Digital Health’s Next Target: The Projected $225B Senior Care Market & More News

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The RWJF Live Pitch Competition at the Health 2.0 Conference

The finalists of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Home & Community Based Care and Social Determinants of Health Challenges will be announced on Monday, August 26th! Three finalists from each challenge will compete in an exciting Live Pitch on September 16th, from 2:30-4:30pm, at this year’s Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, CA.They will demo their technology in front of a captivated audience of health care professionals, investors, provider organizations, and members of the media. The first place winners will be featured on the Conference Main Stage, September 17th at 3:15pm. Winners will be awarded $40,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place.

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Digital Health’s Next Target: The Projected $225B Senior Care Market

As seniors become an increasing portion of the United States’ population, their need for new care solutions grows. The Population Reference Bureau expects the senior population to double from 46 million in 2016 to a staggering 98 million by 2060. This threatens the sustainability of federally funded programs like Medicaid and Medicare, that support a majority of the health services for older adults in the United States. One of the biggest challenges that the senior population faces is an increasing shortage of home health aides and assisted living facilities. Digital health innovators have already begun developing solutions that increase the efficiency and personalization of senior care, such as voice-activated software, personalized health monitoring through a wearable or cellular device, and apps that allow seniors to easily access health care providers and physicians near them. With the AARP reporting that 21% of seniors will require additional care for chronic illness by 2050, there is a lucrative market for elder care that digital health innovators are urged to tap into.

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The Cloud’s Impact on Health Care Providers

Physicians’ use of of cloud technology has seen an increase due to its capacity to maximize efficiency for activities such as medical research and data entry. Cloud technology provides physicians with the necessary support to streamline work through guided-decision making and supports interoperability between other systems, as well as physician networks. However, cloud technology and the consumer-facing apps it supports may be the cause of dissonance for some health care professionals. With care moving towards a 24/7 model, physicians are finding it difficult to discern when to “clock-out,” as well as where and when to set limits to the care they offer. Additionally, the influx of sophisticated tools may pressure new medical professionals to incorporate unneeded technology into their practice. To mitigate the frustrations that cloud technology may bring for physicians, Deloitte’s Chief Digital Officer for Health Care proposes a balanced model where physicians utilize cloud technology in areas of work that need to be streamlined, and bypass it in areas that are already optimized.

Biological Virus Detection with Your Smartphone & More News

Biological Virus Detection with Your Smartphone

Global estimates for deaths from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses have increased, making flu prevention an important priority. In an effort to combat viruses like the flu, Yoshihiro Minagawa, a researcher from Tokyo, has created a tool that detects viruses with a smartphone. The device is about the size of a brick and smaller than conventional options. It detects viruses more quickly than a fluorescence microscope and is estimated to be 100 times as sensitive as a rapid flu test kit. To use the device, a smartphone is placed in a space at the top of the scanner so that it’s camera faces a small lens. Users download an app that allows them to visualize the viruses present in a sample.

Minagawa’s goal was to create a tool that can be used in inaccessible and impoverished communities to combat diseases like the flu globally. This virus scanner is one of many smartphone diagnostic tools that utilizes advanced cameras, motion sensors, facial recognition, natural language algorithms and/or artificial intelligence. The development of diagnostic tools for smartphones has the potential to improve access to care and health worldwide.

Smart Wearables are Key Disruptors in Health Care

Once regarded as simple calorie and step trackers for the fitness-conscious, wearables have transcended the sports category and are being used by clinical researchers. Smart wearables’ potential for advancing health outcomes has been explored by giants like Apple. In 2017’s Apple Heart Study, Apple Watches were utilized to collect and track heart health data, highlighting the role wearables are beginning to play in personalized health monitoring. Other players offering wearables for health tracking include Fossil, whose next smartwatch will use neural network technology to detect various heart conditions and Google Fit, who is diversifying its wearable technology by updating its software to integrate sleep tracking.

According to data provided by Circle Square's June 2019 Digital Trends Report, smart wearables have significant implications for the future of remote patient monitoring in the field of digital health. As health care moves towards a value-based system, with an emphasis on patient-centered care, smart wearables are becoming an efficient monitoring tool to deliver more precise care. 

Making Health History More Accessible

An unfortunate product of the siloed health systems in the U.S. is that it is difficult for patients to attain their health information. To tackle this issue, representatives from Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, health insurers, and hospitals met in Washington D.C. to announce plans to provide consumers with easier access to their medical information. They will begin testing a set of technical specifications for sharing claims data, which are medical bills sent to a patient’s health insurance company. A broad overview of patients' health is often difficult to access because information is held within a specific hospital or clinic where they received care. Claims data offers this overview, irrespective of where they were treated.

