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Color raises $167 million funding at $1.5 billion valuation to expand ‘last mile’ of U.S. health infrastructure

Healthcare startup Color has raised a sizeable $167 million in Series D funding round, at a valuation of $1.5 billion post-money, the company announced today. This brings the total raised by Color to $278 million, with its latest large round intended to help it build on a record year of growth in 2020 with even more expansion to help put in place key health infrastructure systems across the U.S. – including those related to the “last mile” delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.
This latest investment into Color was led by General Catalyst, and by funds invested by T. Rowe Price, along with participation from Viking …

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Teledyne to acquire FLIR in $8 billion cash and stock deal

Industrial sensor giant Teledyne is set to acquire sensing company FLIR in a deal valued at around $8 billion in a mix of stock and cash, pending approvals with an expected closing date sometime in the middle of this year. While both companies make sensors, aimed primarily at industrial and commercial customers, they actually focus on different specialties that Teledyne said in a press release makes FLIR’s business complimentary to, rather than competitive with, its existing offerings.
FLIR’s technology has appeared in the consumer market via add-on thermal cameras designed for mobile devices, including the iPhone. These are useful …

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December: Despite Pandemic, Opportunity in Retail Remains ‘Exceptional’

The second trend, according to Stewart, is consumer/retailer emphasis on physical health. “COVID-19 brought fear and panic to the retail landscape. The closure of non-essential retail stores to stop the spread of the virus, while mandated for public health, brought intense financial ramifications,” Stewart explains. “At the same time, the focus on health accelerated the development and application of technologies to allow consumers to shop safely. While many innovations were in the development pipeline, the pandemic greatly compressed the application timeline. In part, these technologies include those that facilitate touchless retail, including customer interfaces, virtual testing and try-on of …

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Tencent backs Chinese healthcare portal DXY in $500M round

DXY, a 20-year-old online healthcare community for Chinese consumers and healthcare organizations like Pfizer, announced this week that it has raised $500 million in a new round led by private equity firm Trustbridge Partners.
Existing backer Tencent and Hillhouse Capital also participated in the round, which lifted the firm’s total funding to over $660 million to date. DXY’s earlier investors include Xiaomi founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital, Legend Capital and DCM.
The company started out as a knowledge-sharing platform for doctors and has over time added a consumer-facing aspect by bringing wellness advice and medical consultation services to the …

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What Happens When IoT Meets the Cannabis Industry?

Illustration: © IoT For AllCannabis and IoT are two industries that are both experiencing a significant and consistent rise, continuously generating more and more revenue each year. Although there seems to be no apparent relation between the two industries, a closer look indicates a world of possibilities for adopting IoT technology in the cannabis industry, for the benefit of not just consumers but also of suppliers and business owners.An Introduction to the Cannabis IndustryThe past decade has witnessed an overwhelming shift in public opinion regarding cannabis. Multiple states in the United States have legalized the use of recreational cannabis. …

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Overcoming the Patient Healthcare Challenges with AI Chatbots

AI Chatbots in Healthcare: Transform Patient’s Engagement with Healthcare Providers Image source: @totalshape.comChatbots are replacing phone call-based customer service in various sectors. In the healthcare industry is opting Chatbots to help patients in resolving their concerns faster than traditional methods. In the healthcare sector, the patient’s experience remains at the top priority. These days the patient-driven healthcare environment is helping the patient to make better decisions.To remain spontaneous, it is the time for the healthcare services to embrace consumer readiness for digital communication via AI chatbot. This can help to deepen patient engagement that leads to …

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Why are telehealth companies treating healthcare like the gig economy?

Telehealth has taken off.

Spurred by the pandemic, many doctors in the U.S. now offer online appointments, and many patients are familiar with getting live medical advice over the internet. Given the obvious benefits, many experts have concluded that telehealth is here to stay. “It’s taken this crisis to push us to a new frontier,” said Seema Verma, administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “But there’s absolutely no going back.”

Now the question is, where are we going? Telehealth has played an essential role during the pandemic, and it could do even more good in the years to come. But we are still in the very early days of its development. And if we are to realize telehealth’s full potential, then we must first reckon with the fact that there are serious flaws in the predominant way it is delivered today — flaws that endanger patients themselves.

Legacy telehealth services like Teladoc and others were built for a time when telehealth was a fringe phenomenon, mostly used to support acute needs like a bad cold or a troubling rash. They largely offer, in effect, randomized triage care. Patients go online, wait in a queue and see the first doctor who happens to be available. These companies market this as a virtual house call, but for patients, the experience may feel more like being stuck on a conveyor belt. Too often, they get funneled through the system with little to no choice along the way.

Insurance companies love this model because it is cheap to operate. But patients bear the cost. Doctors, in this arrangement, get paid to work the assembly line. Every minute they spend listening to patients — learning about their lives, building a personal relationship — is a minute they’re not moving them down the line, seeing the next patient and earning their next fee. The system doesn’t reward doctors for providing care; it rewards them for churning through patients.

