TTA Spring Weekend Wrap: a killer Q1 in funding/M&A, Zipnosis-Bright Health, 5 fundings, 2 IPOs announced, Google’s Care Studio pilot, more!

 

 

Weekly Alert

It’s the flip side of Easter, and we take stock of a killer Q1 in funding/M&A, Zipnosis triage acquired by an insurtech, a repositioned Google-powered patient info search tool, Care Studio–plus news from US to Down Under.

Short takes 9 April: Doro phones to elderly isolated; funding to Vesta Healthcare, Zedsen; Anthem partners with Canvas EMR, Health Metrics (AU) new owner
Google’s Care Studio patient record search tool to pilot at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Steering clear of the Project Nightingale controversy)
Deal and news roundup: Therapy Brands’ big KKR investment, AppliedVR’s non-painful $29M Series A; Akili tests cognitive-boosting games; Firefly Health lights up $40M; Mastercard-b.well partner, two big IPOs filed, more   (Whew!!)
A smash Q1 for digital health funding–but the SPAC party may be winding down fast (SPACs under scrutiny; popularity has its downside)

Zipnosis, health system telemedicine/triage provider, acquired by insurtech Bright Health Group (Extending their care delivery capabilities tied to insurance)

For Easter Holiday week, we took a break from the M&A action with only an early SPAC, SOC Telemed, buying rival Access Physicians, and one notable raise. DOJ decides that the Optum buy of Change Healthcare needs a closer look. And an interview with Amwell’s CEO touching on Amazon Care and a POV on the uneasy marriage of healthcare and tech needing a pre-nup.

Weekend reading: the strange reasons why Amwell doesn’t consider Amazon a competitor; ground rules for the uneasy marriage of healthcare and technology (Both articles revealing in their own way. Do healthcare and tech need a pre-nup?)
Deals and news roundup, April Fool’s Edition: SOC Telemed’s $196M acute care telehealth buy, HIMSS takes over SCAN Health, Livongo’s Burke joins Owlet board, CirrusMD text app raises $20M (A quieter week than most recently!)
US Department of Justice decides additional scrutiny needed of $13bn Optum acquisition of Change Healthcare (Change won’t come quickly to Optum)

Spring Fever this week, as news, fundings, and M&A deals in the US and UK never ceased. Four hefty raises, three acquisitions–and one big one may be challenged. Amwell’s record revenue–and loss. Tunstall named a new chairman, NHS Digital losing its CEO. Propel@YH’s Demo Day showcasing northern startups is coming up on Wednesday. And more, including a 40 count indictment!

Deals and news roundup: Ginger’s $100M, myNEXUS to Anthem, Everlywell snaps up PWN, Amwell’s banner year, VA reviews Cerner rollout, voice visits for MA, GE’s vScan goes wireless, uBiome founders indicted
UK short news takes: Tunstall names new chair, Alcidion patient safety software partners with East Lancashire NHS Trust
Propel@YH’s Demo Day for participants next Wednesday 31 March
Breaking: Sarah Wilkinson, CEO of NHS Digital, resigns, to depart by summer
News and deals roundup: AHA opposes Optum buy of Change Healthcare; raises by Komodo Health, Evidation Health, Ro’s $500M; Appriss acquires PatientPing

A lot of news packed into only three articles this week, as March has its way with us. We lead with a rare and juicy corporate spy story. Kidney care finally gets attention, as does pain management and a UK mental telehealth startup. And Doctor on Demand’s merger points to virtual visit telehealth being unable to stand alone–and that Amazon may not realize what it’s getting into. 

CareCentrix files ‘corporate espionage’ on trade secrets lawsuit against Signify Health, former employee (David versus Goliath matchup–bring the popcorn)
News and deals roundup: Strive Health’s $140M for kidney care, coalition lobbies for more home telehealth, codes removed from PFS, Hinge Health buys Enso, HelloSelf £5M raise, Tyto Care adds (A lot for one article!)
Two major moves and what they mean: Doctor on Demand, Grand Rounds to merge; Amazon Care will go national by summer (updated) (Telehealth M&A, or else, and Amazon continues virtual care moves in a crowded market)

Finally, this week feels a bit like Spring–yet remarkably we don’t have a single deal of note this week for a change! UKTelehealthcare has a MarketPlace coming up on Tuesday. BETTEReHEALTH formed to support eHealth for population health in Africa. We round up the recent spike in healthcare hacks and ransomware breaches affecting many hundreds of thousands. Withings debuts out-of-the-box mobile connected devices, a point-of-care ad network juggernaut forms, and Bluestream Health adds a new health system.

