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Category: Jessica DaMassa

ATA’s CEO Ann Mond Johnson Takes on the “Telehealth Cliff”

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

The BIG takeaway from ATA’s Annual Meeting is best bottom-lined by ATA’s big boss, CEO Ann Mond Johnson, in this interview: “From an overall perspective, we just don’t want to go over that ‘telehealth cliff.’”

ATA, the re-branded American Telemedicine Association, has not only evolved along with virtual care through the pandemic, but has also been critical in redefining telehealth as modality for healthcare and re-framing access to it as a bipartisan issue that everyone in DC can get behind.

Ann talks through the high-level changes she’s witnessed for telehealth adoption over the past two years and gives us her predictions for what’s going to happen next – particularly when it comes to the business of virtual care, consumer demand, and, most importantly, regulations and reimbursement. Lots happening thanks to ATA’s new affiliated trade organization, ATA Action, which is lobbying to ensure that the waivers that enabled the acceleration of telehealth during the Covid-19 public health emergency become permanent. The time is NOW for health tech co’s to get involved! Tune in to find out how.

Digital & Tech Are Changing Pfizer: Pharma Co’s Chief Digital & Technology Officer Takes Us Inside

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

What does digital transformation look like at a global healthcare giant like Pfizer? Lidia Fonseca, Pfizer’s Chief Digital & Technology Officer, shares her strategy for building the life sciences company’s digital data and technology solutions, including her thinking about digital therapeutics, digital diagnostics, and digital biomarkers. As Lidia puts it, this is not about trying to simply implement a “digital strategy,” but is, instead, about building a “business strategy for digital world.”

There’s probably no better story that illustrates how that “business strategy for a digital world” is playing out than the fascinating example of how Pfizer’s Digital team helped accelerate the development of the Covid19 vaccine and oral treatment. Lidia takes us inside and talks through how her team used tech to safely speed-up everything from development timelines to clinical trials and even go-to-market in areas around the globe that were experiencing outbreaks.

Beyond the tech team’s ability to effectively wield data that changed the game when it came to Covid, Lidia also shares what’s next for the pharma co when it comes to digital health and digital medicines. Beyond the pill? Around the pill? Instead of the pill? What’s Pfizer’s position on digital therapeutics as it continues to work to bring new breakthrough medicines to patients? We get into all the ways digital and technology are manifesting themselves within an organization like Pfizer AND get Lidia’s best advice for other healthcare organizations who are redefining their businesses with technology.

Vida Health Starts Prescribing: Meds, Labs, Devices, & More for Mental Health & Diabetes

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Big news coming out of Vida Health today as the chronic condition care startup announces that it will now be able to prescribe meds, med devices, lab tests, and more to its members. This puts Vida Health among the first of the digital health chronic care companies to evolve its offerings beyond apps-and-coaching, leading on this trend to take digital health chronic care into a more full expression of virtual care.

Vida Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Patrick Carroll, introduces us to the new offering which he tipped us off about when we met him a few months ago, new to his role at Vida and coming in hot from Hims & Hers where he built similar services as he took that company public as CMO.

The new prescribing services will cover both sides of Vida Health’s integrated model: mental health and cardiometabolic health, but in different ways. On the mental health side, Pat says members will be able to receive prescription meds for anxiety and depression ONLY at this time; on the cardiometabolic side, members working with Vida Health will NOT be able to get prescription drugs to help with diabetes or heart health, but would instead be able to get continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) prescribed, specialized diets, and labs, like A1C testing, that require a script.

Do these prescribing services begin to turn Vida Health into a primary care provider? If not, how do these new prescribing and medication management roles integrate with whatever other primary care offering is in place through a member’s plan or employer without adding cost or confusion to the patient experience? We talk through the evolution of both care model and business model as Vida Health adds another layer to its full-stack chronic condition management platform.

Amwell CEO Roy Schoenberg: Telehealth Tech Is Now Changing Provider & Payer Business Models

BY JESS DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Amwell’s ($AMWL) President & co-CEO Roy Schoenberg called it early when he predicted pre-Covid that there would be a paradigm shift for telehealth that would take the technology from “healthcare product” to “healthcare infrastructure.” Now he’s back as (in my opinion) the best kind of market analyst to give us a new high-level take on where telehealth is headed next, how its customers’ demands have changed, and how the public market’s understanding of this technology and its utility in healthcare is starting to evolve.

