Mid-week news briefs: House members’ ‘grave concerns’ on two deaths tied to Oracle Cerner VA rollout; care.ai’s $27M funding; Clear Arch’s new mobile RPM platform; digital health investment in rough times

A pre-Thanksgiving news roundup in this short week.

More miseries for Oracle Cerner’s VA rollout. This week, three House members sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). After a 2 September visit to the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center in Columbus, Ohio and interviewing the staff, they determined that the Cerner Millenium EHR as currently in use possibly led to the deaths of two veteran patients. The deaths were due to 1) hypoxia after an antibiotic ordered for mail delivery was never tracked nor received, leading to a decline in the patient’s condition; and 2) alcohol withdrawal symptoms after a patient’s missed appointment was lost in the EHR and not rescheduled, leading to his decline and death several months later. The three Representatives are asking Denis McDonough, the Department secretary, for answers on the processes and problems that led to this, and more. They are Mike Bost, R-Ill., Mike Carey, R-Ohio, and Troy Balderson, R-Ohio. Becker’s

care.ai, a system that uses sensor-based AI for care facilities, secured $27 million in venture funding from Crescent Cove Advisors. care.ai’s sensors and their Smart Care Facility Platform are currently used in 1,500 facilities in the US to automate, monitor, and streamline clinical and operational workflows in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities. care.ai plans to use the funding from Crescent Cove Advisors to build on their ongoing operations and deliver ambient intelligence to healthcare. Release, Mobihealthnews

Clear Arch Health is introducing a new RPM mobile app, Clear Arch Mobile, as an alternative to its current tablet-based system. It connects via Bluetooth to devices and is based on the LifeStream Clinical Monitoring Dashboard by enhancing security (with two-factor authentication) and simplifying the collection and transmission of patient data for clinician assessment and intervention, as needed. LifeStream was acquired by Clear Arch earlier this year with their buy of Life Care Solutions. Clear Arch is a division of MobileHelp. Both were acquired by Advocate Aurora Enterprises in April. Release (PDF)

How to cope with the transition from easy funding to showing investors that they are squeezing every dime? That was the topic of a roundtable of investors at HLTH last week. One major problem was that the 2020-21 influx of capital boosted valuations to unrealistic and unsustainable levels, leading to unrealistic expectations for growth and moving into businesses that weren’t core. The advice was bracing from investor luminaries such as Glen Tullman of 7Wire Ventures/Transcarent, Emily Melton of Threshold Ventures, Andrew Adams of Oak HC/FT; and Krishna Yeshwant of Google Ventures.

  • Don’t focus on valuation. Focus on how much capital your enterprise needs to the next phase of inflection, minimize dilution, and set yourself up for the next up round.
  • Refocus and reprioritize, making the most of cash resources on hand
  • Have a plan to get to profitability, not just growth
  • Even more depressing news: the downturn is expected to continue through 2023 into 2024 — make cash last into 2025

Growth areas in healthcare they identified will be familiar: mental health, senior care and primary care –one is not, the Medicaid space. Mobihealthnews

News briefs: ResMed-Verily’s Primasun sleep solution; Maven Clinic’s $90M Series E; Mount Sinai genomics spinoff Sema4 lays off additional 500, exits women’s health

The large conference HLTH is underway in Las Vegas and like pre-Covid, conferences are a platform for announcements. Verily, which is Alphabet’s (Google’s) life sciences and health skunk works, and ResMed, a large company in respiratory medical devices for sleep apnea and sleep disruption treatment, have formed a joint venture, Primasun. Their target market is employers and providers to identify patients at risk for sleep disorders, particularly obstructive sleep apnea. About 75% of those in the US experience some form of sleep disruption at least a few times a week, leading to behavioral and physical problems. Mobihealthnews has the basic information on the launch but also some side information on Verily. Back in September, alongside a $1 billion raise to fund precision health, controversial founding CEO Andy Conrad announced he was stepping down effective in January 2023, replaced by current president Stephen Gillett. Dr. Conrad survived a brace of bad press back in 2016 [TTA 6 Apr 2016] and multiple ups and downs in the past six years.

Maven Clinic, a virtual care company targeting women and families, bucked the trends and locked up a $90 million Series E financing. Led by General Catalyst, there are nine other investors including La Famiglia, CVS Health Ventures, and Intermountain Ventures, bringing total funding to just under $300 million (Crunchbase) and unicorn valuation last year. Maven focuses on women’s health journey from fertility through menopause. The company claims to host 15 million members through primarily companies and health plans, and has contracts with half of the Fortune 15. Recently, they launched a menopause and ongoing care program with 1.2 million lives covered across 150 employer clients.  Release, Mobihealthnews  Notably, General Catalyst has been a bullish funder of both US and UK health systems such as Banner Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Health, HCA, and Intermountain Health, along with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in the UK. Mobihealthnews

