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Digital healthcare digest - May (It’s still pandemic.)

Hey! Happy first day of the summer - and let’s look back at what May brought to digital healthcare.

New products and launches in digital health startups & businesses

A new app called Healthinote aims to reduce fake news about patients and healthcare services. It was developed by Cognitant Group and aimed to deliver information hygiene to, mainly, Europe.

OMRON healthcare released the world first portable wheeze detection device - for parents to detect if their children are about to have an asthma attack.

Researchers from Northwestern University developed a wearable they say can detect COVID-19-related symptoms. The device measures motion that would “allow researchers to categorize cough.” They are testing it right now.

Epic launches a new telehealth service in partnership with Twilio. Through service, healthcare professionals will be able to not only schedule video visits but also update clinical documentation and review patients’ histories within Epic EHR workflows. Twilio also gave Epic the opportunity to use SMS, voice messaging, and SIP channels to talk to patients.

DrChrpno launched telehealth features for their mobile EHR platform. Now they allow providers to use DrChrono to schedule and launch video visits from their calendar, and patients can search for a virtual care type they need and receive it there, too.

Digital health startups funding in May

Medable from California received $25M funding. Their digital platform helps facilitate decentralized clinical trials and connect research participants, sites, partners, and other stakeholders. Researchers can use the platform to screen and select patients for trials remotely.

First Dollar raises $5M for a healthcare saving platform with a focus on HSAs that targets millennials and Gen Z. They aimed to make healthcare savings plans super simple and transparent.

Lucid Lane, a telehealth substance use disorder program, raised $4M in seed funding. Licensed therapists there provide virtual coaching, and the program is built to deliver data-driven treatment planning.

Amwell gains $194M in Series C due to the rise of telehealth.

Limbix, a digital mental health company, gets $9M in Series A to develop a tool for teens to address mental health issues. Their main product is called Limbix Spark and it’s based on CBT. They plan to spend money on clinical trials, commercialization partnerships, and development towards FDA clearance.

Mindstrong gets $100M in Series C. A mental health platform will put the money to scale their business. Right now, their company provides a multimodal approach to treating mental health - they partner with payers to offer services to members, partner with doctors to provide patients with telehealth, and their teams help users micromanage medications and care plans. The platform also can track a patients’ smartphone behavior, using it as a biomarker to detect increased stress, signs of depression, etc.

Tava Health gains $3M in seed funding. They provide video consultations for mental health and plan to use funds to expand service into a new geographic market. Tava reported their app doubled the number of users each week over the last two months, as the lockdown and pandemic are really stressful.

Owkin raised $25M to build a secure network for healthcare analysis and research - a virtual lab, called Owkin Studio. In there, all parties can access anonymized data sets and models for their own research and studies to ensure they use the freshest insights and knowledge about biomarkers and mechanisms of action and the newest prediction models.

Insitro and Exscientia, platforms using AI to discover new drugs, raise $140M, and $60M in Series B and Series C respectively.

Helium Health gained $10M in Series A to expand to Kenya, Rwanda, Morocco, and other countries in North and East Africa. Their product digitizes data, formalizes monetization, and provides telemedicine services for health systems in Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana.

Health kiosk maker Higi gains $30M. Their kiosks are made for quick tests to check blood pressure, weight, pulse, and BMI. They are self-service and free and installed in retail stores. Fund will be used to expand the reach of kiosks and content they showcase.

Cancer diagnostic company - Endofotonics - raises $8.5M in Series B. Their system provides real-time detection of early gastric cancer during endoscopy through Raman spectroscopy. Combined with the company’s AI, the system helps doctors identify early cancer via analyzing molecular changes occurring beyond stomach lining. They plan to apply the gained funds to expand in Europe.

Big Sky Health, a company that’s developing an app called Zero (a fasting solution for dieters), scored $8M in Series A and told they’ll use funds to develop Zero Plus, a premium service for their clients.

Digital health vs COVID-19 pandemic (May edition)

Apple and Google updated their respective OS with the first component of their contact tracing API. It’s called “Exposure Notifications.” Devices owners must opt-in the functionality. Tech companies noted the tracing tech does not use geotracking.

