Digital health funding stays low as a new reality sets in

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The within story of inside dissent over a well-liked UnitedHealth algorithm

A brand new investigation out this morning reveals how UnitedHealth‘s acquisition of a well-liked Medicare Benefit algorithm developed by NaviHealth sparked inside dissent over denied take care of severely in poor health sufferers.

My colleagues Casey Ross and Bob Herman previously reported that NaviHealth’s algorithmic denials terminated insurance coverage funds for Medicare Benefit sufferers, who have been compelled to both forgo care or pay hundreds of {dollars} out of pocket. Their new investigation reveals the denials weren’t simply impacting sufferers and physicians —  scientific staffers inside NaviHealth itself informed STAT they’d grow to be more and more distressed by the best way their bosses have been letting an algorithm override their discretion on sufferers needing continued care.

In the end, the choice to chop off fee for a affected person’s care was left as much as one of many firm’s doctor reviewers. However former workers informed STAT that the method itself was constructed across the algorithm, and the timeline it set.

“They’ve so many stops to maintain a nurse or a therapist from going rogue and simply pushing previous that [discharge] date,” one former affected person chart reviewer mentioned.

Read the full investigation. 

Palantir’s nascent well being care staff caters to hospitals

I lately dropped by an AI convention hosted by analytics firm Palantir — the typically shadowy and infrequently controversial behemoth maybe greatest identified for its authorities intelligence and army information administration contracts. I used to be particularly intrigued by the handful of enormous well being programs demo-ing the know-how at Palantir’s Palo Alto headquarters, together with Cleveland Clinic and Tampa Basic Hospital. 

Palantir, co-founded by venture investor, entrepreneur, and former Trump adviser Peter Thiel, has been quietly constructing its well being care enterprise from the bottom up. The purpose, well being care leads Jeremy David and Drew Goldstein informed me, is to use among the identical providers Palantir makes use of in different advanced and extremely regulated industries to mitigate hospital pressures like clinician shortages, burnout, and restricted hospital beds.

Palantir has simply 9 U.S. well being programs, additionally together with HCA Healthcare, utilizing the know-how to handle dynamic and infrequently difficult-to-predict components like staffing or lab check wants. And although it’s early days, it’s nonetheless not clear if Palantir can unseat well being IT incumbents providing related know-how.

The know-how is basically designed for hospital directors and clinicians, not sufferers, and well being programs informed me they don’t share identifiable affected person data with Palantir. However particularly given Palantir’s roots in authorities and intelligence — and the aversion to any potential notion of privateness danger  — I used to be stunned that no well being system I spoke with explicitly disclosed their Palantir contracts to sufferers inside consent types, although they did promote the partnership publicly. Read the full story here, and ship your ideas my approach.

Digital well being funding stays low as new actuality units in

Digital well being startups raised $6.1 billion within the first half of 2023, and funding is on monitor for the bottom 12 months since 2019, in line with new data released by Rock Well being. The second quarter, in the meantime, noticed simply $2.5 billion in funding.

At this level, it’s not a brand new pattern: Well being tech funding numbers have been falling for a while from their 2021 peak, when corporations raised $29 billion. Extremely-low rates of interest and adjustments in well being care prompted by the pandemic aren’t creating investor frenzy any extra.

“This sector now’s a smaller sector and that’s not essentially a foul factor,” Adriana Krasniansky, the pinnacle of analysis at Rock Well being informed STAT’s Mario Aguilar. “It’s simply time for us to all sort of acknowledge that actuality.”

The brand new funding atmosphere has positioned strain on corporations that raised when the cash was flowing and now have extra restricted choices. We’ve already seen corporations go bankrupt or sell off their assets. Many corporations have resorted to elevating rounds that aren’t given a letter title in order that they will keep away from publicizing decrease valuations, the report notes. That is all half of a bigger recalibration that should occur, mentioned Krasniansky.

“If a startup has been questioning whether or not or not they’ve to regulate their valuation from what they may have raised in 2021 or in a unique market context, It’s most likely time to make that call, and it could possibly be actually useful in the long term,” she mentioned. “We’ve seen plenty of corporations actually slowed down or restricted by the valuations that they established in early 2021.”

HCA discloses information breach affecting 11 million

Talking of HCA, the Nashville, Tenn.-based well being system mentioned Monday that hackers had stolen affected person information from an exterior storage system and posted it on-line, my colleague Tara Bannow studies. Uncovered data contains sufferers’ names, e-mail addresses, and repair places. HCA mentioned it didn’t imagine scientific or fee data was compromised, however didn’t disclose when the breach — possible the biggest ever reported by a well being supplier — occurred.

Well being programs are more and more weak to cyber assaults, probably as a result of the business spends a lot lower than different sectors on safety, Chad Holmes from well being cybersecurity firm Cynerio informed Tara.

“Different industries care about defending {dollars}; well being care cares about defending individuals,” Holmes mentioned. “They’re adopting trendy know-how to take care of sufferers, however they assume something not spent on affected person care is wasted.”

Read more here.

Data blocking enforcement is imminent

The federal well being division will quickly begin implementing the ban on interfering with well being information switch — a follow referred to as data blocking — with an as much as $1 million penalty beginning Sep. 1. The Workplace of the Inspector Basic is liable for enforcement in opposition to well being IT builders and well being data exchanges and networks, however not well being care suppliers; HHS is working on a separate rule establishing disincentives for suppliers.

What we’re studying


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