Experts to Congress: Uptick in preventable outbreaks 'alarming,' needs more funding to address

What's one of the best times to convince a parent to vaccinate their child? It just might be before their baby is born, Saad Omer, MBBS, MPH, Ph.D., a professor in the Emory Vaccine Center, told the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday. "There’s evidence to suggest a lot of parents are making their decision around vaccines before the baby is born," Omer said. "After the baby is born, it’s like fast-moving train and parents go through this extended jet lag." His primary message: They need to prioritize funding not only in vaccine science but also in understanding the best way to communicate with the public around vaccines. He was testifying as part of an expert panel—which included an 18-year-old who garnered national attention recently for getting vaccinated against his parents' wishes—that raised alarms about the impact of misleading information on vaccine rates and resulting upticks in outbreaks of preventable diseases.

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Health Technology, AI

Swoop Launches AI-Powered Conversational Agent for Healthcare Marketing, Revolutionizing Engagement on brand.com

Swoop | January 09, 2024

Swoop, a leader in developing precise direct to consumer (DTC) and healthcare provider (HCP) audiences for pharmaceutical and life sciences brands, today announced the launch of its AI-powered conversational agent. This groundbreaking advancement in healthcare marketing sets a new standard for lower funnel engagement, enabling immediate, MLR-compliant virtual customer interactions via brand.com. “Swoop’s AI-powered conversational agent marks the first groundbreaking advancement for brand.com since the introduction of pharmaceutical websites in the 1990s, addressing a pressing need for innovation in how the industry engages with their customers,” said Scott Rines, underscoring the historic significance of this achievement. “Patients and physicians are looking for real-time information, 24/7/365 during their moment of need, but are often faced with an overwhelming experience on brand.com. They come to the site seeking fast, clear answers to their health-related questions – our agent solves this.” Market conditions continue to remain a challenge with shortages of healthcare professionals despite an uptick in customer demand for information related to their condition and treatment decisions. Meanwhile, HCPs are also less likely to allow medical reps into their offices, a shift that has continued post-Covid. Instead, these increasingly digital-native, often over-extended, physicians prefer to seek information online when their schedule permits, limiting the impact of personal promotion. “The ability to parse the data derived from lower funnel conversations with HCPs and patients in real time will prove invaluable, as these signals will become proprietary 1st party data to optimize future marketing spend and messaging,” added Rines. Key Features of Swoop's Conversational Agent Dynamic Patient Conversations: Patients and HCPs can engage with conversational AI in real-time, creating a personalized and responsive user experience to drive more high-value actions on a health brand website. MLR-Approved Medical Information: Leveraging advanced algorithms, conversational AI provides MLR-approved answers to both simple and complex medical questions in the moment of need, enhancing the overall user experience for both patients and HCPs. Real-Time Patient Insights: Valuable real-time data from conversations accessible via dashboards allows healthcare brands to assess the effectiveness of their messaging and make informed adjustments promptly. Scalable to Client Demands: Whether for a single brand, therapeutic area or product portfolio, Swoop conversational AI agents can scale with the needs of healthcare marketers from new product launches to covering open territories and unsupported brands. Patient Data Security and Compliance: Swoop prioritizes patient privacy and data security, ensuring that all conversational AI agents operate in compliance with the highest industry standards and regulations. Typical Client Results Seen by Customers 96% – Average answer success rate of inquiries 5.2 minutes – Typical conversation duration 4.7/5 – Average user satisfaction rating 800% – Increase in high-value activities on brand websites Swoop’s conversational AI technology is built on more than 1.3 billion conversations with patients and providers and has been trained under the supervision of physicians and medically trained clinicians. Unlike generative AI, which can hallucinate and is not appropriate for direct patient and HCP interaction in the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry, Swoop conversational AI uses fine-tuned large language models to understand user intent and surface the most relevant MLR-approved answers to ensure compliance, accuracy and, most importantly, safety. About Swoop Swoop, part of Real Chemistry, enables pharmaceutical and life sciences brands to reach their ideal DTC and HCP audiences at crucial moments of their diagnosis and treatment journey. Using ML/AI and real world data, Swoop is a leader in developing brand-exclusive audiences of patients and their providers for healthcare companies. Once the right customers have been targeted, brands can drive bottom-of-the-funnel engagement through Swoop’s proprietary medically trained and MLR-compliant conversational AI. Built on a privacy-by-design foundation, Swoop is both HIPAA-certified and NAI accredited, having developed more than 12,000 unique target audiences for 42 of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies safely. Its conversational AI has been implemented across 100 health brands and trained on over 1.3 billion medical conversations.

