Here's a recap of funding in digital health, the latest healthcare innovations, and trends in virtual care for July 2020.
Funding in Digital Health
Investors double down on health technology as funding reaches $9.1B in 2020
While the financial markets have taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, the health technology market continues to thrive. After a record-breaking first quarter in digital health investment, the strong performance continued in the second quarter with investors sinking $4.2 billion into digital health, according to a report from investment firm Startup Health. Total health innovation funding for the first half of 2020 hit $9.1 billion, up nearly 19% compared to $7.7 billion invested during the same period in 2019, the firm reported.
Digital health funding defies expected pandemic-era slowdown
Investment in the digital health sector was off to a strong start in 2020 at a record $3 billion in the first quarter alone, before momentum stalled in March and April. The halt in activity as COVID-19 spread quickly around the globe, however, did not last long. Rock Health notes that of 11 large deals valued at $100 million or more in the first half, five occurred in May and June, when the outbreak and resulting U.S. economic downturn were well underway.
Withings Secures $60M To Grow B2B Division, Develop Health Tracking Devices
Connected health pioneer Withings raised a $60 million Series B round of funding to help it continue to develop noninvasive health devices that facilitate more personalized patient and physician engagement. The round was co-led by Gilde Healthcare, Idinvest Partners and Bpifrance, with participation from BNP Paribas Développement, ODDO BHF Private Equity and Adelie Capital. The new investment brings France-based Withings to a total of $93.8 million since it was founded in 2008, Mathieu Letombe, CEO of Withings, told Crunchbase News.
Telehealth Startup Ro Nabs $200M
Telehealth startup Ro has raised $200 million in a new round of funding, the company announced Monday. Ro, which was founded in 2017, operates digital health clinics for men’s and women’s health, along with smoking cessation. It also operates a cash-pay online pharmacy for generic medications in 22 states. CNBC first reported the news of the new round. The new York-based company’s Series C round, which was led by General Catalyst, brings the company’s total funding to $376 million. The funding round included participation from existing investors Torch, SignalFire, FirstMark Capital, TQ Ventures, Initialized Capital, BoxGroup, and 3L, and new investor The Chernin Group.
The Helper Bees Raises $6M Series A
Austin-based insurtech startup The Helper Bees has raised $6 million in its Series A round of funding. The Helper Bees wants to own the area of home care, CEO Char Hu told Crunchbase News in an interview. When a parent or a grandparent gets older and requires help with errands or other needs around the house, the process of securing assistance is often complicated and expensive. The Helper Bees offers services like caregiver matching and telenursing, but also has a data analytics component and works with insurance carriers to reduce operating costs and improve experiences for care recipients.
Latest Healthcare Innovations
9 big ideas in healthcare innovation
“We're going to have more demand for telemedicine, telehealth, hospital-level care in the home, wearables and the ability to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence to new data sources for cure plans. That's going to be here very soon because we have changed so much, so fast with COVID-19,” says John Halamka, MD, president of Mayo Clinic Platform.
CVS builds out digital health program with five more companies
Last year, CVS Caremark launched a program to make it easier for health plans to implement digital health tools. Since then, it has steadily added a stream of companies to its new Point Solution Management Service, including Livongo, Hinge Health and Hello Heart. On Wednesday, CVS added another five companies, focused on weight loss and mental health. They include: Daylight, an app to help users manage worry and anxiety; Vida, a startup that offers personalized health coaching and therapy; Naturally Slim, an online weight loss program; Weight Watchers, which has built out its own digital plans; and Kurbo, a program designed by Weight Watchers to help children and teens make healthy lifestyle choices.
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.
Walgreens VillageMD and the Retail Medical Home
In the next iteration of pharmacy chains positioned as health delivery businesses, Walgreens announced that they will attach primary care clinics to hundreds of their retail stores. In a partnership with clinic provider VillageMD, Walgreens will invest 1bn in equity over the next 3 years. From The Wall Street Journal on the Walgreens VillageMD partnership.
Trends in Virtual Care
Five Healthcare Trends That Have Been Accelerated In 2020
Positive changes in the marketplace from COVID-19 have a rapid transition to expediting the use of telemedicine. We have seen the updates that telemedicine can work and can be useful for patients. We also have been able to determine that individuals are more tech-savvy and can implement telehealth solutions, both young and old populations. Many new health professionals entering the workforce are ready and willing to break down the barriers to speed up the use of technology for patient care.
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.
Virtual behavioral health could expand access to care for 53M Americans, report finds
As the COVID-19 pandemic isolates patients, virtual care has proven to be a lifeline for patients who need behavioral health services. The continued use of virtual services, from video visits to webchats, could help open up access to behavioral health treatment for millions of patients. And this could be a potential breakthrough in terms of overall outcomes and medical spending, according to a new report from Accenture. During the public health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has temporarily expanded the types of healthcare providers can offer via telehealth to broaden patient access to care. As a result, about 460,000 Medicare beneficiaries have received mental health services via telehealth, or 60% of all behavioral health visits, according to CMS data.
America’s Looming Primary-Care Crisis
Among other things, the structural bias in favor of procedures and office visits has prevented telemedicine—which could make outpatient care more affordable, accessible, and consistent—from gaining a foothold. For decades, Medicare only paid for telemedicine visits if a patient lived in a designated “rural” area or received the treatment in a medical setting; effectively, for many people, telemedicine had to take place in a doctor’s office. The pandemic has changed this equation. In March, the federal government expanded the list of telemedicine services eligible for Medicare reimbursement. Clinics across the country, seeing telemedicine as both a way to provide care and a financial lifeline, raced to embrace phone and video visits almost overnight.