The bottom line: Telehealth as infrastructure is just the tip of the iceberg. As Roy puts it, “The organizations that we work with now understand that distributing healthcare over technology is part of their future.” And whether it’s payers, health systems, private practices, or even Medicare, the seismic shift Roy sees now is that instead of looking at telehealth as a way to do their old business using new channels, the new channels are being looked at as an opportunity for healthcare organizations to completely remake their old business models. “Technology,” he says, “is being considered a change agent for how healthcare is actually arriving at the hands of its patients.”

So much more ground covered in this big telehealth trends conversation – it’s the PERFECT watch for the week before the American Telemedicine Association’s Annual conference. In addition to an update on the roll-out of Amwell’s new platform Converge (2/3 of the way there) and the integration of its latest acquisitions SilverCloud Health and Conversa Health, you’re going to want to listen in to our little gossip sess about telehealth policy and reimbursement at 17:45 AND our talk about the health tech investment market of privately and publicly traded companies that starts at the 20-minute mark.

Livongo’s Former CEO Zane Burke on New Gig Leading Healthcare Navigator Biz Quantum Health

By JESS DAMASSA

Livongo Alumni Updates from ViVE 2022 continue! Former CEO Zane Burke drops in to talk about his new gig as CEO of Quantum Health, the “original” healthcare navigator biz, and how he’s bullish on the notion that navigators aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

Now, for those who’ve followed Livongo’s founder Glen Tullman as he’s launched his new business Transcarent – and a whole lot of “navigators aren’t working” rhetoric to position it – one might find it very interesting to hear Zane’s take, particularly how what he learned at Livongo has led him to adopt a viewpoint so opposite Glen’s.

Is the market large enough for both approaches to employer benefits optimization – and all the other permutations with and without primary care in between – to win? And for those of you who remember when Zane and Glen ran opposing EMR companies…is this Cerner versus Allscripts all over again?? And speaking of, I get a GREAT candid take on what IS happening in the EMR market today and whether or not Zane thinks challenger tech co’s will finally be able to win over health systems and unseat the EMR incumbents.

#HealthTechDeals Episode 16: Doctolib, House Rx, SmithRx, Synapse Medicine, and Kintsugi

May the luck of the Irish be with the health tech sector and may everybody’s valuation go back to where it was for the St. Patrick’s Day episode of Health Tech Deals! In today’s episode, Jess asks me about Doctolib’s €500 million raise with a massive €5.8 billion valuation – this is a doctor booking service and more in Europe. We also cover specialty pharma company House Rx’s $25 million raise, bringing their total up to $30 million, SmithRx’s $27 million raise for its flat-fee PBM, Synapse Medicine’s $28 million raise doing medication management, and Kintsugi’s $20 million raise for its voice biomarker mental health tech. —Matthew Holt

TRANSCRIPT

Jessica DaMassa:

What’s that over there? Is that a little leprechaun sitting next to a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? No, it’s just Matthew Holt. May the luck of the Irish be with the health tech sector and everybody’s valuation goes back to where it was in the summer of 2021. It can only be the March 17th ,St. Patty’s day, episode of Health Tech Deals.

Matthew Holt:

So, Jessica you’re from Chicago, right?

Jessica DaMassa:

I am.

Matthew Holt:

And they have the big St. Patrick’s Day Parade there and they dye the river green?

Jessica DaMassa:

They dye the river green. Nobody believes it but it’s true.

Matthew Holt:

So why don’t they dye it blue the rest of the year?

Continue reading…

“There Isn’t One Health Plan to Save Them All”: Flume Health’s CEO on New Build-A-Plan Biz

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Two of the most notable payer venture funds, Optum Ventures and Cigna Ventures, just headed up a $30 million dollar Series A funding round for Flume Health, a startup that basically builds “challenger” health plans. How did this go down? Cédric Kovacs-Johnson CEO & Founder of Flume introduces us to his company which offers providers, digital health co’s, brokers, reinsurers, and just about any other healthcare org a tech stack for creating their own hyper-niche, super personalized health plans.

