Connect America acquires Philips’ Aging and Caregiving, including Lifeline

Connect America is purchasing Royal Philips’ Aging and Caregiving (ACG) line of business, including one of the top basic personal emergency response system (PERS) device providers, Lifeline. The acquisition is expected to close in a few weeks. Purchase terms, including staff, were not disclosed. The release by Connect America contains two unusual statements: both companies will remain competitive until the closing and that Philips will retain an equity stake in the company.

In the World of PERS and safety for older adults, this is big news. Our Readers will remember that Connect America, a medical alert company located in suburban Philadelphia, purchased Tunstall Americas in January 2019. Readers who follow the PERS taxonomy will recall that in 2011, Tunstall acquired AMAC, the third-largest PERS company, yet after multiple presidents and acquisitions, failed to make much of a dent in the competitive US and Canada markets. Connect America now has the major ‘name’ brand in PERS, other than Life Alert, famous for the ‘I’ve fallen and can’t get up’ TV commercials of yore and the real pioneer of the PERS pendant. Lifeline itself dates back to 1974 and was acquired by Philips in 2006. Of late, Philips has been on a divestiture tear, especially in North America.

The news hasn’t exactly made the headlines that it would have only a few years ago. One could say that the parade has passed traditional PERS pendants and home units. Replacing them are mobile and smartphones tied to assistance–GreatCall’s 5 Star services. There are bands and wristwatch forms, such as Buddi in the UK and UnaliWear’s Kanega, The latter haven’t yet the market penetration in the US but all three have in common one selling factor–none of them scream ‘old and frail at risk’ like a white pendant around the neck does. Classified now with PERS are more sophisticated but bulky devices mobile-based systems such as GreatCall’s Lively MobilePlus and Lively Wearable2, also listed as an AARP member benefit.

Connect America has been in business 35 years and has amassed a portfolio of PERS brands, traditional home and mobile devices including fall detection, plus 24/7 monitoring services. It claims to be the nation’s largest independent provider of medical alert systems under various brand names, with more than 1,000 healthcare network partners, and cumulatively over 1 million customers. Their other business is remote patient monitoring under the ConnectVitals brand and a cellular-connected device for medication management.

Another big win for Connect America is Lifeline’s agreement with AARP, marketed as part of their extensive member benefits, and other products that Philips has in this category. 

There are millions who still use traditional and mobile PERS pendants, including in the huge market of assisted living, and a multiplicity of brands, which indicate the size of the market and its longevity. The stats haven’t changed much since this Editor was with QuietCare, attempting to make PERS obsolete back in the mid-oughts. According to Freeus, the average customer is a woman, 78 years old, and keeps it for about 39 months–a little over three years. Not all of them, nor their families, feel comfortable with a smartphone which can be hard to use, break, or simply not be handy in the bathroom or bedroom. So the market is still there, albeit not a headline-making one. Hat tip to a UK Reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

Teladoc integrates the myStrength cognitive mental health app with their telehealth network

Teladoc gets into the mental health app business, end to end. The myStrength cognitive health app, which was picked up as part of the Livongo acquisition, reappears as a Teladoc product called myStrength Complete. The front door is the myStrength app, which offers coaching, positive psychology, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which then connects with Teladoc’s therapists and psychiatrists to offer a comprehensive experience.  

Teladoc will offer this to consumers through their health plans or employers starting in July. The first enterprise customers, according to Teladoc, are a major Blues plan and a Fortune 100 employer. 

The company also provided the results of their proprietary third-party research, which indicated unsurprisingly that a majority who sought support (69 percent) indicated it would be difficult and/or overwhelming to use multiple websites, mobile apps, or virtual care platforms to address mental health needs. Nearly all of those surveyed who said they sought virtual mental health support – 92 percent – reported at least some improvement during the pandemic, with over one-third reporting significant improvement or a “breakthrough” during treatment.

An unintended consequence of Teladoc’s move? A cooling off of the mental health boomlet, now that the elephant has chosen where to sit. The stand-alone cognitive health apps such as AbleTo, Lyra Health, and Ginger, now need to seek partners, such as health plans (Vida Health) or telehealth providers. Unfortunately, the telehealth providers remaining have either some behavioral health capabilities–and that may be enough for their business–or find the price too high. Teladoc release, Mobihealthnews

Share your story about healthcare inequities and community effects during the Time of Pandemic (deadline: 14 May)

Do you have a story to share about how COVID-19 has impacted your community–or you or someone you know personally? Healthline.com, a leading US consumer healthcare information website, is seeking stories about how communities that have been impacted by inequities in healthcare have experienced COVID-19. Since many of our Readers are in organizations or businesses that support these communities–such as older adults, the disabled, the rural, in underfunded areas, and/or those who live without access to the internet–you may have a personal story about it. Were you able to overcome it?

