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THCB Gang Episode 101, Thursday August 18, 1pm PT- 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) for the 101st #THCBGang on Thursday August 18 are medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee); patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@mlmillenson); delivery & platform expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis); THCB regular writer and ponderer of odd juxtapositions Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard);

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

Stop Talking About the Bubble and Start Telling Your Story

BY MICHELLE SNYDER

Unless you have been off the grid for the past few months (which frankly sounds kind of nice right now), you know that the digital health market has changed dramatically.   While not surprising to those of us who have been through the boom-and-bust cycles of the past two decades, it nevertheless has been an awakening for many investors and entrepreneurs.  

As an entrepreneur, there are some things you cannot control – the macro-economic climate, supply chain disruptions and narcissist led wars halfway around the world.  But what is entirely within your control is how you tell your company’s story and your ability to make investors want to join you on the journey.  

As a longtime storyteller for several digital health companies and a current story listener (aka investor), I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately.  Though the word “storyteller” can have negative connotations for some people, I value and appreciate great storytellers who engage me right off the bat, get me excited about the “why” and clearly articulate why it’s in my best interest to invest in their company.

The art of storytelling has always been important, but in the current digital health funding environment, it is quickly becoming essential for success.  Are you telling your company’s story in the most effective way?  Read on to find out.

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Keycare raises $24m & Dr Lyle thinks he’s found a virtual care niche!

Lyle Berkowitz has been very well known as a techy doc for years. He’s ran an innovation center at Northwestern, written books, been featured at tons of conferences (including Health 2.0), had a stint at MDLive and was founder and Exec Chair at HealthFinch which was bought by Health Catalyst. But instead of lying on the beach drinking MaiTais, Lyle has decided that there’s room for yet another virtual care play, and today his new company Keycare is announcing a $24m round and a deal with Spectrum Health (Michigan). What is it? It’s a virtual medical group that’s going to be supporting traditional health systems with care after-hours, out of state and much more. Is there room in the telehealth market for yet another niche play? You may guess that I asked and Lyle explained why!–Matthew Holt

A Dream Day at The Beach

BY MIKE MAGEE

Senator Lindsey Graham (R.,S.C.) is on summer recess. A consummate professional politician, and war hardened lawyer, Sen. Graham has made a career out of flipping on a dime. His moral calculus has been flexible enough to wiggle and weave, and switch sides if cornered. 

In a dream, I caught a glimpse of him reading on one of his state’s beautiful beaches. He was juggling a weighty 1215 page classic – Leo Tolstoy’s “War & Peace” in one hand, and a yellow highlight marker in the other.

He looked a bit on edge, maybe because this week a federal judge refused to block a subpoena seeking his testimony for a Fulton County, Georgia, Grand Jury probe into efforts by then-President Donald Trump and his potential state Republican “alternate electors” to overturn Georgia’s Biden victory in the 2020 election.

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Particle Health, Complete Patient Records & ‘The Business’ of the Information Blocking Rule

By JESSICA DAMASSA

Particle Health’s CEO Troy Bannister stops by to not only talk about the API platform company’s $25M Series B, but to also explain exactly what’s going on in that patient data ‘exchange-standardize-and-aggregate’ space that, these days, looks poised to pop as the 21st Century Cures Act Information Blocking Rule stands ready to make hospitals share data like never before.

Troy calls Particle a “network of networks” and what that means is that their API pulls patient records from organizations and businesses that are already aggregating them (so aggregating the aggregators) to get all the lab data and medical data a clinician would want to in order to have a more complete picture of their patient. For clients like One Medical or Omada Health, who deliver value-based care and take on risk, having such a robust historic data set on patients – along with a more complete picture of their comorbidities – helps improve decision making and outcomes.

So, how is Particle Health working now – and what will change – as the Information Blocking Rule gets implemented? Troy’s written about this for Forbes, and explains what has him fired up here too. Turns out their model has room to accommodate a big pivot: giving patients access to their own ‘network of networks’ record. Find out what sets Particle off in this new B2B2C direction and how they will be using that Series B funding to build out deeper analytical tools to help everyone make better sense of what the data in all those records can show us.

