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Solving the ‘Supply Side’ of Scaling up Behavioral Health Care | Russell Glass, CEO, Ginger

BY JESSICA DAMASSA, WTF HEALTH

The ‘virtual-care-for-behavioral-health’ space is getting a bit crowded these days, particularly as demand for such services reach new heights among patients. Russell Glass, CEO of health tech startup, Ginger (formerly known as Ginger.io) thinks his company has solved the supply-and-demand imbalance with their unique model that offers on-demand coaching, video therapy & psychiatry, and self-guided content by a range of different mental health care providers. Trained behavioral health coaches serve as the front-line of Ginger’s service, then act as care coordinators to bring in fully-licensed therapists and psychiatrists as needed. With 60 enterprise clients, double-digit patient engagement rates, and outcomes beating standard of care rates, Ginger’s got traction — and also cash. The company’s raised more than $70 million, having closed a Series C (with a follow on) in late 2019. Russ details scale up plans AND answers the question that all you health tech pundits are no doubt dying to ask: what happened to the ‘.io’?!

Filmed at HLTH 2019 in Las Vegas, October 2019.

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Doctoring in 2020: Why is the Patient Here? Whose Visit is it Anyway?

By HANS DUVEFELT, MD

A new decade and a new EMR are making me think about what the best use of my time and medical knowledge really is. The thing that stands out more and more for me is the tension between what my patients are asking me for and what the medical bureaucracy is mandating me to do. This is, to be blunt, an untenable, crazy-making situation to be in.

Many of my patients with chronic diseases don’t, deep down, want better blood sugars, BMIs or blood pressures – nor do they want better diets or exercise habits. People often hope they can feel better without fundamentally changing their comfortable, familiar and ingrained habits – that’s just human nature.

I went to medical school to learn how to heal, treat and guide patients through illness, away from un-health and toward health. I didn’t go to school to become a babysitter or code enforcement officer.

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Radiology Gets an “App Store” for its AI Tools | Ben Panter, Blackford Analysis

AI in radiology is not new. In fact, the field is swarming with various apps and tools seeking to find a place in the radiologist’s toolkit to get more value out of medical imaging and improve patient care. So, how does a radiology team pick which tools to invest in? Enter Blackford Analysis, a health tech startup that has, simply put, designed an “app store” for radiology departments that liberates access to life-saving tech for radiologists. CEO Ben Panter explains how the platform not only gives radiologists access to a curated group of best-in-class AI radiology tools, but does so en-mass to circumvent the need for one-off approvals from hospital administrators and procurement teams.

Filmed at Bayer G4A Signing Day in Berlin, Germany, October 2019.

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For all who hate computers in medicine: here’s what we got before.

By e-Patient Dave DeBronkart

The photo below shows what “visit notes” from a doctor appointment might look like in the era before computers. Just two days before my first speech where I said “Gimme my damn data,” I had an ENT visit, and on the way out I asked for a copy of the doctor’s notes. The clerk snickered out loud and showed it to me, saying, “If you really want it….”

No joke; this is what the doctor had recorded.

Visit notes from my ENT appointment, Sept 15, 2009
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Disrupting Medicare Advantage for Data Access, Better Outcomes | Vivek Garipalli, CEO Clover Health

BY JESSICA DAMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Vivek Garipalli, CEO and Co-Founder of Clover Health initially set out trying to create a high-tech healthcare company aimed at improving clinical decision making, while leveraging the best of tech and data science in the process. Sounds about right for a guy who previously founded a health system (CarePoint Health), so…how did he end up with a high-tech Medicare Advantage plan instead? Isn’t clinical disruption hard enough? In this very candid chat about the larger issues thwarting tech and the healthcare business model, Vivek explains how he HAD to turn Clover into a health plan in order to get “reliable access” to the longitudinal set of information that would truly help patients and providers achieve better health outcomes. Can this kind of thinking ever be applied to the under 65 market? How does Clover perpetuate this model? Founded in 2012, this late-stage startup has big plans for scaling up and they’re centered on winning over physicians.

Filmed at the HIMSS Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, CA in September 2019.

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9 Healthcare Companies Who Changed the 2010s

By ANDY MYCHKOVSKY

In order to celebrate the next decade (although the internet is confused whether its actually the end of the decade…), we’re taking a step back and listing our picks for the 9 most influential healthcare companies of the 2010s. If your company is left off, there’s always next decade… But honestly, we tried our best to compile a unique listing that spanned the gamut of redefining healthcare for a variety of good and bad reasons. Bon appétit!