Healthline has confirmed to this Editor that stories about communities outside the US are welcome.

Visit or share the following link to submit your story by 14 May. https://transform.healthline.com/submit

The Theranos Story, ch. 71: Holmes appears in court, lawyers argue celebrity, lavish lifestyle, Silicon Valley ethics

After 15 months, Elizabeth Holmes puts in her Day in Court. Last Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s hearings in US District Court in San Jose were not virtual, but in court–and with Ms. Holmes present. The arguments between counsel were about what would be admissible; the relevance of her lifestyle (fine dining, houses, private jets), her wealth, spending, and celebrity to the charges of criminal fraud, first of hundreds of millions of dollars by investors plus patients and doctors with false claims that the Theranos labs actually gave accurate readings.

The defense argued that admitting information on the lifestyle and spending behavior would be inflammatory and prejudicial to the jury. The travel, the perks, the company-paid-for services were there because she was traveling on company business. Her stock was never sold and her salary at $200,000 to $390,000 (per SEC) was actually low for her peer group. To a certain degree, Judge Edward Davila agreed with the defense. Being in Silicon Valley, home of tech high flyers and Sand Road investors, Judge Davila said to the prosecution, “It seems like that’s designed to engage a class conversation amongst the jurors which I think you’d agree would be a little dangerous. What’s the value of, ‘Did she stay at a Four Seasons versus a Motel 6?” The prosecution countered that information regarding the increasing value of the stock and Holmes’ billionaire lifestyle largely funded by the company, more so than her salary, is relevant to the continuing fraud. “The perks that she is enjoying greatly reduce the pressure on her to cash in, sell stock and make more money.” And, one could say, to come clean and end the fraud around their technology.

According to the Mercury News, Judge Davila said he would rule on the dispute over lifestyle and compensation evidence later. The trial is scheduled to start 31 August. CNBC video, 5 May, 6 May  

News and funding roundup: Vida Health’s $100M Series D, Kry’s $316M raise, CVS and Advocate Aurora’s fresh funds, Boost Mobile offers K Health symptom checker

Vida Health, a virtual platform for chronic condition and mental health management, raised $110 million in a Series D financing led by General Atlantic, joined by Centene, AXA Venture Partners (AVP), and Ardea Capital Partners along with a number of earlier investors. Vida has a network of clinicians, mental health coaches, dietitians, and licensed therapists to provide virtual care programs to payers like Centene and Humana, plus employers such as Boeing, Visa, Cisco, and eBay. The company reports that it tripled its revenue since January 2020 and expanded its existing nationwide network of therapists, coaches, dietitians, and diabetes educators by more than 400 percent. Vida’s involvement with Centene started with a 20-state rollout in the Ambetter plans, the Centene health insurance marketplace product, Ambetter, for members with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and treatment/coaching for mental health conditions like stress and depression. Vida’s total financing since 2014 totals $188 million. Release, Crunchbase, Mobihealthnews

Sweden’s Kry (Livi in the UK, US, and France) raised a Series D of €262 million, or about $316 million to finance expansion into additional countries and to scale their telemedicine platform. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Teachers’ Innovation Platform, along with existing investors Index Ventures, Creandum, and Accel, led the round. Valuation is now estimated at about $2B (nearly €1.66 bn). Silicon Canals, FierceBiotech

If you’re looking for funding, CVS Health has launched a $100 million venture capital fund to capitalize projects and innovations from digital healthcare and tech companies to make healthcare more accessible, affordable, and…better. CVS and Aetna have already been an investor in digital health, with about 20 such findings. More information on CVS Health Ventures is hereRelease

Want more funding? Advocate Aurora Enterprises (AAE), part of Advocate Aurora Health System in Illinois and Wisconsin, also is funding consumer health and wellness, with recent buys of home care company Senior Helpers in a $180 million deal following on $25 million for a telenutrition (!) company, Foodsmart. Some have questioned how nonprofit health systems like Advocate Aurora and Ascension have deep enough pockets to get into the risky funding business. FierceHealthcare, Healthcare Dive.

