DOJ to review Google's Fitbit acquisition, 23andMe sued for $100M and more digital health news briefs

Also: Khosla heir calls digital health investment a big disappointment; Humana and Philips partner on MA member monitoring.
By Dave Muoio
04:11 pm

Not so fast? Google’s plans to purchase Fitbit will soon be under the US Department of Justice’s lens. According to a New York Post report, the merger raised antitrust flags at both the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission, with the former federal agency ultimately winning out.

The Post’s sources said that both of these agencies are hesitant to allow Google an even greater view into individuals’ private data. Google and Fitbit announced the pending acquisition on November 1.

Lawsuit alleges bad business. 23andMe’s former business partner Celmatix has filed a lawsuit against the larger company for $100 million in damages. The suit, filed in the Supreme Court of New York, centers around a reproductive health research contract signed by the companies in 2015.

Celmatix said that it held up its end of the bargain while 23andMe wanted to back out of the agreement’s exclusivity clause. Celmatix also alleges that 23andMe then hampered the company’s upcoming financing round.

Room for improvement. A new post penned by Neal Khosla is highlighting digital health’s failure to deliver a truly major disruption. In it, Khosla — the cofounder of healthcare machine learning startup Curai and fall detection startup Totemic, and son of venture capitalist Vinod Khosla — points to incompatible cultures and incentives among provider and payer groups, and goes on to dub digital health as “one of the most disappointing investment areas of the last two decades.”

“What are my takeaways? Everything is f---ed up in healthcare and digital health hasn’t been an exception,” he wrote. “Change isn’t coming with linear approaches. We need radically new approaches or black swan events. We need people who think differently. Isn’t this what tech does best?”

Continuous monitoring for MA members. Last week Humana and Royal Philips announced two new programs that would use the technology company’s connected to help monitor and streamline care for Medicare Advantage members. The first will use Philips Lifeline’s AutoAlert fall detection platform and a predictive analytics system, while the second will deploy Philips’ remote member monitoring solution among members with congestive heart failure.

“As the industry moves beyond traditional care delivery in the hospital to health delivery that starts and ends in the home, Philips’ population health management solutions can enable strong collaboration between care recipients, providers and payers, connecting care and empowering patients,” Carla Kriwet, chief business leader for connected care at Philips, said in a statement.

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