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  • Age Related Barriers to Digital Health Remain-The HSB Blog 5/24/22

    Our Take: Age-related barriers to using digital health services persist, despite the significant uptake and shift to digitized healthcare. Digital health companies that design user friendly services or products for the elderly could mitigate adverse health-related outcomes and worsened chronic conditions linked to usage barriers by addressing the age-related barriers. Technological literacy gaps seen amongst the elderly are worth considering in the design and implementation of digital health innovations for the elderly to ensure digital inclusion. Key Takeaways: Just 26% of internet users ages 65 and over say they feel very confident when using computers, smartphones or other electronic devices to do the things they need to do online according to a 2015 Pew Research Center Study. As noted by Dario Health President Rick Anderson “The pandemic pushed the digital health world forward at an expedited rate of 15 years in three weeks.” A 2021 survey from American Advisors Group found that “83% of respondents stated they feel safer at home compared to elsewhere, and 40% said their independence is the most important benefit of aging in place.” Tomorrow Health CEO Vijay Kedar states that “90% of senior citizens wanted to age in place (at home), making the home the highest value site of care.” The Problem: Digital health is becoming an integral part of healthcare. The COVID pandemic has brought many more digital health solutions into the mainstream as a method of receiving care, yet certain demographics like the elderly risk being left out. This is a result of the massive digital health information divide between the younger and older generations. For example a 2015 Pew Research Center study noted that roughly 73% of seniors would consider themselves confident in their ability to use electronic devices to do necessary online activities. Similarly a November 2020 study from AgeUK found that, 39% of over 65s [in the U.K.] don’t feel confident using a smartphone. Although the pandemic has shown that the elderly can engage and receive healthcare digitally, the existing technologies do not meet the needs of the elderly because it is lacking in seamlessness and usability. Digital health companies that value inclusion need to adapt the design and functionality of technological solutions to provide value-based care to elderly patients. The Backdrop: The significant increase in digital health adoption and utilization by the elderly triggered by the pandemic has pushed healthcare innovators to explore innovating frictionless digital health experience for older users. In addition, a 2021 survey from American Advisors Group found that “83% of respondents stated they feel safer at home compared to elsewhere, and 40% said their independence is the most important benefit of aging in place.” However, the gap in digital health literacy has posed a major challenge to digital health adoption compared to that seen among younger, more digitally native users. Many older adults may also face physical limitations such as hearing, sight or dexterity that might limit their use of devices. Digital health solutions that are intentional about creating user interfaces that are easy to understand and utilize could yield positive health outcomes for the elderly. For example, companies like VitalTech have developed smart wearable devices that use a cloud-based platform to improve patient health and wellness through connected care. In addition, smartwatches from consumer electronics manufacturers like Apple and Samsung are increasingly seeking ways to connect with or tailor products for seniors that can help them track vitals, send alerts for falls and even give daily medication reminders. VitalTech’s interface between the smartphone applications that accompany the smartwatch is viewable by family members and could alert them to any potential threats to the user’s health. Implications: Digital health solutions can have a significant impact on the health outcomes and well-being of seniors. With fewer in-person healthcare options combined with the risk of exposure to COVID, older people who have chronic health conditions are being persuaded to embrace them more readily. This alongside mobility issues or other healthcare needs are “increasingly willing to turn toward virtual health services and products so they don’t have to leave the home”. These technologies can be particularly helpful with certain chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, where lifestyle modification and self-management of chronic conditions are critical to improving outcomes. Studies have shown the significant effects of mHealth interventions in improving cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure control, smoking cessation, and physical activity.” Therefore, creating user-friendly, easy-to-use applications for senior citizens and younger generations alike is a key way to reduce adverse health effects such as chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and blood glucose related conditions. Also, monitoring devices that allow for continuous tracking of elderly patients’ chronic condition such as diabetes and hypertension can help give a more continuous picture of a patient’s condition, which could lead to earlier preventive care or mitigate health risks for older adults. While the projected growth of the aging at home trend presents ample opportunity for digital health companies to target and invest significantly in digital health solutions, these solutions must be customized for them in order to achieve success. Related Reading: Seniors aren't tech averse. We're just not designing for their needs Barriers to adoption and attitudes towards technology Seniors’ Desire to Age in Place Remains Overwhelmingly Popular

  • Scouting Report-Osmind: an eHR for doctors and researchers Targeting TreatmenT-resistant Depression

    The Driver: Osmind recently raised $40 million in Series B funding round led by DFJ Growth, with additional participation from Susa Ventures, General Catalyst, Future Ventures, Tiger Global, Pear VC, and angels Lachy Groom, Brent Saunders, Helena Goodman, and Ariel Katz. The US-based startup is a technology platform for breakthrough mental health treatment and research. Osmind is an electronic health record designed exclusively for doctors and researchers who use and study ketamine, other psychedelics, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for treatment-resistant depression. The platform supports clinicians treating individuals with serious and refractory mental health conditions, such as severe depression, suicidality, PTSD, substance use disorders, anxiety, and OCD, among other conditions. The funds generated from the fundraising round will be used to continue developing and scaling its EHR, carry out research with additional partners, and expand the staff. Key Takeaways: Mental Illnesses are common in the U.S with nearly 1 in 5 U.S adults living with a mental illness (52.9 million in 2020) according to the National Institute of Mental Health. According to one study the national burden of treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is $29–$48 billion annually and assumes that 12%–20% among all patients with depression have TRD. Spending on mental health treatment and services reached $225 billion in 2019, according to an Open Minds Market Intelligence Report. In 2020 an estimated 21.0 million (8.4%) adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The Story: The U.S-based startup Osmind was founded by CEO and Co-founder Lucia Huang and COO and Co-founder Jimmy Qian in 2020. Their mission is to empower clinicians and researchers to develop innovative mental health treatments for patients who have not responded to other therapeutic treatments for depression. Prior to founding Osmind, the 2 co-founders led successful businesses in biotechnology and health tech respectively. Lucia Huang led business and operations at Verge Genomics which used AI for central nervous system diseases like ALS and Parkinson’s. Qian was a medical research fellow at the Stanford University School of Medicine and a researcher in digital health, mental health, and health policy. The two co-founders came together to make an EHR platform for mental health clinicians to manage their patients’ records. The Osmind software will be sold to researchers, psychiatrists, and other specialties as the latest innovation in EHR. The Differentiators: Osmind’s software is unique in that it has a number of features that are noton other mental health EHR platforms. For example, since Osmind was built by psychiatrists it includes ketamine infusion and therapy templates, interventional psych templates, synchronized vital sign monitoring, and many more. In addition, while Ketamine has been administered previously, after its recent approval many clinicians are looking at other ways to administer it safely. As noted in an article in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, “we believe ketamine can benefit patients with a wide variety of diagnoses when administered with psychotherapy and using its psychedelic properties without need for intravenous (IV) access. Its proven safety over decades of use makes it ideal for office and supervised at-home use.“ In addition to having templates for Ketamine and other psychedelics, Lucia Huang notes, “we automate a lot of patient-reported outcomes and other sorts of data tracking on patients which is really important for this patient population because providers don’t want to fly blind between visits. They want to know how patients are doing so they can adjust their care plan accordingly”. Osmind attempts to be a broad package that simplifies mental health treatment workflow and enhances the patient experience. The website also allows clinicians to book a free demo for their own practice before buying the product. According to Lucia Huang, co-founder, “Existing tooling is just not serving providers well and it’s causing them to burn out.” In addition to those noted above, Osmind has several other noteworthy features including streamlined charting workflows, secure patient engagement, and automated outcomes tracking. As mental health research and treatments advance, so should the medical systems that clinicians use. These updates to the EHR system aim to provide users and patients with a better experience by incorporating the tracking of patient health outcomes. The Big Picture: Osmind’s solution hhighlights for us the fact that technology currently being used to house patients’ medical records is outdated, and are more focused on physical health. As such refinements are needed to customize them for the demands of behavioral healthcare. This solution is meant to increase clinician efficiency and the availability of patient records through the use of AI and the application of new non-traditional treatments. For the Osmind platform to succeed, clinicians and researchers need to adopt and implement this system starting with psychiatric clinics. The best way to prove its effectiveness is to use Osmind in everyday practices. Gathering data and feedback from clinicians is a good indicator of how well the platform works. Earlier this year Osmind collaborated with Stanford University School of Medicine physicians and scientists to publish the biggest real-world data study on ketamine infusion therapy in the Journal of Affective Disorders. If Osmind receives positive evaluations and release data studies such as this, then the implementation of this EHR is almost guaranteed. Osmind raises $40M for emerging mental health treatment EHR and more digital health fundings; Osmind banks $40M to scale up EHR for mental health providers with a focus on psychedelic, ketamine therapies; Osmind raises $40 million to expand electronic records for mental health

