TTA’s It’s Finally Spring: CVS, Amazon still under Fed scrutiny, Theranos Two fight for freedom & money, FTC struts strategy, ‘green shoots’ of funding/M&A for SonderMind, Cognito, Vital–more!

 

 

Weekly Update

It’s spring, but there’s a chill in the air, as perhaps fits this challenged time. CVS and Amazon are not out of the Federal woods with Oak Street and One Medical respectively. The Theranos Two clutch at their freedom as the creditors come around and their former lab director sues for defamation. FTC clutches its cudgels and struts its strategy. But the ‘green shoots’ of funding and acquisitions are poking to the surface, though the numbers are lower.

Short takes and updates: FTC may not be done with CVS-Oak Street, VistA moves to cloud–why?, Oracle Cerner lays off 10%. at least (It continues)
Week-end update: Breaking–Theranos lab director suing Hulu, Disney for defamation; ‘green shoots’ for SonderMind, Cognito, Vital, MedArrive; 3 in Asia; Telstra Australia’s new CTO (Some hope in funding and a whistleblower strikes back) 
DOJ drops appeal to block UHG-Change; more hints that FTC will be hunting big game with Amazon (FTC priming itself for Amazon)
Theranos update: Holmes, Balwani reprieved on surrender–for now–and Theranos’ creditors try to claw back $25M (As the Theranos Two near Club Fed, prosecutors and creditors squeeze rocks)
FTC takes off the gloves, v2: a walk on the technical side of ad pixel tracking (Insight into their strategy)

Despite the banks investing in health tech forgetting about their own risk management, there is some good news: raises for Owlet, Zus, SpectrumAi, and OpenLoop, with PointClickCare picking up an EHR. TytoCare picks up another FDA clearance. ATA hot topic discussion on proposed post-PHE controlled substance prescribing procedures plus their Innovators Challenge winners.  But VA and Oracle Cerner can’t catch a break in the Senate either, with four deaths attributed to the EHR implementation and four major safety issues revealed by their own sprint team. Contract review due in May.

Week-end roundup: Owlet in rebuilding mode including FDA submissions, Zus Health raises $40M, Spectrum Ai’s autism therapy $20M Series A (Someone’s getting money)
VA EHR update: four deaths traced to Oracle Cerner EHR; four safety issues identified by VA EHRM Sprint Team (The Leaning Tower of Trouble’s contract is up for review in May)
Mid-week roundup: TytoCare’s Wheeze Detection clears FDA, OpenLoop telehealth’s $15M Series A, PointClickCare buys PatientPattern EHR, last info session for Health Wildcatters’ 2023 accelerator
News from ATA 2023: debate over DEA in-person prescribing requirement, winners of Telehealth Innovators Challenge, 2024 board chair announced 

Not a lot of articles, but a lot of news. A busy M&A week for a change with Transcarent, VillageMD, and WW buys. Will Theranos’ investors see a penny in restitution? All while prison dates loom for Holmes and Balwani. Plus digital switchover/TECS meetings courtesy of UKTelehealthcare, Best Buy’s move into hospital-at-home, and Color pop health/testing says bye to 300.

News roundup: Transcarent buys 98point6’s virtual care; Best Buy-Atrium hospital-at-home; Walgreens/VillageMD buys another practice group; WW-Sequence digital weight management; UKTelehealthcare events; 300 out at Color
Did Theranos collapse because of Holmes’ criminal conduct? Holmes says no–and no to investors’ claims (The restitution debate ensues–and the defendant’s accounts are empty)

A short time to spring, but a bleak week of multiple reckonings.  Comeuppances range from the failing VA EHR rollout to former high-flyers Bright Health and Cerebral flirting with failure. FTC now wields a Lizzie Borden-worthy ax on DTC online health. Past the hype, Oak Street and One Medical show their downsides. One CEO thought insider trading was OK in 2021! Yet a few hopeful daffodils push through, like Theranica, Walmart Health, and Pixel Watch’s hard fall alert.

