Rounding up what’s news: LindaCare, TytoCare funding; Medicare telehealth parity, Norway’s big cyberhack, Virta reversing diabetes, DARPA’s 60th birthday

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”100″ /]Your Editor’s been away and then largely out of pocket over the past two weeks. Here’s our roundup/catchup beyond the bombshells:

In remote patient monitoring for chronic disease, Philips, PMV, and other investors invested €7 million ($8.6 million) in Belgium’s/Hartford CT’s LindaCare. The Series B funding will accelerate its US expansion of OnePulse for remote monitoring of chronic heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia patients with Cardiac Implanted Electronic Devices (CIED). It is in use in major European hospitals and in US trials, though there is no mention in the release or on their website on CE Marking or FDA clearance/clinical trials. Previously from its 2013 founding, it had €1.6 million in funding. Also Mobihealthnews.

TytoCare, a remote monitoring telehealth/video consult platform which integrates peripherals for a virtual physical exam, raised $25 million in a Series C round led by large Chinese insurer Ping An via their Global Voyager Fund plus Walgreens, Fosun Group, OrbiMed, LionBird, and Cambia Health Solutions. Release. Their total raise is $45.6 million since 2012 (Crunchbase). Their most current partnership is with Long Island-based Allied Physicians Group which is featuring at-home telehealth visits at its pediatric practice in Plainview.

More favorable Medicare reimbursement for telehealth is the subject of four US Congressional bills. The one furthest along is the ‘Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care Act of 2017’ (S.870), which aims to improve at-home care, increases Medicare Advantage flexibility, gives ACOs more options and expands telehealth capabilities for stroke and dialysis patients. It passed the Senate in September and now goes to the House Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The effect of all four is on Medicare payment parity with in-office visits, which does not currently exist and is not affected by the various state parity bills on insurance for those below 65. American Well touts a 10-fold growth in revenue, but the likelihood of any of these four bills being signed into law is small, particularly with a pending report from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Becker’s Hospital Review

Norway released at end of January news on an “advanced and persistent” 8 January cyberattack on Health South East RHF. This has both a health breach and military twist.

HSE RHF appears to have been targeted as it housed information on Norway’s armed forces connected to a NATO exercise scheduled for later in 2018. Norway’s specialist Police Security Service (PST) is reported to be investigating for “Etterretningsvirksomhet mot statshemmeligheter” (say that three times fast!)– intelligence activities against state secrets. According to Digital Health, “one line of inquiry investigators are said to be following is that the hackers were aided by somebody inside Health South East RH parent company, Sykehuspartner. According to Norwegian publication Aldrimer, assailants targeted two lots of information, one being patients records and the other being the health service’s interaction with Norway’s armed forces, including upcoming military operations.” 

Everyone from wearables to corporate wellness management has an approach to diabetes management, relying on education, tracking, and usually some form of live or virtual personalized coaching. It’s a crowded field, with Livongo, BlueStar, Omada Health, and Fit4D among others. A new and well-funded ($37 million) entrant from Silicon Valley, Virta Health, intends to reverse, not manage, Type 2 diabetes through both patient tracking and a diet that lowers inflammation and insulin resistance. In a year-long study of 262 patients on this approach conducted by Purdue University, nutritional ketosis (utilizing fat rather than glucose to fuel the body), combined with remote monitoring via a mobile application, was found to sustainably and safely reverse Type 2 diabetes. Results included: 94 percent of patients on insulin decreased or eliminated their dosage, 60 percent of patients showed hemoglobin A1C levels below the diabetes threshold without medication or only metformin, there was an average decrease of 1.3 percent in hemoglobin A1C and a 12 percent weight loss. Purdue is also continuing signups for the treatment. Purdue release, Mobihealthnews.

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”100″ /]And the reason why you’re reading this comes from a 60 year-old. Yes, DARPA, where the internet was developed (not by AlGore), was founded in 1958, when Detroit iron had their tail fins on, Googie and Doo-Wop architecture was the thing, and Elvis reigned in the Top 10 charts. What DARPA wrought? They were responsible for foundational and continuing research, often dating back decades, on electronic maps, robovacs, the very hot voice recognition software and self-driving cars…plus bullets that steer themselves to the target. DOD’s Armed With Science gives six reasons why to party! (Cake picture courtesy of ClipArtExtras)

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