At the intersection of two (still) hot areas of health tech investment – IT infrastructure and mental health – sits NeuroFlow, a tech platform that integrates into care management systems and EHRs to help clinicians and care managers identify behavioral health conditions in patients as they are getting their annual check-ups, post-partum exams, and other routine healthcare services. The startup just added another $25 million in growth capital to its coffers in mid-October, bringing their total funding to just under $60 million. We chat with CEO Chris Molaro about how this new funding will be used to continue fueling the company’s scale-up efforts and how provider orgs are responding to the added responsibility that comes with providing this type of mental health care screening across its care teams.
“If last year was EUPHORIA…‘We made it! Digital health is relevant!’ This year, it’s a little more panic. More, ‘Are we okay???’” SVB Securities’ Senior Managing Director Stephanie Davis says that she’s been getting asked for a lot of advice this year, so we jump on the bandwagon. Should digital health and health tech be worried? What about exits? What areas of health innovation are still hot? Which are not? And, what the heck is “creative destruction” and why is it her favorite buzz phrase from HLTH 2022?
Stephanie answers all our questions, reassures us of the healthcare market’s resiliency, and offers up some high-level perspective on which “wallet” (payer, pharma, or provider) startups will want to align with to weather the short-term.
Deena Shakir, General Partner at Lux Capital, shares her take on the market state-of-play for healthcare innovation amid these “tumultuous” economic times. As an investor, Deena has been a passionate advocate for women and children’s health and her fund, Lux Capital, invests broadly in health tech – pre-seed to pre-IPO, from virtual-first care delivery businesses like women’s health clinic, Maven, (on whose Board Deena sits after Lux co-led their $110M Series D) to health tech infrastructure businesses like Commure and Tendo and those working in AI, ML, and robotics.
We get into which types of emerging health businesses Deena thinks are still “hot” despite the downturn, specifically talking about what’s changing in women’s health including current care gaps, health IT infrastructure and its “moment” this year, and how the opportunities in mental health investing are starting look more compelling on the diagnostic side of things.
Overall sentiment: Deena says, “As Venture Capital investors we have long time horizons. We want to invest in things and have a 10-year plus outlook, so it’s actually an incredible time to be doing early-stage investing.” But, what if you’ve sailed past your Series A? Well…tune in to find out what Deena has to say about her experience with later-stage startups and those who thought they may have had an exit planned this year.
Health Gorilla is in the business of health data interoperability and the double-backflip this startup is doing to both make clinical data an easily accessible commodity – while also making sure that access to that data adheres to the privacy rules established by the US government – takes a minute to understand, but is critically important for the future of many health tech businesses.
CEO Steve Yaskin takes on the tough job giving us a brief overview of TEFCA (the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement) which is meant to establish once-and-for-all a common ground for data interoperability. Then, we get into QHINs – a specially designated group of “qualified health information networks – and how his business is applying for this certification to further build “the bridge” between the public sector and the private sector and what’s needed to achieve compliance for data exchange.
Phew! No wonder this startup has landed nearly $80 million dollars in funding! We talk about the basis for the business model – but, more importantly, the real market need – and find out what’s in store for all of us in the next chapter of data interoperability.
Along with the implementation of CMS’s hospital price transparency rules in 2021 came a market opportunity for savvy health tech startups able to not only aggregate the massive amount of data coming in from providers and payers, but to actually make it usable for shopping healthcare services or large-scale market analysis for those without a computer engineering degree or background in healthcare economics. Turquoise Health is one of those startups, but what makes the Andreessen Horowitz-backed biz a stand-out from the pack is the extra SAS platform of services it’s building on top of those analytics and compliance products that will, ultimately, offer payers and providers a way to use all that pricing data to better negotiate their contracts with one another. Turquoise Health’s CEO Chris Severn explains the business model and how he plans to ‘platform out’ price transparency to a next-gen rev cycle state that gets us to the holy grail of “upfront, ubiquitous pricing in healthcare.”
Komodo Health’s co-founder & President, Web Sun, has a big challenge for Big Pharma: Kick your “addiction” to the laborious, time-consuming, consultant-led process it takes to get the answers you need to your big data questions.
Komodo itself works with a lot of Big Pharma clients to use its full-stack approach to deliver insights on patient costs and outcomes at-scale – so, what’s up with the tough love??
The answer may have more to do with the news Web shares about how Komodo is starting to evolve its business model from working with Pharma on “applications” that leverage its platform to a model that lets third-party developers access that platform and its capabilities DIRECTLY. Web unpacks what this shift means, and how his team hopes it helps Pharma more cost-effectively invest in research for everything from clinical development and real-world evidence projects to health economics studies and patient outcomes research.
Still not sure how Komodo does its data magic? Web talks us through a great example — a synthetic control arm project (!!!) — Komodo is doing with AppliedVR, and, OF COURSE, what WTF Health interview would be complete without a follow-up on IPO gossip.
NEW VC Fund! Angelini Ventures just launched their $300 million dollar investment fund to support early-stage biotech and digital health startups in the US, Europe, and Israel. CEO & Managing Director Paolo Di Giorgio and Managing Director Elia Stupka explain the fund’s thesis which is different than the usual corporate investment funds because of its “very long-term” strategy and interest in supporting disruptive health innovation that doesn’t necessarily need to relate to the core businesses of its multi-national parent, Angelini Industries. Find out more – including details about where this fund has already placed some investment dollars – from this quick chat in Milan.