Week’s end roundup: Theranica clears, Pixel Watch fall alert, Veradigm delays, Walmart adding 40+ clinics by 2024, Bright Health’s dim future, Ontrak founder charged with insider trading
FTC takes off the gloves: $7.8M fine for Teladoc’s BetterHelp, warns Amazon (and everyone else) on One Medical patient privacy (Call the lawyers)
More VA-Oracle Cerner fallout? Deputy secretary, EHR executive director depart agency (More setbacks and delays in store?)
More gimlety views on CVS-Oak Street Health, Amazon-One Medical acquisitions (Some needed reconsideration going on)
Mid-week roundup: another hurdle for Oracle Cerner VA delay, Walmart builds out clinic infrastructure, Cerebral round 3 layoff of 15%, Evolent Health’s 9% layoff, Quil Health age-in-place tech shuts

A Magic 8 Ball of a week. Amazon-One Medical cheered–but is FTC eyeing them for a wider antitrust suit? Teladoc’s financials continue cloudy. David wins one against Goliath with AliveCor’s ITC review win. Theranos’ Balwani and mom x 2 Holmes appeal as coming appointments with Club Fed near. UHG widens its home care footprint with LHC Group. And is a PBC model a good one for your company?

Should your healthcare organization become a public benefit corporation (PBC)? (A business model that may fit your purpose)
News roundup: UHG closes $5.4B LHC deal, Teladoc’s record $13.7B ’22 loss, Olive AI divesting UM, Cigna exec can’t join CVS, VA anti-suicide program awards, Equiva-Infiniti ACP initiative, Newel Health’s Parkinson’s device
Breaking: Amazon closes One Medical $3.9B buy, despite loose ends–and is the Antitrust Bear being poked? (A contrarian and very gimlety view)
Theranos’ Balwani seeks to remain free during appeal, argues he owes nothing in restitution (updated for Holmes appeal) (Club Fed nears for both)
Breaking: AliveCor wins presidential review on ITC Final Determination on Apple patent infringement (David v. Goliath go on to the PTAB)

Revelations and reorganizations this week. Babylon’s Parsa admits the SPAC was cracked after all. GoodRx’s whacking on ad trackers only the FTC’s first strike. Skepticism reigns about CVS’ buy of Oak Street Health–and Amazon’s One Medical. Avaya has a Chapter 11 reorg and a few more companies lay off to get by. But keeping the blue side up–companies are still getting funding, a lovely Valentine tribute to Dame Esther Rantzen–and we’ve secured a tidy discount to ATA for our Readers.

ATA 2023 Annual Conference 4-6 March–a special deal for our Readers (ATA, San Antonio, for $250 less!)
Short takes: Avaya’s Ch. 11; Aetna sells India telehealth; fundings for IncludeHealth, Senniors, Thatch, Previa, MDI; layoffs at Collective Health, Vicarious, Olive AI (Our best to Avaya and those seeking work)
A Valentine’s Day tribute to Dame Esther Rantzen (Silver Line UK’s mover & shaker)
Is CVS’ Oak Street Health deal genius? Or a waste of time and $10B? (The skeptics are out for this one)
Mid-week news roundup: Parsa admits Babylon SPAC was ‘big mistake’, FTC’s strategy on GoodRx action, Oracle signs Accenture for VA training, Constellation delays ’22 reports, Emirates Health launches Care.ai and Digital Twin

This was the week the bills came due. DTC telehealth companies now under Federal scrutiny for monetizing patient data via ad trackers. Amazon’s One Medical buy further blocked–are health practices the right move facing a $2.7B loss? Football players pay the butcher’s bill with high rates of CTE. NHS Digital’s bill is that their magic tech fails nurses in the field. And Oak Street Health, facing the red ink bill, took the $10B deal from CVS. 

Digital technology falling (even) short(er) in NHS nursing: QNI report (UK) (When you are failing the nurses in the field, you have a problem, London)
Ad tracker action heats up: Congress questions DTC telehealth companies on sensitive patient health data sent to advertisers (No such thing as free money, and the bill is coming due)
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) found in over 90% of deceased NFL player brains: BU study (We return to a past, heavily covered topic in time for Super Bowl)
CVS opens the checkbook, does the Oak Street Health deal for a generous $10.6B (Latest in CVS-Walgreens-UHG war–and DOJ waits in wings)
Amazon gets all tangled up on their $3.9B One Medical buy as FTC widens antitrust scrutiny (Will Amazon stay with it, given their losses?)

Can VA’s Oracle Cerner Millenium Be Saved in the looming Congressional Showdown? Can Congress save telehealth expansion? Can healthcare be saved from relentless cyber attacks? And can Matt Hancock be saved from his run of Bad Luck? Much more this week, plus a Must Read on Teladoc’s mishandled Livongo buy.