UKTelehealthcare’s Digital MarketPlace: Tuesday 16th March (11:00 – 13:00) (Zooming again next Tuesday)
News roundup: Hacks, ransomware of medical records, security cameras spike; Withings launches new mobile-direct devices; Bluestream Health adds Leon Medical (FL) to telehealth  
Healthcare ad/patient ed network PatientPoint combining with once-hot Outcome Health (Creating an ad network jumbo)
BETTEReHEALTH project initiated to support eHealth solutions, improved outcomes in low-income African nations (Vital initiative for population health)

Is it Spring yet? Big IPO for Oscar Health, big funding for Dispatch Health and Tyto. Telehealth makes headway in US Congress. Plenty of weekend reading in Rock Health’s digital health report and latest installment of ISfTeH’s Century of Telemedicine series. Age-positive image library launches. And more!

Marketing alert! Age-positive image library launched by Centre for Ageing Better–and free to use (A boon to companies, organizations, and marketers. Well done!)
Weekend reading: ISfTeH’s ‘A Century of Telemedicine’, featuring the UK (Part 4 of a 5 part so far series)
News and deal roundup, 5 March: Oscar Health’s $1.4 billion IPO, telehealth expansion in Congress, what people *really* do during a telehealth visit (Dizziness persists)
Funding update, 4 March: big Series Ds for new unicorn Dispatch Health and Tyto Care; USDA’s $42M for rural telehealth; UK’s Perfect Ward hospital inspection app secures £4m (It’s dizzy out there…)
Rock Health/Stanford U Digital Health Adoption Report: high gear for telemedicine, digital health, but little broadening of demographics (Encouraging–and cautionary)
Coming up *this* Tuesday: UKTelehealthcare All IP Forum Webinar Tuesday 2 March (Now past, but has dates and links to coming UKTHC activities)

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Telehealth & Telecare Aware: covering the news on latest developments in telecare, telehealth, telemedicine and health tech, worldwide–thoughtfully and from the view of fellow professionals

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Donna Cusano, Editor In Chief
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Short takes 9 April: Doro phones to elderly isolated; funding to Vesta Healthcare, Zedsen; Anthem partners with Canvas EMR, Health Metrics (AU) new owner

Today’s News from all over roundup….

Doro in the UK is participating in the ‘Do Good’ initiative with the mobile network giffgaff. Doro is donating 500 Doro phones to isolated elderly people across the UK, as part of their efforts in other countries such as Germany, France, and the Nordics. The tie with giffgaff came about after their announcement of ‘goodybank’ to help those in UK communities facing hardship. Release

Vesta Healthcare raised $65 million in a venture round, bringing its financing since 2018 to $105 million (Crunchbase). Vesta connects a network of caregivers to at-home care and clinical care management. This round was led by Deerfield Management with participation from existing investors Oak HC/FT, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Lux Capital, Generator Ventures, Nationwide, CareCentrix, and Epstein Partners plus K2 HealthVentures. Vesta is HQ’d in New York City and provides services in five states, which will be expanded with the new funding. Release. Hat tip to HISTalk

London-based Zedsen raised $12 million (£8.7 million) in a Series B which apparently is its first reported financing. Also joining them is Dr. Caroline Hargrove CBE, former CTO of Babylon Health, as Chief Technology Officer. Zedsen provides non-invasive skin biosensor-based monitoring of human body functions to create personalized insights about health, fitness, diet, and emotional wellbeing. The investors include: Joseph R. Grano, former Chairman and CEO of UBS Financial Services Inc; Nasser Kazeminy, Investor, Founder of NJK Holding and Chairman of the Ellis Island Honor Society (EIHS); Tony Rice, Former CEO of Cable and Wireless; Bonnie Mcalveen Hunter, Chairperson of the Red Cross; and Jim Harpel, Investor at Palm Beach Capital. Release, Mobihealthnews

Health payer Anthem is constructing an interesting partnership with a physician-targeted EMR, Canvas. Canvas will integrate Anthem member information into their EMR workflows as part of Canvas Payer SDK (software development kit). The company is leveraging this function as in primary care, usually health insurance claims data are a reliable source of patient data. They also gained a brand new Series A of $17 million funded by Inspired Capital and IA Ventures after seed and venture rounds. Becker’s Health IT, TechCrunch 

And Down Under, Tanarra Capital acquired a majority stake in Health Metrics, a software provider that supports Australia’s residential aged care, retirement living, community, and disability sectors.

