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Tag: Telehealth

Omada Health’s Acquisition of Physera: Sean Duffy & Dan Rubinstein on ‘The Deal’ & What’s Next

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Omada Health put to use part of their recent $57M funding round to acquire Physera, a musculoskeletal care company that uses telehealth and digital interventions to deliver ‘virtual physical therapy’ to those suffering from back, knee, and neck pain. How does the acquisition fit into Omada’s growth strategy? WTF Health’s Jessica DaMassa chats with both Omada Health’s CEO, Sean Duffy, and Dan Rubinstein, CEO of Physera, about the acquisition, the IPO buzz that continues to swirl around Omada, and whether or not the opportunity that COVID-19 has created for digital care will be lasting as we move forward.

Healthcare Starts to Zoom Along

By KIM BELLARD

A year ago, if you’d used or even heard about Zoom, you were probably in the tech industry.  Today, if you haven’t used Zoom, your friends or colleagues must not like you very much.  COVID-19 has made most of us homebound most of the time, and video services like Zoom are helping make that more bearable.

And, thankfully, healthcare is finally paying attention.

Zoom was founded in 2011, poking along under the radar for several years, overshadowed by competitors like Skype or WebEx.  For the entire month of May 2013 it only had a million meeting participants.  Even by December 2019 it could boast “only” 10 million daily users.

Then — boom — COVID-19 hits and people start staying at home.  Daily users skyrocketed to 200 million in March and as many as 300 million in April (well, not quite).  Daily downloads went from 56,000 in January 2020 to over 2 million in April.  Zoom is now used by businesses and families alike, drawn by its simplicity and ease of use.  

By all rights, we should be using WebEx for business video calls and Skype for personal ones.  Both had been around longer, offered credible services, and still exist.  But both were acquired along the way, WebEx by Cisco, and Skype ultimately by Microsoft.  As with its acquisition of Nokia, once acquired Microsoft didn’t quite seem to know what to do with it.  Each left openings that Zoom plunged through when the pandemic hit.

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Pandemic State of Mind: Data from Behavioral Telehealth Startup Reveals How We’re Feeling

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

“The mental health system was completely broken before COVID. The supply-demand imbalance was wildly upside down. Now, that’s just all exacerbated.”

On-demand mental health startup Ginger has watched usage of their app climb 130% over the last 4-week period. The conversations people are having with clinicians are growing more intense (there’s an internal metric for that) and amid all of this the late-stage startup has re-run its ‘Workforce Attitudes’ survey to find out what’s really going on with the mental health of the employee populations it serves.

CEO Russell Glass dives into some of the findings of that report, which are pretty revealing in terms of understanding how we as a population are dealing with our stress around COVID-19 when we’re seeking professional help with it. Nearly 70% of respondents confessed this was the most stressful period of their career — five times more stressful than the financial crash of 2008 — and there are some surprising differences with how this is all unfolding across gender lines, especially with working from home.

With inbound interest from employers up 4X over the past month, we get Russ’s input on whether or not the demand for telehealth will sustain once the crisis is over and if the temporary regulatory and reimbursement changes will become permanent. Says Russ: “This is like a great experiment of the efficacy of telehealth versus non-telehealth.”

Australia Healthcare Market: Telehealth, Digital Health Expected to Boom Post-Covid19 | WTF Health

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

As healthcare systems around the world grapple with the coronavirus, ‘virtual-first healthcare’ is fast becoming the global response of private and public healthcare systems alike. In Australia, the federal government recently committed to investing $500M to built out its country’s ‘virtual-first’ healthcare infrastructure, so we caught up with Louise Schaper, CEO of the Australasian Institute of Digital Health (AIDH), to find out what that means for telehealth, remote monitoring, and digital health companies looking to capitalize on the market opportunity in Australia.

With a population of 25 million people (roughly the number of people in Florida) and a set of newly-minted reimbursement codes that makes telehealth available to all of them via the government-funded public healthcare system, the appetite for investing in new health tech solutions has grown ravenous.

Says Louise, “Anyone who has solutions that are already market-tested and approved, I’d actually expand your networks globally now. There’s not a section of the globe that hasn’t been impacted by [covid19] and we’re all needing to work out how to deliver healthcare differently.”

As in other parts of the world, the government codes reimbursing telehealth and other virtual-first services are temporary (Australia’s are set to expire September 30, 2020), but organizations like the AIDH, the Australian Medical Association, and others are advocating for their permanence and are optimistic.

The prevailing sentiment is that, like in the US, the benefits of virtual care to healthcare consumers and clinicians are going to be difficult for the government to ignore. Add to that the potential of linking virtual care to the Aussie government’s AUD$2 billion dollar build of its MyHealthRecord system — a centralized, cloud-based EMR that holds the healthcare data of 90% of all Australians — and the prospect grows even more appealing.

Join us as we talk through the basics of the Australian healthcare system and get an insider’s look at the demand for digital health, remote monitoring, and telehealth Down Under.

Will the Covid-Induced Telemedicine Scramble Change Primary Care Forever?

By HANS DUVEFELT, MD

After my posts on telemedicine were published recently, (this one on Manly Wellness before the pandemic and this one after it erupted, on A Country Doctor Writes, then reblogged on The Health Care BlogKevinMD and many others), I have been asked about my views on telemedicine’s role in the future of primary care.

Things have changed quickly, and a bit chaotically, and there is a lot of experimentation happening right now in practices I work or speak with.

