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THCB Gang Episode 71, Nov 4

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on THCBGang Thursday were fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); cardiologist & provocateur Anish Koka (@anish_koka); patient activist, author & entrepreneur Robin Farmanfarmaian (@Robinff3); and THCB regular writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard).

We got into the “what are parents thinking about schools and what happens to politics as a result”, and then into the children’s COVID-19 vaccine, then how remote patient and now remote therapeutics monitoring, and ending with where we thought AI was going! Quite the conversation!

You can see the video below but if you’d rather listen to the episode, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels.

#Healthin2Point00, Episode 240|Tebra, Notable, Wellinks, Aktiia, and Enlace Health

Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I talk briefly about Frontiers Health – frontiers.health – a digital health company with a deep therapeutics focus. Kareo and Patient Pop merge to form Tebra and get $65 million dollars from a PE firm. A notable raise from Notable, $100 million in a Series B brings to total up to $119 million. Wellinks gets $25 million in a Series C in the COPD space. Constant Blood Pressure monitoring company Aktiia gets $17.5 million, bringing their total up to $28 million. Aver Inc. rebrands, becoming Enlace Health, and raises 58 million dollars bringing their total up to $111 million. Investment efforts in Enlace were led by Cox Inc., and the relationship between Cox and Enlace seems very tight. -Matthew Holt

Matthew Holt

WTF Health: Included Health’s CEO Owen Tripp on Grand Rounds, Doctor-on-Demand Merger & New Name

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF Health

A sign of effective ‘merging-and-acquiring’ among innovative healthcare companies? How about a new brand-name? The company known as “Grand Rounds Health and Doctor on Demand,” which merged in March 2021 and quickly acquired LGBTQ+ virtual care company, Included Health, announced that the company would be moving forward as Included Health from here on out. We get into the strategy behind that name-change – and, more importantly, how the integration of the three companies is going – from CEO Owen Tripp.

This quick update covers how the navigation-plus-virtual-care co is prioritizing integration at-scale for millions of members – unlike other growing healthcare companies who Owen says have, “acquired companies, but haven’t put them together.” From member experience, clinician experience, and the business model backing all of this, we get a state-of-play on Included Health, including Owen’s take on the rising popularity of at-risk models among competitors Accolade Health and Transcarent, the legacy relationship the company has with Walmart, and how small/mid-sized employers are increasing area of focus for growth.

Reflections on HLTH2021: The Lens of the Patient and Carepartner

By GRACE CORDOVANO

Attending HLTH 2021 in-person in Boston solidified that there is no comparison between attending live vs. virtual conferences.  While content and presentations can be solid both virtually or in-person, it is the energy of the connections that are made between scheduled presentations and the conversations that are shared throughout that move the needle. Kudos to the organizers of HLTH 2021 for prioritizing the safety of all in-person attendees with COVID-19 vaccination requirements, proof of negative PCR testing within 3 days of arrival, and mask requirements on-site.

After reflecting on all the proceedings, the conversations, and the experiences at HLTH 2021, here are eight reflections on the event from the patient and carepartner perspective.

1) Patients and Carepartners (Not) Included

These words were the taglines of HLTH2021:

Dear Future: We’re coming for you. #HLTH2021

The largest and most important conference for health care innovation

A battle cry for improving health care, but I can’t help but wonder, who’s “we’re”?

The agenda and stages at HLTH2021 were filled with some of the biggest, most respected names in the health care ecosystem. Unfortunately, no patients were speaking from these stages. A search of the agenda and speaker list for “patient” showed entries for “patient experience” or “patient” in the form of an executive title. Many panels and discussions fell short of the real-world experiences of living life with a diagnosis or multiple comorbidities, the difficulties of barriers to healthier living that are caused by social determinants of health (SDoH), and disgraceful realities of the inefficiencies of workflows patients and their families face. There were no patient or carepartner champions sharing the positive impact that a company’s brand has had on their or their loved ones’ lives.

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Quantum Computing’s Sputnik Moment

By KIM BELLARD

General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently expressed grave concern about China’s reported test of a hypersonic missile: “I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that. It has all of our attention.”  Maybe it should be, but General Milley may have missed the real 21st-century version of a Sputnik moment: China has claimed huge breakthroughs in quantum computing.  

It’s inside baseball to those of us who are neither computer experts nor quantum physicists, but let’s put it this way: the countries/companies that dominate quantum computing will dominate, full stop.  Healthcare included.  

I won’t pretend to understand quantum computers or try to explain how they work, but they’re to “traditional” computers as those computers are to, say, a calculator, or to an abacus.  They’re much faster – like a quantum leap faster – and can quickly do computations that would take even traditional supercomputers centuries to complete, if ever.  For example, think you’ve got an unbreakable code?  Unless you’ve got the fastest quantum computer, think again.  

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We are Asking Our Physicians to Do Too Much. It’s No Wonder They are Burnt Out.

