A spooky ‘good news’ roundup: AtlantiCare rolling out Orbita AI, Health Wildcatters Pitch Day, RapidSOS, HealthJoy fundings and more

This Editor has noticed the gloomy tone of the past few weeks’ postings. She has decided to ‘accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative” (in Johnny Mercer’s words) using the last few hours of Halloween (boo!) with nothing but Good News.

A health system is actually implementing an AI platform! AtlantiCare, which is based in southern New Jersey, will be rolling out the Orbita virtual artificial intelligence platform across its system, which includes more than 100 locations across Southern New Jersey. Orbita’s capabilities can link patients with virtual assistants and AI to streamline routine tasks such as scheduling, patient reporting, medication adherence, and care management. It also recognizes and translates more than 100 languages. According to Becker’s, Orbita’s functions will be rolled out in stages with the digital ‘front door’ going live in September and patient outbound communication capabilities in 2023.

Dallas’ Health Wildcatters finishes up its 2022 cohort with an evening Pitch Day at their new HQ on Thursday 10 November. Their 11 startups will present starting at 4pm in two sessions. With two networking sessions, the festivities start at 3:30 and go to 8pm. Health Wildcatters has relocated to a 23 acre campus, Pegasus Park, targeted to entrepreneurs and startups in biotech and healthcare to encourage development and collaboration. More information and registration links

And fundings are actually happening–for companies with an established success story + track record–and those at a very early stage where there’s promise, the risk is shared, and the investment is modest. 

  • RapidSOS raised $75 million in a venture round. It developed an emergency response platform that provides first responders with real-time health and location data from connected devices, apps and sensors. It supports 5,200 Emergency Communications Centers, protecting 95%+ of people in the US, across 150 million emergencies annually. Night Dragon Security led 11 other investors. Funding to date is over $280 million.
  • HealthJoy, a digital employee benefits platform for healthcare, raised $60 million in Series D funding from nine investors led by Valspring Capital. Their app bundles telemedicine, wellness, dental, advocacy, medical bill review, EAP, prescription savings, behavioral health, price transparency, MSK, chronic care, mental health, and others. FierceHealthcare
  • Pediatric telehealth provider Hazel Health closed a Series C1 of $51.5 million led by Bain Capital. Hazel partners with school districts to offer virtual care clinics inside the school nurse’s office. It claims to be the only company in school-based telehealth.
  • Others: Navina (AI, $22 million), Galen Robotics ($15 million), Midi Health (menopause virtual clinic, $14 million), and Lumata Health (virtual practice management for ophthalmology, $4 million seed)  Mobihealthnews


  • Valera Health raised $44.5 million in a growth equity financing round led by Heritage Group. Additional participants are Horizon Healthcare Services and Cigna Ventures, joined by seven previous investors. Total funding is over $71 million. Valera is a specialized virtual mental health platform for high-acuity patients with serious mental illness and severe depression with live health coaches to find a therapist or doctor, and creates a team with multiple clinicians. Their services can be used by adults (18+) and children, adolescents, and teens (6-18)  Mobihealthnews

What if you crossed Alexa with a robotic healthcare manager?

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/pillo_01-625×350.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]You might have a tabletop ‘companion robot’ that’s called, interestingly, Pillo. It doesn’t look like something on a bed, nor does it ambulate, but more like a souped-up pastel colored Alexa with Eyes. Debuting at HIMSS 2018 this week, what is non-Alexa-like about it is that is a voice-responsive Wi-Fi/Bluetooth-connected healthcare manager, interacting with the user on Alexa-type requests but in the main managing (nudging?) their care plan, reminding them of medical appointments, delivering patient education, and dispensing their pre-loaded medications in a cup . Pillo claims to use AI algorithms to manage care, proactively engage with patients, and recognize users via voice and facial recognition. Orbita is supplying the platform for the voice assistant technology.

Pillo appears to be targeted to users with chronic conditions who need assistance in care management and with a connecting mobile app to family caregivers and clinicians. There’s no mention of a tracking platform nor connectivity with medical devices such as glucose meters or blood pressure cuffs. According to Forbes, it will ship in 4th Quarter, no pricing mentioned. Pillo raised $1.5 million in a venture round last August from BioAdvance (Crunchbase) with additional funding from Stanley Ventures, Hikma Ventures (the venture arm of Hikma Pharmaceuticals) and Thompson Family Foundation for a total of $4m (Forbes). It’s hard to tell if this will appeal to or be subsidized by pharma, payers, or Medicare primary care providers such as ACOs because the release is rather opaque on specifics.

HIMSS17 news flashes: Lenovo, Orbita, Tactio, Garmin, Parallax, Entra Health, Philips, IBM

Voice commands a new frontier in telehealth. Why not dispense with the pill dispenser, the smartphone, the tablet? Lenovo Health and Orbita have put together a solution that works via Amazon Alexa. The Orbita Voice is a voice-controlled speaker for the home that connects with the Lenovo Smart Assistant to “help patients with chronic and post-acute care needs be more fully engaged in their wellness at home. Enhancing a patient’s ability to access and share information with providers, caregivers, and family members contributes to improved care journey management, treatment adherence, and medication compliance.” The release isn’t informative as to how it will do this, but apparently it’s all in the programming. This is the second Lenovo Health initiative on view in the past few months. This Editor saw at NYeC Digital Health their Authoritative Identity Management Exchange establishing a universal, verifiable patient ID system [TTA 19 Jan video] and was impressed.

Canada’s Tactio telehealth platform is adding Garmin wearables to its compatible peripherals. TactioRPM is a mobile platform that combines mobile apps, hundreds of connected health integrations (Garmin, A&D, Fitbit, Roche, Nonin, Omron and Welch Allyn), patient questionnaires, digital coaching programs and HIPAA-compliant messaging. TactioRPM has FDA Class 1, CE and ANVISA (Brazil) clearances. Release via Yahoo Finance

Parallax Health Management (PHM) is presenting with Entra Health (mobile HIT) and Microsoft Cloud its remote patient monitoring systems. Based on the PHM website, they are tablet based with a raft of peripherals for the multiple-chronic condition patient. The release highlights their chief medical officer, Bob Arnot, MD who is well known in the US as an author and television presenter.

Philips announced US FDA 510(k) clearance of the IntelliVue Guardian software system, which pairs with the single-use, adhesive Philips Wearable Sensor for continuous clinical-grade monitoring of high-acuity patients. The software gained CE Mark certification last October. They also debuted a mobile app called Jovia Coach for healthcare systems to reach patients at risk for Type 2 diabetes. MedCityNews.  Philips’ ongoing Intensive Ambulatory Care (IAC) pilot program with Banner Health in Arizona so far has delivered impressive reductions in overall costs of care by 34.5 percent and hospitalizations by 49.5 percent. LeadingAge/CAST

IBM Watson heralds cognitive computing, or computers that learn, according to IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, and will profoundly change medicine as well as IBM, as they are betting the company on it. In the meantime, they have announced the Watson Platform for Health Cloud and a specialized Watson Health Consulting Services unit. Health Data Management. An elephant in the ointment is that the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Center, part of the University of Texas, has put their Watson program, the Oncology Expert Advisor, on indefinite hold as it checks out other contractors after sinking $62 million into OEA over three years without a measurable result. Forbes