Unfortunately, Mount Sinai spinoff Sema4 continues to cut back and restructure. Their latest round of layoffs affects 500, or 32.5% of its workforce. Sema4 will be exiting its reproductive and women’s health testing business and shuttering operations located in Stamford, Connecticut by end of Q1 2023. Going forward, they will concentrate operations in Maryland. In August, they discharged 250 staff, about 13% at that time, including its founder from both the president and director slots. With this latest restructuring, their workforce has been reduced to 1,100. Their release states that they will concentrate on their high growth, high margin pediatric and rare disease business using whole exome/genome diagnostic testing, achieve annual revenue growth in excess of 20%, and reach profitability by 2025. MarketWatch, Becker’s, Mobihealthnews

Wednesday news roundup: PicnicHealth $60M Series C, can a downturn be good for digital health, Cerebral ran wild, a tart take on HIMSS and where it’s going

PicnicHealth had a bit of one, even in this down market. This company which uses machine learning to build data sets for life sciences by working directly with patients and giving them single-source access to their data raised a $60 million Series C via new investor B Capital Group, with existing investors Felicis Ventures and Amplify Partners. The new funding will be used to build 30 new patient-centered real-world data cohorts. Adam Seabrook, Partner at B Capital Group, will be joining the PicnicHealth board of directors. Their total raise to date is $97 million since 2014 (Crunchbase). The platform was launched in 2020. FierceBiotech, release

Funding news may be a little light nowadays, and if you’re public, you’re looking at double digit share price losses, but couldn’t you guess–the downturn may be good for digital health founders! That’s the view of Big VC General Catalyst’s Hemant Taneja, said at Collision 2022, a Toronto tech conference. Now before you’ve thought the man has totally gone out of his gourd with $5+ gallon gasoline (US), 10% inflation, and rolling blackouts looming on both coasts and the UK, it is true that businesses founded in downturns tend to be tough–my father’s business was founded at the start of the Great Depression. As Mr. Taneja put it, tighter times make for more mission-driven “better founders, better investors and better executives”. Secular trends are in their favor in tech and digital transformation, but there will be another correction coming as the market is over-capitalized. Is it the dot-com boom/bust all over again? Only time will tell, but the crackups are already piling up. FierceHealthcare

Speaking of crackups, Cerebral. A report in the annoyingly paywalled Business Insider tells a tale of Telemental Health Running Wild. Former employees and ~2,000 leaked documents claim that Cerebral had no more than a nodding acquaintance with clinical standards until the Feds stepped in. For starters, they took on patients they should not have, didn’t train their nurse-practitioners and other employees, pushed prescriptions to 95% of patients, disregarded state regulations putting licenses at risk, and generally had more twists than a barrel of pretzels. And this was a company prescribing Schedule 2 drugs that had at peak 210,000 active patients and 4,500 employees.  HISTalk summarizes the article, with our thanks. But it’s par for the course, according to a new JMIR (Journal of Medical Internet Research) study also mentioned that found that “many digital health companies have a low level of clinical robustness and do not make many claims as measured by regulatory filings, clinical trials, and public data shared online.” 

And returning to HISTalk (29 June news), there’s a group of comments from a “HIMSS insider” about how that organization is being managed that long-time observers of this organization will find interesting. Employees thought that HIMSS22 was “awkward”. New and cool conferences HLTH (which initially faltered) and ViVE (which HIMSS didn’t even bother to scout) have taken much of the ‘must attend’ and buzz away from HIMSS. Now this wasn’t supposed to happen with the buy of hipper Health 2.0, to which your Editor was connected–but H2O was HIMSS-ized and effectively killed off even before the pandemic. Regional conferences have disappeared, along with a fair number of employees. HIMSS Analytics is sold. Now this could be all one person’s opinion–but what do you think?

A new event–and not all virtual! HLTH and CHIME to launch ViVE in March 2022.

Does it seem like forever that there’s been a new digital health conference, fully in-person–and not labeled HIMSS? HLTH, a relatively new entrant to the big healthcare event calendar starting in 2018 in Las Vegas, and CHIME, The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, will launch ViVE on 6-9 March 2022 at a location (TBD) in Miami Beach. They are positioning it as an annual event for digital health leaders innovating across the spectrum of health and care. 

The event will incorporate CHIME’s spring forum, a full plate of networking events and presentations, matchmaking, the ViVE Expo, and a gala. For more information on the event or to register interest as a sponsor or partner, see the ViVE page. Release

(This Editor admits that the thought of a new and in-person conference is exciting. It’s nice to contemplate normality!)

CHIME is a 5,000-member association of C-level and senior healthcare IT leaders across 56 countries. The organization parted from the annual HIMSS event this year in Las Vegas 9-13 August, which will be a hybrid in-person and virtual conference [TTA 4 Feb]. Registration and information on the event have been updated.

The HLTH 2021 next event is in Boston 17-20 October. Like HIMSS, it’s scheduled to be a combination in-person and virtual event. HLTH is more broadly inclusive of healthcare care models and consumer health issues. The in-person portion will be at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, located in the Seaport District. 

The magic quadrant matrix strikes again for health tech and investment potential

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Medical-social-quadrant-box.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Deceptively simple, the quadrant matrix can make sense out of actions and decisions. As a management tool, it can help you prioritize what is most urgent and important, or how to vary your supervisory/coaching style based on the person’s skill and will levels.