Google’s Care Studio patient record search tool to pilot at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

A cleaned-up Project Nightingale? Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston announced their participation in a pilot with Google of Care Studio, described in the BIDMC press release as “a technology designed to offer clinicians a longitudinal view of patient records and the ability to quickly search through those records through a single secure tool.” In other words, it’s like Google Search going across multiple systems: the BIDMC proprietary EHR (WebOMR), core medical record system, and several clinical systems designed for specific clinical specialties. All the clinician need do is type a term and the system will provide relevant information within their patient’s medical record from these systems, saving time and promoting accuracy. (See left)

The BIDMC pilot will use a limited group of 50 inpatient physicians and nurses, to assess the tool’s quality, efficacy, and safety of its use. Technical work starts this month.

At the end of the BIDMC release, it’s carefully explained that the tool is “designed to adhere to state and federal patient privacy regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and industry-wide standards related to protected health information. BIDMC and Google Health have entered into a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) to ensure that both parties meet patient privacy obligations required under HIPAA. BIDMC patient data will be stored and maintained in a protected environment, isolated from other Google customers.” (Editor’s emphasis) The BAA was inked in 2018.

Without referring to it, it addresses the controversy surrounding Google’s Project Nightingale and Ascension Health, a major privacy kerfuffle pre-COVID that broke in early November 2019. From the TTA article, edited: “Google’s BAA allowed them apparently to access in the initial phase at least 10 million identified health records which were transmitted to Google without patient or physician consent or knowledge, including patient name, lab results, diagnoses, hospital records, patient names and dates of birth.” Ascension maintained that everything was secure and Google could not use data for marketing or other purposes not connected to the project, but handling was under wraps and Google employees had access to the data. Ascension’s core agreement was about migration of data to Google Cloud and providing G Suite tools to clinicians and employees. But apparently there was also a search tool component, which evolved into Care Studio.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights, which governs privacy, announced at the time an investigation. The only later reference this Editor was able to locate was in HIPAA Journal of 5 March 2020 regarding the request of three Senators from both sides of the aisle demanding an explanation on the agreements and what information Google employees accessed. The timing was bad as then COVID hit and all else went out the window. In short, the investigations went nowhere, at least to the public.

It would surprise this Editor if any questions were raised about Care Studio, though BIDMC’s goal is understandable and admirable. Also Becker’s Hospital Review, FierceHealthcare

Deal and news roundup: Therapy Brands’ big KKR investment, AppliedVR’s non-painful $29M Series A; Akili tests cognitive-boosting games; Firefly Health lights up $40M; Mastercard-b.well partner, two big IPOs filed, more

Behavioral health stays on the bubble. Therapy Brands, a Birmingham, Alabama-based company with a suite of mental and behavioral health practice tools for providers, announced (7 April) that major investment firm KKR will take a majority interest in the company. Existing investor PSG will participate. Exiting are current investors Lightyear Capital LLC, Oak HC/FT, and Greater Sum Ventures. Neither expected closing nor financial terms were disclosed. Previous investment was private equity and is not available (Crunchbase).

Therapy, founded in 2013, has a suite of practice management, telehealth, and data collection tools encompassing practice management; software tools for substance, psychotherapy, and rehab treatment; two HIPAA-compliant telehealth/e-prescription platforms; billing; and staff performance evaluation. It’s remained under the radar yet boasts leadership from Greenway Health–their CEO, Kimberly O’Loughlin–Community Brands, Advance Publications, ADP, and Henry Schein. 

Virtual reality and its effects on the brain are growing warm as an approach to pain management. LA-based AppliedVR announced a $29 million Series A with F-Prime Capital, JAZZ Venture Partners, Sway Ventures, GSR Ventures, Magnetic Ventures, and Cedars-Sinai. Their EaseVRx was the first VR-based prescription therapeutic to receive FDA Breakthrough Device Designation late last year to care for treatment-resistant fibromyalgia and lower back pain. VR is used to modulate the brain’s perception of pain through cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and biofeedback, reducing it in intensity and emotional effect. Total funding is $35 million since 2016. While still in clinical trials for other types of pain management (recent release), EaseVRx is being used by 200 provider groups and 60,000 patients. This Editor noted their inclusion in a Louisville Thrive Center showcase back in 2017 when Care Innovations was there; they are still listed under Social Engagement. Release. FierceHealthcare includes AppliedVR with a roundup of March deals.

