News roundup: stroke rehab uses Hollywood technology, 3M sues IBM Watson Health on analytics software misuse, AI-based skin cancer detection apps fail, Dictum’s successful telemed use post-pediatric surgery, malware attacks Boston practice network

Motion capture technology being used in stroke and TBI rehab. Best known for turning actors into cartoon superheroes, motion capture tech is now being used at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston for returning mobility to stroke and TBI patients. Attached to the patient are sensors–reflective markers–on key parts of the body. Using an array of infrared cameras, the patient is tracked on gait and other affected motion areas. Doctors and therapists can then better target therapy, plus assistive technologies from orthotics to full exoskeletons. Includes video. STAT

When Giants Sue. 3M is suing IBM Watson Health on their use of licensed 3M software in ‘unauthorized ways’ and charging direct copyright infringement and contract breaches. 3M’s Grouper Plus System analyzes claims and other coded data to help calculate reimbursement. 3M contends that IBM was licensed only for internal use dating back to a Truven agreement in 2007, years before their acquisition by IBM. The suit also adds that IBM then integrated the software into Watson platforms without a license transfer and expansion to cover the use, as well as dodged an audit of the use. The suit is in NY Federal Court. Becker’s Health IT Report

Algorithm-based dermatology apps fail to accurately detect risk for melanomas and similar skin cancer.  A just-published BMJ study determined that these smartphone apps, which use algorithms that catalogue and classify images of lesions into high or low risk for skin cancer and return an immediate risk assessment with subsequent recommendation to the user, are not effective. Six apps were examined, including two with a CE mark. None were FDA-approved and two were cited by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive marketing. Only one, SkinVision, is still commercially available. Study results do not apply to apps that physicians use in direct telemedicine consults. IEEE Spectrum

Successful test and planned rollout of telemedicine tablet for post-surgery checks at Children’s Hospital of Richmond (Virginia–CHoR). The Dictum Health eVER-HOME tablet used for virtual visits had a 92 percent acceptance rate of telemedicine visits in place of in-person visits, zero return to hospital/ER events, earlier patient discharge post-surgery (12 to 24 hours), and avoidance of long-distance travel by patients for follow-up visits, a significant factor as CHoR is a destination hospital for specialized pediatric surgery. The rollout will include AI capabilities in Dictum’s Care Central platform to help determine rising risk and more. Dictum Health is a company best known for telemedicine units for remote workers (e.g. oil rigs) using their Virtual Exam Room (VER) technologies. Dictum release, mHealth Intelligence

CHoR is having a better week than a physician’s network affiliated with Boston Children’s Hospital. Pediatric Physician’s Organization at Children’s (PPOC) is the victim of a malware attack affecting computer systems at about 500 affiliated physicians and clinicians. The impacted systems have been quarantined and does not affect BCH. Becker’s Hospital Review, Health IT Security  Health IT Security also rounds up other recent data breaches, hacks, and phishing attacks.

Is the bloom off the consumer DNA business? It’s past time for a Genomic Bill of Rights. (updated)

Perhaps a bit of sanity enters. Ancestry, the largest vendor of home-based tests for genetic testing to trace ancestry and seek health information, announced layoffs of 6 percent, or about 100 people, from its Utah and California offices. This follows on post-New Year layoffs at chief rival 23andMe of 14 percent of its staff, also about 100 people.

The slowdown in the consumer appeal of genetic testing is apparently across the board. While one hears of genetic tests being given for holidays and birthdays, there is little repeat need. The market was easily saturated: the early adopters have done their testing; the second wave of consumers which normalize a technology now are increasingly aware of and have privacy concerns about their genetic information being misused. This Editor would add a lingering wave of silly TV and online commercials with wide-eyed folks imagining their connection to ancient royalty or swapping out lederhosen for kilts after their testing report comes back. 

The bright spot for both companies is where they were really heading–healthcare data. AncestryHealth is not being cut back. As previously noted, GSK owns half of 23andme.

This Editor in 2018 advocated a Genomic Bill of Rights where before testing, a genetics testing client would be told how their genomic data is being used and being protected, informed about de-identification, and easily able to opt-out of commercial use. And the revelations about matching to others in the database or health revelations should be done not only with circumspection and respect for the disruption which may happen in the client’s life, but also held to the highest standard of testing. Sometimes that discovery is the equivalent of tossing a hand grenade into a person’s life. There also hasn’t been a lot said about making de-identifiable data identifiable through the ‘nefarious use’ of genomic data sets available through research networks.

