Health

Rest stop telehealth, a data aggregator gets buy-in, & the EHR time drain

Truveta scores $95 million, adds hospital partners

Truveta, a company formed to aggregate patient data for medical research, has attracted three new hospital partners: MedStar Health in Washington D.C.; and the Dallas-area providers Baylor Scott & White and Texas Health Resources. It now counts as members 17 large health systems with operations in 40 states, and has raised $95 million in Series A funding. That’s an impressive haul on both fronts, but the company faces a series of extremely big challenges in the months ahead. Casey has the full story.

Rest stop televisits

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State by state, pandemic emergency declarations are coming to an end — and with them, provisions that made telehealth easier to access, including cross-state licensing flexibilities. As those waivers expire, patients are contorting themselves to keep their virtual appointments legal. In some cases, patients will drive just across a state border to take a telehealth appointment from their car to abide by the rules, and others are scrambling to find new doctors. Read more in Katie’s story.

Regulatory guideposts

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There are a couple newly-announced FDA clearances this week worth highlighting:

  • The digital birth control company Natural Cycles got a green light to incorporate data from third-party thermometers into its algorithm, which calculates fertility based on temperature and other physiological data. Until now users had to take their own temperatures and add it to the app manually.
  • Mobile EKG maker AliveCor received clearancefor a feature to calculate a patient’s QT interval, a heart function measurement that can indicate an increased risk of arrhythmia. The sign off adds to an ever-growing list of algorithms to detect heart problems.

In other regulatory news, a new set of data exchange standards published by the Office of the National Coordinator seeks to create clearer criteria for how demographic information on patients, including sexual orientation and gender identity, can be collected and shared. Health providers and payers have long sought to leverage such information to improve care, but it is collected sporadically and often in different formats. The new standards are designed to create greater consistency, although they do not require patients to report the information or providers to collect it.

Where telemedicine isn’t

Telehealth is holding strong, according to a new McKinsey report. After a huge surge in April 2020, claims data show that telehealth use has tapered off at a level 38 times higher than before the pandemic. But the revolution has not been evenly distributed: Medical specialties are using virtual services at dramatically different rates. The leading user in claims from February 2021, as throughout the pandemic, continues to be psychiatry.

Tallying the EHR time drain

A top complaint of primary care docs is the way that electronic health records have sucked up increasing amounts of their time, keeping them from the real work of practicing medicine. A study in JAMA Network Open makes that burden plain by tallying the minutes devoted to EHRs by PCPs in 349 practices around the U.S. In general medicine and family medicine, clinicians spent an average of just over two hours in the system every day — about 30 minutes of which happened after hours. Pediatric physicians got somewhat of a break, with about 90 minutes every day.

Looking for the light switches

  • Clover Health has tapped Prabhdeep Singh, previously of WeWork and Uber, to be its chief growth officer; Justin Joseph will move from Palantir to serve as the company’s chief strategy and development officer.
  • Incredible Health, a digital nurse recruiting service for hospitals, has hired Katilyn Arneson to be its senior operations manager. Arneson previously worked for Time Doctor and Lyft.

What we’re reading


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