DIGITAL HEALTH BUBBLE? Funding for digital well being ballooned through the pandemic. Now, some specialists warn the bubble could be about to burst — or, at the least, the sector is headed towards a correction.
Covid-19 prompted tens of millions of sufferers to hunt digital care, thrusting telehealth into the mainstream and attracting mountains of capital funding into digital care and digital well being. In complete, traders dropped $29.1 billion into digital well being in 2021 — greater than tripling 2019’s complete and roughly doubling 2020’s, in line with analysis and enterprise agency Rock Well being.
However because the U.S. enters the pandemic’s subsequent part, funding dropped to $6 billion within the first quarter of 2022, nonetheless near double 2020’s first quarter however the lowest quarterly complete since 2020, in line with the agency. Publicly traded digital well being securities in Rock Well being’s digital well being index nose-dived by 38 p.c between July and March.
Digital well being isn’t going wherever, however a number of analysts informed Future Pulse the sector’s inventory losses and funding slide are an indication of a possible correction.
“It has been huge quantities of cash going into younger firms ill-equipped to swallow it,” mentioned Lisa Suennen, managing accomplice at Enterprise Valkyrie and adviser to a number of enterprise funds. “There’s a return to rationalism taking place. Whether or not you name it bubble bursting or the rest, I do not know, however … as a substitute of an arms race the place you shoot first, ask questions later, it is turning the opposite manner round the place you ask questions after which shoot.”
The market is frothy — which means valuations are unsustainably excessive — mentioned Steve Tolle, basic accomplice at HLM Enterprise Companions, who added that it’s nonetheless early to say whether or not the bubble has burst.
“The frothiness will come down a little bit bit,” Tolle mentioned. “We’re beginning to see [that the] common deal dimension has come down.”
Fragmentation out there is limiting firms’ potential to satisfy sky-high expectations, some specialists mentioned. Many have underperformed as a result of they don’t serve a sufficiently broad perform or don’t share knowledge effectively, mentioned Adam Gale, CEO of KLAS Analysis, a well being IT analysis agency.
“We’ve simply bought a thousand level options that do one factor neatly however don’t interoperate or mix collectively to truly give the affected person a great expertise,” Gale mentioned.
However digital well being nonetheless has vital worth going ahead, analysts agreed, figuring to play a distinguished function in well being care. This dip is a part of the traditional cycle, Suennen argued, evaluating digital well being to the dot-com bubble when tech tanked simply after the flip of the century earlier than recovering.
“I don’t know if we’ll actually crash like that,” Suennen mentioned.
Chris Moniz, market supervisor for Silicon Valley Financial institution’s well being tech and gadget division, expects development in comparison with 2020 ranges this 12 months, saying digital well being firms have stronger fundamentals than firms within the dot-com bubble.
Sari Kaganoff, basic supervisor of consulting at Rock Well being, mentioned that present developments level to a course correction. “There could also be issues that look a little bit ugly, however the fundamentals of the worth proposition of digital well being are nonetheless there,” she mentioned.
Stuart Blitz @StuartBlitz “If you happen to ever ask somebody a query about working in well being tech, it’s 100% assured they’ll sigh first, then reply.”
FDA CLEARS FITBIT AFIB ALGORITHM: The Meals and Drug Administration cleared an algorithm for Fitbit to assist detect atrial fibrillation, Google — Fitbit’s proprietor — said Monday.
The situation that causes irregular heartbeats is predicted to have an effect on greater than 12 million individuals within the U.S. by 2030 and contributes to almost 160,000 deaths yearly, in line with the CDC. AFib is tough to detect and diagnose as a result of it may be symptomless and seem sporadically, which makes it arduous to identify throughout a health care provider’s go to.
Fitbit hopes to make it simpler to detect by monitoring coronary heart price 24/7. In a research funded by Fitbit, data from lots of of hundreds of U.S. customers confirmed the algorithm was 98 p.c efficient in detecting undiagnosed AFib. The findings have been offered at a scientific assembly late final 12 months and had not undergone peer overview.
The corporate says the wearable expertise works by choosing up blood quantity adjustments within the wrist and analyzing it for potential AFib indicators.