Related in brain management is therapy for a long-term effect of COVID-19 infection recovery–cognitive impairment. An emerging long-term effect of COVID-19 illness in some individuals has been ‘brain fog’. Akili Interactive of Boston is collaborating with Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to evaluate their video game-based digital therapeutic AKL-T01 as a treatment for patients with cognitive dysfunction following COVID-19. Their EndeavorRX has also been used with therapy for children with ADHD and includes a behavior tracking app. Release

Boston-based startup Firefly Health scored a luminescent Series B of $40 million. Their current platform provides integrated in-person and virtual primary health along with specialist referrals and behavioral support in what they term a ‘digital Kaiser’. The raise will be used to launch a targeted health plan offering. Firefly already works with Aetna, Anthem, Tufts Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare, among others, but at this time is pretty much limited to Massachusetts and does not accept Medicare nor Medicaid. Jonathan Bush, former CEO of athenahealth, joined back in 2019 as executive chairman a year after his departure. FierceHealthcare

And in other news…

Two IPO filings plus a SPAC:

  • Privia Health, a national physician platform furnishing management services to providers such as group formation (ACOs) and technologies for coordination and value-based patient care, announced their S-1 with the SEC. No share offering information was disclosed. Lead managers are Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, so it will be sizeable.
  • Agilon Health, another management services company organizing community physicians for Medicare Advantage in their ‘Total Care Model’ value-based care for 65+, announced their S-1 for 46.6 million shares priced between $20 to $23 per share. At the low price, this would be a raise of $932 million. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and BofA Securities are leads. Hat tip on both to HISTalk Morning Headlines.
  • Better Therapeutics, a digital therapeutics/cognitive health platform addressing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, will be merging with a SPAC, Mountain Crest Acquisition Corp. II, closing by late summer for listing on NASDAQ. Projected: $113 million of cash proceeds, including a fully committed $50 million PIPE and up to $57.5 million of cash held in the Mountain Crest II trust account assuming no redemptions, for a valuation of about $187 million. Release, Mobihealthnews

Mastercard and b.well Connected Health, a consumer health management platform via employers, health systems, and health plans, are launching a patient identity verification tool for mobile phones. FierceHealthcare

And a health tech entrepreneur turns towards the payer side, for now. Karl Hess joins Texas Health Aetna, a joint venture between Arlington-based Texas Health Resources and Aetna, as interim CEO. Mr. Hess is better known to health techies on LinkedIn as principal of OnDigitalHealth Consulting, Kalico Partners in population health management, Welltok, and Collain Healthcare. Becker’s Payer Issues

A smash Q1 for digital health funding–but the SPAC party may be winding down fast

An Overflowing Tub of Big Funding and Even Bigger Deals. The bubble bath that was Q1 deals and funding is no surprise to our Readers. Your Editor at one point apologized for the often twice-weekly roundups. (Better the Tedium of Deals than COVID and Shutdown, though.)

Rock Health provides a bevy of totals and charts in its usual quarterly summary of US digital health deals.

  • US funding crested $6.7 bn over 147 deals during January through March, more than doubling 2020’s $3.1 bn in Q1 over 107 deals.
  • Trending was on par through February, until it spiked in March with four mega-deals (over $100 million) over two days: Clarify (analytics), Unite Us (SDOH tech), Strive Health (kidney care), and Insitro (drug discovery). These deals also exceeded 2020’s hot Q3 ($4.1 bn) and Q4 ($4.0 bn).
  • Bigger, better. Deals skewed towards the giant economy size. $100 million+ deals represented 66 percent of total Q1 funding
  • Deal sizes in Series B and C were bigger than ever, with a hefty Series B or C not uncommon any more. Series B raises were on average $49 million and C $77 million. One of March’s megadeals was a Series B–Strive Health with a $140 million Series B [TTA 18 Mar].
  • Series A deal size barely kept up with inflation, languishing in the $12 to $15 million range since 2018.
  • Hot sectors were a total turnaround from previous years. Mental health, primary care, and substance use disorders, once the ugly ducklings which would get their founders tossed out of cocktail parties, became Cinderellas Before Midnight at #1, #2, and #3 respectively. Oncology, musculoskeletal (MSK), and gastrointestinal filled out the Top 6 list.
  • M&As were also blistering: 57 acquisitions in Q1, versus Q4 2020’s 45

Given the trends and nine months to go, will it blow the doors off 2020’s total funding of $14 bn? It looks like it…but…We invite your predictions in the Comments below.

