It can be tough to catch up and keep up with the latest news, trends, interviews, and insights in the virtual care space. That’s why we’re here to do the work for you with our monthly telehealth news recap.
This month’s highlights include the latest analyst predictions on whether we'll continue to see record-breaking digital health funding; why Silicon Valley's startup mantra doesn't apply in healthcare, including guidance from Wheel CEO Michelle Davey on how to grow a health tech company responsibly and sustainably; emerging changes in healthcare policy from the Biden administration; the importance of clinician training and "webside manner" in the age of virtual-first healthcare, and more.
Growth & Innovation
Digital Health's Top 10 Money Raisers in 2021 — So Far
The health tech space is likely to continue seeing major investments in 2021, despite analyst predictions that funding would decline as we approach the end of the pandemic. Just in mid-march, four digital health companies raised a record-breaking $805M in venture funding. Since the start of the year, 24 healthcare companies have collectively raised $4.1 billion in capital, including at least 10 early-stage deals. From what we’ve seen in Q1, the expansion of digital health shows no signs of slowing down.
The COVID Effect: A Look into the Future of Diagnostics and Healthcare
The vision of healthcare in a post-COVID world is beginning to take shape. Patients are taking an active role in their personal health and the industry is being forced to develop new tools and resources necessary to support home-centered healthcare, including diagnostics.
The world’s diagnostic testing systems were not strong enough to withstand the demands of the pandemic. Healthcare companies now have a tremendous opportunity to improve access, accuracy, and affordability surrounding patient diagnostics.
Policy & Regulatory Updates
Democrats Could Undo Trump Policies Faster, But They’re Not. Why?
Biden and the Democratic congress have yet to invoke the Congressional Review Act to quickly undo health policies left behind by the Trump administration - leaving many to wonder why. Once a policy is repealed with the CRA, subsequent administrations can’t issue a “substantially similar” regulation. Health care rule-making tends to be omnibus, and many of the policy changes Democrats want to see are tied to several policies it wants to keep. Rather than repeal entire regulations, the Biden administration will likely rewrite pieces of policy which is expected to take a significant amount of time. Time will tell what health policies will be amended and how.
Medicaid and the American Rescue Plan: How It All Fits Together
In early March of 2021, the Biden administration passed the American Rescue Plan Act to fund vaccinations, provide immediate and direct relief to families bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis, and support struggling communities. The landmark act incentivizes states to expand Medicaid coverage for COVID-19 testing, treatment, vaccines, and medical intervention required for conditions that could complicate COVID treatment.
Why Silicon Valley Can Be Toxic for Healthcare Startups - Featuring Wheel CEO Michelle Davey
The healthcare industry is in need of innovation, but the “move fast and break things'' mantra doesn’t apply to healthcare startups. When the wellbeing of patients and clinicians is at stake, healthcare companies need to take great care not to break the rules when it comes to regulation and compliance. Wheel Co-founder and CEO Michelle Davey says, “All it takes is one bad patient outcome or one clinician losing their license.” With inexperienced investors rushing to flood healthcare startups with funding, companies need to be clear and methodical about what they’re bringing to the market.
Building Back Better Requires Strengthening Primary Care
Primary care has played a vital role in managing Covid-19 patients and addressing the advancing inequities in health among vulnerable populations. Unlike other aspects of the current healthcare system, primary care is more susceptible to the negative impact of external events like the pandemic and has not received adequate relief from the CARES Act. As the Biden administration begins to “build back better,” it needs to implement a stronger foundation for comprehensive primary care by moving away from the fee-for-service model towards a system that values patient-centered payment models for Medicare and Medicaid.
Trends & Insights
What Covid-19 Taught Us about Telemedicine
During the pandemic, telemedicine proved to be a highly convenient and effective mode for delivering a wide range of care to patients. Digital health consultant Daniel Z. Sands says, “We’ve learned so much about the many different things doctors can do to connect with patients, in ways they never did before, that it will be hard to turn back the clock.” We are continuing to learn what aspects of telemedicine need to improve in order for it to solidify a place in our healthcare system, including developing good ‘webside’ manner for clinicians, rethinking the virtual waiting room, and more.
Building Trust into Telehealth
The healthcare industry has recently seen rapid adoption of virtual care, changing the way patients interact with clinicians. Patients receiving remote medical care may find it more difficult to trust their providers as competence, logic, empathy, and reliability are not as easily conveyed when visits are not done face-to-face. Thankfully, there are measures clinicians can take to protect the sanctity of trust in the patient-physician relationship when providing virtual care.