The Rock Weekly

How 2017 shaped digital health

For our last update of the year, we're running down the biggest headlines of 2017. See you in January. Until then, have a healthy and happy holiday!

1. Tech companies doubled down on healthcare
Amazon arrived on the scene in May—with speculators seeing a PBM play or integration of health data with devices like the Echo. It has been the talk of the town since. Apple is working with the FDA around its Stanford study to determine if the Apple Watch can detect abnormal heart rhythms. Google parent and sibling companies continued with their DeepMind health mining effort in the UK, Onduo diabetes management platform with Sanofi, and Project Baseline study with Duke and Stanford to understand human health.

Despite the early stages, health execs have a lot of confidence in tech firms’ healthcare takeover.

+ But not everyone is looking to tech giants to reshape healthcare. UnitedHealth is turning heads.

2. DC released some consequential updates
The FDA got a new commissioner and made good on its plan to accelerate regulatory approvals for digital health, primarily through its precertification program which is currently piloting with some big names. We explained how the FDA plans to certify developers and firms, rather than products, in order to streamline innovation. The FDA also released three hotly anticipated guidance docs this month to clarify regulations for clinical decision support tools. But many were underwhelmed by the lack of mention of how AI will be regulated nor hints of a risk-based approach.

+ CMS dealt a blow to digital health by announcing they would not reimburse for the widely praised virtual diabetes prevention program. But there’s more to the story, as we explained.

3. We saw a thing or two about dealmaking
By the mid-year mark, 2017 saw four funding records shattered as investors put more money ($3.5B) into more deals (188).

CVS Health is buying Aetna for $69B—here’s how it will reshape healthcare.

How do digital health companies make money? Our groundbreaking report on enterprise sales finds it's a B2B world out there and provides learnings from interviews with 85 digital health CEOs.

We lifted the veil on how health systems vet new innovations and their recommendations for operating pilots in our podcast episode on provider adoption of digital health.

4. AI was deemed the most hyped and promising technology
Here are the articles that piqued your interest:

5. 2017 had a dash of controversy too
After obtaining ‘unicorn’ status, Outcome Health's investors are suing them for alleged fraud to secure their massive Series A.

Joe Biden and Epic’s Judy Faulkner got in a row over health data when she doubted patients' ability to understand their medical records and questioned Biden about why he'd want access to his. His response: "None of your business."

STAT investigated NantHealth founder Patrick Soon-Shiong’s cancer moonshot efforts, calling it an elaborate marketing ploy that doesn’t benefit patients.