News and deals roundup: SCP Health-SOC Telemed, Epion Health-MSU, Sensyne Health’s new data agreements, Geisinger’s RPM app

SCP adds more SOC. SCP Health, a clinical management company that provides both staff and services to hospitals, and SOC Telemed, an acute, post-acute, and specialty care telemedicine provider, are increasing their engagement. SCP presently provides specialty care staff for SOC’s Telemed IQ platform for acute care. SCP will be increasing engagement with the platform to expand into a hybrid clinical approach between onsite and virtual care for hospital medicine, emergency medicine, and critical care programs. SOC Telemed was an early SPAC less than a year ago in August 2020 and last month shelled out $196 million for competitor Access Physicians. SOC release

NJ-based Epion Health, which has a digital check in and patient messaging platform that includes telehealth, announced an agreement with MSU Health Care, the academic health center of Michigan State University. MSUHC’s 600 providers will use Epion’s platform for provider search, patient registration, check-in, patient education, and payment for services. Epion’s client base is primarily regional provider groups. Epion release.

Sensyne Health of Oxford inked two deals in the past week for expanding its already extensive medical dataset of anonymized and de-identified patient data, adding patient data from the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM) and St. Luke’s University Health Network (Pennsylvania and New Jersey). The strategic research agreements add their data records to Sensyne’s dataset, now at 18.2 million records. Sensyne mines the data primarily for use by life science clients. When Sensyne commercializes these discoveries, they will share proceeds with CCPM and St. Luke’s respectively. Sensyne releases for CCPM and St. Luke’s.

Geisinger Health launches ConnectedCare365 app + RPM for chronic condition patient management.  The app, developed by Noteworth, monitors and analyzes multiple vital signs provided by patients directly or through devices, combining them with information from Geisinger’s EHR to send information and notifications directly to the care team. The app also connects families and caregivers with the care team via messaging. Noteworth release.

Telemedicine virtual visits preferred by majority in Massachusetts General Hospital survey

The results are far better than parity with in-person visits for follow up. A group of 254 patients and 61 health care providers were the subject of a survey conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, part of Partners HealthCare, and Johns Hopkins. It found that virtual video visits (VVVs) are perceived by the majority of patients as the same as or better than office visits in convenience and cost, at the same level of quality and personal connection. It measured responses from both patients and providers in the MGH TeleHealth (sic) program, in place since 2012, in follow up care from providers in psychiatry, neurology, cardiology, oncology and primary care (the last two added late in the survey).

The results were: 

  • The vast majority (94.5%) of patients preferred the travel time (minimal) and time convenience (79.5%) of the VVV
  • Most patients (62.6%) and clinicians (59.0%) reported “no difference” between VVV and office visits on “the overall quality of the visit.”
  • When rating “the personal connection felt during the visit”, over half–but more patients than clinicians–said that there was “no difference” with the VVV (patients, 59.1%; clinicians, 50.8%), although 32.7% of patients and 45.9% of clinicians reported that the “office visit is better”.
  • They were also willing to pay for it–and that increased with distance from the doctor. Among those who traveled more than 90 minutes to an office visit, 51.5% indicated they would pay a co-payment of more than $50 for a VVV compared with 30.4% of those who traveled less than 30 minutes.
  • Results graphs are here

The survey results were published in the American Journal of Managed Care. This month’s issue also examines gamification in healthcare, asynchronous communication between primary and specialty care practitioners at Geisinger, EHRs–and the relationship between data breaches and not surprisingly increased advertising expenditures after the fact to rebuild lost trust. According to this last article, breached hospitals were more likely to be large, teaching, and urban hospitals relative to the control group.

Also UPI and HealthDay.

4 year telehealth study charts ~40 percent CHF readmissions reduction

Finally an encouraging long-term, large N study on telehealth reducing same-cause hospital readmissions. Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Health Plan, the managed care arm of integrated health system Geisinger Health, has released findings from a four-year (2008-2012) study of 541 GHP Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with congestive heart failure. Hospital readmissions after 30 days were 44 percent lower and after 90 days 38 percent lower. Return on investment: “for every $1 spent to implement this program, there was approximately $3.30 return on this investment in terms of the cost savings accrued to GHP.”

Patients were assigned case managers and provided with a relatively simple program combining Bluetooth-connected weight scales and interactive voice response (IVR) calls to answer questions such as shortness of breath, swelling, appetite and on prescription medication management. The case managers used a platform to aggregate the data (more…)