Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we’ve apparently got 58 different SPACs looking to acquire health tech companies – so looks like Jess and I will be staying busy! On Episode 183, Jess asks me about Oscar Health filing their S1 and all the dirt people are digging up for IPO, Plume raising $14 million for their full stack clinic for transgender people, Sitka raising $14 million, and Alma raising $28 million providing practice management software for mental health providers. —Matthew Holt
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
The executive leadership team of UpHealth, the self-described “global digital health super-company” that’s headed toward the public market via a SPAC that’s brought together six companies, 10-years of health tech innovation, and a war chest of $285M dollars, stops by to talk about growth plans and grabbing market share. UpHealth’s Chairman & Founder, Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, Co-CEO & President Dr. Al Gatmaitan, and future COO Jamey Edwards talk through what Jamey says is “really a revenue story” about the fastest growth areas of digital health. Global telehealth, integrated care management, digital pharmacy, and behavioral health will be UpHealth’s sweet spots. The newco is positioning itself as a “one-stop shop” for the digital healthcare infrastructure that will support a local healthcare organization in rolling out digital care services and integrating them with their in-person care continuums. This is different than, say, a Teladoc or an Amwell, which in addition to providing infrastructure also have their own tech-enabled medical groups, which can sometimes be viewed as competitive to their customers. The global nature of UpHealth is another differentiator, particularly in how it hopes to ultimately make it possible for highly specialized care from the US to be “exported” to countries abroad AND for lower cost care for lower acuity issues to be “imported” in. With $190M in revenue projected for 2021 – and that’s NOT dependent on integrating the six companies – we talk through areas for potential growth, that aforementioned competitive landscape, and whether or not UpHealth is feeling the pressure to hurry their integration.
By SOFIA NOORI
On January 26th, Philadelphia discovered that the 22-year-old organizer of its largest COVID-19 vaccination site, Andrei Doroshin, had turned away elderly members of the Philadelphia community from their vaccine appointments. Instead, he pocketed extra vaccine vials to administer to 4 friends and girlfriend. An RN witnessed the event and reported it to authorities.
For the people in the back: One can’t simply “Elon Musk” healthcare. We have seen this too many times – a privileged young upstart with little experience believes that s/he can transform healthcare and make millions – or billions – doing so. Examples abound: we only have to look a couple years into the past to remember Elizabeth Holmes, the Stanford dropout who founded Theranos and misrepresented its technology, or to Outcome Health, whose former CEO Rishi Shah defrauded investors by overinflating business metrics. If “move fast and break things” works in other sectors, many reason, why won’t it work in the 4 trillion dollar industry of healthcare?
Healthcare is simply not the kind of business where one can shoot a rocket into the sky and accept the risk that it might explode. Simply put, this is people’s lives we’re dealing with. But a deeper layer involves trust in the medical establishment. U.S. healthcare is already marred by multiple grave issues: a complex bureaucracy, serious health inequities, and astronomical costs that can bankrupt a person in just one hospitalization. The trust that people have in U.S. healthcare has steadily dropped over the years. Further, the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. government’s bungled response to it has only sowed further distrust, especially among marginalized and minoritized communities.Continue reading…
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Apparently, self-insured employers hot on better managing their healthcare spend are finding truth (and dollars) in Embold Health’s mantra that “quality is the best, most sustainable way to control costs.” This health tech startup is applying the old “Centers of Excellence” framework to the individual physician level; helping identify high-performing primary care docs and specialists in local markets for employers who not only want to offer their employees better quality care, but also improve the healthcare system in the communities in which they live and work.
Daniel Stein, Embold Health’s co-Founder & CEO, explains the company’s model, which is being perfected with one of the most demanding-yet-coveted “health activist” employers out there: Walmart. In this particular case, Walmart is actually incentivizing its employees to go to the providers ranked highest by Embold’s assessment, which looks at physician performance along three categories: 1) appropriateness of care; 2) outcomes; and 3) cost-effective compared to peers in-market. Backed by the robust national BlueCross BlueShield dataset, the information Embold Health is collecting, analyzing, and doling out to employers can definitely cause some health systems to take pause — and their docs to bristle. So, how does Embold Health diffuse potential blowback? Here’s where the competitive nature of local healthcare, particularly in the world of primary care, becomes clutch. Tune in to hear the details, including some very interesting stats, as well as Embold’s latest endeavors to help docs make better referrals to specialists.
