digital health

House Calls are Making a Comeback


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.

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


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.

Digital Therapeutics’ Promising Start


Pear Therapeutics, a Boston-based digital therapeutic company, rang in the New Year with $64mm in Series C funding from Temasek, Novartis, 5AM Ventures, Arboretum Ventures, and more. This announcement came shortly after reSET-O, their prescription digital therapeutic designed to treat opioid use disorder, became the first software-only digital therapeutic cleared by the FDA. Pear will continue to develop digital therapeutics for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Schizophrenia with Novartis. With their recent funding, the “software based disease treatments” company hopes to globalize their reSET products and further fund their other clinical-stage developments.

Pear Therapeutics is not the only digital therapeutic company benefiting from the heightened interest in software as clinical treatment. Last week, Click Therapeutics announced a partnership with Ostuka America to create a new digital therapeutic for major depressive disorder (MDD). The Japanese Pharmaceutical company intends to invest $300mm into the initiative with the goal of delivering evidence-based cognitive therapies to a broader population of patients with MDD.

This wave of investment in digital therapeutics by pharmaceutical companies shows no signs of slowing and indicates a promising future for software-based treatments to become mainstream medicine.