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Digital Healthcare

Syra Health Wraps Up a Successful 2023, including New Contracts, Contract Extensions, and the introduction of new Healthcare Innovations

Syra Health | January 04, 2024

Syra Health Corp. a healthcare technology company with a mission to improve healthcare by providing innovative services and technology solutions, is excited to summarize its significant accomplishments and the introduction of its innovative solutions across the Company's six business units. Within its Behavioral and Mental Health Business Unit, Syra Health Launched Syrenity, the Company's flagship mental and behavioral product, focused on preventing mental health crises. Syrenity is evidence-based and AI-backed, offering continual monitoring and cognitive therapy interventions. Syrenity also integrates with telehealth, allowing for easy access to licensed mental health professionals when treatment is necessary. Entered into a strategic agreement with E&I Cooperative Services (E&I) which extended Syrenity's reach to over 6,000 colleges and universities nationwide, that make up E&I's membership. Secured a five-year, $4.75 million contract with the District of Columbia's Department of Behavioral Health, to support vital mental health programs in communities. Entered into a one-year agreement with the County of Camden Psychological Screening and Evaluation Services to provide mental health screening and evaluations to Camden County, New Jersey law enforcement personnel. Received a contract from the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) to provide behavioral and mental health services to the Oakley Youth Development Center and other locations as directed by MDHS. Across its Digital Health Business Unit, Syra Health Launched CarePlus, an easy-to-use, secure, and scalable electronic medical record (EMR) system for small and mid-sized healthcare organizations. CarePlus is affordable and accessible by simplifying clinical workflows, integrating labs, radiology, and telehealth. Unveiled SyraBot, a digital health product that uses human-centric AI to deliver conversational and immediate responses to inquiries made through any healthcare organization's website. SyraBot provides real-time access to information users need, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week in up to 200 languages. As part of its Population Health Business Unit, Syra Health Received a two-year contract extension, worth up to $636,000 with the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction and Family and Social Services Administration, to chair and manage the State of Indiana's Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup. Secured a five-year contract worth $275,000 with the City of San Antonio to evaluate its Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Healthy Neighborhoods Project. Across its Health Education Business Unit, Syra Health Entered into a new strategic agreement with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health in Arizona where Syra Health experts trained over 100 public health staff on best practices for implementing health equity. As part of its Healthcare Workforce Business Unit, Syra Health Won a contract with Osawatomie State Hospital and Adair Acute Care in Kansas, to deploy licensed healthcare professionals to deliver vital social and therapy services. Secured contracts across Oklahoma, Virginia, and Alabama to deliver healthcare staffing solutions to correctional facilities. Provides on-demand temporary medical personnel, including nurses and nurses' aides, for two veteran homes in Ohio and one in Indiana. Delivers direct care staffing for the Department of Health and Human Resources Purchasing Division in the state of West Virginia. Expanded its Healthcare Workforce Solutions to include a new technology platform for employers and those seeking new positions, plus engagement and concierge services. Syra Health Announced its Expansion into Federal Government Contracts, making Federal Government Solutions the Company's Sixth Business Unit Syra Health expanded its reach beyond state and local governments to include supplying its products and services to the federal government. Milestones On September 29, 2023, Syra Health became a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq, under the ticker symbol "SYRA. In October 2023, Syra Health successfully closed on $6.7 million in IPO financing. Syra Health's third-quarter revenue increased by 4%. Importantly, the Company saw a significant rise in gross profit margins from 27.3% to 35.1% versus the same period the year prior. "2023 was a transformative year for Syra Health," said Dr. Deepika Vuppalanchi, CEO, Syra Health. "We are incredibly proud of our team's commitment which has enabled us to secure new contracts and launch innovative products. As we step into the new year, we are driven by a profound commitment to continue addressing the most significant healthcare challenges and to improving healthcare for all." About Syra Health Syra Health is a healthcare technology company addressing some of healthcare's most significant challenges in areas such as behavioral and mental health, digital health, and population health, by providing innovative services and technology solutions. Syra Health's products and services are centered on prevention, improved access, and affordable care. Syra Health supplies its solutions to payers, providers, life sciences organizations, academic institutions, and the government.