One-to-watch as a potential health tech IPO this year is care navigator Quantum Health, and I’m talking to CEO Zane Burke about both their breaking new product launch AND the key differences between Quantum and the increasingly competitive field of other employer benefits advocacy-based businesses like Accolade, Rightway, and Transcarent.
Private equity backed, two-decades old, and EBITA positive, Zane says Quantum Health is delivering an ROI of “over two-and-a-half to one” to its client roster of 450 top large, self-insured employers and saving more than 14% on all healthcare costs over time. The new product – Quantum Health Access – is a streamlined, more flexible version of the soup-to-nuts Complete Care offering capable of yielding these results, and it’s being offered to give the largest of employers (those big enough to be working with multiple health plans, for example) a way to start out with Quantum’s data-driven navigation tools without a total overhaul of their current benefits situation.
Zane explains Quantum’s “real-time intercept tool” and how it not only helps engage high-utilizers in an employer’s plan (aka those who spend more than $10,000 in claims), but how 85% of the time it catches them on their care journey before they’ve spent a thousand dollars – creating an early opportunity to provide better routing and, ultimately, reduce overall costs. The upside for Quantum? “Employers have long thought of the carriers as this is their responsibility, but the carriers are really maximizing around their siloed system to pay a claim, do the disease management, get you off the phone and into somebody else’s queue,” explains Zane. “Our model is, ‘hey…every single one of those interactions is a gold mine.’”
We get further into the details around the new Quantum Health Access product, and, more importantly, what Zane sees as Quantum’s key point of differentiation against Accolade, Rightway, Transcarent, and the rest. Tune in around the 20-minute mark to hear this bit and to find out what Quantum’s doing with provider data that makes “everybody else that talks that game” look like they are just playing “Pick Up Sticks.”
“What happens when there is a massive shift of where the beginning of a journey occurs…that sort of affords the opportunity for everyone after that to be disintermediated.” So says Zachariah “Z” Reitano, co-founder & CEO of Ro, arguably one of the most successful OG virtual-first care companies which has been providing telehealth-plus-testing-plus-pharmacy-delivery (and now a whole lot more) via its Roman and Rory brands since 2017.
As health tech companies – and now, more and more incumbent orgs and retail health providers – evolve their own “omnichannel” strategies, we talk to Z about Ro’s direct-to-patient care model, and what we can learn from its successful operation and expansion as one of the first “digitally native” healthcare providers.
To Z, the technology is just an enabler to a larger shift in how people are ultimately gaining more control over their health. Technology can turn luxuries into commodities, he says, and, at Ro, that’s translating into a concept they’re calling “goal-oriented healthcare,” which is basically providing the “luxury” of giving a patient what they want, when they want it; easily, conveniently, and affordably.
In short, Z explains: “Patients come to us, and they say what they want to achieve: ‘I want to lose weight…I want to have a child…I want to improve my mental health…I want to improve my skin…I want to have better sex.’ And then, we help them from beginning to end in the most convenient and effective way possible.”
The role of digital in all this is critical. It allows for costs to be stripped out, for providers to be able to practice at the top of their licenses, and for data to be shared between provider and patient asynchronously (aka conveniently.) But, it sounds like what’s most exciting about ‘virtual-first’ to Z is the “first” part – having the opportunity to initialize the relationship with the patient, then “raise the standard of where we guide people afterwards, and have the opportunity to disintermediate and really heavily influence the entire patient journey.”
Oooohh – can’t hear enough about this! Tune in to find out more about how Z sees virtual-first care as changing patients’ relationships with the healthcare system AND, because we had to talk a little policy too, get his thinking on how barriers like state licensure that are often looked at as constraints to ‘virtual care at-scale’ might also be evolving to help enable that shift.
* Special thanks to our series sponsor, Wheel – the health tech company powering the virtual care industry. Wheel provides companies with everything they need to launch and scale virtual care services — including the regulatory infrastructure to deliver high quality and compliant care. Learn more at www.wheel.com.
While at Dreamforce 2022, one of most thought-provoking things I heard was that, in order to really meet the needs of the healthcare consumer, we in healthcare need to once-and-for-all let go of the idea that there will be “one tech system to rule them all” and adopt an “and both” approach that integrates both the EHR and a CRM. The EHR is how we’ll “know the patient” and the CRM is how we’ll “know the customer.”
Dr. Geeta Nayyar, Salesforce’s SVP & Chief Medical Officer and Amit Khanna, SVP & GM of Salesforce’s Health & Life Sciences business join me to unpack this “and both” approach to infrastructure technology and talk all-things healthcare consumer. The paradigm shift that comes with this duality – we are at times “patients”, we are at times “customers” – is a big one. Especially in healthcare.
Dr. G speaks to the strategy that Salesforce is operating under to take its tech further into the healthcare and life sciences space, while Amit introduces us to some of the new Healthcare 360 product features launched at Dreamforce that fully show-off Salesforce’s expertise at integrating different technology solutions (Slack, MuleSoft, telehealth) and making perfect sense of massive amounts of real-time data (longitudinal record, health scoring).
As Salesforce advances further into the health market with more care-forward features in its CRM and a strategic focus on healthcare-important issues like improving equity and access to care, will our traditional view of the importance of the EHR change? What if the replacement tech comes with ‘self-service at-scale’ and more ‘seamless experiences?’ Could we head away from “and both” and choose CRM “instead of?” Tune in – the EHR IT infrastructure may have finally met its match!
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