Sharecare expands health education capabilities, acquires CareLinx home care for $65M (updated)

Sharecare, a free/paid app platform that enables users to consolidate and manage all their health and wellness data, is adding to its health management platform additional tools for patient engagement, including more health education. These four will be available on the Sharecare platform in Q4 this year, based on their release:

  • “All Together Better” social aggregator – a dynamic, curated collection of social media content containing relevant conversations, influencers, and news.
  • Condition-specific chatbot – this lets users explore their condition-specific questions through a range of questions and topics related to their health concerns
  • Condition-specific virtual assistant – a virtual assistant to help navigate questions, answers, and resources
  • Interactive data visualization and mapping – this new mobile- and web-based experience takes users on a highly interactive data-driven health education journey with animated graphics and national- to community-level maps.

Interestingly, both care management and health education are converging in services such as Emmi Wolters Kluwer, Milliman HealthIO, and even apps such as Wellframe which have added biometric alerts and RPM. Release, Mobihealthnews

Last week, Sharecare had its own ‘shake’ of the home care market with the acquisition of CareLinx, a home care provider with a network of 450,000 caregivers. The CareLinx platform facilitates care team management and delivery of a wide variety of home support services. Sharecare acquired it from Europ Assistance for $65 million–$54.6 million in cash and $10.4 million in Sharecare common stock. Another shakeup of the otherwise sleepy home care market, in size smaller than the Honor-Home Instead deal that also took place last week. Release

Earlier this year [TTA 18 Feb], Sharecare went the SPAC route with Falcon Capital Acquisition Corp., trading on NASDAQ under SHCR as of 2 July. Sharecare received $571 million in gross proceeds and is reported to have a valuation of $3.9 billion. Management is staying in place. Release, Capital 

Speaking of aggregation, in the past two years, Sharecare has become an aggregator, or perhaps a conglomerate, of multiple digital health companies that operate separately or are integrated within the company. Their recent purchases include two AI platforms–doc.ai.in capturing data; WhiteHatAI, which is now Sharecare Payment Integrity; MindSciences (DrJud.com) in behavioral health and smoking cessation; and value-based care gap closer Visualize Health into their provider dashboard.

Will there ever be a medical ‘tricorder’?

ZDNet teases us that ‘the race is on’, but is it? It’s a great clickbait headline, but the substance of the article illustrates the distance between today’s tech reality versus the picture of Star Trek’s Bones pointing a Tricorder at a patient and immediately pronouncing that your malady was Sakuro’s Disease or some strange Vulcan malady.

Was it that long ago that the Scanadu Scout was the odds-on bet to be the Tricorder? The hype began in 2012 [TTA 23 May 2013] with Indiegogo funding, competing for the XPRIZE, and breathless pronouncements at nearly every healthcare conference. By 2016, it missed the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE finals (with Northern Ireland’s Intelesens), bricked all sold units to date to comply with FDA regulations on investigational devices, and with Chinese money in hand, moved into other testing devices. Those looking for Scanadu today will be disappointed as their website is unreachable. The DeBrowers and medical director Alan Greene, all of whom were fêted on the healthcare scene, are engaged over at Doc.ai with a new mission of decentralizing precision medicine onto the blockchain using AI, using your medical data gathered on an app (of course).

Google X was up next as Scanadu was fading. There were various devices they were hyping and testing as Google’s life sciences skunk works morphed into Verily, but to date they have all petered out, with some questions raised about people and project churn at the Alphabet unit [TTA 6 April 2016] .

Basil Leaf Technologies (as Final Frontier Medical Devices) wound up winning last year’s final Qualcomm XPRIZE with DxtER, which could diagnose and interpret a defined set of 13 health conditions to various degrees, while continuously monitoring five vital health metrics, using a mix of sensors and an AI-powered diagnostic engine. What they are planning to market first is not DxtER, but a single-disease device to monitor congestive cardiac failure (CCF) since FDA approval for DxtER “would take aeons to be approved.”

Urine tests are also a ‘wet’ way into a tricorder state, with both Basil Leaf and the University of Glasgow working on devices which could quickly scan for metabolites in urine that indicate particular diseases.

QuantuMDx’s Q-POC, from Newcastle UK, is expected to launch in 2019 with handheld diagnostics for bacterial and viral infections. In addition to quick diagnostics for outbreaks in less developed countries, they are also developing diagnostics to prescribe the right antibiotic the first time. This is critical in treatment superbugs such as MRSA and MSSA, as well as more garden variety infections which can go wrong quickly. TTA profiled their crowdfunding launch in 2014.

The ZDNet article wraps up with a bit of romance about how a tricorder is needed for Mars, but down here on Earth, the reality is that a tricorder will likely be a combination of devices and analytics, stitched together by machine learning and AI.