By KIM BELLARD
By all rights, I should be writing about the battle between Reddit forum WallStreetBets and Wall Street hedge funds. Depending on one’s point of view, it’s hilarious, frightening, or a searing indictment on stock trading – maybe all three.
Let’s start with this: for the low, low price of $5,000, you could have your very own quantum computer. Spin Q Technology, a Chinese company, has recently introduced its Spin Q, a less expensive, less powerful version of its Spin Q Gemini, which went for $50,000. Other quantum computers, such as those by Google, IBM, or D-Wave, have a few more zeroes in their price. Spin Q Technology has a clear goal in offering this version:
We believe that low-cost portable quantum computer products will facilitate hands-on experience for teaching quantum computing at all levels, well-prepare younger generations of students and researchers for the future of quantum technologies.
You may remember that Steve Jobs and Apple had a similar strategy in the 1980’s, establishing a presence in the education market and among a generation of users that has served it well.
If you’re looking for something more powerful, maybe even use for business purposes, you are also in luck: today Microsoft announced that Azure Quantum “is now open for business.” Microsoft bills Azure Quantum as “the world’s first full-stack, public cloud ecosystem for quantum solutions.”Continue reading…
On Episode 182 of Health in 2 Point 00, we’ve actually got deals less than $100 million. Starting off with one though, Sidecar Health raises $125 million bringing their total to $163 million. Folx raises $25 million providing telehealth for the LGBTQ+ community and growing fast, TimelyMD raises $60 million providing telehealth for colleges, another MSK company SWORD Health raises $25 million and GetWellNetwork acquires Docent Health for an undisclosed amount of money. —Matthew Holt
By MATTHEW HOLT
David Medvedeff, CEO Aspen RxHealth, tells me about the new role of pharmacists in managing chronically ill patients. Aspen RxHealth has put together a network of independent pharmacists and a tool that allows them to select patients, call them and consult with them for their pharmacy issues. It’s kinda like the original Teladoc model but for pharmacists, while the clients are health plans keen for their patients to avoid problems with polypharmacy. They’ll be doing 200K+ consults this year and just raised $23m.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess asks me about Lyra Health raising $187 million — this is their third raise in less than a year — and gets my take on the SPAC rumor for 23andMe, which is valued at $2.5 billion and just raised $82.5 million in December, and the rumor about Ro following Hims & Hers in a SPAC. Sharecare IS planning on “SPAC-ing” and recently acquired Doc.ai, and DarioHealth acquires Upright Technologies for $31 million. —Matthew Holt
One-Price, 30-Day Warranty, Payment at Discharge: Carrum Health’s CEO on Changing How We Buy Surgery
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
No copays. No coinsurance. No surprise out-of-network anesthesiologist fees or pre-op imaging bills. Just one, single price (that you see in advance) tells you EXACTLY what you’ll be paying for your surgical care on Carrum Health. Backed by the recent close of a $40M Series A funding round, the health tech startup’s CEO Sach Jain talks through all the ways his company is looking to disrupt how we buy surgical care. Standardized bundle pricing is just the beginning. Carrum requires its Centers of Excellence (and each of their docs) to pass a proprietary 50-point inspection before they can join the platform, AND every surgery must be backed by a 30-day Warranty! How have they convinced providers to jump through these kinds of hoops? With a growing client-base of self-insured employers (Sach says they have several Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 clients) and payment-in-full made to providers upon discharge, the case for additional revenue and zero A/R days is pretty compelling to a health system. And what about the other side of the business model? Tune in to find out why Sach believes Carrum Health’s “marketplace” approach will appeal to the growing base of “activist” employers whose HR benefits administrators are becoming more and more adept at building-their-own healthcare networks.
THCB Gang was held live on Thurs Jan 28 1pm PT -4pm ET. The recording is below.
Joining me, Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) were fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey), consultant/author Rosemarie Day @Rosemarie_Day1), THCB regular health writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard); employer health expert Jennifer Benz (@jenbenz) & patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@MLMillenson).
There was almost nothing to talk about. No inauguration, no riots, pandemic under control via vaccination….oh wait. Actually a lot to talk about with the vaccination rollout, the likelihood of health policy changing in the COVID relief bill, and how the wild world of Gamestop stock trading might impact Digital Health –well we didn’t talk about that but we did talk about employers and what they were going to do!