TTA’s summer startup #1: Bright Health’s IPO, Noom’s $540M, UK news potpourri, CoverMyMeds big bang, pandemic health effects, deals and funding, more!

 

 

Weekly Update

 

A bumper crop this week as we ease into the unofficial start of summer and wind up May.

ATA2021 coming up (virtually) starting 1 June (At least you don’t have to get the jab before attending!)
News and deals roundup: CoverMyMeds ‘big bang’, Noom’s $540M Series F, insurtech Bright Health’s IPO, Grand Rounds-Included Health, GoodRx, Cedar-OODA, Huma, Bluestream Health’s outreach (So many we had to ‘short take’ them!)
UK news roundup: West Wales’ CONNECT project, WelcoMe app for disabled access, X-on Surgery Connect expands, Arc Health in 46 care homes, Alcove’s £75M contract with Suffolk County Council (Things moving along smartly)
An unappreciated long term pandemic health effect? Increased frailty among older adults. (Making up for lost time and health not easy or quick)
The Theranos Story, ch. 72: a little lifestyle and celebrity is admissible at trial–but not too much. And no profanity, please! (Hold the popcorn till Labor Day)
News and deals roundup: SCP Health-SOC Telemed, Epion Health-MSU, Sensyne Health’s new data agreements, Geisinger’s RPM app (Definitely ‘springing forward’)
Survey: 80% of Americans believe telehealth can provide quality medical care–up 23 points from 2020 (More confirmation of five years of progress in one)

From last week’s mini-update–our ‘top of the pops’ 

Tunstall excluded from Sweden’s framework agreements for municipal alarm and technology procurement (A software update that went sideways affects contracts in over 200 municipalities)

A small bombshell in the traditional PERS world (yes, it’s still there) is Philips’ sale of Lifeline to Connect America–which two years ago bought Tunstall Americas. Teladoc gets into the cognitive therapy app business–and sends a message–in a big way.

Connect America acquires Philips’ Aging and Caregiving, including Lifeline (Big news in aging services, though it’s Old Tech. And another Philips North America divestiture.)
Teladoc integrates the myStrength cognitive mental health app with their telehealth network (Sending a message to the smaller players?)

 

May may be chilly where you are, but we serve up some hot news in funding, wobbly Walmart’s dive into telehealth, Germany’s DiGA, a OnePerspective around stroke care, and a free webinar on what public health may look like post-Covid. And kicking off the month–a Theranos hearing (remember them?)

The Theranos Story, ch. 71: Holmes appears in court, lawyers argue celebrity, lavish lifestyle, Silicon Valley ethics (The consequences of ‘faking till you make it’)
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 (Substantial raises and more funding on the table)
Walmart Health moves into the hot telehealth area with MeMD buy (Continuing to be a puzzle)
What you need to know about Germany’s new DiGA fast tracking for health apps (New R2G research)
Webinar: Public Health and Responsible Innovation in a Post-Covid Europe 20 May
OnePerspective: Covid-19 accelerates digital stroke care for the East of England (Stroke Telemedicine Partnership with Visionable)

April closes with a !! NHS Digital appoints an interim CEO. A brace of UK virtual conference events starts in May–robotics is of interest internationally. Deals and funding include Buddi floating on the LSE this year, PlushCare bought for $450M, and Capsule’s $300 raise. Amwell raises its low profile a bit with a new platform and a surprise. And in dustups–David (AliveCor) takes on Goliath (Apple) about patent infringement on the core of AliveCor’s business. 

Breaking: NHS Digital appoints Simon Bolton interim CEO

2021 UK-RAS Network Robotics Summer Showcase 5 May-30 July and UK Festival of Robotics 19-25 June (If you’re interested in healthcare or other robotics, this is the place–and not just for the UK)
David sues Goliath: AliveCor claims patent infringement by Apple–ITC filing requests bar on Apple Watch US importation (Bring the popcorn, but it’s serious)
Amwell debuts new telehealth platform, Converge; previews Carepoint for hospital care into the home (Carepoint is the ‘stealthy’ move)
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 (No signs of cooling down in funding–but keep MD Ally on the radar which meets an unserved need)
Upcoming UK digital health events: The King’s Fund 24-27 May, UKTelehealthcare Marketplaces & Forum (Events are coming back–slowly)
News roundup: Buddi’s £500M LSE float, Accolade to buy PlushCare for $450M, Teladoc adds chief innovation officer, Tyto Care’s Italy expansion (Buddi a huge float for the UK)

And of continued interest–

News roundup: dogs sniffing out COVID, CVS rolling out OTC COVID tests, Hydrogen Health launches, Alcidion UK acquires ExtraMed (Man’s Best Friend can do anything but talk!)
Mayo Clinic creates AI-powered clinical decision/diagnostics support platform, two digital health portfolio companies (What Dr. John Halamka’s been up to)
A new event–and not all virtual! HLTH and CHIME to launch ViVE in March 2022. (Another sign of normal business)
Good news! Eight software functions no longer classified as medical devices under FDA. (One for the techies. And anything you don’t have to clear with FDA makes for a good day.)
News and deal roundup: Microsoft’s $20B deal for Nuance; Cigna Evernorth finalizes MDLive; GoodRx buys HealthiNation; Papa’s $60M Series C (And the money is still rolling)

 

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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

Thanks for asking for update emails. Please tell your colleagues about this news service and, if you have relevant information to share with the rest of the world, please let me know.

