Weekly Health Tech Reads | 7/31/22

Earnings season starts up, a partnership between Caption & Heartbeat, MA data, & more

This week's newsletter is sponsored by Pearl Health.

Pearl Health’s physician enablement platform gives primary care providers (PCPs) data-driven transparency into which patients’ are most likely to need care. With intelligent recommendations on the next suggested action, Pearl’s software supports PCPs and their staff with clinical insights that enable proactive care for patients and the tools to succeed in value-based risk arrangements, starting with Medicare’s ACO REACH model.

Read about Pearl Health’s most recent product release for its physician enablement platform. Link

News:

  • Earnings season is getting into full gear, and we highlighted for HTN members a few of the most interesting strategic takeaways from Centene, Humana and Teladoc: Link (HTN paywalled) 

    • Centene’s desire for a local strategy but need for enterprise execution 

    • Humana reorg and continued prioritization of primary care growth 

    • Teladoc’s struggles amidst a quickly changing macro environment

  • Two cardiology startups, Caption Health and Heartbeat Health, formed a partnership to sell to MA plans as a bundled payment model. It looks like they'll go in-home with an MA patient population, capture clinical diagnoses on patients using Caption’s ultrasound tech, and then provide telehealth services via Heartbeat Health’s clinicians for a bundled payment. It’s an interesting partnership for both in that it has a pretty clearly defined revenue model that’s a bit of a departure from their existing business - in particular Caption, which appears to be no longer just the AI algorithm, but rather selling a service to perform the ultrasound. Seems like a good example of how, despite the excitement about AI / software platforms in healthcare, most businesses in healthcare end up as a tech-enabled service.  Link / Slack

  • There’s an interesting new Advanced Primary Care Initiative out of California, where five payors (Aetna, Blue Shield of California, HealthNet, Oscar, and United Healthcare) and one “provider” (Aledade, which is more provider enablement than provider) have agreed to sign an MOU to collectively strengthen the primary care system in California. In typical healthcare partnership fashion, it doesn’t look like anyone is actually committing to anything here other than having their logos on a page together, but it does include some cool concepts if they ever happened to materialize - i.e. reporting on primary care spend and how much is in alternative payment models. It seems indicative of the current state of the California market when it’s the payors and Aledade who are signing this, without a single local provider organization involved. Payors are continuing to push back against market power of health systems by encouraging more primary care spending. Link

  • 3M announced it is spinning off its healthcare business into a new public company. The new healthcare business did $8.6 billion in revenue in 2021 playing in a number of markets including wound care, oral care, healthcare IT, and biopharma filtration. Link

  • FemTec Health, which recently acquired BirchBox to create a D2C women’s health platform that seems roughly akin to Goop 2.0, also acquired nutrition platform Nutrimedy and fertility wearable Ava AG. All of these will be integrated into its D2C platform, called Awesome Woman. FemTec isn’t a stranger to growth via acquisition - its CEO was the founder of a little diabetes startup that was acquired by 7wire Ventures and became another startup known as Livongo. Still… this seems like a lot of acquisitions at once for a young company.  Link

  • GoHealth announced a new JV with Inova Health to manage seven existing Inova urgent care clinics with plans to to open additional clinics together. GoHealth operates 200 urgent care centers in partnership with health systems across the country. While GoHealth is a bit under the radar in innovation circles, it seems like a really valuable asset for any of the insurers / retailers looking to build their physical footprint as well as meaningful relationships with local health systems. Link

  • Mayo Clinic Platform and Mercy signed a 10-year data sharing partnership to do things that health systems do with clinical data, but together! Link

  • ThymeCare announced a partnership with AmeriHealth New Jersey to provide oncology navigation services for AmeriHealth’s commercial population. Link

Funding:

  • Cleerly raised $192 million for AI algorithms on CT scans that help identify atherosclerosis. Link / Slack

