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Further confirmation of the New Reality for digital health–lower valuations, more exits, fewer startups, tech buyers not seeing ROI

...surrounding digital health/health technology. More exits of various types, reduced valuations, need to fundraise again among digital health startups. Katie Adams of MedCityNews, which of the mainstream online health news websites has the tartest takes on the business, interviewed two investors in digital health. Their POVs: Cheryl Cheng, CEO of Vive Collective (Menlo Park, California) Raised large rounds in 2021? These companies now face ‘valuation overhangs’ that aren’t ‘bridged by organic growth’ and a far tighter investment environment with reduced valuations and exits. (That exit may be a sale–or a shutdown–Ed.) Investor priority? Profitability, not growth. What counts in today’s... Continue Reading

Facing the Music of the New Reality: Amazon Pharmacy & One Medical restructure; Walgreens shakes up health exec suites again, cashes out $992M in Cencora; new takes on NeueHealth; Cue Health, Nomad Health layoffs

...Medical online and on TV, most aggressively to its Prime members with promotional membership pricing. Amazon has aggressively cut tens of thousands of jobs and costs since 2023 in its Audible, Prime Video, Twitch and Buy with Prime units, and completely shut down Halo, its entry in fitness bands and sleep trackers. It has also been aggressively challenged on patient privacy and cross-using information by the FTC, most recently around Amazon Clinic. Not mentioned in reporting was the FTC and DOJ scrutiny One Medical’s acquisition received between Amazon’s offer and the closing. The two agencies declined to move at that... Continue Reading

News roundup: Cano Health files Ch. 11 bankruptcy, delisted (updated), Walgreens lays off more, Allina Health outsources 2,000 RCM jobs to Optum

...primarily in corporate. This follows on November’s 5% corporate layoff. No WARN notices have been filed and all are mum on what areas or states are affected. Nor is there any confirmation that this will be the end. Speculation is that more store closings are in the offing and once leaned down, Walgreens Boots Alliance will be sold off or parted out, with Shields Health Solutions perhaps the first on the block [TTA 25 Jan]. Healthcare Dive, Becker’s Allina Health, a 10-hospital non-profit health system based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is outsourcing 2,000 IT and revenue cycle management jobs to Optum.... Continue Reading

News roundup: Musk’s Neuralink implants first human BCI; Cigna’s $3.7B MA sale to HCSC; no Amazon deal for iRobot; DispatchHealth-Instacart food Rx; 5 India health tech fundings (updated)

Elon Musk first out (again) with a human brain-computer interface (BCI). Announced Monday by Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk, is the first human implant of a BCI. No details in the tweet beyond “recovering well’ and “promising neuron spike detection”. The device is a cosmetically invisible implant (N1) in the part of the brain that plans movements. It interprets neural activity, sending a signal to a computer or smartphone through thought. The N1 device, containing several dozen threads holding over 1,000 electrodes, is implanted by a R1 robot. FierceBiotech, MM+M Online The subjects of the PRIME study are likely those... Continue Reading

Midweek updates: Walgreens may sell Shields Health after 2 years; Ventric Health’s home cardiac RPM; Singapore military medical corps upgrades PACES 3 EMR

...analyst called it “a pointed reversal of the prior CEO’s strategy to diversify” but also stated that “the strategic rationale for owning it remains strong”. It is perhaps the most salable of US Healthcare’s assets, with excellent growth of 27% in its last quarter. WBA bought a minority stake in Shields in 2019, spent $970 million to take majority control in 2021, and bought out the last 30% for $1.37 billion in 2022. The impression left by these articles and in FierceHealthcare was that WBA is a “troubled drug-store chain in turnaround mode” (Bloomberg). That isn’t a good look. Heart... Continue Reading

Breaking: ban on sale of Apple Watches 9 and Ultra 2 stayed by federal appeals court Wed 27 December

...compliance and moving in an orderly fashion, pulled both models from online sale 3 pm Eastern Time on Thursday 21 December, while Store sales ended on Christmas Eve. [TTA 21 Dec] On Tuesday 26 December (Boxing Day), Apple filed for an emergency stay of the ban in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit which was granted almost immediately, on Wednesday 27 December. This prevents Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from enforcing the import ban until the court can consider Apple’s motion to stay the ban pending its full appeal. The timeline now, after this emergency... Continue Reading

Short takes: ransomware op BlackCat busted by FBI, websites shut–for now; health systems lay off IT staffers; retailers collecting way too much PII including health

...to health IT provider Kyndryl; Franciscan Health–moved 61 to a vendor. Pennywise, pound foolish. Here’s more than money you’ve left behind with your online holiday shopping–data, and lots of it. This study from Incogni Research is unnerving, as it goes far beyond what you think you’ve shared–you buy nasal spray in the winter, allergy eyedrops in the spring, etc.– to what retailers are actually collecting on you. This Editor will cite only the companies in healthcare–CVS, Walgreens, Amazon, and Walmart–according to their study: All four collect PII data that includes customers’ identifiers (like their names, online identifiers, and driver’s license... Continue Reading

News roundup: Apple Watch flagships cease sale due to Masimo ITC ruling (updated); Noom, WW enter GLP-1 telehealth business; Oracle sees health side up despite Cerner drag; Cigna has multiple bidders for MA business

...available for direct sale.) According to 9to5Mac, online sales end on 3 pm Eastern Time on Thursday 21 December, while in-Apple Store sales stop after Christmas Eve. Of course, this won’t stop resales of existing stock through outlets like Amazon, Best Buy, and eBay. Under the ITC order, Apple cannot import either model after 25 December as the ITC issued a Limited Exclusion Order (LEO) plus a Cease and Desist Order (CDO). The ITC is rarely vetoed by the White House in patent actions. After that point, Apple is free to appeal in Federal District Court, which is highly likely... Continue Reading

Signs of the next phase in 2024? Veradigm CEO, CFO booted (updated); SmileDirectClub fails, TeleDentists steps up; FruitStreet sues Sharecare for $25M; Walgreens’ former CEO Roz Brewer’s platinum parachute

...with an executive termination without cause, which also tied her to non-disparagement and non-disclosure agreements. Was her departure by mutual agreement with the board? That is fairly typical language, but reports in the article attributed the real cause in this statement from a source indicating loss of confidence by the most important man at WBA, Stefano Pessina: “Stefano thought she was a lightweight and unable to do the hard, transformational things he needed her to do.” (Was buying the majority of VillageMD, starting the joint store/practice location plan, buying CareCentrix and specialty pharmacy Shields Health Solutions during her tenure, not... Continue Reading

Ireland’s TASK Community Care launches TASK Connect in Northern Ireland for the UK market

TASK Community Care, which was the first personal alarm and telecare company serving Ireland starting (an unbelievable) 45 years ago, has opened a fully-owned UK subsidiary, TASK Connect. It will be located in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. TASK Connect will provide 24/7 alarm services along with GPS location tracking with fall detection devices and monitoring. These can be ordered online, streamlining customer service and user implementation. TASK Connect recently won a competitive tender with one of Northern Ireland’s eleven councils. The new Lurgan operation will also serve as a base for TASK’s expansion in the rest of the UK. Toni Bunting,... Continue Reading