Breaking News, Updated The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on 1 Feb issued over $1 billion in awards to four companies to provide Home Telehealth vital signs monitoring technologies to veterans in home care and monitoring. The four companies are Medtronic, Care Innovations, Iron Bow Technologies, and 1Vision LLC. The $1 billion is split evenly between the four ($258 million for each company over the five-year duration). The contracts are for an initial year (31 Jan 2018 end date listed on GovTribe.com), renewable annually for five years total. The bid process started in 2015 and the award had originally been scheduled for early-to-mid 2016.
On the suppliers:
- Medtronic is the incumbent as a supplier since 2011, dating back to Cardiocom’s 2011 award for its home monitoring units (Cardiocom was acquired in August 2013). Medtronic is a Dublin, Ireland HQ’d company with a US headquarters in Minnesota.
- Care Innovations is well known to our Readers as the developer of Health Harmony and the acquirer of the QuietCare telecare/behavioral monitoring used in senior housing. Their parent is Intel.
- Iron Bow Technologies is a supplier to VA in other healthcare areas (telemedicine and store-and-forward) and is a large, privately held IT company with multiple Federal contracts and deep Federal contractor roots. Their revenue has been reported at over $462 million (Washington Technology Top 100 2016).
- 1Vision LLC is a new company formed as a joint venture between HMS Technologies, Inc. and MBL Technologies, Inc. Neither are previously engaged as home telehealth providers, but both are Federal contractors. According to their individual websites, HMS is an IT systems integrator and MBL is engaged primarily in cybersecurity.
The question for this Editor is how Iron Bow and 1Vision, which are not telehealth (vital signs) monitoring companies but telemedicine and IT service providers respectively, will execute Home Telehealth with the VA. Have they partnered with yet-to-be disclosed providers in providing home telehealth services to the VA? (Watch this space)
While the award is the largest in US telehealth, the VA is, by this Editor’s experience in her last position with Viterion Corporation, extremely demanding on its service providers and will be even more so in the future. The future reasons are clear: 1) President Trump has put a Klieg light on the VA and 2) he’s named a new VA secretary, Dr David Shulkin, who is currently VA Undersecretary for Health (confirmation hearing notes courtesy of POLITICO, nomination approved by the Senate committee Tuesday, and easily confirmed Monday night 13 Feb), who has been highly engaged with HIT issues, including both the VistA EHR modernization/replacement and initiatives such as the recently unveiled Digital Health Platform [TTA 12 Jan].
VA requires a dedicated internal (or external) structure to service multiple delivery, security and implementation levels, down to the 21 areas called VISNs and individual facilities–and this is an understatement. It is no wonder that the new award winners already have multiple Federal contracts and ‘know the drill’. 1Vision, as a joint venture, is the smallest, but has the advantage of being a certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business [SDVOSB]. The other three are giants (or owned by giants, in the case of Care Innovations).
Of the four, the one with thousands of units already in place is the incumbent, Medtronic.Unless Home Telehealth is expanded drastically and there’s an internal requirement for adopting different systems in VA regions, the tendency will be for the VISNs to adopt what they know, what is already in place and widely used. Certainly, Medtronic knows this and will take full advantage. Getting implementation is hardly turnkey. It would seem that Iron Bow and 1Vision are at a particular disadvantage, not being telehealth (vital signs monitoring) hardware, software and reporting providers. For them, even integrating an existing provider will take both time and funding.
One last caution. While it’s good news for these companies, the award is no guarantee of long-term success. Note the sole survivor from the 2011 five-year award is Medtronic (then Cardiocom) [TTA archives 12 Apr 2011]. The other five are either out of business or no longer in telehealth.
FedBizOpps is the source for the award information; click and download attachments for detail: 1Vision. The Medtronic page has award notices for Medtronic, Care Innovations and Iron Bow as the last three attachments dated 1 Feb (scroll to end)
Medtronic this morning issued a press release on their award.
Updated: Iron Bow partners with Vivify