Emdeon to acquire Change Healthcare for up to $185M

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 21, 2014        

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Change HealthcareNashville, Tennessee-based healthcare payment management company Emdeon has agreed to acquire Nashville-based price transparency company Change Healthcare for approximately $135 million cash upfront with an additional $50 million in potential earnouts. Change Healthcare has raised at least $34 million to date.

Emdeon offers revenue management tools to providers, claims management tools to payors, and prescription management tools to pharmacies. The company will use Change Healthcare’s price transparency services in its payment management offering. The Change Healthcare team will join Emdeon and make up Emdeon’s healthcare consumer engagement team, which will be led by Change Healthcare’s CEO, Doug Ghertner. Ghertner was formerly CVS Health’s senior vice president of client solutions.

“Our customers are prioritizing information, insights and capabilities that enable individuals to be better healthcare consumers,” Emdeon CEO Neil de Crescenzo said in a statement. “By combining our connectivity and scale with Change Healthcare’s transparency and personalization capabilities, we can help our customers further increase member and patient engagement and add even more value to the services they provide their customers.”

Emdeon processes more than seven billion transactions with a claims value of $1 trillion annually, according to the company.

On top of the price transparency tools, Change Healthcare also offers targeted reminders for patients who want to manage their health; a Healthcare University that teaches patients about benefits, healthcare billing, and health insurance marketplaces; and support for healthcare decisions that patients want to make. Change Healthcare serves around 10 million people through the company’s health plan and employer contracts.

This year, a couple healthcare price transparency companies have announced exits.

At the beginning of the year, Castlight Health filed for an IPO. After its second quarter earnings call, Castlight also announced that it had inked deals with 26 new employers including Google, Sprint, The Kellogg Company, and Texas Instruments.

In October, physician rating platform Vitals acquired a price transparency service, called Compass Healthcare Advisers. The acquisition combined Vitals’ rating system with Compass Healthcare Advisers’ price transparency system so that consumers can consider both options when choosing a provider.

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Diabetes management startup rimidi running RCT with California ACO

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 21, 2014        

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diabetes+meAtlanta-based rimidi is piloting its diabetes management and population health software Diabetes+Me in a 129-patient randomized control trial (RCT) with Heritage California ACO, a pioneer accountable care organization. The platform, which includes a mobile device-based patient engagement component, will be vetted for both its ability to lower A1C levels and for softer metrics like patient engagement and the patients’ education level about their diabetes.

“We are the last mile of population health and diabetes management,” CEO Lucienne Ide told MobiHealthNews at the Health IT Leadership Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. “So if you have an organization like a lot of these pay-for-performance capitated organizations, you now understand from a population health perspective, this diabetes problem — this is the number of patients, this is the performance, this is the dollars. What am I going to do about that? How am I going to impact the management to, all the way down to the patient level, better manage them?”  Keep reading>>

Smartphone videos could help diagnose autism earlier

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 21, 2014        

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NODADiagnosing autism remotely, from videos taken with a parent’s smartphone, was found to be 87 percent as accurate as in-person diagnosis in a small preliminary study funded by an NIH grant.

The NODA system (Naturalistic Observation Diagnosis Assessment) is an app developed by Atlanta, Georgia-based Behavior Imaging Solutions. Agata Rozga, a researcher at Georgia Tech who has conducted some of the research on the NODA platform, presented the technology at a showcase of companies incubated at the Interoperability & Integration Innovation Lab (I3L) at Georgia Tech.

“The problem is that despite all the increased awareness of autism, we’re still seeing pretty significant delays between when parents first notice that there’s something off about their child and when we’re actually able to get them into the office for a diagnosis,” she said. “And the kids are missing out on treatment during that early crucial time.”  Keep reading>>

Survey: 9 percent know what a health wearable is

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 21, 2014        

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MEF surveyAs a GfK survey found earlier this year, just 6 percent of UK and US consumers currently own a wearable device, but according to mobile industry association MEF’s recent survey of 15,000 consumers in 15 countries across 5 continents, about half of consumers know they exist.

“It’s fair to assume most of the above users are wearing some kind of health-tracking wristband such as Fitbit,” MEF researchers wrote. “But, to repeat, these devices are hardly mainstream. A study by Parks Associates reported that the number of wearables sold will be 22 million this year. A decent number, but a pinprick compared to the billion smartphones shipped in 2013.”

The researchers also pointed out that because this survey was conducted before Apple announced its smartphone, the Apple Watch, the awareness of wearables among mainstream consumers has likely increased.

Half of the respondents were aware of what a wearable device was. Within this group, 17 percent are aware of wearables in a health context, in which users would monitor heartbeat and blood pressure, while 16 percent are aware of wearables in a lifestyle context, which is where MEF includes activity tracking. That means about 8.5 percent of the consumers surveyed knew what a health wearable was before the Apple Watch was announced.

When it comes to app use, 31 percent of consumers surveyed said they use an app to improve their fitness, 21 percent use an app to manage their weight, and 15 percent use an app to manage an illness or medical condition.  Keep reading>>

Self Care Catalysts raises $1.8M for patient analytics platform

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 20, 2014        

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Health StorylinesDigital health software developer Self Care Catalysts raised $1.8 million ($2 million Canadian) in a round led by Prosoft Development. The company has raised $2.4 million ($2.7 million Canadian) to date.

Self Care Catalysts launched as a patient research company but have since pivoted to focus on healthcare informatics.

The company offers two products, Health Storylines and Patient Storylines. Health Storylines is a mobile and web-based service that helps patients connect to their caregivers, providers, family members and friends. The service prompts users to share their health stories. While the patient’s circle of care can stay connected with the patient through Health Storylines, the stories are also used as a research tool to analyze the patient’s sentiment, engagement, behavior, and outcomes.

Patient Storylines is the behavior analytics platform that analyzes data from Health Storylines. It uses the patient’s data to help customers understand the patient’s disease category, patient profile, behavior, medication adherence, and patient support needs. Some insights the program provides include isolation of key influencers for the patient’s behavior and understanding of reasons behind a patient’s decision making.

“Self care and patient advocacy are two of the most important trends in healthcare and healthcare informatics today,” Self Care Catalysts CEO Grace Soyao said in a statement. “They can play a critical role [to drive] down healthcare costs, facilitate better treatments and drug therapies, accelerate care in clinical settings, drive drug development, open market access, and reduce re-admission rates.”

The company said they are currently providing their services to pharmaceutical companies, research foundations, and patient advocacy organizations.

CVS Health to ramp up its tech efforts with Digital Innovation Lab launch in Boston

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 20, 2014        

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CVSPharmacyCVS Health announced plans to launch a Digital Innovation Lab in Boston. The company’s Boston location will serve as the offices for the CVS Health Digital team.

The new space will accommodate approximately 100 employees, according to CVS, and 90 percent of the employees for the lab will be new hires.

“We are looking to hire top talent across all of digital, and there will be a heavy emphasis on jobs around user experience and digital product experience,” Brian Tilzer, SVP and Chief Digital Officer for CVS Health told MobiHealthNews in an email. “That includes everything from application development and creative digital design, to engineering, coding, usability and customer experience.”

Part of the lab will be dedicated as an open workspace “that encourages idea-sharing and innovation to produce the next level of digital technology”.

“We’re approaching digital innovation with an eye toward creating tools that help our customers and patients live healthier lives, stay adherent to their medications and manage their prescriptions easily,” Tilzer said. “We see our retail experiences as one piece of that puzzle, so we are just as focused on customer experience innovations as we are with leveraging technology to deliver new service options that help people achieve their health goals.”  Keep reading>>