Finally, in the Everybody’s Getting Into The Telehealth Act Department, Boost Mobile is offering the K Health symptom checker to its customers and immediate families. The catch: you have to subscribe to their Unlimited Plus plan. But clever, though. HITConsultant 

Walmart Health moves into the hot telehealth area with MeMD buy

Retail giant Walmart’s health arm, Walmart Health, has agreed to purchase privately held telehealth provider MeMD. MeMD provides telehealth services in primary care, urgent care, women’s/men’s health, and mental health services to both individuals and organizations for their employees. Neither purchase price nor executive leadership transitions were disclosed. The transaction, which requires regulatory approval, is expected to close in the next few months.

The relatively low profile MeMD was founded in 2010 by ER physician and entrepreneur John Shufeldt, MD. The company is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, and offers national coverage for its five million members.

A big move that indicates a strategic wobbliness? Walmart Health’s strategy has been a roller coaster over the past few years. Aggressively starting out of the gate in 2018 with high-profile exec Sean Slovenski leading and plans to open up 1,000 clinics, they retrenched in 2020 with his departure and slowed down the opening of Walmart Health locations. Virtual visits, which are merchandisable in-store and online, signal a different direction that may be easier to scale than brick-and-mortar locations, and have proven their market. Meanwhile, back at the stores, last month Walmart announced a partnership with Ro to put its trendy Roman men’s sexual health and vitamin product lines into 4,600+ Walmart stores starting 1 May. RetailBrew 

Looming in the background, of course, is CVS with their MinuteClinics, Walgreens with 500 free-standing VillageMD locations [TTA 4 Dec 20], and Amazon rolling out Amazon Care nationally. Walmart’s employees have used Doctor on Demand’s services, with the company dropping the visit cost to $4 during the pandemic. With the Grand Rounds merger [TTA 18 Mar], this may have been another reason for Walmart to bring in-house a telehealth provider. Who may be feeling the most heat from Walmart’s and Amazon’s moves? Teladoc and Amwell. Walmart release, Becker’s Hospital Review, Engadget

What you need to know about Germany’s new DiGA fast tracking for health apps

Research2Guidance (R2G) has published a new report on the new, and faster, German regulations for obtaining approval for digital health applications. 2019’s Digital Healthcare Act (DVG) introduced measures to speed up approvals for digital apps so that they can be prescribed by German doctors and reimbursed through German public health insurance, which covers 90 percent of the population.

The Digital Health Applications process (DiGA) requires a review by the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) to prove that apps and digital tools improve patient care. Other criteria include:

  • Data protection legislation and information security conformance
  • Interoperability
  • CE-certification as a medical product (in the lowest-risk class for now)

The R2G report details not only the DiGA Fast Track process and the current status of DiGA adoption, but also what it takes to create a successful German market entry strategy with innovative distribution channels. If you have a digital health app or tool, and you’re targeting 80 million Germans, this report is a Must Read. R2G page, Mobihealthnews, HealthcareITNews

Webinar: Public Health and Responsible Innovation in a Post-Covid Europe 20 May

Thursday, 20 May 14:00-17:20 CEST, 12noon-3:20pm GMT 

Most of our UK Readers (and quite a few of our ex-UK ones!) are familiar with the work of Malcolm Fisk, PhD, Professor of Ageing and Digital Health at De Montfort University. This webinar emerges out of the ‘Living Innovation (LIV:IN)’ project that focuses on responsible innovation around the way we will live in 2030. Organized by De Montfort University and “la Caixa” Foundation, the webinar’s roundtable of global experts will debate:

  • changing health needs and the use of health data;
  • imperatives around health behaviors;
  • post-COVID markets for health-related products (digital health/telehealth and telemedicine);
  • European perspectives and initiatives (e.g. for due diligence and non-financial reporting); and
  • the merits of standards and metrics 

The panel includes:

