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AMERICAN WELL PARTNERS WITH PHILIPS, ALLIANZ TO DRIVE TELEHEALTH GROWTH: American Well is doubling down on efforts to expand its telemedicine services footprint announcing a new round of funding from insurer Allianz and a partnership with tech giant Philips.
- American Well will receive more than $US59 million in funding from Allianz. American Well will lean on Allianz’s industry expertise to build its telehealth platform, combining wearable sensors, remote monitoring, and virtual visits to expand access to healthcare, lower associated costs, and improve the overall quality of healthcare.
- Philips will embed American Well‘s telehealth services in its digital health solutions. The multi-year agreement will begin with Philips’ uGrow parenting app, which is designed to support parents monitoring their baby’s development. American Well will enable uGrow users to have access to 24-7 access to healthcare professionals.
American Well is likely hoping the two new partnerships will help it realise its international ambitions.Allianz and Philips have strong international ties in the health care market. That could help American Well navigate differing telemedicine licensing and reimbursement issues in each individual market, according to Forbes.
American Well isn’t alone in eyeing the international telehealth market. US telemedicine company Teladoc acquired medical directory app Best Doctors in 2017. The purchase gave Teladoc a global network of 50,000 medical experts and could boost annual revenue for the company.
Telemedicine services have grown rapidly over the past few years as health systems look to tech to boost hospital efficiency and drive customer growth and retention. In 2017, roughly 75% of US health systems either already were, or intended to implement a telehealth offering, according to a survey by Foley & Lardner. That’s a significant shift in sentiment compared to findings in the first survey in 2014 when 87% of respondents said that patients wouldn’t want virtual care services in 2017.
- Telemedicine can reduce hospitalisation costs and readmission rates. Unnecessary hospitalizations were reduced by almost 50% for US patients enrolled in a telehealth program for one-year, according to Banner Health. Telemedicine also reduced 30-day readmission rates by 75%.
- Some customers are willing to switch services for telemedicine access. Around 50 million US customers would choose another care provider if they offered remote visits, according to calculations based on a 2017 American Well Survey. That’s up 194% from the 17 million customers in 2015.
ALLSCRIPTS CONTINUES EXPANSION EFFORT WITH $US100 MILLION ACQUISITION: Allscripts, a provider of healthcare information technology solutions, will acquire Practice Fusion, an electric health record (EHR) vendor, for $US100 million in cash. The acquisition, slated to finalise by the end of Q1 2018, will give Allscripts access to Practice Fusion’s cloud-based EHR, a solution that focuses on small, traditionally hard-to-reach, independent physician practices. This move will strengthen the firm’s outpatient EHR offerings and expand its reach. Currently, Practice Fusion supports 30,000 ambulatory practices. This is Allscripts’ second major acquisition in the last six months, as it works to solidify its position in the EHR market. In August 2017, the firm acquired McKesson’s health IT business for $US185 million in part to access the firm’s Paragon EHR solution, which doubled Allscripts’ hospital client base in the US.
GE HEALTHCARE AND ROCHE TEAM UP TO IMPROVE ONCOLOGY AND CRITICAL CARE TREATMENT: GE Healthcare is teaming up with Roche, the pharmaceutical and diagnostics company, to jointly develop clinical decision support solutions. The firms will initially focus on improving treatment options for oncology and intensive care patients by developing a new digital platform that gives physicians access to workflow solutions and apps to support clinical decisions. The platform will use advanced analytics and integrated data, which includes in-vivo and in-vitro data, patient records, and real-time monitoring information, to help physcians decide on the best treatment options for patients. If GE and Roche are able to attract health systems with their new solutions, they could see big returns from a rapidly growing market – the global clinical decision support systems market is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 12% to reach $US1.5 billion by 2021, up from $US857 million in 2016,according to MarketsandMarkets.
STAGNANT US DOCTOR JOB GROWTH HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF DIGITAL HEALTH: The total number of physicians in the US grew just 2% between 2012 and 2015, according to the American Medical Association’s 2018 National Economic Impact of Physicians report. This muted growth could result in a vast shortage of care providers as demand for healthcare continues to outstrip the country’s ability to provide it, Healthcare Dive reports. For instance, by 2025, US citizens aged 65 years and older – an age bracket that accounts for the largest share of chronic illness sufferers – will grow by more than 15%, according to PHI. The findings of the report underscore the importance of digital health solutions, such as telehealth, machine-learning for things like radiology, and chatbots, which have already shown some evidence of supplementing human resources for healthcare organisations in areas such as mental health. It’s likely that investment, research, and adoption of digital health solutions will continue to grow rapidly as health systems explore ways to ensure they can meet future healthcare demands.
IN OTHER NEWS…
- Spirosure, a company that makes breath-based diagnostic and monitoring devices, raised $US15 million in its latest round of funding, according to MobiHealthNews. The company will use the funding to drive sales and pay for regulatory processes in Europe, China, and Japan.
- Reflexion Health, a virtual rehabilitation platform, partnered with aged care provider Jewish Home for a new virtual rehabilitation therapy program for seniors. The virtual service allows multiple patients to undergo rehabilitation therapy at once via a TV screen while being monitored remotely by their physician who can provide individual feedback to participants.
- Change Healthcare announced the general availability of the Intelligent Healthcare Network, it’s blockchain-enabled claims management platform, according to HIT Consultant. The offering is the first enterprise-scale blockchain solution in healthcare and allows businesses to track the status of claims in real-time, with greater accuracy and transparency than existing systems.
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