Google Cloud, Deloitte partner on healthcare solutions

Google Cloud, Deloitte | April 12, 2019

Deloitte and Google Cloud announced plans to collaborate on a suite of advanced solutions for the life sciences and healthcare industries. The joint release was short on details, stating only that the solutions would help accelerate the pace of biomedical research, improve healthcare access, optimize operations, and modernize the management of health data. The announcement comes as health systems, payers, and hospitals alike are all struggling with the challenges of digital transformation, including better use of data analytics to drive value-based care. Google Cloud provides a secure, open and intelligent enterprise cloud platform built on Google's private network. The company offers tools across its Google Cloud Platform and G Suite designed to help foster collaboration and the sharing of ideas and information.

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As the impact of healthcare reform increases, employers must prepare for their new obligations and responsibilities under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). A primary challenge for employers is determining which employees are considered full-time under the Act and must be offered coverage.


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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Virta Health Highlights Lasting, Transformative Health Improvements In 5-Year Diabetes Reversal Study

Virta Health | June 07, 2022

Virta Health, the leader in type 2 diabetes reversal, revealed preliminary five-year results from its landmark clinical trial at the American Diabetes Association 82nd Scientific Sessions. Presenting four unique abstracts, Virta highlighted myriad, lasting health improvements for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, including blood sugar control, clinically-significant weight loss, reduced inflammation, and improvements in other markers of cardiometabolic health. These transformative health outcomes coincided with medication reduction or elimination for many trial patients, including Jane Ann Dimitt. For over two decades, Jane Ann was prescribed increasing levels of medications as her blood sugar and weight continued to climb. By the time she joined Virta in 2015, her A1c had reached 11.4%; the next step was insulin. Through Virta’s treatment, Jane Ann lowered her blood sugar to 5.5% (below even the prediabetes threshold) and lost over 50 pounds, while drastically reducing her reliance on medications. She also saw improved mobility, decreased inflammation and neuropathy, and now has the energy to play with her grandchildren—all without needing the insulin doctors said was imminent. The outcomes of Jane Ann and Virta’s other trial patients contradict the belief that progression of diabetes—and a lifetime of increasing medications—is inevitable. One-fifth of Virta patients completing five years of treatment saw full remission. One-third of patients achieved A1c below 6.5% without any diabetes medications, or only requiring Metformin. Notably, inflammatory markers, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol all improved significantly. These outcomes, in conjunction with previous research demonstrating improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors, depression symptoms, sleep, and knee pain, establish the promise of Virta’s approach to impact a wide range of conditions amid America’s metabolic disease epidemic. In the U.S., costs are rising as patient outcomes continue to worsen, including surges in amputations, hyperglycemic events, and diabetes-related deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, getting patients to stick with an intervention remains a significant challenge in diabetes therapy. Rates of medication adherence—that is, whether patients take their medications as prescribed—fall as low as 34% over the first three years for those starting insulin. For the National Diabetes Prevention Program, considered the gold standard in lifestyle interventions, only 13% of patients were retained at one year. In contrast, in Virta’s trial nearly 50% of participants with type 2 diabetes were retained at five years. Of those who continued past year two, 72% remained for an additional three years to year five. For Kim Shepherd, who lost 55 pounds, eliminated 10 different medications, reversed her diabetes, and even saw her GERD (acid reflux) and plantar fasciitis disappear, the reasons to stick with the treatment are clear. “Diabetes runs in my family, and I know that this disease can rob you of your whole life; it can take your eyes, your feet, and your kidneys. I have 4 kids and 9 grandkids to keep up with. I’ve learned to love hiking and biking. Nothing is worth losing all of that and going back to how I was before.” Additional key outcomes demonstrating the success of Virta’s approach at five years include Sustained blood sugar control. Virta patients experienced persistent improvements in blood sugar on average, while requiring significantly fewer medications. Medication deprescription. Half of patients prescribed insulin at the start of the trial no longer needed it at five years. Across all diabetes drugs, prescriptions were reduced by nearly 50%. Weight loss. Average weight among Virta participants decreased by 7.6%, exceeding the 5% benchmark for clinically significant weight loss by more than 50%. Broad improvement in cardiometabolic health. In addition to improvements in triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and markers of inflammation, patients even showed encouraging signs in reversing the progression of chronic kidney disease. “Virta’s patients are helping redefine what long-term success can look like in type 2 diabetes care. The patient outcomes set a new standard for real-world applications of diabetes treatment." Dr. Alan Moses, former Senior Vice President and Global Chief Medical Officer of Novo Nordisk, and Virta advisor Trial participants with prediabetes also saw meaningful improvements, with progression rates far below what has been demonstrated in other studies. Further, Virta patients sustained 6% weight loss over five years, exceeding the clinically-significant benchmark for diabetes prevention and far surpassing the 2% weight loss observed in the NIH Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle intervention. The study is also notable for its longevity. Five-year published results are extremely rare in digital health, where most studies follow populations for no more than a year, and usually significantly less. For many Virta patients, the five-year clinical trial has facilitated a lasting lifestyle change, improving not only traditional markers of health but overall mood, quality of life, and outlook on the future. Says patient Denise Lamb, who has maintained diabetes reversal alongside a nearly 70 pound weight loss, “My journey has been phenomenal. The Virta program has not only helped me achieve healthy blood glucose, but also attain a far better weight, normal blood pressure, and better understanding of my body. Virta’s lifestyle changed my lifestyle!” About Virta Health Virta Health helps people reverse type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions. Current approaches manage disease progression through increased medication use and infrequent doctor visits. Virta reverses type 2 diabetes through innovations in technology, nutrition science, and continuous remote care from physicians and behavioral experts. In clinical studies, 94% of patients reduce or eliminate insulin use, and weight-loss exceeds FDA benchmarks by nearly 150%. Virta works with the largest health plans, employers, and government organizations and puts 100% of its fees at risk based on clinical and financial outcomes.

