Examples of Integrated B2B Marketing in Digital Health

Digital health investments continues to grow. Funding reached an impressive $8.1B in 2018, an increase of 42% from 2017 according to a Rock Health year end report with average deal size at $21.9M.

While that is the case, what is particularly interesting is the new wave of partnerships involving traditional health care incumbents and digital health disruptors across the entire B2B2C health ecosystem.  This makes sense considering the time to market for digital health disruptors (new entrants) to launch, go to market and prove clinical validation. However it’s not always new entrants looking to tap into a large customer base (ie access to Insurance members), sometimes it is the opposite – incumbents (particularly Big Pharma) looking to tap into digital health subscribers and a formidable new marketing channel.

Below are three examples of such partnerships which essentially are integrated product marketing plays designed to tap into large consumer segments.

  1. Castlight Health (Digital Health Disruptor) and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (Insurer).  
    • According to this press release, Castlight Health and Anthem developed Engage which is an information portal for insurance members. First and foremost, it offers access to information on all of the doctors and hospitals  in a member’s network. In the offering is online guidance and support on health  care questions, after-hours health care support and advice on out of pocket costs for lab tests, procedures and prescription drugs. Engage launched in 2018 to Anthem’s ASO accounts (self insured large accounts) and already has over 20 large employers on the platform.
  2. American Well (Digital Health Disruptor) and Philips (Medical Devices)
    • Philips is leveraging American Well’s expertise in telehealth to offer consults to it’s product users. According to this press release, the relationship now in progress starts with offering the telehealth consults directly on Philips Avent uGrow parenting app which provides parents advice on monitoring their baby’s development for more than 12 million subscribers. Available on both ios and and android devices, a key feature of the partnership with Philips uGrow is letting parents share data  and receive personalized advice from/to healthcare professionals such as a pediatrician via American Well online or via mobile phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  3. 23andMe (Biotech Disruptor) and GlaxoSmithKline (Pharma)
    • Genetics-testing company 23andMe partnered with pharma company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to use subscribers DNA data to develop medical treatments according to this press releaseUnder the deal, GSK and 23andMe enters into a four-year collaboration under which GSK will become 23andMe’s exclusive collaborator for drug target discovery programs. The companies will use 23andMe’s database of more than 5 million customer genetics data to explore drug discovery and targets for development.
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Telemedicine is still underutilized says Harvard JAMA Study

A recent study led by researchers at Harvard Medical School analyzed claims data from Optum plan data over the last few years, concluding that telemedicine adoption has still yet to take off  – in rural areas. The tip here is the assumption that telemedicine was designed to administer care in hard to reach rural areas.

While there are more state mandates that require coverage of telemedicine as a care option, it is important to note that patients do understand that there is a mix such as  primary care, urgent care and acute care options. This is especially true for consumers who live in urban areas.

So what can be the reason for low adoption in rural areas. Perhaps it has to do with comparing degree of trust in urban vs rural areas. Rural patients may prefer in person interactions as more trusting and may not be as comfortable with relaying private medical information over video.

Much more importantly, is that perhaps consumers are not even aware of the services. Sometimes poor adoption can be improved by better technology integrations – enabling consumers to access such services where they already access other services whether in person or technology bases. This bring telemedicine partnerships in mind such as American Well with Philips, Teladoc with CVS Minute Clinics, MDLive with Walgreens. Although time will tell if the above integrations are the most effective ones for the targeted population.

 

 

$240B revenues for United Health in 2019

UnitedHealth Group said revenues will hit between $243 billion and $245 billion in 2019. Year-to-date, profits are up 29 percent to $8.9 billion when compared to the first nine months of 2017. Excerpt pulled from the this Becker Hospital Review article.

That’s the magnitude of the health care industry for payers. And the payer pie will only get larger as consolidation such as recent – Aetna/CVS continues.

 

Nokia divests Withings, it’s Health business

Nokia is selling its Withings digital health business back to the original founder. Withings famous for its connected health devices such as WiFi enabled body scales, fitness trackers and baby monitors has only been part of Nokia for 2 years. According to the Verge, Withings products weren’t making enough money for Nokia in its short time under their watch. Just last year, the company announced a write-down of $164 million on the assets.

It is not clear the fate of Withings going forward especially in a very competitive and low margin B2C/hardware business. One indicator to watch for this sector is share price. Fitbit, a market leader is trading at about $6 a share and Jawbone just went out of business.

P&G acquires Merck’s consumer health business

In a continued trend, pharmaceutical companies are offloading their low margin consumer health divisions to focus on high risk, high reward prescription drug discovery business. German based Merck found a partner in Cincinnati headquartered P&G to sell it’s consumer health business, which features OTC products such as Neurobion, Femibion, Nasivin, Bion3, Seven Sea for muscle, joint, back pain and mobility. Products we don’t hear much about, because they are primarily sold in Europe, South America and APAC.

The acquisition will strengthen P&G’s consumer health business, where health currently makes up 1 out of every 8 products in sales, complementing brands such as Vicks, Pepto-Bismol, Crest and Oral-B.

