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Category: Health Tech

Quickbite Interviews: Accolade

I was at the AHIP conference in Vegas late last month and caught up with a number of CEOs & execs for some quick bite interviews — around 5 mins getting (I hope) to the gist of what they & their companies are up to. I am dribbling them out–Matthew Holt

Next up is Kristin Herrera, EVP, Accolade.

How Happify Health Became Twill: Inside the New Biz Model & What’s Next

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Mental health digital therapeutics startup Happify Health has spent the past 5 years quietly ‘self-actualizing’ into a brand-new, tech platform company that just launched this week: Twill. This is a big pivot – not just a brand change – and we’ve got co-founder & President Ofer Leidner and newly-hired Chief Operating Officer Megan Callahan (who formerly ran Lyft Health) here to tell us how it all went down AND what will happen to the old Happify app.

Wellness-app-no-more, Twill has emerged as a health tech infrastructure company. Its core product (called Sequences) is the open architecture, digital back-end that ties together a health plan, employer, or pharma co’s various digital point solutions – wellness apps, digital therapeutics, virtual coaching, peer support groups, telehealth platforms, etc. etc. – to create one neat-and-tidy, hyper-personalized, automagically-navigated patient care journey based on condition or patient population.

Big brands like Elevance Health (Anthem), Biogen, and Almirall have already bought-in, with products already in market for conditions as diverse as maternal health, multiple scleroses, and psoriasis. Not forgetting its mental health roots, Twill is bringing in its own vast resources from the ole Happify days to run digital mental health support under each of these disease-specific point solutions. Ofer and Megan say that Sequences can be developed for ANY condition or to target specific populations of patients and they plan to launch 2-3 new Sequences each year.

What else is ahead for Twill now that it’s revealed from its stealthy start? Happify Health had raised $73 million in March 2021 in a big round lead by Deerfield Management Company – what should we expect next? Tune in for all the details on the transformation, the new products, and how other digital health companies can expect to work with Twill in the future.

Quickbite Interviews: NeuroFlow

I was at the AHIP conference in Vegas late last month and caught up with a number of CEOs & execs for some quick bite interviews — around 5 mins getting (I hope) to the gist of what they & their companies are up to. I am dribbling them out–Matthew Holt

Next is Julia Kastner, CPO & Chris Molaro, CEO, Neuroflow, and it includes a great brief product demo from Julia

Inside Vida Health’s Move Into Musculoskeletal Care

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

In the ‘point solution versus platform’ debate, mark another score for integration as Vida Health jumps into the musculoskeletal (MSK) care space. This is a move we’ve seen before among the digital health chronic condition management set (remember when Omada acquired Physera, Dario Health acquired Upright, and everyone was waiting to see if Livongo would make a play for Sword or Hinge?) so why is Vida just jumping in now?

Dr. Patrick Carroll, Vida Health’s Chief Medical Officer, lets us in on the strategy behind the startup’s move into the MSK space and what it signals about how employers (and their employees) are starting to view digital health and virtual care within the larger scope of available care options out there.

As for Vida’s MSK program, it’s different than what you might expect. According to Pat, the program is strictly focused on lower back pain and helping members quickly find the physical therapy and, if needed, mental health care that can make a real difference to their overall health in a manner of weeks. If something more complex is discovered, Pat says Vida is working with partners – including those digital-first MSK clinics – to refer out. Is this the long-term play or will Vida eventually build out or buy its way further into MSK? We find out what’s ahead for the cardiometabolic care company as it launches yet another new offering to improve access to care.

Point-of-Care Ultrasound? How Butterfly Network’s Hand-Held Devices Make Scans On-Demand Diagnostics

BY JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Butterfly Network (NYSE: $BFLY) is working to make its pocket-sized, smartphone-directed ultrasound as “ubiquitous as the stethoscope” – hoping to give docs and nurses at the point-of-care the ability to easily perform any type of scan and instantly see the results. Dr. John Martin, Butterfly’s Chief Medical Officer, talks us through the technology behind the $2,400 hand-held device and how the company is working with healthcare orgs to integrate ultrasound into their workflows — completely shifting the paradigm for where-and-when scans are performed and able to be utilized.

What does this paradigm shift toward on-demand, point-of-care ultrasound really mean for the practice of medicine? Is this over-medicalization and unnecessary, or the key to higher-quality care? And, what about the risk involved in taking ultrasound out of the specialized-and-certified arena of the radiology department and democratizing it for front-line practitioners?

