Philips doubles down on healthcare; Apple wearables dominate; Nationwide invests in care

Steven Loeb · January 31, 2020 · Short URL:

In-home devices weekly - Week of Jan 31, 2020

In a strange way, healthcare seems to be reverting back to a style that had gone out of fashion many years ago, with an increased amount of health taking place in the home. There are now around 12 million people who are now getting in-home care, from more than 33,000 providers, and last year the annual expenditures for home health care were projected to be over $72 billion.

This is thanks, in large part, to technology and, more specifically, to connected in-home devices that can easily collect and send data to a physicians in real-time. This allows patients to be monitored remotely, without constant trips to the doctor, and for physicians to do more timely interventions based on patterns picked up by AI and machine learning.

In June, Vator, HP and UCSF Health Hub will be holding an event centered around these devices, and how they are affecting the healthtech space. Every week until then we will be doing a roundup of some of the news around in-home devices and what some of the major tech companies are up to in this space.


Philips doubles down on healthtech

Philips announced that it was officially starting the process to sell its domestic appliances division, which includes kitchen appliances, coffee, garment care and home care appliances, such as vacuum cleaners and air purifiers. This move comes as the company looks to go deeper into becoming a healthcare technology company.

“We have significantly improved the performance of the Domestic Appliances business over the years, which has made a very important contribution to Philips, however this business is not a strategic fit for our future as a health technology leader,” Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips, said in a statement.

“We are committed to finding a good home for this business to continue to thrive and grow over time, as we expand and invest in our consumer health and professional healthcare related businesses.”

This move toward being a healthcare company has been in the cards for a while; Philips even changed its name from Philips Electronics to Royal Philips in 2013 in order to reflect the change in its business.

"We believe having Royal Philips as our new company name will position us well in our endeavor to make the world healthier and more sustainable," van Houten said at the time.

In the announcement, Philips revealed that its appliances division is worth €2.3 billion, or $2.5 billion U.S. dollars, while its personal health businesses are worth €3.5 billion, or $3.8 billion USD. Philips expects the process for creating a separate legal structure to sell the appliances division will be completed in the next 12 to 18 months.


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Wearables become Apple's fastest growing market segment

In its earnings report, Apple beat revenue expectations, seeing a 9 percent year-to-year jump to $91.8 billion. $10 billion of that came from its “Wearables, Home and Accessories” category, which includes devices like AirPods and Apple Watch, beating out sales of Macs for the first time, which brought in $7.1 billion.

The category saw 37 percent year-to-year growth, including two quarters where it grew over 50 percent. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company saw record Apple Watch sales during the fourth quarter of 2019.

“With each Apple product that a customer buys, I think they get tighter into the ecosystem that’s the reason that they’re buying into it is they like the experience, the customer experience, and so from that point of view I think each of our products can drive another product,” Cook told CNBC.

“I would think in that case it’s more likely that the iPhone comes first but there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s some people that came into the ecosystem with the Watch.”

Related image Nationwide invests in in-home care

Insurance company Nationwide made two moves into the in-home care space, first by investing in Vesta Healthcare, a clinical services organization that connects caregiver insights to the rest of the care team.

The company identifies the need for additional resources in the home and provides 24/7 telehealth support for caregivers and care recipients, with a focus on senior populations. Vesta partners with home care agencies, health plans and providers.

Nationwide also partnered with KINETIC, makers of a smart wearable device and software platform designed to reduce workplace injuries.

The device helps workers move with better body mechanics by providing real-time feedback in the form of a vibration to the wearer, reinforcing safer body mechanics every time a risky motion occurs. An accompanying dashboard helps managers understand where their next injury might happen, by showing increases in risk by department, time of day or job type.

The company says these two announcements are part of its commitment to invest more than $100 million of venture capital in customer-centric solutions.

"Caregivers have a huge impact on a person's ability to live comfortably in retirement. We are thrilled to support Vesta in connecting home caregivers to the clinical environment to create a meaningful impact on people's daily health," Erik Ross, head of Nationwide's venture capital team, said in a statement. "We see our investment as embodying Nationwide's mission of protecting people, businesses and futures with extraordinary care."

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Brightree buys SnapWorx

Brightree, which is owned by ResMed, bought SnapWorx, a provider of solutions for home medical equipment companies. 

SnapWorx focuses on patient engagement and automation of workflow for collecting the supporting documentation required for dispensing and billing of CPAP supplies. Brightree works with out-of-hospital care organizations, providing solutions and services for thousands of organizations in home medical equipment and pharmacy, home health, hospice, orthotic and prosthetic, home infusion, and rehabilitation home care. 

The acquisition will allow Brightree to expand its CPAP resupply offerings. The company plans to combine its technology and live-call services with SnapWorx's software platform, to create what it calls "the largest CPAP resupply patient base in the industry with the most comprehensive set of solutions for multi-channel patient engagement and workflow automation."

“By adding SnapWorx’s capabilities to our industry-leading resupply program, we’re helping more HMEs keep patients on comfortable, effective CPAP therapy long term, and efficiently optimizing their own resupply business,” Matt Mellott, President and CEO at Brightree., said in a statement.

As per the deal, SnapWorx and its roughly 40 full-time employees will join Brightree. SnapWorx President Emmet Seibels will continue to serve as the leader of SnapWorx.

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