Here's a recap of funding in digital health, the latest healthcare innovations, and trends in virtual care for November 2020.
Funding in Digital Health
Mental health startup Headway nabs $26M backed by Google Ventures, Thrive Capital
There is growing demand for mental health care in the U.S., but many people fail to find care because they can't afford to pay for services out of pocket. Andrew Adams faced these barriers five years ago after he moved to New York City and tried to find a therapist. "I couldn’t find a therapist that I could afford because 70% of therapists don’t accept insurance," Adams told Fierce Healthcare. "The reality is that therapists would accept insurance if it weren’t so hard."
Carbon Health Raises $100 million with plans to expand pop-up clinics ahead of COVID-19 vaccination programs
Carbon Health has raised a $100 million Series C funding round, led by Dragoneer Investment Group and including participation from prior investors Brookfield Technology Partners, DCVC and Builders VC. This funding will be used to help the SF-based healthcare provider startup continue to expand its nationwide footprint, including with the opening of 100 pop-up clinics planned for 20 markets across the U.S.
Exclusive: Spring Health Provides Path To Mental Health Benefits With $76M Series B
Spring Health wants to take the guesswork out of finding a mental health provider and the trial and error that occurs during the search. The New York based company closed on a $76 million Series B round of funding to expand its platform. “Our approach is founded in science and academia, and not only matches people to the right treatment, but we’ve taken technology and combined it with a human touch to deliver world-class outcomes fast,” April Koh, co-founder and CEO of Spring Health, told Crunchbase News. “We are a ‘single front door’ for employees.”
K Health scores new funding from SpaceX, Tesla investor and a new partnership with Mayo Clinic
At first glance, spaceflight company SpaceX and electric car manufacturer Tesla don't appear to have much in common with the digital health market. But an investor behind those companies is bringing its artificial intelligence expertise, and a big infusion of cash, to digital primary care startup K Health.The New York-based company provides patients remote access to health care services through their smartphones. The company announced it closed a $42 million series D funding round, led by Valor Equity Partners. Additional investors include Marcy Venture Partners, co-founded by Jay-Z, Atreides Management and PICO Venture Partners as well as existing investors 14W and Max Ventures.
Talkspace Working With Advisers on Possible Sale
Talkspace, an online therapy app promoted by celebrities including swimmer Michael Phelps and singer Demi Lovato, is working with an adviser on a potential sale, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The New York-based company could be valued at about $1 billion in a sale, said one of the people, who asked to not be identified because the talks are private.
Latest Healthcare Innovations
Pfizer passes COVID-19 vaccine safety milestone, reveals 95% efficacy ahead of EUA
Pfizer is preparing to file its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization (EUA) after passing a key safety milestone. CEO Albert Bourla, Ph.D., said Pfizer now has the median two-month follow-up data needed to secure EUA from the FDA, putting it a step closer to bringing its vaccine to market in the U.S. Talking at virtual events hosted by The New York Times and Stat, Bourla said Pfizer is preparing to seek EUA for the vaccine, which it developed with BioNTech, using the safety data and the efficacy results it gave a glimpse of last week.
How Microsoft's tool could help cystic fibrosis patients avoid hospitalizations
Microsoft in 2019 began Project Breathe, an effort to develop a smartphone-based tool that can help patients manage cystic fibrosis at home that has become an even more critical research project amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Project Breathe seeks to give cystic fibrosis patients more control over their health by allowing them to monitor their condition at home and avoid inconvenient and risky hospital visits. The tool tracks key health indicators such as blood oxygen levels, lung function and activity. With access to this data, patients can make health interventions earlier and possibly avoid serious infections.
JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic set to roll out COVID-19 'health pass' app in December
Following a successful test with United Airlines in October, four more major airlines plan to start offering passengers a digital health pass to certify they are COVID-19-free. JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic will begin the roll-out of CommonPass mobile app in December to help bring back global travel. The health pass app will be used on select flights departing from New York, Boston, London, and Hong Kong. The CommonPass mobile app, created by the Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum, was developed to enable travelers to share their COVID-19 test status across borders using a trusted framework for the first time.
Google Cloud unveils AI tools to help healthcare analyze unstructured medical text
Google Cloud pulled back the curtain yesterday on two artificial intelligence tools designed to help healthcare and life science organizations scan and analyze large volumes of unstructured text, the Healthcare Natural Language API and AutoML Entity Extraction for Healthcare. The first of these two offerings looks to automatically extract common trends or other insights from medical records notes or other digital text that would normally require time-intensive manual review.
Why GuideWell is driving greater innovation for caregiver supports
One healthcare company's push to rethink supports for caregivers is beginning to bear fruit, according to a new study. Earlier this year, GuideWell, the parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, launched an innovation challenge with the goal of shaking up supports for caregivers. With at least 44 million people serving as unpaid caregivers for a loved one, finding ways to help them balance their health is crucial, said Kirstie McCool, executive director of GuideWell Innovation.
Trends in Virtual Care
COVID-19 Survey: Doctors Like Telehealth and Want to Continue Using It
A new survey from the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition finds that providers have seen good results from using telehealth during the coronavirus, and more than half say connected health has improved their work satisfaction. A survey of roughly 1,600 healthcare providers finds that almost 70 percent are motivated to use more telehealth because of the experiences they’ve had during the coronavirus pandemic – and more than half say their outlook has improved because of connected health.
Amazon jumps into the pharmacy business with online prescription fulfillment, free delivery for Prime members
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.
Anthem sees telehealth use spike 136x for Medicare Advantage members due to COVID-19
Virtual care use among Anthem's Medicare Advantage members was 136 times greater in the early months of the pandemic compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, a new report from the insurer shows. Between March and May 2020, Anthem's MA members used 600,000 virtual health services, compared to 4,400 through the same period in 2019. Of those 600,000 services, 98% were rendered in existing physician-patient relationships, Anthem found. The total number of new patient encounters in March and May, however, was higher than the total use of virtual care for the same window in 2019, according to the report.
This is how Amwell, Doctor On Demand predict telehealth visits will be different in the future
Among the biggest changes that could come out of the massive shift in telehealth use during the pandemic? Payers will increasingly encourage "virtual first" healthcare. That was the consensus among telehealth experts during a recent Fierce Health IT virtual event, Telehealth's Takeover. "This is where we have to go. We owe it to ourselves," said Ian Tong, M.D., chief medical officer of telehealth company Doctor On Demand. "Especially given the disruption that we’ve seen with COVID, we’ve been given an opportunity to see what virtual care can do and what these virtual first plans can do."