Telehealth News - December 2020

Here's a recap of funding in digital health, the latest healthcare innovations, and trends in virtual care for December 2020.

Funding in Digital Health

$1.6 billion Hims is going public after just 3 years. We dug through its financials and spoke with its CEO to find 4 key metrics that could determine the company's success.

Digital health's steady parade toward the public markets isn't letting up just yet. Hims, the digital-health company most well-known for prescribing and shipping medications for conditions like hair loss and erectile dysfunction straight to your door, will be the latest startup to debut on public markets in 2020, and one of just a few opting for a less-than-traditional way of doing so. In October, Hims said it was going public through a reverse merger with the blank-check special-purpose acquisition company Oaktree.

Read full story on Business Insider >

Mental wellness platform Lyra Health is raising up to $175M at a $2.25B valuation – TechCrunch

The coronavirus pandemic has underscored, and often exacerbated, the mental health crisis that exists across the world. Even the spread of remote work is part of the problem: As everyone stays at home, the lack of interaction and watercooler chat has left employees without in-person interaction. The need for a solution has helped tech-powered mental health solutions raise funding to meet increased demand. In the latest development, it emerged that Lyra Health, a platform that focuses on providing workforces with mental health care, has filed paperwork to raise a $175 million Series E at a $2.25 billion valuation.

Read full story on TechCrunch >

Health Startup for Low-Income Patients Hits $1 Billion Valuation

Cityblock Health, a startup trying to improve health care for low-income patients with complex medical needs, has raised $160 million in an investment that values the company at more than $1 billion. The new Series C fundraising brings Cityblock’s total equity investment to $300 million. It was led by by General Catalyst with participation from Wellington Management and some earlier investors. Cityblock is one of several venture-backed firms trying to deliver care that’s both more efficient and responsive to patients. Others in the market include Iora Health and Oak Street Health Inc., which went public earlier this year and is now valued at around $13 billion.

Read full story on Bloomberg >

Oscar Health closes $140M funding round led by Tiger Global

Oscar Health closed a $140 million funding round to support ongoing growth at the company, the tech-enabled insurer announced Thursday. The round, led by Tiger Global Management, included participation from Dragoneer, Baillie Gifford, Coatue, Founders Fund, Khosla, Lakestar and Reinvent. It comes on the heels of a $225 million funding round in June led by Google's parent company Alphabet, Khosla Ventures and Thrive Capital along with new investors Baillie Gifford and Coatue. Launched in 2012, Oscar has seen a 74% increase in direct policy premiums and annualized membership growth of more than 70% since 2017.

Read full story on Fierce Healthcare >

Addressing Mental Health At Work: Modern Health Raises $51M Series C

Modern Health is providing a “fourth pillar” of health care, what Alyson Watson, founder and CEO, likes to call the company’s mental health platform for employers that compliments the typical health plan offerings of medical, dental and vision. “We think of people across the whole spectrum, from red to green, to provide continued support, not just when someone is in crisis mode, so when someone is faced with adversity in life, they feel good about the support they have,” Watson told Crunchbase News.

Read full story on Crunchbase >

Latest Healthcare Innovations

Highmark Health inks 6-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud to tap AI, analytics technologies

Highmark Health and Google Cloud announced a six-year strategic partnership to use cloud, analytics and artificial intelligence technologies to power the organization's digital health initiatives. Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health plans to use Google Cloud's technology muscle to be the innovation engine behind its Living Health model, which is designed to provide a more coordinated, personalized, technology-enabled experience for patients, the organization said. One of the country's largest insurers, Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health also is the parent company of Allegheny Health Network, an integrated delivery network comprised of 13 hospitals, more than 2,500 affiliated physicians and ambulatory surgery centers.