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Healthtech Security

Belong Health Launches Belong Medical Group to Help Health Plans and Healthcare Providers Address Gaps in Patient Care

Belong Health | January 10, 2024

Belong Health, a company dedicated to advancing patient-centered healthcare and reducing the cost of caring for underserved and complex populations, has announced the formation of Belong Medical Group to help its plan and provider partners address chronic gaps in patient care. Belong Medical Group supplements existing care infrastructure with virtual and community-based resources to care for every member – even those that are historically hard to reach. The team includes operators, clinicians, registered nurses, licensed clinical social workers and community health workers with extensive experience serving high-needs populations. Operating as a separate unit within Belong Health, Belong Medical Group is a transitional care organization that develops clinical programming and wraparound services to help plan partners, providers and provider groups care for members with chronic conditions during changes in their care plans. This improves patient outcomes while reducing overall costs. Bridging Gaps in Care Dual-eligible members require more specialty care, particularly in the areas of behavioral health and palliative care. Patients with mental illness combined with one or more chronic conditions average three-times the medical spend compared to patients without mental illness. Almost 45% of dual-eligible patients fall into this category. Belong Medical Group was built to serve high-needs patients, including the 11 million D-SNP members with complex issues, low incomes and pre-existing conditions, to improve outcomes and reduce costs. "The clinician shortage in the U.S. continues to worsen and existing care delivery models fail to meet the needs of patients, particularly those that are dually eligible,” said Belong Health CEO J. Patrick Foley. “Belong Medical Group is an innovative new model of care delivery that ensures the full integration of services, reduces fragmented care and drives operational efficiencies.” By providing transitional care, Belong Medical Group helps plans serving D-SNP beneficiaries and providers participating in ACO REACH by Bridging gaps in care through home-based and virtual specialty care services delivered by trusted members of Belong Medical Group’s Clinician and Care Management team. Ensuring equitable access to care in urban and rural areas by meeting patients where they are. Seamlessly integrating with the provider community to ensure that care is coordinated with their local provider for longitudinal care. Mental Health Connector Mental Health Connector is the first clinical solution available through Belong Medical Group. It serves patients without a current mental health provider or those with worsening chronic mental illness. These patients are identified during health risk assessments or hospital and ER admissions as having unmet mental health needs that require follow up. MVP Health Care, a regional not-for-profit health insurer serving New York and Vermont, is the first to offer Mental Health Connector to its members. "Since the inception of our pilot program with Belong Medical Group, we have witnessed notable improvements in the depression scores of our members who have sought care from our dedicated Mental Health Connector clinicians,” said Dr. Carl Cameron, MVP Health Care’s Chief Medical Officer. “This heartening progress reinforces our belief that collaborative efforts can truly shape a brighter future for those with diverse health care needs. Belong Health and Belong Medical Group stand as trusted partners who share our unwavering dedication to providing high-quality care to a complex population. We value their expertise and their commitment to working hand-in-hand with us, ensuring that our members receive the comprehensive support they need.” Patients enrolled in Mental Health Connector receive treatment from Belong Medical Group's clinicians for up to 90 days. The treatment plan put in place by Belong Medical Group’s psychiatrist or mental health specialist is then transitioned to either the patient's PCP for ongoing management, or to a longitudinal mental health clinician in the community. The goal is to both diagnose and address unmet mental health needs when patients need it most and then to triage the right level of care for the patient long-term once the issues are stabilized. This bridge to longitudinal care not only reduces the cost of care, it improves quality scores. “These programs are essential. We need to meet patients where they are to help them better stick to their care plans during transitional phases,” said Dr. Ramon Jacobs-Shaw, President of Belong Medical Group and Chief Clinical Officer at Belong Health. “Too many people, especially seniors and dually eligible individuals, have needs that are not met by the existing care delivery landscape. Belong Medical Group provides smarter and more targeted services to those patients to make sure their needs are fulfilled, improving outcomes and overall community health.” About Belong Health Belong Health provides a new approach to health insurance by establishing deep partnerships with providers and insurers. This innovative model empowers us to address the unfulfilled requirements of underserved and complex needs populations in a more patient-centric way. Through fully risk-bearing partnerships, Belong Health helps insurers deliver products that provide more collaborative care to the MA and D-SNP population. Belong Health is also an accredited Accountable Care Organization, dedicated to delivering value-based care for Medicare FFS. Our mission is to offer more compassionate, collaborative and smarter healthcare solutions for underserved and complex needs populations.

