Digital healthcare digest — March

It’s the last day of March, which means it’s time to see what’s been happening in digital healthcare during the month. No doubt, it’s tough. But digital tech innovations and collaborations keep happening, so - let’s start.

Regulations and policies for digital tech

At last, HHS releases final interoperability rules. They standardize APIs for patient health data in apps - so Americans will be able to access their health info via smartphones and the data exchange between EHRs and third-party apps, in general, will be easier.

HIMSS released a new definition of digital health:

HIMSS released a new definition of digital health

FDA warns about vulnerabilities of Bluetooth Low Energy technology in certain medical devices such as glucose monitors, insulin pumps, ultrasound devices, etc. Check out the list of vulnerabilities and of companies that produce affected devices.

Over this month, different companies developed test kits for COVID-19 as there’s a huge shortage of them, but FDA issued an update to its regulation, sharing concern about fraudulent tests and stating that no at-home diagnostic kits were officially approved by the Administration, putting products’ public release on hold.

How pandemic forces (enhances) collaboration in healthcare

Medtronic shares full design specifications, manuals for manufacture, and designs for other companies to build Pirita Bennet (PB) 560. It’s compact, lightweight equipment with a proven success track record of 10 years. Soon, Medtronic plans to share software code as well.

German’s main space agency, DLR, starts creating medical equipment: e.g., protective face masks and ventilators. They’re testing their 3D printers for these healthcare tasks to help clinicians beat the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE.)

A platform for predictive analytics CLEW collaborated with Israeli hospitals to help them expand the capacity and resources of intensive care units. Their TeleICU solutions quickly identify respiratory deterioration and provide an opening for early intervention in Sheba Medical Center and the Ichilov Hospital. In such a way, doctors can remotely and proactively find and address severe cases of COVID-19.

Physicians of Southwest Washington use Innavaccer’s free COVID-19 Management System to treat, educate, and provide triages to high- and medium-risk patients.

Pan-Asian largest insurance group, AIA Singapore, will cover the cost of 50 thousand video consultations provided by WhiteCoat, a Singaporean telemedicine provider. They also extended claims pre-authorization to cover admissions outside of ED and day surgeries for all private hospitals and health providers in Singapore to help moderate healthcare inflation.

March digital healthcare market news: M&A deals, partnerships, financial reports

Banner Health collaborated with chatbot technology vendor LifeLink that helped Banner’s enormous number of ED patients to navigate among the healthcare workflows. Bot helped the hospital to engage with them, answered their most frequent questions, and provided info on wait time, lab results, etc. Chatbot operated right in the browser. 46% talked to a chatbot, and Banner Health got a 41% increase in NPS for these patients. If you want to know how to build a chatbot for healthcare that’ll be pleasant to talk to, check out our article on conversational design.

Fitbit and FibriCheck expand their partnership to get their CE-Marked solution that helps users’ monitor heart rate irregularities as Atrial Fibrillation through Fitbit’s smartwatch to France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Meru Health, a company that sets a new standard of mental healthcare, and dacadoo, a Swiss digital health engagement platform, collaborate to combine their forces for more accessible healthcare.

Pharma giant Sanofi will support and facilitate the three-month pilot of Babylon Health’s new symptom checker, targeted people with digestive health issues.

Babylon also partnered with The Government of Rwanda. A 10-year collaboration will provide all Rwandans with access to healthcare services via their phone.

Finish-based Klinik Healthcare Solutions, a startup that develops online triage technology, opened access to 60 thousand patients in Yorkshire: their solution was adopted by Haxby Group, a healthcare provider. Klinik works on the powerful AI engine that recognizes the primary health issues, determines its severity, and directs patients to the needed specialists.

CVS’ opioid-focused program called Guardian Angel will be integrated with social care coordination platform Unite Us. They’ll combine fighting drug addiction and community support services in one digital solution.

Malaysia-based platform DoctorOnCall, developed by Health Digital Technologies, collaborates with Merchantrade Money: the users of the latter will get access to online consultations, e-pharmacy, and other services of DoctorOnCall.

Livongo Health finished the year with $169.9 million in revenue. That’s 149% growth compared to 2018.

Ginger, developers of member-based behavioral health solutions with coaching and therapy for nearly half a million people around the globe, acquires LiveBetter’s technology. The latter is a mental wellness startup.

SymphonyAI Group that collects private B2B companies in AI-driven space, acquired TeraRecon, developers of products for medical imaging post-processing and support.

Research in digital healthcare

Evidation Health launches longitudinal digital study to learn how American perceive COVID-19 and behave in pandemics from real-world behavioral data, gathered through mobile devices. More than 150 thousand people were recruited to participate through the Achievement app. You can read the report here. It updates weekly. For March 27, for instance, Evidation concludes the continuous drop in physical activity, increase in the sleep time, and quick, quick change from confidence and skepticism to panic. Reports also show an increase in willingness to use telemedicine - so if you wanted to open such a communication channel, now is the time.

