Digital healthcare digest — December 2019

Digital healthcare digest — December 2019

2020 is here, but let’s take a few moments to reflect on the past year. What was happening in the digital healthcare industry in December? Spoiler: LOTS of success stories and M&A deals.

Hope you’ll enjoy the read!

The world of digital health startups

NYU Langone Health opens incubator for early-stage biotechnology and life sciences startups. It will provide them with affordable lab and office space, educational programming, and operational support.

Rock Health released a report on gender equity at healthcare startups and VCs in 2019. Very throughout research on different aspects of equity (a long road to equity, actually), we highly recommend.

EIT Health, a healthcare collaboration network operating in EU, announced that in 2020 their challenge — Wild Card Health Challenge that is meant to connect healthcare startups to healthcare stakeholders — will be focused on women’s health and digital therapeutics.

Launches in digital healthcare

ClearDATA launches Healthcare Security and Compliance Platform, which will automate software compliance checkups, reporting, and other aspects, and allow healthcare to use their cloud solutions securely.

L&T Technology Services, India’s leading engineering company, showcased Robotic Endo-training Kit. The research and development for the first cost-effective kit have been a joint effort between India and the Republic of Korea — it’s a futuristic surgical training robot that improves the precision of surgery techniques through observation and ML algorithms.

MorseLife Health System and the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County launches community campaign for Holocaust Survivors to improve their health and well-being.

Babylon Health will launch triage chatbot in the US.

A Brazilian health tech company, Vitta, expands medical insurance for startups’ employees with new pharmaceutical services (to get startup teams more affordable drugs.)

Amazon Web Services launched Amazon Transcribe Medical, an automated speech recognition service. ATM is designed to understand med and pharma terms — so medical workers will transcribe with it during patient visits.

NVIDIA launches AI-driven blockchain platform, Clara Federated Learning, that will help providers quicker analyse healthcare images in a secure way.

Garmin collaborates with Sleeprate; they show their new wearable device for sleep health — data analytics algorithms in there will help consumers to understand how their physical activity and quality of sleep are connected — and address sleep struggles with that knowledge.

Mindray, a global company that develops healthcare tech, launches a new ultrasound machine, the DC-90 with X-Insight. It aims to help doctors make more accurate decisions about the diagnosis.

Ibex launches AI-based system for diagnosing and detecting breast cancer in pathology.

Colorcon launches on-dose authentication platform developed by the provider of molecular technologies, Applied DNA Sciences. It will help to track products from plant to patients, confirming the quality of ingredient in patients’ medicines.

French Chronolife launches Nexkin, a CE-market smart t-shirt that monitors vitals. It’s designed for daily health risks monitoring.

XRHealth launches new VR- and AR-powered telehealth platform.

GE Healthcare launches Edison Developer Program that will aim to boost AI adoption among healthcare providers. The product leverages AI among different digital features: providers will be able to make it help them analyze medical images, improve communication between different departments, etc.

Partners Healthcare launch new technology initiative that will drive innovation, enhance clinical care and patient experience. It’s a 5 years strategy aimed on developing “healthcare of the future.”

Investments and digital health startups’ funding

A Houston-based health tech company, Decisio Health, gets $13M in Series B. They develop FDA-approved devices for real-time patient monitoring and hospital flow management. One of the investors is GE Healthcare.

Magnetar joins healthcare investment field.

iFit raises $200 million. It’s a in-home fitness streaming platform. They’ll use the funding to spread iFin reach to smart homes and fitness clubs, increase awareness, and add to interactive fitness content.

Sensorion, the clinical-stage biotech company receives a grant from the French government to support SENS-401 Phase 2 Study — study for response biomarkers in people who experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss. French Ministry of Armed Forces will take part in the research. SENS2-401 is a drug candidate that protects inner ear tissue from damage that causes above-mentioned impairments; a molecule can be injected or eaten.

OM1 platform scores $50 million in Series C. It’s a cloud platform that uses AI to organize and analyze large datasets for improving and measuring clinical outcomes.

Bright Health gets $635 million in Series D. It’s a consumer-focused healthcare startup that is offering health insurance directly to customers.

The platform called Page lands $45 million. The startup focuses on streamlining the decision-making process for oncologists through AI.

French Diabeloop lands €31m in Series B. Diabeloop creates “a hybrid closed-loop system” for management Type 1 diabetes; it’s called DBLG1. Glucose measurements are transmitting through Bluetooth to the handset, algorithms analyze the data and come up with an accurate dose of insulin.

