News and funding roundup: BioIntelliSense ‘stickers’ $45M, Exo ultrasound scans $220M, Enovation gets Scotland OK, WellSky snaps up Healthify, Cerner’s good quarter despite VA

Sticker shock? BioIntelliSense, which has been flying under the radar for over a year [TTA 17 July 2020] since inking a deal with Philips to integrate their BioSticker sensors into their post-acute remote patient monitoring (RPM) systems, scored a $45 million Series B funding for a total of $82 million since 2018. Lead investor is Chimera (UAE) with participation from 7wire Technology Partners, Mary Tolan of Chicago Pacific Founders, James Murren, formerly of MGM Resorts International, as well as Pendrell Corporation, Royal Philips, and Fresenius Medical Care North America.

BioIntelliSense has two wearables: the BioSense on-body sensor for 30 days of continuous vital sign monitoring, and the new BioButton for up to 60 days of RPM. The BioButton is touted for Covid-19 monitoring. “Temperature checks have proven to be unreliable and even amplified testing (PCR) has proven to be ineffective in identifying the virus in the early days of infection.” The button will be connected to the BioMobile screening survey app which will feed the user the latest CDC health screener and then scan for ‘subtle physiological changes’ in temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate at rest. The app generates a non-PHI report indicating ‘cleared’ or ‘not-cleared’. The BioSticker is 510(k) FDA-cleared; the BioButton is not, but is being marketed as an enterprise solution for employee health clearance. Mobihealthnews

Hand-held ultrasound gets ultra-funding. The Exo hand-held ultrasound snagged a hefty $220 million in Series C funding for a total of over $320 million since last year. Their point-of-care tool includes nano-materials, sensor technology, and advanced signal processing and computation in a platform called Exo Works. Exo is in a crowded field pioneered by GE Healthcare’s Vscan [TTA 27 March] back in 2010, but including Butterfly IQ, Mobisante, and Philips LumifyMobihealthnews

Enovation also approved by Scotland. With our news from Alcuris last week that they were selected by Scottish Digital Telecare as a security-assessed supplier, Enovation (formerly Verklizan), notified your Editors that they also were selected. Our quote from their management is from Andy Grayland, Chief Information Security Officer, Digital Office for Scottish Local Authorities. “The Scottish digital telecare security-assessed suppliers scheme reviewed a submission from Enovation for an Alarm Receiving Centre application. The assessment panel was very impressed with pre-existing security security culture and standards within Enovation. Both this assessment scheme, and Enovation’s positive response to it, will help ensure that vulnerable telecare users across Scotland are protected against the threat posed by cyber criminals when using these services.” 

WellSky to acquire SDOH provider Healthify. WellSky is a provider of software, analytics, and services for community care. Healthify builds and manages accountable networks for SDOH services, working with health plans, providers, and community partners in all fifty states. Previously, Healthify had raised $25.5 million in five rounds from 2013 (Crunchbase). Healthify is the fifth company WellSky has acquired since 2018, the last CarePort Health for $1.4 billion in 2020 (Crunchbase). Terms were not disclosed. Closing anticipated in Q3. The release does not indicate management transitions or HQ location.  

Despite their VA troubles and layoffs, Cerner had a very good quarter indeed: revenue up 10%, adjusted EPS $0.80 versus $0.63, exceeding analyst expectations for both. They laid off 500 employees in the quarter and eliminated 300 open positions, which will deliver $70 million in annualized savings. plus half their owned space is now unneeded so up for sale. Their Department of Defense EHR rollout is going well with 42 commands and 663 locations with 41,000 activated users. The Coast Guard’s deployment will be completed this year. As to VA, “results of the VA’s strategic review focused on governance, training, and readiness rather than Cerner-caused problems.” More in the lead article in HISTalk 8/2/21. Cerner’s announcement, transcript of earnings call on Seeking Alpha

Babylon as AI diagnostician that is ’10 times more precise than a doctor’

The NHS announced at the top of this month that it would test Babylon Health‘s ‘chatbot’ app for the next six months to 1.2 million people in north London. During the call to the 111 medical hotline number, they will be prompted to try the app, which invites the user to text their symptoms. The app decides through the series of texts, through artificial intelligence, in minutes how urgent the situation is and will recommend action to the patient up to an appointment with their GP, or if acute to go to Accident & Emergency (US=emergency room or department) if the situation warrants. It will launch this month in NHS services covering Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, and Islington, London. TechCrunch.

The NHS’ reasons for “digitising” services through a pilot like Babylon’s app is to save money by reducing unnecessary doctor appointments and pressure on A&Es. It provides a quick diagnosis that usually directs the patient to self-care until the health situation resolves. If not resolved or obviously acute, it will direct to a GP or A&E. The numbers are fairly convincing: £45 for the visit to a GP, £13 to a nurse and £0 for the app use. According to The Telegraph, the trial is facing opposition by groups like Patient Concern, the British Medical Association’s GP committee, and Action Against Medical Accidents. There is little mention of wrong diagnoses here (see below). The NHS’ app track record, however, has not been good–the NHS Choices misstep on applying urgency classifications to a ‘symptom checker’ app–and there have been incidents on 111 response.

Babylon’s founder Ali Barsa, of course, is bullish on his app and what it can do. (more…)