In recent years, the government has pushed for claims information to be made available to Medicare beneficiaries. However, it is not routinely shared with individuals who receive their health insurance through their employer or a commercial payer. Apple, Google and Microsoft have developed tools that make it easier for consumers to access their health information, but they have had mixed success. For example, Apple requires each individual hospital or clinic to register with its service, which limits the information available. The new specifications for sharing claims data will benefit health data service providers and ultimately, may disrupt health care silos. Increased accessibility to health information can help patients track their medical bills, choose health plans, and tackle fraud.

Pinterest Launches Emotional Wellness Activities & More News...

Pinterest Launches Emotional Wellness Activities

Social media is a part of everyday life and many platforms hope to provide tools for their users health and wellbeing. For example, Facebook created a feature to encourage blood drive donations and incorporated AI for suicide prevention. Now, Pinterest is partnering with Brainstorm, the Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, Vibrant Emotional Health and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, to introduce wellness activities for users searching for emotional health and related topics. Users can complete activities such as deep-breathing and self compassion exercises when they feel anxious, sad or stressed.

However, the new feature has prompted concern around user privacy. Pinterest has stated the usage of wellness activities is stored anonymously with an undisclosed third-party service. They have also assured that recommendations and ads will not be based on their use. Pinterest's new feature adoption is indicative of social medias' ability to create unique partnerships with healthcare organizations and health tech companies to reach millions of users, especially those who need it most. 

Philips Acquires Medumo

Successful digital health companies are the blueprint for newly-founded startups and particular attention is given to effective exit strategies that they utilize. There has recently been a spur in IPOs but mergers and acquisitions continue to be the most popular exit avenue. Following this trend, Philips acquired Medumo, a small Boston-based startup enhancing tracking and triaging of patients. Medumo helps patients prepare for appointments through texts, emails, phone calls and paper mailings.

Phillips is committed to global health. In June, it led a funding round for Babyscripts and announced plans to package Babyscripts’ platforms alongside its other obstetrics-focused products. In March, Phillips acquired health information system Carestream Health and it acquired VitalHealth for its cloud-based population health management technology in 2017. Non-healthcare stakeholders entering the digital health sector to buy innovations is commonplace. This has been a successful exit strategy for many companies and a trend that continues to bolster the health tech ecosystem.

Announcing The RWJF SDoH & Home and Community Based Care Innovation Challenge Semi-Finalists!

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Health disparities domestically and globally can often be attributed to social determinants of health (SDoH). According to Healthy People 2020, SDoH are conditions and resources in the environments in which “people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.” Examples of these include: resources to meet daily needs (e.g. access to and quality of housing and food markets), educational opportunities, employment opportunities, and transportation. Despite well-established literature on the importance of SDoH, these factors are often overlooked and excluded in health care frameworks. 

Concurrently, health services provided in traditional settings such as hospitals and clinics can be expensive and inaccessible. There are a large number of communities, from rural areas to major cities, that are in need of high-quality care. Innovative technologies can mitigate these challenges. Home and community-based care models coupled with digital tools provide the opportunity to serve patients where they feel most comfortable in a cost-effective manner. 

In an effort to spur creativity in the SDoH tech environment and improve the landscape of home based care, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Catalyst partnered to launch two Innovation Challenges on Social Determinants of Health and Home and Community Based Care

For the SDoH Challenge, innovators were asked to develop novel digital solutions that can help providers and/or patients connect to health services related to SDoH. Over 110 applications were submitted to the SDoH Challenge. For the Home and Community Based Care Challenge, applicants were asked to create technologies that support the advancement of at-home or community-based health care. Nearly 100 applications for Home and Community Based Care Challenge were received. 

After the submission period ended, an expert panel comprised of subject matter experts, venture capitalists, as well as designers evaluated the entries. Five semi-finalists from each challenge have been selected to advance to the next round:

Social Determinants of Health Semi-Finalists

  • Community Resource Network - The Social Determinants of Health Client Profile, a part of the Community Resource Network, creates a whole-person picture across physical, behavioral, and social domains to expedite help for those most at risk, fill in the gaps in care, and optimize well-being.

  • Open City Labs - A company that matches patients with community services and government benefits that address SDoH seamlessly. The platform will integrate with HIEs to automate referral, eligibility screening & benefits enrollment.

  • Project Well - A company that personalizes food and social dining interventions to address food insecurity, social isolation, and strained household budgets for health plan members with chronic disease.

  • Smart Community Health - A team from the University of Minnesota with a full service community resource recommendation system that uses PRISM mobile app technology integrated with MyStrengths+MyHealth to provide personalized community resources.

  • Social Impact AI Lab New York - A consortium of nonprofit social services agencies and technology providers with artificial intelligence solutions to address social disconnection in child welfare.

Home & Community Based Care Semi-Finalists

  • CareTree - A centralized place to manage loved one's care with the entire care team.