  • Eerke Boiten, Head of School of Computer Science and Informatics at De Montfort University
  • Malcolm Fisk, Professor of Ageing and Digital Health at De Montfort University
  • Natalia Jozwowicz, Manager (Operations, Talent & Culture, Facilities) at Sustainalytics Poland
  • Annette Kleinfeld, Professor of Business Ethics at University of Applied Sciences Konstanz
  • Myriam Martin, Project Manager at TICBiomed, partner in CHERRIES project
  • Eman Martin-Vignerte, Head of Political Affairs and Government Relations at Bosch UK
  • Matthias Marzinko, Director International Standards Management (ISM) at Drägerwerk AG and CEN-CLC Advisory Board for Healthcare Standards (ABHS)
  • Lydia Montandon, Business Development Manager at ATOS Research and Innovation
  • Eva Zuazua Schucker, Head of Contents & Communication at RRI Tools project
  • Ignasi López Verdeguer, Director of the Department of Science and Research at la Caixa Foundation
  • Matthijs Zwier, Strategic Partner at Municipality of Utrecht and Advisory Board member at European Health Futures Forum

For more information and the registration links (two steps required), please go to the Living Innovation page hosted by the Institute for Managing Sustainability of Vienna. Hat tip to Malcolm Fisk

OnePerspective: Covid-19 accelerates digital stroke care for the East of England

TTA has an open invitation to industry leaders to provide a personal perspective on issues of importance to readers. This week, Lynda Sibson, telemedicine manager for the East of England Stroke Telemedicine Partnership, reflects on how the coronavirus pandemic enabled its successful service to move into new areas at speed.

Interested contributors should contact Editor Donna. (We like pictures and graphs too!)

The East of England Stroke Telemedicine Stakeholder Partnership was set up in 2010 after a review found the region was struggling to meet national target times for delivering ‘clot busting’ drugs to patients with acute ischaemic stroke.

A shortage of consultants made it impossible to offer a 24/7 consultant-led thrombolysis service at all of the region’s hospitals, but long journey times made it difficult to transfer patients quickly to specialist centres.

Now, when a suspected Acute Ischaemic Stroke (AIS) patient arrives at one of the seven hospitals that we support out of hours, a telemedicine cart is taken to their bedside by the local stroke team. The stroke nurse specialists quickly establish the video link to a specialist, on-call consultant, using technology from our partner Visionable.

Since the telemedicine service commenced 10 years ago, up to the end of March 2021 we have assessed over 4,300 patients. Of these, 1,846 were thrombolysed, and just a fifth of those who weren’t had missed the national 4.5 hour target (the rest saw their condition change or were not experiencing a stroke).

A health economic analysis by the University of East Anglia showed that the service is cost-effective and delivers clinically effective outcomes for patients, with reduced length of hospital stay. So, we have been looking to expand.

Pilots and frustrations:

Supported by the Eastern Academic Health Science Network’s (AHSN) Digital Pioneer Programme, we were able to run a feasibility study undertaken with East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust. In conjunction with Ipswich Hospital, we have been exploring how we can utilize the existing telemedicine system to assist paramedics in the assessment of ‘stroke mimics’ more effectively. Up to 40% of stroke presentations are ‘stroke mimics, and commonly include mini-strokes (known as Transient Ischaemic Attacks) and migraines, amongst others.

The paramedics were provided an iPad with the Visionable app loaded on it, so they could use it to contact the stroke consultant for advice and the aim was to avoid admission to A&E since most strokes mimic patients can be safely managed in a less urgent setting than A&E. In our feasibility study, all but one patient (who had a chest infection) avoided this trip to A&E, with most patients being managed in a follow-up hospital clinic or by their GP.

We plan to roll this project out across the region, commencing initially with Ipswich, Norfolk & Norwich and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn. We are also currently running a daily pilot at Ipswich Hospital, and later with The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn, of a virtual ward round for low-risk stroke patients who need consultant review within 14 hours of admission, to meet government targets. Early data suggests that this is working well, with positive feedback from both stroke consultants and the stroke specialist nurses.

Let’s learn lessons and keep up momentum:

Virtual consultations and just one of the many tools that can be used to address healthcare challenges, and it is important to make sure that they are deployed appropriately, safely, and effectively.

In ten years, we have learned a lot about IT infrastructure, technology, and its associated governance: we use Visionable because it enables the consultant to see the patient, is user-friendly, and meets IG because no patient identifiable data is transmitted over the video link.

We have also learned that finding clinical champions, supporting the consultant team, and training junior doctors and base teams are essential. However, we have also shown that digital consultations work; and the wider NHS has just learned the same lesson in the pandemic.

Let’s keep using technology-enabled care to support clinicians and make sure patients have access to safe, high-quality care they need, when and where they need it.

