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Category: Health Tech

Fay Rotenberg, CEO, Firefly Health

Fay Rotenberg is CEO of Firefly Health, which is an advanced virtual primary care group (a bastardized phrase she hates). That means they are both providing virtual care, with an integrated care and health plan coverage model, and are also a risk-bearing medical group working with other payers. They adjust the model using health guides, MDs, NPs, etc. and they help their patients manage their in person experience with specialists, labs, imaging, etc. — they have 1900+ partners nationwide who will actually know the patient is coming, and is integrated into Firefly’s model. Clinical outcomes are great, and costs are 12-15% lower, yet they have 5,000 members per MD. Maybe it really is the 21st century Kaiser?

Alex Katz, CEO, Two Chairs

Two Chairs has an interesting model. Their concept is to find the right therapist for you, and they actually start a patient off with a therapist who diagnoses AND directs in a session, separate from the one who treats. Once the “right” match is made, the patient gets set up with a therapist and the results have been pretty good in terms of the patient coming back–one of a number of things Two Chairs measures rather intently! CEO Alex Katz explained the model and the business–Matthew Holt.

The Future of Digital Health: How UX Design is Shaping the Industry

By PARV SONDHI

As the digital health world continues to expand, more and more people are turning to apps to manage everything from diabetes and obesity to depression and anxiety. People rely on these apps for their physical and mental health, so it’s crucial that product developers ensure a safe, effective, and engaging experience for them. Healthcare experts agree.

A team of researchers and health system leaders recently introduced a new framework called “Evidence DEFINED” for evaluating digital health products. This framework offers hospitals, payers, and trade organizations a precise set of guidelines to assess the validity and safety of a digital health product. It also gives digital health companies good benchmarks to work from.

As digital health companies create new products in the space, they should keep specific points in mind — from user experience design to considerations for data privacy. While clinical outcomes will always reign supreme, the framework suggests that patient experience, provider experience, product design, and cost effectiveness can’t be discounted.

Here are a few critical considerations that product delivery teams should plan for when creating digital health apps.

Clear navigation

First things first: a user won’t use an app that’s hard to navigate. To help people stick to their health goals, developers need to create apps that are intuitive and easy-to-use. When a user logs onto an app, they want to find the content they need immediately and be guided through the experience step by step.

A lot of different people use health apps, and not all of them are tech-savvy. Health apps need to be accessible to all demographics, including people of various ages who speak different languages. It’s also important to remember that digital health apps can be used across multiple platforms, so the navigation should remain clear when switching between devices.

While navigation might seem like a no-brainer, it’s often overlooked when designing for digital health.

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Interview with Oxeon CEO, Sonia Millsom

Sonia Millsom is the relatively new CEO at Oxeon, which became the dominant executive search (headhunter) firm in digital health over the past decade or so. The company was built by Trevor Price and team. Sonia discussed the transition to her leadership, the other things Oxeon does (venture studio, relationship to TownHall Ventures), and the state of the employment market in digital health. TL:DR on that, it’s slowed but they are doing a lot of work and still growing.Matthew Holt

Interview with Infermedica CEO, Piotr Orzechowski

At the HLTH conference I talked with CEO of Infermedica, Piotr Orzechowski, and also had a quick word with VP of Marketing Marcus Gordon. Infermedica has been around over a decade, and has been a slow burner in the symptom checker and patient digital front door market. But now it has a lot of clients and deals and its API is hiding behind several big names including Optum & Microsoft. Piotr graciously let me butcher his name, and still told me about how their model works and how LLMs will change it.–Matthew Holt

There Needs to Be an “AI” in “Med Ed”

By KIM BELLARD

It took some time for the news to percolate to me, but last month the University of Texas San Antonio announced that it was creating the “nation’s first dual program in medicine and AI.” That sure sounds innovative and timely, and there’s no question that medical education, like everything else in our society, is going to have to figure out how to incorporate AI. But, I’m sorry to say, I fear UTSA is going about it in the wrong way.