Les bon temps may rouler, but that cloud you see on the horizon may have SPAC written on it. A quick review: Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) typically are public companies that raise money through their own IPOs for the express purpose of buying other companies. Often called a ‘blank check’, they have no purpose other than buying one or two other companies–in the latter case, merging them like the announced Cloudbreak and UpHealth last November–and converting over to the company’s identity and business. The timeframe is usually two years. Essentially, the active company goes public with a minimum of the messy, long, expensive, and revelatory process of filing directly with the SEC (in the US). This quarter, Rock Health’s stat on SPACs was that they raised $83.1 bn this quarter, exceeding by $0.5 bn all SPAC activity in 2020, mainly late in the year. Their count was two SPACs closing in Q1 and 8 more announced but not yet closed (counting Cloudbreak/UpHealth as one).

As an exit door for investors, it’s worked very well–but is dependent on private equity and public investors having confidence in SPACs. One thinning of the bubble may be the scrutiny of Clover Health’s SPAC by the SEC [TTA 9 Feb] over not revealing that they were under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Certainly this was a material circumstance that could dissuade investors, among other dodgy business practices later unveiled. Mr. Market tells a tale; Clover went public 8 Jan at $15.90 and closed today at $7.61. Their YahooFinance listing has a long list of law firms filing class-action lawsuits on behalf of shareholders.

Clover may be the leading edge of a SPAC bust. SPACs are losing their luster because there are too many going through, jamming bandwidth at the bank and law firm level. As time ticks by and deals are delayed, the private funders of SPACs are growing squeamish, according to this report in National Review’s Capital Note (yes, National Review has a finance newsletter). “In the past two weeks alone, four blank-check deals have been halted, with SPAC shares declining significantly from their highs early this year. The slowdown follows an influx of short-sellers into the opaque financial vehicles and a sell-off in high-profile SPACs such as Churchill Capital Corp IV.” Reasons why: lower quality of companies available to go public via SPAC–the low hanging ripe fruit has been picked–and the last mile in SPACs, which is PIPE funding (private equity-investment-in-public-equity financing) is getting skittish. The last shoe to drop? The SEC in late March announced an investigation into SPACs, making inquiries into several banks seeking information on their SPAC dealings, which is alluded to near the end of the Rock Health report. CNBC  (Read further down into the NR article for a Harvard Business Review dissection of the boom-bust dynamics of ‘controversial practices’ like reverse mergers as a forecast of what may happen to SPACs. Increased popularity led to increased negativity in reverse mergers.)

And speaking of SPACs...Health tech/digital health eyes are upon what Glen Tullman and the ‘late of Livongo’ team will be doing with their SPAC, Health Assurance Acquisition Corp., which is backed by Hemant Taneja’s General Catalyst, also a former Livongo funder. Brian Dolan, who is now publishing Exits and Outcomes. His opinion is their buy will be Color, formerly Color Genomics: opinion piece is here. Messrs Tullman and Taneja are also leading Transcarent, a company that brings together employers, employees, and providers in a seamless, app-driven integrated care model. Forbes

The cool-off in SPACs may burst a few bubbles in the bath–and that may be all to the good in the long term.

Zipnosis, health system telemedicine/triage provider, acquired by insurtech Bright Health Group

Breaking: Zipnosis, a telemedicine/telehealth company that provides telehealth and diagnosis triage for large health systems, had a stealthy announcement of its acquisition by Bright Health Group late yesterday. The announcement is not on either corporate website but was made by Zipnosis’ financial advisers in the transaction, Cain Brothers/KeyBanc. Neither the value of the transaction, the transition plans for Zipnosis management and staff, nor operating model, were disclosed. Both Zipnosis and Bright Health are HQ’d in Minneapolis. Release

Why This Is Verrrry Interesting. Zipnosis developed an interesting niche as a relatively early starter in 2009 by providing white-labeled telemedicine systems to large health systems. They made the case to over 60 health systems across the US, including large systems like Allina Health with a ‘Digital Front Door’ that provided initial triage for a claimed 2 million patients, moving them into synchronous or asynchronous care fully integrated with hospital EHRs. They were named as the ‘Hottest Digital Startup from Flyover Country’ by Observer.com, once upon a time in this Editor’s wayback machine an actual print weekly newspaper and, as is obvious, NYC-centric. Release Their funding to date is, surprisingly, limited: under $25 million from seven investors, including Ascension Ventures, Safeguard Scientifics, Hyde Park Ventures, and Waterline Ventures, with the last round back in 2019. Crunchbase

