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Category: Health 2.0

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

These days I’m spending a lot of time getting in depth with many tech companies. From time to time I’ll be asking those innovators to tell their story on THCB, and suggest what problems they are solving. First up is Meghan Conroy from CaptureproofMatthew Holt

Today’s doctors are communicating with their patients less than ever before, even as their days grow longer and busier. Physicians are pressured to see more patients in shorter encounters, while at the same time shouldering more of the administrative and documentation tasks associated with electronic medical records (EMR). The result is physicians who are spending more time looking at patients’ EMRs than looking at – or interacting with – the patients themselves.

Research bears this out. A recent RAND study shows that providers are frustrated by the high volume of clerical work, and the implementation of poorly designed technology, that hamper their efforts to deliver effective, efficient care. Primary care physicians spend nearly two hours on EMR tasks for every hour of direct patient care, with an average of six hours – more than half their workday – interacting with the EMR during and after clinic hours. The same study found that U.S. physicians’ clinical notes are, on average, four times as long as those in other countries.

No wonder the country is facing an epidemic of physician burnout. Doctors have become high paid data entry workers rather than caregivers. They are tethered to their screens, filling out countless forms and responding to multiple messages, eating into their face-to-face time with patients. With more patients to see, they have less time to prep for each encounter, leading to sub-optimal patient experiences and poorer outcomes.

Ironically, while technology helped create this problem, it also could provide the solution. Continue reading…

‘Immigrants’ Bring Patient Engagement Energy

An Irish software expert who’d been helping companies sell on eBay walks into a room with a Slovenian inventor who’d built a world-class company in the “accelerator beam diagnostics market.” (Don’t ask.) What they share is not just foreign birth, but “immigration” to health care from other fields. Both have come to the MedCity Invest conference in Chicago seeking funding for start-ups focused on patient engagement. They’re not alone in their “immigrant” status, and their experience holds some important lessons.

Eamonn Costello, chief executive officer of patientMpower, works out of a rehabbed brick building in Dublin next to the famed Guinness brewery at St. James Gate. An electronic engineer who’s worked at companies like Tellabs, Costello became interested in healthcare in 2012 when his father was in and out of the hospital with pancreatic cancer. What struck him was the lack of any monitoring on how patients fared between doctor appointments or hospitalizations.

When in 2014 a friend working in healthcare approached him, they looked at building an app for different illnesses.Continue reading…

Mudit Garg, Qventus on the $30m raise

Another day, another $30m round in health tech. On Monday Qventus raised that from Bessemer Partners, with Mayfield, Norwest and NY Presbyterian kicking in too. That brings their total to $43m in so far–not bad for a 75 person company that is in the somewhat obscure space of using AI to improve hospital operations. Qventus sucks in data and delivers operational suggestions to front line managers. Of course given that somewhere between $1-1.5 trillion goes through America’s hospitals each year, there’s huge potential for saving money. And given that most hospitals are being paid fixed cost per case, anything that can be done to improve throughput and increase productivity drops to the bottom line and is thus likely to meet interested buyers. I talked to CEO Mudit Garg about the problem, his company’s solution and what they were going to do next.

HLTH & Healthcare — My tweetstorm on the HLTH conference

This week was the very flash, very well marketed and apparently rather fun HLTH conference. As you might guess, given I’ve run a somewhat similar conference in a similar space for the past decade and this was the biggest market entrant in years, I was paying alot of attention, even though I wasn’t actually there. So I started writing a few tweets yesterday morning which basically became the equivalent of a blog post–so I made it one here!

  1. Since the fuss about & success of #HLTH2018 I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of health tech conferences and in some ways @HLTHEVENT is a perfect metaphor for the health care system as a whole  /1
  2. Bear in mind I co-founded & still am co-chair of @health2con which when it started was regarded as revolutionary & different – so this is tinged with professional envy. Also bear in mind that I was at #ythlive this week so didn’t actually go to Vegas. So grains of salt /2
  3. What @HLTHEVENT did was convince virtually every CEO who’s ever presented at @health2con @WHCCevents @hdpalooza etc over the past decade to come speak in Vegas at an unknown conference–albeit one that had a ton of money to burn, and great connections via VC @oakhcft /3
  4. Given the crap I’ve received over the years from certain CEOs who only want to keynote @health2con & were instead asked to be on a panel, or worse were put in a break out, I’m amazed they pulled it off. But they did & it seems all were happy /4
  5. OK, here’s the metaphor part. Once #HLTH2018 achieved essentially a “health tech co CEO monopoly” (for 4 days in one place), they were able to act like a health system that’s done the same thing with its providers & hospitals (cough cough @UPMC @SutterHealth et al)  /5
  6. Continue reading…

