The Growth of Telehealth
During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer usage of telehealth soared from 11% to 46% in the US.
Beyond the clear reasons for that period’s spike, telehealth’s rapid adoption points to a fast-growing future during this phase of the global pandemic and beyond.
There is an immense opportunity for telehealth technologies and services to provide comprehensive monitoring and delivery of care from a distance.
Telehealth is significant for those older adults with a high number of appointments, potentially limited transportation options, and the added stress for their caregivers.
The ATA Telehealth Convention
The American Telemedicine Association ata2022 annual conference was held last week in Boston.
One of the most exciting portions of the conference was the ATA’s first annual Telehealth Innovators Challenge.
Over 100 companies applied and 20 judges narrowed the field to 3 finalists in each of the 3 categories
The three categories included: in-patient care solutions, the patient experience, and tools that deliver care.
In-Patient Care Solutions
Digital tools to help remote patients receive telehealth services
Pulsenmore - People’s Choice Award & Category Winner
Pulsenmore has developed the first at-home ultrasound device operated via a mobile app. By attaching an ultrasound cradle to the patient’s smartphone and using their mobile app a patient can complete a self-scan and conduct an online consultation with a clinician. The scan and consultation's results seamlessly added to the patient's EHR.
In cooperation with Israel's largest HMO, Clalit Health Services, the Pulsensomore has already been implemented across Israel. The device has been approved and deployed in Europe and Israel but is still pending approval in the US.
Founded In 2015, Pulsenmore completed an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in 2021, raising 40 million. With this funding and recognition at ata2022, Pulsenmore's entry into the US market has significant momentum.
Everside Health combines telephone, virtual and in-person appointments onto a single platform. What sets Everside apart from other platform providers is that it is structured as an employer benefit. With 375 health centers in over 145 US markets across 34 states, over 570,000 patients at onsite or near-site locations or virtually.
Everside focuses on developing a longitudinal relationship with each patient no matter where they are in their network and by offering transparent dashboards, performance metrics, and insights to each patient.
Following a 9-month trial, Everside’s continuity of care model supported early sleep apnea detection in 4.7% of patients, previously undiagnosed diabetes in 7%, and 16.2% had positive cancer screens requiring further testing. Employers save 17% on claims costs by year three and 31% by year five based on retrospective savings analysis.
Founded in 2010, Everside Health’s most recent venture round in 2018 raised $165 million. Following that round, Everside Health acquired three onsite health clinics and regional direct primary care providers.
Founded in 2018, Andor Health helps clinicians design their own digital experiences. They can orchestrate the patient’s experience and drive insights and relevant data.
The ThinkAndor Care Collaboration Platform
- Provides a unified platform approach
- Uses AI to curate appropriate clinical context to care teams right within the virtual point of care
- Configure taxonomy and role-specific clinical orchestration
ThinkAndor’s platform acts as one pane of glass in the patient’s EHR. From each virtual visit, clinicians can turn the visits into actionable data. Currently, Andor has received funding from Microsoft’s M12 Venture fund and works with forty US, UK, and Canadian healthcare systems.
The Patient Experience
Digital tools to help increase patient’s access to care to improve healthcare outcomes
Stel Life Inc – Judge’s Award and Category Winner
Stel Life's vitals hub can transmit data from nearly any remote patient monitoring device without WIFI or tech literacy. Users do not even need to know to operate any tablet or smartphone. The Stel Life hub picks up the vital recordings and transmits them directly into the patient's EHR. It is practically universal, with requested device integrations available shortly after request.
Founded initially as a digital health platform, Stel (simple technology everyone loves), the pandemic inspired founder Sid Kadan to pivot towards hardware. Since the pandemic's beginning, Stel Life's simple to use hub has transmitted 1.5 million vitals.
Their recent case study found in 60 high-risk congestive heart failure patients found:
- 50% reduction in all-cause readmissions
- 83% reduction in 7-day all-cause readmissions
- 100% in 3-Day all-cause readmissions
- Pay for Value, estimated savings: $63,357
- Fee for service estimated revenue: $58,680
The hub only costs $130 and requires a $10 per month subscription for wireless service. With its low-cost and simple deployment, Stel Life is helping healthcare providers transition to value-based contracts. Founded in 2016, Stel Lift has received $1.3 million in funding from firms like Social Capital and Dreamit Ventures over their previous two rounds.
Vori Health provides an integrated and holistic platform for musculoskeletal care. Musculoskeletal care includes treating muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and joints.
Vori Health shared that up to 50% of musculoskeletal (MSK) care is unnecessary. Roughly 100 million adults in the US are affected by chronic pain, and nearly 500,000 Americans undergo surgery each year for low back problems alone. These costs can rise to $90 billion each year to relieve back pain. They hope to improve MSK care by performing fewer surgeries.
This extreme, often intensive care level can cause overutilization of the ER, significant imaging overuse, drive the opiate crisis, and increase workers’ comps costs. Co-founders, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mary O’Connor and neurosurgeon Dr. Ryan Grant bring their first-hand surgical experience into developing their whole person care platform. Vori Health allows fully integrated, licensed, and employed elite clinicians and surgeons.
