Why they matter: the $225 million acquisition of Propeller Health; Hill-Rom’s integration of EarlySense’s bed monitor

It’s all about the integration of newer technology and partnerships into established, older tech–or furniture. In late 2014, a seven-year-old early-stage company from Wisconsin had a booth at the NYeC Digital Health Conference. Their digital, connected monitors attached to prescription inhalers and tracking app interested this Editor enough for her to discuss it with a telehealth company she consulted for at the time as a natural fit for their digital remote monitoring of COPD and asthmatic patients. The startup had a few major clients, mainly drug companies, and would have been boosted by Viterion’s VA business. (Editor note: it didn’t go anywhere)

Flash forward to November 2018, and after $70 million in funding and marketing in 16 countries, integration with nearly 90 percent of commercial inhalers, Propeller Health is being acquired by the much larger ResMed for $225 million, closing in March 2019. This is surprising as Propeller never exceeded $10 million in revenue (Research2Guidance).

Why it matters: Propeller brings to ResMed’s older respiratory technology not only new yet proven technology, but also established partnerships with pharma, healthcare, and payer organizations. They inhabit a huge and growing worldwide market. According to WHO, asthma affects 334 million people worldwide; COPD 250 million people. Digital solutions could be targeting as many as 270 million patients by 2023. Propeller also brings eight US FDA 510(k) clearances and CE markings. All of this makes this small digital medical company worth a serious multiple of revenue with the prestige of being a standalone unit within ResMed led by the co-founder. Read more about it from Research 2 Guidance’s “ten major reasons” why Propeller was worth it, Mobihealthnews, and MedCityNews.

An even smaller monitoring company, Early Sense, has made a significant lift (sic) in a partnership with leading hospital bed manufacturer Hill-Rom. Early Sense has been featured at many CES Unveileds (New York) as one of many Israeli companies with a growing US presence. While starting in the hospital area years ago with bed and chair sensors, within the past two years this Editor noted their move into consumer with an under-mattress sleep sensor unit that could track (via an app) your sleep, stress, heart rate, breathing–and fertility. Their clinical version tracks heart and respiratory rates, alerted for patient falls out of bed, and patient movement (or lack thereof) as an indicator of risk for pressure ulcers. Hill-Rom, which claims to be the world leader in hospital beds, is adding the Early Sense technology to its Centrella model to create a smart hospital bed–one that will monitor heart and respiratory rates over 100 times a minute. A 2015 study quoted in the release stated that mortality related to “code blue” events was reduced by 83 percent, cardiac arrests by 86 percent, and reported overall hospital length-of-stay was reduced by 9 percent ICU days by 45 percent.

Why it matters: Even hospital equipment has to differentiate versus competition, and one way is going digital RPM integrated into the bed itself. The least expensive way of doing so is to buy new technology and incorporate in your ‘traditional’ offering. For the smaller company, it is worth its weight in gold in publicity and the potential business through the giant company. ReleaseMedCityNews, Mobihealthnews

Weekend viewing: NYeC Digital Health Conference presentations

Now that the bustle of the holidays is over and the frigid days of winter are here, this weekend grab your cup of hot cocoa, an afghan rug or snuggie, and click through a one-page compendium of the NYeC Digital Health Conference in NYC last December. The page links to presentation slides and video; most have both. (Unfortunately, not all presentations nor the lunch breakouts are included.)

This Editor highly recommends the following:

  • The Tuesday keynote on ‘The Digital Doctor’ by Dr Robert Wachter, who is influencing the NHS. (Yes, EHRs and e-prescribing have turned physicians into data entry clerks.)
  • ‘Turning Impossible on Its Head’ on disrupting healthcare with technology: Robert Putrino of Burke Rehabilitation Center on a miracle of 3D printing
  • DSRIP 2017 and readmissions may not sound very interesting, but the presentations by Veyo‘s Josh Komenda on how transportation assistance can also aid compliance, and the discussion on the missing link of population health may be social determinants of health care, are.
  • Wednesday’s ‘Universal Patient Identity’ presentation by Tom Foley of Lenovo Health; a must-see by anyone interested in preventing identity fraud and theft at the provider level
  • “The Patient Room of the Future’ by Joan Saba, partner of NBBJ Architects. Responding to this Editor’s question via Twitter on how design can prevent nosocomial (healthcare-acquired) infections, I was directed to an excellent Becker’s Hospital Review article written by two of their firm’s leaders.
  • The very last presentation, ‘Resuscitating the Child’, was one of the finest and may also break your heart. Peter Antevy, MD, medical director of two EMS in Palm Beach County, Florida, presented the human cost of both EMTs/paramedics in rescue and the frustration of not having the proper tools to calibrate medication and procedures quickly on a patient who cannot be administered full doses, all in emergency situations. His company, Pediatric Emergency Standards, is developing software that can do so quickly and on-scene. Dr Antevy’s passion for his work and for applying technology to this situation is abundantly present.

NYeC Digital Health Conference final presentations pageTTA was a conference/media partner of the 2016 NYeC DHC, and thanks Jesse Giuliani and Andie Egbert for their invitation and coordination assistance.

Who’s getting what!