The AmWell – Avizia Merger and the Evolution of Telehealth

Last week Avizia, where I’ve been the Chief Medical Officer since 2014, was acquired by American Well (AmWell). From my perspective, the merger made perfect sense. Avizia has been focused on chronically and acutely ill patients—those more directly attached to a hospital system. AmWell, on the other hand, has been the dominant solution for community-based care; it’s an online consultation service for folks who might otherwise have gone to an urgent care for problems like fever, headache, or a sore throat. Combining these entities provides a solution that spans the spectrum of care, which aligns with the needs of many healthcare systems. Issues related to patient access and satisfaction (think: less acute, community-based care) are top-of-mind for many administrators. However, with 80% of the dollars going to 20 % of the population, managing the continuum for the chronically ill (which is more in line with the mission of Avizia) is imperative to provide better care at a lower cost.

The merger also marks a predictable milestone in the common transition pattern for big ideas (internet, aeronautics, GPS, etc.)—from the military, to academia, to scalable business.

Telemedicine started as a military-run effort. NASA, concerned that astronaut healthcare issues would cause mission failures, was the first organization to devote significant funding to telemedicine research. Early ATA meetings were opened with military-sponsored presentations featuring the Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center, a branch of the Army.

Next came academia. Millions of dollars in grant money were offered, but academics were no longer focused on the health of astronauts. Instead, the goal was providing care at a distance—to the citizens of Rural America. Many early leaders of the ATA came from the universities that built and deployed this technology.

Entrepreneurs are the third wave.Continue reading…

Interview with Brian Yarnell, Bluestream Health

As you may have noticed, we are picking up the focus on new tech companies here on THCB. Much of this is happening as I have a little more time to examine and work with startups as I’m no longer running the Health 2.0 conference day to day. Some of it comes from our new partnership with Jessica DaMassa and her WTF.Health series. But don’t worry, we are continuing to be the place to find great opinion pieces about the health care system as a home (This is an “add” not an “instead”)

Today I have an interview about an interesting new company I’m getting to know called Bluestream Health which is essentially a second generation telehealth video platform. Brian Yarnell is the President and I spoke with him about his company, and what makes their technology different. Brian will be at the ATA conference net week (while I’ll be at Dev4Health!) — Matthew Holt

Check Out The RWJF Opioid Challenge Semi-Finalists!

The opioid crisis has devastated countless families and individuals across the United States and abroad. What once started as a quiet concern has become a full-blown epidemic, requiring the full support and attention of the healthcare and tech communities to address it.

From the Surgeon General’s August 2016 letter on Opioid Addiction:

“I am asking for your help to solve an urgent health crisis facing America: the opioid epidemic. Everywhere I travel, I see communities devastated by opioid overdoses. I meet families too ashamed to seek treatment for addiction. And I will never forget my own patient whose opioid use disorder began with a course of morphine after a routine procedure.”

Continue reading…

Announcing the RWJF AI & The Healthcare Consumer Challenge!

When it comes to navigating healthcare and making decisions about your health, and the health of loved ones, there is no yellow brick road. Even the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a leading national healthcare nonprofit, could only analyze 1,000 of over 1,400 private healthcare policy options with myriads more in the public arena. Navigating a health care plan, or not, is just the beginning of your healthcare journey.

Let’s say you find a health plan you like, and you get sick. You have to locate the right doctor that works for you, struggle through complicated referrals, tabulate the exact bottom line of these costs, find a pharmacy, perhaps grab a second opinion, and repeat this process every time you get sick.

Continue reading…

Vineti raises $33m, Amy DuRoss interview

Any DuRoss is one of the more charming and remarkable characters in the health tech world. She lead the campaign for Proposition 71 in 2004 which funded and established the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Later on she was a key player at early genetics company Navigenics, and more recently after time at GE Ventures she founded Vineti, which today raised $33.4m in Series B funding. Vineti is a new kind of pharma supply chain company helping deliver gene therapy, but what does that mean? I asked Amy and she told me!

Beyond The Hype Within AI and Machine Learning

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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are very buzzy and in the storm of tweets and scandals it’s easy to use the terms interchangeably, as if they are synonyms. They’re not synonyms, but here’s a rule of thumb: All Machine Learning is AI, but not all AI is Machine Learning.

Examples of Machine Learning in everyday life abound, and for all the attention aimed at the behemoth Facebook, and their epic fail of data protection and privacy, the benefits of Machine Learning generally outweigh the bad. Here we explore the opportunity within Healthcare for AI and ML to do good.

Read more here!

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