With 14.1 Americans gaining coverage under Obamacare, more individuals than ever are getting access to healthcare. This is great. What’s not great is that healthcare still costs a fortune. Growing deductibles and out of pocket costs make great healthcare too expensive and inaccessible for many Americans. A few Americans can afford high-end services like concierge medicine and face to face therapy—premium services that a tailored to your needs. Everyone else—from self-insured employers to individuals who need to find cheaper, better options—is driving demand for digital health products that are meaningful and easy to use.
Exactly a year ago, we decided to publish the gender data on founders at Rock Health. Despite women being the majority of our team and our board, only 30% of our portfolio companies had a female founder (today, we are at almost 34%). Because we’d like to help our portfolio companies access a diverse talent pool, we began the XX in Health initiative nearly four years ago.
The aim of this initiative is to bring women together to network and support one another. The 2,400 members of the group share resources and ideas on LinkedIn and meet regularly across the country. This week we’re hosting a webinar on the topic for both men and women, and next week we’ll host our sixth XX in Health Retreat in NYC.
Today, through this initiative, we are proud to share our third annual report on the state of women in healthcare. Our past reports on this topic have been some of our most popular content, and we encourage you to share this report with your colleagues.
Guest Contributor | March 11, 2015
Levin Brown is a MD/MPH candidate studying Health Policy and Management at Harvard School of Public Health.
Right now, one of the most important and exciting developments I’ve seen in health data is happening, and I really think you should be part of it.
Recently, a group of large EMR vendors and hospital stakeholders started exploring the new data exchange standard, HL7 FHIR. After many years of pressure, these vendors are sitting down together to discuss how to start exposing health data in a modern, consistent fashion. It’s taken a lot of work and leadership to get to this point and is going well so far—but now it’s time for the startup community to get involved.
The center of care is shifting. Digital health has an enormous opportunity to reduce hospital readmissions and keep costs down by extending care beyond the clinical setting and into a patient’s home. At-home patient management companies, like Wellframe and HealthLoop, allow healthcare professionals to keep a closer eye on patients by continuously monitoring and managing patient biometric data (e.g., EKG readouts and blood glucose level) in order to prevent emergencies. Last year, companies in this space raised $418M and grew 206% from 2013 to 2014. In this segment, we’ll tell you how health care legislation has, and continues to, shift the center of care into the home for digital health patient management solutions. (Note: While telemedicine also helps to extend care into the home, we have distinguished it from solutions that are used for patient management. Check out our post dedicated entirely to all things telemedicine.)
Policies driving the change
The Affordable Care Act, both through ACOs and incentivizing lower readmission rates, has driven most of the activity in at-home patient management tools. For example, the Readmissions Reduction Program places a penalty on hospitals that have excess readmission rates within 30 days as an indicator of poor quality care. To determine a hospital’s penalty, CMS looked at the readmission rates within 30 days for patients that were admitted with one of the following conditions: heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia, chronic lung problems, such as emphysema and bronchitis, and elective hip and knee replacements. Penalties range from 1 to 3 percent of all Medicare DRG-related revenue, and these penalties apply to all DRG payments, not just the five conditions measured. In 2014, over 2,600 hospitals racked up $428M in penalties. Under the 2015 guidelines, 75% of hospitals will face some amount of readmission penalties. But these penalties seem to be accomplishing their goal—hospital readmissions declined by 150,000 between January 2012 and December 2013. CMS estimates that the penalties could ultimately save the health system $8.2B over 7 years from the program’s beginning in 2012.
I had the chance to chat with Kathleen L. Frisbee, the Co-Director of Connected Health in the Veterans Health Administration. Dr. Frisbee oversees the rollout of system-wide Veteran digital health strategies, including a suite of mobile health apps designed to support family caregivers providing home health care help to veterans. Recently, Dr. Frisbee was recognized as one of FierceHealthIT’s “Top-10 influential women in health IT.”
What’s the most exciting project your team worked on in 2014?
The Family Caregiver Pilot was definitely one of the most exciting projects the VA Mobile Health team worked on in 2014. Between May 2013 and September 2014, nearly 1,000 Caregivers of seriously injured post 9/11 Veterans received VA-loaned iPads loaded with a suite of apps to test and evaluate. The suite is comprised of nine mobile applications (apps) designed to support Caregivers and the Veterans they assist. By using the mobile technology, Veterans and Caregivers received secure access to health care information, the ability to track personal health-related information, and additional functionality in sharing personal health information with their VA care teams.
