Potential digital health trend for 2021? Weight loss and weight management. Not only has obesity been an “epidemic” of its own for a number of years (40% of U.S. adults are obese, another 32% are overweight) BUT it’s also considered a risk-factor if infected with covid-19 and is a common co-morbidity for a number of chronic conditions. Add to that all the banana bread we’ve been seeing on Instagram and the “quarantine 15” memes that sum up the weight gain brought about by our increasingly sedentary, baked-goods-filled shelter-in-place lifestyles, and you can see where this is likely to go. So, how can health tech help? As healthcare payers and employers look toward weight management as a way to help prevent adverse health outcomes (covid-related or otherwise), we get some advice from Dr. Greg Steinberg, a clinical innovation expert who gained experience piloting novel, health tech solutions for weight management at Aetna. We demystify the relationship between healthcare payers and weight loss solutions, talk about what matters from a cost/value perspective, and, of course, find out what makes for optimal end-user success.
When Accolade went public in July at a $1.2B valuation, the BIG question facing the health tech unicorn pre-dated the covid-19 pandemic and the chaos facing its clientbase of large, self-insured employers: Could they scale? Raj Singh, Accolade’s CEO, tackles the question head-on, buoyed by customer growth that has doubled twice over a fiscal-year-and-a-half and an expanded need for his company’s high-touch, concierge health benefits navigation services. As beleaguered employers struggle with making sure their employees have the health benefits they need to weather the pandemic, Accolade’s focus on making sure that those benefits remain as cost-contained as possible seems to be more attractive than ever. What else is resonating with self-insured employers these days? Raj talks about what will (and won’t) change when it comes to population health management in 2021 and gives us a reality check on whether or not employers and their employees are really using digital health tools like Livongo, Virta, Hinge, Kaia, Ginger, et. al when baked into their benefits ecosystem.
Looking for more proof that telehealth has truly become a global trend in healthcare delivery? Our “man-on-the-street” in Italy, Roberto Ascione, CEO of Healthware Group, offers a detailed state-of-play on virtual care uptake across Europe, including how policy-makers, entrepreneurs, and investors are playing much more significant roles in spurning an increasingly “digital friendly” healthcare ecosystem in the wake of covid-19. On the eve of Frontiers Health 2020 — one of Europe’s leading health innovation conferences, of which Roberto is Chairman — we find out how those backing healthcare’s quickly evolving “tele-everything” revolution are planning to come together to push this agenda even further.
Note: Frontiers Health takes place THIS WEEK, on Thursday November 12 and Friday November 13. Check out the full agenda at www.frontiers.health. Fans of WTF Health get a discount! Just use code FH20WTF25 for 25% off registration fees. See you there!
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, there is so much to talk about between the election, the Affordable Care Act, and Pfizer’s COVID vaccine news. On Episode 165, we talk about how this is impacting the markets and cover more deals. ACA darling Centene has acquired Apixio, Koa Health spins out from Telefónica and gets $16.5M in initial funding, Eko raises $65 million in a Series C for their connected stethoscope and ECG, and Medically Home raises $40 million in another continuous clinic play, bringing their total to $65 million. —Matthew Holt
We don’t often see two Republicans and two Democrats come together to offer solutions to problems. But even at this difficult time in America, I can see bipartisanship in a truly meaningful way. The intensely-challenging issue of digital identity is bringing members of Congress of both parties together.
Most American adults rely on an 84-year-old system of identification — the social security number. But that ID is limited in use, and does not serve us well in healthcare and especially as COVID-19 – beyond the healthcare and safety issues – makes us an ever more digital nation. We are indeed accelerating our national pivot to a digital nation as we, for example, log on to go to school or work, to buy food, to shop for clothing, or to pay bill and transfer money from a bank account. And, now more so than ever, healthcare is becoming digital, as we seek to navigate a digital world to visit the doctor, to fill a prescription, or to review medical test results. Digital identity presents a major obstacle to a safer and smoothly functioning digital healthcare experience.
As the Coronavirus disrupts our nation, and healthcare delivery turns increasingly digital, on-line fraudsters have not been interrupted; they have simply been given far more opportunity than they might have imagined.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess is dismayed at her rising premiums. On Episode 162, Jess and I have more deals to cover. Whoop, which makes a wearable, raises $100 million (including SoftBank money!), bringing their valuation to $1.2 billion. Next, Honor raises $140 million in a Series D and I weigh in on how this tech-enabled home care startup has evolved since it started out. DTx company Sidekick Health raises $20 million for its gamified medication management platform,, and SaaS telehealth platform eVisit gets $14 million—is this any different? Finally, Cricket Health which manages complex kidney diseases early names new CEO Robert Sepucha and raises $15 million. —Matthew Holt
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we have some hot gossip re: Glen Tullman starting his own SPAC. On Episode 161, Jess and I discuss Bind Benefits raising $105 million, BridgeHealth merging with Transcarent and raising $40 million in a Series A, and Loyal raising $12.5 million in a Series A. Jess also asks for my take on a slew of new partnerships between Lyra and Calm, Cigna and MDLive, and Doctor on Demand and CareLinx.—Matthew Holt
Remote patient monitoring has emerged as the next significant challenge for virtual healthcare and that challenge is creating significant opportunities for many companies largely outside of the traditional healthcare technology marketplace. In particular, it is potentially setting up an opportunity for Big Tech companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon, to revolutionize telemedicine and healthcare similar to what those companies have accomplished in mobile phones, Internet search, and retail.
Next Generation Remote Health Monitoring
Next generation remote healthcare monitoring will likely look much different than anything done before. What is emerging today is the potential for the broad adoption of remote health monitoring devices and systems that leverage consumer wearables, smart home communication systems, and big data to produce holistic views specifically for healthcare providers. The pandemic has thrust telemedicine solutions forward by years if not a decade or more in the short span of three to six months. This is creating an opportunity for remote patient monitoring to provide even better visibility into patients beyond what can be accomplished with basic video conferencing.
But while telemedicine is now becoming more firmly established, remote monitoring seems to still have a long way to go. This is evident in a new report by KLAS Research (a healthcare industry research firm) published on August 27th, where they interviewed 19 executives from 18 healthcare organizations regarding their challenges and solutions during the outbreak of the pandemic. Not surprisingly, telemedicine was the top challenge with 32% of the executives. Overall, though, 84% of the executives indicated that the telemedicine issues were already solved and the remining 16% indicated that the solutions were in progress. However, remote patient monitoring ranked as the second most significant challenge with 26% of the respondents. But furthermore, only 22% of the executives indicated the remote monitoring challenges were solved, with 33% saying it was in progress, and 45% indicating it was completely unsolved. So, a clear opportunity exists.
On Episode 158 of Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I talk about Datavant raising $40 million in a Series B for their open health data exchange platform, Mira raising $2.7 million for it’s Costco-esque health insurance alternative, Avail raising $100 million providing telehealth for the OR, ScriptDrop raising $15 million for prescription drug delivery, and Abridge raising $15 million to help patients transcribe doctor’s appointments.—Matthew Holt
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I gossip about the wild rumor that UnitedHealthcare is acquiring Amwell. On Episode 157, we discuss Lark raising $55 million in a Series C along with a deal with Anthem to be their preferred DPP provider, Medicare Advantage plan Clover going public with a valuation of $3.7 billion, NOCD raising $12 million in a Series A providing specialized CBT and virtual OCD treatment, Cerebral raising $35 million in a Series A for its comprehensive digital mental health offerings, and Express Scripts adding to their digital health formulary with offerings targeting things like women’s health, tobacco cessation, muscle and joint pain, and more. —Matthew Holt