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

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UK news roundup: West Wales’ CONNECT project, WelcoMe app for disabled access, X-on Surgery Connect expands, Arc Health in 46 care homes, Alcove’s £75M contract with Suffolk County Council

The CONNECT project, which launched in West Wales at the very beginning of the pandemic last March, is a community support project using both technology enabled care (TEC) and human support. Covering individuals who are older, need home care support, and live at home, it is run by Carmarthenshire County Council’s (CCC) Delta Wellbeing team and covers Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. To date, they have assessed 1,800 people, supported 8,500 individuals isolated during lockdown with necessities like food, made 18,500 proactive wellbeing calls in the first three months, responded to 1,646 call outs with fewer than 100 requiring emergency services, and responded to over 500 falls with 97 percent within 60 minutes. The CCC is using Tunstall kit for alarms, fall detection, GPS tracking, and 24/7 community response service. Delta Wellbeing is a Local Authority Trading Company, completely owned by CCC, and is the largest digital monitoring platform in Wales. Wales Herald

WelcoMe is an free app that enables businesses to better support the needs of their disabled customers or patients. It’s designed for use on mobile or desktop so that a person can create a simple profile that outlines personal key requirements and information about what support they need during their visit. Those requirements are communicated to the business or practice staff so that they can be ready on arrival. It makes for an easier visit all around and eliminates surprises. This Editor discovered WelcoMe through an announcement by the The London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry, the first UK dental practice to adopt the app for their practice. There is a small fee for businesses–£30/mo plus a £49 onboarding fee. The app was developed by Neatebox Limited. Release (PDF). Hat tip to Suzy Ellis of Ellis & Boyd PR

X-on Surgery Connect, a provider of cloud telephony for primary care surgeries, has added another 116 practices in Greater Manchester (Stockport’s 36 practices) and London (80 practices within North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group). The Surgery Connect system provides telephone triaging, call center support, remote working support, telehealth remote consultation and video support. The deployment covers approximately one million patients, out of a total of 8.5 million patients in 835 practices in England and Wales. Unfortunately the release was supplied only via email and not online/PDF.  

Arc Health remote diagnostic platform has been installed  in 46 care homes in South East London. Arc’s video clinical exam and diagnostic technology connects the care homes to primary care surgeries via guided or patient self-use of Arc’s exam tools. The Arc kit used in the care home includes a stethoscope, blood pressure, pulse, and a camera wand to perform ear and throat exams and connects to a video platform that captures the information. Arc Health is part of the National Innovation Collaborative funded by NHSX. The care homes are part of South East London CCG, and the Lambeth Together and One Bromley borough health and care partnerships. Release on HealthTechDigital.

Alcove has inked a contract with Suffolk County Council (SCC) valued at £75 million over three years. Renewal is possible for another four years on an annual basis. According to UK Authority, Alcove will be developing a “new operating model for leveraging care technologies and data in the adult social care sector, with the potential to take this into wider health and care.” The procurement contract will be available for other authorities, fire and rescue, ambulance, probation, and community services in the east of England. SCC has been using Alcove technologies, including their Carephone service, to keep isolated older people connected with services during the pandemic. 

News roundup: Cera hits £89.5M revenues, Alcove Carephone in new elder housing, Everlywell home test kits raise $179M; FDA clears Lucira’s all-in-one COVID test kit, Apple Watch new ECG feature

Farringdon, London-based Cera announced a high point in its revenues of £89.5 million ($120 million) since their 2016 launch. While it is primarily a home care company d/b/a-ing under Cera Care (and seeks to hire an additional 5,000 staff, mostly professional carers), we noted back in March their £52 million ($70 million) raise and the launch of SmartCare, a sensor-based analytics platform that uses machine learning and data analytics in real-time on behaviors to personalize care and detect health risks with a reported 93 percent accuracy. Cera also has a proprietary app to connect families with Cera on visits and progress. Unfortunately the Cera website is singularly uninformative on company news and SmartCare. Mobihealthnews

Alcove is partnering with Cornell Court in Saffron Waldon, Essex, an extra-care community developed and run by L&Q Living, to fit out apartments with their in-residence Carephone tablet. Having the access to the tablet, residents can easily initiate a group video call with family members, as well as attend virtual care and therapy sessions and activities including bingo and exercise classes. There is also access to a ‘virtual concierge’. The combination of onsite services and the Carephone access helps with resident independence. All helpful as the UK remains on a non-virtual lockdown in most places and Christmas looks distinctly un-festive this year, especially for older adults. Local Authority Building & Maintenance (LABM) Online.

