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.
March 23, 2015
We’re thrilled to announce our latest investment, Collective Health, which just picked up $38M to bring much-needed modernization to employer-sponsored health insurance. Here’s why we’re finally excited about getting coverage from employers.
In addition to funding remarkable companies, we’re also committed to promoting diversity in the industry. Despite making up 78% of healthcare’s workforce, women represent only 6% of CEOs of funded digital health companies and 21% of the C-suite of Fortune 500 healthcare companies. We can do better. Read more in our just-released, third annual State of Women in Healthcare report.
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.
Each fall, tens of millions of people are subjected to the annual ritual of open enrollment. This staple of employer-sponsored health insurance (ESHI)—itself an artifact of a war-time wage freeze in the 1940s—has become a painful process, wrought with uncertainty and fear of making the wrong choice.
The yearly decision around health benefits—determining how much we each pay for our healthcare and what access we are afforded to physicians, hospitals, and treatments—has a significant impact on a company and its employees. It’s a process that begins long before open enrollment, with a sea of service providers spanning health insurers, analytics vendors, and consultants advising companies on forecasted spend and the optimal plan designs.
March 16, 2015
In less than 24 hours, Apple’s new ResearchKit did what would take 50 medical centers a whole year to do in traditional trials, albeit with some bias toward the rich and healthy. The platform is the latest example of the shifting center of care—but Apple isn’t the only tech giant tackling clinical data, they’re just prioritizing breadth by embracing open-source.
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.
March 9, 2015
Last week we announced two of our latest investments. Meet Chrono Therapeutics, a digital therapy company that combines smart drug delivery with behavioral medicine software to help people quit smoking—and Evidation Health, a company born out of GE, Stanford, and The Activity Exchange that measures the real-world effectiveness of these exact types of digital health products.
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.
Going going, back back to… Austin? 2015 marks our sixth consecutive year at South by Southwest. Each time, the conference gets bigger and better and the number of digital health events grows (I counted over eighty events in five days–whew!). The good news for you? We’ve put together a list of events that we’re most looking forward to, so grab your bags and join us in Texas.
En Vogue: Blurring the Line Between Brands and Tech
Friday March 13th, 12:30-1:30PM
JW Marriott, Room 205
Hear our own Chrono Therapeutics’ Senior Creative Director dive into the intersection of fashion and tech and why it matters for wearables.
(Pst. Requires advance registration!)
Radical Healthcare: What Do Consumers Want?
Friday March 13th, 5-6PM
JW Marriott, Room 203-204
Getting to Texas early? Grab some BBQ and dig into this panel–you’ll learn about how fields like gaming and e-commerce can help create better design for healthcare solutions. Spoiler: the “best” product doesn’t always win.
Digital Health and the Consumerization of Healthcare
Saturday, March 14th, 11AM-12PM
JW Marriott, Room 203-204