  • Epharmix - A company that scales remote patient monitoring for 24 conditions using accessible SMS & IVR to collect real-time patient health data. Provider alerts enable proactive care for patients worsening.

  • Heal - Heal doctor house calls paired with Heal Hub remote patient monitoring and telemedicine offer a complete connected care solution for patients with chronic conditions.

  • Ooney - PrehabPal, a home-based web-app for older adults, delivers individualized prehabilitation to accelerate postoperative functional recovery and return to independence after surgery.

  • WizeView - A company that uses artificial intelligence to automate and organize information collected during home visits, supporting the management of medically complex populations at the lowest cost per encounter.

The semi-finalists for the Challenges will be awarded $5,000 each to further develop their application or tool. After a second application round, three finalists from each Challenge will be chosen to compete at a live pitch event during the Health 2.0 Conference (September 16th-18th). They will demo their technology in front of a captivated audience of health care professionals, investors, provider organizations, and members of the media. Judges will select the first, second, and third place winners live after a series of short demos from the finalists. The winners will be awarded $40,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place.
For further updates on the semi-finalists of the RWJF SDoH and Home and Community Based Care Innovation Challenge and other programs, subscribe to the Catalyst @ Health 2.0 Newsletter, and follow on Twitter @catalyst_h20 .

Apple Health Records Now Available to All US Providers & More News...

Apple Health Records now available to all US providers with compatible EHRs

Apple is championing consumer empowerment by providing convenient access to health information and products. The company has recently begun carrying One Drop’s glucose monitoring system in stores. It also announced period tracking, activity trends, and hearing protection as core features of its upcoming WatchOS 6. Now, Apple is broadening access to its Health Records feature by allowing health care organizations with compatible electronic health records (EHRs) to self-register. Patients at registered systems or clinics can download their health records to their phone after providing credentials on their existing patient portals. 

Apple Health Records was previously only available to partner providers and organizations, by allowing provider self-registry, millions more will be able to enjoy the feature. Ease in availability of health information doesn’t just empower patients, but also doctors. When a doctor sees patients for whom they are not the primary care provider, Apple Health Records allows them to view their current medications and other information. Remarkably, Apple is not only empowering patients but also bridging siloed health information systems. 

New York City-based Phreesia is the latest digital health startup set to go public

New York City-based healthcare software company, Phreesia, has joined the growing list of digital health firms planning to go public by filing for a $125M IPO. Phreesia developed a patient intake management platform that provider organizations can use to improve care-tasks like patient check-ins. With 15 years of success, a broad client base of 1,600 health firms, and a currently growing revenue, Phreesia could be poised for a successful IPO. The company has several compatriots gearing up to go public in 2019: Change Healthcare, Ancestry.com, Health Catalyst, and Livongo. This could be signaling a maturing digital health market after a three-year lull in IPO activity. 

Aside from Livongo, which was founded in 2014, all the health tech companies currently going public have been around for over a decade. The average age of tech companies that went public was 12 years old in 2018. Many companies are hindered from going public due to an early stage market and a lack of evidence-based outcomes that prove they are worth an investment. This current cohort of IPOs will indicate the level of investor interest in the digital health space and shape future IPOs. 

Announcing the GuideWell Matchmaking Summit

 GuideWell Innovation, in collaboration with Catalyst @ Health 2.0, is thrilled to announce the opening of applications for the GuideWell Matchmaking Summit - a new corporate/investor matchmaking event hosted at the GuideWell Innovation Center in Orlando, FL on August 29-30, 2019.

This exciting opportunity connects established healthcare organizations and investors with growing health technology companies. Through professionally curated meetings, the event is designed to encourage synergistic relationships while promoting the testing, commercialization, financing and adoption of innovative digital health tools. Meetings are arranged based on participating organizations’ needs and areas of expertise, allowing for the cultivation of diverse partnership opportunities between digital health innovators, healthcare corporations, and investors that support the growing digital health ecosystem. 

The GuideWell Matchmaking Summit is a 2-day event that will be held at the GuideWell Innovation Center in Orlando, FL. The first day of the Summit will be a corporate matchmaking opportunity for invited scale up health technology companies to meet with healthcare organizations that are qualified customer prospects. participants will have a series of meetings that are arranged based on “matched” areas of focus. Innovators will have the opportunity to demo their technology, detail their value proposition, and discuss business avenues with potential partners. Concurrently, healthcare leaders can identify up-and-coming digital health products to utilize at their organizations.

The second day of the Summit will be an investor showcase/matchmaking event for invited health technology scale ups to connect with a national network of venture capitalists. Scale up health technology companies will be competitively selected to attend the Summit based on customer/investor fit with attending corporations and investors.  