DNA is being used for so much advanced medicine and even home testing (example–Cologuard in the US for colon cancer). It’s regrettable that the most public face of genetic testing rests with two companies whose main sell on your past and health has had unintended consequences, and whose main chance lies in the sale of their consumer data. The Verge, CNBC

100% increase in physician telehealth and virtual care usage in three years: AMA study

The American Medical Association’s newest physician survey has a lot of good news for those of us in healthcare tech. It found greater across-the-board physician adoption of digital tools, whether virtual consults, patient visits, adoption of patient portals, workflow enhancements, or clinical decision support.

While current usage was greatest for other tools, the greatest increases were virtual visits via telemedicine, doubling from 14 percent to 28 percent, and remote monitoring for improved care from 13 percent to 22 percent of the over 1,300 physicians surveyed in both years. 

AMA last surveyed physicians on their digital health adoption in 2016. Both the 2019 and 2016 surveys were performed by WebMD and examined seven key digital tools. In current use, 2019/2016:

  1. Remote monitoring for efficiency: 16%/12%
  2. Remote monitoring and management for improved care: 22%/13%
  3. Clinical decision support: 37%/28%
  4. Patient engagement: 33%/26%
  5. Tele-visits/virtual visits: 28%/14%
  6. Point of care/Workflow enhancement: 47%/42%
  7. Consumer access to clinical data: 58%/53%

Also notable was that primary care physicians (PCPs) see greater advantages in digital health more than specialists, though in top two boxes, they are equal. Multi-specialty groups like digital health best.

Providing remote care is also a driver for digital health adoption, the only one which increased several points in the very/somewhat important indicator.

Not surprisingly, older physicians are less enthusiastic about digital health, but they have increased adoption much in line with younger cohorts.

And way back in the appendix of the study, doctors look to emerging technologies to assist them with their chronic care patients, with millenials not that far behind.

Articles: Health Data Management, HealthLeaders
Study: Summary, AMA Digital Health Study 2019

Propel@YH opens again for 2020 accelerator candidates

Yorkshire & Humber AHSN (Academic Health Science Network) today opened applications for the second year of its Propel@YH digital health accelerator. The accelerator is aimed at helping digital health innovators of startup and scale-up size navigate the NHS in the Yorkshire and Humber region and who are already there or are willing to establish an operation there.

10 companies will have access to expert partners such as NHS providers, commissioners and academic institutions. The program this year is being supported by the University of Leeds’ innovation hub, Nexus; Barclays Eagle Labs national incubator network, leading health law firm Hill Dickinson, and Leeds City Council.

Last year, their six finalists were DigiBete, Healthcare Engineering, HeteroGenius, Medicsen, Medicspot and Scaled Insights. 

But hurry–applications close on 12th March. Release, Propel@YH website, application

VA running at least one month late on Cerner implementation launch

Only a week after Veterans Affairs secretary Robert Wilkie reassured the press that the rollout of the Cerner EHR to replace VistA was right on time, FCW was advised by a VA spokesperson that the implementation is only 75-80 percent complete, and more time is needed for the system build and staff training. The 28 March rollout at Spokane, Washington’s Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center will have a new ‘go-live’ date according to the spokesperson. Another source said to FCW that the interfaces between Cerner, VA IT, and VistA has been a worse ‘slog’ than anyone imagined, so it made little sense to train anyone on a unfinished system. The date is now estimated to be end of April.

Apparently key Congresscritters on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and IT subcommittees were prepared for the delay by Secretary Wilkie–a wise move–and they applauded the recognition that more preparation and training are required.

VA’s fiscal 2021 budget, revealed on 10 Feb, requested $2.6 billion for the Cerner EHR modernization project, up from $1.5 billion in the prior year. There’s $500 million more for infrastructure readiness and $62 million hike in program management support.

Considering 2019’s digital health investment picture: leveling off may be a Good Thing

2019 proved to be a leveling-off year for digital health investment. The bath may prove to be more cleansing than bubbly.

