Our rural health care system has suffered badly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It entered the pandemic with severe structural weaknesses, including magnified health disparities and inequities, lower rates of vaccination in the general population, and high risk of rural hospital closures. Beginning with these challenges, rural providers have been harder hit by the pandemic than just about any other health care sector.
Juxtaposed against this struggle is the optimism for digital health – one of the few bright spots of the pandemic. We have witnessed a veritable digital health revolution – record capital infusions of $37.9 billion to digital health companies in 2021, a proliferation of digital health companies (11,000 by some estimates), a wave of healthtech IPOs (29), and an unprecedented talent migration of Silicon Valley programmers, technologists, and engineers into health care. With this investment and talent boom comes staggering growth in new digital health tools. From telemedicine to remote diagnostics to the delivery of medications directly to a patient’s home, it seems that for every health care access need there is a digital solution.
Unless you have been off the grid for the past few months (which frankly sounds kind of nice right now), you know that the digital health market has changed dramatically. While not surprising to those of us who have been through the boom-and-bust cycles of the past two decades, it nevertheless has been an awakening for many investors and entrepreneurs.
As an entrepreneur, there are some things you cannot control – the macro-economic climate, supply chain disruptions and narcissist led wars halfway around the world. But what is entirely within your control is how you tell your company’s story and your ability to make investors want to join you on the journey.
As a longtime storyteller for several digital health companies and a current story listener (aka investor), I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately. Though the word “storyteller” can have negative connotations for some people, I value and appreciate great storytellers who engage me right off the bat, get me excited about the “why” and clearly articulate why it’s in my best interest to invest in their company.
The art of storytelling has always been important, but in the current digital health funding environment, it is quickly becoming essential for success. Are you telling your company’s story in the most effective way? Read on to find out.
Lyle Berkowitz has been very well known as a techy doc for years. He’s ran an innovation center at Northwestern, written books, been featured at tons of conferences (including Health 2.0), had a stint at MDLive and was founder and Exec Chair at HealthFinch which was bought by Health Catalyst. But instead of lying on the beach drinking MaiTais, Lyle has decided that there’s room for yet another virtual care play, and today his new company Keycare is announcing a $24m round and a deal with Spectrum Health (Michigan). What is it? It’s a virtual medical group that’s going to be supporting traditional health systems with care after-hours, out of state and much more. Is there room in the telehealth market for yet another niche play? You may guess that I asked and Lyle explained why!–Matthew Holt
Senator Lindsey Graham (R.,S.C.) is on summer recess. A consummate professional politician, and war hardened lawyer, Sen. Graham has made a career out of flipping on a dime. His moral calculus has been flexible enough to wiggle and weave, and switch sides if cornered.
In a dream, I caught a glimpse of him reading on one of his state’s beautiful beaches. He was juggling a weighty 1215 page classic – Leo Tolstoy’s “War & Peace” in one hand, and a yellow highlight marker in the other.
He looked a bit on edge, maybe because this week a federal judge refused to block a subpoena seeking his testimony for a Fulton County, Georgia, Grand Jury probe into efforts by then-President Donald Trump and his potential state Republican “alternate electors” to overturn Georgia’s Biden victory in the 2020 election.
Particle Health’s CEO Troy Bannister stops by to not only talk about the API platform company’s $25M Series B, but to also explain exactly what’s going on in that patient data ‘exchange-standardize-and-aggregate’ space that, these days, looks poised to pop as the 21st Century Cures Act Information Blocking Rule stands ready to make hospitals share data like never before.
Troy calls Particle a “network of networks” and what that means is that their API pulls patient records from organizations and businesses that are already aggregating them (so aggregating the aggregators) to get all the lab data and medical data a clinician would want to in order to have a more complete picture of their patient. For clients like One Medical or Omada Health, who deliver value-based care and take on risk, having such a robust historic data set on patients – along with a more complete picture of their comorbidities – helps improve decision making and outcomes.
So, how is Particle Health working now – and what will change – as the Information Blocking Rule gets implemented? Troy’s written about this for Forbes, and explains what has him fired up here too. Turns out their model has room to accommodate a big pivot: giving patients access to their own ‘network of networks’ record. Find out what sets Particle off in this new B2B2C direction and how they will be using that Series B funding to build out deeper analytical tools to help everyone make better sense of what the data in all those records can show us.
The NIH recently announced $1.2 billion dollars in funding for research on Long COVID. This is in part because of a faction of scientists that have mined electronic health record databases to find evidence that the long term impacts of COVID on a variety of different organ systems is significant.
I have some concerns when it comes to the cardiac complications discussed related to Long COVID.
It’s a tale of two markets: on one side we have layoffs, sinking stock prices, and all sorts of trouble, but on the other side we’ve got some good bills passed and some pretty great fundraising! In this episode, Jess and I dive more into the dual nature of the state of health tech. Is it the best of times and the worst of times? We find out, and talk through some recent multimillion-dollar deals: Cera raises $320 million; Birdie raises $30 million; Theator raises $24 million; Tebra raises $72 million; Diagnostic Robotics raises $45 million.
Am I having a staring contest with the future of digital health? Who’s gonna blink first? How has demand gotten so low? What is going on? Tune in to this episode of Health Tech Deals to hear Jess and I hash things out, and to hear more new deals: Everside Health raises $164 million; Particle Health raises $25 million; Annexus Health raises $33 million; and Homeward raises $50 million.
Just FIVE MONTHS after launch, rural health startup Homeward is proving its potential for growth with MORE funding – today announcing its $50 million Series B (that’s $70 million total for the folks keeping score at home) – AND a huge 30,000-patient partnership with Priority Health. Co-founder & CEO Dr. Jennifer Schneider is here to breakdown both bits of news and give us some context about what they indicate about the rural healthcare market.
There are a couple surprising facts in this one that add up to why investors like ARCH Venture Partners and Human Capital (co-leads), General Catalyst (which led the Series A), and Lee Shapiro and Glen Tullman (old buddies and former Livongo colleagues who went in on this with personal funds outside of their fund 7wireVentures) were excited to jump into a quick Series B.
Surprising Fact 1: 90% of all rural Medicare beneficiaries are covered by just 7 payers, which makes the Priority Health deal a bigger deal than even that massive 30K patient population might indicate.
Surprising Fact 2: Homeward’s market of rural Americans is actually TWICE as large as the diabetes market that spurred the investment and growth of Livongo.
For all the math, the details on how the business actually works five months in, and how Homeward is actually going to market as a ‘healthcare infrastructure’ provider rather than just a next-gen medical group, you’re going to have to give this one a watch!
Well, not fashion per se, but clothing. If the old, sexist statement was “clothes make the man,” then soon we may be saying “clothes make your health.”
The Washington Post got my attention when it reported last week about robotic clothing, because, as anyone who has been reading me for long knows, I am fascinated by robots and their role in healthcare. One of the advances the article discussed works on “smart fluid textiles” done by Dr. Thanh Nho Do and colleagues at the University of New South Wales Medical Robotics lab.