Key Benefits for Participants

Corporations

●      Concise meetings with vetted innovators to maximize time efficiency

●      Source pilot ready solutions that fit your needs

●      Identify investment opportunities

●      Opportunity to discuss goals and potentially form partnerships

 Innovators

●      Impactful meetings with key healthcare stakeholders

●      Chance to pitch your product and receive valuable feedback

●      Opportunity to build commercial partnerships with established leaders

●      Network with a variety of health tech innovators and prominent professionals

Investors

●      Pre-vetted portfolio of scale up health tech companies with proven traction

●      Ability to conduct short introductory meetings in an optimized format

●      Opportunity to network with peer health tech investors from across the U.S.

●      Chance to connect with network of healthcare corporate executives

How it Works

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Please join us on August 29-30, 2019 to be part of this exciting opportunity! The deadline for applications is Monday, July 22, 2019 at 11:59pm ET. Event details and online applications are available at https://guidewellinnovation.com/matchmaking-summit/.

Cisco, American Well Developing Telehealth For Seniors & More News…

Cisco, American Well Developing Telehealth-Enabled TV for Seniors

The future of telehealth could be through your TV. American Well is partnering with Cisco Systems to deliver care through home television sets, enabling them to reach patients who may not be comfortable using tablets or other devices. The companies hope the technology can shift part of aging patients’ care from doctor offices and hospitals to their homes.

With the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services expanding reimbursement for telehealth services and 52% of older adults being open to receiving care through telehealth, the launch of a new senior-focused virtual care platform is timely. American Well and Cisco are not the only ones developing digital home-health solutions targeting seniors. Best Buy has acquired GreatCall, a provider of connected health and personal emergency response services for older adults. Comcast is also developing an in-home remote monitoring device for seniors and people with disabilities.

Pfizer working with Finnish tech startup to improve patient adherence

There is a dire need for an effective digital health solution since only about 50% of patients who have long-term illnesses adhere to their treatment. Pfizer has begun collaborating with a Finnish digital health startup, Popit, to improve medication adherence and treatment outcomes for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Popit’s solution will monitor select patients' pill-taking with a smart device and alerts users via an app if they forget to take their medication. Initially, it will be implemented among 1,000 patients in Finland, Sweden and Norway, with possible expansion to other Central European countries afterward. 

With expansion on the horizon, companies like Pilloxa, a Swedish digital health startup that utilizes a smart pillbox and app to improve adherence, can expect strong competition. Popit launched in 2017 with $1.4M seed financing and began by performing studies with patients using birth control. They are also running a pilot for type-2 diabetes patients. Popit’s CEO, Teemu Piirainen, hopes to tap into the global market and posits their current arrangement with Pfizer will be a catalyst to helping a large number of patients worldwide.

SAP.iO is seeking seed to Series A innovators for business development

SAP.IO is the early stage venture arm of SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software. The SAP.iO Foundries offer founder-friendly,no-equity-asked programs providing access to SAP APIs, SAP technologies, and exposure to SAP customers. SAP.iO is seeking a diverse group of exceptional seed to Series A founders driving innovation in health for their NY Fall Cohort. Selected teams will be immersed in a 3-month highly curated, in-residence program working along-side world-class executives and mentors with a focus on the unique challenges of B2B companies: Go-to-Market, Enterprise Sales, Growth Marketing, Funding, Pricing, Product Management. Apply here.

Health 2.0 VentureConnect Announces Grand Prize Package Valued at $12k

Applications are open for the VentureConnect Pitch Competition at the 2019 Health 2.0 Annual Conference on September 16-18, 2019 in Santa Clara, CA. The Health 2.0 VentureConnect Pitch competition brings together vetted seed through raising Series A-ready companies to compete for the title of Most Fundable Startup. Two winners will be crowned Startup Champion and awarded a monetary prize package valued at $12,000. This is an opportunity for startups and entrepreneurs to get valuable exposure and make connections with health tech’s biggest and most active investors. 

Learn more about Health 2.0 VentureConnect Startup Pitch Competition here, applications close July 8, 2019. 

Attending the Health 2.0 Annual Conference? Save $200 when you register with discount code: Catalyst200

Same-day Medication Delivery Platform Medly Closes Series A Round

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Healthcare consumerism is on the rise and individuals now expect convenience in each step of their care experience. Digital pharmacies like Medly are taking advantage of this shift. The New York City-based startup provides same-day delivery of prescription medications. Providers can send prescriptions to the Medly platform then patients book a time for home-delivery. Founded in 2017, the company is headquartered in Brooklyn and serves customers in the greater New York and New Jersey area. Medly recently announced a new Series A funding round led by Greycroft for an undisclosed amount. Following the footsteps of their competitor, Capsule, the startup plans to use the infusion of funds to expand its services throughout the US. Medly believes that through humanizing their service and free same-day delivery, they will be differentiated from their competitors.

