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Category: Health Tech

The Pandemic, Bad Habits, Riskier Population Health & The Case for Prevention Coming from Newtopia

BY JESS DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

With 61% of American adults reporting a negative behavior change – troubled sleep, changes in diet, increased alcohol consumption, more time on screens, etc. – as a result of the pandemic, AND healthcare payers looking at 2022 cost increases in the range of 8-10%, one has to wonder just how bad our collective health has become thanks to the past two years.

Jeff Ruby, CEO of tech-enabled habit change provider, Newtopia, shares some startling stats about our population’s health, particularly when it comes to those lifestyle-related metabolic disorders that his company is trying to prevent. And, thus, we get into a fiery conversation about condition prevention versus condition management… at-risk payment models versus per-member-per-month models… behavior change versus prescription drugs… and whether or not a biz like Newtopia (running at-risk on goals related to prevention) is better placed or worse off as a result of this population that, though sicker and riskier than before, is showing up in greater numbers to try their program.

It’s clear where Jeff stands with his genetics-plus-behavioral-psychology-based platform, but questions about how to best handle our population’s health as the pandemic wans are still very much up for debate. Even on the public markets – Newtopia was one of the first digital health companies to go public during the pandemic, hitting the Canadian TSX as $NEWUF in March 2020 – investors’ sentiment for virtual care just isn’t what it used to be. Maybe we can apply some behavior change psychology there too? (wink, wink) Though Jeff talks about “uncertainty about how US healthcare works” in the context of the market, it seems like that “uncertainty” is also pervasive in our approach to spending for chronic care – especially now. Are dollars toward prevention dollars that are better spent? A compelling case is made…

#HealthTechDeals Episode 26: Hello Heart, Concert Health, Vivian Health, Curebase, Mendel.ai & Blue Spark

It’s the May the 4th be with you day! In Episode 26 of #HealthTechDeals, Jessica is huddling in Boston after the American Telehealth Association conference, and has Star Wars-related trivia. There’s gossip there, there’s more gossip about Cerebral & its ADHD med strategy. Meanwhile a lot of copy cats in deals today with Hello Heart ($70m) for hypertension, Concert Health ($40m) for mental health, Vivian Health ($60m) for nurse staffing, Curebase ($40m) for DCTs, Mendel.ai ($40m) for NLP & Blue Spark ($40m) for RPM — all joining very crowded markets.

ONC Explainer: Micky Tripathi Deep-Dive on Info Blocking, API standardization & TEFCA

By JESS DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Micky Tripathi the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS says this year will be a “transformative” year for Health IT as the decade-long, $40 billion dollar effort to lay an electronic foundation for healthcare delivery heads to the next level. Why is this year THE YEAR when it comes to the digital exchange of health information? Where is federal health IT strategy headed in order to provide the standards and policies health tech co’s need to be able to kick up the pace of innovation?

We get into a SWEEPING chat about the technology and business implications of all the work coming out of ONC, including implementation of those new information blocking regulations, goals for API standardization, and TEFCA (Trusted Exchange Framework & Common Agreement). Micky not only gives the background on the regulations and policies, but also provides some analysis on what they actually mean for those health technology companies trying to do business in-and-around a more digital healthcare ecosystem.

THCB Gang Episode 89, Thursday April 28, 1pm PT 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on April 28 for an hour of topical and sometime combative conversation on what’s happening in health care were: THCB regular writer and ponderer of odd juxtapositions Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard); medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee); patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@mlmillenson) & Principal of Worksite Health Advisors Brian Klepper (@bklepper1). Matthew had COVID so didn’t do much & Kim ran the show. Lots of discussion on telehealth, primary care, private equity and much more…

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.

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.

CEO Kuldeep Singh Rajput on Biofourmis’ huge Series D raise

You may have thought the days of huge digital health rounds were over. Not quite yet! CEO Kuldeep Singh Rajput talks with Matthew Holt about Biofourmis’ $300m Series D raise. They’re in the business of sensors, digital therapeutics and chronic specialty care (cardiology/oncology) and hospital at home. And as if that wasn’t enough, they have a solid plan for both organic & “inorganic” growth!

THCB Gang Episode 88, Thursday April 21st, 1pm PT 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on April 21 for an hour of topical and sometime combative conversation on what’s happening in health care are: patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@MLMillenson); digital health guru Fard Johnmar (@fardj); delivery & platform expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis); and a special guest – Alexandra Drane (@adrane) the queen of caregivers everywhere.

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

Has Virgin Pulse’s Acquisition of Welltok Created a New Kind of Care Navigator?

By JESS DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Virgin Pulse has been a big name in workplace wellness for a long time – working with health plans and employers (including 25% of the Fortune 500) to provide care navigation, well-being services, health coaching and access to digital health point solutions for years. Yet, it raised some eyebrows at the end of last year when it announced its acquisition of data-driven wellness company, Welltok. So, what happens when one of the biggest names in worker wellbeing suddenly has access to a dataset of 250M healthcare consumers? Virgin Pulse’s CEO Chris Michalak stops by to talk about the value of that data, which he believes will not only turbo-charge Virgin Pulse’s engagement rates, but also provide new ways for the business to serve as a “full-on navigation capability” for employers, plans, and health systems.

As Chris puts it, Virgin Pulse has always been an “engagement company” but the addition of Welltok’s data turns it into an “activation company.” As Virgin Pulse continues to partner up with digital health point solutions, bring digital therapeutics into the fold, and build-out primary care relationships as a lead stream, the platform Chris describes starts to sound more and more like a navigation business that competes with the likes of Accolade or Included Health. Will Virgin Pulse one-day dip into primary care themselves and add their own virtual care providers? Will they build their own digital therapeutics with data derived from that rich Welltok database? We get into the ‘what’s next’ for the business as it integrates its latest acquisition and seeks to win more C-suite attention from employers seeking to better manage their employees’ access to healthcare benefits.

THCB Gang Episode 87, Thursday April 14th

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on April 14 for an hour of topical conversation on what’s happening in health care and beyond were fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); futurists Ian Morrison (@seccurve) & Jeff Goldsmith; Jennifer Benz (@Jenbenz); and policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1).

Lots of chat about McKinsey and conflicts of interest, what’s next with COVID, where employers are now, and Casey has a unique idea about how to profit from data brokers.

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

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