On Episode 185, Jess has beat us to an interview on WTF Health before we cover it here on Health in 2 Point 00 – Modern Health raised $74 million in a Series D, so how does this compare to other mental health and wellness companies? Owlet is going public via a SPAC for their infant monitoring tech, and Mymee raises $8.7 million for patient self-tracking on the autoimmune disease front. —Matthew Holt
THCB Gang was broadcast live on Thurs Feb 18
Joining me, Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) were THCB regular writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard), patient advocates Grace Cordovano (@GraceCordovano) and Robin Farmanfarmaian (@Robinff3), newly-minted VC Marcus Whitney @marcuswhitney, and medical historian Mike Magee @drmikemagee.
We touched on the impact of the extremes of global warming on health! And in a pandemic nonetheless!. Plus the wild world of SPACs, more funding for mental health, and the sausage making of health care’s place in the upcoming stimulus bill. But I’m not sure the group is ready for the big policy move that the pandemic may give us the opportunity to pursue! A great conversation nonetheless.
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Chronic disease prevention is often lumped into chronic disease management – but should it be? Aren’t there different nuances to preventing diseases than to treat them? Making the case that healthcare’s “primary prevention” businesses deserve their own category is the CEO of Newtopia, Jeff Ruby. Newtopia’s just announced the creation of a new category of healthcare provider, the Habit Change Provider, in effort to more accurately describe the role of companies working to change the way people behave in their everyday lives. What they eat, whether or not they exercise, how they deal with stress and anxiety – in short, this is the business of influencing the many micro-decisions that, cumulatively, add up to our overall health and whether or not we’ll be impacted by “lifestyle diseases” like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, mental health issues, and more.
Newtopia’s been in this business for over a decade, starting its path to commercialization with Aetna and a three-year randomized control trial of more than 2,800 Aetna employees that proved the power of prevention: physical risk reduction, clinical cost savings, and the “holy grail” of any population health model, in-year ROI. So confident is Newtopia in their approach that the company goes at-risk on outcomes, a compelling enough value proposition to attract clients like Accenture, JP Morgan Chase (and it’s now defunct joint-venture with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway, Haven) and the whole of CVS Health (which acquired Aetna.)
Is this starting to sound different than those chronic condition management companies yet? Listen in to hear more about the details behind Newtopia’s approach, which even leverages genetic testing to “remove blocks for habit change” by helping people identify what they’ve inherited from their parents (slow metabolism, difficulty processing fats, body’s ability to handle stress signals) so they can get past blaming themselves and start developing healthy lifestyle improvements.
By KIM BELLARD
With all that has been going on, I’ve been remiss in reflecting on General Motor’s big announcement a couple weeks ago: it is going to have an all electric, zero emissions fleet of “light duty” vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickups) by 2035, and be carbon neutral by 2040. One of the largest manufacturers of internal combustion vehicles for over a hundred years is recognizing that its past is not its future.
Of course, I immediately wondered what the equivalent move in healthcare would be, and from whom.
In the announcement, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra declared:
General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world. We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.
You can just imagine Henry Ford fuming in his grave.
GM has had electric vehicles for some time, but they remain a small percentage of its business, as they do among the auto industry generally (Tesla’s market cap notwithstanding). GM had supported the Trump Administration’s policies efforts to rescind emission standards, which benefited internal combustion engines, but quickly changed course in light of Biden Administration priorities on climate change.
GM now plans to spend some $27b on electric and autonomous vehicles over the next few years. “We’re committed to fighting for EV market share until we are No. 1 in North America, Ms. Barra said at an investor’s conference. “EVs are core to creating GM shareholder value.”Continue reading…
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Digital mental health startup Modern Health just closed a $74M Series D, bringing their funding total to $170M, and earning the company a $1.17B valuation that makes it the FASTEST-EVER female-founded company to hit unicorn status. CEO Alyson Watson explains what sets Modern Health apart in the incredibly crowded, well-funded, and highly-competitive mental health tech space where the growing issue of skyrocketing demand for care is likely soon to become a shortage of care providers.
Modern Health is hoping to win here by becoming a one-stop-shop for a full-suite of mental health services. They’re bundling together all the different kinds of mental health point solutions currently out there – from tech-enabled self-service cognitive behavioral therapy programs and peer-to-peer group therapy all the way to one-on-one virtual visits with clinicians – and differentiating by designing a better way to intake patients, so care can be more accurately and cost-effectively matched to patient needs. Says Alyson, “If you’re just solving mental health through the old-school way of connecting someone to a therapist, and that’s your be-all-end-all and your only solution…well, eventually, that bubble will burst.”