We noted that the always-fizzy Rock Health engaged in some revisionist history on its forecasts when the final numbers came in–$7.4bn in total investment and 359 deals, a 10 percent drop versus 2018. When we looked back at our 2019 mid-year article on Rock Health’s forecast [TTA 25 July], they projected that the year would end at $8.4 bn and 360 deals versus 2018’s $8.2 bn and 376 deals. That is a full $1bn under forecast and $0.8 below 2018. Ouch!

In their account, the 10 percent dip versus 2018 is due to average deal size–decreasing to $19.8M in 2019–and a drop in late-stage deals. Their analysts attribute this to wobbliness around some high-profile IPOs, citing Uber, Lyft, and Slack, as well as the near-collapse of WeWork right before its IPO towards the end of 2019.

New investors and repeat investors increased to 627 from 585 in 2018, with no real change in composition.

The headliners of 2019 were:

  • Amazon’s acquisition of Health Navigator adding symptom-checking tools to its health offerings
  • Google’s buy of Fitbit
  • Optum’s purchase of Vivify Health, which gives it a full remote patient monitoring (RPM) suite (right when CMS is setting reimbursement codes for RPM in Medicare)
  • Best Buy’s addition of Critical Signal Technologies for RPM
  • Phreesia, Livongo’s and Health Catalyst’s IPOs. For Livongo and Health Catalyst, current share prices are off from their IPOs and shortly after: past $25 for LVGO and $31 for HCAT. Phreesia closed today at a healthy $33, substantially up from PHR’s debut at $15. (Change Healthcare, on the other hand, is up a little from its IPO at $16, which isn’t bad considering their circumstances on their financing.)

Rock Health only counts US deals in excess of $2 million, which excludes the global picture, but includes some questionable (in this Editor’s estimation) ‘digital health’ players like Peloton, explained in the 25 July article.

Rock Health’s analysts close (and justify their revisions) through discussions with VCs expecting further headwinds in the market–then turn around and positively note the Federal backing of further developments in building the foundation for connected health as tailwinds. No bubbly forecasts for 2020–we’ll have to wait.

Is this necessarily bad? This Editor likes an occasional dose of reason and is not displeased at Rock Health’s absence of kvelling.

Confirming the picture is Mercom Capital’s analysis which also recorded a 6 percent dip 2019/2018: $8.9bn with 615 deals, dropping from the $9.5bn and 698 deals in 2018. Their ‘catchment’ is more global than Rock Health, and encompasses consumer-centric and patient-centric technologies and sub-technologies. Total corporate funding reached $10.1bn.

Outcome Health’s Desai reaches settlement with DOJ, SEC

Ashik Desai, the former chief growth officer of point-of-care advertising firm Outcome Health, settled the charges against him brought in Federal court by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing was on 4 February. Monetary relief and/or penalties against him will be disclosed at a later date.

Last month, Mr. Desai pleaded guilty to the charges and announced cooperation with the authorities on the criminal charges of securities fraud related to Outcome Health’s capital raises of about $1 bn during 2011 into 2017. Similarly, his former analysts Kathryn Choi and Oliver Han did the same at the end of January.

Remaining are the senior executives who have all entered pleas of  ‘not guilty’: founders Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, both of Chicago, and Brad Purdy, their former COO and CFO, all in their 30s. All of them blame Mr. Desai, who is presently 26 and started at Outcome Health as an intern.  Pass the popcorn for a dramatic tale of complex and multi-layered fraud, likely in the spring. Becker’s Health IT and CIO Report, Chicago Tribune  Also TTA 17 Dec and 3 Dec

Comings and goings, wins and losses: VA’s revolving door spins again, NHS sleep pods for staff, Aetna’s Bertolini booted, Stanford Med takes over Theranos office

VA’s revolving door spins again with #2 person fired, but VistA replacement implementation moves on. James Byrne, deputy secretary, was fired on 3 Feb “due to loss of confidence in Mr. Byrne’s ability to carry out his duties” according to secretary Robert Wilkie. Mr. Byrne, a Naval Academy graduate and former Marine officer, had been VA general counsel, acting deputy secretary starting August 2018, then confirmed five months ago.