Here we see the magic box used by Krishna Yeshwant, MD, a doctor and investor with GV, Alphabet’s venture firm, to sort out all those Next Revolutions in Health Care. The factors that Dr. Yeshwant uses pertain to the end user’s medical and social needs, often called social determinants of health (SDH). Both are meshed, whether in an active older veteran who lives alone in a rural area but manages his diabetes well, or in a homeless substance user in a city with multiple medical conditions.

Most non-medical entrepreneurs prefer to develop tech and services for people like them with low medical/low social needs, such as virtual doctor apps, concierge primary care, and wellness apps. It’s a crowded quadrant and perhaps is over-served. Those with a medical background appear to gravitate to the diagonal quadrant–high medical/high social needs, such as those targeted to the ‘underserved’ with diabetes or high-need care model management, such as Aledade and Iora Health. Where does the investment money go? Their money goes to companies which have developed high medical need therapeutics such as expensive treatments for cancer, neatly avoiding those complex social factors.

What is missing: innovation in low medical/high social needs. This group is at high risk to move into high medical needs due to their lack of organization and access to/willingness for primary care. This Editor agrees, but if another factor is observed–profitability–this is likely the least potential of the four. So if you want to get Dr. Y’s attention and maybe some moolah from Alphabet…. From his presentation at the HLTH meeting last week in Las Vegas. CNBC.

News roundup: First Stop, GlobalMed, American Well, Avizia, Medicity, Health Catalyst, Allscripts, Welbeing, BenevolentAI

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Lasso.jpg” thumb_width=”125″ /]Announcements and acquisitions have been multiplying–here’s what’s most interesting.

In companies we’ve recently written about:

Our recent Contributor Bruce Judson, now with corporate telemedicine provider First Stop Health, wrote us enroute to the Government Finance Officials Association conference in St. Louis that FSH achieved triple-digit top-line revenue growth and also achieved an average utilization rate of 52 percent. The formal announcement was made earlier this week at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas (release), where another one of our Contributors, Sarianne Gruber, is attending for Answers Media Company.

GlobalMed, a prior contributor to Perspectives, is offering a lower cost telemedicine alternative to practices with a flat fee starting at $799 per month for three years. Startup costs remain at about $5,000. The starting kit includes a cart, a total exam camera, stethoscope and vitals linked to the organization’s network, and a nurse license. Additional compatible equipment is available at extra cost. We know that a number of comparable telemedicine cart-based kits run upwards of $8,000. It is one of the first public acknowledgments this Editor has seen (but has known for years) that high cost is a major impediment for implementing both telehealth and telemedicine in practices. Health Data Management.

In other news:

Telemedicine and telehealth consolidation continues with American Well’s acquisition of hospital-based telemed/workflow systems provider Avizia. Avizia has a product line of telemedicine carts and workflow software for 40 different specialties, including telestroke and telebehavioral health. The acquisition price was not disclosed. Prior investors in this 2013 Cisco spinoff include Northwell Health, NY-Presbyterian, HealthQuest, and other providers in seven rounds totaling over $23 million. Healthcare IT News

A further sign of consolidation, this time in the crowded health information business, is the Medicity acquisition by Health Catalyst. Health Catalyst is primarily a data analytics and warehousing company while Medicity focuses more on data interoperability and patient engagement for practices, health systems, and HIEs. Medicity was purchased by Aetna in 2011 with much fanfare for $500 million as one of its ‘Emerging Businesses’, rebranded as Healthagen in 2013 [TTA 28 Feb 14] which never quite took off. Out of that unit, what remains are Active Health Solutions and Aetna Accountable Care Solutions, a payer-driven value-based care management company. The amount of the sale was not disclosed but is expected to close in 90 days. Health Catalyst’s CEO Brent Dover served as president of Medicity up to 2013, and both companies are located in Salt Lake City. What is interesting about this sale is that CVS, which is buying Aetna, has no comparable in-house technology. It’s a probable shedding of peripheral or money-losing businesses prior to sale.  HISTalk, MedCityNews

Allscripts continues on its acquisition binge with patient communication and engagement platform HealthGrid. HealthGrid is a mobile app platform that delivers care and education materials traditionally distributed from practices to patients via paper. In January, Allscripts bought practice EHR Practice Fusion for $100 million (a loss to investors) and earlier McKesson’s HIT business for $185 million. It’s a noticeable shift to value-added care tools for this formerly EHR-centric company. Mobihealthnews. 

In UK news:

Welbeing has won Norwich City Council’s Norwich Community Alarm Service (NCAS). It provides a 24-hour, year-round monitoring and response service for over 6,500 adults who are vulnerable or at risk in this part of East Anglia. The press release is on UK Telehealthcare‘s news page. 

BenevolentAI, a UK company using artificial intelligence for drug development, raised $115 million in new funding, mostly from undisclosed investors in the United States, according to Mobihealthnews, for a total funding of over $200 million. The company uses AI to reduce drug discovery time and risk. It does not do its own drug discovery but sells the intellectual property discovered by their AI algorithms, claiming to cut drug development timelines by four years and improve efficiencies by 60 percent compared to pharma industry averages.