Research team developed a unique way of generating and processing fluid droplets within yield-stress fluids, which allow them to produce suspended drug-laden particles. Basically, now people can “catch” and “manipulate” fluids that behave not like water, in a weird and complex way, for instance, shift between liquid and solid behaviours. With this method, people can put more precise dosage in, for instance, high-potency drugs for patients with cancer - which is vital for their well-being.

Report from EIT Health and McKinsey & Company shows: today’s healthcare is not equipped for AI adoption, ‘cause adoption can’t happen without training healthcare workers. Check out the full report - it provides very detailed guidelines on how to change the situation.

Digital healthcare startups funding of March 2020

Rivet Health, a platform for revenue cycle management and healthcare prices transparency platform raised $8.25 million in Series A. Their solution gives patients an estimation of how much they will pay for the services, an option to pay before or after receiving care, etc. Company bills via digital channels.

B.well Connected Health, a platform for patients to deal with information overload through combining health, financial, behavioral data from different sources to show them - with gamification, raised $16 million in Series A.

Bloomer raised $3 million in seed funding for their bra-like ECG tech. The main point of the product is to track women’s ECG, pulse and respiratory rates and heart rhythms and to show reports on mobile devices. “Smart bra” will be flexible and washable.

Another EEG device, a wireless headset called the zEEG, raises $7.3M in Series A. Through dry electrodes and FDA-approved proprietary software, Zeto’s device reads EEG and sends it to providers’ laptops.

Oura raised $28 million in Series B for their smart ring that has health-tracking sensors. Ring tracks movements, body temperature, and so on - and sends it, as well, on mobile devices. One of the largest focuses of the product is to help people improve their sleep.

Element Science gets $145.6 million in Series C. They develop a wearable personal defibrillator. The company says their ML algorithm can detect and treat lethal heart rhythms that may lead to sudden cardiac death. In one word, wow.

RubiconMD lands $18 million in Series C. They develop a digital-expert consultation platform for asynchronous specialists that is oriented on primary care doctors: they’ll put an image or other piece of data in their question, the app will get the question to an expert and come back with an answer in 12 hours top.

Heartbeat Health gets $8.2 million in Series A; they aggregate heart data to give patients virtual care management opportunities for people with cardiovascular diseases.

Pager’s all-in-one app for care coordination lands $33 million in equity. The app helps users navigate care, from virtual consultations with nurses to searching for needed specialists and paying for care.

Sparta Science gets $16 million in Series B. It’s a startup that develops a platform for musculoskeletal health. People use a special mat for “testing exercises”, and an AI-powered engine gathers data about their physical performance, and offers different ways to improve it through the application.

Voice assistant for healthcare - Suki - nails 20B in Series B funding. It’s a super cool platform developed to help clinicians cut down paperwork - for instance, it listens to visit and concludes notes. We’ve mentioned it in our article about voice assistants - and we’re very happy that Suki keeps growing so well.

Alignment Healthcare, an insurance company that does data-driven analytics for Medicare Advantage members, gets $135 million in Series C. A company provides patients with on-demand virtual care and keeps track of changes in member’s care needs to control quality in their services, offering personalized plans.

Lyra Health, a company that matches employees and their dependents to mental health professionals and gives them personalized treatment plans through ML, nailed $75 million in Series C.

Launches and planned launches

Apple releases the COVID-19 website and screening-and-educating application.

Verily also launched a similar solution for California residents - except through it users can schedule an appointment with a doctor. It’s called the Baseline COVID-19 Platform and was developed with the California Department of Public Health testing program.

Genius Rx, a digital pharmacy-as-a-service, launched in the middle of March. The platform will include an AI-driven tool for personalization. Their main task is to deliver meds to people at home.

Oxford VR developed a VR tool that aimed to help people with social anxiety and avoidance by putting them in virtual social situations and guiding them through virtual coaches.

British NHS launched a new NHS 111 online tool to provide users with quick recommendations about coronavirus.

Microsoft adds instant text and video- communication features that will support care teams and telemedicine to Microsoft 365 platform (in particular, Microsoft Teams.)

Kry, a Swedish telehealth startup, launched a free tool called Care Connect by Kry for healthcare workers throughout Europe to conduct remote consultation during a pandemic. Soon, they plan to reach America as well.

Things to read

Data-driven responses to coronavirus are only as good as the trust we place in them - a good read on the necessity of critical thinking in our reactions to data-driven responses to the pandemic.

How RockHealth’s portfolio companies react to COVID-19 pandemic.

Top medical roles with biggest future potential.


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