Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we’ve made it to Inauguration Day! On Episode 179, we have over $300 million in deals and a SPAC IPO. Jess asks for my take on Hims & Hers going public, primary care chatbot company K Health raising $132 million, digital pathology company Paige raising $100 million, and ACO management company Aledade getting another $100 million. —Matthew Holt
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Hinge Health kicked off 2021 with a massive $300M Series D, driving the digital health musculoskeletal care company to a $3B valuation that, normally, would have sent health tech pundits into full-on IPO rumor mode…except that Hinge Health’s co-founder & CEO Daniel Perez beat them to it! We get into the details behind those comments (from what shall now be known as “the chatty Reuters interview”) where he not only revealed the company’s IPO plans, but also talked about how Hinge is well on it’s way to hit $200M in revenue. If 2021 is a year that Dan says will be focused on getting the business “operationally mature” enough to go public, what, exactly will be on the agenda? We dive into the competitive landscape, talk market size (Dan says more than 50% of employees on employer sponsored plans already have access to Hinge Health), and explore whether or not there are designs to expand into comorbidities common to back and joint pain, like mental health, obesity, diabetes, etc. Says Dan, “We’re going to use the capital to really invest in our innovation and R&D team and to stay different. We’re not just going to do the obvious moves.” Tune in for all the details on exactly what that means and why Dan thinks it’s central to Hinge Health’s market leadership in the MSK care space.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess admires my new COVID-safe ski gear, designed to provide the right amount of coverage to the right part of your face at the right time. On Episode 178, Jess asks me about Talkspace finally getting its SPAC IPO together with a $1.4 billion valuation – this was a long time coming. Accolade acquires 2nd.MD for $460 million, Dina Health raises $7 million in a Series A, and Komodo Health raises $44 million and acquires the consulting business from Mavens. —Matthew Holt
By ELIZABETH BROWN
Attention digital health innovators! Do you have a tracking tool that can assist public health care providers in managing the two-phased COVID-19 vaccination administration? Apply to the Alliance For Better Health Rapid Response Open Call for Vaccination Administration Tracking!
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the importance of ensuring health equity in #COVID19 vaccination administration for vulnerable and underserved populations is increasingly critical. Catalyst @ Health 2.0 is proud to host a Rapid Response Open Call (RROC) in collaboration with Alliance For Better Health. A select group of semi-finalists will have the opportunity to demo their technology. A grand prize winner will receive $15k and the opportunity to collaborate with Alliance For Better Health!
Do you have a solution that can fit this need? Apply HERE today! Applications close 1/31.
(This is the first of 2 COVID-19 RROC challenges from Alliance for Better Health. The second will be announced on Thursday 21st but is mentioned in the video from Jacob Reider below)
About Alliance For Better Health: Alliance For Better Health engages medical and social service providers in developing innovative solutions to promote people’s health, with a goal of transforming the care delivery system into one that incentivizes health and prevention. Established in 2015 as a Performing Provider System in the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program (DSRIP), Alliance partners with more than 2,000 providers and organizations across a six-county area in New York’s Tech Valley and Capital Region.
Elizabeth Brown is a Program Manager at Catalyst @ Health 2.0
By MERLE BUSHKIN
With all due respect to the good intentions of Congress, HHS, CMS, ONC and their dedicated advisors, they are pursuing — and for years have pursued — the wrong approach to achieve medical record interoperability. Endless studies, reports and anecdotal evidence conclude that trying to standardize the way medical records are formatted and kept, and linking provider silos via health information exchanges, doesn’t work! It is far too rigid, complex and constraining, and far too costly. Most importantly, it doesn’t meet care providers’ needs for “total interoperability” — instant access at the point of care to a patient’s COMPLETE medical record from all his or her providers.
Despite having held endless hearings, listening sessions and receiving hundreds of responses to their draft proposals, they continue to ignore reality. Healthcare is dramatically different than banking and travel, the industries they frequently cite as role models. It is perhaps the most massive, complex, diverse and decentralized industry in the country, and requires a very different approach than used in simpler industries. Standardizing record content and formatting simply doesn’t work in healthcare.
Instead of trying to force care providers to accept their pre-conceived technology, they should adopt technology that meets the unique needs of providers. Simply put, they are trying to cut the man to fit the cloth rather than the cloth to fit the man!
Fortunately, there is a simple solution that accommodates the complexities of healthcare and meets the diverse needs of care providers. It focuses on how to MANAGE records rather than how to KEEP them. All we have to do is embrace it!
By MATTHEW HOLT
Andreesen Horowitz’s digital heath investor Julie Yoo has been building quite the theory of the present and future of health tech. I am going to try to write up a longer response to her but first, please view her presentation on the New Tech Stack for Virtual-First Care — a compelling 8 minute watch. And then have a quick read about how I am (trying to) put her in context.
Her first argument is that the digital services that you need to run health care (things like accounting/revenue management, network management, credentialing, pharmacy, etc, etc.) are getting really good. That means that startup digital heath companies can build services really quickly. No argument there. The second part of her argument is that incumbent organizations will also use these tools (actually already are using these tools) to improve their offerings.
Her argument is somewhere in the middle of three themes I’ve been banging on for a while.