Mr. Byrne’s responsibilities included the Cerner implementation replacing VistA and other IT projects (HISTalk), of which Mr. Wilkie stated in a press conference today (5 Feb) “will not impact it at all” (FedScoop). The termination comes in the wake of a House staff member on the House Veterans Affairs committee, herself a Naval Reserve officer, stating that she was sexually assaulted at the VA Medical Center in Washington (NY Times). Axios claims that the White House was disappointed in the way the VA handled the investigation. At today’s presser, Mr. Wilkie denied any connection but attributed the dismissal to ‘not gelling’ with other team members. The launch of Cerner’s EHR is still on track for late March. The turnover at the VA’s top has been stunning: four different secretaries and four more acting secretaries in the last five years. Also CNBC, Military Times.

NHS’ sleep pods for staff to catch a few ZZZZs. A dozen NHS England hospitals are trialing futuristic-looking ‘sleep pods’ for staff to power nap during their long shifts and reduce the possibility of errors and harm by tired clinicians. Most of the locations are in the A&E unit, doctors’ mess, and maternity department. They are available to doctors, nurses, midwives, radiographers, physiotherapists, and medics in training. The pods are made by an American company, MetroNaps, and consist of a bed with a lid which can be lowered along with soothing light and music to aid relaxation. The pods may cost about £5,500 each but are being well-used. Other hospitals are fitting areas out with camp beds and recliner chairs. The sleep breaks take place both during and end of shifts before returning home and average about 17-24 minutes. Everything old is new again, of course–dorm areas were once part of most hospitals some decades back and doctors’ lounges with sofas were popular snooze-gathering areas. Guardian (photo and article)

Mark Bertolini bumped off CVS-Aetna Board of Directors. The former Aetna CEO, who was the engineer of the sale to CVS Health two years ago, isn’t going quietly out the door with his $500 million either. The high-profile long-time healthcare leader told the Wall Street Journal that he was forced off the BOD. He maintains the integration of the Aetna insurance business is incomplete, contradicting CVS’ statement that it’s done. Mr. Bertolini and two other directors are being invited out as CVS-Aetna reduces its board following, it says, best practices in corporate governance. Looking back at our coverage, Mr. Bertolini had hits, bunts (ActiveHealth Management) and quite a few misses (Healthagen, CarePass, iTriage). According to the WSJ, the contentious nature of the statement plus the departure of the company’s president of pharmacy is raising a few eyebrows. And recently, an activist shareholder, Starboard Value LP, has taken a stake in the company. CVS is demonstrating some innovation with rolling out 1,500 HealthHubs in retail locations as MinuteClinics on steroids, so to speak.  Hartford Courant (Aetna’s hometown news outlet) adds a focus on how many jobs will be remaining in the city with a certain skeptical context on CEO Larry Merlo’s promises. 

Stanford taking over Theranos Palo Alto HQ space. HISTalk’s Weekender had this amusing note (scroll down to ‘Watercooler Talk’) that the 116,000-square-foot office building in Stanford Research Park will now house the Stanford medical school. Theranos had been paying over $1 million per month in rent for the facility. The writer dryly notes that Elizabeth Holmes’ bulletproof glass office remains. This Editor humbly suggests the floor-to-ceiling application of industrial-strength bleach wipes and disinfectant, not only in the lab facility but also in that office where her wolf-dog used to mess.

The LA Times reports that Ms. Holmes is also defending herself without counsel in the Phoenix civil class-action lawsuit against Theranos. On 23 January, she dialed in to the court hearing’s audio feed and spoke for herself during that hour. One has to guess that she doesn’t have much to do other than read legal briefs. (Perhaps she sees herself as a cross between Saint Joan and Perry Mason?) Last fall, Ms. Holmes was dropped by Cooley LLP for non-payment of fees [TTA 9 Oct 19]. Williams & Connolly continues to represent her in the criminal DOJ suit, where prison time looms. 

Mojo Vision’s really smart vision correcting/AR contact lenses

Didn’t Novartis and Google give up on ‘smart lenses’ in 2014 or so? Instead of a drug delivery system, Mojo Vision has a more realistic view of contact lenses–vision correction and compensations for vision impairments–plus some augmented reality add-ons that could be useful not only for vision enhancement but also in hazardous situations and for service professionals.  The potential for these lenses is great, not only in the corrective ability to increase contrast or enhance color, but also in their technology which can display simple information on the lens. The display focuses light on the fovea, the central portion of the cornea which has most of the eye’s photoreceptors. The display is powered by a thin-film battery and in a future iteration will connect to your smartphone.

