BOSTON – The American Medical Association has launched a Digital Health Implementation Playbook for providers, a guide to the most efficient path for applying digital health solutions, including key steps, best practices and resources to accelerate and achieve digital health adoption. “Implementing digital health technology has been a challenge for those without a clear course to success,” said Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, chair-elect of the American Medical Association, in a statement. “The AMA is committed to making technology an asset, not a burden, and the Playbook provides the medical community with widespread access to a proven path for implementing digitally enabled health and care.” The Playbook is designed for care teams and administrators in medical practices of all sizes and areas of specialty, and will be updated to include new content over time. As it evolves, the Playbook will provide a 12-step process to guide the implementation of a variety of digital health solutions. Currently, the Playbook provides resources for the implementation of remote patient monitoring using devices, trackers and sensors to capture and record patient generated health data outside of the traditional clinical environment.
SAN DIEGO and BOSTON – Hifinite, which designs, develops and deploys customized digital health platforms, has launched its hiCare 3.0 telehealth and remote monitoring platform in partnership with Indie Health, which will supply its blood pressure monitor and weight scales as part of the hiCare 3.0 solution. “hiCare 3.0 represents an even more user-friendly platform for telehealth and integrates our patented approach to deliver H.O.P.E.—highly optimized patient engagement—via digital health,” said Matt Weisensee, chief commercial officer at Hifinite, in a statement. “We are delighted to partner with Indie Health, which shares our objective to simplify patient engagement.” Indie Health’s AutoPair function enables its personal health devices to be paired remotely by experts, eliminating the need for patients or clinicians to manage device set up and facilitating easy patient onboarding for digital health programs. “Indie Health is focused on solving the challenges of integrating digital health into clinician workflow and the daily lives of patients, and we’re pleased to be working together with Hifinite to realize this vision,” said Clint McClellan, founder and CEO of Indie Health, in a statement. “By enabling Indie devices to be paired to an app remotely, AutoPair removes a significant barrier to physician and patient adoption, and enables rapid scale-up of digital health programs, with no delays or hassles.” hiCare 3.0 is an integrated telehealth “Module as a Service” solution built to ease patient/payer use and offers instant access to a comprehensive digital ecosystem and technology stack via standalone or integrated modules.
BALTIMORE – Digital therapeutic company Welldoc has appointed Daniel Garrett to its board of directors. Garrett was formerly a partner at PricewaterhouseCooper. “While I’ve seen many digital health companies come and go during my years with PwC, Welldoc has remained steadfast and vigilant in its pursuit of developing innovative technologies that are clinically proven to transform the lives of patients living with chronic diseases,” said Garrett in a statement. Welldoc provides digital therapeutics for people with chronic diseases.
SAN FRANCISCO – The Carlyle Group has invested up to $350 million in One Medical’s 1Life Healthcare. One Medical is a member-based provider of primary care and digital health to employees of mid-to-large sized companies, and the funding will allow the company to grow its offices and members throughout the U.S. over the next few years, said Amir Dan Rubin, CEO of One Medical, in a statement. “Through our incredible clinical team, technology platform, and inviting and accessible medical offices, we simplify the complex world of care for members every day,” he said. “Our latest plans are to bring this unique One Medical experience to more consumers and companies across the country and add fuel to our aggressive growth plans.” Rubin said the investment will allow One Medical to extend service to more consumers and employers, support the launch of additional offices in existing and new geographies, expand provider and clinical support teams and further advance technology platform innovation. “The primary care system in the United States is broken and One Medical is the brand poised to help fix it,” said Ram Jagannath, managing director at The Carlyle Group, in a statement. “We have partnered with One Medical because of their proven innovative model and track record, outstanding providers and leadership team and significant business momentum. One Medical pioneered the concept of a more modern primary care experience, and it has an incredibly exciting roadmap over the next several years.”