FDA Clears Single-use Nerve Stimulation Pain Relief for Adolescents with IBS

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With the US in the midst of the opioid epidemic, healthcare stakeholders are leveraging technology to create alternative sources of pain relief. Recently, the FDA granted De Novo clearance for a prescription nerve stimulation device called IB-Stim. Developed by Innovative Health Solutions, the device is a single-use electrical nerve stimulator that reduces functional abdominal pain for adolescents and teens with irritable bowel syndrome. It is placed behind the patient’s ear and emits a low-frequency pulse that stimulates cranial nerves to provide pain relief. This isn’t the first time the FDA has provided marketing authorization for a digital health tool to target the opioid crisis and pain management. In recent years, the FDA cleared the NSS-2 BRIDGE, a device used to reduce symptoms of opioid withdrawal and the Electro Auricular Device for use in acupuncture. Neurological medical devices offer the possibility of safer alternatives to pain management. 

House Calls are Making a Comeback

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Although house calls evoke flashbacks to the 1900s, startups like DispatchHealth and Heal are making a case for them in this tech-enabled world. Both startups reimagine traditional house calls with mobile technology that allow patients to request on-demand care. In this care delivery model, the clinician arrives at the patient’s home within two hours and focuses on common health concerns like the flu, UTIs, stomach viruses, respiratory conditions, etc. The dispatched clinician then shares detailed notes to the patient’s primary care provider to ensure care is coordinated and no information is lost. 

In 2018, Heal raised $27M in Series A funding and has steadily expanded its service area and partnerships. While Heal continues to build on their company, DispatchHealth announced this month they have gained $33M in growth capital financing. DispatchHealth also added Kaiser Permanente (Colorado) to their list of health insurers, which includes Medicaid, Medicare, Cigna, Aetna, and more. The new investment will allow DispatchHealth to extend its service area coverage and develop new partnerships. With the ever growing consumer demand for healthcare at home, we can expect startups like Heal and DispatchHealth and house calls to become more prominent.

Role of Innovation in Addressing Social Determinants of Health

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Nearly a decade has passed since Healthy People 2020 positioned social determinants of health (SDoH) at the forefront of healthcare reform. As defined by the report, SDoH are the “conditions in the environment in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age, that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality of life outcomes.” Examples of social determinants include:

  • Resources to meet daily needs (e.g., safe housing and local food markets)

  • Educational, economic, and job opportunities

  • Community-based resources in support of community living and opportunities for recreational and leisure-time activities

  • Transportation

The ability to influence social determinants largely falls outside of the health care system’s reach. Therefore, a key to address opportunities for health involves collaboration between health care and different industries such as education, housing, and transportation. Both the public and private sectors have made significant efforts to bridge the gap between physical, mental, and social care by experimenting with non-traditional partnerships.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has spearheaded multiple programs with government agencies and community partners to achieve the goals outlined in Healthy People 2020. One of the most notable successes is the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, an initiative by the CDC with the Department of Housing & Urban Development and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Through housing rehabilitation, enforcement of housing and health codes, and partnerships with healthcare experts, the program helped Healthy People 2020 exceed their target of reducing blood lead level in children.

Other programs such as the “National Program to Eliminate Diabetes Related Disparities in Vulnerable Populations,” leveraged community partners and resources to increase food security, health literacy, and physical spaces for active living. In one of their projects, the program partnered with community health workers (promotoras) who spoke Spanish to engage with Hispanic/Latino communities where participation to Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) was low. The community health workers provided linguistically and culturally-sensitive materials that effectively increased participation in DSME among the targeted population. The outcomes from such initiatives have inspired more health and community organizations to work together to reduce health disparities.

Private health insurers have also joined the movement to influence SDoH as the shift towards value-based care incentivizes them to keep their beneficiaries healthy beyond clinical settings. Kaiser Permanente, which prides itself on helping their beneficiaries achieve total health, will launch their social care network Thrive Local to connect healthcare and social services providers. Thrive Local will be powered by Unite Us, a startup that helps providers refer social services, track outcomes, and collaborate care with community partners. Meanwhile, Blue Cross Blue Shield has invested nearly $40M into Solera Health to integrate social determinants data and resources into healthcare. Solera Health will use the funding to build out a network of digital health and social services providers and reimagine how health plans will pay social service providers. Both insurers are hopeful that the partnerships will promote better health outcomes and create a new care delivery model that effectively address social needs.  