A startup called Proteus that dedicated 20 years to developing smart pills with sensors telling whether meds are taken or not seems to fail in closing the expected $100M round. They have financial difficulties, and their product raises privacy concerns.

Soul Community Planet, Holistic Hospitality company that provides coworking and wellness space and focuses on social determinants of health gains $5 million in Series A.

Current Health, a startup that develops wearables for remote vital signs monitoring, lands $11.5 million in Series A.

VivaLNK gets CE Mark for its multi-vital wearable and development kit that comes along with it. The device is used for patient vital signs monitoring. VivaLNK aims to get these devices to clinical trial researchers and to hospitals.

Seer, Inc., a life sciences company that focuses on capturing and translating insights from proteome research to improve people’s health raised $55 million in Series D. Round was led by Israel VC fund aMoon.

Quartet Health, a behavioural health and primary care startup, gains $7.5 million in addition to their $60 million of Series D, and partner with Cambia Health solutions. Partners will aim at improving mental health in patients living in the US northwest by connecting them to corresponding health services.

Digital transformation success stories

Telehealth helps CaroMont Regional Medical Center’s ED to reduce the length of stay for psychiatric patients by ~70%. They connected the hospital’s psychiatric nurse assessors, its emergency department physicians, and SOC Telemed psychiatrists (it’s the largest US provider for acute and post-acute care telemedicine solutions).

Chatbot — conversational AI — helps Northwell Health’s patients who are waiting for a colonoscopy reduce their anxiety about the procedure. As a result, more patients actually go through the exam — which is great, considering 40% no-show/cancellation rate.

Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation implemented PARADE technology two years ago. Software screens all adult patients at the point of hospitalization and flags people at high risks of adverse drug events. PARADE screened more than 87.000 patients and prevented more than 2000 of such events, saving $17 million dollars by reducing readmissions and eliminating adverse drug events.

Augusta Health’s AI-powered early warning system that gathers EHR data, processes them, and delivers real-time warnings to clinicians helped save 282 people from death from sepsis. They ran an automated process that collects info from Rauland Bed System and clinical data from the EHR for all current inpatients and, when the life signs are out of the cutoff, the system alerts nurses. With this technology. Now, the sepsis mortality rate at August Health is 4.8% compared with 13.2% at the state level. 

The usage of American Well’s telemedicine services at Penn State Health has resulted in amazing travel savings (almost 9 thousand miles!), increase in patient satisfaction, expansion of care management programs, and optimized workflow.

Bridges Health Partners MSSP ACO that combines four non-profit healthcare systems saved $8 million due to implemented population health analytics solution from NextGen Healthcare. Its predictive tools allowed clinicians to notice care gaps, monitor patients at risks, ensure smooth transition of care, etc.

The usage of AdhereTech’s smart bottles improves adherence and patient satisfaction.

University Health Care System installed a price estimator from Recondo Tech to pursue cost transparency. That reduced the numbers of no-shows and online bookings on-site. We predict that features that show a clear cost of healthcare services will be extremely popular in the future.

M&As, partnerships, government initiatives, and regulations

ChristianaCare partners with Medtronic to develop and deploy med-tech and therapies to improve patients’ health. 5-years partnership will aim at the complete transition to value-based care.

Gympass, an employer’s benefits platform, will acquire Portuguese AI company Flaner. The collaboration will open a “tech hub” in Lisbon where the gym corporate customers will receive AI-based recommendations on training and health.

Mayo Clinic joints a venture with UAE healthcare network SEHA to upgrade Shaikh Shakhbout Medical City hospital with advanced digital tech.

British EPR vendor, PatientSource, partners with The Brandon Centre, London-based charity organization that provides free sexual health, counselling, and therapy to folks under 25. PatietnSource will help them to digitize health records and streamline clinicians’ workflow.

Cigna and Express Scripts employer clients will be able to get access to Health Connect 360, an AI-based system that tracks chronic disease treatment and consistency in meds, due to new partnership.

Philips partnered with Paige, a provider of computational pathology. They plan to develop AI-based apps to detect cancer through ML algorithms and digital imaging.

InSight Telepsychiatry (delivers on-demand and scheduled telepsychiatry) merges with Regroup Telehealth (delivers telehealth, obviously) to create the largest, most comprehensive telepsychiatry service provider in America.