Bright Health Group, on the other hand, is an insurance provider in both the exchange and Medicare Advantage (MA) markets in 13 states and 50 markets, covering 500,000 lives. Their model integrates both technology like web tools and apps with their insurance plans to be an ‘insurtech’ like Oscar Health and Clover Health. They claim to be the third-largest provider of the highly specialized type of Medicare Advantage plans called Chronic Condition Special Needs Plans (C-SNP) for those with severe and/or disabling chronic conditions. Bright Health operates in 13 states and 50 markets. In January, they announced the acquisition of Central Health Plan in California with 110,000 MA members.

However, what is verrrry interesting about Bright’s model, compared to other ‘insurtechs’, is that they own or manage a care delivery channel–40 advanced risk-bearing primary care clinics delivering in-person and virtual care to 220,000 members. The ‘risk-bearing’ is also interesting as it leads one to believe that some of these practices may participate in Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) value-based care models such as Primary Care First, the Medicare Shared Savings Program, or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

Bright Health is also extremely well funded now–and may be even better funded in the near future. Last September, they raised $500 million in a Series E led by New Enterprise Associates with Tiger Global Management, T. Rowe Price Associates, and Blackstone, as well as existing investors including Bessemer Venture Partners and Greenspring Associates (Crunchbase and Mobihealthnews). The purpose stated at the time was new market expansion both geographically and to small groups. Last week’s rumor was that they are preparing for an IPO in the $1 bn range with a valuation between $10 and $20 bn, which is Big Hay indeed. No paperwork has been filed yet with the SEC. Twin Cities Business, YahooFinance.

As an acquisition for Bright Health, Zipnosis brings in large healthcare systems with a unique triage platform that could be modified for primary care practices. It seems like a snack-sized acquisition that doesn’t require Federal approval but can be operated stand-alone–as health systems may be leery of an insurer’s ownership–with technology that can be integrated into other parts of the Bright Health business. This will be updated as additional news develops.

TTA Hops for Spring: SOC Telemed snaps up Access, HIMSS SCANs, DOJ squints over Optum-Change, is Amazon Care a threat? And do health and tech need a pre-nup?

 

 

Weekly Alert

It’s Easter Holiday week. A good break from the M&A action with only an early SPAC, SOC Telemed, buying rival Access Physicians, and one notable raise. DOJ decides that the Optum buy of Change Healthcare needs a closer look. And an interview with Amwell’s CEO touching on Amazon Care and a POV on the uneasy marriage of healthcare and tech needing a pre-nup.

Weekend reading: the strange reasons why Amwell doesn’t consider Amazon a competitor; ground rules for the uneasy marriage of healthcare and technology (Both articles revealing in their own way. Do healthcare and tech need a pre-nup?)
Deals and news roundup, April Fool’s Edition: SOC Telemed’s $196M acute care telehealth buy, HIMSS takes over SCAN Health, Livongo’s Burke joins Owlet board, CirrusMD text app raises $20M (A quieter week than most recently!)
US Department of Justice decides additional scrutiny needed of $13bn Optum acquisition of Change Healthcare (Change won’t come quickly to Optum)

Spring Fever this week, as news, fundings, and M&A deals in the US and UK never ceased. Four hefty raises, three acquisitions–and one big one may be challenged. Amwell’s record revenue–and loss. Tunstall named a new chairman, NHS Digital losing its CEO. Propel@YH’s Demo Day showcasing northern startups is coming up on Wednesday. And more, including a 40 count indictment!

Deals and news roundup: Ginger’s $100M, myNEXUS to Anthem, Everlywell snaps up PWN, Amwell’s banner year, VA reviews Cerner rollout, voice visits for MA, GE’s vScan goes wireless, uBiome founders indicted
UK short news takes: Tunstall names new chair, Alcidion patient safety software partners with East Lancashire NHS Trust
Propel@YH’s Demo Day for participants next Wednesday 31 March
Breaking: Sarah Wilkinson, CEO of NHS Digital, resigns, to depart by summer
News and deals roundup: AHA opposes Optum buy of Change Healthcare; raises by Komodo Health, Evidation Health, Ro’s $500M; Appriss acquires PatientPing

A lot of news packed into only three articles this week, as March has its way with us. We lead with a rare and juicy corporate spy story. Kidney care finally gets attention, as does pain management and a UK mental telehealth startup. And Doctor on Demand’s merger points to virtual visit telehealth being unable to stand alone–and that Amazon may not realize what it’s getting into. 

