This week’s digital health news…
NHS England and British Medical Association Contract Includes Digital Service Initiatives
A new contract agreement between the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) and the British Medical Association (BMA) provides medical practices nearly £1 billion throughout five years to help reach goals laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan. A key aim within the plan is to increase patient access to digital services, including online access to medical records, digital consultations, and appointment bookings. BMA GP committee chair Dr. Richard Vautry noted in a public statement: “The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has made his ambitions around technology in general practice clear, and GPs recognize the potential convenience that new systems can offer to many patients.” Practices are expected to reach full digital goals by 2021.
Apple and Aetna Partner on Wellness Program App
Apple has partnered with health insurance provider Aetna (recently acquired by CVS) to launch a new wellness app that will “leverage health data, a custom app, and the Apple Watch.” The app, available to Aetna members with an iPhone 5S or later as well the Apple Watch, will generate personalized health goals, wellness recommendations, and rewards based on daily activity as well information included in members’ Aetna health records. In a publicly released statement, EVP of transformation for CVS Health Dr. Alan Lotvin remarked: “We’re designing Attain to be personalized and clinically relevant to where each individual is in their health journey. This is an ambitious challenge, and we will adapt and improve over time to create the best experience for our members.”
Medicare-based Insurtech Startup Raises $500 Million in Round Funding
Venture capitalists are heavily investing in insurtech startup Clover Health. Backed by Greenoaks Capital, Sequoia Capital, Floodgate and others, the San Fransisco based company has raised a total of $925 million to date. The tech-enabled health insurer utilizes data analytics to “provide preventative care to patients.” Clover Health is a part of an emerging cohort of insurtech startups partly aimed at those eligible for Medicare Advantage plans. In a statement provided to TechCrunch, the company noted: “Clover’s continuously improving economic fundamentals have allowed us to build sustainably, thoughtfully enter new markets and increase our overall membership by 35 percent during the last 12 months, compared with nationwide growth of 8 percent for Medicare Advantage overall.”
New Report finds Increased Demand for FDA-Approved Health Tools
According to a market report completed by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 54% of consumers are “willing to try an FDA-approved app or digital tool for the treatment of a medical condition.” Created through the compiling of survey data and health trend analytics from the past year observed an upward trend in consumer confidence regarding FDA Approved health technology. The report noted: “The arrival of digital therapeutics — an emerging health discipline that uses technology to augment or even replace active drugs in disease treatment — is reshaping the landscape for new medicines, product reimbursement and regulatory oversight. This means that new data sharing processes and payment models will be established to integrate these products into the broader treatment arsenal and regulatory structure for drug and device approvals.”
Medical Associations Urge ONC and CMS to Align Reporting Requirements
Various industry groups have filed assessment comments in response to the draft strategy report for interoperability released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Groups such as the American Hospital Association (AHA), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Soceity (HIMSS), and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), voiced concerns over lack of aligned reporting requirements across Medicare and Medicaid, noting that clinician requirements differ between both programs. The AHA comments asserted: “The lack of alignment is particulary acute in 2019 when Medicaid programs will use more rigid, historical meaningful use crtiteria, while Medcicare has shifted to the more fliexible [Promoting Interoperability Program] approach. In a joint comment letter, the groups urged CMS to simplify and streamline the clinical documentation requirements.
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