It’s a pattern: Accumulating knowledge passively from wearables to detect potential well being circumstances has been a spotlight of tech firms as of late. Apple has additionally rolled out an AFib-detecting function on its Apple Watch.
ALZHEIMER’S DRUG DECISION RIPPLE EFFECTS? The Biden administration’s controversial transfer to restrict protection of an expensive Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, might have an effect on efforts to develop therapies for different devastating ailments, POLITICO’s Megan Wilson reports.
Final week, the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Companies finalized a decision to cowl the $28,000-a-year drug just for individuals enrolled in scientific trials, sparking disagreement amongst specialists and advocates on what it means for sufferers and future medicines. The company wasn’t satisfied of the drug’s effectiveness and is mandating additional trials after the FDA OK’d it beneath the accelerated approval course of.
The drug’s approval precipitated three members of the FDA’s exterior advisory panel on neurological medicine to resign, and Congress is investigating the FDA’s determination. However CMS’ protection determination additionally requires Alzheimer’s therapies going via the standard FDA approval course of to supply extra proof of effectiveness, drawing outrage from advocates.
Some say the company’s transfer might chill investments in promising Alzheimer’s medicine and coverings for different difficult ailments.
“If you happen to have been a drug producer and also you had decisions amongst therapeutic areas to put money into, would you put money into an space the place — even for those who show a scientific profit and a standard overview and approval by FDA — you continue to needed to undergo a CMS research to show that the identical end result was the case for real-world populations? Why would you do this?” mentioned George Vradenburg, who leads UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, an advocacy group.
VA TABLETS REDUCED SUICIDE RISK: The Division of Veterans Affairs’ transfer to ship video-enabled tablets to rural sufferers was related to a discount in suicide dangers and emergency room visits through the Covid-19 pandemic, in line with a new study published in JAMA Network Open.
The VA despatched tablets with knowledge plans to veterans who didn’t have broadband or web entry and lived removed from a VA clinic. Sufferers who obtained tablets had about two extra remedy visits a 12 months than sufferers not given tablets and have been 36 p.c much less more likely to have a suicide-related emergency room go to.
The researchers imagine the research of greater than 13,000 veterans is the most important look right into a telehealth pill intervention for sufferers needing psychological well being care and having entry difficulties.
Private health care organizations have turned to tablets amid the pandemic to facilitate telehealth entry to older sufferers, together with these at WellMed, whose tablets are specifically tailor-made with elevated display sensitivity for older sufferers who could have skinny pores and skin.
THE VOICE: Synthetic intelligence might detect a vocal “biomarker” in sufferers’ voice recordings that had a major affiliation with coronary artery illness occasions in a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Sufferers with a excessive biomarker rating have been about twice as likely as these with a low rating to be hospitalized with chest ache or have an acute coronary syndrome amongst 108 individuals studied. The authors argue the outcomes present that this form of distant screening might play a task in figuring out at-risk sufferers.
Vocal biomarker expertise typically works by detecting delicate indicators in a affected person’s voice that people can’t discern and utilizing AI to kind via the sound for potential indicators of illness. To date, it’s been used largely in research settings to detect ailments like Covid-19 and Alzheimer’s, however inadequate knowledge has held it again from being an ordinary function in clinics.
‘ROOMING’ EASES DIGITAL DIVIDE: Individuals who had telehealth visits with main care medical doctors in fall 2020 had an elevated chance of connecting to calls when medical assistants referred to as sufferers quarter-hour earlier than to assist with connecting, a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found.
The research of greater than 135,000 video visits at Kaiser Permanente Northern California discovered that Black and Latino sufferers — and people needing interpreters and residing in lower-resourced areas — have been much less possible to have the ability to join than white and Asian sufferers. However medical assistants serving to sufferers join through “digital rooming” might scale back the disparity.
As telehealth has come into the mainstream, issues about expertise rising the digital divide have arisen, however the analysis suggests serving to sufferers might help scale back disparities.
Digital therapeutics are struggling to get insurance coverage reimbursement, MedTech Dive reports.
STAT has this headline: “At small and rural hospitals, ransomware assaults are inflicting unprecedented crises.”
Most People don’t see Covid-19 as a disaster, in line with a new Axios/Ipsos poll.