Always remember FAST – if ANY of the following – FACE, ARMS, SPEECH are affected, it is TIME to call the emergency services for help.

Hat tip to Chloe Bines of Highland Marketing

Breaking: NHS Digital appoints Simon Bolton interim CEO

Breaking News: NHS Digital announced today the appointment of Simon Bolton, currently chief information officer of Test and Trace, as interim chief executive officer effective on 4 June. He will be replacing Sarah Wilkinson, who was CEO since August 2017 and resigned on 26 March [TTA 26 Mar]. The NHS Digital release confirms her departure as of June and that the two will be working ahead of time to effect the transition.

NHS Digital provides and supervises information, data, and IT systems for the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care.

Mr. Bolton was the former CIO of Jaguar Land Rover and joined Test and Trace last August. His LinkedIn profile also includes CIO and senior IT positions at Rolls-Royce and AkzoNobel. He holds a board position at Tech Partnership Degrees and is an independent governor of the University of Derby.

The NHS Digital Board will be conducting an open competition to recruit for the role on a permanent basis later this year. 

2021 UK-RAS Network Robotics Summer Showcase 5 May-30 July and UK Festival of Robotics 19-25 June

Other signs that we’re emerging from the COVID Cocoon…

The UK-RAS Network (the EPSRC UK Robotics & Autonomous Systems Network) has two virtual programs/events that run from May through July. Since they are virtual, our UK and international Readers with interests in medical, care, and service robots can take advantage of these multiple sessions spread across three months. Even better, they’re free.

The Robotics Summer Showcase kicks off on Wednesday 5th May with an online opening ceremony and preview of Showcase events. Event time is 3-4pm BST (10-11am EDT). Registration for the opening is via Eventbrite here. The Events Page link here and above has a full list of the 15 events with more information and updates. There are also videos from the 2020 challenges.

Highlights are:

  • Robotics + Care Mashup (10th – 14th May) – five-day online “mashup” event bringing together care professionals, academics and technology providers to prototype new solutions to support the care sector, hosted by the UK’s first National Robotarium, a collaboration between Heriot Watt University and the University of Edinburgh.
  • Establishing a UK Surgical Robotics Roadmap (14th May 2pm – 3.30pm BST) – workshop bringing together multi-disciplinary international experts from the domain of surgical robotics – spanning laparoscopic surgical robots, continuum surgical robots, intra-corporeal robots and microrobots – to shape science policy and funding.
  • 4th UK-RAS Conference for PhD and Early-Career Researchers: Robotics at Home (2nd June 10am – 4pm BST) – virtual event specifically designed for PhD students and early-career researchers to foster research progress and offer opportunities for networking.
  • Humans in the Loop and Human-Robot Teaming for Remote Inspection (15th June 11am – 12pm BST) – take part and ask questions in this interactive showcase from the Human-Robot Interaction theme of the ORCA Hub, using Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Interaction to help people manage, control, and cooperate with remote robots from the safety of a control room.
  • The Ethical Black Box in Human-Robot Dialogue (13th July 2pm – 3.30pm BST) – virtual demonstration of the Ethical Black Box platform – developed by researchers at the University of Oxford and Bristol Robotics Lab – which collects data for use in the event of an accident.

The Showcase closes in July with virtual award ceremonies for the prestigious international Surgical Robot Challenge and Medical Robotics for Contagious Diseases Challenge, the much-anticipated launch of the UK-RAS Network 2021 White Papers, and concludes with the Robotics Summer Showcase Closing Ceremony (30th July, 4–5pm BST; keynote speakers to be announced).

UK Festival of Robotics, 19-25 June (formerly Robotics Week)

The full week festival is still under development. More information will be on the main page here. Follow on Twitter at @UKRobotics.

Hat tip to Nicky of EvokedSet Ltd. for the heads up

David sues Goliath: AliveCor claims patent infringement by Apple–ITC filing requests bar on Apple Watch US importation

Slingshot battle! AliveCor, developer of the Kardia Mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) and connected heart rhythm devices, filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging Apple’s infringement of three AliveCor ECG technology patents for the Apple Watch 4, 5, and 6. The filing seeks to bar the importation of Apple Watches into the US and their sale.

According to AliveCor’s carefully worded release, their filing in the ITC “is one step, among others, AliveCor is taking to obtain relief for Apple’s intentional copying of AliveCor’s patented technology—including the ability to take an ECG reading on the Apple Watch, and to perform heartrate analysis—as well as Apple’s efforts to eliminate AliveCor as competition in the heartrate analysis market for the Apple Watch.”

