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#Healthin2Point00, Episode 194 | Ro, Appriss, Everlywell & Ginger

We’re swimming in a pool of money, health tech! Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we have over $1 billion and 3 acquisitions in this episode alone. First up is Ro, which just raised $500 million – they’re building quite the big healthcare company; their valuation is roughly double what Hims is trading and their revenue is a little bit more. Next, Appriss Health acquires PatientPing for $500 million and Everlywell acquires both PWNHealth and Home Access Health Corporation. Finally, our friends over at Ginger close another $100 million round. Be sure to tune into Jess’s interview with the CEO Russ Glass for the scoop. —Matthew Holt

Inside Ginger’s $100M Funding & Plans to Scale Value-Based Digital Mental Health Care

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Digital mental health startup Ginger just closed a $100M funding round on the heels of its biggest growth year yet: tripling revenue in 2020, bringing its employer-client count to 500, and expanding to offer its services to more than 30 integrated health systems and health plans. CEO Russ Glass updates us on what’s next for the company now that it, too, has joined the $1-Billion-Plus club of digital mental health startups.

In a space where competitors are well-capitalized and poised to scale (Don’t forget: Talkspace awaits it’s SPAC IPO, Lyra Health has raised a whopping $475M, and others like Happify Health and Modern Health have just soared past $100M in total funding) Ginger plans to stand apart with a value-based care approach that offers employers a single-priced, fixed fee that gives employees access to Ginger’s entire spectrum of care. Launched during the pandemic, more than 60% of Ginger’s new employer clients have opted for this approach in effort to improve both the quality and cost of care offered to their employees. We dig in to hear more about this model and hear Russ’s predictions for how the supply-and-demand imbalance in mental health will continue to impact us (and the digital mental health market) as the pandemic wans.

Maximizing the Long Term Value of Virtual Care

By JON BLOOM

The rate of adoption for virtual care and remote monitoring solutions has skyrocketed over the last year as access to in-person appointments has been limited, but despite the uptick, we’re still drastically underutilizing their potential. These solutions often focus on treating a singular episode or chronic condition, when in fact they can open the door to more wide-ranging proactive monitoring and care that can have huge benefits in the long term. 

By simply offering a touchpoint for patients to interact with the health care system through solutions like remote monitoring, providers can detect and address all sorts of problems before they escalate and require more intense, expensive interventions, even if the problem isn’t related to the primary purpose of the solution. 

The downstream effects of these solutions are significant, both in terms of reducing the financial strain by eliminating unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations, and in the long-term patient outcomes that are improved by catching problems early. 

For example, a study from October we conducted with the Mid Atlantic Permanente Group found that one prevention program for patients at risk of diabetic foot complications also saw reductions in all-cause hospitalizations by 52 percent and emergency department visits by 41 percent. Despite the fact that the subject solution was originally designed specifically to help prevent diabetic foot complications, the touchpoint was able to have a profound impact on overall health and total cost of care. 

This follows previous research on other condition-specific remote patient monitoring solutions that showed similar reductions in all-cause hospitalizations and mortality, further supporting the idea that these solutions can have broader impacts than just helping treat the condition they’re designed for. 

These findings are especially significant considering many of these solutions, like the one studied in the October research, are often deployed to underserved populations who tend to be less likely to schedule care on their own, whether that be for a well visit or because they’ve noticed a change in their health. By putting devices in their homes and removing the burden of seeking care, we can move toward a future in which patients are able to get the care they need even if they don’t know they need it or don’t know how to get it. 

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#Healthin2Point00, Episode 193 | Evidation, Komodo Health, Bigfoot Biomedical & Glooko

On Episode 193 of Health in 2 Point 00, we have another huge day! We catch up on Amazon’s telehealth news before covering more massive deals. Evidation gets $153 million, bringing their total to a whopping $259 million and Komodo Health gets $220 million, bringing their total to $319 million. Bigfoot Biomedical raises $53 million for Type 1 diabetes care, and Glooko raises $30 million for their management system primarily working with diabetes clinics. —Matthew Holt

Nanoparticles On My Mind

By KIM BELLARD

Nanoparticles are everywhere!  By that I mean, of course, that there seems to be a lot of news about them lately, particularly in regard to health and healthcare.   But, of course, literally they could be anywhere and everywhere, which helps account for their potential, and their potential danger.

Let’s start with one of the more startling developments: a team at the University of Miami’s College of Engineering, led by Professor Sakhrat Khizroev, believes it has figured out a way to use nanoparticles to “talk” to the brain without wires or implants.  They use “a novel class of ultrafine units called magnetoelectric nanoparticles (MENPs)” to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. 

“Once the MENPs are inside the brain and positioned next to neurons, we can stimulate them with an external magnetic field, and they in turn produce an electric field we can speak to, without having to use wires,” Professor Khizroev explained.  A special magnetic helmet would communicate with the MENPs, in real-time. 