PHILADELPHIA — Elsevier, an information analytics company that specializes in science and health, received multiple awards recently from the Digital Health Awards. The awards recognize high-quality digital health resources for consumers and health professionals. “This award confirms that Elsevier’s patient education content is a leading source of trusted consumer health information in the healthcare industry,” said Julibeth Lauren, vice president and editor-in-chief for Patient Engagement, part of Elsevier’s Clinical Solutions. “Recognition of our video education highlights our commitment to improving patient understanding and participation in their care.” Elsevier received two gold, three silver and one bronze award, in addition to a merit award. The Digital Health Awards program is organized by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC), a clearinghouse for professionals who work in consumer health fields.
‘Digital health is a relatively new, not always well-understood concept’
CHICAGO – Lisa Schmitz Mazur and Bernadette Broccolo, attorneys at McDermott Will & Emery, serve as editors of the new book, “The Law of Digital Health,” which helps digital health leaders and advisors navigate current and evolving laws, regulations and policy, and enforcement developments in the industry.
Mazur recently discussed the things digital health leaders need to know to keep up with rapidly changing legal and regulatory issues.
HHTN:What was the impetus for the new book?
MAZUR:We found that people are familiar with the individual pieces of the digital health ecosystem, but digital health is a relatively new and not always well-understood concept. Our goal was to put together a book that would give business leaders and legal professionals a tool to explain the digital health legal and regulatory landscape, help them understand how this landscape will evolve as digital health solutions change and illustrate how the different digital health solutions play within the broader health care space—both now and in the future.
HHTN:What do digital health leaders and advisors need to know about the rapidly changing digital health care space?
MAZUR:With so many players in the digital health space, including providers, technology developers, IT companies and others, there are a host of legal and regulatory challenges that may come into play. This has created a perfect storm that is driven by outdated, ambiguous and internally inconsistent legal and regulatory frameworks and associated standards as well as increasing scrutiny and enforcement by state and regulatory agencies including, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and others.
So, whether they are a seasoned health industry stakeholder or a newcomer on the scene, a forward-thinking and comprehensive legal and regulatory compliance strategy will be crucial for harnessing the full potential of the digital health ecosystem. But each of the players must also consider the legal and regulatory requirements of the others. After all, they are playing together in the same sandbox, so they must come together in order to develop meaningful and effective digital health solutions—because no one organization can do it alone.
HHTN:What are some of the most important ways technology is impacting the delivery of home health care?
MAZUR:Telehealth is one of the biggest ways because it is the only option that’s focused on health care delivery. No longer an uncommon option for patients, telehealth has evolved to become an important tool for health professionals and has increasingly become the standard of care for home health care delivery. Because telehealth allows providers to virtually engage patients directly in their own homes, it helps make a trip to the doctor feel less episodic, encourages more efficient and effective interactions and helps strengthen the physician/patient relationship. Through telehealth patients have the ability to look beyond their communities for treatment and choose the health care professional that best fits their needs and has the best qualifications and experience for their condition. This may also have the added benefit of helping them identify more cost effective health care services.
We’re also seeing how consumer wellness tools—like wellness trackers or smart watches—are morphing into patient engagement tools that track biometrics or medical conditions and share them with providers.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Consumer Technology Association has named Rene Quashie as its first-ever vice president of policy and regulatory affairs of digital health. Quashie will provide guidance on key technical and regulatory issues relating to consumer digital health and wellness technology products, services, software and apps. “Innovations in health tech help consumers lead healthier lives, care for their loved ones and better connect with their doctors,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, an advocacy group for technological innovation, in a statement. “Rene’s expertise will build on our already successful work in this sector and help CTA be an even stronger advocate for digital health innovators.” Quashie will also work on behalf of CTA’s Health and Fitness Technology Division, which supports the consumer health technology industry through education, research, standards work, policy initiatives and more. CTA works closely with the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of the National Coordinator and other related government agencies. Quashie comes to CTA from the law firm of Cozen O’Connor, where he focused on telehealth and mobile health regulatory issues.
