Providence St. Joseph Health acquires Health Management Resource from Merck, CVS publishes 2020 health predictions and other digital health news briefs

Also: Hims and Hers expands to all 50 states; VC firm Freestyle Capital offers Meru to portfolio companies.
By Laura Lovett
03:37 pm

The skinny on acquisition news. This morning Providence St. Joseph Health announced that it was acquiring weight management program HMR (Health Management Resources) from Merck. The tech-enabled program offers an app with weight loss resources, group phone coaching and in-person classes. Prior to this acquisition three of HMR’s clinics were inside of Providence facilities, and the organization was already referring its employees to the services. 

“Providence is a perfect fit for HMR,” HMR President Len Tacconi said in a statement. “Both organizations are focused on preventive health care, and are committed to high-quality compassionate care that can make a real difference to the health and quality of life of the people we serve.”

CVS predictions. Earlier this week pharma retail giant CVS published its Health Trends 2020 report. Authors of the report predict that the industry will see 48% growth in medical data each year. The article notes that in the past data silos have been a hurdle in utilizing data. 

“No one company will invent all of the breakthrough technologies,” Firdaus Bhathena, Chief Digital Officer at CVS Health, said. “Part of our role … will be to stitch the information from all of these sources into experiences that are truly meaningful.”

The CVS report also highlighted the rise in personal wellness products and the need to scrutinize new services coming onto the market. 

Heal thyself.  VC firm Freestyle Capital will now be offering two mental health-focused tools to founders in its portfolio of startups. And it just so happens that the companies offering those tools also come from Freestyle's portfolio of startups, Axios first reported

One of those startups is digital health company Meru, which offers a three-month digital program set up to treat depression, anxiety and burnout. The second, the Hoffman Institute, offers a one-week intensive on-site program. 

“There is no getting away from the stress and pressure of running a startup, but there are finally proven tools and services that address the challenges of being a founder, with many more to come. We hope our initiative not only helps Freestyle founders but encourages other VCs and companies to take tangible steps to provide their portfolio founders and employees with the help they need and deserve. Mental health should be a right not a privilege,” Josh Felser, cofounder of Freestyle Capital, wrote in a Medium post.

From sea to shining sea. Hims & Hers, an online mail-order health company that uses remote consultations to prescribe cosmetic and sexual health products, announced that it will now be available in all 50 states. In the past, consumers could go on the site and answer a number of questions through asynchronous messaging with a provider. That capability will still be working but, due to varying state legislation the company needed to add more capabilities. 

“Because certain states require real-time provider and patient interactions, adding video and phone communications will allow Hims & Hers to bring our services to more than 20 new states,” the company wrote in a Medium post. “In short, this move will expand access to convenient, high-quality health care to more Americans.”

There’s an app for that. A new hearing impairment focused app, named MyGroup, recently launched. The company likens itself to an Uber for American Sign Language Interpreters. Customers can go on the app and find an interpreter and schedule an appointment. It is currently available on the Apple store. 


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