Mark Sullivan from Fast Company has been covering Mojo for a while and as promised at the top of the article, it’s a long read about the lenses and the developers, who for a refreshing change are not 30. It’s still unnerving to read about contact lenses with batteries and images projected on your retina, but if this ‘moonshot’ works, it could be a breakthrough in vision correction far beyond conventional lenses.

A Practice Fusion coda: an insider’s perspective on the pressure to ethically breach an ‘objective’ service for revenue

From both sides: an insider at Practice Fusion, then a regulator at ONC. Mentioned briefly in POLITICO Morning eHealth is a blog posting from a former ONC (Office of the National Coordinator, HHS) official, Jacob Reider, MD, about Practice Fusion. Before he was Deputy National Coordinator of Health IT, he was CMIO of Practice Fusion circa 2009-11. His blog has some interesting insights on even ten years ago, how aggressive pharmaceutical companies were in wanting to ‘bend’ (Editor’s term) clinical decision support (CDS) in the EHR to promote a drug category, and in a young, growing, and revenue-hungry company, the temptation for ‘growth’ teams to do so. Fast forward a few years, and Dr. Reider is working to write the certification requirements for EHRs and the evidence (via citations) for CDS. His conversations with the then-CEO, Ryan Howard, about the ethics of their advertising model and their rationale illustrate the conflict between ethics and revenue–as in right up to the line and looking over. While this is familiar to any media observer–after all, why buy advertising if not to change behavior?–when decisions are being guided by an EHR, the CDS shouldn’t be rigged, visibly or invisibly. Dr. Reider places the crossing of the line after Mr. Howard’s departure with a new pharma-minded team. The evidence in the CDS lies in the citations funded by–pharma and biomed companies. The inevitable result: Allscripts, now the owner, settling for $145 million with the DOJ and having ‘kickbacks’ attached to their business. Dr. Reider is now CEO of the Alliance for Better Health in Albany, NY. Docnotes: When sponsored CDS is a crime

This is hardly the first instance of the blurring of boundaries between ethics and revenue. All those paying to get their genetic history from 23andme or Ancestry.com ought to consider that they may also be signing on to have their information used by a medtech company for research. It may be stripped of PII and ‘de-identified’, but there are ways of cross-referencing some of that information. Why else would GSK own 50 percent of the company? [29 Aug 19, 31 Oct 15

Allscripts’ $145 million settlement with DOJ on Practice Fusion’s ‘kickbacks’ on opioid prescribing, other charges

The US Department of Justice announced on 27 February that it reached a $145 million settlement with Practice Fusion on what DOJ termed “kickbacks from a major opioid company in exchange for utilizing its EHR software to influence physician prescribing of opioid pain medications”. Allscripts, which now owns Practice Fusion, will be paying out penalties of $25.4 million in criminal fines, $113.4 million to the Federal Government, and up to $5.2 million to individual states, as well as forfeiting criminal proceeds of nearly $1 million from the ‘kickback’. The specific charges relate to two felony charges related to the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and for conspiring with its opioid company client to violate the AKS.

The opioid company is widely believed to be Purdue Pharmaceutical, manufacturers of Oxycontin, according to HISTalk. The high dudgeon generated in the DOJ press release is related to opioid prescriptions and physician usage which are and remain highly controversial. Apparently, Purdue wasn’t the only pharma company that benefited from this type of influence.

In this Editor’s analysis, ‘kickbacks’ is a legalism to prosecute under the AKC what marketers would term a sponsorship deal. Practice Fusion was from inception advertiser supported. What is different here from pop-up screen adverts is that Practice Fusion created sponsorship packages in which not only advertising was featured, but also clinical support decision (CDS) alerts were created, aimed at increasing prescription sales of companies’ products. In addition, Practice Fusion allowed companies to participate in the design of the CDS software. These sponsorships took place between 2014 and 2019. None of this is unusual in AdLand in general, but in pharma and healthcare which play by far stricter rules about marketing programs, this goes against the expectation (and regulation) that an EHR is unbiased.

