Health Tech Reads: Week of 7/31

Here’s a few links to some of the interesting articles I’ve been reading in the health tech / insurance space in the past week, along with some random thoughts from the peanut gallery:

News:

  • Maven raised an $11 million Series A. I like their approach of being a ‘digital clinic’… a lot. Some interesting insights on use cases and where they’re headed in this article. Although the patient community direction seems like a tough / tangential nut to crack. Link.
  • Walgreens is getting some money back from Theranos apparently. The more interesting part to me is that they made an $100 million ‘innovation payment’ to Theranos (along with an equity investment). Man, I know big companies have a penchant for throwing money away in ridiculous ways, but an $100 million innovation payment? Yikes. Would love to hear the backstory on how that decision got made (I would guess a number of people who didn’t want to be the one to say no to a ‘unicorn’). Link.
  • Evidation and Sanofi are expanding a partnership to collect ‘digital biomarkers’ (that is a really fancy phrase…). Collecting data on an individual to improve the effectiveness of Rx makes so much sense though. Would love to see Sanofi publicly share outcomes data like this (and see how they react if the outcomes data is negative…). Link.
  • Apparently there is such a thing as in-person virtual visits… NewYork-Presbyterian has a service in their ER where people can show up in the ER and choose to go into a room and do a virtual visit. Goes from a 2+ hour wait to a 30 minute experience from arrival to discharge. 2,800 people have used as of June. It seems a little comical, but I’d guess the people waiting in the ER are giving positive feedback. But maybe… we should instead figure out how to avoid them showing up in the ER for something that could be treated virtually… Link.

Opinions:

  • In the population health / risk stratification arena, lots of models can do a good job risk stratifying members and predicting future high cost members. A key question that needs to be addressed that is often missing though is the impactability of a potential intervention. Link.
  • Social Determinants of Health data needs better integration into clinical workflows. Yep. This is true of basically all patient generated data, too. Would love to see patient reported outcomes better integrated into workflows. Link.
  • Oscar published a blog post on their telemedicine component — they had 42,000 telemedicine visits in the last year. Given their membership is at ~90,000, I’m assuming they’re averaging 1.5+ visits per member who uses the telemedicine service. Would be curious to know the cost / utilization data on that population. This is one of the reasons why the Cleveland Clinic partnership doesn’t make a ton of sense to me — not sure how they’ll integrate approaches (both clinically and technologically). Link.
  • A bunch of different telehealth platforms describe why they’re different from other telehealth platforms. Link.

Data:

  • FIT testing is an alternative to colonoscopy screenings that can potentially reduce overall cost of care significantly (at a cost of $25 vs $800 — $3,000, it’s a big difference…). Particularly in low income populations, this can help significantly increase colorectal screening rates, as it did in this FQHC in Chicago. Link.
  • Results from a RWJF funded study on caregivers. A really well done study that highlights the complexities that caregivers have, and how unique every situation is. And the use of sensors / data collection methods are really interesting. One of the things that has always struck me from doing some similar research is how simply calling people ‘caregivers’ loses a lot of them… most don’t view themselves as caregivers, just fulfilling family obligations. Link.
  • Over the past few days I’ve felt like I hear about ‘digital therapeutics’ less these days and more and more of the startups a few years back that were working on these models have shifted towards collaborative care type platforms. Google Trends suggests interest hasn’t declined though, but stayed relatively flat.
Searches for ‘Digital Therapeutics’ over last 10 years. From Google Trends.

General:

  • This is a sweet resource of startup pitch decks from successful startups — AirBnb, etc. Link.