Link to Troy’s Forbes piece on Anti Information Blocking Rules

Link to Jess’s chat with Micky Tripathi, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, on Anti Information Blocking & TEFCA:

Tick Tock (or TikTok) for US Health Care

BY KIM BELLARD

Yes, I know Congress just passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a big step forward in combating climate change that also has some important healthcare provisions (Medicare negotiating drug prices, anyone?), but, come on, TikTok is buying hospitals!  I can’t pass that up.

To be more accurate, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is actually buying hospitals, through two of its health subsidiaries.  As first reported by South China Morning Post, and subsequently confirmed as a $1.5b deal by Bloomberg, ByteDance bought Beijing-based Amcare Healthcare, which runs eight women’s and children’s hospitals in four Chinese cities.  As a private system, it targets expats and high income locals.  

This is not ByteDance’s first foray into healthcare; in 2020 it bought Xiaohe Medical, an internet hospital, as well as a medical information site and a telehealth service.  It is using its AI expertise to aid in drug discovery.  Its health business are under the umbrellas of Xiaohe Health and Xiaohe Health Technologies. 

And you were excited about Amazon buying One Medical.   

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Long COVID cardiac studies: More questions than answers.

BY ANISH KOKA

The NIH recently announced $1.2 billion dollars in funding for research on Long COVID. This is in part because of a faction of scientists that have mined electronic health record databases to find evidence that the long term impacts of COVID on a variety of different organ systems is significant.

I have some concerns when it comes to the cardiac complications discussed related to Long COVID.

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Next-Gen PBM Capital Rx Becomes a Tech Co: Inside New PBA Biz, $106M Series C & Big Plans

by JESSICA DAMASSA

What’s the bigger news coming out of Capital Rx: that the next-gen PBM just closed a $106 million dollar Series C? Or, that the health tech startup’s business model has expanded significantly over the past 18 months, from PBM-only to PBM-plus-PBA, meaning that instead of just servicing the pharmacy benefits management needs of employer groups directly, that now they’re also adding to their business by selling THEIR TECH to other carriers and health systems so they can use it to administrate their benefits plans??

Capital Rx’s CEO AJ Loiacono takes those questions in stride, lets us in on which “side” of the business fueled their 200% year-over-year growth in 2021, and gives us the details on that tech that his business developed and why its standout compared to the inefficient infrastructure that currently exists to administrate and process pharmacy claims.

The big deal here is that AJ and team are tackling one of the biggest friction points in the cost of pharmacy benefits: the cost to administer a plan. They reduce that cost, and the “net cost” of every drug is reduced. AJ says its in this way that Capital Rx operates at one-seventh the cost of his competitors, the “Big Three PBMs” (CVS’s Caremark, Express Scripts, and UnitedHealth’s OptumRx) and saves its customers an average 27% on their prescription drug spend.

Now that Capital Rx has their slick enterprise software, will the business continue to operate a dual PBM-plus-PBA model, or will they double-down on the PBA side? AJ lets us know what’s next and (spoiler alert) it sounds like things might go in a surprising direction. If Capital Rx’s software is so effective at doing all the things it takes to manage pharmacy claims — underwriting sequences, implementation management and onboarding, communication, patient portals, network management, reimbursement networks, eligibility checks, etc. – what stops Capital Rx from processing other kinds of healthcare claims? Is a step into the medical claims processing side of the healthcare world on the roadmap? Tune in and find out!

HealthTechDeals Episode 41 | Cera, Birdie, Theator, Tebra, Diagnostic Robots

It’s a tale of two markets: on one side we have layoffs, sinking stock prices, and all sorts of trouble, but on the other side we’ve got some good bills passed and some pretty great fundraising! In this episode, Jess and I dive more into the dual nature of the state of health tech. Is it the best of times and the worst of times? We find out, and talk through some recent multimillion-dollar deals: Cera raises $320 million; Birdie raises $30 million; Theator raises $24 million; Tebra raises $72 million; Diagnostic Robotics raises $45 million.

-Matthew Holt

CNN myocarditis fact check by a Cardiologist (me)

BY ANISH KOKA

A recent CNN article discusses approval of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for people ages 6-17. The CDC director acted after its vaccine advisers on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to support the two dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for kids in this age group. The goal per CDC director Walensky was to “protect our children and teens from the complications of severe COVID-19 disease”

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