COVID-19 has certainly been a boom of a boon for at-home testing companies.

  • Everlywell just raised a hefty Series D of $179 million. They market and process over 30 FDA-cleared kits, including (of course) symptomatic COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2, lower nasal swab) with a follow up from the lab in 24-48 hours via their app coupled with a telehealth consult. Other kits include thyroid, indoor/outdoor and food allergies, and hepatitis C, at prices ranging from $49 to a comprehensive food sensitivity test at $259. Prediction: Everlywell and similar companies will be 2021’s 23andMe/Ancestry.com.  Fierce Biotech
  • An equally intriguing ‘home run’? FDA cleared the first ‘all-in-one’ home test for COVID-19 under an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization). The Lucira Health molecular test from a nasal swab sample is completed by a battery-powered handheld unit that includes all the reagents needed to process the test. The unit then shows the result with a green light for positive or negative. Average time: 2 minutes. Molecular tests are more sensitive and accurate than the current quick tests of antigens. Go-to-market of the single-use test kit is expected early spring 2021, at a cost of $50. The by-prescription test can also be performed in point of care settings. The company will be filing early next year to have as an option prescription via telehealth. Sutter Health in Northern California and Cleveland Clinic Florida in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale participated in the trials and will be first on distribution. Fierce Biotech, Lucira press release, FDA release

Remember when any burp from Apple was Major News, breathlessly awaited? Now ho-hum. FDA cleared the latest update of the Apple Watch’s ECG monitoring. Now the feature enables heart rate detection up to 150 beats per minute and adds a classification category called A-Fib with high heart rate. The Apple Watch has been used in some studies to monitor for atrial fibrillation. No release date is set for the watch. However, AliveCor is suing Apple on patent infringement of three patents, from the Apple Watch Series 4 and later devices, so stand by. Mobilhealthnews

Bexley, Wandsworth Councils onboarding remote monitoring, video calls with COVID-19 the spur (UK)

With Round 2 of the pandemic hitting the UK (and rising rates in EU and also parts of the US), it’s timely that borough councils have already stepped up their efforts to extend home monitoring and connectivity to the most vulnerable older adults and disabled. Here’s a short roundup:

  1. The London Borough of Bexley has been working with Docobo to install their DOC@HOME technology to connect residents with their GP to manage their health and well being at home. DOC@HOME connects with the patient via tablet (Android) tablet, computer, Docobo TV, or smartphone to their clinical teams to enroll, set up, and manage their patients using Docobo’s reporting platform. This version of DOC@HOME used two types of question sets: to set up a doctor consult requested by the resident or staff member and to conduct monthly wellness checks. The pilot was completed with one care home with these results (2019 vs 2018 same period): 71 percent fewer visits by GPs to the care home, and 36 percent fewer visits by residents to A&E. Bexley is now rolling out to 20 care homes using an NHS Digital pathfinder grant. Later plans will be rollout to individual homes.
  2. The Bexley Council is also piloting another Docobo product, ARTEMUS, a risk stratification platform, with the Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to create an analytics and decision support platform to support a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing at the individual level. Risk stratification at its most essential level uses data to classify residents or patients at their level of health risk (multiple chronic conditions) with the objective of mitigating long-term escalations in care needs and emergencies and integrate support, particularly to integrate support for those with dementia. 1 and 2 from NHS AI Lab Hat tip to Adrian Flowerday of Docobo for his LinkedIn post.
  3. Wandsworth Council is working with Alcove to provide the Carephone tablet to their residents who receive a care or support package. The Carephone enables them to make video calls with family, friends, care workers, and other approved service providers. Wandsworth Council article.

Kent County Council announces videophones for vulnerable residents in £1.5 million COVID response initiative (UK)

Kent County Council has launched an initiative to connect 2,000 of its most vulnerable residents to KCC support staff. Alcove, an assisted care technology provider, and care transformation consultancy Rethink Partners will set up the videophone tablet-type units. The £1.5 million Video Carephone program will support “vulnerable and digitally disadvantaged elderly residents and those with a learning disability (who) will be able to receive virtual video care and health consultations, as well as video contact with friends and family while minimising the infection risk to other residents and care staff.” The unit is delivered to the person’s home, ready to go; presumably there is already in place an internet connection with a router as the KCC website release is not specific on the technical side.

This was rolled out in response to the COVID pandemic, but this program is also aligned with the national digital switchover program starting in 2023. The release also includes a testimonial from Robert Greenfield of Gravesend (above left). Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 20 years ago, he set it up himself, using it not only to communicate with his home care provider but also friends and family. An interesting sidelight is that Mr. Greenfield edits a magazine (MS) for others with the MS diagnosis and will be writing about it.