John lets us ask all the tough questions, talks through what’s being learned as Butterfly scales-up and builds its body of use cases, and gives us some insight on how the business itself is doing after going public via SPAC last year. Fun fact on the diversity of those use cases: Beyond human healthcare and the very important work of helping improve maternal and fetal health in Africa via a $5 million dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Butterfly is also being rolled-out across 200 Petco care centers to help veterinarians use point-of-care scans to treat our pets.

Matthew’s health care tidbits: Texas is the present future of abortion care

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt

In this edition’s tidbits, I have to return to the stunning impact of the Dobbs ruling. We know will happen because it is already happening in Texas where the 6 week law was already being enforced in contravention of Roe v Wade.

Taxpayer money is going to “pregnancy crisis centers” that flat out lie to vulnerable patients about the impact of abortions on their health. Doctors are questioning women who have miscarried–at a moment that is already terrible for them, and women who have miscarried are being denied basic D&Cs–which can kill them.

Don’t get me started on the absolute nonsense being talked–and passed into law –about ectopic pregnancies, of which there are over 130,000 each year in the US, being carried to term. How unlikely is it that an ectopic pregnancy makes it to term with no ill effects? Let me tell you a story. My dad was an OBGYN. He and his anesthetist saved the life of a woman and her baby who somehow had made it to term while being ectopic. During the surgery she needed 12 pints of blood (a normal woman has 7-8 pints in her body) and he considered it the greatest piece of surgery he did in his entire career. He thought that he and the patients were very lucky. So I demand that crazy legislation saying ectopic pregnancies have to be carried to term also mandates that my dad is around to do every single C-Section. Unlikely, as he’s dead, but no crazier than the legislation in Indiana.

Then there’s the impact on telehealth. Most abortions are done using drugs but more and more of the pandemic-era exemptions to prescribing drugs and seeing patients over telehealth across state lines are being withdrawn. Clearly the state-based licensing of doctors is itself ridiculous in an age of online commerce, but despite the DOJ statements the legality of prescribing abortifacients across state lines is very unclear and, as Deven McGraw explained in this harrowing piece on THCB Gang, HIPAA doesn’t protect patient privacy from local law enforcement. So what happens to someone in a state where abortion is banned if they have to go to hospital because of a complication from taking an abortifacient? Trump thinks they should go to jail.

What is clear is that bans on abortion don’t stop abortions. But they do endanger women. And if the pregnancy crisis center stops a woman from getting an abortion, do they help afterwards? Why yes, if you mean by “helping”, they have a celebratory dinner and light a fricking candle.

THCB Gang Episode 97, Thursday June 30

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on Thursday June 30 were THCB regular writer and ponderer of odd juxtapositions Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard); Principal of Worksite Health Advisors Brian Klepper (@bklepper1); futurists Ian Morrison (@seccurve); and fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey). Lots of discussion of the Dobbs ruling and also of the CAA regulations which have gotten somewhat less play in the press. Quite the impassioned discussion !

You can see the video below & if you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels.

Quantifying Caregiving: ARCHANGELS CEO Alexandra Drane on The Caregiver Intensity Index

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

“Being an unpaid caregiver is the epicenter of Life Sucks Disease,” says Alexandra Drane, Co-Founder & CEO of ARCHANGELS, “but it’s also one of the most glorious, one of the most magnificent jobs we’ll ever have.” So, what’s the trick to managing the “sucky” side of caregiving? Data.

Alex’s company ARCHANGELS has invented the Caregiver Intensity Index, which she describes as a “two-and-a-half minute Cosmo quiz” that helps caregivers quantify the intensity of their caregiving experience and identify the top two things driving that intensity and the top two things alleviating it. The score coming out of this helps caregivers validate the intensity of their experience, offers a framework for communicating about it, and, as Alex puts it, delivers “data that gives them permission to believe” that the stress they are feeling is real. ARCHANGELS then uses the info to crosswalk caregivers to existing resources that can help them manage those intensity-driving challenges – whether they be related to financial stress, workplace stress, relationship stress or otherwise.

Knowing that health plans and employers are starting to “see the light” when it comes to caregiving and its impact on their workforce, Alex and I talk about just how much payers are really willing to contribute to supporting the resources needed to support caregivers and how the data ARCHANGELS is providing is helping demonstrate need and connection to health and well-being. Lots of interesting data points on caregiving in this one – particularly when it comes to mental health and how things have changed through the pandemic. Watch now!

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