Allscripts had ‘leaked’ this back in August on their Q2 investor call. Buried in the DOJ release after the opioid ire is the settlement of Practice Fusion’s violations of Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) regulations concerning the voluntary health IT certification program, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations around EHR incentive programs, presumably Meaningful Use certifications and payments. This was the origin of the earlier announcement of a $145 million settlement on Allscripts’ Q2 2019 investor call, which in retrospect strikes this Editor as a nice try at minimizing far more serious charges. [TTA 14 August] CDS favoring opioid prescription is far more disturbing.  

It does seem that Allscripts bought itself a bargain basement of trouble with Practice Fusion. Mobihealthnews, TechCrunch

Outcome Health analysts plead guilty, cooperate with Federal prosecutors

Two financial analysts who worked at Outcome Health and reported to former EVP of business operations/chief growth officer Ashik Desai, changed their ‘not guilty’ pleas to ‘guilty’ earlier this month. Kathryn Choi and Oliver Han were charged with wire fraud by Federal prosecutors. As part of their guilty plea, they will cooperate with prosecutors, as did their former boss Mr. Desai.

As reported in our earlier articles, Ms. Choi and Mr. Han are alleged to have created statements to deceive company auditors and providing advertisers with false patient engagement metrics on Outcome Health’s tablets. Both were hired in 2014 and placed on leave in late 2017. While the charges they face carry a maximum penalty of five years, their cooperation may lead to far lighter sentences.

Their change of plea was rather predictable, given that two fairly young and junior staffers faced Federal charges in a classic squeeze play to obtain further information on the big fish, former Chief Executive Rishi Shah, former President Shradha Agarwal, and former executive Brad Purdy (COO/CFO), who face real prison time and large financial penalties. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Outcome Health’s principals are charged with 26 criminal charges of fraud in their funding raises of over $1 bn from 2011 to 2017. Advertisers were defrauded for ads which never ran in medical audiences and third-party studies were manipulated to enhance their results. The indictment details deception of their investors, lenders, and their own auditors for profit and misrepresenting to advertisers their delivery of actual advertising in doctors’ offices. 

Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago BusinessEarlier TTA articles: 3 Dec, 12 Dec, 17 Dec

Digital triage in health service – CQC’s initial recommendations

This is a brief alert to readers that the CQC has publicised its initial recommendations from its review of the use of digital triage services.

The CQC defines digital triage tools as software that tells a patient what to do or where to go next in their care pathway. It can be software that:

  • supports clinicians to make decisions
  • supports non-clinical staff to interact with patients
  • people interact with themselves

This is an important area requiring regulatory clarification as it sits at the interface between medical devices regulated by the MHRA and medical services regulated by the CQC…and patients are increasingly being impacted by it.

Key findings are:

  • care providers and local systems need better guidance and support from national bodies when they commission technology suppliers and set up contracts – a standard test of the effectiveness of triage algorithms would help providers and systems choose the best products
  • digital triage tools should help people to get care in the right place at the right time, and should not prevent this – clinicians should be able to override the recommendations from these tools when they think it is in a person’s best interest
  • people need to understand the difference between a digital triage tool that checks their symptoms and one that directs them to a regulated healthcare service – they also need clearer guidance on how to use them.
  • there is a need to understand how safeguarding can work when people are using digital interfaces instead of humans
  • technology suppliers that don’t need to register with CQC should meet all other relevant regulatory requirements when developing clinical pathways for triage tools – this area has limited assurance or regulation, reinstating the accreditation scheme from NICE or something similar would help
  • the insight and data from digital triage tools provide an excellent opportunity to improve care – there is a need to work collectively to understand how best to do this

The full report is here.

This is the first use by the CQC of the “regulatory sandbox” approach: a way of testing how best to regulate new types of services by working collaboratively to find out about them. As someone who was briefly engaged in the process, this Editor considers it to be potentially an extremely impressive way of coming up with practical regulations, and avoiding unworkable proposals.

The next step will be to develop the detailed proposals based on the above.

Calling all digital health entrepreneurs: DHACA Day on 18th March is for you!

If you’re struggling with the many challenges of how to grow your digital health business fast, DHACA, sponsored by the AHSN Network, is at hand to help. Specifically on 18th March we have assembled an outstanding group of speakers to help you get to know NHSX and its priorities, to build AI into your product or service, to position yourself to benefit most from the current emphasis on longevity, to understand how the cabinet office can help, how data privacy legislation may change post Brexit, what Babylon is doing, how the AHSNs can help and much, much more. You only have to pay for lunch! You will also get to hear how you can access a wide range of in depth business services free, due to the generosity of our sponsors.