Developers and innovators are encouraged to create technology that can support the integration of SDoH collaborations into healthcare. Those who are interested in this space and have a digital solution should apply to the “Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Social Determinants of Health Innovation Challenge,” which seeks novel technology that helps providers and/or patients connect to health services related to SDoH.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Digital tools that pull data from non-profit services to assist health systems in serving diverse patient populations on an ongoing basis

  • Apps for consumers that provide health information based on their community/location

  • Technology that harnesses governmental or open source data to create insights for healthcare providers to evaluate SDoH data and improve population health

In this multi-phase challenge, innovators are asked to submit tech-enabled solutions that account for SDoH. Subject matter experts will evaluate the entries and select the top five teams who will move onto Phase II. The five semi-finalists will be awarded $5,000 each to further develop their application or tool. Then, three finalists will be chosen at the end of Phase II to compete at a live pitch event! They will demo their technology in front of a captivated audience of investors, provider organizations, and members of the media at a prominent health conference. Judges will select the first, second, and third place winners live. Winners will be awarded $40,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place.

The challenge is open to innovators and companies at any stage of development. If you are interested in applying, the competition is now accepting Phase I applications and the deadline to submit is June 7th, 2019 11:59 PM EDT.

To learn more about the challenge, please visit the website. To sign up for updates on the challenge, please click here.

New GuideWell Innovation Scale Up Accelerator Program

GuideWell Innovation, in collaboration with Springboard Enterprises, is hosting an exciting new 10-week Scale Up Accelerator program for women-founded health tech companies (or those with at least one female key executive) located in the Southeastern US (FL, GA, AL, MS, LA, NC, SC, KY, TN). Because both women-led startups and the South East are lagging in access and closure of venture capital, this unique cohort is dedicated to accelerating the growth and financing of companies within these demographics.

The program will run from Jun 26th – Aug 30th and includes a kickoff boot camp (June 26th – 28th) at the GuideWell Innovation Center in Orlando, FL. Most of the program will be conducted virtually other than the 3-day kickoff boot camp and a innovator/investor matchmaking showcase at the end of August. During weeks 2-9, the cohort companies will be matched with various advisors and are expected to connect with advisors every week. In addition, each week will incorporate a virtual 2-hour workshop/collaboration session led by subject matter experts on key challenge topics faced by most early-stage health tech companies.

Required criteria for the cohort:

  • Company must be a health, wellness or medical device technology company that addresses critical gaps in providing affordable, accessible health care or holistic health/wellness solutions for diverse populations and communities in the United States

  • Life sciences companies are NOT eligible for this cohort

  • Women founders or key executives must own a minimum of 25% of the company’s equity

  • The company must be headquartered and have a minimum of 50% of its staff located in the Southeastern US (FL, GA, AL, MS, LA, NC, SC, TN, KY)

  • Can show proof of “Scale Up” traction through revenues, capital raised, customer acquisition, and product development (see below)

  • Addressing a huge market opportunity in the U.S. healthcare, holistic health or wellness industry

Scale Up traction:

Eligible companies must meet GuideWell’s minimum “Scale Up” requirements. A Scale Up company is a growing technology startup with verifiable traction in its chosen marketplace. Traction may be different based on the company’s chosen market, but is typically demonstrated by one or more of the following:

  • A minimum of $500,000 in revenues

  • A minimum of $500,000 in seed capital raised

  • Patents in place for unique digital innovation or medical devices

  • FDA approval process underway for products requiring FDA approval

  • Verifiable (reference required) customer pilots

  • Accelerating product adoption (especially for consumer-focused solutions)

GuideWell is partnering with Springboard Enterprises, a nationally recognized accelerator for women-led, high growth, scalable businesses. Since launching its first program in 2000, Springboard has worked with 735 women who have raised $8.5B in capital and drove companies to 17 IPOs and 185 M&A exits. They bring forward a deep, highly experienced mentor network to help support this cohort and provide incredible industry expertise.

Act quickly! The deadline to apply is Friday May 31st 2019. Program details and the online application portal are available at: https://guidewellinnovation.com/guidewell-scale-up-accelerator/.

Healthcare is Coming Home

In an AARP survey of 2000 adults, 6 out of 10 respondents indicated they prefer to stay in their home and community for as long as possible. This desire increases with age; more than 75% of adults over 50 would rather remain in a familiar environment where they have strong connections to friends, neighbors, and businesses. However, for the elderly and people with chronic illness or disabilities, remaining at home can be difficult. These populations require services that are often provided at long term care facilities (e.g. nursing homes) and/or formal medical settings-- which can be costly, inconvenient, and inefficient. 

Individuals of all ages across the health spectrum have also expressed interest in receiving health services in the home or community as a means to access higher quality and convenient care. With consumer demand for patient-centered care, the U.S. healthcare system has steadily steered away from institutional services in favor of home and community-based services (HCBS). Since 2013, Medicaid expenditures for HCBS has continued to exceed spending for institutional services. HCBS now accounts for 55% of Medicaid Long Term Care spending.

