Lots of changes at Bayer G4A: a new investment thesis, new additions to their portfolio, a new Global Head of Digital Health to meet, and a hot new virtual health forum (a free one!) coming up on November 18, 2020. Dominick Kennerson and Sophie Park join us from Berlin, where they’ve got their eyes on the trends shaping the worldwide digital health market. Are pharma companies changing the way they look at digital health companies in the face of the pandemic? Have we gone, well, beyond “beyond the pill”? Dom says Bayer’s been ahead of the curve when it comes to prioritizing digital innovation, and that we’re all going to be “very surprised” in the next 12-18 months about what we see come out of one of the world’s largest life sciences companies. For more clues and additional insight on Bayer’s priorities when it comes to digital health and the future of pharma, give this interview a quick listen then register for G4A’s Agents of Change event. HINT: From the “mad genius” herself…the agenda for the event is Bayer G4A’s roadmap. Bold move!
For more on the Agents of Change event, visit www.g4a.health.
Catalyst @ Health 2.0, supported by professional services firm Wipfli, is launching a survey about the state of Digital Health. We hope to get a comprehensive analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on digital health companies and the rest of the ecosystem. This survey should take under 8 minutes to complete (and probably less). For your time we will get you a copy of the results when they are released. As an added bonus TWO respondents drawn at random who complete the survey will get advertising for their company for 6 months on The Health Care Blog (worth $5,000).
We are interested in hearing from leaders working in digital health companies, or those connected to digital health in health systems, payers, life sciences, consulting or investment companies.
NOTE–None of the data from this survey will be shared by Catalyst @ Health 2.0 (even with our friends at Wipfli) other than as aggregate survey results. So you can be assured that your answers are completely confidential.
Matthew Holt is Co-Chairman of Catalyst @ Health 2.0 & Publisher of THCB
Episode 32 of “The THCB Gang” was live-streamed on Thursday, November 12th. The video is below.
Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) will be joined by some of our regulars: WTF Health Host Jessica DaMassa (@jessdamassa), radiologist Saurabh Jha (@RougeRad), MD-turned entrepreneur Jean-Luc Neptune (@jeanlucneptune), benefits communications leader Jennifer Benz (@jenbenz), THCB’s Editor-in-Chief me (zoykskhan) and guest Jeff Goldsmith, President of Health Futures, Inc. The conversation followed the post-election frenzy around COVID-19 response, the vaccines, the ACA, and what a Dem. president means for the United States in terms of health care.
If you’d rather listen to the episode, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels — Zoya Khan, producer
Potential digital health trend for 2021? Weight loss and weight management. Not only has obesity been an “epidemic” of its own for a number of years (40% of U.S. adults are obese, another 32% are overweight) BUT it’s also considered a risk-factor if infected with covid-19 and is a common co-morbidity for a number of chronic conditions. Add to that all the banana bread we’ve been seeing on Instagram and the “quarantine 15” memes that sum up the weight gain brought about by our increasingly sedentary, baked-goods-filled shelter-in-place lifestyles, and you can see where this is likely to go. So, how can health tech help? As healthcare payers and employers look toward weight management as a way to help prevent adverse health outcomes (covid-related or otherwise), we get some advice from Dr. Greg Steinberg, a clinical innovation expert who gained experience piloting novel, health tech solutions for weight management at Aetna. We demystify the relationship between healthcare payers and weight loss solutions, talk about what matters from a cost/value perspective, and, of course, find out what makes for optimal end-user success.
Even in this extraordinary year, this has been an extraordinary week. Last Tuesday we had what many believe to have been the most important Presidential election in recent times, maybe ever. The week also found the coronavirus pandemic reaching new heights. That was the week that was.
What struck me, though, is how both our election systems and our healthcare system rely on “ordinary” people to keep them going. They’ve never been more extraordinary than this year.
The pandemic first impacted voting earlier in the year, during primary season. Going to the polls suddenly seemed like potentially a life-threatening choice, and working at them practically suicidal. Dates of primaries were moved, many polling stations were closed, new voting procedures were put into place, and absentee ballots found a new popularity. And yet people turned out in droves to vote, often standing in line for hours.
President Trump upped the ante by constantly railing against absentee ballots and warning about voter fraud. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, record numbers of people voted early, in person or by mail. Several states had surpassed 2016 numbers of voters before Election Day. Tens of millions more showed up on Election Day. And, amazingly, Election Day passed with relatively few incidents.