Week-end roundup: more House actions on telehealth benefits, VA EHR; Oracle exec moves to FDA digital health; Angle Health raises $58M; layoffs at Akili, Innovaccer, Athenahealth, Mindstrong
News roundup: GoodRx pays $1.5M to FTC on Meta Pixel use, ATA concerns on Covid PHE end, defending Livongo sale to Teladoc, Philips lays off 18K, Amazon health layoffs–and big ’22 loss, Ireland HSE digital head quits, Matt Hancock assaulted on Tube 
Killnet racks up 22 more healthcare cybervictims and data thefts; whitepaper on best defense practices (Cyberattacks are inevitable)
Pull the plug on Oracle Cerner in the VA! Two House Representatives urge return to VistA, send bill to Veterans’ Affairs committee (Back to the drawing board?)

Have a job to fill? Seeking a position? See jobs listed with our new job search partner Jooble in the right sidebar!


Read Telehealth and Telecare Aware: https://telecareaware.com/  @telecareaware

Follow our pages on LinkedIn and on Facebook

We thank our present and past advertisers and supporters: Legrand/Tynetec, Eldercare, UK Telehealthcare, NYeC, PCHAlliance, ATA, The King’s Fund, DHACA, HIMSS, Health 2.0 NYC, MedStartr, Parks Associates, and HealthIMPACT.

Reach international leaders in health tech by advertising your company or event/conference in TTA–contact Donna for more information on how we help and who we reach. 


Telehealth & Telecare Aware: covering the news on latest developments in telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, and health tech, worldwide–thoughtfully and from the view of fellow professionals

Thanks for asking for update emails. Please tell your colleagues about this news service and, if you have relevant information to share with the rest of the world, please let me know.

Donna Cusano, Editor In Chief
donna.cusano@telecareaware.com

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Week-end update: Breaking–Theranos lab director suing Hulu, Disney for defamation; ‘green shoots’ for SonderMind, Cognito, Vital, MedArrive; 3 in Asia; Telstra Australia’s new CTO

Key Theranos prosecution witness suing Disney and Hulu for misrepresentation and defamation. It’s not only the FTC but also Adam Rosendorff, MD, the former lab director for Theranos who quit in late 2014, who is fighting against misrepresentation, in this case a fictionalized portrayal of the lab director character. l’affaire Theranos was lightly fictionalized in the docudrama ‘The Dropout” that ran on Hulu in 2022. Dr. Rosendorff is suing both Hulu, its corporate parent, Disney, plus other listed producers, in a New York State Supreme Court lawsuit (link and PDF) for defamation. The summons was filed in New York County (Manhattan) Thursday.

While his name was not used, the lab director named ‘Mark Roessler’ in “The Dropout” was portrayed, according to the summons, as unethical and unfit. He was “shown as covering up Theranos’ fraudulent scheme, thereby endangering patients’ lives … and as otherwise unfit to practice medicine,” “falsely portrayed as a perjurer, a criminal, and of being completely unfit to practice his profession.” In the docudrama, Roessler orders the destruction of damaging lab results, falsifies records, and engages in dishonest behavior. The reality was that Dr. Rosendorff testified against both Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani in their trials as an invaluable prosecution witness, detailing the failures of the lab tests in his testimony and affidavits [TTA 1 Oct and 6 Oct 2021]. He quit Theranos on these issues and more after 18 months when Holmes and Balwani refused to correct them. “Both the media and defendants’ reckless disregard is sufficient evidence of the malice which a public figure must show to establish claims for defamation.”

Being a whistleblower ain’t for sissies. Being tagged as part of Theranos’ demise and years in endless legal proceedings broke him professionally and fractured him mentally, as revealed after Holmes’ conviction. It became grist for yet more defense appeals that failed [TTA 20 Oct, 26 Oct 2022]. Reuters, New York Post

A (remainder) sale, partnership, and funding roundup–a few green shoots of spring

SonderMind buys out the remains of Mindstrong. The deal is for the remainder of Mindstrong’s tech assets and about 20 related staff. Price was not disclosed. Mindstrong ceased operations as of 10 March and announced they would lay off 100+ employees including the CEO and CFO no later than 15 April according to their filed WARN notice. It raised over $160 million since 2014 including a $100 million Series C in 2020. SonderMind is also in virtual mental health, assessing potential patients, matching them with a therapist in their state, who will see the patient virtually or in-person. According to SonderMind, Mindstrong’s tech will add to personalized care journeys, clinical notes templates, and improved measurement-based services.  SonderMind has had its own series of layoffs, with a 15% cut late in 2022. The deflation of telemental health continues. Mobihealthnews, Digital Health Business & Technology