The event is being held courtesy of Baker Botts in their offices very close to Bank Tube station in London. 

Please click here to see more detail and to book.

(Disclosure: this Editor is also CEO of DHACA)

News roundup: Proteus dissolves with Otsuka, EHRs add 16 min. per patient, DrChrono mobile EHR raises $20M, CareBridge LTSS launches, ‘flyover healthtech’ soars

The much-touted partnership of Proteus Digital Health with Otsuka Pharmaceutical of Japan for a digital version of Abilify has ended prematurely. Abilify MyCite was the first drug cleared by FDA with a digital tracking system in November 2017 [TTA 14 Nov 17]. Otsuka was also going to fund Proteus for further development of drug tracking.

In the payout for the Proteus license, Otsuka has the right to use Proteus’ technology for its own mental illness drug research. Proteus will abandon its research in mental illness and cardiovascular conditions and concentrate on digital meds in cancer and infectious disease. Before the holidays, we saw reports that ‘Proteus may be no-teous‘ and that layoffs and office closures were in the works. STAT reports that the Proteus-Otsuka breakup is one of several recently: Sandoz and Pear Therapeutics, Sanofi and Alphabet’s Onduo.

Where does a doctor’s time go? EHR use, for one. A study of 155,000 ambulatory medical subspecialists and primary care physicians in 2018 clocked EHR use per encounter at over 16 minutes on average, with chart review, documentation, and ordering functions accounting for most of the time (33, 24, and 17 percent, respectively). Percentages changed by subspecialty. PhysiciansWeekly,  ACP Annals of Internal Medicine (abstract only

Speaking of EHRs, DrChrono, one of the first mobile-friendly EHRs/practice management/revenue cycle platforms, raised $20 million in a Series B led by ORIX Growth Capital. Its total funding in nine years tops $48 million. Crunchbase, Mobihealthnews

Long term care (LTC) has been ‘about to be hot’ for at least 10 years. Where the real money may be made is in the ‘back end’. This week, a new long-term support services (LTSS) firm, CareBridge launched out of Nashville, backed with $40 million in fresh funding with a BOD helmed by a former US senator and physician, Bill Frist. Created in part through the acquisition of two other companies, HealthStar and Sinq Technologies, it will concentrate on electronic visit verification by caregivers for in-home service delivery, provide real-time sharing of clinical information, support members with enhanced tablet-based telehealth services, and is building a predictive model for service support. BusinessWire

Flyover tech soars, indeed. We note that CareBridge is in Nashville, which snobs on both coasts demeaningly call ‘flyover country’. Well, there’s gold in Middle America’s hills when it comes to health tech, with some of the choicest high flyers at this week’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference from places like Nashville, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, Denver, and Iowa. Utah alone has enough tech to earn it the nickname ‘Silicon Slopes’. Utah’s highlighted company is one this Editor found back in 2013Owlet–still (baby) socking it to them, cutely. Others, unfortunately, are wince-worthy–the prize goes to the Ōmcare med dispenser, which makes darn sure via two Wi-Fi-enabled interactive cameras that those pills are not only being taken, but also being swallowed. Really. Observer

Femtech’s huge potential global healthcare market–but needs to connect with payers and employers

‘Femtech’ is one of those newish umbrella terms that corrals health tech that enables women to manage their health better. Most of women’s health products cluster in birth control, fertility, pregnancy, and early maternity, with little outside this area or for older women. A number have gotten substantial funding rounds–in Q3, Nurx (birth control, $52M), The Pill Club ($51M, ditto), and Cleo (pregnancy and post-partum coaching, $27.5M). Rock Health

Research2Guidance has dug a little deeper in its new study,
The Global Market Of Digital Women’s Health Solutions 2017-2024
  and discovered 3,000 app-based solutions, 151M annual downloads and millions of active users globally. 20 percent of US women in the femtech core demographic use a health app, and R2G projects global market revenue will reach $297 million. Global market expansion is likely to be greatest in countries like India and China

What femtech lacks, according to R2G’s Ralf Jahns, is validation. Those 3,000 companies haven’t quite concentrated on their user case and benefits which could lead to validation and payer/employer reimbursement. And strategies haven’t quite jelled yet.