This was a special early in the day edition of #THCBGang. It was at 9.15am PT/ 12.15 pm ET (so if you are coming at 1pm it won’t be live today at the normal time as it’s already happened!). It was part of the Primary Care Transformation Summit which has been running since Monday and continues to the end of Friday. It’s a who’s who of everyone in primary care. You can check out the wider agenda but we were on immediately before the day 3 keynote from head of CMS Innovation, Liz Fowler.
Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) to discuss primary care and more were are WTF Health host & Health IT girl Jessica DaMassa (@jessdamassa); futurist Jeff Goldsmith; & Dan O’Neill (@dp_oneill) who is now at primary care group Pine Park Health.
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.
Mental health digital therapeutics startup Happify Health has spent the past 5 years quietly ‘self-actualizing’ into a brand-new, tech platform company that just launched this week: Twill. This is a big pivot – not just a brand change – and we’ve got co-founder & President Ofer Leidner and newly-hired Chief Operating Officer Megan Callahan (who formerly ran Lyft Health) here to tell us how it all went down AND what will happen to the old Happify app.
Wellness-app-no-more, Twill has emerged as a health tech infrastructure company. Its core product (called Sequences) is the open architecture, digital back-end that ties together a health plan, employer, or pharma co’s various digital point solutions – wellness apps, digital therapeutics, virtual coaching, peer support groups, telehealth platforms, etc. etc. – to create one neat-and-tidy, hyper-personalized, automagically-navigated patient care journey based on condition or patient population.
Big brands like Elevance Health (Anthem), Biogen, and Almirall have already bought-in, with products already in market for conditions as diverse as maternal health, multiple scleroses, and psoriasis. Not forgetting its mental health roots, Twill is bringing in its own vast resources from the ole Happify days to run digital mental health support under each of these disease-specific point solutions. Ofer and Megan say that Sequences can be developed for ANY condition or to target specific populations of patients and they plan to launch 2-3 new Sequences each year.
What else is ahead for Twill now that it’s revealed from its stealthy start? Happify Health had raised $73 million in March 2021 in a big round lead by Deerfield Management Company – what should we expect next? Tune in for all the details on the transformation, the new products, and how other digital health companies can expect to work with Twill in the future.
In the ‘point solution versus platform’ debate, mark another score for integration as Vida Health jumps into the musculoskeletal (MSK) care space. This is a move we’ve seen before among the digital health chronic condition management set (remember when Omada acquired Physera, Dario Health acquired Upright, and everyone was waiting to see if Livongo would make a play for Sword or Hinge?) so why is Vida just jumping in now?
Dr. Patrick Carroll, Vida Health’s Chief Medical Officer, lets us in on the strategy behind the startup’s move into the MSK space and what it signals about how employers (and their employees) are starting to view digital health and virtual care within the larger scope of available care options out there.
As for Vida’s MSK program, it’s different than what you might expect. According to Pat, the program is strictly focused on lower back pain and helping members quickly find the physical therapy and, if needed, mental health care that can make a real difference to their overall health in a manner of weeks. If something more complex is discovered, Pat says Vida is working with partners – including those digital-first MSK clinics – to refer out. Is this the long-term play or will Vida eventually build out or buy its way further into MSK? We find out what’s ahead for the cardiometabolic care company as it launches yet another new offering to improve access to care.
Butterfly Network (NYSE: $BFLY) is working to make its pocket-sized, smartphone-directed ultrasound as “ubiquitous as the stethoscope” – hoping to give docs and nurses at the point-of-care the ability to easily perform any type of scan and instantly see the results. Dr. John Martin, Butterfly’s Chief Medical Officer, talks us through the technology behind the $2,400 hand-held device and how the company is working with healthcare orgs to integrate ultrasound into their workflows — completely shifting the paradigm for where-and-when scans are performed and able to be utilized.
What does this paradigm shift toward on-demand, point-of-care ultrasound really mean for the practice of medicine? Is this over-medicalization and unnecessary, or the key to higher-quality care? And, what about the risk involved in taking ultrasound out of the specialized-and-certified arena of the radiology department and democratizing it for front-line practitioners?
John lets us ask all the tough questions, talks through what’s being learned as Butterfly scales-up and builds its body of use cases, and gives us some insight on how the business itself is doing after going public via SPAC last year. Fun fact on the diversity of those use cases: Beyond human healthcare and the very important work of helping improve maternal and fetal health in Africa via a $5 million dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Butterfly is also being rolled-out across 200 Petco care centers to help veterinarians use point-of-care scans to treat our pets.