IBM launches the blockchain network to protect and reinforce the healthcare supply chain during the pandemic. It’s called Rapid Supplier Connect, and it’s designed to help health systems and the government identify alternative vendors of supplies that are lacking.

Study from Oxford University data visualization branch Zagami found at least 34 ongoing COVID-19 projects from MedTech startups. They are aimed at supporting healthcare professionals in Europe. Here’s the list.

TeamViewer offered TeamViewer Pilot - a fast, usable solution for remote assistance, enabled by augmented realities - to healthcare organizations worldwide for free. With it, healthcare workers can safely share video streaming and AR annotations with their patients.

Mount Sinai, a health system in New York, installed more than 100 Google Nest cameras to observe COVID-19 patients and communicate with them.

A company from Dubai developed Guard Sanitizing Gate - a walk-through gate that disinfects 99.9% of germs and viruses - and offered the device to public institutions (to government and semi-government ones - for free or almost for free.)

Fitbit launched a COVID-19 wearable study that, potentially, can help in the development of an algorithm for early detection of a virus.

LetsGetChecked locks in $71M in Series C to expand COVID-19 testing capacity. The startup is a pro in developing at-home testing kits and plans to tap into a consumer-facing testing market with COVID tests, as well. Now, their tests are used only by providers at points of care.

Luxury lifestyle management group Insignia launched a first-ever clean card - a silver card that scares 99.9% bacteria and germs away. Rich, but they hope other banking company will use their move as an example.

Researchers from SMART receive the NMRC grant to develop rapid non-invasive paper-based tests for COVID-19. It will be based on protein detection. Tests can be easily applied in the field, and results are received within 10 minutes.

People in lockdown want to know more about the pandemic. Two third of UK & US searches are in for coronavirus updates. Research from GlobalWebIndex shows other interesting data as well - check them out.

They also have lots of bad dreams. User behavior study from Withings shows changes in people’s physical activity, sleep, etc. during a lockdown. For instance, during self-isolation people had fewer sleep heart rate anomalies and irregularities. Check the full research to find out more.

Digital healthcare market news & partnerships

Hospital EHR spending forecasted to reach $9.9B by 2024, according to a report from Freedonia. Nursing and residential care facilities will be the fastest-growing segment of EHR users.

Aetna International, a health insurer, partnered with Wysa, an AI-driven chatbot for mental wellbeing to address this “second curve” of the pandemic - mental health crisis.

HHS gives $20M of funds to increase telehealth access and infrastructure for providers.

98point6, a startup offering text-based primary care services, formed a partnership with Boeing, Chipotle, Circle K, and so on. People can use the startup’s app telling about their symptoms and receiving a probable diagnosis from a system before an appointment. Then, the company connects them with a board-certified physician. Due to pandemic, 98point6 saw an amazing rise in revenue: their volume increased by 200%, as more corporate clients started offering the service as the employee benefit.

A digital fitness company, Pear Sports, partners with Performance Lab for their AI-driven health exercise-coaching platform. The platform uses AI to discover insights in the physical performance of users and then develops a personalized exercise program for them. Pear sports want to use it in real-time more as an interactive coaching tool.

Elekta, a Swedish oncology-focused company, acquired Kaiku Health from Finland. Kaiku Health app for symptom tracker and real-time patient monitoring will be integrated into Elekta’s Mosaiq Oncology Information System.

Induction Healthcare Group will acquire a patient engagement platform Zetsy for £12.7M. That will allow Induction to connect patients, clinicians, and healthcare organizations in one platform.

New CB Insight report on Big Tech in healthcare lays out what are their plans in the industry. For instance, Facebook and WhatsApp may become an entry point to healthcare services - especially in developing countries.

Regulations and clearances in digital health

CMS makes telehealth more available in Medicare Advantage health plans within the final rule. This will encourage payers to expand their benefits and increase plan choices for people living in rural areas.

