Here's a recap of the resources for clinicians, digital health news, telemedicine innovations and virtual care updates for July 2020.
News & Resources for Clinicians
Inside the Facebook Group Where Doctors Process Their Immense Coronavirus Grief
Dr. Erica Bial’s Facebook page “The COVID-19 Physicians’ Memorial” was created as a community for grief, support, and encouragement for physicians fighting on the frontlines during the pandemic. So far, over 200 stories of lost physicians have been shared on the page. We stand with all of our #healthcare heroes who are selflessly putting patients before themselves during this difficult time. If you or a physician you know is struggling, please reach out to the Physician Support Line by calling 888-409-0141.
#PasstheMedicalMic Movement on Instagram
In a recent “AMA COVID-19 Update” video, a panel of experts discussed how to ensure empathy remains central to the patient-physician relationship on this new frontier. “If you really think about empathy at an operational scale—which is making life easier for patients, reducing suffering, reducing time spent waiting—digital tools have enormous potential,” said Adrienne Boissy, MD, chief experience officer at Cleveland Clinic Health System.
Taking Care of Our Caregivers
For frontline caregivers, emotions have run high during the pandemic: anxiety about getting the virus and then exposing their families; fear of being re-deployed to jobs they had not previously done to treat a disease they’ve never seen; grief about the loss of patients, family members or colleagues; sadness about those who have lost their jobs or been furloughed. While we have seen the remarkable support for health care workers pouring in from communities across the country, less visible has been what leaders are doing within their own organizations to help their physicians, nurses, and the entire workforce cope.
How to maintain momentum on telehealth after COVID-19 crisis ends
The use of telehealth has exploded as many regulatory barriers to its use have been temporarily lowered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The AMA is advocating for making many of these emergency policy changes permanent. “We have moved forward a decade in the use of telemedicine in this country and it’s going to become, and will remain, an increasingly important part of physician practices going forward,” Tod Askew the AMA’s senior vice president of advocacy, said during a recent “AMA COVID-19 Update” video. “We have moved forward a decade in the use of telemedicine in this country and it’s going to become, and will remain, an increasingly important part of physician practices going forward.”
Innovations in Healthcare & Digital Health
Houston-Based imaware™ Collaborate with University Researchers to Understand Differences in Patient Vulnerabilities with COVID-19
imaware™, a Texas-based digital health platform organization, Texas A&M University and Wheel are collaborating to research certain population vulnerability to COVID-19. Part of the study looks into the transmission in infected people to others in their household and tracking their symptoms. As part of imaware™’s testing process, Wheel is contacting patients who test positive and providing telemedicine oversight and post-diagnosis care as an early intervention.
Uwill Raises $3.25 Million To Help College Students Connect With Mental Health Professionals
Uwill — a company that enables college students to connect on-demand with mental health professionals launched by veteran edtech entrepreneur Michael London — announced that it raised $3.25 million in a seed round of funding led by Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC. Uwill’s seed investors include Bright Horizons CEO Stephen Kramer and Princeton Review founder John Katzman. Uwil, offers a full suite of secure teletherapy platform communication modalities including: video, text, phone, email, and chat. Uwill’s machine learning technology enables students to identify and connect with the counselor of their choice and provides flexibility in both scheduling and style of communication.
Removing Obstacles to Surgery Care with Telehealth
In a given year, 48 million surgical inpatient procedures are performed. Because surgical care often requires specialized knowledge, many patients must travel beyond their local hospital or clinic to receive this needed care. But surgical care takes more than a single day at the hospital with a specialist, leaving many patients in a position to make multiple trips for care. The surgery process is largely broken down into three phases: preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phase. Perioperative care occurs in the time frame before and after surgery, as the primary goal of perioperative care is to provide better conditions for patients leading up to surgery and during recovery. Yet these before and after surgery visits can create unnecessary challenges on patients and providers.
Mighty Health created a wellness app with older adults top of mind
Virtual classes might make it easier to work out anywhere, anytime, but not for anyone. Mainstream fitness tech often targets the young and fit, in advertisements and cardio-heavy exercises. It effectively excludes aging adults from participating. This gap between mainstream fitness and elders is where Mighty Health, a Y Combinator graduate, comes in. Mighty Health has created a nutrition and fitness wellness app that is tailored to older adults who might have achy hips or joint problems. Today, the San Francisco-based startup has announced it raised $2.8 million in funding by Y Combinator, NextView Ventures, RRE Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, Soma Capital, and more.
House telehealth leaders move to cement regulatory changes for virtual care
Leaders of the House telehealth caucus introduced legislation Thursday to permanently open up access to telehealth services for Medicare patients. The bipartisan bill (PDF), the Protecting Access to Post-COVID-19 Telehealth Act, will extend the use of telehealth that was expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic by eliminating restrictions on the use in Medicare. That would provide a bridge for patients currently using the practices because of the coronavirus crisis and require a study on the use of telehealth during COVID-19, said bill co-sponsor Rep. Mike Thompson, D-California, in a statement. The bill will expand the use of telehealth for seniors and those on Medicare and ensure that telehealthcare be used during future disasters and emergencies, said Thompson, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Telehealth Caucus.
Coronavirus baby boom may actually be a 'baby bust' as experts see a spike in birth control orders
Some might expect the USA is due for another baby boom after couples nationwide had an abundance of alone time. However, a spike in birth control requests may make a coronavirus baby boom unlikely. Digital health clinic Nurx said it's seen a 50% increase in patient requests for birth control and a 40% increase in emergency contraception requests. The company serves more than 250,000 patients. "Whether to have a child for the first time or another child ... that’s something people are feeling it isn't the time to explore," Nurx spokesperson Allison Hoffman said. Many delay family planning over health-related uncertainties brought by the coronavirus pandemic. A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last Thursday found that pregnant women may be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Reliance Medical Group CEO: Virtual Office will ‘Eventually Generate More revenue’ than Regular Clinic
Jon M. Regis, MD, president and CEO of Reliance Medical Group, says virtual care options and the revenues they generate could "level the playing field" for medical groups. Like many other businesses, physician practices and medical groups have suffered significant financial losses during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. To remedy the patient volume declines and recoup lost revenue, most provider organizations have gravitated toward virtual care services, which have emerged as one of the most mainstream healthcare solutions during the pandemic.
Digital Mental Health Platform Manatee Raises $1.5M in Seed Funding
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in five children in the United States suffers from anxiety, attention deficit disorder, or other mental health disorder. But only half of those who engage in therapy stick with the process. One Denver startup aims to drive up that retention rate, by deploying fun, therapeutic tech designed specifically for kids. Meet Manatee, an AI-powered chatbot and digital health platform that helps families integrate therapy in their daily lives. On Monday, the startup received a boost of its own with the announcement that it raised $1.53 million in seed funding. Manatee will invest the cash in new tech features and expanded partnerships with healthcare systems.
Teladoc's virtual visits grow 200% in Q2, revenue reaches $241M as COVID-19 resurges
Teladoc continues to prosper from the boom in virtual care as revenue in the second quarter surged 85% to $241 million. Teladoc, one of the nation's top telehealth providers, reported total virtual visits increased 203% to 2.8 million during the second quarter. In its U.S. market, the brief period of national COVID-19 containment in late May and early June provided visibility into continuing demand for virtual care, with utilization stabilizing at a level 40% higher than before the pandemic, company executives said during a second-quarter earnings call Wednesday. In several southern states where COVID-19 case volumes have accelerated, Teladoc is seeing a significant spike in demand with visit volume exceeding the initial peak levels in March and April, Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic said during the call.