  • Empowering nurses is key to enhancing impact of digital health solutions-The HSB Blog 5/17/22

    Our Take: Creating more digitally engaged nurses and digital nurse leadership is integral to optimizing the benefits of digital technologies and solutions in nursing practice. Digital health technologies and solutions have become an essential part of healthcare delivery and is widely debated to be the future of healthcare. Nursing is not left out with opportunities to explore the potential of utilizing technology or digital health solutions. The accelerated pace of adoption of disruptive digital health innovations demands that nurses remain at the forefront of digital innovations in patient care. Different countries all over the world are taking deliberate steps to elevate nursing leadership in the digital sphere. In its policy agenda the U.S. cannot be left behind. Key Takeaways: Despite the many benefits of digital health innovations in nursing practice, nurses have been reluctant to adopt technology because of inadequate support, complicated systems, and technological lapses. As noted in one study “nurses provide about 80% of care and are described as a link between patients and processes.” The top nursing challenges are nurse retention (61%), nurse recruitment (59%), nurse engagement (35%), and nurse leadership development (33%) per the 2017 Health Leaders Media Nursing Excellence Survey. Lack of nurse leadership poses a major challenge to nurse engagement with digital technology. The Problem: Globally, there was a massive increase in nurse shortages and poor retention that worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic because of theincreased health risk and inadequate support. In a 2017 survey, respondents ranked nurse retention as the top nursing challenge, followed by nurse engagement and nurse leadership development. Interestingly, the response from the survey revealed that engagement and leadership development drive nurse retention more than money. Digital health technologies and solutions have become increasingly adopted and integrated in healthcare with promises of transforming healthcare by reducing workloads, making processes simpler, and improving access and patients’ experience. It has benefits for improving nurse retention and overall performance with features that allow flexible scheduling and improved communication. Despite the many benefits of digital health innovations in nursing practice, nurses have been reluctant to adopt technology because of inadequate support, complicated systems, and technological lapses. Nurses' concerns about technological lapses and outdated systems have validity because the resulting disruption of work processes endangers patients’ lives. The Backdrop: Digital technologies like wearables, telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and scheduling apps have become integral to healthcare service delivery and are projected to remain part of the future of healthcare. Nurses who are at the forefront of implementing these technologies have experienced difficulties in adapting to this new normal. A major constraint contributing to poor nurse engagement with digital technologies is inadequate support caused by gaps in nurse leadership in digital health innovation. . While nurses are not averse to digital engagement, encouraging their active engagement in the technology development and implementation is fundamental for improved performance of these innovations. In addition, this appears to be an area in need of greater research focus. For example, as noted in “Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Implications for the Job Design of Healthcare Professionals”, most of the studies around AI and job design noted “the implications for job design …for doctors and patients but only seldomly for 1) nurses, 2) managers and 3) organizations” which the authors found “surprising as nurses provide about 80% of care and are described as a link between patients and processes.” In addition, while in many cases AI assistants are designed to help reduce workload, as the aforementioned study notes, “with the advent of digitalization and novel technologies, doctors and nurses must process much more information about patients and scientific publications, thereby both increasing and decreasing their job demands. Keeping up with such medical information, which is doubling every 5 years, is an example of an increased job demand.” Implications: The accelerated digitalization of health services and systems has expanded healthcare leadership responsibilities to developing and managing digital health. Nurses’ participation in implementing digital transformation projects at an early stage makes them central to digital healthcare leadership. As a result, empowering and enabling nurses to engage with digital tools is crucial for several reasons. When nurses are involved in the design of digital solutions, it helps in factoring complexities and peculiarities of different sector needs. For instance, community nurses might face more hurdles to using technology, especially if the systems are outdated or in instances where communities lack access to basic technological infrastructures or poor internet connectivity. Furthermore, technologies that are not fit for purpose pose a major barrier to nurses’ engagement with technology. Nurse leadership in the digital health space could lead to useful feedback on improvements in technologies and systems that would better serve the nurses and improve patients’ outcome. Moreover, enhanced communication between caregivers and caregivers and patients is another benefit. As noted above, nurses provide the majority of patient care and are an integral part of any design changes in the process of care for patients. Nurse leaders speak a language that other nurses understand and they are also better placed to address the concerns that they might have. For instance, concerns about reduced interactions with patients caused by uptake in technology can be addressed by flagging areas in which technology saves time or provides useful data for improved patient interactions. Implemented correctly, digital health solutions have the potential of alleviating many of the administrative demands of the nursing profession, however, nurse leaders need to be at the helm for sustainability and for better buy-in and adoption. Related Reading: Nurses 2.0 - The digital transformation of nursing Leadership in Digital Health Services: Protocol for a Concept Analysis How the nursing profession should adapt for a digital future Digital engagement in nursing: the benefits and barriers Artificial intelligence in health-care: implications for the job design of healthcare professionals