Read full story on Fierce Healthcare >

Inside Amazon's efforts to build a national telehealth business geared toward big employers

Amazon is building a telehealth business and pitching the service to major employers including Zillow, five people familiar with the matter, who were not authorized to talk to the press, told Business Insider. It's a part of Amazon's massive ambitions in healthcare. In November, it announced Amazon Pharmacy, a drug-delivering business in 48 states with steep discounts for Prime members. Through Amazon Care, the $1.6 trillion shipping giant is getting into the business of actual medical services for the first time, dealing with patients, their protected health information, and their doctors.

Read full story on Business Insider >

COVID-19 vaccine from Novavax is latest to enter Phase 3 trial in U.S.

Federal health researchers and vaccine maker Novavax announced Monday that they will begin a Phase 3 trial for Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the United States, marking the fifth such shot in the country to reach its key final stage of testing. "We've come this far, this fast, but we need to get to the finish line," Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.

Read full story on CBS News >

Amazon, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck to Build $10M Digital Health Innovation Lab in Israel

Amazon is entering the pharmacy business with a new offering called Amazon Pharmacy, allowing customers in the United States to order prescription medications for home delivery, including free delivery for Amazon Prime members. Amazon has been quietly building out its pharmacy offering for several years after ramping up internal discussions in 2017 and acquiring PillPack in 2018.

Read full story on CNBC >

Want to See the Future of Digital Health Tools? Look to Germany.

In late 2019, Germany’s parliament passed the Digital Health Care Act (Digitale-Versorgung-Gesetz, or DVG) — an ambitious law designed to catalyze the digital transformation of the German health care system, which has historically been a laggard in that area among peer countries. It is already leading to meaningful changes and will be a boon to the development and evaluation of digital health tools as well as the generation of insights into the value they create.

Read full story on Harvard Business Review >

Trends in Virtual Care

Digital Health Startup Ro Enters Home-Based Care With First Acquisition

Digital health startup Ro, which offers telehealth visits and includes an online pharmacy, is now venturing into home-based care delivery with its first acquisition. The three-year-old, New York-based company announced Tuesday it was acquiring Richmond, Virginia-based Workpath, a software platform that sends providers to draw blood at patients’ homes instead of in a doctor’s office. “The seamless integration of offline and online healthcare is what will allow Ro to really bring more of our vision into reality and to strengthen and expand our vertically integrated primary care platform,” says Zachariah Reitano, 29, cofounder and CEO of Ro and an alum of the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Healthcare list.

Read full story on Forbes >

The COVID-19 pandemic will have a long-term impact on healthcare. Here are 4 changes to expect

Even after the immediate emergency of the current COVID-19 pandemic passes, the healthcare industry won't return to business as usual, experts say. Healthcare is in a state of flux and there will be financial tough times in the near term for many health systems, according to Justin Gernot, vice president at healthcare advisory firm Healthbox. "It’s an emphasis on the haves and have-nots of healthcare providers," said Gernot speaking during a recent virtual media event sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) on the impact of the pandemic on the future of healthcare.

Read full story on Fierce Healthcare >

Four Healthcare Trends To Look Forward To In 2021

No tears will be shed for the end of what has been a terrible year. But in this episode of What’s Ahead, we take a look at some healthcare trends that bode well for a better future. Among them is an innovative primary care provider, VillageMD, which has created a system that treats patients, particularly those with chronic conditions, on an ongoing basis and which has better outcomes at far less cost than those treating patients in traditional ways. VillageMD inked a partnership this year with Walgreens to open hundreds of physician-staffed clinics inside pharmacies that are aimed primarily at underserved communities.

Read full story on Forbes >

Making seniors comfortable with telehealth will be a goal for healthcare in 2021

Telehealth has played a critical role in healthcare delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is especially true for older Americans. Given the numerous restrictions and guidelines that have been enacted to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, virtual care has been critical in helping seniors safely get the care they need. Yet, according to data from Medicare-focused digital health company GoHealth, three in five Medicare beneficiaries and seniors nearing eligibility admit to not knowing how to use video call technology. The main issues boil down to access and education.

Read full story on Healthcare Finance News >