UTSA has created a five year program that will result in graduates obtaining an M.D. from UT Health San Antonio and a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (M.S.A.I.) from UTSA. Students will take a “gap year” between the third and fourth year of medical school to get the M.S.A.I. They will take two semesters in AI coursework, completing a total of 30 credit hours: nine credit hours in core courses including an internship, 15 credit hours in their degree concentration (Data Analytics, Computer Science, or Intelligent & Autonomous Systems) and six credit hours devoted to a capstone project.

“This unique partnership promises to offer groundbreaking innovation that will lead to new therapies and treatments to improve health and quality of life,” said UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken.

“Our goal is to prepare our students for the next generation of health care advances by providing comprehensive training in applied artificial intelligence,” said Ronald Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., director of the M.D./M.S. in AI program and professor of medical education at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “Through a combined curriculum of medicine and AI, our graduates will be armed with innovative training as they become future leaders in research, education, academia, industry and health care administration. They will be shaping the future of health care for all.”

Dhireesha Kudithipudi, a professor in electrical and computer engineering who was tasked with helping develop the university’s AI curriculum, told Preston Fore of Fortune:

In lots of scenarios, you might see AI capabilities are being very exaggerated—that it might replace physicians and so forth. But I think our line of inquiry was guided in a different way, in a sense how we can promote this AI physician interaction-AI patient interaction, bringing humans to the center of the loop, and how AI can enhance care or emphasize more patient centric attention.

OK, fabulous.  But, you know, computers have been integral to healthcare for decades, especially the past 15 years (due to EMRs), and we don’t expect doctors to get Masters in Computer Science. We’re just happy when they can figure out how to navigate the interfaces. 

To be honest, I was expecting more from UT.

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Nabla CoPilot– the new ambient EMR note taker that snagged Permanente

I got up super early on a Sunday (in Vegas no less!) to meet Delphine Groll, COO and Alexandre Lebrun, CEO of Nabla. I have heard directly from doctors a lot about their CoPilot product being adopted as a less expensive version than Nuance or Abridge, and wanted to see what the fuss was about. They gave me a demo of their ambient AI medical note taker and it is very impressive–you’ll see a little bit of my demo and the resulting note in the interview. They were a little shy on Sunday to tell me about their relationship with the Permanente group but between Jay Parkinson and Fierce Healthcare, the beans are well and truly spilled now, and they are apparently soon to be available in every Permanente region. I suspect because of that the integration with Epic that Alexandre mentioned will be full speed ahead!–Matthew Holt

Interview with Sonia Milsom, CEO Oxeon

Sonia Milsom is the relatively new CEO at Oxeon, which became the dominant executive search (headhunter) firm in digital health over the past decade or so. The company was built by Trevor Price and team. Sonia discussed the transition, the other things Oxeon does (venture studio, relationship to TownHall Ventures), and the state of the employment market in digital health. TL:DR on that, it’s slowed but they are doing a lot of work and still growing. Matthew Holt

THCB Gang Episode 136, Thursday October 5

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on Thursday October 5 at 1pm PST 4pm EST were delivery & platform expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis); author & ponderer of odd juxtapositions Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard) and policy expert consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1).

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.

Altman, Ive, and AI

BY KIM BELLARD

Earlier this year I urged that we Throw Away That Phone, arguing that the era of the smartphone should be over and that we should get on to the next big thing.  Now, I don’t have any reason to think that either Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, and Jony Ive, formerly and famously of Apple and now head of design firm LoveFrom, read my article but apparently they have the same idea.  

Last week The Information and then Financial Times reported that OpenAi and LoveFrom are “in advanced talks” to form a venture in order to build the “iPhone of artificial intelligence.”  Softbank may fund the venture with as much as $1b.  There have been brainstorming sessions, and discussions are said to be “serious,” but a final deal may still be months away. The new venture would draw on talent from all three firms.

Details are scare, as are comments from any of the three firms, but FT cites sources who suggest Mr. Altman sees “an opportunity to create a way of interacting with computers that is less reliant on screens.” which is a sentiment I heartily agree with.  The Verge similarly had three sources who agreed that the goal is a “more natural and intuitive user experience.”

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