  • Scouting Report-Sidekick Health: Integrating DTx and Clinical Treatment for Chronic Care

    The Driver: Sidekick Health recently raised $55 million in series B funding led by London-based Venture Capital firm Novator Ventures, with additional participation from Wellington Partners, Asabys Partners, Frumtak Ventures, and a US-based partner that has yet to be revealed. Sidekick Health is an Iceland-based digital care platform focused on managing chronic diseases. Sidekick develops personalized digital therapeutics to encourage lifestyle and chronic disease management in a game-like format. During the COVID pandemic, Sidekick collaborated with the Icelandic government by providing remote triaging, remote monitoring, and management of COVID infections. The funds from the Series B funding will be used to develop additional treatments, further expand the platform to other countries, strengthen existing partnerships, and create new partnerships with stakeholders in the healthcare industry. Key Takeaways: 90% of the nation’s $4.1 trillion in healthcare expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions according to the CDC. Nearly half (approximately 45%, or 133 million) of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, and the number is growing. The DTx platform has helped 40,000+ patients globally at this stage, with its products currently available in six languages. A recent Frontiers in Public Health article found digital interventions can effectively improve the management of pain, fatigue, stress, and increase overall health-related quality of life. The Story: The Iceland-based startup Sidekick Health was founded by CEO and Co-founder Dr. Tryggvi Thorgeirsson and Dr. Saemundur Oddsson in 2014. The two doctors worked for years treating patients with lifestyle-related illnesses. They noticed that 68% of all deaths were related to lifestyle-related illnesses. This led them to pursue innovative ways to prevent chronic illnesses as well develop treatments for those already suffering from the diseases. The solution they came up with was to create a platform that combines behavioral economics with games, and make it scalable across multiple therapeutic areas. The product they created became the digital therapeutic platform called Sidekick. Sidekick’s go-to-market model is business-to-business (B2B) meaning it is designed to work with health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Currently, Sidekick has partnerships with U.S-based health insurer Anthem to provide “digital first” care programs and pharmaceutical companies Bayer and Pfizer to develop a combination therapy using molecular drugs and digital therapy. With the funds from the fundraising round “Sidekick plans to double [the size of its] team from 120 to 240 team members across our four office locations.” The Differentiators: One thing that sets Sidekick apart from many of its competitors is its “integrated combination therapeutics consisting of a molecular drug and a digital therapeutic.” As noted in a recent TechCrunch article Sidekick’s approach used “digital therapeutics plus pills…that is designed to support healthcare outcomes by applying personalized behavioral lifestyle nudges, alongside clinical treatments like drugs, to augment, extend and support patient care for a range of chronic diseases and conditions”. As pointed out by Fierce Healthcare, “the digital platform features the Sidekick Health app for the patient, a care portal for HCPs to remotely monitor patients with communication and support, and what the company calls the DTx studio, where a team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and clinical experts create the portfolio of therapeutics.” In addition, “Sidekick works closely with pharmas …in creating auxiliary DTx programs to complement traditional drug treatments. There is also a strong connection with patient advocacy organizations to ensure the recommended treatment follows those groups’ guidelines. The application itself is free to use, however members will need a code for specialized features such as the Rheumatoid Arthritis program. Sidekick develops programs for a number of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and smoking cessation. According to the company they “are building toward a portfolio of over 40 medical-grade digital therapeutics by 2026, and currently have 18 in Research & Development, with a total of 14 commercial partnerships secured so far”. They also have collaborations with other companies to bring new treatments and programs to their platform. The Big Picture: Sidekick Health’s solution shows that there is potential for digital health solutions to extend the life of traditional therapies as well as create new, innovative, efficient therapies that can enable more people to access personalized DTx and lifestyle management programs. The Sidekick platform will add to the growing number of DTx resources, expanding the reach of digital health. Insurance providers can work together with Sidekick to create other app-based therapies targeting chronic diseases. Since Sidekick will also be working with pharma companies, they will be able to create combination therapeutics as a way to increase adherence and effectiveness of treatments. The Sidekick app aims to improve the efficiency of digital therapeutics by adding a game-like element to health management which effectiveness has been proven and can be less costly to develop than traditional pharmaceuticals. The success of Sidekick’s solution is dependent on evidence-based evaluation on the effectiveness of these treatments. Research has been shown to support the idea that digital lifestyle programs can improve individual health outcomes. If evidence shows that Sidekick’s digital programs are effective, then more countries may adopt this type of treatment. Sidekick Health grabs $55M for digital-first care programs ; Digital therapeutics firm Sidekick lands $55M in Series B round, Health and Economic Costs of Chronic Diseases; An Empirical Study of Chronic Diseases in the United States: A Visual Analytics Approach to Public Health, Sidekick’s Feasibility Study Shows Encouraging Results for Breast Cancer Patients

  • Virtual Care May Be One Answer to Healthcare’s Nursing Shortage-The HSB Blog 5/10/22

