A slice of Apple’s health research, Teladoc for Teams, & combating health misinfo

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Apple shares a glimpse at research

Apple is gearing up to release a new metric called Walking Steadiness aimed at preventing falls in older people, but so far, the company has only shared a narrow glimpse of studies underpinning the tool. That’s raising the nagging question of how much health research tech companies should be required to show. Apple’s Ron Huang told STAT the new feature is based on both the ongoing Apple Heart and Movement Study, in which 100,000 have participated, as well as more targeted research tracking sensor data from older people. But Apple hasn’t shared much about how that data became an algorithm that can predict whether people will fall. Researchers would love to see Apple stick to the  tenets of good science and make its data available for independent review. “We’re looking at that,” Huang said. Mario has the whole story.



Teladoc teamed up with Microsoft to integrate its virtual care platform for hospitals into the tech giant’s Slack-like Teams environment, allowing clinicians to access clinical data without having to leave the Teams app. In 2018, the companies collaborated to allow Teladoc’s platform to run on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.


A call to action on misinformation

As Covid-19 cases rise and a sizable share of the U.S. population remains unvaccinated, the surgeon general released a report this morning calling for a war on health misinformation. “Although health misinformation is not a recent phenomenon, in recent years it has spread at unprecedented speed and scale, especially online,” he says. The advisory also calls on tech companies to step up their efforts to stop the spread of misinformation.

23andMe eyes preventive health

At the STAT Breakthrough Summit23andMe founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki spoke with Katie about the company’s ambitions for drug development and its interest in helping  flag illness earlier so the medical system can intervene. “23andMe is not only trying to help people understand science,” Wojicki said, “we’re trying to introduce prevention.”

The telehealth lobbying boom, visualized

telehealth lobbying
Earlier this week Katie wrote about states across the country rolling back telehealth regulations, which is already having a huge impact on patients. But as the chart above from CB Insights’ latest State of Healthcare Report shows, insurers, health systems, and telehealth upstarts are also concerned about the future of virtual care in the wake of the pandemic. They’re spending big bucks to make sure that future policies reflect their input.

Wellness tech revenue may spike 12%  

The Consumer Technology Association, which produces CES, released a forecast projecting total revenue for health and fitness technology will reach $13 billion in 2021, a 12% growth over last year.

And in other dealmaking news…

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University’s Wyss Institute partnered to create a new accelerator program for clinical diagnostics that aims to identify unmet testing needs and match them with engineering technologies.
  • Virtual wound care startup Swift Medical raised $35 million in Series B funding led by Virgo Investment Groupfollowed by existing investor Data Collective.
  • Xilis, which is developing an AI-based precision medicine platform for cancer treatment, raised $70 million in Series A financing led by Mubadala Capital.
  • Dental treatment planning software startup uLab brought in $54.5 million in Series E financing that included participation from existing investors and a group of orthodontists.
  • Otsukasigned a 3-year deal with real world data company Holmusk. The deal is potentially worth up to $4 million per year.
  • Aidoc, which analyzes medical imaging with AI, raised a $66 million Series C round led by General Catalyst.

And you get a chief digital officer

  • Ohio-based Catholic health system Bon Secours Mercy Health tapped Jason Szczuka to serve as its first chief digital officer. Szczuka previously served as chief digital officer of Cigna.
  • Telehealth startup Vault Health hired Hady Khouryas its president of life sciences and chief research officer. Khoury, tapped to help steer Vault’s work in decentralized clinical research, previously was SVP of real world evidence at Syneos Health.
  • Electronic health records platform Ciitizen named Glenn Keet VP of health information exchange strategy. Keet previously served as GM of health care solutions for Clinithink.
  • Caresyntax hired Rhonda Wallen as chief strategy officer and executive vice president of technology & evidence solutions. She most recently served as the SVP of Marketing & corporate development at the SteriLumen division of Applied UV.
  • Grand Rounds Health and Doctor On Demand appointed Shayna Schulz as chief operating officer. Most recently, she was SVP, Medicare and specialty at Blue Shield of California.

Coming up

On July 19th, the Digital Therapeutics Alliance is hosting a workshop for payors, employers, and health system administrators to inform the development of the Digital Therapeutic (DTx) Value Assessment & Integration Guide.

What we’re reading

Rockley Photonics unveils ‘clinic-on-the-wrist’ sensors, offering a potential glimpse at the Apple Watch’s future, FierceBiotech

Source: STAT