The suite of services to “build-a-plan” includes things like claim processing, payments, enrollment management, digital health point solutions integration, and other API functionality – replacing the traditional TPA with tech and the one-size-fits-all plan with a new opportunity for nichey-ness that can customize coverage for patient populations based on health conditions, location, employer, and so on.

Cédric talks us through the benefit to his target client – the care provider – who, while taking on more risk anyway, may consider building their own plan to capture more premium dollars and gain better control over the end-to-end patient experience. Wait a minute – is all this “Challenger Health Plan” talk just a re-brand of value-based care? I ask point-blank and get a new buzz phrase in return; welcome to the lexicon, “Commercial Advantage.” Lots to unpack in this one including Flume’s rev-gen model and plans for growth – they’re already onboarding one new challenger plan per month!

Clarify Health Solutions’ CEO on Data Analytics Startup’s Next Trick: Value-Based Payments Tech

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Turns out, the Clarify Health Solutions story is about a lot more than data and analytics these days. Value-based payments? Acquisition of provider-focused, behavioral science startup Embedded Healthcare? Opportunities in real-world evidence??

Good thing founder & CEO Jean Drouin and I caught up at ViVE 2022. Not only do we get into the backstory of the business, which has built a self-service analytics platform for payers, providers, and life science co’s on top of “one of the largest-ever patient datasets” in the industry, but we also talk about the strategy that’s driving Clarify into the world of value-based contracting and how Embedded Healthcare’s tech will be used to augment and refine that new offering.

Jean talks in detail about his client mix, business model, and the two “healthcare golden rules” Clarify lives by as it scales up its business: 1) figure out how the payment method is going to work and 2) don’t mess with the work-flow.

BREAKING: MindMaze Lands Fresh $105M for Digital Neuro-Therapeutics

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

You may know the term “digital therapeutics,” but how about the specialized category of “digital neuro-therapeutics”? MindMaze, which has developed a platform approach to creating prescription digital therapeutics for neurological diseases like stroke, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s has just landed $105 million in fresh funding from Concord Health Partners to further advance development of this unique category of pDTx’s.

CEO Tej Tadi, CFO Kevin Gallagher, and Chief Medical Director John Krakauer get us smart on the neuroscience behind MindMaze, their device-plus-gaming interventions, and how they are gaining reimbursement for their brain health and recovery therapies. Each therapeutic is a bit different – MindPod Dolphin, for example, helps patients rehab upper limb motor skills by way of a dolphin-themed gaming experience that incorporates sensors and an anti-gravity vest. The team says there are 10 clinical trials underway across seven indications, with the goal to bring at least three new prescription digital therapeutics to market by next year.

How will this new funding – and a partnership with the American Hospital Association – aid US market expansion for Swiss-based MindMaze? We explore the company’s growth plans, talk about market readiness for digital therapeutics, and even find out the backstory behind how Leonardo DiCaprio ended up on their cap table.

Komodo Health: Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Partnership, Rare Disease Patients, and… IPO Rumors?

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Komodo Health has been catching lots of buzz lately thanks to a recently announced partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Rare as One Network AND some chatter about a possible upcoming IPO that seems to have come from its own CEO Arif Nathoo. To check what’s true and what’s false, we sat down with Komodo’s President, Web Sun.

What did we learn? Well… a lot. The core of both the CZI partnership and the future of Komodo’s business is their Healthcare Map, which Web says draws together the data of more patients (300M+), across a longer period of time (as long as 6-years for some cohorts) than anyone else in the industry. But, this comprehensive, longitudinal view of the patient journey is only part of Komodo’s usefulness – the other part is how they use that dataset to surface insights.

As Web talks about how all this will manifest itself in the context of rare diseases to benefit the patients who belong to the 60 different advocacy organizations that will now have access to Komodo thanks to the CZI partnership, it’s not only easy to understand how comprehensive data can help rare disease patients, but how this is a metaphor for helping all patients across all manner of healthcare. Shortening the diagnostic journey, better understanding symptom patterns and comorbidities, matching patients to specialists highly experienced and adept at managing their conditions, quickly bridging connections to novel therapies and clinical trial opportunities… how beautiful that this will be offered to patients who need it most. The market potential, however, lies in how it will be scaled-up-and-out to the rest of us – which brings us back to those exit rumors! Tune in to hear what Web has to say about his co-founder’s comments, and how he believes Komodo is differentiated from other big data businesses in the analytics space.

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