    Earlier this year we wrote a piece on how virtual care my be one anwer to healthcare’s labor shortages, please see: Virtual Care May Be One Answer to Healthcare’s Labor Shortages-The HSB Blog 1/31/22. This week in honor of Nurses Appreciation Week we have revised and updated it with a focus on the nursing shortage. Our Take: Leveraging virtual care is one way to deal with a number of the issues that healthcare’s workforce shortages have brought to light due to the Pandemic. Following huge spikes in demand in almost every part of the country as it deals with COVID, the industry has had to deal with countless labor issues and shortages due to burnout and the overwhelming physical and mental demands placed on caregivers. While healthcare workers are experiencing elevated levels of stress, patients may also experience a different type of stress when it comes to patient quality and overall care. It is important to understand the dynamics of the overlapping crisis we currently face as nursing professionals quit in overwhelming numbers and healthcare systems look to other solutions such as virtual care. As an alternative, many providers opted to provide virtual care. Although the future of telehealth is unpredictable, the flexibility and convenience that virtual care provides for both the patient and the provider may be here to stay. Key Takeaways: Hospitals lost approximately 2.5% of their nursing workforce in 2022, resulting in the average hospital losing between $5.2M-$9.0M according to the NSI Solutions 2022 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report There is predicted to be a shortage of over 500,000 RNs by 2030 with the greatest shortages seen in the South and West, according to one 2018 study. More than 1M registered nurses will leave the workforce by 2020 according to a 2017 article in Health Affairs, which was prior to the extreme stress and burnout of the Pandemic. A study conducted by Wheel found that clinician burnout impacts 80% of patients and 1 in 3 patients believe burnout impacts their quality of care The Problem: The challenges of the pandemic have exacerbated and crystalized labor challenges and the preexisting labor shortages in healthcare. Nurses, like many health care workers, are physically and emotionally exhausted after working in what has been described as a “war zone” for the better part of the past two plus years. As noted in an article in The Conversation, “the global pandemic has only worsened problems that have long existed within the nursing profession…widespread stress and burnout, health and safety issues, depression and work-related post-traumatic stress disorder, and even increased risk of suicide.” In addition, the relatively non-stop confrontation with the Virus and its variants has forced clinicians to work long hours donning layers of PPE, which often can take 20 minutes or more each time to put on and remove. In addition, units are often short-staffed due to illness caused by COVID itself as well as employees who refuse to comply with vaccine mandates and other hospital protocols. Consequently, the stresses on clinicians such as the increased administrative burden and inability to focus on patient care have reached a breaking point. For example, according to a February 2022 report from McKinsey entitled, “Surveyed nurses consider leaving direct patient care at elevated rates”, 32% of registered nurses stated they may look to leave their current role, an increase of 10% compared to the prior year. The survey noted that the main reasons behind nurse’s desire to leave “included insufficient staffing levels, seeking higher pay, not feeling listened to or supported at work, and the emotional toll of the job.” In light of the heightened demand during COVID, issues around the healthcare labor shortages have garnered nationwide attention. For example, during the so-called “Great Resignation,” where large numbers of working-age people have simply dropped out of the labor force, approximately half a million healthcare workers have quit since February 2020 according to a recent article in Forbes. Along those lines, per the NSI Nursing Solutions Report, 62% of hospitals are reporting a nurse vacancy rate of almost 8%. Understandably the stress of dealing with a continuous overburdened workload over two-plus years has taken a great toll on clinicians' emotional, and physical health leading to burnout. For many, this has left them with two options–either to step away or go digital. Many have chosen to go digital and work in telehealth or start their own virtual practices which provide flexibility and a work/life balance that many so desperately desire. The Backdrop: Healthcare is a service industry that depends on the dedication and manpower of the individual clinicians and support staff responsible for maintaining the facilities, diagnosing and treating t illnesses, and caring for the lives of patients. A key element in this equation is the hiring and support systems that go into creating a physically and emotionally safe environment for clinicians to operate in where they feel their concerns can be heard and addressed. If not, the burnout and stress associated with working long hours under severe emotional stress, such as those experienced during COVID, can negatively impact the quality of patient care. For example, while the medical profession has long been sought after for its high wages it had also enjoyed significant professional prestige which helped attract a growing labor pool. That may no longer be the case. For example, according to “Amid Rampant Provider Burnout, Marketplace Platform Companies Focus on Clinician Experience” a survey conducted by Wheel, approximately forty percent of respondents would not want their children to go into the field of medicine as it is not worth their time or investment.” In addition, in the aforementioned McKinsey study nurses cited safety, flexibility (ex: work-life balance, work schedule), and environment (a trusting/caring team, feeling valued by employer) as the top factors on which they based their decision to stay in their current role. Those factors are changing. In addition to the stressors noted above, many practitioners are facing a working environment that is filled with aggression and constant abuse. According to “Nursing Shortages” approximately eight to thirty-eight percent of health care workers are at accelerated risk of facing emotional and physical abuse, which some attribute to insufficient staffing ratios. Following the explosion in digital care during COVID, digital has emerged as an option for many nurses and physicians. Going virtual is a way to create work-life balance and still practice their craft, optimizing the benefits for everyone involved. Many digital and virtual-first solutions are specifically designed to address administrative inefficiencies inherent in current electronic medical record systems (EMRs) and are designed to improve information flow for patients and providers. Implications: Addressing the void between provider flexibility and patient care is the future of telehealth. While there is still room for improvement in the delivery of virtual care such as patient privacy and broadband access, virtual platforms have the potential to move healthcare to a more consumer-centric omnichannel experience and address many of the issues of burnout. As we noted in “The Nursing Shortage Shows Why Industries Must Choose Tech Carefully” a number of studies have found that “nurses spend between 26%-41% of their time on documentation activities and that is a major source of what burdens them.” As a result, the article recommends providers consider technologies like natural language processing (NLP) to capture and search clinical notes as well as AI-based tools such as predictive analytics, to help risk stratify patients so they can focus on “providing human care for patients” and not paperwork. In addition, treating patients holistically and funneling them to the proper sites of care should help clinicians work “at the top-of-their” licenses and focus less on certain types of routine or chronic care which can be handled by other providers in the system or even prevented by higher quality care. Also, as some of the technical hurdles to providing these care delivery mechanisms are addressed, underserved communities and seniors can be given access and training on the technologies, so that virtual care can broaden the scope of care delivery, theoretically increasing provider satisfaction. However, in attempting to design solutions it is increasingly important to emphasice that nurses need to be brought into the process to ensure that this is done correctly and with patients in mind. As noted in a recent article in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, the “pandemic highlighted the urgent need for nurses to become involved in technology design, acquisition and implementation, and to provide considerations for the complexities of technology use within all levels—micro, meso and macro—of the healthcare system.” As the authors go on to point out, “technology developers and those who implement the technology within hospitals need a deep understanding of the complexity of the care processes within an acute environment. Establishing the means to develop a shared understanding between developers and end-users has become increasingly important considering that COVID-19 may have permanently shifted many aspects of care to a virtual setting, which will likely usher in the use of more technology.” Importantly, product designers and developers need to recognized the role of nurses as closest to the voice of the patient in the clinical system and embrace the knowledge they have in delivering and improving care. In looking at how to design and develop products to reduce burnout and improve nursing satisfaction, product developers would do well to keep 3 things from a recent HIMSS roundtable in mind: Consider deploying data-driven approaches to manage workforce scheduling and staffing. Leverage technology to improve patient care and empower nurses to do their most fulfilling work. Develop new approaches to patient care that improve the patient experience and support nurses. Related Readings: Now more than ever, nurses need to be involved in technology design: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic The Nursing Shortage Shows Why Industries Must Choose Tech Carefully United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast: A Revisit Surveyed nurses consider leaving direct patient care at elevated rates

  • Scouting Report-Clipboard Health: Reducing Nursing Burnout and Filling Provider Vacancies Instantly