Founded in 2017, the company has grown both its client-base (220 employers) and coffers quickly. They’ve already acquired Kip, another digital mental health biz, and are looking for more. Tune in to hear what Alyson’s got on deck for 2021 and what she expects to be driving further growth in the mental health virtual care market.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I are back to cover more fun(draising) deals. First, Zocdoc raises $150 million and Jess asks me what’s going on with this old-school appointment scheduler? RapidSOS raises $85 million, bringing their total up to $220 in an infrastructure play for first responders, Capital Rx, which is a startup working to bring transparency to PBMs, raises $50 million, and eating disorder care startup Equip raises $13 million, bringing their total to $17 million. —Matthew Holt
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Signify Health’s CEO Kyle Armbrester stops by on IPO day! Hours after ringing the bell on $SGFY’s launch on the New York Stock Exchange, Jess DaMassa digs into the health tech company’s $7.1B valuation and plans to help providers, payers, and self-insured employers scale-up their value-based care offerings. Kyle calls it “Value-Based Care 2.0” and, for the uninitiated, does a great job of stepping back and explaining this healthcare payment model’s history and how Signify is building its next-gen approach from the groundwork laid over the past decade.
What’s unique about Signify Health’s model is that it’s not just relying on tech to make it easier to find where managed care organizations can help cut healthcare costs and drive better outcomes – they also provide in-home health services that send nurses, doctors, and social workers out into patient’s homes to physically look for potential roadblocks to recovery and wellness. It’s in this critical “last mile” where Signify is possibly making the greatest impact, connecting the social determinants of health (physical environment, social support networks, economic status, etc) back into the healthcare system in a way that not only helps patients, but is also aligned with how all the stakeholders along the care continuum are incentivized. (And that includes Signify, which goes at-risk along with their clients and only gets paid when they drive better outcomes and cut-out costs.) So, what is the ultimate opportunity for this kind of “deep healthcare” business? We get into Signify Health’s business model, the competition, and its plans for growth and M&A activity now that they’re backed by $564M in capital from their initial day on the public market.
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Just 45 days after Teladoc Health closed its $600 million acquisition of hospital telehealth provider InTouch last year, it turned around and announced a surprise $18B acquisition of Livongo, extending its reach into patients’ homes via the digital health startup’s remote monitoring platform for diabetes, hypertension, and more. Now, four months past the signing of that deal, and at the start of yet-another pandemic year expected to be big for virtual care, the two big questions healthcare market watchers have for Teladoc Health are: 1) how’s that double integration going? and 2) just how much pushback are you getting from health system clients that look at this “hospital-to-home” virtual care pathway as a little too close to their own business models? Jess DaMassa gets the latest from InTouch Health’s former CEO, now Teladoc Health’s President of Hospital and Health Systems, Joe DeVivo and Livongo’s former Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bimal Shah, who’s now Teladoc Health’s Chief Medical Officer for Product and Analytics.
What’s the integration been like for our old friends from the InTouch and Livongo teams? What areas of the “hospital-to-home” digital infrastructure are priority for 2021? And, what about data integration? With more than 1-billion data elements from Livongo, 10.5 million visits on Teladoc’s platform, and 3.5-million Teladoc-enabled visits via hospital clients, it sounds like interoperability to provide “intelligence, not data” is paramount to the company’s strategy for driving growth. As Joe says, “Teladoc has just positioned itself to be “THE” partner to institutionalize virtual care for healthcare systems. Excellence around the delivery of care will always sit in the health system, but to the extent that we can improve the consumer experience in the onboarding into the healthcare system and to prop up our health system customers, all the better.” For lots more on winning over hospitals, outflanking the competition, and fully leveraging the AI-plus-AI engine Livongo built, tune in now.
And, for the die-hards… to catch a bit more on Teladoc Health’s vision for the future of virtual care, watch Dr. Bimal Shah and Joe DeVivo here: https://perspectives.teladochealth.com/
THCB Gang was live on Thurs Jan 28. The recording is below.
Joining me, Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) were patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@MLMillenson), THCB regular health writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard), futurist Ian Morrison (@seccurve), surgeon & innovation dude Raj Aggarwal (@docaggarwal), patient advocate Grace Cordovano (@GraceCordovano), and policy & tech expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis).
The impeachment barely came up but several of us had direct experience of the chaotic vaccine rollout. Lots of speculation about what aspects of shoring up the ACA in the stimulus $1.9bn, and a bunch of discussion and disagreement about whether the lava is cooling in a new data and technology infrastructure on which to build a new health system. A great conversation.
By KIM BELLARD
Here’s a damning opening paragraph from an article in The New York Times about the frustrations that COVID-19 vaccinations are causing:
For a vast majority of Americans, a coronavirus vaccine is like sleep for a new parent: It’s all you can think about, even if you have no idea when you will get it.
Because, as Kaiser Health News reported: “Many states don’t know exactly where the doses are, and the feds don’t either.”
Think about that: in 2021, we can’t – or don’t – track something as vital as where vaccine doses are, in the midst of the pandemic they were designed in record time to mitigate. Nor, as it turns out, are we doing a good job of tracking how many have already had them, who is now eligible for them, or assuring that essential workers or disadvantaged populations are getting them.
Amazon tells me when my purchases have shipped, where they are in the shipping process, and when they’ve been delivered. They even send me a picture of purchases sitting on my porch to make sure I notice. Walmart’s supply chain management is equally vaunted.
Health care executives evidently aren’t required to learn supply chain management.Continue reading…