TTA’s Second of 2022: Health tech VC funding and performance roundup/forecast, JPM ’22 announcement roundup, Stryker-Vocera buy, Theranos sentencing delayed till Sept, more



Weekly Alert

The post-holiday quiet hasn’t quite dissipated, even with JPM 2022 and the hyped earnings/acquisition announcements. Medtech giants Stryker and Baxter consolidate with big connected care. VC funding for health tech continues strong, but performance–not so much. And the Theranos denouement puts off sentencing after the Balwani trial, with time set aside for appeal.

The Theranos Trials, ch. 1: Holmes sentencing to be 26 September, three mistrial charges dropped, appeal dates set (Holmes’ future set for next few months)
Short takes: rounding up revenue and acquisition action during JPM (Teladoc’s continued unprofitable revenue growth, acquisition and funding action by Transcarent, Medically Home, Talkspace, more)
US/EU 2021 healthcare VC funding soared 65%, but health tech performance slumped 28%–and 2022 surprises (No more high, wide, and handsome for health tech)Connected care keeps expanding: Stryker acquiring Vocera Communications for $3B, Baxter’s close of Hillrom sale for $12.5B (And to think they both started in hospital furniture)

The new year enters with another bang–Elizabeth Holmes is found guilty on four investor fraud counts. Some carryover M&A with Babylon picking up their option on Higi and Vera buying into health data Castlight. Will telehealth and digital health funding continue to accelerate, or pull back for some needed reflection?

What’s next for telehealth in the (almost) aftermath–and rating the US states on policies (Maybe it’s time to look at other growth opportunities)
Short takes: 2022’s big kickoff with Babylon-Higi, Vera-Castlight buys; will funding slow down in ’22, eye-tracking telehealth for MS, vital signs tracking lightbulbs at CES 2022, and three catchups! (Did you bid a spare few billion for Watson Health?)
The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes, ch. 17: looking inside the juror decision process (Hardly ’12 Angry Men’, just jurors doing a hard job)
Breaking–The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes, ch. 16: guilty on four charges of 11 (Not the end of the legal story, but perhaps the end of the beginning)

2021 exits with a bang, between Omicron (Moronic?) and the blockbuster Oracle buy of Cerner. What will need to be resolved? Winter is the Season of Concern about the remotely located older and disabled, whose digital phones will go out when the power does, often with no backup of cell service. 

Further insights on and thoughts about the Oracle acquisition of Cerner (Much to be resolved with Cerner’s healthcare clients as Oracle buys in, their way)
Does the digital telecom switchover threaten the lives of the most remote old and disabled? (UK, updated) (Winter brings the bad combination of distance, isolation, bad weather, and technology that doesn’t compensate. And it’s the same in the US and EU.)
(Breaking) Sold! Cerner to Oracle for $28.3 billion. And is Epic next? (A curious press release, and Judy Feinberg, what now?)

The Theranos trial winds up after 14 weeks with prosecution and defense summaries–the jury will deliberate starting Monday. Oracle may be buying Cerner in a $30 billion deal. And in payer news, UHG has to delay Change closing, Centene’s CEO is retired in big shakeup, and Amazon finally brings healthcare under one leader.

News roundup: UnitedHealth Group pushes off Change closing again, Amazon’s new healthcare head, Centene’s shakeup of CEO, board, holdings
Theranos, The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes closes, ch. 15: she believed! in the technology!
Oracle in negotiations to buy Cerner for $30B 
Theranos, The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes closes, ch. 14: was it fraud over business failure–or building a company, not a criminal enterprise?

Holmes, and her defense, rests, but not after Blaming Balwani and not remembering a great deal, including all those Theranos investors. As activity winds down at year’s end, we turn to the UK scene: government funding of social care tech, investigating design bias in medical device use, and Vinehealth’s £4.1M in its seed round. In the US, one specialty EHR buys another specialty EHR software developer in further consolidation.

Short takes: £150 million for UK social care tech out of £1 billion, bias by design in medical device use investigated, Netsmart buys Remarkable Health, Vinehealth seed rounds £4.1 million (Mostly UK updates here, but why no $ mentioned by Netsmart?)
Theranos, The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes, ch. 13: a crescendo of ‘I don’t knows’ and ‘I don’t remembers’…and the defense rests! (updated) (The health tech Trial of the Century begins to wind up in time for Christmas)

Holmes testifies about her Boss Lady Life At Theranos, staying on strategy with deflection, blaming others, and a soupçon of diminished capacity. Athenahealth sold to new investors, VA reorganizes to restart their Cerner implementation, CVS and Microsoft do another deal. A POV on patient engagement. And disappointingly, Owlet’s baby monitor sock runs afoul of the FDA.