    The Driver: Clipboard Health recently raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Sequoia Capital with participation from Caffeinated Capital, Initialized Capital, Michael Seibel of Y Combinator; Tony Xu, co-founder of DoorDash; and Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch. This latest funding round brings the total funds raised to more than $90 million. Clipboard is an app-based marketplace company whose goal is to serve as a solution to the labor shortage at healthcare facilities around the country. Their marketplace provides nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) the opportunity to find work wherever they go through their application. This platform is as much for hospitals and nursing homes as it is for healthcare workers. Clipboard Health will be using the recently earned funding to hire new workers in all areas, including sales and marketing, and to double the size of its engineering team. Key Takeaways: Since March 2020, the number of people working at U.S. hospitals declined by more than 2%, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while emergency department wait times increased. A recent analysis of workforce data by Premier found that staffing shortages cost hospitals $24 billion during the pandemic. 3 in 10 healthcare workers considered leaving their profession and 6 of 10 remarked that pandemic-related stress hurt their mental health according to a 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation study. Clipboard Health’s application allows for healthcare workers to find flexible shifts and for hospitals to find skilled healthcare workers. The Story: Founder and CEO, Wei Deng, started Clipboard Health in 2016 with a mission to revolutionize the market for healthcare talent by leading the way in reliability, affordability, and ease of use for facilities and healthcare professionals. For years, the healthcare profession faced a severe shortage of workers leading to facilities having to outsource their employees. The shortage of staff was made more apparent during the Pandemic when many hospitals were at full capacity and the number of people working in hospitals declined by over 2% in part due to COVID illnesses and disputes over safety protocols. Clipboard Health is an ideal solution to provide those facilities the ability to find qualified workers in less time. This easy-to-use application is organized so that healthcare facilities can post available shifts and qualified healthcare workers can find and register for those shifts. According to TechCrunch, “Clipboard, is an online marketplace that pairs nurses, nursing assistants and other healthcare professionals with facilities in need of staffing. Using the platform, facilities can post shifts they need to fill and healthcare workers can book these shifts, managing their schedules via Clipboard’s mobile app.” Clipboard is easy to access and like any smartphone app, providers and healthcare workers can find this application in the app store for Apple devices and the play store for Google devices. The Differentiators: Clipboard differs from similar companies like Trusted health which created a platform for nurses to find contract positions and ShiftMed which allows healthcare workers to find available shifts through the app with next-day pay. Clipboard is unique in that it does not require healthcare workers to apply for a contract or long-term position at a particular facility. The healthcare worker can choose shifts anywhere in their area using only their mobile device. The feature of Clipboard that particularly stands out is the instant pay after the shift ends. Healthcare workers are typically paid weekly, bi-weekly, or the next day when working as employees or contractors, however, Clipboard allows healthcare workers to get paid much faster than traditional methods. In addition, Clipboard prides itself on providing flexibility to its consumers to reduce worker burnout and creating a healthcare marketplace of talented workers for facilities. The Big Picture: Clipboard Health’s solution of an online marketplace for healthcare providers has the potential to become a model for helping alleviate the workforce shortage in healthcare by making it easier to advertise and fill available positions. Clipboard’s app approach can benefit hospitals, nursing homes, nurses, CNAs as well as the patients they serve. The company’s solution allows hospitals and nursing homes to be more efficient in recruiting and filling vacant positions by increasing access to talented healthcare professionals quickly and easily. Providing nurses and CNAs with access to numerous opportunities in their local geographic area and on their own time can help reduce stress on the healthcare worker and benefit the patient by having caregivers who are engage, satisfied and rapidly rewarded financially for their efforts. In addition, as noted in numerous studies, less burnout and greater job satisfaction with their jobs translates into higher quality, more attentive care for patients. Over time this becomes a virtuous circle, the more providers that Clipboard works with, the more opportunity for the workers and the better results. However, maintaining these levels of success and ensuring Clipboard’s solution is effective will likely mean the company will need to expand its network of providers andservices geographically and diversify the number and types of shifts offered. Moreover, one additional challenge Clipboard may face is the robust competition within healthcare for talent between providers, travel nursing companies and other types of contractors. For example, while Clipboards model is differentiated, there are several companies such as NurseDash, CareRev, NomadHealth, and ConnectRN that have similar models that could pose strong competition if Clipboard’s model does not further differentiate itself. For Clipboard to stay competitive, it may need to extend its list of service offerings to other healthcare professions such as medical assistants, physician assistants, and physicians themselves if it is to succeed long-term. Clipboard Health, which matches health workers with facilities, raises $80M; Clipboard Health, an online hiring platform, snags $80M to expand into more cities; Healthcare staffing startup Clipboard Health raises $80M across two rounds and more digital health fundings