Denny Hatch, the master direct mail copywriter and creative thinker, for decades had a private direct mail marketing newsletter called ‘Who’s Mailing What!’ This came to mind with some very big funding rounds in the past few weeks:

  • Omada Health’s Series C $48 million raise in September to boost validation, enhance its Prevention program and expand to state Medicaid for low-income patients. Current clients include Humana and Costco. Forbes attributed the size of the round to Omada’s approach in tying participant outcomes to over 50 percent of its compensation. MedCityNews.
  • Propeller Health‘s Series C of $21.5 million. This is a sensor on asthma meds such as inhalers that connects to an app. With 45 programs and clients like Dignity Health and Molina Healthcare, Propeller has been growing intensively since this Editor last saw them at the 2014 NYeC Digital Health Conference. Their total funding is now $45 million. TechCrunch.
    • And now that we mention it–don’t forget that TTA Readers receive a 10% registration discount on this year’s conference 6-7 December–use code TTA when registering. Click on the advert in the right sidebar to enter registration or view their event website.
  • Spain’s biotech sector got a boost when Ysios BioFund II Innvierte exceeded the initial fund target of €100 million (US$110 million), closing at €126.4 million (US$140 million). It recruited existing investors and multiple Spanish and European economic interest groups. With their Biofund I, Ysios has €191.4 million (US$220 million) in assets under management. MedCityNews
  • iRhythm closed its IPO on Tuesday with an over-allotment. Shares from last Thursday’s offering of 6.3 million shares at $17 on NASDAQ initially soared 65 percent to $28 before closing at $26.05. iRhythm’s Zio service is a cardiac monitor patch and long-term monitoring to determine whether a patient has an arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation. WSJ, Reuters
  • And before you have that AFib, if you are living in California, Heal can provide you with an in-person doctor house call from your smartphone for $99, which may be covered by a participating insurer. Series A round of $26.9 million. VentureBeat

Put them on the calendar: upcoming US IoT, connected health events (updated)

September means that we come back from vacations and holidays. The calendars come out and we start to fill in the gaps for the next few months into (gasp!) 2017. Here’s a forward look through to next August for US healthcare and IoT  conferences, including International CES.

If you’re in Dallas this coming Thursday, the Health Wildcatters accelerator is premiering their new office at Pacific Place with a bash starting at 5:30pm. Reserve tickets quickly and find out more #HWGrandOpening Hat tip to Hubert Zajicek

Since TTA’s been a media supporter of Parks Associates’ Connected Health Summit for the past two years, here’s a sample of their other IoT and connected home events.

CONNECTIONS™ Europe  (Smart home, IoT and the connected consumer)
November 2-3, 2016, Amsterdam     www.connectionseurope.com

CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES
January 5, 2017, CES, Las Vegas    www.connectionssummit.com

CONNECTIONS™: The Premier Connected Home Conference
May 23-25, 2017, San Francisco   http://www.connectionsus.com

Connected Health Summit: Engaging Consumers
August 29-31, 2017, San Diego  www.connectedhealthsummit.com

December is a big month for US conferences; three of note (and likely partners again) are:

MedStartr Momentum (MedMo16) (more…)

Digital health startups filling the gaps in Health Canada

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/RCAF_roundel_WWII.jpg” thumb_width=”125″ /]Canada’s health system is nominally nationalized, but in a way that leaves large gaps in coverage–for long term, in home, specialty care and prescriptions–as well as variable by province. According to this article in HIT Consultant, VC funding is also thin on the ground, which leads to a short-term outlook. Local governments are stepping into the gap with innovation funding (similar to the Partnership for NYC) and the national government has eased restrictions on foreign investment. EHRs haven’t been a priority (skipping the troubles experienced in the US) which leaves digital health–telehealth, telemedicine and diagnostic apps–to enjoy the available talent and funding. This Editor doubts that any of the 20 profiled here will be familiar names other than possibly InterAxon which we noted at last year’s NYeC Digital Health Conference, and many tread the familiar ground of genomics, social sharing of medical images, and gamification for behavior change, but there are three unique companies in the neurological area in nerve stimulation (MyndTec), nerve disorder diagnostics imaging (NerveVision) and pharma (Oxalys.) We salute the Royal Canadian Air Force with their WW2 roundel on the anniversary of the Allied invasion of Sicily, July – August 1943

Why a smartwatch may feel…de trop

De tropFrench, adjective, meaning too much, too many, unwanted

Have you noticed that many early adopters have skipped smartwatches? Other wearables such as fitness trackers have taken their place successively on the wrists of your favorite Quantified Selfer or weekend warrior. (A sign: they are now mass market at drug stores like CVS and sports stores for the holiday.) But how many people are looking forward to a special delivery of an Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S or even the well-reviewed and well-priced LG G Watch R in Santa’s pack? Having just returned from the NYeC Digital Health Conference, I saw few on the wrists of DH mavens. Smartwatches (and clothing wearables) also faded out at CES Unveiled [TTA 21 Nov], a complete turnaround from June’s event.

If you’ve been wondering too, you’ll be nodding like a bobblehead at John Nosta’s blog post in NuviumThe Death of Wearables. (more…)