Owlet sock pulled from US distribution after FDA warning letter (Owww! A setback for a high flyer)
News and deal roundup: Best Buy’s $400M for Current, VA’s Cerner restart 2022, CVS-Microsoft product deal, and Athenahealth (finally) sold for $17B (Deals may be winding down, but they’re still rich)
Theranos, The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes, ch. 12: all bucks stop with the CEO (updated) (It’s beginning to feel like Twinkie Defense Variations)
Perspectives: How enhanced digital communications can improve patient engagement (Avaya’s insight on designing your communications)
Theranos, The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes, ch. 11: Holmes’ widening gyre of diffusion of blame–and abuse (A lurid Svengali story that woke up the jury)
Theranos, The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes, ch. 10: Holmes testifies about the salad days of Theranos, setting up cognitive dissonance (When in doubt, deflect from the forgery with idealism)

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Connected care keeps expanding: Stryker acquiring Vocera Communications for $3B, Baxter’s close of Hillrom sale for $12.5B

Medical device companies that have grown into or acquired tech and analytics are now buying into communications systems to connect it all. Massive medical/surgical/orthopedic device company Stryker is acquiring clinical communications/coordination workflow systems Vocera Communications for a snappy $2.97 billion. The deal is for $79.25 per share and is expected to close in this quarter. Vocera is expected to expand Stryker’s Advanced Digital Healthcare and connect devices and digital communications both for clinical caregivers and with families. Vocera is considered to be an innovator in communications systems that connect clinical and operational systems, and is presently in 2,300 medical facilities internationally. No management transitions were disclosed. Release.

Hillrom, another device company mainly in cardiac and hospital monitoring which last year had broadened its remote patient monitoring and connected care portfolio, was in turn acquired by medtech giant Baxter International last month. Hillrom had acquired Bardy Diagnostics and EarlySense about a year ago [TTA 4 Feb 21], and in 2019 Voalte Communications, directly competitive with Vocera. In 2015, Hillrom bought Welch Allyn which boosted it into digital health from primarily hospital furniture. The purchase price closed at $10.5 billion and including Hillrom’s outstanding debt obligations, the acquisition in total was $12.5 billion. From Baxter’s release, the “legacy” Hillrom and Welch Allyn brands will be introduced into international markets and integrated into Baxter’s technologies. The lack of mention of Hillrom, the ‘legacy’ references, and no mention of Hillrom management transitions in the release, is a sure sign that the brand will be sunsetted very quickly, along with its management team. Medtech Dive. Also a snappy tip o’ the cap to HISTalk.

#HIMSS17 roundup: machine learning, Proteus, Soon-Shiong/NantWorks’ cancer vax, Uniphy Health, more

HIMSS17 is over for another year, but there is plenty of related reading left for anyone who is not still recovering from sensory overload. There wasn’t big news made, other than Speaker John Boehner trying to have it both ways about what the House needs to do about replacing the failing ACA a/k/a Obamacare. Here’s our serving:

  • If you are interested in the diffusion of workflow technologies into healthcare, including machine learning and AI, there’s a long-form three-part series in Healthcare IT News that this Editor noted has suddenly become a little difficult to find–but we did. The articles also helpfully list vendors that list certain areas of expertise in their exhibitor keywords.
  • Mobihealthnews produced a two-page wrap up that links to various MHN articles where applicable. Of interest:
    • a wound measurement app that Intermountain Healthcare developed with Johns Hopkins spinoff Tissue Analytics
    • Children’s Health of Dallas Texas is using the Proteus Health ingestible med sensor with a group of teenaged organ post-transplant patients to improve med compliance
    • the Medisafe med management app has a new feature that alerts users to drug, food and alcohol interactions with their regimen, which is to this writer’s knowledge the first-ever med app to do this
    • Info security spending is rising, according to the Thales Data Threat Report. This year, 81 percent of U.S. healthcare organizations and 76 percent of global healthcare organizations will increase information security spending.
  • Healthcare and sports mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong presented on NantHealth‘s progress on a cancer vaccine that became a significant part of the former VP Joe Biden’s initiative, Cancer Breakthroughs 2020. Dr Soon-Shiong stated that the FDA has given approval to advance the vaccine into later clinical trials, and also unveiled Nant AI, an augmented intelligence platform to high-speed process genome activity of cancer tumors and the Nant Cloud, a cloud server which can generate bioinformatic data at 26 seconds per patient. This is in addition to the NantHealth GPS Cancer diagnostic tool used to isolate new mutations in a given tumor. HealthcareITNews MedCityNews takes a dimmer view, noting two recent cancer vaccine failures. Dimmer still is Stat’s takedown of Dr Soon-Shiong, which reportedly was the talk of HIMSS.
  • Leading up to HIMSS, Newark’s own Uniphy Health announced UH4, the latest generation of its enterprise-wide communications and clinical collaboration platform for hospitals and clinics to facilitate the ‘real-time health system’. Release

Not enough? DestinationHIMSS, produced by Healthcare IT News/HIMSS Media, has its usual potpourri of official reporting here.