  • Wearables Must Fix Barriers to Achieve Potential-The HSB Blog 5/3/22

    Our Take: The barriers to adopting wearable technology still persist notwithstanding its consistent advancement and growing demand for health monitoring. Barriers such as cost effectiveness, accessibility, maintenance, and privacy limit the usability of wearables and addressing these barriers would enhance its utility to the general public. Below is a breakdown of each of these barriers and ways technology developers and health professionals are dealing with them. Key Takeaways: The wearable technology market is expected to grow from USD 116.2 billion in 2021 to USD 265.4 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 18.0%. Developers like MFine are working towards making basic health assessments universal, easy, and free to use for millions of people by enabling monitoring through smartphones. Wearable sensor technology can vary broadly in price from individual Bluetooth sensors that cost as little as $35 to RFID sensors which cost over $1,000 apiece. Wearable devices have made health assessments easier for patients by monitoring vitals such as blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, etc. through smartphones, smartwatches, laptops, and tablets. The Problem: Despite wearable technology’s increasing popularity, barriers such as cost, usability, maintenance, and privacy still remain. The cost of individual sensors which ranges from $35 for Bluetooth devices to over $1,000 for radio frequency identification (RFID) excludes people who might need it but cannot afford it. Besides cost, the perceived utility of popular wearable gadgets is poor, and consumer loyalty is low. Poor consumer loyalty is due to reluctance to adapt to new technologies, skepticism regarding the result’s reliability, electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure, and privacy concerns. This is the case notwithstanding the real time data monitoring value that wearable devices provide. Interestingly, medical and health care employees rated the devices higher and had a higher level of acceptance for wearable device usability than internet employees. This might be because wearable gadgets’ help in alleviating the clinicians’ burden through continuous monitoring of health data that facilitates diagnosis and disease identification. Maintenance of wearable devices is another challenge because over time with usage of the sensor irreparable issues or damages can develop. When glitches occur due to sensory failure or low battery life the device is no longer reliable for recording data such as tracking movement for exercising. While some wearable technologies offer device service and protection, it is usually for a limited time frame after which the user becomes liable to pay out of pocket for repairs or a replacement. Privacy concerns and the slow pace of passing policies and regulations for data protection adds to consumers’ uneasiness. For example, as we noted in “Health App Regulation Needs A New Direction-The HSB Blog 4/12/22, “while the markets and technology are moving at a rapid pace, policies and efforts around regulation move extremely slowly and have generally lagged behind advancement.” In addition, while we noted precautions developers of wearables can take in our blog, 8 Steps To Protect Against Ransomware When Developing Or Deploying New Apps-The HSB Blog 7/26/21, digital healthcare applications remain a target of cyberattacks and data privacy is generally not well protected. The Backdrop: The wearable technology industry has gained traction over the years and is projected to grow exponentially. According to a blog post from Appinventiv entitled, “How Much Does Wearable App Development Cost”, “the wearable technology market is expected to grow from USD 116.2 billion in 2021 to USD 265.4 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 18.0%.” In part, this is due to innovative interfaces and improved user experience that have made these devices more accessible. As a result, wearable technologies and sensors have made health assessments easier for patients by monitoring vitals such as blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, etc. through smartphones, laptops, and tablets. While there are a number of wearables in development, a number of devices are already on the market with many practical applications. For example, the Amrita Spandanam wearable device developed by Amrita's Centre for Wireless Networks and Applications employs a finger clip to assess blood glucose, blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen, respiratory rate, and 6-lead ECG. It is constructed with unique AI algorithms that process differential light signals to offer important bodily metrics. MFine, an Indian digital health business, has updated its mobile health app with blood pressure and glucose monitoring capabilities. After two years of research and clinical studies involving around 3,000 patients, the health tech firm released its latest vital measuring capabilities in early March of 2022. Last year, Samsung gradually added blood pressure measuring and ECG monitoring features to its consumer smartwatches throughout the world. Recently, Peloton released an armband that doubles as a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. The gadget detects heart rate using optical sensors and includes five LED lights that represent the heart rate zone, Bluetooth connectivity status, and battery charge. Implications: As the usage of wearable devices increases over time, there is one question that needs to be asked; do the benefits of these wearable devices outweigh their disadvantages? First and foremost, the cost effectiveness of the devices must be evaluated. For example, the continuous monitoring of basic physiologic readings such as blood pressure can potentially help alleviate a number of long-term health risks with proper monitoring since most people actually do not know or regularly monitor their blood pressure until their annual visit to their primary care physician. As noted in “Blood pressure, glucose monitoring tools now live on MFine app” The readings for blood pressure on wearables are now close to 90% in accuracy, while still not perfect, they do provide helpful data. This type of data can give patients crucial insights into their health data. Over time as technology improves and becomes less expensive, the ability to translate this method of body function measurement to smartphones will be far more cost effective than current wearable devices allowing it to be more effectively accessed by many more people. Apart from affordability, the ability to understand and translate the information provided by the wearable devices into relevant clinical data is another barrier to its widespread usage.. Currently, clinicians often find it difficult to separate meaningful and insightful metrics from the volumes of raw data that wearables provide as well as easily incorporate it into data in the EHR and care plans. Over time this data has to become easier to integrate and more insightful. Furthermore, accessibility, usability, maintenance and privacy are equally also [JE1] [JE2] barriers.. In terms of data privacy, as noted in Healthcare Drives articles, “More than 1/3 of health organizations were hit by ransomware last year” The report quoted found that “ransomware was relatively prevalent in the healthcare sector, with 34% of organizations hit by such an attack in the past year. Of those not hit, 41% said they expected an attack in the future, while just 24% said they felt safe from future attacks.” Data privacy and security have been and will be continue to be an issue with healthtech and wearable. In terms of accessibility and usability, solutions like MFine app are addressing accessibility and usability for blood pressure and glucose monitoring tools by enabling vitals monitoring through smartphones. While the technology is still early and it is difficult to determine whether or not the barriers to the adoption of wearable devices outweigh the advantages, it is safe to say that by addressing the barriers noted above the benefits of wearable devices will increase and will more than likely have meaningful impact on the health of populations and decrease of cost of care. Related Reading: Blood pressure, glucose monitoring tools now live on MFine app | MobiHealthNews Amrita University launches wearable health monitoring device | MobiHealthNews Wearable Technologies for Improved Safety and Health on Construction Sites | Blogs | CDC How Much Does Wearable App Development Costs? Usability Study of Mainstream Wearable Fitness Devices: Feature Analysis and System Usability Scale Evaluation - PMC

  • Scouting Report-Evernow: Improving Symptom Management & Treatment for Perimenopause & Menopause