As the largest payor for healthcare in the United States, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is often the first to experiment and adopt new care delivery models. With Medicaid’s perceived benefits with HCBS, the CMS has also changed what is covered under Medicare Advantage (MA) to accommodate for the transition towards home and community based care. In 2018, CMS added “non-medical in-home care” as a supplemental benefit for 2019 MA plans. This year, CMS continued to broaden the range of supplemental benefits for MA 2020 to cover any benefits “that have a reasonable expectation of improving or maintaining the health or overall function” of beneficiaries with chronic conditions or illnesses.

In one short, powerful clause, CMS opens the gateway to address previously neglected factors such as the home, social environment, transportation, and more. of chronically ill patients. As listed in the announcement, items and services that are covered may include but are not limited to:

●     Meals furnished to the enrollee beyond a limited basis

●     Transportation for non-medical needs

●     Pest control

●     Indoor air quality equipment and services

●     Other benefits to address social needs

Health insurers and providers, especially home and community based care providers, are eager to take advantage of this addition. However, they need new ways to include such services in their care delivery. Unconventional care models, as well as novel technologies to support care delivery outside of medical institutions are essential. Therefore, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), in partnership with Catalyst @ Health 2.0, has launched the “Home & Community-Based Care Challenge,” to encourage developers to create solutions that support the advancement of at-home or community based health care. Examples include but are not limited to:  

●     coaching app to engage consumers with their healthcare

●     non-intrusive sensors for at home monitory of acute disease patients

●     apps to support caretakers with burnout

In this multi-phase challenge, innovators are asked to submit tech-enabled solutions addressing home and community based care. Subject matter experts will evaluate the entries and select the top five teams who will move onto Phase II. The five semi-finalists will be awarded $5,000 each to further develop their application or tool. Then, three finalists will be chosen at the end of Phase II to compete at a live pitch event! They will demo their technology in front of a captivated audience of investors, provider organizations, and members of the media at a prominent health conference. Judges will select the first, second, and third place winners live. Winners will be awarded $40,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place.

The challenge is open to innovators and companies at any stage of development. If you are interested in applying, the competition is now accepting Phase I applications and the deadline to submit is June 7th, 2019 11:59 PM EDT.

To learn more about the challenge, please visit the website. To sign up for updates on the challenge, please click here.

Empowering People with Impaired Speech through AI

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The ability to communicate and be understood is a privilege that is often taken for granted. For those who suffer from neurological conditions such as ALS, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and Parkinson’s disease, impaired speech limits how they can express needs and engage with those around them. However, with the advancement of voice-enabled tech and artificial intelligence, Google AI seeks to empower those with speech impairments by improving a computer’s ability to understand diverse speech patterns.

Project Euphonia, part of the AI for Social Good program, uses specialized software to turn recorded voice samples into a spectrogram, or a visual representation of the sound. Common transcribed spectrograms are used to "train" the system to better recognize less common types of speech patterns. Those with severe disability or nonverbal individuals also benefit from this project given that Google’s personalized AI algorithms are simultaneously working to detect facial movements and gestures. Euphonia can then take actions such as generating spoken commands to Google Home or sending text messages. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to support people with impaired speech and empower them to communicate freely and effectively. 

Oscar Health Partners with Cardiogram to Bring Health Detection Technology to Members

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Health care insurers are increasingly using wearables to engage and monitor the health and wellness of their members. For example, Aetna’s Attain and UnitedHealthcare’s Motion programs incentivizes beneficiaries to perform tasks designed to improve their health. Oscar Health’s new partnership with smartwatch app maker Cardiogram takes a different approach by improving access to care for those at risk of developing chronic conditions. Oscar Health is able to more effectively manage the health of its members through early disease detection by leveraging Cardiogram’s clinically proven artificial intelligence technology.  

Oscar beneficiaires will be able to download and use Cardiogram Care on their smartwatch for free. After uploading the necessary insurance information, each user will be monitored for signs of diabetes and atrial fibrillation. If symptoms are detected, users will need to take further tests to confirm the diagnosis. If a previously undiagnosed condition is confirmed, the app will be able to refer the user to in-network physicians. As wearables slowly become more prevalent, having a clinical workflow leveraging smart devices can have dramatic implications on how we access care in the future.

Lyft Expanding Discount Grocery Rides to Multiple Cities Across US and Canada

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Millions of Americans across the country do not have adequate access to healthy foods. For example, those living in low income neighbourhoods, communities of color, and rural areas often do not have a nearby supermarket stocked with nutritious, affordable, and high quality foods. In an effort to remove such transportation barriers, Lyft will be expanding its Grocery Access Program to more than a dozen cities in the US and Canada over the next year. The ride-share platform will be partnering with local organizations and nonprofits to provide low-income families in food deserts with discounted rides to the grocery store.

