Digital healthcare digest — March of 2021

Hey, time to find out what happened in digital healthcare this month: as per usual, healthcare systems are adapting to digital transformation, startups raise funds and make M&A deals, - all while trying to make sense out of the new market landscape.

New products and launches in the digital healthcare industry

Cleo, a digital family benefits service, announced they will launch a product aimed at helping Black and BIPOK families deal with the healthcare system.

Fitbit will produce a new-gen wearable for kids, Fitbit Ace 3: it will track physical activity and sleep, and children over 6 years old will be able to use it.

Yoigo, a mobile operator in Spain, launched a family package telemedicine service called Doctor Go that is offered at €6 per month.

Journalist Anna Ceesay launched a digital platform for maternal mental health in Britain, Motherdom, seeing as mum’s mental health has worsened during lockdowns.

Dutch vision-based human activity recognition software, Kepler Vision Technology, announced they’ll launch Kepler Night Nurse Edge Box — a device for seniors that uses deep learning and computer vision tech to analyze video and signal caretakers if seniors need help.

Digital health startup funding in March

Praava Health, a company that blends telemedicine services with an on-site clinic, raised $10.6M to improve access to high-quality healthcare in Bangladesh. About 90% of their consultation are happening virtually with the other part being handed in the clinic, and they take payment per visit.

Happify Health, an American platform for mental health and disease management, got $75M in Series D. They are most known for their stress management programs for health plan members and employees. They plan to use these funds to improve AI and ML models in their software that target new hires and explore new business opportunities.

insitro, an AI drug discovery startup, gained $400M in Series C. They use AI and genetic, phenotypic, and clinical data to find candidates for new medical treatments for neuroscience-related illnesses and liver diseases.

Redbird, a Ghanaian health tech startup that ensures easy and quick access to coronavirus testing, raised $1.5M in a seed round.

Forward Health, a primary care startup, raised $225M in Series D to expand their model for personalized healthcare across the US. 

HealthPlix, a startup, based in Bangalore, provides doctors with software for keeping tabs on patients’ medical history to help them treat patients with chronic conditions in a super short amount of time they have for a visit, raises $12M to continue assisting doctors to reduce workload and increase diagnosis & treatment precision.

Source: HealthPlix

Ro, a healthcare tech startup from the US that develops a hybrid telehealth/at-home platform for primary care, gains $500M in series D; they plan to invest the funds to improve integration of healthcare services and technology in their product suite.

EyeYon Medical, an Israeli ophthalmic startup, got $25M in Series C. They develop a range of products for vision-related conditions: for instance, EndoArt, a synthetic implant - artificial endothelial layer that attaches to the eye (well, actually, to the back of part of the cornea) to treat chronic corneal edema (it’s when there’s too much fluid in the cornea.) That implant helps treat the condition with minimally invasive surgery which is real good (as opposed to waiting for corneal transplantation - which is also good, but also invasive and people have to wait in a queue for too long.) The funds will be used to continue and expand clinical trials and then prepare to ship the product to the USA, Europe, and China.

Ginger, an American mental health startup that connects users to mental health coaches, raised $100M in series E, and they plan to use the investments to partner with more companies and health plans—even with international ones.

Digital healthcare market news, deals, and partnerships

IBH, a population health company, plans to acquire Uprise, a startup for mental health. Both of them focus on selling to employers and on behavioral health.

Everlywell is going to become a parent company for two recently acquired companies: PNWHealth, a company that democratizes safe and easy diagnostic testing, and Home Access Health, also a business for at-home diagnostic and wellness tests. A parent will be called Everly Health, and they plan to offer more comprehensive care offering.

Doctor on Demand, one of the biggest American telehealth providers, merges with Grand Rounds, a clinical navigation platform. They plan to combine navigation and virtual care to provide coordinated efforts to support patients with different health needs to help them across different parts of healthcare systems.

Cleveland Clinic, a healthcare provider, and IBM - you know them - entered a 10-year partnership to harness and utilize the power of quantum computing for advancing next-gen medical research.

Regulations and clearances in digital health

At the beginning of this year a rule from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that required hospitals to make all pricing info public (all prices, including the ones they’ve come up with in negotiations with insurance companies) went into effect, and this month the Hilltop Institute published research that shows 65 out of 100 hospitals aren’t complying with the rule. The rule also requires hospitals to publish prices as machine-readable files and as a display of shoppable services—like on the online marketplace. Out of the remaining 35 hospitals, only 22 occurred to be fully compliant.

Data protection and security threats in healthcare

A mental health provider SalusCare—on behalf of its patients, has sued an unnamed hacker and Amazon Web Services—for AWS, according to the lawsuit, is hosting healthcare that has been allegedly stolen from SalusCare. SalusCare says they asked Amazon to lock the data, and Amazon responded they’ve suspended it. SalusCare believes the suspension isn’t enough as they don’t know how long the data will be suspended from the access of the unnamed hacker. Right now, SalusCare wants Amazon to send data to the patients that have been affected, the audit of all transfers that have been happening with this data, copy of this data, and for this data to be deleted from AWS’ buckets.

There’s a malware campaign targeting Windows devices is going on. It’s called Purple Fox, it's worm-like, and hackers are targeting SMB—especially those operating on Windows 7. As per usual, the healthcare industry SMBe might be on top of hackers’ to-do list (according to Protenus Breach Barometer, in 2020, the number of incidents raised by 42% with 31M patients affected), so make sure to make time to update your operating system and protect your system against most common cyber attacks (Purple Fox folks are using brute force, so: make your password complex and sharpen your access policies.)

Source: Barracuda

The vaccine rollout triggered a bloom of vaccine-related cyber fraud, misinformation-carrying bots (e.g.: phishing attacks), and attacks on web apps that are tied to healthcare. Find more on these data here.

Science and business research in digital healthcare

Standard treatment of ischemic stroke is a drug that destroys clots that has to be injected within hours of first sign symptoms. The Ohio State University scientists develop an alternative treatment for the stroke: so far, they’ve tested the cell therapy on mice, but results are promising: injected cells help to grow healthy tissue that restores blood supply to the brain.

A group from the University of Cincinnati develops a drone that will be able to conduct telehealth visits in people’s homes if they don’t have a computer or internet connection.

Researches found spirometers are missing low blood oxygen levels in Black patients more frequently than in white patients.

What to read

Rural hospitals have a hard time shifting to digital: their margins are down. Read how they cope with the necessity to operate in a new landscape with new dynamics.

How regenerative medicine changes the way drugs are discovered and tested (e.g.: drugs are tested on 3D organs! and other things.)

It seems that people started working more hours since the pandemic started. Overwork isn’t a strategy for responding to the pandemic, writes Josh Bersin, with in-depth research of how people are working and feeling in These Uncertain Times (™). - especially useful for businesses that work remotely.

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