    The Driver: Evernow recently raised $28.5 million in a Series A funding led by NEA, with participation from 8VC, Refactor Capital and Coelius Capital, plus angel investors, among them Color CEO Othman Laraki, and Carla Harris. The San Francisco based company built its platform focusing on women’s health and more specifically those who suffer from adverse symptoms of perimenopause. The company claims its using its clinically-validated health intakes to fill gaps in care for menopausal women while being inclusive to women from all backgrounds especially in underserved communities. The new funding will be used for expanding the team, building community, and leveraging the company's data and research to focus on product development. Key Takeaways: There are an estimated 1.3 million women entering into menopause every year in the United States. This equals to over “$2,100 per woman per year” in added costs on the healthcare system and overall economy. Black women, in particular, have reported longer-lasting and more severe menopause symptoms than other racial groups for years. A subscription includes unlimited access to the startup’s medical team and the delivery of hormone therapies estradiol or paroxetine, supplemented with progesterone when needed. Although funding has increased for women’s health start-ups overall, it still remains a relatively small portion of the digital health investments. The Story: Menopause is defined as as the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and is diagnosed after a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Perimenopause is defined as the process of Menopause beginning which most women start in their 40's and is evidenced by skipped cycles and period irregularities. Alicia Jackson, founder and current CEO of Evernow stated that the company’s goal is to “build a new way of delivering healthcare based on science, innovation, and women’s lived experience with menopause”. Established in 2019, Evernow’s goal is to serve as a link between women who are or are about to reach menopause and a team of specialists who can advise and prescribe to them. Evernow aim to provide a resource for the approximately 1.3 million women just beginning the process and entering the perimenopausal phase, a process that spans 10-20 years of their life, produces symptoms for 85% of patients, and yet where there are very few viable options for treatment and management. Studies have shown that women who experience menopause are more likely to be at higher risks for cardiovascular disease, stroke and osteoporosis. As noted by the Office of Women’s Health at the U.S. Depatrtment of Health and Human Services, low levels of estrogen and other changes related to aging (like gaining weight) are indications of these conditions making it crucial in addressing the symtpoms of those who are most at risk. For example, in a survey of 100,000 women experiencing menopause who filled out Evernow’s intake form, 75% of perimenopausal women reported experiencing fatigue and low energy, weight changes, sleep disruption and brain fog. Almost two-thirds of women (60%) reported anxiety or depression, night sweats, hot flashes and joint or muscular pain. The Differentiators: While there are many healthcare companies targeting women’s issues, sometimes referred to as “Femtech”, their efforts generally focus on sectors catering to women under 40 such as pregnancy and fertility, but far fewer focus on the issues of women undergoing the three phases of menopause (Perimenopause, Menopause, and Late Menopause). Evernow is focusing on menopausal issues and trying to make access to education and the necessary treatments to manage the symptoms of this phase of a woman’s life more effective and discreet. For example, although there are a number of tools to address either the physical or the behavioral aspects of menopause, Evernow provides both hormone therapy, like the estradiol patch or pill, and paroxetine as well as an SSRI that can be used to treat night sweats and hot flashes. In addition, when users sign up for the service, they're matched with a clinician who helps build their treatment plan based on the patient's health history and their medications are unobtrusively delivered to their homes. The user is alsl given access to a library of resources and guides aimed at educating not-only women currently experiencing menopause, but also the millions of perimenopausal women who are transitioning into the menopause phase. According to the company, treatment data is based on its studies of more than 100,000 women experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms since its founding in 2019. Also, the company is backed by influential female celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz who are known for their activism on women’s health and rights. According to CEO Jackson, “women going through the healthcare system understand where the gaps are in a way that I don’t think men do.” Members pay between $75 and $129 per month for the services which are seemingly cheaper than that of similar companies such as Parsley Health, which offer their subscriptions for approximately $175 per month (however, Parsley does offer out-of-network reimbursement up to 70%). Evernow accepts Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) since they are not in network with any insurance providers. The Big Picture: Investors spent $1.023 billion on U.S. women’s health technology startups in 2020, up from $625 million in 2019, according to Crunchbase data. Investment in this space has steadily risen since 2017, with total funding of $2.9 billion since 2016. As the industry shifts its focus to an older generation of women, it is evident how neglected they were. According to the company, while over 55 million women publicly and secretly experience menopausal symptoms, over 75% of those who seek help seldom get it. This appears to be due in part to a lack of attention from the healthcare industry. For example, according to an article by Fortune, of the millions invested in technology for women’s health over the past decade, only 5% has gone to menopause management. Consequently, as the numbers increase for women who are approaching perimenopausal age, there needs to be more talk and concern surrounding this health issue and the health disparities that accompany treatment. In addition, many of the issues associated with menopause such as cardiovascular disease and stroke often disproportionately affect women of color, so addressing the issues and concerns of underserved communities should be a priority in disease prevention and management. Evernow, and companies like it, are actively taking the steps to address the concerns of millions of women by offering its 24/7 communication services with their clinicians as well as guaranteeing improved conditions for night sweats, and hot flashes among much more in under 3 months. Treatments like this which increase the convenience and accessibility care for menopausal women can improve the quality of life as well as reduce the risk of other health complications that would further burden an already distressed health care system. Clearly many women can directly benefit from utilizing such a platform and it would give them a greater degree of control over their health. Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz-backed Evernow raises $28.5, It’s Time to Prioritize Menopause: Our Investment in Evernow (Note: authors are employees of NEA, lead investor in the company)

  • Ageism in Healthcare is Hurting Patients-The HSB Blog 4/25/22

    Our Take: As the adult population continues to increase in size, age-related discrimination, biases, beliefs, and stereotypes are becoming more prevalent. Ageism has been shown to have adverse effects on one’s health outcomes and influences the psychological, physiological, and behavioral health of the older population. Additionally, such ageist beliefs can promote negligent behavior by staff and lead to the further development of chronic diseases. However, the inclusion of geriatric-related clinical coursework can promote a change in how future healthcare professionals interact with and provide care to such populations. While the use of telehealth services has increased positive responses from elderly populations limited digital/technical knowledge has halted further success. Key Takeaways: Approximately 89% of elderly adults from previous studies have experienced some form of ageist behavior or discrimination. Older individuals are less likely to be selected as organ transplant recipients in comparison to younger individuals. Elderly populations are likely to visit their healthcare providers annually an average of 12 times. Older adults with negative perceptions about ageing demonstrated poorer functional health, recovered from disease more slowly and had shorter average life spans.” The Problem: While older populations are regular consumers of medical services, they are more likely to face harsher treatment, poor attitudes, and poor bedside manner by staff. Oftentimes, healthcare professionals present will bypass the elderly patients and speak directly with their families showing a lack of regard for their input and undermining their decisions. For example, in the study “Physical Therapists’ Nonverbal Communication Predicts Geriatric Patients Health Outcomes” a series of videotaped interactions focused on capturing indifferent behaviors by physical therapists resulted in a negative “short- and long-term cognitive physical health outcomes for the patient”. Additionally, despite the growing need for geriatric physicians many medical students or residents entering the field find it to be frustrating and less rewarding. However, they fail to understand that the need to investigate and research sensory and cognitive impairments within elderly populations is an important aspect of formulating treatment options for future generations when they reach this stage. The Backdrop: Ageism in healthcare, while often not recognized, has been a long-standing issue in the proper treatment, communication and experiences of elderly patients. These negative views within the healthcare system are often influenced by clinician’s initial exposure to hospitalized elderly patients more so than in community-dwellings. For example, medical trainees’ exposure to geriatric patients within a healthcare facility led to misconceptions that stereotype them as frail, disoriented, or incurable solely due to age. In addition, as housing seniors in institutional settings has become more common and worker shortages have become more severe, the level of training and sophistication in serving the needs of the elderly has also declined. This has led to a lack recognition and ability to effectively treat and deal with geriatric-related conditions. As stated in the “Geriatrics Workforce by the Numbers,” “with this population growth, the demand for Geriatricians is expected to increase 45% by the year 2025, yet [the] emerging number of Geriatricians in America actually decreased from 10,270 in 200 to 8502 in 2010”. Furthermore, the lack of training and educational curriculums in the health workforce has led providers to apply age-based, group characteristics to most geriatric patients regardless of their individual health status.” Thus, treatment may be delivered regardless of health status. For example, according to an Ageism Survey conducted by Dr. Erdman Palmore, approximately 43% of elderly individuals between the ages of 60 – 93 stated their healthcare provider would associate their ailments as a direct factor of their age, with 9 percent of participants stating that they had been denied the opportunity to receive medical treatment due to their age.” This was particularly evident in treatment guidelines established during the recent COVID pandemic, where many elderly individuals that were turned away from care and had been placed in a stereotypical age-related illness category despite their health status. Older adults were more often looked at in terms of the mortality rates as tables which were considered “normal” regardless of the state of the disease, comorbid conditions and overall physical health. According to “Ageism and COVID-19: what does our society’s response say about us?” in the United States a Ventilator Allocation Guideline has been put in place “whereby ‘age may be considered as a tie-breaking criterion”. Additionally, the creation of the ‘Vulnerable Person Registry’ has aided in supporting elderly populations to keep them socially engaged and provide the necessary resources needed during these tough times, the name itself is ageist. However, in terms of telehealth, the adoption of consult services with video-conferencing and post-discharge maintenance has been shown to have positive health outcomes among the limited number of individuals that actively use them. Implications: While elderly populations are not as familiar with technology or digital platforms it is not an impossible task to help them obtain technological literacy in order to use and get the maximum impact from digital tools. For example, when New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Emergency Department incorporated a geriatric emergency medicine, over 1, 000 patients were evaluated with most noted they had “high levels of satisfaction after receiving care,” This demonstrates that not only do elderly patients defy the stereotypes but also, they are capable and in fact eager to learn more about technological platforms/advancements available via digital platforms. However, many times digital tools do not incorporate the appropriate methods to train seniors how to make maximum use of the technology. Consequently, innovators, providers and payors should make sure to include this in all phases of their products using customer journey mapping to ensure products are available to seniors along all levels of the health continuum. In addition, as noted in Ageism as a Risk Factor in Chronic Disease, “older adults with negative perceptions about ageing demonstrated poorer functional health, recovered from disease more slowly and had shorter average life spans” Hence, as they note, given the burden of chronic disease in the aging population, better understanding and addressing ageism is a promising and largely unexplored strategy for decreasing morbidity and mortality in the United States. Related Readings: Not for Doctors Only: Ageism in Healthcare A New Interprofessional Community-Service Learning Program, HATS (Health Ambassador Teams for Seniors) to Improve Older Adults Attitudes about Telehealth and Functionality Ageism as a Risk Factor for Chronic Disease Older adults and technology: in telehealth, they may not be who you think they are Ageism and COVID-19: what does our society’s response say about us? Chapter 13 Ageism in the Health Care System: Providers, Patients, and Systems