It was less than 10 years ago since P&G divested it’s prescription drug discovery business. With this acquisition, it aims to dominate in retail consumer health by expanding scale, portfolio and category.

World Medical Innovation Forum: Insights on AI from healthcare leaders

WMIF Image
Ziad Obermeyer MD, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School during First Look session

The World Medical Innovation Forum in Boston just wrapped after three days of insights on artificial intelligence in health care. While it didn’t disappoint in respect to buzzwords as is expected in AI conferences, it was the quality of the participants and their views on AI in health care workflows that made it notable. Here are twelve quotes directly from healthcare leaders.

On AI as a capability and adding immediate value

We realized having great medical devices is not enough, we need to connect them and make them interoperable. We operate on Adaptive Intelligence rather than Artificial Intelligence. Frans Van Houten. CEO, Philips

You will need to have capability to process structured (EHR) and unstructured (genomics) data, we can say we are more advanced in AI due to our work in oncology  – aiding in virtual recruiting in clinical trials. Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD. CMO/CSO, Flatiron Health

Knowing about the range of products being developed now, in 5 to 10 years time, there will not be a single decision made in healthcare and medicine not influenced by AI. John Kelly, PhD. SVP Cognitive Solutions and Research, IBM

30-45% of each provider’s day is wasted in non-care related activities, AI can improve healthcare and reduce burnout. Peter Durlach. SVP Health Care Division, Nuance

On data generation and interoperability

We need to remove any remaining friction between insurers and providers when it comes to sharing data, we need free flow of information. Patrick Conway, MD. CEO, BCBSNC

Some doctors don’t want to be paid electronically. They are still sending paper faxes.  Roy Beveridge, MD. CMO, Humana

Pharmaceutical companies are sitting on mountains of data on clinical trials. This data is still underutilized. Jackie Hunter, PhD. CEO, Benevolent AI

On data security, privacy and consent

When thinking of AI innovation, two considerations  – medical requirements on devices as well as consumer privacy and security. Jigar Kadakia. CISO, Partners HealthCare

Facebook says we got consent from you. But then you don’t really know you signed consent. Consent needs to be clear  – in healthcare. Noga Leviner. CEO, Picnic Health

On quality and trust of all these AI algorithms 

How are we going to address quality. How is that algorithm performing and how does that impact health outcomes? Seth Hain. Director, Analytics and Machine Learning, Epic

There’s a difference between Big data and AI. Big data has informed and enabled’. What has AI done in drug development? Dr Thomas Lynch. EVP, R&D Bristol Myers Squibb

Garbage in, Garbage out. We have to de-toxify the data. Carl Kraenzel. CISO, IBM Watson Health

 

EHR Data interoperability: Apple, Google, CMS and FHIR

Data interoperability is the flavor of the month. Everyone is working on it.

Different EHR providers mean ‘proprietary data’ and impact to revenue hence naturally system A can’t talk to system B when patient changes health plan, provider or employer benefits

Apple may be bringing disruption with its consumer play.

Apple launched its Health Records platform with over a dozen partners.

While about 40 health systems are now primed to sharing their medical records with patients through the iPhone Health Records app is impressive, what’s particularly interesting is Apple’s bet that consumers will be empowered to share this data with an ecosystem of digital health apps (developers) on their phones and providers and drive their own insights.

This is particularly a new approach with EHR portability which is usually system led rather than consumer led.

To make this all possible, the industry had to agree to one standard – Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). This then serves as a connector to read and port data to/from from an EHR. Apple’s partners include top tier systems such as NYU langone Health, Stanford Medicine, The University of Chicago Medicine and John Hopkins hospital.

While Apple is pursing a B2C play, Google continues it’s domination in B2B via acquisitions.

Google’s Apigee (acquired in 2016) has apparently been working with several healthcare companies, including Walgreens, Kaiser Permanente to build links between data streams connecting existing data sets in disparate systems and finding new ways to ingest data from other sources. It’s strategy is to build an ecosystem of developers that are native to Apigee’s API.

There isn’t much data yet on adoption except in the single payer UK NHS where Deepmind (another acquisition) and Google’s AI arm has rolled out a number of limited hospital rollouts of it’s Streams app.

With use of the Apigee API, come storage requirements. Apigee sits under Google’s relatively new Cloud division so naturally it’s aim is to sell cloud services to these organizations to catchup up to Amazon’s Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Lastly, the government has taken a stand to accelerate interoperability. Championed by White House advisor Jared Kushner, CMS debuted blue button 2.0 in March. The premise is patients should have access to their medical data wherever they go throughout their lifetime. As such it is requiring health plans to share data on Medicare participants. CMS requirements include requiring providers to update their systems to ensure data sharing, allowing patient’s data to follow them after they are discharged from a hospital and streamlined documentation and billing for providers.

As data becomes a commodity, non differentiated EHR incumbent providers such as Epic, Allscripts, Cerner will have to revisit their business models due to competitive new entrants and reduced revenue.