CareCentrix files ‘corporate espionage’ on trade secrets lawsuit against Signify Health, former employee (David versus Goliath matchup–bring the popcorn)
News and deals roundup: Strive Health’s $140M for kidney care, coalition lobbies for more home telehealth, codes removed from PFS, Hinge Health buys Enso, HelloSelf £5M raise, Tyto Care adds (A lot for one article!)
Two major moves and what they mean: Doctor on Demand, Grand Rounds to merge; Amazon Care will go national by summer (updated) (Telehealth M&A, or else, and Amazon continues virtual care moves in a crowded market)

Finally, this week feels a bit like Spring–yet remarkably we don’t have a single deal of note this week for a change! UKTelehealthcare has a MarketPlace coming up on Tuesday. BETTEReHEALTH formed to support eHealth for population health in Africa. We round up the recent spike in healthcare hacks and ransomware breaches affecting many hundreds of thousands. Withings debuts out-of-the-box mobile connected devices, a point-of-care ad network juggernaut forms, and Bluestream Health adds a new health system.

UKTelehealthcare’s Digital MarketPlace: Tuesday 16th March (11:00 – 13:00) (Zooming again next Tuesday)
News roundup: Hacks, ransomware of medical records, security cameras spike; Withings launches new mobile-direct devices; Bluestream Health adds Leon Medical (FL) to telehealth  
Healthcare ad/patient ed network PatientPoint combining with once-hot Outcome Health (Creating an ad network jumbo)
BETTEReHEALTH project initiated to support eHealth solutions, improved outcomes in low-income African nations (Vital initiative for population health)

Is it Spring yet? Big IPO for Oscar Health, big funding for Dispatch Health and Tyto. Telehealth makes headway in US Congress. Plenty of weekend reading in Rock Health’s digital health report and latest installment of ISfTeH’s Century of Telemedicine series. Age-positive image library launches. And more!

Marketing alert! Age-positive image library launched by Centre for Ageing Better–and free to use (A boon to companies, organizations, and marketers. Well done!)
Weekend reading: ISfTeH’s ‘A Century of Telemedicine’, featuring the UK (Part 4 of a 5 part so far series)
News and deal roundup, 5 March: Oscar Health’s $1.4 billion IPO, telehealth expansion in Congress, what people *really* do during a telehealth visit (Dizziness persists)
Funding update, 4 March: big Series Ds for new unicorn Dispatch Health and Tyto Care; USDA’s $42M for rural telehealth; UK’s Perfect Ward hospital inspection app secures £4m (It’s dizzy out there…)
Rock Health/Stanford U Digital Health Adoption Report: high gear for telemedicine, digital health, but little broadening of demographics (Encouraging–and cautionary)
Coming up *this* Tuesday: UKTelehealthcare All IP Forum Webinar Tuesday 2 March (Now past, but has dates and links to coming UKTHC activities)

Have a job to fill? Seeking a position? Free listings available to match our Readers with the right opportunities. Email Editor Donna.


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Telehealth & Telecare Aware: covering the news on latest developments in telecare, telehealth, telemedicine and health tech, worldwide–thoughtfully and from the view of fellow professionals

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Donna Cusano, Editor In Chief
donna.cusano@telecareaware.com

Weekend reading: the strange reasons why Amwell doesn’t consider Amazon a competitor; ground rules for the uneasy marriage of healthcare and technology

Yahoo Finance interviewed co-CEO/founder of Amwell Ido Schoenburg, MD on the company’s 2020 results and forecast for 2021. It makes for interesting but convoluted reading on their growth last year in what is a consolidating field where Amwell was once one of the undisputed two leaders. They now compete against payers acquiring telehealth companies (MDLive going to Optum) and mergers like Doctor on Demand-Grand Rounds that are taking increasing market shares. Then there are specialty providers like SOC Telemed and white-labels like Bluestream Health. However, there are a couple of whoppers in the happy talk of growth for all. Dr. S pegs the current run rate of telehealth visits at 15-20 percent. The best research from Commonwealth Fund (October) and FAIR Health (August) tracked telehealth at 6 percent of in-office visits. Epic Health Research Network measured 21 percent at end of August. [TTA summary here

Then there’s the tap dance around Amazon Care. His view is that telehealth companies all need a connective platform but that each competitor brings ‘modular components’ of what they do best. What Amazon excels at is the consumer experience; in his view, that is their contribution to this ‘coalition’ because healthcare doesn’t do that well. There’s a statement at the end which this Editor will leave Readers to puzzle through:  

“And Amazon and others could bring a lot of value to those coalitions, they should not be seen as necessarily competing unless you’re trying to do exactly what they do. And there are some companies, including some telehealth companies, that that’s what they do. They focus on services. They try to sell you a very affordable visit with a short wait time and a good experience. They should be incredibly concerned when someone so sophisticated as Amazon is trying to compete in that turf.”