This follows on the first shoe–AliveCor’s December lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleging that the Apple Watch 4, 5, and 6 infringed on the same patents. The timing was interesting, as FDA cleared the latest update of the Apple Watch’s ECG monitoring at about the same time [TTA 10 Dec 2020]. In November, AliveCor cleared a Series E of $65 million.

The irony is that in 2017, the KardiaBand was the first FDA-cleared medical device accessory for Apple Watch. It was an ECG-reader that clipped onto the watch. AliveCor pulled it from the market after Apple introduced its own ECG feature in the Apple Watch 4.

AliveCor has their entire business riding on this. The mass-market Kardia Mobile, their six-lead medical-grade KardiaMobile 6L, and their KardiaCare platform with monitoring and evaluations are their business, unlike Apple for which ECG is only a feature.  Mobihealthnews, FierceHealthcare, MDDIOnline

Amwell debuts new telehealth platform, Converge; previews Carepoint for hospital care into the home

Amwell, which of late has been low-profile except for a puzzling interview by Ido Schoenburg, MD about Amazon and others as competitors, announced its new telehealth platform, Converge, at its annual Client Forum. According to the platform web page and the release, their key features are designed to make them extremely attractive and differentiated to clinician users. 

  • A single meeting place for providers and patients across mobile, tablet, and desktop
  • High-quality connections with adaptive video for low-bandwidth situations
  • Integration with existing workflows, EHRs, patient portals, and consumer experiences
  • Open platform and app marketplace. The open architecture and APIs are designed to host apps and services such as Google Cloud, Tyto Care, virtual second opinions from the Cleveland Clinic, and the Biobeat wearable wrist and chest monitors.

What may be even more interesting for Amwell’s future is a TV-based initiative that can bring hospital care into the home. At the same conference, Amwell previewed Home TV Carepoint. Developed in partnership with Solaborate, the software uses advanced AI. Information on Carepoint was limited to a few lines buried in the body of the release, indicating a ‘stealth mode’, but the potential is that it could open up a new market with health systems and home care if leveraged and marketed right. FierceHealthcare

Funding roundup: new unicorn Capsule’s $300M, $100M for Caresyntax, Sesame Care’s $24M, UCM Digital Care’s $5M; MD Ally brings telehealth to 911

This week’s (so far) Big Raise is virtual pharmacy Capsule. Their new funding of $300 million, added to a previous $270 million in five rounds through a 2019 Series C (Crunchbase), now, according to CEO Eric Kinariwala, puts his company into $1 bn unicorn territory. Founded in New York City in 2015, Capsule now covers the NY metro plus a dozen markets in same-day delivery plus the option for pharmacist chat/text via mobile phone. Their goal is to reach 100 million people nationally by the end of this year. The fresh funding will be used for expansion and to upgrade technology. Durable Capital Partners led the funding round and was joined by new investors Baillie Gifford, T Rowe Price, and Whale Rock.

Capsule is in a hot niche sector of fast prescription delivery that has players large (CVS, Walgreens’ AllianceRx), Amazon (PillPack, Amazon Pharmacy), and smaller or local services like Blink Health, FetchMyRx, Medly, and your local pharmacy. Uber is also partnering with some for delivery. Earlier this year, Capsule partnered with Ginger to fill and deliver medications prescribed by their board-certified psychiatrists in metro New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, and Austin. FierceHealthcare, Mobihealthnews, Bloomberg (may be paywalled)

Mobihealthnews also rounded up three additional digital health fundings from the seed to Series C range:

  • Surgery data/AI plus virtual consult platform Caresyntax, closed a $100 million Series C funding round led by PFM Health Sciences LP. Release.
  • NYC-area direct-pay healthcare marketplace Sesame Care added a $24 million Series B, for a total of $47.6 million to date (Crunchbase). Sesame offers in-person and telehealth care to patients, allowing them to compare prices and providers before booking and paying the provider directly. 
  • UCM Digital Health, a provider of emergency telemedicine and virtual health, announced today it closed a $5.5 million Series A funding round. Armory Square Ventures led the round with additional participation from Contour Ventures and River Park Ventures. Based in Troy, NY, UCM has a “digital front door” platform with a 24/7 telehealth treat, triage and navigation service marketed to employers, insurers, and providers. Release
  • Last but certainly not least, MD Ally added a modest $3.5 million in a seed round led by General Catalyst with participation from Seae Ventures. MD Ally triages 911 emergency services calls, rerouting non-emergency calls to telehealth services and expanding their scope of services. It integrates into existing dispatch systems with a unique range of codes that confirm for the dispatcher that the call can be safely routed to a telehealth provider. TechCrunch, release