Healthcare reform is fueling digital health funding. You’ve probably heard a variation or two of that statement so here’s a look at how and why healthcare reform has helped define the digital health landscape. In a series of posts, we’ll explore the legislative landscape, starting with this overview and then diving into telemedicine, at-home patient management, and healthcare consumer engagement over the next few weeks.
With healthcare costs expected to rise 4.9% next year, stakeholders are starting to feel the pressure to change. Legislators are busy trying to slow the growth of healthcare spending; providers strive to find a balance for cutting costs and improving care; insurers compete to gain more enrolled members. Most notably, healthcare reform efforts have created an environment for the growth of digital health, which received over $8B in funding over the past four years.
Halle Tecco | January 19, 2015
On January 11th, we co-hosted the fourth annual Top 50 in Digital Health dinner along with Fenwick & West and Goldman Sachs.
This year we honored nine leaders and organizations making exceptional impacts in digital health:
Angel of the Year: Sami Inkinen
Few angel investors so wholly embody their investment theses like Sami Inkinen. This world-class triathlete and self-proclaimed “data geek” knows how to spot technologies that will hugely impact our health and wellbeing. He’s invested in Augmedix, Lantern, MyFitnessPal, and Rise.
Crowfunding Hero: Empatica
Empatica’s Embrace is the first-of-its kind medical grade watch that measures epileptic seizures, among other things. To date, Embrace has raised 401% of its crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo.
Diversity Leadership Award: Castlight Health
Tackling complex problems in healthcare requires not only the brightest minds, but diverse ones too. Castlight has led by example for all digital health companies in assembling talented executives with distinct backgrounds to lead their mission. The Castlight leadership team includes doctors, developers, and 55% female executives.
Mollie McDowell | December 15, 2014
The holidays are upon us! While you scramble to find a perfect gift for that digital health geek (or yourself), we hope you find this list helpful.
With the cold season on your doorstep, outdoor runs get moved inside. BitGym keeps the motivation going by bringing the scenery to your cardio machine, and runs on any smartphone or tablet. Lucky you! BitGym is giving all our readers a free month of premium access with the code ROCKHOLIDAY.
Bring the party to the daily routine and snag the first connected tooth brush, Beam Brush. With built-in Bluetooth and gamified challenges, you’ll always be in the know about your kids (and your own) brushing habits.
If someone you know lives with Parkinson’s or Essential Tremor, you probably know how difficult using utensils can be. Lift Labs gives back the gift of eating by making super portable and easy to use stabilization tools for people living with tremor. To spread the holiday cheer, Lift Labs is extending their buy one, give one program—just use the code GIVETUES.
Halle Tecco | December 02, 2014
A snapshot of the Cleveland Clinic Innovation Summit, October 29th, 2014, where only 20% of speakers were female
Last year, Rock Health took the first look at gender diversity on the stages of a dozen high-profile healthcare conferences. We knew from experience that women were largely confined to the attendee list at these events, and we were appalled when our research confirmed that only a quarter of speakers in 2013 were women.
We launched the XX Speaker Project as part of our larger XX in Health initiative to promote and support female leaders in healthcare. Opening up a dialogue about this imbalance, our goal was to make tangible changes and improve the numbers in 2014.
Charu Raghu | November 19, 2014
Dr. Nirav R. Shah serves as Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s senior vice president and chief operating officer for Clinical Operations. He previously served as the New York State Health Commissioner, where he oversaw the implementation of a statewide healthcare technology initiative, the creation of a successful health insurance exchange, and the redesign of the Medicaid program. He is a board-certified Internist, an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and formerly served on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.
1. During your time as NY State Health Commissioner, New York set up a great model for data sharing—what was the biggest win?
One of our most notable achievements was creating a statewide network for health information exchange. What does that mean? It means that if you got into a car accident in Buffalo, the doctor could pull up your electronic medical records from Brooklyn. This network for nearly 20 million New Yorkers is funded by the state—which means it’s each and every citizen’s data—not the insurance company’s data or the hospital’s data. As a New Yorker, you will have full access to your records through a patient portal (or can download the data using the blue button standard) and you can decide who has access to your data or even decide to opt out.