Inside a secretive deal between IQVIA and Experian, Teladoc’s latest hit, & APA weighs in on virtual ADHD care

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Major privacy issues in IQVIA’s data sharing deal with Experian

Health analytics company IQVIA has carefully crafted a reputation for its deep commitment to data privacy. But internal documents paint a different picture — including what experts say are major privacy lapses in a marketing data partnership with credit reporting company Experian, a STAT investigation finds.

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IQVIA purchased detailed consumer data from Experian and links it to Americans’ health records to deliver marketing insights to its customers, drug companies and device makers. While IQVIA compiled anonymized personal and financial information from the credit reporting company on 120 million people, its employees worried that the data, including information about income, jobs, and ethnicity, could put consumer privacy at risk.

“There are a number of changes and indications in emails that have us concerned about the exposure of these data,” said one email from an IQVIA employee in 2016. The company also went several years without commissioning an expert privacy review of its use of Experian’s data, internal company emails show. Read Casey’s full investigation, and more from his conversation with IQVIA leaders.

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Reading the tea leaves for the House’s telehealth bill

The House just passed a two-year extension of pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities, which would give Congress more time to figure out what, exactly, to do about virtual care in the long run. Our colleague Rachel Cohrs tells us that employer-sponsored health insurance plans are peeved at being left out of a provision that would have allowed them to continue offering first-dollar coverage for telehealth services for patients with high-deductible plans or part-time workers.

The bill’s now headed to the Senate, where its path forward is unclear. It might get tacked on to a government funding bill or a package extending health care programs later this year. (P.S. If you’re interested in more news from Washington, sign up for D.C. Diagnosis, our twice-weekly newsletter on the politics and policy of health care.)

Teladoc takes another multi-billion dollar hit

Teladoc recorded another $3 billion impairment charge following last quarter’s $6 billion charge related to its acquisition of chronic care company Livongo. Revenue, coming in at about $503 million, was up 18% compared to the second quarter of 2021.

In other news on finance and deals:

  • Digital health company Caraway, which aims to address college students’ mental, reproductive and physical health, emerged out of stealth mode with $10.5  million in seed funding from backers including 7wireVentures and OMERS Ventures.
  • Primary care company Everside Health has raised $164 million in growth equity from existing investors such as New Enterprise Associates as well as new ones including Endeavor Catalyst. The round comes weeks after the company backed away from its plans to IPO.
  • Drug distributor AmerisourceBergen has a new online system for ordering, dispensing and fulfilling prescription digital therapeutics and diagnostics. Pediatric behavioral health company Cognoa and Mahana Therapeutics, which makes digital treatments for IBS, are among companies to pilot the system.
  • AI ultrasound company Caption Health’s clinicians will offer heart ultrasounds in partnership with virtual cardiology company Heartbeat Health.
  • Elation Health, which builds clinical software for primary care practices, announced a $50 million Series D round led by Generation Investment Management and Ascension Ventures.Panel weighs in on telepsychiatry standards

For months now, there’s been revelation after revelation about questionable practices at companies like Cerebral and others that offer easy access to stimulants and ketamine for the treatment of ADHD, depression, and other mental health conditions. In an admirably neutral statement, the American Psychiatric Association appears to be weighing on on the matter, saying that even though there is great potential for telehealth, prescribing done online must be held to the very same standards as in-person care, which means “thorough examination and establishing a patient-physician relationship,” careful monitoring for adverse effects, and safe discharge plans. In other words, cut it out with willy-nilly dispensing and poorly supervised care.

Inside the development of an app to treat suicide

Treating people who are suicidal is one of health care’s trickiest problems, but bucking the stigma that surrounds it, Oui Therapeutics has been quietly developing an app aimed at reducing attempts in people at the highest risk. The treatment is based on in-person therapy that’s been shown to be very effective in clinical trials, and the company has raised about $26 million from investors First Round Capital and CVS Health Ventures to bring it to market. In April, Oui launched a study l to generate evidence it can submit to the Food and Drug Administration for clearance, and if it works, it could get the attention of insurers who pay a high cost for each attempt. Read Mario’s story.

Telehealth a boon to addiction treatment


For those keeping tabs, here’s another potential impact of the rapid adoption of telehealth: More soldiers getting treatment for opioid use disorder. A new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that the number of Veterans Health Administration patients receiving buprenorphine for OUD increased 14% in the first year of the pandemic, compared to the 12 months prior. This coincided with a huge jump in use of telephone and video visits for prescribing buprenorphine. As STAT’s Akila Muthukumar explains, it’s hard to tease out whether the rise is attributable to the effects of Covid or the effects of telehealth, but it’s clear virtual care made it easier to access treatment at a time when overdose deaths soared.

How to shrink biopharma’s data science and engineering gap

Biopharma R&D leans heavily on data science these days — and the industry is struggling to keep up with new hiring demands. Sajith Wickramasekara, who co-founded biotech R&D cloud company Benchling, has a few tips from hiring hundreds of software engineers over the past few years. Among them: Ensure data scientists are among your first batch of hires, and build a workplace culture that accommodates them. Read more in his First Opinion. 

Names in the news

  • Teladoc named Mike Waters its chief operating officer. Waters previously led the ambulatory care network at Providence.
  • Tom Cassels, who was previously president of Rock Health’s investment advisory, is now also its CEO. Former CEO and founder Bill Evans will be turning his attention full-time to the firm’s venture capital arm, where he’ll serve as general partner.

What we’re reading

Source: STAT