Wire #90

  • Inpatient Volume Projections: Vizient subsidiary Sg2’s 2022 Impact of Change Forecast predicts that inpatient volumes will quickly recover to pre-pandemic levels then grow only 2% over the next decade, but an increase in chronic conditions is expected to cause an 8% rise in inpatient days during the same period. Outpatient volumes are projected to grow 16% through 2032 (3% above population growth estimates), while home visits are forecasted at 19% growth, potentially useful indicators for anyone rethinking service line prioritizations or home care initiatives.
  • K Health + Mayo Clinic: Virtual care company K Health teamed up with Mayo Clinic to launch an algorithm that helps clinicians on its platform deliver personalized hypertension treatment using insights from Mayo Clinic Platform_Discover’s de-identified patient data. K Health’s hypertension treatment tool combines clinical data with outcome data to predict the medication and lifestyle changes most likely to help individual patients, and the language used in the press release makes it look like we could see the Mayo Clinic partnership expand to other conditions sooner rather than later.
  • Headspace Leadership Training: Headspace Health is expanding beyond its core mental health offerings with the launch of a leadership education program that equips managers with practices to support employee mental health. The Leadership Workshop Series will be the first of many offerings in Headspace’s culture services program that aims to help leaders engage their teams in meaningful conversations around topics such as burnout and stress, and the program should see strong employer adoption if Headspace can demonstrate improvements in either employee productivity or retention.
  • Mental Healthcare Access: An AHIP survey of 500 US adults with health coverage found that 73% had an easy time accessing mental healthcare over the last two years, a surprisingly high percentage given how frequently we cover the segment’s provider shortage. The poll also found that nearly 40% of participants were able to find a mental healthcare provider in under two weeks, yet 76% still feel that payors have a big responsibility to improve the quality and affordability of mental health services.
  • Rune Labs 501(k): Brain data startup Rune Labs secured FDA 501(k) clearance to use its StrivePD app to track Parkinson’s symptoms through the Apple Watch. The StrivePD system uses data from Apple’s Movement Disorder API to track tremors or uncontrolled movements, allowing patients to monitor their symptoms and share them with clinicians. Although Apple has said that it doesn’t plan to develop its own movement disorder solution, the clearance opens new reimbursement options that could make the Apple Watch a more common component of Parkinson’s care.
  • Walgreens Clinical Trials: Walgreens launched a new clinical trial business that aims to improve recruitment, diversity, and retention in drug development research. Walgreens will leverage its foundation of pharmacy and patient-authorized clinical data (presumably from its ownership stake in VillageMD) to proactively match patients to relevant trials, while its 9,000 location brick-and-mortar footprint uniquely positions the company to bring clinical trials to rural populations that have historically been underrepresented in research.
  • Forgoing Treatment: Americans above the age of 50 are struggling with healthcare costs, with 40% concerned about their ability to afford care and others forgoing treatment or skipping medications altogether. That’s from a recent West Health and Gallup survey of 6.7k US adults, which found that nearly 25% of seniors have cut back on at least one basic need to afford healthcare. Healthcare’s financial burden was the heaviest for respondents aged 50-64, who have more health problems than younger groups but are still too young to qualify for Medicare, with 26% of this age bracket recently skipping treatment because of cost (vs. 12% of those 65+).
  • Chronic Disease Funding: The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is offering up to $50M for studies demonstrating ways that telemedicine can help patients with chronic diseases. The nonprofit institute will fund research into interventions that incorporate telemedicine into primary care for the management of comorbidities, with an online application system that opens on September 7.
  • Boulder B Round: Virtual addiction treatment company Boulder Care raised $36M in Series B funding to triple the size of its medical group as it looks to treat more patients under value-based agreements. Boulder generates a majority of its revenue through Medicaid managed care, offering patients access to a physician-led care team and peer recovery specialists, as well as help finding social services such as employment assistance and housing support.
  • Face Time Trends: A new analysis of data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey found that the average annual face time patients spent with outpatient physicians rose from 40 to 60.4 minutes between 1979 and 2018, driven by a rise in visit lengths rather than the number of visits. From 2005 to 2018, average annual face time with primary care physicians fell from 33.8 to 30.4 minutes (although this was offset by more time spent with specialists), a stat that the researchers said might be contributing to worsening rates of hypertension and diabetes since these conditions are frequently managed by PCPs.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team