Digital health news briefs for 2/8/2017

By Jonah Comstock
05:11 pm

WelbeHealth has raised $15 million in a round co-led by F-Prime Capital and .406 Ventures. The company provides end-to-end care to seniors under CMI’s PACE program, which allows for fully-capitated reimbursement for triple eligible seniors who qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, and nursing home care. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that WelbeHealth is partly owned by Sutter Health. The two organizations have formed a partnership on a PACE initiative in California, but Sutter Health is not an owner.

WelbeHealth is relevant to digital health mostly because of the pedigree of its team, which includes former AirStrip president Matt Patterson and Evolent Health, VP of payer partnerships at Evolent Health. But Si France, CEO of WelbeHealth, said that technology isn’t the company’s main focus.

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“We’re not intending to reinvent the wheel,” France told MobiHealthNews. “PACE has been in existence 40 years. There are lots of best practices and this model is proven so we’re going to take that and bring it to communities that don’t have PACE and need PACE. If you look at areas where we might innovate and bring new technology it would mostly be about interoperability and population health analytics.”

A new report from ABI Research predicts that wireless pulse oximetry wearables will shift from the finger to the wrist, and this shift will grow shipments of wearable devices for COPD from 3 million in 2017 to 12 million in 2022.

"Wrist-worn chronic respiratory disease wearables are the ideal form factor, because they allow patients to carry out daily activities uninterrupted while collecting data continuously and in real time to note any subtle fluctuations in oxygen levels," says Stephanie Lawrence, Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Finger-clip devices must be manually attached and activated throughout the day to provide one-off readings. Though they still provide more information than pulse oximeters in a clinical setting, finger-clip devices often miss subtle fluctuations that could indicate worsening conditions."

Sunnyvale, California-based Neura launched an AI service for medication adherence apps and devices this week. Neura helps companies make their solutions for medication adherence and chronic condition management more intelligent and context-aware.

“This is an impactful place for us to be,” Neura co-founder and CEO Gilad Meiri said in a statement. “People who aren’t able to follow their doctor’s prescription plan can significantly compromise their health or preventative care treatment. Medication management apps and medical devices enabled by Neura do more for people—they adapt to the user’s day and help the user do what they need to do, right when they need to do it. Users engage with the app more fully, and use it more consistently and frequently, which grows revenues for the app or device provider.” 

Also launching this week was Illuma Care Connections, a technology-enabled care coordination company focused on eye health providers. Illuma's services help make sure patients with known vision risks are scheduled for the appropriate exams with eye care practitioners in Illuma's network, and that eye exam results are automatically shared with patients' primary care physicians.

“With partners like BlueCross BlueShield already using Illuma Care Connections, we are very excited about the future of eye care coordination,” CEO Stephen Kendig said in a statement. “Illuma’s HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based technology, combined with our fully staffed patient contact center, helps ensure that patients who are referred for medical eye exams get the care they need. From the practitioner's perspective, Illuma helps build the medical side of optometric practices while streamlining ophthalmology referrals for high-risk patients.”


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