Things & Thinks-Issue XLVIII

Santosh Shevade
7 min readOct 4, 2023

This is the 48th edition of my newsletter! I haven’t been able to publish for the past month so there is a lot to catch up on- some interesting research in digital health, the usual news round up and the monthly Longread, Tweet and Chart of the Month sections.

From this month, I have also added a section on BigTech GenAI play, starting with some updates from Google, including a fun experiment of creating an image that suits the content using GenAI!

Wishing everyone a productive, healthy and happy Fourth Quarter for 2023!

Research Digest

Digital Health Technologies That Are Too Futuristic To Be In Practice Now (If Ever)

The Medical Futurist published a deep-dive about the futuristic applications into healthcare. It discusses the futuristic digital health technologies that are still in their infancy and may not be in practice anytime soon.

The article highlights the challenges that must be overcome before addressing those technologies, such as the need for more research and development, regulatory approval, and ethical considerations.

The article also discusses the potential of generative AI in healthcare and its potential to improve the effectiveness of AI in the medical profession. Perhaps most interestingly the article enlists a number of health-tech innovations and predictions about how far in the future will they be a reality-

Some other futuristic innovations it lists are-

  • Implant-free brain-computer interfaces
  • Genetic editing to cure diseases
  • Nanoparticles that can target and destroy cancer cells
  • Artificial intelligence that can diagnose diseases more accurately than human doctors

Digital therapeutics: using software to treat, manage, and prevent disease

Digital therapeutics can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic diseases, mental health disorders, and pain.

Software overload could boost digital health M&A

According to this Healthcare Dive article, buyers of digital health products are overwhelmed with point solutions, which could accelerate merger and acquisition activity in a slowed funding environment.

It can be challenging for point solutions companies to cut through the noise with purchasers who are often fatigued by the amount of software available to them. Point solution companies, which may focus on managing one condition like diabetes or handling one problem like providing a risk score for mental health conditions, are at a disadvantage compared to companies that offer multiple tools.

The article suggests that the digital health M&A activity could increase due to the overwhelming number of point solutions available to buyers. This could leave point solutions companies at a disadvantage compared to companies that offer multiple tools. For example, in 2020, Teladoc’s acquisition of Livongo for $18.5 billion combined one of the largest telehealth platforms in the U.S. with one of the biggest names in chronic condition management. This consolidation of the virtual care market may make sense for clients looking to get a broader variety of services from one vendor, and provides a single access point to digital care for consumers.

Digital Healthcare News

#GenAI and #BigTech in #Healthcare

Google:

  • Google is collaborating with healthcare providers to use generative AI to improve clinical workflows and reduce the burden of administrative tasks.
  • The handoff of information between nurses at the end of a shift is a risky part of the healthcare journey, as there is a risk that information could be lost or misinterpreted.
  • HCA Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare providers in the US, is using Google’s generative AI technology to document emergency room visits and speed up nurse handoffs. The technology can help workers interpret data such as a patient’s medical history, imaging records, genomics, or labs more quickly and with a simple query.

“[It’s] a risky part of the healthcare journey, because we’re transferring information from one healthcare provider to another,” says Michael Schlosser, senior vice president of care transformation and innovation for HCA Healthcare. “We have to make sure that it’s done in an accurate way and that nothing falls through the cracks.”

  • Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are all vying for healthcare AI supremacy, each with its own approach. Google is focused on developing AI tools for specific use cases, such as reading and labeling medical images. Amazon is leveraging its cloud market share to offer healthcare customers access to its AI platforms. Microsoft is leveraging its Nuance acquisition to gain a foothold in the healthcare sector.
  • HCA is piloting a generative AI tool to help nurses create handover notes. The tool ingests patient data from the past 12 hours and spits out a transfer summary, that also includes suggestions for what the oncoming nurse should be thinking about in the next 12 hours.

The fun part of using GenAI for generating an image!

Depicting Google’s role in healthcare in art deco style!

Tech in Digital Health

YouTube launched THE-IQ Creator Program to support health professionals creating high quality health content highlighting underrepresented communities, up to $10,000 to assist with content creation.