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MEDICAL DEVICES

Anthem Announces Subsidiary Brands Under Elevance Health

Elevance Health, Inc | June 20, 2022

As Anthem, Inc. moves closer to rebranding to Elevance Health, Inc. later this month, the company announced the launch of healthcare services brand Carelon and health plan brand Wellpoint to join the company’s family of brands that includes Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The move will optimize and streamline the company’s brand portfolio, reduce complexities, and further underscore its evolution to deliver solutions beyond traditional health insurance, simplify the healthcare experience, and advance health beyond healthcare. “An important part of being a lifetime, trusted health partner is grounded in our ability to ensure consumers have access to services that will meet their whole health needs across their entire healthcare journey. The addition of our new brands to our family of companies will bring together services and products within their respective brands that further integrate our business and health expertise across the industry to solve complex challenges and improve consumers lives.” Gail K. Boudreaux, President and CEO Anthem, Inc Blending a powerful suite of solutions to solve complex healthcare challenges Bringing together decades of experience, the company introduces its new healthcare services brand Carelon to consolidate the company’s existing broad portfolio of capabilities and services businesses under one brand to address the most complex healthcare challenges and support clients and consumers across the entire healthcare continuum. Derived from the word ‘care’ and suffix ‘lon’ meaning full and complete, the name Carelon stands for the importance of providing full and complete care. Carelon will serve one in three people in the U.S. With services ranging from research to integrated whole person care delivery, pharmacy, behavioral health to digital platform and technology services, Carelon will build better care for people and enhance efficiencies systemwide. Through partnerships across healthcare, Carelon will improve outcomes and reduce total cost of care through digitally enabled solutions to improve whole person health. The company expects to fully transition its capabilities and services under the Carelon brand over the next two years. This change further helps to streamline the end-to-end experiences for providers, clients and consumers. “Carelon makes connected care possible for everyone by putting people at the center of what we do and delivering the right balance of care, technology, data-driven insights and expertise to solve complex challenges and help consumers lead healthier lives,” said Pete Haytaian, Executive Vice President of Anthem, and President of Carelon. “Bringing together these solutions will help deliver our strategy, drive growth, and exceed expectations for care providers, consumers, and our other partners.” Launching a brand focused on improving the health of individuals and communities at all stages of life. The company will also launch the Wellpoint brand to unify its Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health plans in select markets, simplifying interactions that consumers have with these health plans. Wellpoint’s suite of products and services are designed for consumers at any stage of life seeking to make the right care decisions and will offer access to simple, supportive health solutions that will help foster independence, confidence, and whole person health for consumers. ​The company plans to make this transition over the next few years. This change will not impact the company’s affiliated Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross health plans. “Unifying many of our non-Blue Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health plans under one brand helps consumers, care providers, and the healthcare industry better understand how our organization works together to deliver our distinct set of products and services that address the health and wellbeing of those we serve,” added Boudreaux. “Our Wellpoint health plans will continue to address consumer needs at a personal level, removing barriers and creating more meaningful connections across a lifetime of milestones and experiences.” This step in the company’s rebranding is a continuation of its bold and ambitious purpose to improve the health of humanity by serving people across their entire health journey; connecting them to care, support and resources; and simplifying every step of the healthcare journey to make health more equitable and accessible. On June 28, Anthem will become Elevance Health and will commemorate its official rebranding by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Shares of the company’s common stock will begin trading under the new ticker symbol ELV as of that morning. About Anthem, Inc. Anthem, which will become Elevance Health on June 28, 2022, is a leading health company dedicated to improving lives and communities, and making healthcare simpler. Through its affiliated companies, Anthem serves approximately 118 million people, including nearly 47 million within its family of health plans. Delivering health beyond healthcare, Anthem is expanding from being a partner in health benefits to a lifetime, trusted health partner.

