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IBM sells Watson Well being knowledge on 270 million People
The Watson Well being period is over at IBM. The corporate sold the core data and analytics assets of its struggling well being division to Francisco Companions, a San Francisco-based personal fairness agency with an energetic portfolio of well being know-how investments. The deal ends a darkish chapter for IBM, which didn’t dwell as much as its guarantees to make use of AI to revolutionize drug discovery, most cancers care, and hospital operations. It additionally immediately makes Francisco Companions a major participant in a rising nationwide marketplace for shopping for and promoting delicate affected person knowledge. The agency will quickly personal the nationwide MarketScan insurance coverage claims database, which incorporates medical and drug knowledge on greater than 270 million People, in addition to smaller datasets containing medical pictures and different scientific info. Casey has the full story.
Hospitals are pouring cash into digital well being firms
Hospitals nationwide are quickly growing their investments in digital well being firms to assist bankroll the event of novel software program and synthetic intelligence instruments. The amount of cash invested via hospital enterprise arms elevated to just about $4 billion final yr, up 150% from 2019, in line with knowledge from CB Insights. Massive well being methods like Mayo Clinic are main the cost, however a number of smaller suppliers have additionally grow to be main gamers. These fairness offers provide a major income in addition to a chance to drive adjustments in knowledge evaluation and the supply of care. However in addition they increase the potential for conflicts between the hospital’s monetary pursuits and its commitments to guard affected person privateness and ship optimum care. Read more from Casey.
No, not that Nightingale
At Google, Venture Nightingale was the code title for a well being record-mining partnership that has drawn the scrutiny of federal regulators who questioned whether or not hundreds of thousands of affected person data have been being adequately protected. However a brand new open science venture going by the same name goals to capitalize on medical data differently. Nightingale Open Science, a nonprofit co-founded by UC Berkeley well being and machine studying researcher Ziad Obermeyer, launched in December with the objective of opening up deidentified datasets linking medical pictures like X-rays, ECG outcomes, and biopsy slides to well being outcomes — the form of info that many machine studying researchers wish to develop and take a look at new instruments, however battle to entry as a result of they’re locked up in hospital databases or firm belongings. Learn extra about how the venture goals to speed up computational medication in Katie’s Q&A with Obermeyer.
Telehealth lobbying soars to new heights
As debates raged in Congress over telehealth coverage that might form the trade panorama for years to come back, new disclosures present main firms spent massive to affect the method, our colleague Rachel Cohrs experiences. Teladoc spent $400,000 final yr, a 60% enhance from the prior yr. Everly Well being spent $190,000, or 41% greater than 2020. GoodRx boosted its spend by 567% to $590,000. Final yr additionally marked Amazon’s entry into the telehealth lobbying landscape, as its first disclosure mentioning the difficulty appeared within the first quarter of 2021.
The exception to the lobbying bonanza was the American Telemedicine Affiliation, which spent simply $120,000 final yr, a 20% lower from 2020. However that development could also be altered quickly, because the group final week introduced a brand new commerce group referred to as ATA Motion. If the group will get buy-in and funding from its company members, it might have the potential to consolidate energy in a fractured panorama.
Mark Cuban’s on-line pharmacy pledges ‘radical transparency’
The Mark Cuban CostPlus Drug Firm is utilizing a easy formulation to cost pharmaceuticals: the drug producer’s worth plus a flat 15% margin and a $3 pharmacist’s payment. In doing so, the online pharmacy, which launched final week, is in search of to demystify the usually frustratingly opaque course of of buying pharmaceuticals. It’s beginning small, with about 100 or generic medicines, nevertheless it’s considered one of many on-line pharmacy startups promising to assault incumbent PBMs and pharmacies by making costs extra predictable and comprehensible.
Billing for e-mail places a worth on digital care
On the College of California, San Francisco, physicians have needed to cope with surging numbers of scientific emails, rising from a number of hundred thousand in 2016 to about two million in 2021. So the system is preventing again in opposition to digital burnout by billing payers for emails that require medical analysis or quite a lot of minutes to reply, a shift enabled by pandemic-era coverage from CMS that allowed for reimbursement for such “e-Visits.” Thus far, the messages have been reimbursed at a charge of about $65, with copays starting from zero for many Medicare sufferers and $5 or $10 for some commercially insured sufferers. However some fear new methods to pay for these digital touchpoints will create extra billing code chaos and maintain sufferers from in search of care. Mohana has the full story.
Headed for the exits!
With exit lanes large open, digital well being firms are cashing in on sky-high expectations that their merchandise will remodel well being care supply and operations within the years forward. As a new report by CB Insights reveals, 2021 introduced a pointy uptick in M&A offers in addition to will increase in conventional IPOs and SPAC offers. The development seems to be persevering with to date in 2022, however the greater query is whether or not these firms will obtain the expansion they’re forecasting.
What digital well being knowledge is value sharing?
As individuals generate ever-more digital traces, the whole lot from bank card transactions and public surveillance to social media and web searches has the potential to be became actionable well being info. However are individuals keen to share that knowledge alongside info like digital well being data? A survey of greater than 3,500 People published in JAMA Community Open by researchers from the College of Pennsylvania confirmed that views on knowledge sharing can fluctuate extensively relying on which info was shared, who used it, its final objective, and the well being situation it represented. Respondents have been most comfy with sharing step counts generated by a smartphone, however had extra privateness considerations about monetary and social media knowledge. And whereas sharing knowledge for advertising and marketing functions was unpopular, many have been additionally reluctant to share digital knowledge for scientific use. “The present lack of protections might hinder client assist for well being applications powered by client digital knowledge and knowledge science,” the authors wrote.
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