  • Scouting Report-VideaHealth: Applying AI to Improve (and Possibly Expand) Dental Care

    The Driver: The AI-programed Dental care company VideaHealth recently raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Spark Capital with participation from Zetta Venture Partners and Pillar VC. This latest funding round brings the total funds raised by VideaHealth to $26.4 million. VideaHealth’s software helps detect dental pathologies that the dentist may miss. They hope to make this type of AI a standard part of dental care by assisting dentists in their clinical diagnosis and ensuring quality dental care for their patients. We beleive that over time AI-based dental tools like VideaHealth can be used to extend care to many currently lacking care through the use or dental hygienists or other professionals under the supervision of a dentist using their platform thereby eliminating or reducing the number of people lacking access (our theory not currently a strategy of Videa’s to our knowledge). This would impact reduce the chances of developing poor dental health and pathologies. Key Takeaways: Oral conditions affected 3.9 billion people and “$244.4 billion of the expenditures occurred in high-income regions” per the Global Burden of Disease study. The populations most prone to oral diseases are also the most vulnerable: the poor, the very young, the elderly, those with disabilities, and those with comorbidities. VideaHealth AI software works like a second pair of eyes to help dentists diagnose oral diseases and works to help do diagnostics and practice management. Currently, dentists miss up to 50% of oral pathologies in dental diagnostic imaging. The Story: The founder and CEO, Florian Hillen, founded VideaHealth in 2018 with a mission to improve patient health using artificial intelligence. Videa is harnessing the power of AI to make dentistry more transparent to dentists, insurance providers, and patients. The company was founded to overcome the high rate of missed diagnoses in the dental industry. A study published in 2011 by Dr. Ida Kondori, then at Xavier University, found that 43% of clinical diagnoses submitted by dentists were incorrect. That means that almost half of the patients were not receiving an accurate diagnosis. Similarly, Kondori and colleagues found that “General dentists misdiagnosed 45.9%, oral and maxillofacial surgeons 42.8%, endodontists 42.2%, and periodontists 41.2% of the time”. Hillen and partners recognized these high misdiagnoses rates and subsequently developed a tool to combat this. To accomplish this, the AI program is trained on data from millions of patient records from images that have been previously reviewed and labeled by dental experts. By analyzing these records, the program can identify and measure clinical indicators on x-rays to provide an accurate diagnosis. Although the company is for-profit, most of the money generated comes from venture capital investments. The Differentiators: Videa is one of the early companies aiming to apply artificial intelligence to the problem of dental diagnosis and aims to reduce the percentage of dentists misdiagnosing patients by utilizing AI dental software. Videa is different from other dental services like Quip which is involved in the design and delivery of oral care products and Pearl Inc which provides AI analysis which attempts to either support or refute a diagnosis (as opposed to capture a potentially missing diagnosis or improper treatment). Videa's solution is unique because it’s a digital resource used by dentists to improve diagnosis accuracy when seeing patients. With the proper usage and development, their software may be able to improve overall oral health outcomes. This is extremely important as noted in a recent article in BMC Human Resources for Health “the combined worldwide direct and indirect costs estimated [for oral health conditions are] near $442 billion USD annually and “the populations most prone to these diseases are also the most vulnerable: the poor, the very young, the elderly, those with disabilities, and those with comorbidities.” The Big Picture: Videa’s dental tool AI is one of what is expected to be many digital health tools that could play a role in oral health. Moreover, we expect the recognition of good oral health to gain prominence as a prerequisite to strong physical and mental health. Those lacking in good oral health often cannot eat certain foods that help their diets which in turn contributes to other health issues. In addition, missing teeth or poor gums, can also contribute to poor self-image which can contribute to social isolation leading to other behavioral health issues. As noted in “Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Population”, “access to oral health care is essential to promoting and maintaining overall health and well-being, yet only half of the population visits a dentist each year…the consequences of these disparities in access to oral health care can lead to a number of conditions including malnutrition, childhood speech problems, infections, diabetes, heart disease, and premature births.” In addition, as noted above, the cost of poor oral care in the U.S can be associated with almost $500B in disease. The Global Burden of Disease study reported that oral conditions affected 3.9 billion people. [Tooth decay] and periodontal disease are the most prevalent oral diseases globally and that “$244.4 billion of the expenditures occurred in high-income regions including North America, Western Europe and Asia-Pacific”. Tools like VideaHealth can not only make practitioners more effective it can also potentially broaden the delivery of care by improving e the efficiency of dental providers in making an accurate prognosis. In areas where providers are scarce this could help address the social determinants of health associated with oral care by reducing the number of people who will not have access to Videa’s platform. Accuracy of dentists in the clinical diagnosis of oral lesions, VideaHealth raises $20M for AI-enabled dental care