My first argument is that too much VC money has been spent on new tech companies intending to prop up the incumbents and the incumbents by definition can’t change to become the type of virtual-primary care first chronic care management consumer friendly organizations that we need. I called this the Lynne Chou O’Keefe fallacy (which is why Julie wants one of her own!) and wrote it up on THCB about a year ago.
The second is the rather longer theme that I (with Indu Subaiya) have been banging on about called “Flipping the Stack”. The basic idea is that health care services now have the potential to go from an event-driven, encounter-driven acute-care delivery model to one where technology is able to measure, manage, message and monitor patients wherever they are, and that virtual services and physical interventions are layered over the top.
The third is my idea about the “continuous clinic” which is an attempt to describe the activities that an organization needs to run a 24/7 patient management organization. (I’ve presented on this many times but haven’t totally written it up–a version of how it might work for COVID patients is here).
Somewhere in what Julie is doing and in my fumbling towards new models is the idea of what a new health system will do and what it will look like.
Of course the related question is who will be the players? While we have United Healthgroup buying anything that moves and the incumbent hospital systems collectively sitting on an Apple/Google sized mountain of cash reserves, it’s hard to see the current system being changed dramatically by the people running it now.
But it needs to.
If you need to be reminded why, take a look at the comments about half way down in this piece in which a patient blogger Luke O’Neill asked his readers about their relationship with “their” doctor and the health system. And then consider whether we should trust the current incumbents to make that transition.
I’ll be back with more on this next week….
Matthew Holt is the publisher of THCB
Episode 38 of “The THCB Gang” was live-streamed on Thursday, Jan 14. You can see it below!
Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) was joined by regulars: medical historian Mike Magee @drmikemagee, policy & tech expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis), Consumer advocate & CTO of Carium Health, Lygeia Ricciardi (@Lygeia), Suntra Modern Recovery CEO JL Neptune (@JeanLucNeptune) WTF Health host Jessica DaMassa (@jessdamassa) & fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey).
We did indeed touch on that mob riot in the Capitol. We discussed the impeachment, the inauguration, and virtual JPMorgan AND virtual CES and talked about reparations and reconciliation–and how that might influence the whole world of telehealth and primary care. This conversation was wide ranging and fascinating!
We should be celebrating the biggest fundraising year ever for healthcare tech and instead where are we? Not at JP Morgan. Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we chat about the mind-blowingly big numbers for health tech funding this year—Startup Health reported $21.5 billion for the year, Rock Health $14.1 billion. On Episode 177, Jess asks me about Aspen RxHealth raising $23 million in a Series B for their online pharmacy network, Monument getting $10 million for alcohol treatment, Carrum Health raising $40 million for their centers of excellence play, and yet another mental health startup Valera Health raising $4.7 million. —Matthew Holt
By JEFF GOLDSMITH
As John Glaser argued a recent piece in Harvard Business Review, many health care executives seem have been blinded by the shiny object that is digital health. Forgive us for a powerful feeling of déjà vu. Since the last major digital innovation in health, the electronic health record, fell far short of expectations and probably generated a negative return on investment for many care systems, it is worth thinking about to avoid the same fate with this new wave of digital tools.
As COVID raised concerns about the safety of in-person visits to clinics and physicians’ offices, digital health visits soared during the spring. Traditional health care organizations large and small–hospitals, health plans, physician groups–have since struggled to integrate digital technology effectively into their care offerings and management structure.
In other industries, digital technology acts as a force-multiplier for the core business–it helps firms make much more efficient use of their workforce, customers’ time and physical capital. Amazon used its cloud-based IT infrastructure and sprawling digital “catalog” to compress time to customer fulfillment, eliminating the need for customers to visit stores to get what they needed. And by leveraging other firms’ inventories, it reduced the need to purchase, warehouse and physically handle more than half of what they sell.
Similarly, digital health applications should not be thought of as a “new product”. Indeed, the capability for digital visits and monitoring and digitally enabled remote work has existed (some say, languished) for almost two decades. Digital health tools should be thought of as force multipliers for the trusted relationships at the heart of healthcare. Clinicians can be in two places at once- transforming how patients and clinicians interact by removing both time and physical location as constraints. At the same time, telework enables healthcare enterprises to make more efficient use of scarce clinical and administrative person-power, shrinking their physical capital footprint.
Achieving savings in clinician time and reduction in overhead were the twin drivers of Kaiser Foundation Health Plans’ successful digital health strategy. Kaiser’s two-decade long investment in virtual care has resulted in more than half of Kaiser subscriber interactions with their caregivers (preCOVID) being electronic. The savings in reduced clinic time and overhead dropped through directly to Kaiser’s bottom line by minimizing the consumption of resources inside Kaiser’s fixed capitation pool. But you do not need to be fully, or even partially, capitated to reap digital health’s benefits.Continue reading…
Insurgents have stormed the Capitol and we’re still here to talk about health tech deals. On Episode 176, Jess and I discuss Optum acquiring Change Healthcare in a $13.5 billion deal, bringing it back to Jess’s interview with CEO Neil Crescenzo bout what Change Healthcare does with the connective tissue of big healthcare. Hinge gets $300 million in a Series D – this is valued now at $3 billion. Finally Liva Healthcare, which is like European Livongo, raises €24.5 million and Metronom Health gets $22.2 million for yet another CGM. —Matthew Holt