VirTrial, a virtual care company that provides services for the clinical trials industry, acquires SnapMD, a telehealth startup. The sum of the deal is undisclosed. As a part of the deal, SnapMD’s Virtual Care Management platform will be integrated with VirTrial’s clinical trial product. The goal is to make clinical trials easier for everyone involved, offering simplistic UX through a decentralized platform.

Blackford (a company that develops a centralized medical imaging platform) partnered with MaxQ (apps for stroke, traumatic brain injury and head trauma treatment & detection through AI). Now, MaxQ’s solutions will be available on the Blackford Platform (which is great news for radiologists and care providers’ workflows).

The US Department of Agriculture gives 133 grants totalling $42.5 million for expanding education and access to healthcare across rural USA areas. About half of these grants are allotted for telemedicine-focused projects. Moreover, more and more laws about ensuring telemedicine insurance coverage appear (there still a large room for improvement, but we’re glad nevertheless.)

Meanwhile, the US Department of Veteran Affairs launches the National Artificial Intelligence Institute. The organization will aim to improve the health and wellness of veterans through AI and machine learning.

Verity Stream from a HealthStream Company that develops enterprise-class solutions for credentialing, enrollment, privileging, and evaluation for healthcare organizations, acquired CredentialMyDoc, a SaaS solution that’s kind of doing the same to widen their reach.

UCB, a biopharma company, and Accenture partner to build a solution on the basis of Accenture’s INTENT to make pharmacovigilance case processing faster.

Organavo (develops 3D bioprinted tissues from human cells, 25% of the company) and Tarveda Therapeutics (develops a new class of oncology medicine, 75% of the company) will merge.

Malware attack on Cheyenne Regional Medical Center may have resulted in the exposure of health info that belongs to almost 18 thousand patients.

Veristat, a full-service clinical research organization, acquires Catalyst Regulatory Services to improve their regulatory expertise.

FDA launches an app called CURE ID. It’s a sort of storage for reports about successful threating of infections with FDA-approved drug. FDA will use these data to find new ways of treating diseases; they especially interested in new doses, combinations of drugs, and complex patient cases.

UNC Healthcare integrates CarePort Health Platform to coordinate care through real-time data exchange.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare collaborates with Advanced ICU Care team to launch telehealth initiative across three hospitals.

Research in the digital health industry

Akili Interactive’s study discovered that patients using their AKL-T03 — a video game-like investigational product that targets executive function abilities like attention and working memory — does, indeed, improves attention and processing speed. When released, this AKL-T03 may help people with depression retain their cognitive abilities.

And about the validation of mental health apps again: a meta-analysis of these apps concluded 50% dropout rate from studies of apps for depressive symptoms. High dropout rates = low validity. Among strategies to improve the situation, researchers advise to let users talk to people and include in-app mood monitoring tools. We wrote an article about how to create good mental health apps, by the way.

AI makes healthcare more human, scientists figured out.

Workforce Institute Survey shows that healthcare professionals are satisfied in their current jobs, and for organizations, it’s now more important to retain existing employees than recruit new ones (IT workers are included.)

Customers’ interest in tools to price shop for care — especially in countries where healthcare is unreasonably high (hint: America) — increases rapidly, according to Deloitte’s research.

Employer healthcare costs will rise in 2020, shows the 2020 Global Medical Trends Survey Report. Among the most common and most expensive conditions, it’s forecasted to see mental and behavioural illnesses.

The higher depression in physicians, the higher number of errors they made, says the report based on 11 studies involving more than 21 thousand physicians. The report highlights the need to reduce depressive symptoms among clinical workers, improving their workflow and investing in their individual strengths.

New KLAS study shows: the EHRs are improving, but the gaps remain. Read the full report on what people lack in EHRs and other population health solutions here. Enli, HealthEC and Innovaccer lead the way of IT solutions for this branch.

Healthcare IT outsourcing market will grow with the demand for high-quality healthcare. The main branches to outsource will be the development of administrative software, software for care management and infrastructure management.

According to The Harris Poll’s survey, more than two-thirds of Americans would agree to accept help from relatives or friends if they had an illness or injury that last long. At the same time, only half of the respondents are ready to ask for help.

When we’re not busy collecting industry news for you to get a full picture of the market, we develop great digital health software. Contact us, if you want to develop/upgrade/migrate any.


Yana Slemzina
Yana Slemzina (Copywriter) Words person in BeKey; does marketing research and tech writing.
Alex Koshykov
Alex Koshykov (COO) with more than 10 years of experience in product and project management, passionate about startups and building an ecosystem for them to succeed.

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