GE HealthCare, Mass General Brigham codevelop AI algorithm for scheduling, that helps predict missed appointments, failure to schedule follow-up visits and late arrivals. GE also announced partnership with Mayo Clinic, called ‘Strategic Collaboration for Innovation in Medical Imaging and Theranostics’

Paige is developing with Microsoft a new AI model that is orders-of-magnitude larger than any other image-based AI model existing today, configured with billions of parameters.

Pharma/Device Brief

Biogen announced closure of Biogen Digital Health and retreat from Apple Study.

Boehringer Ingelheim has partnered with NHS’s Lincolnshire Heart Centre to start a new ear in care for patients with diabetes

Boehringer Ingelheim and ZEISS Medical Technology entered a long-term strategic collaboration to develop predictive analytics to enable early detection of eye diseases and prevent vision loss for people with serious eye diseases.

Eisai has established a new digital health business targeting dementia, called Theoria Technologies.

Regulatory/Policy Brief

Natural Cycles received 510(k) clearance from the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as from European regulators for integration with Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra.

Startup incubator in Hyderabad, India, T-Hub hosted a distinguished delegation from the United States Food & Drug Administration (US FDA).

Funding, Deals, Mergers & acquisitions

New Mountain Capital’s HealthComp and Marlin Equity Partners’ Virgin Pulse to merge, with backing from Blackstone and JPMorgan’s healthcare unit in $3 B Merger.

Ambulatory technology company NextGen Healthcare was acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo for $1.8 B.

Generative AI-focused biotech startup Evozyne raises $81M, to develop algorithms that put proteins through millions of years of simulated evolution to identify potential functional candidates.

Spencer Health Solutions, a pharma services and health technology company, raised $43 M.

Doceree, the global network of physician-only platforms for programmatic messaging,raised $35 M.

Digital gastrointestinal health company Vivante Health raised $31 M; it offers a platform dubbed GIThrive that provides personalized care plans. Patients can track their symptoms and access educational content and self-guided behavioral health modules.

Inbound Health, a value-based care enablement platform for health systems and plans to provide at-home acute and post-acute care, raised $30 M.

Diligent Robotics, maker of the autonomous clinical support robot Moxi, raised $25 M

Eldercare robot ElliQ nabs another $25 M

School-focused telemental health provider Cartwheel raised $20 M.

Sempre Health, providing solutions for behavior-based healthcare pricing, raised $20M.

Cigna is partnering with Virgin Pulse for an AI-powered platform to empower consumers to take control of their mental, physical and social health through better choices and setting achievable goals.

Consumer Digital Health & Other News

Costco will will offer members access to medical care through a deal with online marketplace Sesame for $29.

On similar lines, Instacart expanded access to food as medicine by partnering with Alignment Healthcare & InComm Payments

Walgreens partnered with value-based care platform Pearl Health.
The drugstore chain and tech-enabled digital health platform will support providers in helping their patients transition to home after being discharged from the hospital.

Akili cuts workforce another 40%, pivots to selling digital therapeutics over the counter. That shift is expected to reduce Akili’s operating expenses, improve its margins and make its digital apps more accessible to people who need them

Intermountain Healthcare, a health system that operates 33 hospitals across seven western states, is transitioning from Oracle Health’s Cerner electronic health record to rival Epic, citing higher physician satisfaction scores as one key factor. On similar lines, Pittsburgh-based UPMC, which operates 40 hospitals and 800 outpatient sites, also plans to consolidate nine EHRs to one system, operated by Epic, by mid-2026.

Click Therapeutics will collaborate with addiction treatment maker Indivior to make digital therapeutics for substance use disorders

Longread of the Month

This visualization+ storytelling approach is a fascinating way to provide research updates and make it easy for everyone to understand the details of the findings

Tweet of the Month

This tweet by @AlecStapp gives fascinating insights into serendipity of #Innovation

Chart of the Month

This chart by Our World In Data gives staggering information about how AI systems perform better than humans in language and image recognition in some tests. The applications for #healthcare #technology are immense.

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Santosh Shevade

Healthcare Innovation | Outcomes Research | Implementation and Impact