  • Everside Health, a direct primary care provider that was formerly known as Paladina Health, raised $164 million in growth equity and also withdrew its registration for an IPO (S-1 is here), which it had filed last year. It’s another sign of the times that companies are rethinking public markets and choosing to remain private. In 2020, Everside generated $113 million of revenue and was close to breakeven while serving ~516,000 patients via 340 primary care clinics. Link / Slack (h/t Rik Renard)

  • Elation Health raised $50 million for a primary care EMR. The article here is worth checking out and provides some good details on Elaton’s progress to date (now at 24,000 clinicians using its technology) and where it’s headed. It sounds like Elation is doing well with new primary care models - Crossover, Cityblock, and Firefly all are cited as customers here. The article goes a bit into the Crossover implementation - it took almost three years for the Elation rollout at Crossover. It’s a friendly reminder that even the software platform plays in healthcare innovation are generally better thought of as tech-enabled services.  Link / Slack

  • Theator, a surgical intelligence platform, raised $39.5 million. Link

  • Syapse, a real world evidence platform, raised $35 million. Link

  • HealthNote, a patient intake automation platform, raised $17 million. Link

  • Caraway emerged from stealth, raising a $10.5 million seed round to build a virtual care platform aimed at improving college-aged women's mental and reproductive health. Link / Slack

  • Sage, a software platform for care managers in senior living facilities, raised $9 million.Link / Slack (h/t Varu Sawhney)

  • Summer Health, a pediatric telehealth model, raised $7.5 millionLink / Slack

  • Cornerstone AI, a clinical data analytics startup, raised $5 million. Link

  • RxLive, a telepharmacy solution for population health management, raised $5 million.Link

  • Suvera, a UK-based platform for primary care practices to manage complex patients, raised £5 million. Link

Opinions:

  • Stat featured an article suggesting that value-based care needs a “timeout”. The article doesn’t cover much new, instead looking back at what CMS has said previously about value-based programs not demonstrating savings, and highlighting reasoning why. What’s more notable here to me is the general tone - to use Gartner Hype Cycle terms, it continues to feel like we’re hurtling past the Peak of Inflated Expectations and towards the Trough of Disillusionment.  Link

  • agilon had an interesting week of coverage this week as Citron Research shared a short report that both seemed really poorly written while also demonstrating a really poor grasp of the business. That one wasn’t worth the time to read, but this Lake Cornelia Research Management tweet provides for a much more measured take on agilon’s long-term viability. It presents a number of good questions, including what value is actually there once 20-year PCP deals are up. Link (Lake Cornelia tweet) / Link (Citron) / Slack (h/t Blake Madden & Cody Gilfillan) 

  • Jan-Felix Schneider shared an interesting article looking at how different companies are thinking about building provider networks in healthcare beyond the typical insurer. The diagram below provides a nice look at different startups that are building their own networks, as well as a number of companies who are enabling network building.  Link / Slack (h/t Jan-Felix Schneider)

  • This is an interesting piece exploring the role of AI in healthcare, centered around three recent articles published by the Bayesian Health team. It's a nice article highlighting looking at some of the challenges that clinicians and AI have had in working together and how AI can fit into clinical workflows most effectively. It seems obvious to say this seems like the future in healthcare, but we will need to figure out the clinician / AI interaction piece. Link / Slack (h/t Benjamin Schwartz)

  • A16z shared its latest go-to-market strategy piece, this time looking at healthcare startups building two-sided networks. It features some interesting insights from startups including Komodo, Headway, Incredible Health, Owkin, and GoodRx. Link

  • This article does a nice job articulating some of the strategic challenges Teladoc is facing, most notably the brand challenge it has now that it's well-known local health systems across the country are upping their telehealth capabilities.  Link

Data:

  • The Better Medicare Alliance released a report on the state of Medicare Advantage. Not surprisingly, it finds that the state of MA is strong - the report provides some nice stats on how MA is growing over time. I still have no clue if it’s cheaper than Medicare FFS, though. Link

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