Before thinking about telemedicine in Primary Care, we need to agree on some sort of definition of primary care, because there are so many functions and services we lump together under that term.

Minor Illnesses

Many people think of primary care mostly as treating minor, episodic illnesses like colds, rashes, minor sprains and the like. This is an area that has attracted a lot of interest because it is easy money for the providers, since the visits tend to be quick and straightforward and such televisits are also attractive for the insurance companies if they can keep insured patients out of the emergency room. With the technical limitations of video quality and objective data such as heart rate and rhythm, I think this is an absolute growth area for telemedicine. However, with all the other forms but mostly here, fragmentation of care could become a complicated problem. To put it bluntly, if we still expect a medical professional or a health care organization to keep an eye on reports from various sources, such as hospital specialists, walk-in clinics or independent telemedicine providers, they are going to want to get paid for it.

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InTouch Health’s CEO on B2B Telehealth Demand & Post-Covid Virtual Care Market | WTF Health

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

“I never anticipated — and no one did — the level of uptake and the level of scale.”

It says a lot that Joe DeVivo, CEO of Intouch Health, who’s worked with hospitals and health systems on standing up B2B-focused telehealth programs for years (and whose company was acquired by Teladoc Health for $600-million dollars in January) is surprised about the uptake of virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Historically, I look at virtual care as a bell curve,” says Joe. “On one side of that small tail of the bell curve are the virtual care companies. Teladoc dominates that space for D2C. There’s millions of consultations a year, and we’re seeing a subset of that. On the opposite side of the bell curve is high-acuity, and what InTouch has been doing for critical care.”

“This crisis, and the changes in reimbursement, have opened up the middle of that bell curve. The core, everyday transaction of healthcare is now being impacted by virtual care. And the big question that everyone has is, “is this going to stick? Is this a crisis management tool and we’re going to go back to the ways of the past, or is that genie out of the bottle?”

We put Joe on-the-spot with his own question, find out what he thinks it will take to enable the permanent shift to virtual care at-scale, and dig in on how demand for telehealth within hospitals has changed as a result of the pandemic, where its not only being used to expand access to specialists, but has also been adapted into a PPE-hack to help frontline hospital workers distance themselves from infected patients.

And what of working with Teladoc? While waiting for the paperwork to finalize (all on-schedule for the end of Q2 as originally announced), the two have organized a co-selling agreement to be able to “hit the market fast” and bring their “hospital-to-home” end-to-end virtual care offering to those who need it now.

Health in 2 Point 00, Episode 116 | Telehealth $$, Layoffs and Rock Health’s Q1 fundraising report

Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I run through a lot of telehealth investments including Doctor Anywhere raising $27 million, 98point6 raising $43 million, Tyto Care raising $50 million, SilverCloud Health raising $16 million, SteadyMD raising $6 million, and Aktiia raising $6 million. In addition, there’s a company called Air Doctor which matches people when they’re traveling to doctors on the ground which raised $7.8 million despite the inauspicious timing. On the flip side, there have been a slew of layoffs in the space, and Jess and I give our $.02 on Rock Health’s Q1 fundraising report which was just released. Don’t miss our tag-team interview of Livongo’s Glen Tullman, and check out these episodes in podcast form on Spotify and iTunes. —Matthew Holt

The Tipping Point for Telehealth

By ALEXA B. KIMBALL MD, MPH

The tipping point for telehealth just happened. Many ways of doing business will change forever after the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, and health care, too, will never be the same. 

Between the release from some HIPAA requirements announced by President Trump this month, shifts in payor policies, and mandated insurance coverage of telehealth visits, innovation and adoption are taking off like wildfire. As patients and outpatient-based physicians hunker down at home, they are rapidly experimenting, and improving the way care is being delivered remotely. 

Our institution, which had no prior program, faced with an imminent shut down of elective activity, developed an enterprise-wide telehealth program in days, rendering hundreds of visits as soon as we launched it. This activity is being replicated all around the country. 

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Blue Cross NC Chief Medical Officer on “Flipping the Switch” To Telehealth at Parity | WTF Health

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

In the early days of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) stepped up as one of the first health insurance plans to announce reimbursing telehealth visits “at parity” with face-to-face office visits for all providers and specialists. Chief Medical Officer Rahul Rajkumar talks us through the strategy behind that decision to “flip the switch” for telemedicine — which was made in just one meeting (!) – and what metrics and outcomes the Blue plan will be looking at post-pandemic to decide if the switch remains on.

Conversation Highlights:

  • Changing reimbursement policies to cover ALL COVID-19 testing and treatment
  • 6:45 min: The role of virtual care during COVID-19 and reimbursement at parity
  • 11:11 min: How will telehealth be evaluated post-epidemic?
  • 13:58 min: Telehealth innovation, B2B use, remote monitoring (looking to providers to lead the way)
  • 17:25 min: What’s going to happen with healthcare costs in 2021?

For more on how health tech companies in digital health, telehealth, remote monitoring, health data, and more are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, check out the other interviews in this special series at www.wtf.health/covid19.

Health in 2 Point 00, Episode 115 | Olive, Bright.md and AristaMD

Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we have a no-nonsense April 1st episode—with deals this time! On Episode 115, Jess asks me about Olive raising $51 million for its AI-enabled revenue cycle management solution, Bright.md raising an $8 million Series C for its asynchronous telemedicine platform, and AristaMD raising $18 million for a different sort of telemedicine, eConsults, which allow primary care physicians to consult with specialists virtually. —Matthew Holt

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