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HEALTHTECH SECURITY

Health Alliance Improves Outcomes and Reduces Costs Using CareSignal’s Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring

CareSignal, Health Alliance | June 27, 2022

Health AllianceTM, the health plan of Illinois-based Carle Health, is leading the way for rising-risk populations by launching a remote patient monitoring program powered by CareSignal. This program is part of Hally® health, the member-facing telehealth app Health Alliance uses to give its members access to tools and resources for their well-being. The partnership between Health Alliance and CareSignal aims to reduce readmissions, reduce spending, and improve members’ experience while increasing health literacy and empowering members to better self-manage their chronic conditions. The partnership is serving shared Medicare and Commercial populations and is expanding to Carle Health’s Accountable Care Organization. CareSignal’s scalable remote patient monitoring technology sends evidence-based questions directly via phone call or text message to the member. Questions focus on the member’s health status and encourage adherence to their health management plan through reporting of symptoms and daily habits while monitoring changes in risk status. Indications of worsening symptoms can trigger real-time alerts to allow for intervention, including proactive health coaching and escalation of care. Health Alliance is currently prioritizing Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease congestive heart failure, hypertension, asthma, and post-discharge care, and is hoping to add additional populations. Health Alliance is also bolstering its care coordination team with CareSignal’s virtual care navigators enabling them to manage a larger member population without needing additional staff. VCNs are the first to intervene with members before escalating to the Health Alliance care coordination team and/or primary care physician. By handling routine review, education and scheduling tasks when needed, the VCNs enable the Health Alliance care coordination team to work at the top of their license. The program provides increased support for members without increased touch points from providers. “Our team selected CareSignal as the best fit for our Health Alliance remote patient monitoring strategy due to its clinically validated pathways, ability to scale, and ease of use for our members. We believe by adding remote patient monitoring to our population health services, we will improve quality of care and health outcomes, expand access to care management, reduce disparities in health outcomes, enhance the member experience, and reduce hospitalizations, ED visits, and readmission rates.” Margie Zeglen, MBA, FACHE, Vice President of Population Health at Health Alliance and Carle Health “The expansion of this relationship is a result of the clinical and strategic vision that Carle and Health Alliance teammates bring to our partnership,” said Blake Marggraff, CEO of CareSignal, a Lightbeam Company. “Given the ongoing, nationwide staffing challenges that healthcare organizations face, the CareSignal team is particularly proud to be able to support Health Alliance with both the technology and clinical resources required for success. I look forward to serving even more individuals’ clinical needs while simultaneously serving a terrific client-partner.” About Health Alliance Based in Champaign, IL, Health Alliance operates in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, and Washington with additional licenses in Nebraska and Missouri. Health Alliance is part of Carle Health, an integrated system of healthcare services, which includes a five-hospital system as multi-specialty physician groups, as well as Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the Stephens Family Clinical Research Institute. In Illinois, Health Alliance offers employer group plans, individual plans, Medicare plans, State of Illinois Employee plans, and State of Illinois Retiree plans through Total Retiree Advantage Illinois. In Iowa, Health Alliance offers employer group plans and Medicare plans. In Washington, we offer Medicare plans and public individual plans. And in Indiana and Ohio, Health Alliance offers Medicare plans. About CareSignal – a Lightbeam Health Solutions Company CareSignal offers Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring® which is specifically designed for value-based care by leveraging real-time, self-reported patient data and artificial intelligence to produce long-term patient engagement while identifying clinically actionable moments for proactive care delivery. Together, Lightbeam and CareSignal align best-in-class population health capabilities with proven remote engagement and monitoring solutions serving more than 42 million patient lives across the United States. Lightbeam’s vision is to shine a light on health data using analytics, and to provide the insight and capabilities healthcare clients need to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time. Learn more about solutions specific to your organization and population by visiting our website or trying a self-guided demo.