When Accolade went public in July at a $1.2B valuation, the BIG question facing the health tech unicorn pre-dated the covid-19 pandemic and the chaos facing its clientbase of large, self-insured employers: Could they scale? Raj Singh, Accolade’s CEO, tackles the question head-on, buoyed by customer growth that has doubled twice over a fiscal-year-and-a-half and an expanded need for his company’s high-touch, concierge health benefits navigation services. As beleaguered employers struggle with making sure their employees have the health benefits they need to weather the pandemic, Accolade’s focus on making sure that those benefits remain as cost-contained as possible seems to be more attractive than ever. What else is resonating with self-insured employers these days? Raj talks about what will (and won’t) change when it comes to population health management in 2021 and gives us a reality check on whether or not employers and their employees are really using digital health tools like Livongo, Virta, Hinge, Kaia, Ginger, et. al when baked into their benefits ecosystem.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we have scandal, drama, intrigue, $100 million and murder! Wait, no; not murder. On Episode 166, we catch up on more deals before Jess gets carried away again. The $100 million goes to Carbon Health in a Series C, which is another Bay Area-based primary care startup; they’re doing a lot of work in COVID testing and growing fast. Next we have many health plans uniting with Cigna Ventures, Humana, and Anthem all investing in Buoy Health which just raised $37.5 million in a Series C. That leads us to a scandal with the former CEO of Navigating Cancer suing Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund. Finally, in the world of DTx, NightWare has received FDA clearance for its Apple Watch app designed to wake people with PTSD up from nightmares. —Matthew Holt
As COVID-19 brought to light the lack of emergency response preparedness in the health care system, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Catalyst @ Health 2.0 saw an opportunity to highlight digital health’s potential to support health care stakeholders and the general public. RWJF and Catalyst partnered to launch two Innovation Challenges on Emergency Response for the General Public and Emergency Response for the Health Care System.
The Emergency Response Innovation Challenges asked innovators to develop a health technology tool to support the needs of individuals as well as health care systems affected by a large-scale health crisis, such as a pandemic or natural disaster. The Challenges saw a record number of applications— nearly 125 applications were submitted to the General Public Challenge and over 130 applications were submitted to the Health Care System Challenge.
An expert panel of judges across the health tech, venture capital, design, and emergency response industries evaluated the entries and selected three finalists from each challenge to compete at a virtual pitch hosted by Catalyst @ Health 2.0 on Thursday, November 19th at 10am PT/1pm ET. Registration for this event is now open! RSVP for the pitch event HERE.
Finalists will present their solutions to an audience of investors, provider organizations, health plans, tech companies, foundations, government officials and members of the media. During the pitch, a judge panel will select the first, second, and third place winner based on impact, UX/UI, innovation/creativity, scalability and strength of presentation. The winners will be awarded $25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place. To learn more about the finalists, click on the links listed below, and to RSVP for the pitch event, click HERE.
Looking for more proof that telehealth has truly become a global trend in healthcare delivery? Our “man-on-the-street” in Italy, Roberto Ascione, CEO of Healthware Group, offers a detailed state-of-play on virtual care uptake across Europe, including how policy-makers, entrepreneurs, and investors are playing much more significant roles in spurning an increasingly “digital friendly” healthcare ecosystem in the wake of covid-19. On the eve of Frontiers Health 2020 — one of Europe’s leading health innovation conferences, of which Roberto is Chairman — we find out how those backing healthcare’s quickly evolving “tele-everything” revolution are planning to come together to push this agenda even further.
Note: Frontiers Health takes place THIS WEEK, on Thursday November 12 and Friday November 13. Check out the full agenda at www.frontiers.health. Fans of WTF Health get a discount! Just use code FH20WTF25 for 25% off registration fees. See you there!
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, there is so much to talk about between the election, the Affordable Care Act, and Pfizer’s COVID vaccine news. On Episode 165, we talk about how this is impacting the markets and cover more deals. ACA darling Centene has acquired Apixio, Koa Health spins out from Telefónica and gets $16.5M in initial funding, Eko raises $65 million in a Series C for their connected stethoscope and ECG, and Medically Home raises $40 million in another continuous clinic play, bringing their total to $65 million. —Matthew Holt