US health insurers see profits soar; Missouri votes for Medicare expansion; Trump expands telehealth
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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 physician 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 July, 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.
CareCentrix, a provider of home-based and post-acute care services, acquired Turn-Key Health, a community-based palliative care company serving health plans, hospitals and physicians. No financial terms were disclosed.
Founded in 1996, CareCentrix manages care for 26 million members through over 8,000 provider locations. Through advanced analytics, the company helps determine the appropriate site for post-acute care, and provides support and coordination for patients and their families throughout care transitions, including to and from Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) and through Home Health, Home DME, Home Infusion, and Home Sleep services.
Going forward, Turn-Key’s Palliative Illness Management (PIM) program, which leverages data analytics and artificial intelligence to deliver personalized palliative care plans, will be fully integrated into CareCentrix’s platform.
“Health plans and patients are looking for home-based palliative care that honors the hard choices that patients and families need to make as well as gives them the opportunity to remain at home,” CareCentrix CEO John Driscoll said in a statement. “The acquisition of Turn-Key is the next step in CareCentrix’s commitment to provide more home-based services for all patients as delivering care at home becomes the new norm.”
According to a 2019 New England Journal of Medicine survey, 60 percent of patients who would benefit from palliative care services do not receive them. Unmanaged care for patients with advanced illnesses can lead to twice the number of unnecessary hospital readmissions compared to patients who receive palliative care.
A 2019 peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine highlights TurnKey’s community based palliative care program that successfully reduced the total cost of care by 20 percent and decreased ICU admissions and hospital admissions by 38 percent and 33 percent, respectively. The Company’s proprietary end-to-end PIM solution identified high-risk members for over-medicalization and supported providers in delivering a highly personalized palliative care plan.
“We share a mission with CareCentrix to care for the whole person, not just to treat the illness. That’s particularly important for people with a serious illness to ensure that care is aligned with their goals, values and preferences,” says Greer Myers, President at Turn-Key Health. “Together with CareCentrix we can bring a personalized and scalable approach to palliative care to more people.”
The acquisition follows a successful partnership with Turn-Key over the last year, and now CareCentrix will integrate the PIM solution into its overall suite of products, enabling CareCentrix to identify patients who could benefit from palliative care and those at risk of overmedicalization and provide them with community-based resources. CareCentrix will also be able to enhance communication and improve care coordination across all involved stakeholders, including the patient’s health plan, provider, and care team ultimately to drive down medical costs associated with palliative care.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP acted as legal advisor to CareCentrix. Evercore Inc. acted as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to Turn-Key Health.
Formlabs, a 3D printing company, received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to print bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) adapters designed by Northwell Health. This makes Formlabs is the first 3D printing manufacturer to receive an EUA.
The company is now shipping these adapters to hospital systems throughout the U.S. to combat the shortage of ventilators and provide life-saving treatment to COVID-19 patients. The 3D printed adapters convert BiPAP machines, typically used for patients suffering from sleep apnea, into functional invasive mechanical ventilators.
Formlabs will produce small, plastic T-shape adapters which convert the BiPAP machines. The plan is to allocate 150 3D printers at its headquarters towards printing these adapters, allowing the company to eventually print up to 3,000 parts per day.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA had only authorized a handful of EUAs over a 30 year period,” Max Lobovsky, CEO and co-founder of Formlabs, said in a statement. “Formlabs’ EUA for BiPAP adapters signifies the need for these components and 3D printings' unique ability to fill that need. 3D printing enables rapid iteration and prototyping of new, innovative medical equipment, while expediting the production process, shortening supply chains, and allowing for localized manufacturing. Hospitals around the country can also use Formlabs’ printers to create these adapters locally under their own practice of medicine, meaning printing the adapters at scale in the hardest-hit areas is as easy as uploading a design and pressing print.”
Formlabs has raised $103.7 million in venture funding from investors that include NEA, Pitango Venture Capital and DFJ Growth.
At-home health testing platform LetsGetChecked raised $71 million in its Series C round of financing co-led by Illumina Ventures and HLM Venture Partners, with new investors including Deerfield, CommonFund Capital, and Angeles Investments. Existing investors Transformation Capital, Optum Ventures, and Qiming Venture Partners USA also participated in this round. This brings its total funding to $113 million.
Along with the funding, Nick Naclerio, Founding Partner at Illumina Ventures and Steven Tolle, Partner at HLM Venture Partners, have joined as the Board at LetsGetChecked.
Founded in 2015, LetsGetChecked's tests currently include wellness testing and chronic condition testing, such as diabetes, cholesterol, and thyroid testing; cancer screening, sexual health testing, fertility testing, and pharmacogenomic testing. Once a test is purchased, users collect samples at home and send it back to LetsGetChecked's facility at no additional cost. Results are available online within a few days.
LetsGetChecked has also developed a "twin-track" Coronavirus test which includes a rapid (antibody) serology test for results within 15 minutes, followed by a PCR-based test which requires a swab sample to be collected from a patient and later processed within the LetsGetChecked high complexity CLIA lab.
The company will use this round of funding to increase manufacturing, supply and testing capacity for COVID-19, as well as scale-up activity at its CLIA certified high complexity laboratory in California. It will allow the company to expand supply and business operations and support personnel across the United States and Europe and to deepen its partnerships with leading insurers and employers.
"We have been developing our platform for more than five years and have helped hundreds of thousands of individuals by enabling access to high-quality testing and telehealth services in the home, across many health conditions. With the onset of COVID-19, we realigned resources with a view to helping with this global pandemic and are currently delivering tens of thousands of tests per day to critical and frontline healthcare workers," LetsGetChecked founder and CEO Peter Foley said in a statement
PEAR Sports, a provider or smart digital coaching technology, acquired Performance Lab, an AI fitness coaching platform. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed. Going forward, members of Performance Lab will join the PEAR Sports Team, and the company will maintain offices in New Zealand, housing the Performance and Sports Science Platform.
Founded in 2010, the PEAR Health & Fitness Platform allow enterprises to build and deliver digital fitness and wellness programming. Its solution combines mobile and wearable technology with human-coach guidance, paired with music to optimize the training effect. Content ranges from running to spinning, strength, flexibility and more. It also has the PEAR Pro, which provides human touch tele-coaching so that trainers can customize individual and group workouts with smart guidance for proper sequencing, training load, and recovery balance.
Performance Lab, which was founded in 2003, analyzes and interprets performance data for thousands of athletes of all levels with ARDA, its patented AI-driven exercise recommendations engine.
Performance Lab’s science will now be informing PEAR’s Training Intelligence, analyzing and interpreting biometric performance data and contextual information to create workouts that balance training to optimize results. Post-activity recommendations will be delivered to reach personal goals and affect behavior change. Finally, the new performance data will be used by the AI fitness engine to update the individual’s training, therapy or health plan. Along the way, human-touch coaching, in-person or via tele-coaching, is also being supported.
“The mission at PEAR Sports is to leverage increasingly pervasive activity data from wearables, interpret it, and apply it in ways that can impact the effectiveness of digital coaching and even human touch coaching. Adding Performance Lab’s science and AI algorithms to PEAR’s real-time coaching technology means we will be able to offer the only truly intelligent, custom, adaptive training solution on the market. We are thrilled to welcome the experienced team at Performance Lab to PEAR and to work together to create a powerful player in the digital health and fitness arena," Bob Allison, Founder of PEAR Sports, said in a statement.
(Image source: cloudinary.com)
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