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Health Technology

BroadcastMed Launches New Platform for Vision Portfolio of Products

BroadcastMed | January 25, 2024

BroadcastMed, the leading healthcare information marketplace that provides trusted clinical content, powerful engagement, and industry insights to healthcare professionals (HCPs), medical institutions and manufacturers, service providers, and pharmaceutical companies, is thrilled to announce the evolution of its Vision portfolio. PentaVision, powered by BroadcastMed, released a new digital platform designed to elevate the user experience for healthcare and optical professionals. Driven by many of the industry's leading Optometry and Ophthalmology publications, the platform leverages an intricate network that spans across their entire suite of Vision brands. The architecture was designed to provide HCPs with vibrant, interactive content within personalized user experiences. Real-time industry data has been optimized, ensuring that HCPs remain informed of the latest developments, trends, and breakthroughs in the field. With a user-centric design, the platform enables HCPs to navigate effortlessly, thereby saving time and enhancing efficiency in accessing the most pertinent and valuable content. This dedication to convenience fosters continuous learning, collaboration, and professional growth. "We are delighted about the positive impact this enhanced network will have on our partners' ability to connect with HCPs in a meaningful way," said Lee Schweizer, Chief Digital Officer, BroadcastMed. "With optimized architecture for improved search visibility, a network-buying approach for advertisers, and plans for dynamic content in 2024, we're excited to offer enhanced benefits for both advertisers and healthcare providers." "The new Retinal Physician website offers faster navigation, improved content, and a streamlined interface. I think the changes will be appreciated by everyone!" said Peter K. Kaiser, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Chaney Family Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology Research. BroadcastMed, together with 424 Capital, a growth capital partner, acquired PentaVision in August of 2022 to expand its healthcare audience and secure high-quality content across 11 brands in vision care. PentaVision's media brands are among the most respected and read brands globally, and include Contact Lens Spectrum, Corneal Physician, Eyecare Business, Glaucoma Physician, New Retinal Physician, Optometric Management, Ophthalmology Management, Ophthalmic Professional, Presbyopia Physician, and Retinal Physician. Underlining its commitment to evolving content distribution, expanding multichannel reach, fostering engaging live events and streaming experiences, and providing insightful data to HCPs and supporting organizations, BroadcastMed is dedicated to advancing the field of healthcare. About BroadcastMed BroadcastMed is the leading healthcare information marketplace that provides trusted clinical content, powerful engagement and industry insights to healthcare professionals, medical institutions and manufacturers, service providers and pharmaceutical companies. The company's integrated platform of digital, event, and publication solutions helps drive better dialogue, connectivity, and outcomes for the healthcare community.

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