As we build telehealth’s future, doubling down on this model would be a worrisome mistake since it is antithetical to how our healthcare system should operate. Healthcare has long been premised on the idea that you should have an ongoing relationship with a local care provider — someone with a holistic, longitudinal view of your health, who you trust to help navigate difficult or sensitive medical issues.

The randomized triage model breaks this bond and replaces it with a series of impersonal interactions that feel more like ones you have with an Uber driver — polite but transactional, brief and ephemeral. Healthcare, however, should not be treated in the same way as the gig economy.

As a physician, I am troubled by the prospect of what happens when you scale this model up. Every time a patient gets passed from one doctor to the next, there is a chance that critical information is lost. They won’t understand your baseline mood, your family context or living situation — all critical “intangibles” for informed treatment. That lack of longitudinal data leads to worse outcomes. This is why the healthcare system has long been designed to minimize patient handoffs — and why it would be a mistake for us to choose a telehealth infrastructure that increases them.

What, then, does a better approach look like?

We are at the very dawn of telehealth’s integration into our country’s healthcare system, and I won’t claim to know the full answer. But I do know that patients are far better stewards of their own health than a random doctor generator. A more effective approach to telehealth puts the power in patients’ hands. Because when we give them choices and then listen to them, patients tell us what they prefer.

Data gathered by my company makes clear that by a substantial margin, people want to make this decision themselves: Nine out of 10 telehealth patients prefer to schedule an appointment with a provider of their choosing rather than see a randomly assigned doctor after waiting in a digital queue.

Not only that: When given this choice, most patients — about seven in 10 — make an appointment with a nearby doctor when booking a virtual visit. Patients instinctively know that at some point, they’ll want or need to physically be in the same room with their doctor. And they know that choosing a local provider makes it possible to pick up the conversation in-person right where it left off online. They don’t want to be forced to choose between telehealth and an ongoing relationship with a trusted provider. And they’re right — they shouldn’t have to.

None of the legacy telehealth companies focus on this imperative. Instead, while the pandemic rages on, they are rushing to scale while their randomized triage model is still viable. And the markets may reward them in the near term for being in the right place at the right time. But long-term value will be derived from listening to, responding to and iterating on what patients want.

Experience suggests patients will reward whoever can give them the most control over their healthcare. That’s where I’m placing my bet, too.

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Springtide, an autism treatment center network, raises $15.6 million

With one in 54 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the US, the issue of how to treat patients diagnosed with the condition has become almost as acute as the prevalence of the condition itself.

That’s one reason why Jia Jia Ye and the team at the healthcare startup studio Redesign Health, were able to raise $15.6 million in a recent round of funding for the new startup, Springtide Child Development.

A longtime executive in the healthcare industry with previous stints at OneMedical and Oscar, Ye and Redesign Health’s team began talking two years ago about potential business ideas. The group settled on autism care because of what they saw as the clear need in the market, Ye said.

“Why this immediately clicked is that the supply and demand imbalance was super clear,” Ye said. 

Simply put, Springtide combines the concierge medical business model with early childcare and education businesses like Sylvan Learning to offer autism care through specialists and a team of registered behavioral technicians.

To ensure that as many people as possible can use Springtide’s services the company takes both private insurance and Medicaid.

So far, the company has one clinic set up in Connecticut providing both remote and in-person services, and it plans to launch several sites throughout the Northeast on the back of its $15.6 million in financing.

Joining Ye in designing the company’s facilities and treatment services is Dr. Tiva Pierce, who previously worked at Constellation Health Services, which provides behavioral and physical healthcare through schools.

Like many companies which had an in-person services model, Springtide had to pivot to delivering remote care as soon as the pandemic lockdowns hit the Northeast.

Image Credit: Thetaree Sarmkasat iStock / Getty Images Plus

The company charges Medicaid $46 per hour and commercial payers will be charged between $50 and $60 per hour, but the company’s services will only cost families their typical co-pay and deductible.

Taking Medicaid was a priority, Ye said, to increase access for more people who need it.

Already, the families in the US spend about $17 billion on ABA therapy, according to Ye. And the overall spending on autism related issues is $68 billion, she said.

The financing, which came from Deerfield Management and Optum Ventures, will be used to expand the company’s footprint and staff, which currently numbers roughly 30 employees.

“The rapidly growing autism care market is highly fragmented and uncoordinated, which creates significant challenges for children and their families who deserve to have access to care that is consistently of exceptional quality,” said Julian Harris, M.D., Partner at Deerfield. “Springtide offers an interdisciplinary, in-center care experience with a tech-enabled wrap-around for families who want their children to get all of their care in one setting.  With an emphasis on outcomes measurement, we hope that Springtide can serve as a platform for care and research, ultimately establishing the gold standard in this field.

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