1. Epic Systems Corporation

The center of the U.S. electronic medical record (EMR) universe resides in Verona, Wisconsin. Population of 13,166. The privately held company created by Judith “Judy” Faulkner in 1979 holds 28% of the 5,447 total hospital market in America. Drill down into hospitals with over 500-beds and Epic reigns supreme with 58% share. Thanks to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and movement away from paper records (Meaningful Use), Epic has amassed annualized revenue of $2.7 billion. That was enough to hire the architects of Disneyland to design their Google-like Midwestern campus. The other amazing fact is that Epic has grown an average of 14% per year, despite never raising venture capital or using M&A to acquire smaller companies.

Over the years, Epic has been criticized for being expensive, non-interoperable with other EMR vendors, and the partial cause for physician burnout. Expensive is probably an understatement. For example, Partners HealthCare (to be renamed Mass General Brigham) alone spent $1.2 billion to install Epic, which included hiring 600 employees and consultants just to build and implement the system and onboard staff. With many across healthcare calling for medical record portability that actually works (unlike health information exchanges), you best believe America’s 3rd richest woman will have ideas how the country moves forward with digital medical records.

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Disrupting Healthcare Payment with Mobile Platform M-TIBA | Maarten Ras, CarePay

BY JESSICA DAMASSA, WTF HEALTH

What’s the future of healthcare payment? Could it be mobile?? CarePay is a health tech startup that is revolutionizing the way people in Africa send, save and spend funds for medical treatments via their mobile app M-TIBA. Maarten Ras, Regional Commercial Director shares how M-TIBA digitizes healthcare insurance schemes for the Kenyan government, allowing patients access to their healthcare benefits — and a way to pay for medical services — from their phone. A dream-scenario for health systems around the world that are looking for versatility, transparency and accountability in payment management, but is it really scalable? We find out who’s using M-TIBA right now, and how far CarePay is trying to go. Surely, a startup working so closely with national governments (including one that enrolled 2.5 million people just four months ago) is bound for big things?

Filmed at Bayer G4A Signing Day in Berlin, Germany, October 2019.

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Hypersonic Missiles Aimed at Healthcare

By KIM BELLARD

The end of one decade and the beginning of another seems to be a time when various pundits like to look back and/or forward.  In particular, I’ve seen a lot of such articles about tech, both noting important technologies of the 2010’s and speculating on the tech coming in the 2020’s.  

Oddly enough, the article about new tech that struck me the most was one that seemingly has nothing to do with healthcare, but which I think has important lessons for it.  It is the introduction of hypersonic missiles.  

Avangard missile. Credit: Russian Defense Ministry

If you don’t follow weapons development closely (and I don’t usually), hypersonic missiles are ones that can fly at several multiples of the speed of sound, such as Mach 5 and above.  They fly so fast that there is virtually no defense against them.  Existing anti-missile defenses are problematic enough against conventional missiles, but a hypersonic missile is at its target before a defense system can react, due to its speed, low altitude, and maneuverability.  

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Will At-Home Lab Tests Change Healthcare Diagnostics Forever? | Frank Ong, Everlywell

By JESSICA DAMASSA, WTF HEALTH

It used to be that patients would have to go see a doctor to get lab tests ordered to check their cholesterol or metabolism, but now, thanks to at-home testing companies like Everlywell, those tests (and 30 others, including STI tests) can be ordered online or picked up at some big box retailers. We chatted with Dr. Frank Ong, Everlywell’s Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, about what it means to put patients in charge of ordering their own lab work — and combing through their own testing results — vis a vie the Everlywell platform. As consumers demand more control over their healthcare dollar and the experience it buys, is there a point where patients risk getting in over their heads? How have doctors been responding to patients who come in armed with their own lab results? We check in on how at-home testing kits are ‘testing’ the reaches of patient-led care.

Filmed at HLTH 2019 in Las Vegas, October 2019.

Chronic Disease Drugs are Big Business, Antibiotics are Not

By HANS DUVEFELT, MD

I have noticed several articles describing how antibiotic development has bankrupted some pharmaceutical companies because there isn’t enough potential profit in a ten day course to treat multi-resistant superbug infections.

Chronic disease treatments, on the other hand, appear to be extremely profitable. A single month’s treatment with the newer diabetes drugs, COPD inhalers or blood thinners costs over $500, which means well over $50,000 over an effective ten year patent for each one of an ever increasing number of chronically ill patients.

Imagine if the same bureaucratic processes insurance companies have created for chronic disease drug coverage existed (I don’t know if they do) for acute prescriptions of superbug antibiotics: It’s Friday afternoon and a septic patient’s culture comes back indicating that the only drug that would work is an expensive one that requires a Prior Authorization. Patients would die and the insurance companies would be better off if time ran out in such bureaucratic battles for survival.

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