Their service offers a tiered-team approach to help patients find the best path forward. The tiered-team method includes a physical therapist, health coach navigator, and nonoperative physician.
Vori Health plans to introduce a social network for current patients to connect with previous patients and discuss their treatment and recovery. Vori Health also takes the personalized care tracking one step further, with a fully customizable avatar that can demonstrate the recommended at-home physical therapy.
Vori Health currently partners with Medicare Advantage plans and PCP referrals and is a standalone service. Their team has found that their digital platform offers a remarkable 4 to 1 return on investment. Last year, Vori Health raised $50 million from 9 investors through their series A funding round.
Midi Health is a streamlined platform focused on women’s midlife care. 75% of women have reported that doctors don’t address their menopause symptoms. While 80% of doctors receive no training in menopause care, those with expertise have long waiting lists and are undercompensated
Midi Health’s platform addresses the pain points for women’s midlife health. It provides concierge level-care at a low cost. Their team found that 95% of women’s care can be delivered virtually.
Mostly their patients just need to be heard and understood, which can require longer appointments. After a consultation, the patient can be directed to local labs or have supplements mailed out.
Their platform and experts can redirect patients through the healthcare system, simplifying care and saving costs. Midi Health is the only complete platform that takes insurance and is fully integrated with health care systems.
Tools that Deliver Care
Tools that monitors patients and collects patient care data across care settings
BioBeat – Category Winner
Israel-based BioBeat has developed a remote patient monitor to measure 13 vital signs.
It is in a wrist monitor for long-term and short-term patients and a chest monitor. Of the 13 parameters, it monitors, five are FDA cleared. BioBeat is the only cuffless FDA-cleared monitor. BioBeat is the only remote patient monitor with all crucial vital fitting into the entire continuum of care.
In addition to their device, BioBeat’s platform has an AI-based early warning score system. The scoring system can detect deterioration from customizable thresholds. Their goal is to help shift medicine from reactive to proactive and predictive care.
BioBeat was founded in 2016 and is active in 12 countries, with the US its primary market. Currently, they have 40 clients in the US, including healthcare providers, hospital at home organizations, and pharmaceutical companies.
Kit is working to transform the diagnostic experience. Patients can access lab testing and proven medical devices wherever they are.
Their bundles can offer an annual physical in a box. With a consumer-focused, simplified user experience, Kit makes diagnostic testing simple for physicians and patients.
Their FDA-approved bundle of machines and tests for stool, blood, etc., are all proven. In addition, a live agent is available to walk the patient through the testing process.
Kit works directly with consumers with telehealth companies, life insurers, and traditional health companies. Their customizable, client-focused approach Kit was acquired by direct-to-consumer virtual care company Ro in 2021.
Biofourmis offers personalized, end-to-end predictive care in the home. Their platform gathers data, performs FDA-cleared analytics, and is paired with clinical services. Biofourmis is not just monitoring but delivering complex care in the house.
First, the patient-facing, wearable, mobile, or hub collects their physiological data. Then that data is processed and prioritized through their Biovitals Analytics Engine. And then, clinical support and services are personalized for the patients.
Their technology ecosystem includes:
BioVitals Index – brings disease, data, and machine learning together to process active and passive patient data to allow earlier intervention.
Patient Companion App – the customized app improves engagement and compliance with regular reminders and helpful information
Clinician Dashboard integrates with clinical workflows and EHRs and can streamline billing, payments, and overall care coordination to identify efficiencies.
Biofourmis tools have led to a 38% cost reduction for hospital-at-home patients and a 70% reduction in 30-day readmission rates. These remarkable results have shown Biofourmis to raise $443.6 million. With CVSHealth, Sequoia Capital, and the SoftBank Vision Fund making investments.
ata2022 & the Future of Longevity
Each of the nine innovators can help improve care delivery, quality, and accessibility. Any advances in those three areas will reduce costs and improve health outcomes for older adults. As older adults rely most on healthcare providers, any new efficiencies will enhance their experience and strengthen the continuum of care.
But, more directly focused on the needs of older adults, several of the technologies stood out. Stel Life's simple remote patient monitoring transmitter was designed for those without tech experience. The potential for something this simple can unlock remote patient monitoring and telehealth opportunities for many older adults without a smartphone or Wi-Fi network.
Vori Health serves the MSK consultations and treatment, which can help preserve or improve an older adult's mobility. Their virtual platform can help limit in-office appointments and offer additional instruction and adherence notifications.
The powerful BioBeat monitor coupled with a high-powered dashboard like BioFourmis's could help many receive acute care in the home. Incorporating reliable daily data, clinicians can analyze a patient's trends and take preventive steps fast. This preventative care model would help many older adults avoid sudden health challenges.
Pulsenmore has an incredible opportunity to deliver high-level prenatal care to a woman living in remote areas. It also puts the magical experience of ultrasound in the patient's hand. Their device solved a problem, limited women's health centers in remote areas with a simple device. Similarly, Stel Life took the complicated nature of multiple remote patient monitoring devices from different manufacturers with different apps and built a universal connector with the patient EHR. With Pulsenmore winning the viewer's vote count and Stel Life winning the judges' awards, this streamlined approach is desired in healthcare.