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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

St. Peter’s Health Moves to the Innovaccer Health Cloud to Optimize Care Management and Collaboration Across Care Sites

Innovaccer Inc. and St. Peter’s Health | June 01, 2022

Innovaccer Inc., the Health Cloud company, announced that St. Peter’s Health, a regional nonprofit healthcare system in Helena, Montana, is moving to the InnovaccerⓇ Health Cloud's Data Activation Platform to support its mission of providing exceptional and compassionate care that treats the whole person and improve the health, wellness, and quality of life for the communities it serves. The health system, an integrated network with more than 100 providers, a 99-bed acute care hospital, physician and urgent care clinics, home health and hospice, ambulance services, cancer treatment services, and other ambulatory service lines, will be leveraging Innovaccer’s Best in KLAS Data Activation Platform to help providers collaborate across care sites by unifying the data from multiple EHRs to create a unified patient record that will support a new care management solution for optimized patient engagement. “Transforming our legacy EHR data into unified patient records is an important step in enhancing access, patient engagement, and care management, as it builds on our strong foundation of patient-centered services. Our partnership with Innovaccer is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to provide the gold standard for exceptional care to our community.” Ryan Winn, chief information officer, St. Peter’s Health St. Peter’s Health will deploy several Innovaccer solutions to optimize the use of unified patient data. The health system will unify data from legacy EHRs to create an EHR-agnostic physician engagement solution that provides actionable clinical information at the point of care. In addition, St. Peter’s Health will use Innovaccer’s personalized care management solution to provide a wide range of workflows that assist care teams by simplifying tasks, bridging care and coding gaps, and supporting delivery of quality care outcomes. Lastly, Innovaccer’s AI-powered patient engagement solution will provide St. Peter’s Health with timely, clinically contextual patient insights that can enhance provider-patient collaboration. “We’re thrilled that St. Peter’s Health is partnering with Innovaccer to accelerate their digital transformation,” said Abhinav Shashank, cofounder and CEO at Innovaccer. “We’re honored to be part of their journey and look forward to working closely with them to unlock the value of their patient data so they can advance their mission of delivering high-quality, low-cost, patient-centered care.” About St. Peter’s Health St. Peter’s Health is a nonprofit healthcare system located in Helena, Montana. Their services include but are not limited to a 99-bed acute care hospital, physician clinics, cancer treatment center, 24-bed behavioral health unit, urgent care clinics, home health and hospice care, dialysis center and ambulance services. They provide services to an estimated 97,000 residents from a five-county area. They are overseen by a volunteer board of directors that includes leaders and health experts who are committed to ensuring they provide exceptional healthcare to their community. About Innovaccer Innovaccer Inc., the Health Cloud company, is a leading San Francisco-based healthcare technology company committed to accelerating innovation in healthcare. The Innovaccer® Health Cloud unifies patient data across systems and settings, and empowers healthcare organizations to rapidly develop scalable, modern applications that improve clinical, operational, and financial outcomes. Innovaccer’s solutions have been deployed across more than 1,000 care settings in the U.S., enabling more than 37,000 providers to transform care delivery and work collaboratively with payers and life sciences companies. Innovaccer has helped organizations unify health records for more than 24 million people and generate more than $600 million in savings. Innovaccer is the #1 rated Data and Analytics Platform by KLAS, and the #1 rated population health technology platform by Black Book.

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Spotlight

As the impact of healthcare reform increases, employers must prepare for their new obligations and responsibilities under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). A primary challenge for employers is determining which employees are considered full-time under the Act and must be offered coverage.

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