AUSTIN, Texas – Global venture capital funding for digital health companies reached a record $4.9 billion in the first half of 2018, according to a recent report by Mercom Capital Group, a global communications and research firm.
The report found that VC funding for digital health companies was 22% higher year-over-year with 383 deals. During the same time period last year, funding reached $4 billion with 359 deals.
The unprecedented growth is not expected to slow down, according to Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group.
“We expect the record to continue and break 2017’s record of $7.2 billion in total VC funding,” he said.
Digital health companies have now received $30.6 billion with 3,833 deals since 2010, according to data tracked by Mercom.
The report found that the top funded areas in the first half of 2018 were: data analytics ($911 million); telemedicine ($701 million); clinical decision support ($582 million); mHealth apps ($535 million); wearables ($308 million); mobile wireless ($272 million); and wellness ($201 million).
The top VC deals in the first half 2018 were: $291 million raised by American Well; $240 million raised by Heartflow; $200 million raised by Helix; $200 million raised by SomaLogic; $146 million raised by PointClickCare; $110 million raised by Collective Health; $105 million raised by Livongo Health; $100 million raised by DXY; and $80 million raised by Tempus.
Prabhu said developments like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ proposal for Medicare to pay for telehealth and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of artificial intelligence-based apps show the space is maturing and getting the attention it deserves from regulators, with others following suit.
“Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Apple and others are also making serious inroads into the digital health space, making the sector more mainstream and validating the sector and investments,” he said.
SEATTLE – Brook, a chronic disease digital health platform provider, and New York health plan Independent Health are partnering to provide enhanced resources to help its members self-manage their care. In addition to collaboration on technology and delivery of new services, Independent Health is participating in a recent round of financing to help Brook complete a seed round of $4 million. “Today, technology can help personalize treatment using a process that can be customized and flexible,” said Oren Nissim, co-founder and CEO of Brook, in a statement. “Our partnership with Independent Health is groundbreaking for individuals seeking to manage their chronic diabetes condition, and it is equally exciting for medical and health care professionals.” Dr. Michael Cropp, president of Independent Health, will also join Brook’s board of directors. Brook is developing a personal health assistant technology that provides simple, impactful, data-driven support with medical and health services professional coaching to help individuals manage diabetes and other chronic conditions. Using mobile sensors, Brook tracks and interprets data like activity and sleep, and runs a routine analysis engine that captures diabetes and behavior data. Brook than combines and connects the use of a chatbot with a human expert team, providing patients with continuous support for their successful diabetes management.
NEW YORK – For people to get the full benefits of digital health, providers and health plans must prioritize trust and responsibility, according to a recent report by Accenture.
“The real power of these technologies is the way they fit into the lives of humans, as well as social organizations and society in general,” said Dr. Kaveh Safavi, senior managing director and head of global health practice at Accenture, during a recent Digital Health Today podcast.
Health care leaders have great potential to apply emerging technologies to create deeper, more meaningful relationships with people, but there are choices to be made on that journey, Accenture wrote in the Digital Health Tech Vision 2018 report.
“How will we apply technology, govern it and ensure it does no harm? Now more than ever, these choices must be made with great caution and care,” the report says.
Five trends underscore the importance of building a foundation of trust as technology has a greater impact on our lives, according to the report:
- Citizen AI, the advance of artificial intelligence to benefit providers, plans and patients;
- Extended Reality, a combination of virtual and augmented realities to provide a bridge that connects people, places and information;
- Data Veracity, a philosophy that recognizes artificial intelligence is only as good as the data used to train it;
- Frictionless Business, the exploration of microservices and blockchain technologies to help health care organizations make technology-based partnerships work; and
- Internet of Thinking, the overhaul of the technical infrastructures of health care systems.
“Consumers have expectations that health care will be on their own terms because that’s how they experience the rest of the world,” said Safavi. “The health care system we will have in the future can only be possible by combining the digital technologies available now with traditional care models.”