Things & Thinks-Issue XXXIX

Santosh Shevade
6 min readOct 11, 2022

As we start with the last quarter of this year, the pace of work continues to pick up for everyone. And so in this issue, we have a quick review of some interesting research in digital health, the usual news round up and the monthly Mental Model, Longread, Tweet and Chart of the Month sections. Hope you like the curation.

Research Digest

Invisible numbers-The true extent of NCDs

WHO released a status report about NCDs and how most countries are “far off track” in their efforts to reduce premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

I especially liked the NCD Best-buys approach- investing less than US$ 1 per person per year could save 7 million lives in some of those countries by 2030, with even more deaths averted beyond this timeframe. The return on investment of each individual intervention is significant, and the economic and social benefits for these countries could be more than US$ 230 billion.

Vertically Integrated AI development

NPJ Digital Medicine has an interesting perspective about how even robustly built models using state-of-the-art algorithms may fail once tested in realistic environments due to various reasons and provide vertically integrated AI as an approach for AI development; they outline three actions-

  • To work across all supply chain components in parallel from the planning stage, by aligning to requirements of the final product.
  • To move beyond academically focused groups to cross-disciplinary teams, where end-users, developers and deployment engineers, and implementation experts, play as significant a role as clinician scientists and data scientists.
  • Developing a strategy within research groups, provider organisations, or technology companies, that can facilitate these processes.

Digital Healthcare News

Tech in Digital Health

Apple added several new features to its latest release of Apple Watch-Series 8 and Ultra models- including dual body temperature sensors, atrial fibrillation tracking, menstrual cycle tracking and a Medications app that’ll send pre-programmed reminders and can be used to track medication adherence.

LifePoint Health will utilize Google Cloud’s Healthcare Data Engine to improve community-based healthcare delivery in the 29 states where the company operates, to help clinicians gain near real-time, globalized views of patients’ records as opposed to isolated data sets.

Novo Nordisk will collaborate with Microsoft to use its AI and and other cloud-based data analytics tools for Novo’s R&D efforts.

Regulatory/Policy Brief

Viz.ai received FDA 510(k) clearance for its pulmonary embolism-related algorithm

Biopharma/Devices Brief

GlaxoSmithKline will collaborate with Medable in a four-year deal to use its platform for decentralized clinical trials and to recruit more diverse trial patient populations.

Medtronic partnered with BioIntelliSense for exclusive U.S. distribution of BioButton, a multi-parameter wearable for continuous remote patient monitoring from in-hospital to home.

Novartis and Kaiku Health’s (Kaiku) partnership to develop digital patient monitoring and management for patients with melanoma is being expanded to provide improved cancer care to more patients across multiple indications.

AI jobs accounted for 7% of all new job postings at pharma companies in July 2022, according to GlobalData analysis, compared to 2% a year prior.

Epic launched a program for clinical trial matchmaking in effort to expand access to marginalized participants; it will work with providers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers to recruit participants for research, expand trial access to underrepresented communities

Funding, Deals, Mergers & acquisitions

CVS has agreed to acquire Signify Health for $8B. The retail pharmacy giant’s deal to acquire Signify will add 10,000 clinicians under CVS’ umbrella, along with technology to help providers, plans and employers coordinate in-home care.

Google parent company Alphabet led a $1 billion investment in Verily, its health technology business, to support initiatives including real world evidence generation and healthcare data platforms that underpin its precision health strategy.

Drug distributor McKesson Corporation would acquire Rx Savings Solutions, a pharma technology firm, for up to $875M.

Walmart and UnitedHealth Group agreed to a 10-year partnership that aims to drive value-based care adoption for Walmart’s clinicians as well as launch a new Medicare Advantage plan.

Walgreens Boots Alliance will invest $330M in post-acute and home healthcare company CareCentrix, getting 55% stake of the company.

Redesign Health, which helps build, launch and find funding for digital health startups, raised $65M.

Theranica raised $45M, for developing its prescription digital therapeutics developer focused on migraine care.

PurpleLab raised $40M; it provides a no-code analytics platform that enables life science, payers, providers, and other healthcare stakeholders to develop real-world evidence.

Connected pillbox maker MedMinder received $35M.

A platform that offers doctors and hospitals in EU access to a portfolio of solutions based on AI, Incepto has raised €27M in funding to improve the quality of diagnosis, and save time for medical teams, without having to change equipment.

Morgan Health invested $20M in home diagnostics company LetsGetChecked.

Fair Square Medicare secured $15M to build out digital care navigator for seniors.

Nutromics has received a $14M for further development of its a continuous diagnostic monitoring platform called lab-in-a-patch.

Mayo Clinic expanded its relationship with Nference to use deidentified patient data to help research and discover disease diagnoses and treatments.

Other News

Oscar Health is losing health insurer Health First Shared Services as a customer of its information tech platform +Oscar, amid ongoing struggles implementing the product on a broad scale, leading to losses up to $60 million in revenue.

The US Federal Trade Commission is suing data broker Kochava for selling the geolocation data of hundreds of millions of mobile devices that could be used to track the physical location of consumers.

According to FBI, research has found an average of 6.2 vulnerabilities per medical device and that 40% of medical devices at the end-of-life stage offer little to no security patches or upgrades.

Mental Model of the Month

I love the way Sketchplanations describes what to think about when adding new features to your product/service. Features are like pets! New features are probably one of the key differentiators of your offering compared to others, but it bears a little consideration before adding something. Definitely true for a lot of what we see in healthcare new product development!

Longread of the Month

This article in Politico is an interesting read about how global health agenda is being driven by a few influencers and how it can lead to further inequities and challenges, taking examples from their huge influence on the management of COVID-19 pandemic-

  • The ACT-A diagnostics team set a target of making 500 million tests accessible to low-and middle-income countries by the middle of 2021. It procured just 84 million tests by June 2021, only 16 percent of its target.
  • The therapeutics team originally set a goal of delivering 245 million treatments to low- and middle-income countries by 2021 but later changed the target to 100 million new treatments by the end of 2021. As of June of that year, the therapeutics team had allocated only about 1.8 million treatments.
  • COVAX set the aim of delivering 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021. By Jan 2022, it had only delivered 950 million doses.

Tweet of the Month

Amazon’s new sleep tracking feature raises some questions!

Chart of the Month

The younger generations in the US are typically spending less on healthcare, but they’re also less likely to be insured — so those who do get sick could be left with a hefty bill.

via Visual Capitalist

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Santosh Shevade

Healthcare Innovation | Outcomes Research | Implementation and Impact