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Fortnightly Healthtech Update #5

How to make use of pulse-transit-time in wearables.

Researchers at Stanford have developed a bodyNET sensor that could potentially measure vitals. More details here, subscription required. Or, if that’s not your thing, how about bio-compatible magnetic skin.

A study in China looks at the use of photoplethysmography technology to reliably detect atrial fibrillation.

We are less than one month away from a major change in how Medicare reimburses skilled nursing facilities. The aim is to get patients the care they need while removing the incentive to provide excessive amounts of therapy. But as Avalere’s Fred Bentley explains, it’s not really value-based care, because volume will still be a big driver of SNF profitability. MedPAC insists value-based care is coming to post-acute though.

Increased signs of action to tackle social determinants of health.

Honestly not sure what to make of this partnership between Verily (Alphabet, née Google) and iRhythm to develop solutions for atrial fibrillation. iRhythm already has afib detection, that’s what it does. So, maybe this is about reaching a bigger market and going direct to consumer at some point? Because right now, iRhythm needs a doctors order…and the Apple Watch does not, neither does AliveCor. So that would be a bit of a strategic shift. Or is the clue in the word “solutions”…? More to come.

In iRhythm-related news, BardyDX extends it’s own ambulatory cardiac monitor to 14 days. This potentially offers better diagnostic yield, since longer monitoring improves the odds of detecting infrequent cardiac events. It does not, iirc, open it up to an additional set of CPT codes (aka an adjacent market segment).

Vim gets some big name financial backers to provide better integration between payers and providers for value-based care.

Another Israeli project, including Ichilov Hospital, AnyVision, and BioBeat aims to improve monitoring of patients on the general floor.

New to me Health Recovery Solutions jumps into the remote patient monitoring fray.

I wrote about Deepmind’s work on renal failure detection recently, but Intermountain is using SymphonyRM to develop personalized treatment plans for kidney failure

Modern Healthcare’s list of 25 innovators in healthcare. Innovations include avoiding unnecessary ED visits, personalized medicine, price transparency, addressing the social determinants of health, and much more…

Judge blocks former CVS exec from joining Amazon’s PillPack. Admittedly, this is about enforcing a non-compete agreement. But, I can’t help feeling that if one of your top competitive strategies is wielding lawsuits, that’s never a good look. If you were innovating fast enough, whatever your former employee might have in their head would become irrelevant pretty darn quick.

The law of unintended consequences: The post-acute care savings reaped by Medicare value-based payment programs might be at the cost of family caregivers. On the other hand, Medicare’s bundled payment programs do not seem to have worsened the outcomes for frail seniors. Is that a win? I guess it depends if you’re a family caregiver…

GE is developing a sensor to analyse sweat.

Where Apple goes, Android is sure to follow – only much later…..a collaborative effort to let Android users access their medical records.

PeraHealth adds more FDA cleared capabilities to it’s patient deterioration solution.

CMS proffers both carrot and stick to convince providers to accept downside risk. Seema Verma says all the right words about price transparency and competition – albeit with the obligatory S-word thrown in. By which I mean socialist, obviously. How did it became socialist to want high quality, affordable healthcare for all citizens of one of the richest countries on earth? If that’s how it is, I think I can live with that. Anyway, actions speak louder than words so I’ll reserve judgement on what Seema Verma delivers. I just hope value-based care isn’t going to go the same way as commercial nuclear fusion – forever right around the corner.

Covenant Health introduces a remote sitter program for monitoring at-risk patients.

Research into another new type of wearable using graphene sensitized with semiconducting quantum dots.

Mercy Virtual invests in Myia to monitor heart failure patients at home.

Wondering where America’s National Institute for Health is putting it’s money on mhealth apps? You can find out right here.