Jess DaMassa packs in 3 headlines before the intro! There’s a SPAC, the Roe abortion decision & more Cerebral drama. We discusses them all and still find 2 minutes to tell all about Picnic Health ($60m), Swing Therapeutics ($10.3m), Socially Determined ($26m), Nomad Health ($105) & Tomorrow Health ($60m) –Matthew Holt
“Being an unpaid caregiver is the epicenter of Life Sucks Disease,” says Alexandra Drane, Co-Founder & CEO of ARCHANGELS, “but it’s also one of the most glorious, one of the most magnificent jobs we’ll ever have.” So, what’s the trick to managing the “sucky” side of caregiving? Data.
Alex’s company ARCHANGELS has invented the Caregiver Intensity Index, which she describes as a “two-and-a-half minute Cosmo quiz” that helps caregivers quantify the intensity of their caregiving experience and identify the top two things driving that intensity and the top two things alleviating it. The score coming out of this helps caregivers validate the intensity of their experience, offers a framework for communicating about it, and, as Alex puts it, delivers “data that gives them permission to believe” that the stress they are feeling is real. ARCHANGELS then uses the info to crosswalk caregivers to existing resources that can help them manage those intensity-driving challenges – whether they be related to financial stress, workplace stress, relationship stress or otherwise.
Knowing that health plans and employers are starting to “see the light” when it comes to caregiving and its impact on their workforce, Alex and I talk about just how much payers are really willing to contribute to supporting the resources needed to support caregivers and how the data ARCHANGELS is providing is helping demonstrate need and connection to health and well-being. Lots of interesting data points on caregiving in this one – particularly when it comes to mental health and how things have changed through the pandemic. Watch now!
Jess & I have been out late playing the odds in Vegas at the AHIP conference. This #healthtechdeals has a special appearance from our friend Lara Dodo at Newtopia, and then there are deals for Proximie ($80m), Abacus Insights ($28m), AI VF ($25m), Florence Health ($27m) & Cara Care ($7m) –Matthew Holt
What BIG thing is Avaneer Health building with its $50 million SEED round backed by not-just-investors-but-also-partners CVS Health, Aetna, Anthem, Cleveland Clinic, HCSC, PNC Bank, Sentara Healthcare and IBM Watson Health? CEO Stuart Hanson stops by to clear-up the mystery that IS Avaneer Health, and how the massive data exchange platform it’s building is meant to connect the data coming out of the biggest payers and biggest providers in healthcare, directly and in real-time.
Hang on – is this the blockchain-based data exchange healthcare has been talking about for more than a decade?? It sure is trying to be. And what Stuart says is different about Avaneer’s effort is, indeed, the fact that it’s backed by some of the biggest brands in the business and that they see the business case in being able to more effectively share their data with one another. As he explains it, “this problem of data interoperability and data fluidity is bigger than any competitive business model that they need to worry about…”
Stuart is careful to explain what Avaneer IS and what it IS NOT, and this is critical to the company’s growth plans and revenue model. Avaneer is NOT a data intermediary; it’s not about aggregating data, normalizing it, de-identifying it, or applying any fancy machine learning algorithms to it to deliver “insights” on it. Avaneer is strictly a platform for secure, compliant data exchange, so, for example, Anthem can connect to Cleveland Clinic in real-time and verify insurance coverage. The revenue model is currently built around access to the network and will one-day-soon also take in fees from ‘Solutions Innovators’ (aka data-aggregating, algorithm-loving, insights-dropping health tech companies) that will offer their services as add-on’s to Avaneer’s customers who are plugged into the network.
What’s ahead for this stealthy start-up as it scales? Could they REALLY be looking to raise a follow-on seed round?? Find out what kind of investors they’re looking for and what’s ahead on their product roadmap in this in-depth chat.
Hear the big news? Not only has Oracle bought Cerner, but Larry Ellison says “Interoperability! What interoperability? Oracle has fixed it!” Some new funding deals: CapitalRX raises $106 million; EnsoData raises $20 million; CareAcademy raises $20 million; and Inne raises $10 million; Boulder Care raises $35.7 million. Check out the AHIP Conference 2022 taking place in Las Vegas! We’ll be there! Tickets are $100 off with code THCB.
What’s Lee Shapiro’s take on the health tech market’s state-of-play? 7wireVenture’s Co-Founder and Managing Partner stops by to talk early-stage investment, what’s hot and what’s not post-pandemic, and how he views the digital health funding frenzy of the past couple years which, one could argue, was kicked into high-gear by portfolio-company-slash-previous-employer Livongo.
Lee says there’s “enough broken business processes in healthcare to last a lifetime,” which means a lot of opportunity for consumer-minded health tech startups to change things, but does the recent slowdown in venture funding and pummeling of public market health tech stocks indicate that the category is in trouble before it even gets a chance to make a real impact? We get Lee’s opinion on whether or not the market is cooling, what he thinks will happen next with valuations, and what he views as the best way to scale a healthcare startup – particularly as we watch Glen Tullman run the ‘Livongo playbook’ at new business Transcarent. And, speaking of Glen… did Lee really teach him everything he knows?? We’re starting some trouble in this one!