April is proving to be an active month for something other than rain and blooming cherry trees, including company sales of Tivity and MobileHelp. UnitedHealth and Optum won’t give up on Change, including a hefty break fee, nor big buys. On the retail front, Walmart finally opens up Florida superstores powered by Epic, and Walgreens ‘corners’ with Blue Shield in California. Some local telehealth grants and the surprising vitality of audio telehealth for the underserved. And, to no one’s surprise, digital health got off to a slow start in Q1.
Weekend roundup: telehealth claims ticked up again in January, Walmart opens Florida health ‘superstores’, Blue Shield California partners with Walgreens’ Health Corners
Thursday roundup: UHG/Optum, Change extend merger deadline to 31 Dec, buys Kelsey-Seybold; $2B Tivity Health sale; General Dynamics enters derm AI diagnostics; MobileHelp PERS sold to Advocate Aurora (A recovery in the works?)
Digital health funding’s Q1 hangover from 2021’s bender–and Q2 is a question mark, even for Rock Health (Some companies have aching heads still)
Wisconsin’s $5M for child psychiatry, community telehealth; FQHC patients prefer audio-only telehealth–Rand (Back to the roots of telehealth for less health served populations)
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The first full week of Spring turned out to be a busy one, from big buys by UHG/Optum in home and mental health, a significant one by LetsGetChecked, and more health tech fundings. Babylon’s Higi integrates their chatbot. Optum’s physician telehealth study shows there’s a way to go, along with Laurie Orlov’s aging tech studies and articles. The former Practice Fusion’s miseries with DOJ continue. And Amazon Health’s looking for talent.
Weekend wrapup & reading: Amazon Health on talent hunt, Practice Fusion fined $200K for violating $145M prosecution agreement, and must-read studies and articles on older adults tech (Read in between spring cleaning)
What do physicians really think about telehealth, now that they’ve used it? Lower use, substantial frustrations remain. (Another needle puncturing the bubble)
Friday roundup: LetsGetChecked buys Veritas Genetics, Everly Health adds CMO, Babylon sends chatbot to Higi, ConcertAI’s $150M Series C, AmplifyMD’s $23M, and two ‘Brights’ raise $155M (Reviving market?)
UnitedHealth Group makes two jumbo buys for Optum: LHC Group home health for $5B, Refresh Mental Health (Optum not letting grass grow with the Change DOJ lawsuit)
Winter turned into Spring, it’s raining, and it’s time for pleasant thoughts of a cheerful movie about the Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Speaking of France, Glooko’s European tour picked up DIABNEXT. Action in Asia-Pac with Vietnam’s Jio Health and Pear for sleepless Japanese. Certainly Sunny Balwani isn’t getting much sleep lately with the kickoff of Theranos Trial #2. And after 25 years of one man at the top, it’s a young tech-savvy woman in charge at Centene–and their cubies are hanging on.
Short takes for Thursday: TimeDoc’s timely $48M, Glooko buys France’s DIABNEXT, Jio Health’s $20M, Pear’s Tokyo sleep-wake, Antidote’s $22M, and Centene’s new, young CEO signals big changes (More consolidation, funding, and a changing of the guard after 25 years)
The Theranos Trials, ch. 3: Sunny and Elizabeth were in it together, all the way (Balwani’s rerun of Holmes’ trial)
DOJ lawsuit to block UnitedHealth-Change Healthcare’s acquisition now set for 1 August trial (UHG and Change not giving up)
We edge closer to Spring and our Headline News is a little here and there. ElliQ launches its desktop companion robot for seniors, GE Healthcare and AliveCor partner for cardiac monitoring, and Komodo Health and Included Health may IPO. NHS Digital is also playing catchup. All’s well in Walmart’s World. But given the real Headline News, insurer Anthem made a Myopic Move in announcing a name change now.
Friday short takes: ElliQ companion robot launches, Tunstall pilots chronic condition support in Ireland, Walmart Better(s)Up, TytoCare surveys virtual primary care, Microsoft closes $19B buy of Nuance (A Friday potpourri)
NHS Digital roundup: £200M allocated for research, COVID-19/cancer cross-research using the new Trusted Research Environment (TRE) (TRE is high value for research)
Thursday news roundup: Walmart hiring 50K workers including health, Anthem name-changing, GE Healthcare-AliveCor partner, IPO for Komodo Health amid slowdown?
It was nearing the Ides, but absent health tech reckonings in the run up to HIMSS next week and many digital health types partying at ViVE in Miami. (The hot war in Ukraine more than qualifies.) Congress was busy spending US taxpayer money in a 2,000-page+ spend bill that happily included some long-debated telehealth expansions. Tunstall expands in Germany with BeWo acquisition. Amwell maneuvers with LG into the hospital market, CVS stakes a claim in the metaverse, budget smartwatch Orbic debuts, and have a think around how you partner.
Weekend short takes, UK edition: Tunstall acquires Germany’s BeWo, AWS UK healthtech accelerator launches, Fidgetbum bed sleep aid gains US patent
Friday news roundup: CVS filing for metaverse patents; Orbic-Verizon smartwatch debut, Amwell and LG partner for hospital digital health–and what *doesn’t* make for a good partnership (Is there life in the metaverse?)
What can be the long-term drivers of remote patient monitoring growth? (Simplify, simplify)
Congress may extend emergency telehealth flexibilities for Medicare, high-deductible plans for five months in spending bill (House passed Wednesday, but what’s telehealth’s fate later this year, in the runup to the midterms?)
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