Upcoming UK digital health events: The King’s Fund 24-27 May, UKTelehealthcare Marketplaces & Forum

Digital innovations in health and care: looking ahead (virtual): Monday 24-Thursday 27 May, The King’s Fund

The conference will cover the digital innovations accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital transformation of the NHS, assessing their potential impact and benefits. Presentations include leaders of national bodies, international experts, industry representatives, patients, and policy experts. While the live virtual conference takes place 24-27 May, the networking and exhibition opens Monday 17 May. You may access it on demand until Sunday 13 June, when it closes. Home page with full information and registration here.

Using digital solutions to transform the delivery of care is a free one-hour virtual event in conjunction with GSK on how using inhalers remotely has challenged clinicians, patients and colleagues, and discuss what this means about the nature of delivering health and care services. Tuesday 25 May 1pm-2pm BST. Information and registration.

The King’s Fund event calendar is here.

UKTelehealthcare’s next events are coming up in June. Watch this page or click on their sidebar advert for further information on their upcoming Marketplace and Forum events.

1st Digital MarketPlace (11.00-13.00) Tuesday 8th June 2021
UKTelehealthcare Forum (11.00-13.00) Tuesday 15th June 2021
2nd Digital MarketPlace (11.00-13.00) Tuesday 29th June 2021

 

News roundup: Buddi’s £500M LSE float, Accolade to buy PlushCare for $450M, Teladoc adds chief innovation officer, Tyto Care’s Italy expansion

Buddi going public later this year. Something we missed and found (quite by accident) was that the Buddi personal alert wearable will be floated on the London Stock Exchange later this year. According to the report in SkyNews, CEO and founder Sara Murray has appointed Zeus Capital to manage it. The value is rumored to be up to £500 million and will be a great reward for Ms. Murray and her other early investors. The bands, which connect to smartphones or a wireless-connected clip, then to pre-set connections or their 24/7 support, retail for up to £248. Buddi is reported to be used by more than 80 percent of local authorities in the UK, UK police forces for domestic violence cases and witness protection, lone worker situations, plus government customers internationally. Buddi also designs and assembles their Buddi units in the UK. Also City A.M. 

Accolade, a health benefits navigation provider, announced a definitive agreement to purchase one of the smaller telehealth players, PlushCare, for a plush price of $450 million, composed of $40 million in cash, $340 million in Accolade common stock, and up to (the usual) additional $70 million of value payable upon the achievement of defined revenue milestones following the closing, expected in June. Accolade, which itself went public on NASDAQ in July, raising $220 million, then in October floated additional shares to raise $221 million, has been on a telehealth acquisition tear of late. In March, they closed their acquisition of virtual second medical opinion provider 2nd.MD for $460 million. PlushCare will enable Accolade to directly offer primary and mental health care telehealth to its members. According to Steve Barnes, chief financial officer at Accolade, their addressable market will increase nearly five-fold to more than $200 billion. One wonders whether their existing relationships with Teladoc and Livongo will continue.  Release.  Also HealthcareDive and FierceHealthcare.

Teladoc adds a chief innovation officer. Claus Jensen, PhD comes from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he served as chief digital officer and head of technology. His purview will include product innovation, information systems, health informatics, and data products. Previously, he was with Danske Bank, IBM, and chief technology officer of CVS Health-Aetna. Release, Becker’s Hospital Review

TytoCare advances further into Italy in a partnership with Multimed srl, a local medical device company. The partnership will develop the market there with local providers, hospitals, elder care facilities, independent physicians, and pharmacies, as well as at-home monitoring. Multimed is a multi-line distributor of surgical devices for robotic surgery, endoscopy, laparoscopy, orthopedics, sanitization/sterilization, and similar. Tyto earlier explored the Italian market in a partnership with the ASL of Vercelli hospital group, where physicians monitored and treated elderly and pediatric COVID-19 patients, performing pulmonary, cardiological, and dermatological telehealth visits. Release