The expansion of the program helps Lyft maintain a competitive edge over its rival Uber in healthcare. Lyft’s Concierge service, which gives hospital administrators the ability to book NEMT for patients, came out two years ahead of Uber’s similar service, UberHealth. Now Lyft has once again gained a first mover advantage by being the first to roll out a grocery service. With payers seeking to mitigate costs associated with poor nutrition, we can see Lyft forging crucial partnerships and leveraging its platform to treat the growing health inequity in the US.

Announcing: New RWJF Innovation Challenges

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Health starts with where we live, learn, work, and play. In our shared commitment to building a culture of health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Catalyst @ Health 2.0 are proud to launch the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) and the Home & Community Based Care Innovation Challenges. We are seeking novel technologies that address conditions in communities and bring quality care to where people live. 

We invite you to join our fight to improve access to health resources and the chance to win your share of $100,000 in prizes! Finalists also have the opportunity to pitch their solutions live on stage at a prominent health tech conference.

For the SDoH Challenge, we are looking for digital solutions that help patients and/or providers connect to services related to Social Determinants of Health. Examples include but are not limited to: digital tools that help health systems serve diverse populations, apps for consumers that provide health information based on their community/location, or tools to improve health quality indoors. To learn more about the Social Determinants of Health Innovation Challenge, click here. To pre-register and receive the latest updates, click here

For the Home & Community Based Care Challenge, we would like to see creative technologies that support the advancement of at-home or community-based health care. Examples include but are not limited to: coaching app to engage consumers with their healthcare, non-intrusive sensors for at home monitory of acute disease patients, or apps to support caretakers with burnout. To learn more about the Home & Community-Based Care Challenge, click here. To pre-register receive the latest updates, click here

Applications open April 29th. All submissions are due June 7th, 2019 11:59PM EDT.

The SDoH Innovation and Home & Community Based Care Challenges are brought to you by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and powered by Catalyst @ Health 2.0.

Digital Physical Therapy Startup SWORD Health at the Forefront of Home-Based Care

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The rapid digitization of healthcare is enabling the advancement of technology solutions aimed at providing quality home-based care for patients. One notable example is the Portuguese startup SWORD Health. The company provides patients suffering from musculoskeletal disorders with a digital physical therapy solution. Each patient is given a wearable motion tracking device, an AI-powered digital therapist, and a clinical portal where caregivers can track their progress. The company published two studies in the Journal of Medical Internet Research and Nature Scientific Reports last month, showing its digital therapy platform is more effective than standard rehabilitation at helping patients recover from total knee arthroplasty. 

SWORD Health recently announced it successfully raised $8M in Series A funding, indicating continued investor interest in their AI-powered platform. The funding round was led by Khosla Ventures with additional participation from several unnamed angel investors. It plans to use the investment for further clinical validation, improving product engineering, and expanding its footprint in North America. Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla states SWORD Health’s “end-to-end technical approach enables exponentially more efficient delivery of care to patients and payers.” By providing accessible and effective care to patients at home, SWORD Health’s digital platform may be a huge disruptor of the physical therapy landscape.

Israel’s $276M Investment in Preventive and Personalized Medicine

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Israel is a center for healthcare innovation, with 500 digital health startups and a world-class healthcare system. Researchers are leveraging the country’s interoperable EHRs for analysis. They can easily obtain data since EHR systems at different hospitals throughout the country are able to talk to one another.

According to Siman-Tov, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Health, de-identified patient data is enabling researchers to “generate insights and identify patterns that can later be implemented in decision support systems.” For example researchers from Clalit, the largest healthcare system in the country, have used medical records to identify patient populations with adrenal failure at risk of further degradation. In addition to furthering preventative medicine at a population-level, researchers plan to leverage the data in support of advancements in personalized medicine. Last year, Israel’s government approved a $276M investment in digital health in hopes of commercializing their medical databanks. Having already attracted the interest of many stakeholders, Israel continues to solidify its position as a leader in digital health innovation.

Digital Health Company Livongo Set to IPO

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Digital health startups raised $8.1B from investors in 2018. However, with the exception of Roche’s $2B purchase of Flatiron Health and Amazon’s $1B acquisition of PillPack, there has been a lack of significant exits within the digital health landscape. In the past, many IPOs came from companies with business models familiar to Wall Street. For example, Veeva Health and AthenaHealth have a business model focused on selling cloud-based software while Fitbit focuses on selling devices. 

Unlike in previous years, digital health companies planning to IPO have business models that emphasize combining technology and services. Livongo is a provider of chronic disease management services bundled with a blood glucose meter. It has hired Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and J.P. Morgan Chase to manage their IPO. According to Marc Albanese, senior director of research at CB Insights, “there hasn’t been a true digital health IPO,” putting a bit of pressure on Livongo. Undoubtedly, Livongo’s IPO performance will set the tone for how similar companies are received by Wall Street.