Other efforts, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink, have been looking at using implants to achieve the brain-computer interface, but Dr. Khizroev is skeptical of this kind of approach:

Other efforts have used external instruments like microelectrodes to try to solve the mysteries of the brain, but because of its complexity and difficulty in accessing, such methods can only go so far.  There are 80 billion neurons in the human brain, so imagine how difficult it would be to attach 80 billion microelectrodes to access every single neuron. The only way to truly tap in is wirelessly—through nanotechnology.

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The Art of Clinical Decision Making: Friday Afternoon Dilemmas

By HANS DUVEFELT

The woman had a bleeding ulcer and required a blood transfusion. The hospital discharge summary said to see me in three days for a repeat CBC. But she had a late Friday appointment and there was no way we would get a result before the end of the day. She also had developed diarrhea on her pantoprazole and had stopped the medication. As if that wasn’t enough, her right lower leg was swollen and painful. She had been bed bound for a couple of days in the hospital and sedentary at home after discharge.

She could still be bleeding and she could have a blood clot. There were no openings for an ultrasound until almost a week later. Normally, with the modern blood thinners, we can just start anticoagulation until the diagnosis of a blood clot can be confirmed or disproven. But you don’t do that when somebody has a bleeding ulcer.

The radiology department solved my dilemma by pointing out that the emergency room can order an ultrasound and the department will call in an on-call technician. So that is where my patient had to go. Her blood count was stable and the ultrasound was negative. So now we just have to hope that lansoprazole, which she had taken in the past, but stopped because she didn’t have heartburn, would be effective.

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THCB Gang Episode 47, Thursday March 18

Joining me , Matthew Holt (@boltyboy), on THCB Gang this week were fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey), consumer advocate & CTO of Carium, Lygeia Ricciardi (@Lygeia), THCB regular authors radiologist Saurabh Jha (@roguerad) & cardiologist Anish Koka (@anish_koka), with futurist Jeff Goldsmith on hand to keep us all honest. We started with Casey’s current health journey and Anish’s inability to get vaccines for his clinic — and this moved to a really fun and raucous discussion about whether the public sector can work in health care, whether we need to mandate the vaccine and if America is becoming a failed state! Great stuff!

If you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels

#Healthin2Point00, Episode 192 | Happify, 100Plus, Health Recovery Solutions—& Glen Tullman is back

Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we’re back with more deals as promised for our post St-Patty’s episode. On Episode 192, Jess and I have lots to chat about because Glen Tullman is back—he becomes the CEO of Transcarent, a new company which is going direct to employers and doing navigation and telehealth and centers of excellence. Despite the crowded space (especially after this week’s Doctor on Demand and Grand Rounds merger), Glen says there is huge demand from employers. Catch our interview with him on WTF Health. Next, Happify Health gets $75 million, bringing their total up to $123 million. I had an interview with their President Ofer Leidner on THCB Spotlight yesterday, so tune in there to find out about this mental health company delivering automated, self-service care. Finally, two remote patient monitoring companies get funding – 100Plus gets $25 million in a Series A, and Health Recovery Solutions gets $70 million in a C. How are these different and why is there all this money in RPM now? —Matthew Holt

Glen Tullman’s Return to Digital Health: In-Depth Chat on New CEO Role at Transcarent

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

As if one consumer digital health company with an $18.5B exit wasn’t enough, Livongo founder Glen Tullman has decided to give the transformation of healthcare another go – this time as Executive Chairman & CEO of Transcarent. Matthew Holt and I sit down with Glen to hear about the “new kind of experience” that Transcarent is offering self-insured employers and their employees: one focused on providing unbiased information, guidance for accessing high-value healthcare, and an at-risk model that promises to share back the financial benefits associated with better healthcare decision-making.

Could you consider Transcarent an aggregator, a healthcare navigator-PLUS, or is it more like a next-gen health plan that does everything but process claims? Glen talks about how his team was “asked” to jump into providing a better experience for this kind of healthcare service, details what the company needs next, and explains the role of Bridge Health, which merged with Transcarent in October 2020 when the company closed its $44M Series A. Familiar investors, General Catalyst and Glen’s own 7Wire Ventures, have led the funding for Transcarent and we find out if there will be any additional support from the Health Assurance Acquisition Corporation (the SPAC that Glen launched in partnership with General Catalyst’s Hemant Taneja and others) that could potentially provide a vehicle for taking the business public. And, what about Teladoc Health? With a seat on TDOC’s Board, does Transcarent’s commitment to offering “unbiased” direction to the best possible healthcare put Glen into a conflict of interest? This is one catch-up chat you’re not going to want to miss!

#Healthin2Point00, Episode 191 | Doctor on Demand & Grand Rounds merge, plus more staggering deals

Today on Health in 2 Point 00, it’s St. Patrick’s Day and to top off your green beer we’ve got plenty of green money. First up on Episode 191, the news we’ve been waiting for: Doctor on Demand and Grand Rounds merge. No SPAC here, but this is a real harbinger for the future. Strive Health raises $140 million – this is Google money, looking to reinvent chronic kidney disease care. Social determinants of health startup Unite Us raises $150 million, integrating social services into medical records to address the social determinants. Finally Clarify Health raises $115 million working with population health data for drug companies, hospitals, and health plans. —Matthew Holt

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