The last time this Editor looked, none of these companies were non-profit, though nearly all are not profitable.

Gimlet EyeLooking through her Gimlet Eye, Amazon Care is a win-win, even if the whole enterprise loses money. In this view, Amazon accumulates and owns national healthcare data far more valuable than the consumer service, then can do what they want with it, such as cross-analysis against PillPack and OTC medical shopping habits, even books, toys, home supplies, and clothing. Ka-ching!

A ‘bucket of cold water’ article, published in Becker’s Health IT last month, takes a Gimlety view of the shotgun marriage of healthcare and technology. Those of us laboring in those vineyards for the better part of two decades might disagree with the author in part, but we all remember how every new company was going to ‘revolutionize healthcare’. (The over-the-top blatherings of ZocDoc‘s former leadership provide a perfect example.) The post-Theranos/Outcome Health/uBiome world has demonstrated that the Silicon Valley modus operandi of ‘fake it till you make it’ and ‘failing fast and breaking things’, barely ethical in consumer businesses, are totally unethical in healthcare which deals in people’s lives. Then again, healthcare focused on ‘people as patients’ cannot stand either. Stephen K. Klasko, MD, President and CEO, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health in Pennsylvania, advocates for a change–far more concisely than Dr. Schoenburg. You may want to pass this along.

Deals and news roundup, April Fool’s Edition: SOC Telemed’s $196M acute care telehealth buy, HIMSS takes over SCAN Health, Livongo’s Burke joins Owlet board, CirrusMD text app raises $20M

(We’ve gone bug-eyed for 1 April!)

SOC Telemed ponies up a Spritely $196 million for competitor Access Physicians. The completed combination forms, according to SOC, the largest acute care telemedicine provider in the US serving 1,000 facilities, including over 700 hospitals, across 47 states. The deal is cash and stock. No transitional information other than the CEO of Access Physicians joins the SOC Telemed board. Both companies are in the enterprise acute care telemedicine area, facilitating virtual consults between specialists and to patient bedsides. In its SEC 10-K filing released earlier this week, SOC Telemed reported $59 million in 2020 revenue, up from $66.2 million in 2019. Q4 was a mixed bag: a 95 percent increase in Q4 bookings but a 13 percent revenue decline due to reduced hospital visits. Losses are limited–a net loss per share of $3.55 which is light for like telehealth companies (more in SOC release). For 2021, the projection is $107 to $113 million in pro forma annual revenue. SOC Telemed was one of the first digital health companies to use a SPAC to go public (amazingly) less than one year ago and with substantial assets at formation [TTA 4 Aug 20]. The combined company connects specialists in neurology, psychiatry, critical care, infectious disease, cardiology, maternal-fetal medicine, and nephrology. SOC Telemed release, Mobihealthnews, Becker’s Hospital Review 

HIMSS assumes the operations of SCAN Health, a networking and events company concentrating on best practices in the healthcare supply chain. SCAN was founded by the Canadian government out of the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business. Their events are held with over 100 partners in North America and Europe, and will transfer to HIMSS effective immediately. SCAN’s founder, Dr. Anne Snowdon, launched the Clinically Integrated Supply Outcomes Model, a supply chain infrastructure strategic roadmap, with HIMSS Analytics in 2019. HIMSS release, Healthcare IT News.

Zane Burke, former CEO of Livongo, has joined another board–this time, with ‘sock’. Mr. Burke joins the board of Owlet, the baby monitoring sock company. In February [TTA 17 Feb], Owlet announced their SPAC estimated at $325 million. The transaction is expected to complete in Q2. Becker’s Health IT

CirrusMD, an on-demand text-first telehealth app, raised $20 million for its Series C led by The Blue Venture Fund and 7wire Ventures. Total funding to date is $47 million. Visits cover primary or urgent care, chronic condition management, women’s health, pediatrics, and behavioral health with text first then connection to a board-certified physician within one minute. Release, Mobihealthnews