire #86

  • Cerner Acquisition Approved: Oracle’s $28B acquisition of EHR vendor Cerner gained regulatory approval after clearing the last of its antitrust hurdles, including European Commission clearance. The acquisition is expected to become official in the next few days, with the company scheduled to host an online event on June 9 where it will discuss its new suite of cloud-based health management applications and plans to expand Cerner’s business internationally.
  • Remote Parkinson’s Monitoring: npj Digital Medicine published a study indicating that a remote monitoring program involving a wearable smartwatch could effectively track Parkinson’s Disease. Verily researchers developed a smartwatch-based assessment that measures motor signs of PD (rest tremor, bradykinesia, gait), then had 388 participants with early-stage PD perform twice weekly motor tasks for one year. The smartwatch assessment showed moderate-to-strong correlations with an in-person baseline, demonstrating the feasibility of wearables for tracking PD progression over time.
  • Accrete Acquires Nordic: Less than a month after Bon Secours Mercy Health launched Accrete Health Partners to expand its digital health services, Accrete acquired Nordic Consulting Partners to bring the advisory firm’s experience in interoperability and cloud initiatives to BSMH’s portfolio. Nordic specializes in making technology more useful for caregivers and cost-effective for hospitals, which fits well with Accrete’s goal of scaling solutions that make it easier for health systems to compete in today’s market.
  • Gen Z Health Screenings: Researchers at the University of Michigan led a poll (n = 1,038) indicating that 81% of Gen Z patients want their providers to consider social factors such as food availability and education in health screenings. The survey also found that 25% want caregivers to provide resources regarding social needs, 22% want helpful general advice, and 11% want their provider to “just listen,” suggesting that younger generations are placing a larger emphasis on the SDOH factors impacting their day-to-day health.
  • Solv Adds Female Investors: On-demand health app Solv Health recently diversified its cap table by creating a special purpose vehicle to help its investor base better represent its average user. The SPV added $3.4M to Solv’s $45M Series C round in just two weeks by eliminating minimum investment requirements for those looking to contribute, resulting in 75 new female investors with contributions ranging from $1k to over $1M, including participation from actress Kerry Washington, Cityblock CEO Dr. Toyin Ajayi, and PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada.
  • Group Teletherapy Struggles: A survey of 114 therapists published in JMIR found that providers working with families and couples are less likely to continue teletherapy beyond the pandemic, while those offering teletherapy in rural areas are more likely to keep providing the service. The researchers conclude that therapists need more training to effectively use teletherapy in group settings since managing multiple clients brings unique challenges when working virtually.
  • Hoag Compass: California-based Hoag health system launched a Compass mobile app to complement its virtual care center, allowing patients to schedule appointments, check lab results, and request medication refills. Hoag said that the goal of the app was to make healthcare less episodic for its patients, which appears to be especially true for the $50/mo premium version of the app that gives patients access to an on-demand care team, wellness visits, and dedicated health coaches.
  • Hospital Margins Decline: Kauffman Hall’s latest National Hospital Flash Report shows that declining new patient visits and rising expenses contributed to the fourth consecutive month of negative hospital margins, which averaged -3.09% in April. System revenues fell 7% following a 5.7% month-over-month drop in patient days, reversing the modest rise in patient volumes recorded in March.
  • Telehealth for Rural Americans: A study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that access to telehealth increases the likelihood of rural Americans following through with doctor’s appointments by 20% compared to in-person visits. After analyzing data from over 100k patient visits (including 13k telehealth visits), the researchers found that the likelihood of making virtual appointments was most noticeable among patients with rigid work schedules and those living furthest from the clinic.
  • EnsoData Raises $20M: EnsoData announced the close of its $20M Series A extension (total funding now $31M) to accelerate the adoption of its EnsoSleep platform that helps providers identify patients with a high risk for sleep apnea using data from waveforms and wearables. Alongside the funding news, EnsoData announced a partnership with Inspire Medical to enable the EnsoData platform to determine when sleep apnea patients require therapy adjustments or alternatives such as Inspire’s implantable neurostimulation device.
  • Parents’ AI Perceptions: A Lurie Children’s Hospital survey (n = 1,620) found that most parents are open to emergency clinicians using AI tools to manage children with respiratory illnesses. The majority of parents were comfortable with the use of AI to assess the need for antibiotics (77.6%) or bloodwork (77.7%), and to interpret X-rays (77.5%). Black parents and parents between 18-25 years reported greater discomfort with AI than White parents (odds ratio: 1.67) and parents over age 46 (odds ratio: 2.48).

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-- The Digital Health Wire team