Headsafe, an Australian company, got FDA’s 510(k) clearance for their headgear that is designed to perform brain assessment. It’s called Nurocheck and it uses Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) to catch, through EEG sensors, brain activity appearing in response to visual stimuli, that is transmitted through goggles - that are a part of the set. The clearance means Headsafe will be able to expand in the USA.

FDA nods off Propeller Health and their app and sensors that are meant to be used with AstraZeneca’s Symbicort inhaler for asthma and COPD. That partnership is supposed to give respiratory patients a way to manage their condition and improve adherence, that will, on the other hand, reduce their visits to the ER.

Phillips wearable biosensor that was recently cleared by the FDA is aimed at early detection of patient deterioration and can help reduce COVID-19 transmission risks through continuous patient monitoring in hospital wards with patients with coronavirus.

Sherlock Biosciences and their COVID-19 test that uses CRISPR technology gained FDA authorization.

First home-collected saliva sample kit for COVID-10 tests receives FDA approval. It was developed by Rutgers Clinical Genomic Laboratory.

Data protection & security threats in digital healthcare

Smart buildings are still a large, unstudied cyberthreat for healthcare. That’s worrying, considering more and more hospitals use IoT to track patient life signs, control and manage patient flow, help in nurses’ routing, and so on.

NetWalker ransomware - one of the most serious threats to the healthcare field - changed its business model to Ransomware-as-a-Serice in an attempt to partner with other cybercriminals, reports Advanced Intelligence. They were increasingly active in pandemic and will probably continue to do so, thus, - be vigilant and think on how you can protect your systems against network infiltrations.

By the way, paying the ransom can double ransomware attack recovery costs - according to the new research from Sophos. The most viable solution if you’ve fallen victim to a ransom is to recover encrypted data from backups without paying criminals or even stop the attack before the data is encrypted.

Qatar’s mandatory COVID-19 tracing app was vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to Amnesty International investigation. They’ve fixed the issue quickly, so there was - for a change - no attack.

Science & business research in digital healthcare

Fitbit launches large scale consumer health study to detect atrial fibrillation through their sensors and algorithms.

According to the JAMIA study, conducted by Harvard Business School researchers, hospitals face lots of administrative challenges when they report data back to public health agencies, as 4 out of 10 hospitals in the USA say these agencies can’t receive electronic data… Check out the full research here.

New research provides a clinically adaptable strategy for using already available imaging techniques (for instance, MRI) to generate neuroimaging signature for Alzheimer’s disease. Or: scientists found an affordable way to reduce Alzheimer’s misdiagnosis and detection.

Another research finds that minimally invasive biosensors systems have the potential to help people better manage gout attacks.

KLAS puts together a report with clinical optimization services, sorting them by their ability to relieve clinicians’ burnout through easy-to-use, understandable interface, streamlined workflow, solution performance, etc.

Machine learning can detect hypotension 15 minutes before the drop, according to Edward Lifesciences Research. That’s amazing because low blood pressure is often fatal and has serious negative outcomes, occurring in surgical patients.

Other news

The FHIR-based system for EHRs cut search time from 3 minutes to 5 seconds in The Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis. In such a way, they’ve managed to make the nation’s largest inter-organizational clinical data repository accessible. Cerner - for the first time, ever - integrated EHR to their client’s hospital (Macon Community Hospital) remotely.

Miiskin - first skin checking app that uses cameras and AI to help users track new and existing moles and skin marks - appeared in EMIS App Library, a database of reviews by NHS DAQ framework applications.

In Sweden, drones join the emergency care front line. They’ll deliver Automated External Defibrillators (AED) for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA).

What to read

Why it’s vital to include people of color in the development of coronavirus innovations, as they are the ones who suffer the most from the virus due to systematic exclusion from the proper healthcare, clinical trials, and, in general: racism.

Tech’s role in tracking, testing, and treating coronavirus.

Why health officials don’t like the idea of contact-tracing tech from Wired.

Another side of the point: Rock Health’s material on big tech and contact tracing: “Don’t let perceptions of big tech be the enemy of the greater good.”

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