By GAIL PEACE

We have heard the phrases “physician fatigue” and “burnout” too often in the last year – and for good reason. Covid-19 has placed an incredible burden on our healthcare providers. However, as healthcare professionals, the stats representing physician burnout are not new for us.  

We have seen similar trends and stats for years. Covid-19 did not cause the current state of physician burnout, it has just exacerbated it and further exposed critical issues with the expectations placed on physicians in today’s healthcare system. Ludi conducted a survey of physicians across the country confirming that exact theory:

  • 68 percent of physicians feel pessimistic or indifferent about their occupation
  • 48 percent describe the relationship with their hospital partners/employers as combative or transactional at best

We need to ask ourselves: What is actually causing this dissatisfaction and how can hospitals better align with their physician partners?  

According to the physicians surveyed, 68 percent agreed they have too much administrative burden placed on them. More often than not, our industry blames EHRs for dominating administrative time, but from the physicians we surveyed, EHRs are just part of the problem. In fact, 54 percent of physicians indicated they spend 1-3 hours per day on administrative work outside of EHR time, with another 35 percent spending more than 4 hours per day on similar tasks.

Let’s put that into perspective. On top of seeing patients, charting in EHRs, and all the other things physicians are expected to do to take care of patients, physicians are also spending at least another 1-3 hours per day on “everything else.” This everything else includes meetings, training, compliance, policy, etc.  

We are asking our physicians to do too much. It’s no wonder they are burnt out.

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#Healthin2Point00, Episode 239: Hinge, Femtec, Science37, Augmedix

On a special Saturday edition of Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I talk about her amazing forecasting and the huge scale of one deal. Yes, the Tiger pounces and Hinge Health takes its total raise to $1 billion. There’s also an complex combo deal for Femtec, raising $38m buying Birchbox and more, and we give a quick mention to the brief history of public companies Science 37 & Augmedix – Matthew Holt

#Healthin2Point00, Episode 238 | Truepill, Stride Health, Bardavon, and Wider Circle

Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I talk about the importance of a good company name. Some deals today: Truepill gets 142 million in a Series C bringing their valuation to 1.6 billion with 300 million ARR; Stride Health gets 47 million gets, bringing up their total to 86 million; Bardavon Health Innovations gets 90 million, bringing their total up to 109 million; Wider Circle gets 38 million, invested in by AmeriHealth Caritas. – Matthew Holt

Godwin’s Law and the Rise of Hyperbole on MedTwitter 🙄

By @roguerad

I first clashed with authority when I was eight. Every Saturday bunch of brown kids, children of Indian immigrants to Britain with an identity crisis who longed for the culture they left behind, attended a class in the temple about “our culture” taught by a joyless scholar of Hinduism – a pundit – whose major shtick was punctuality. When I turned up late, even by a minute, he’d make me stand outside, even if freezing. Some kids called him “Hitler,” or “Hitler uncle,” the qualifier “uncle” indicated that because he was as old as our fathers, he deserved respect. 

Then, I believed that Hitler meant authority. I preferred calling the pundit “wanker” or “asshole” but the foul language would have gotten me afoul with my parents, my authority figures. “Hitler” amply conveyed disdain for our pot-bellied teacher who exercised his authority whenever he could, without tarnishing our nubile vocabulary.  

Eventually, I understood the significance of Hitler, and of World War 2, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. Though related neither morphologically to the perpetrators nor ethnically to the victims of this ghastly period in human history, I developed a reverence, a sensitivity if you will, to such allusions. The Lord of the Old Testament instructed Moses that his name be not used in vain, lest every blocked sink or traffic jam evoked “oh my God.” I resolved never to use Nazi as an epithet frivolously. 

I was surprised how common Nazi name-calling was in American political discourse across the political spectrum, which peaked during the Trump Presidency. Some likened migrant detention facilities to “concentration camps.” Many saw in the rise of white nationalism during Trump’s reign parallels with the Third Reich. The former White House strategist, Steven Bannon, was compared to the Nazi propagandist, Goebbels. Bannon is loathsome, detestable, a wanker. Goebbels is a mass murderer – no adjectives are needed to describe him further. 

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THCB Gang Episode 70, Oct 28 1pm PT – 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on THCBGang Thursday were policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1); Queen of all employer benefits related issues Jennifer Benz (@Jenbenz); ; fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); and Suntra Modern Recovery CEO JL Neptune (@JeanLucNeptune).

With bills in Congress and billions in VC floating around health care, there was plenty of fodder for discussion. We also got into a robust discussion about Medicare Advantage versus traditional FFS. But just so happened that with Casey Quinlan H.U.M.A.N.Jennifer BenzJean-Luc Neptune, MD MBA & Rosemarie Day we had four people who are either cancer survivors or care givers for cancer patients or both. If you are Adam PellegriniGena CookLiz HorganMaya Said or anyone else who cares about helping people with cancer navigate the system the last 10 minutes of this are market research gold for you

You can see the video below and the audio will be on our podcast channel (Apple/Spotify) from Friday — Matthew Holt

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