Neurotech company Cognito Therapeutics raised $73 million in a Series B. It was led by FoundersX Ventures, adding new investors Starbloom Capital, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, WS Investment Company, and IAG Capital. Total funding is now $93 million. Cognito has developed an external neuromodulation device for neurologically degenerative diseases. It uses sensory stimulation to evoke gamma oscillations, which are believed to play a part in memory operations. It is concentrating on improving cognition and memory in Alzheimer’s Disease early-to-mid-stage patients. Cognito is being investigated as part of the HOPE study for Alzheimer’s Disease.  It received FDA Breakthrough Device Designation in 2021 and has completed a Phase 2 trial. Mobihealthnews, Business Wire release

Vital, a patient experience software developer, raised $24.7 million in a Series B. The funding was led by Transformation Capital, with support from Threshold Ventures, strategic health system investors and Vital CEO/Mint.com creator Aaron Patzer. Total funding is now over $40 million. Vital provides real-time patient updates and messaging services for patients and families admitted to hospitals and EDs, as well as follow-ups such as appointments. Business Wire release

MedArrive, an in-home care provider, is partnering with Ouma Health, for maternal-fetal care of women on Medicaid coverage. MedArrive deploys a field provider network for in-home care including testing, assessments, SDOH, and extension of provider services. The technology includes a fully integrated care management platform. Ouma Health is a maternal-fetal telehealth service including behavioral health. Release

And some Asia-Pacific updates…

In Vietnam, online pharmacy Medigo received $2 million in Series A funding, led by East Ventures, with participation from Pavilion Capital and Touchstone Partners. Intellect, a telemental health startup based out of Singapore, received undisclosed funding from global healthcare provider IHH Healthcare for its regional expansion. In India, EHR startup DocPlix raised Rs 5 crore ($600,000) in a pre-series A funding round led by Eris Lifesciences. Mobihealthnews

In Australia, Telstra Health’s new CTO is Farhoud Salimi. He joins in April from eHealth NSW where he held the position of Executive Director, Service Delivery (CTO) among others in a 15-year tenure. Mr. Salimi replaces Russel Duncan, who retired at the end of last year. Telstra release, Mobihealthnews

Health data changes Down Under: My Health Record, Tim Kelsey and Telstra

Australia’s federal government is hoping for a boost to its national personal health records system, starting with a renaming of Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) to My Health Record. Proposed in the government’s $485 million budget announcement on eHealth is a resolution of implementation issues and introducing trials of participation models including designing opt-out approaches. Currently enrollment stands at a paltry 10 percent of Australians. Computer World (Australia) Hat tip to Mike Clark via Twitter

Come December, also taking the long trip there will be NHS England national director for patients and information Tim Kelsey to join Telstra Health as commercial director. Telstra is Australia’s largest telecom developing a footprint in health, and earlier this year acquired Dr Foster LLP, the UK-based health informatics company. Coincidentally (?), Mr Kelsey co-founded Dr Foster prior to 2006, when he joined the NHS to start up the information site NHS Choices. During his NHS tenure, Mr Kelsey faced numerous controversies which are detailed in the Guardian and IT news/opinion site The Register reports, mainly concerning the Care.data database for all English medical records. Concerns were raised about inadequate privacy, transparency and confidentiality provision in its design, and after a halt it has still not restarted, although 1 million people have preemptively opted out–another issue in common with My Health Record. According to the Guardian, “The scheme was recently labelled “unachievable” by a Whitehall watchdog, the Major Projects Authority, which said the future of the programme should be reassessed.” A successor to Mr Kelsey has not yet been named.

Telstra has spent $100M on telehealth

Telstra Health has splashed out $100 million buying up other telehealth companies, it was revealed at a recent conference. Bronwyn Pike, former Minister of Health in Victoria and now Community Care Lead at Telstra Health, addressing the 13th National Rural Health Conference[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Telstra-Health.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] held in Darwin from May 24th to 27th, described how Telstra Health wants to transform rural health in Australia.

“Increasing demand, rising costs and more people with chronic illness are among the challenges Australia’s health care industry is facing. Working harder can only go so far — we need to reimagine what the future could look like”, Pike wrote in her abstract.

“Helping users to do more for themselves has been a key feature of almost every other industry change of the last decade. Banking is a perfect example — where once every single interaction required your physical presence in front of a teller, now you can manage almost every aspect of your banking needs securely online.

“Health is caught in a model that is inconvenient for patients and labour intensive for health care providers. We need to tailor the model to suit the health industry and capitalise on the benefits connection can provide. Those living in rural and remote communities without regular access to all levels of care stand to benefit enormously if we can unlock the potential of ehealth”