HL7 gives a glimpse of FHIR 5

Healthcare IT News | January 21, 2019

Health Level 7 International on Monday offered a peek at its roadmap for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, aka FHIR 5. FHIR is widely viewed as holding great promise for enabling health data sharing among vendors, providers, payers, government, health information exchanges and other entities. HL7 earlier this month posted the eagerly awaited FHIR 4 iteration — which is the first version of the interoperability specification to be normative. That was seen as a milestone for EHR and other software vendors, as well as startups and innovative hospitals looking to implement FHIR can now plan future versions including and beyond FHIR 5 being backward compatible with FHIR 4.

Spotlight

Healthcare spending in the U.S. accounts for almost 18% of GDP, with per-capita spending double that of comparable OECD countries.1 The costs from chronic disease alone are projected at $42 trillion through 2030,2 highlighting the increasingly unsustainable burden of the American healthcare system for all involved. While much ink has been spilled with regard to the failures of the American healthcare system, and just as much in service of solutions, the rapid growth and adoption of technology have substantially changed the conversation.


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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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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Softheon Expands to Artificial Intelligence in Care Management for Health Plans through Acquisition of NextHealth Technologies

Softheon | July 01, 2022

Softheon, a leading cloud-based eligibility, enrollment, and billing provider for health plans and government agencies, has acquired NextHealth Technologies, an AI-powered SaaS-based healthcare analytics platform. With the acquisition, Softheon will be better able to help health plans sell and deliver efficient, high-quality care through synergies in the companies' respective products and solutions. Health plans cans save tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars on medical and operational costs through Softheon's growing suite of solutions. The acquisition significantly enhances Softheon's talent density, enhancing go-to-market strategies, engineering processes, and leadership. The overall speed and capability of NextHealth's AI solutions will increase through Softheon's propriety technology. Softheon CEO, Eugene Sayan, will continue to lead the company. Eric Grossman, NextHealth's founder, has become the combined organization's Chief Commercial Officer, supporting Sayan's vision and the company's growth objectives. Sayan shared, "Artificial Intelligence in healthcare is here, and we are seeing the incredible impact it can have on both members and carriers. Our goal has been to make healthcare more affordable, accessible, and plentiful, and we see AI as a clear path forward to bring efficiencies to our carrier partners. This acquisition is a testament to Softheon's commitment to helping health plans tackle some of their biggest challenges, such as population health and the movement toward consumerism in healthcare." NextHealth Technologies, founded in 2013, offers a cloud-based platform that utilizes rigorous methodologies and standardized processes to enable health plan customers to identify impactable populations, measure which clinical initiatives work best for whom, and integrate data-driven decisions into the workflow in real-time to derive the highest ROI from their analytics investments. "We are thrilled to be part of Softheon's continued growth and expansion. This is an incredible opportunity for our respective teams. NextHealth's technical and service staff will continue to build and support cutting-edge applications of AI for carrier member populations with the support and resources of a larger company. We see a bright future for our health plan partners as we bring those tools to bear to deliver significant value and reduced costs." shared Grossman Softheon's purchase of NextHealth is expected to bring economies of scale and operating leverage to the combined company. NextHealth investors, Norwest Venture Partners and TT Capital Partners, will become investors in Softheon and expressed excitement on the prospects of the transaction. "Together, NextHealth and Softheon can provide better care at lower medical and administrative costs while advancing the application of AI in healthcare." said Casper de Clercq, General Partner at Norwest Venture Partners. "The acquisition of NextHealth will enhance Softheon's AI capabilities for health plans," said Ryan Engle, partner at TT Capital Partners, "Member data spanning shopping and enrollment through claims creates opportunities for proprietary methodologies to shape member behavior and create value for plans." Softheon has continued its growth and expansion, having completed more than 20 million enrollments since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, through public and private exchange technology. The acquisition comes after the company introduced its first foray into AI by creating a machine learning algorithm that predicts which members are at risk of letting their insurance coverage lapse, as featured in Bloomberg Law. About Softheon Founded in 2000, Softheon's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Business Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) solutions solve complex challenges for health plans and government health agencies. Currently, Softheon's solutions serve 8 State agencies and over 90 health plans. Issuers and consumers utilizing Medicaid, Medicare, and the ACA Marketplace benefit from Softheon's innovative technology that reduces administrative overhead and enhances user-experiences. Softheon is an Agent, Broker, and Merchant of Record that facilitates health insurance enrollment, administration, and renewal. About NextHealth Technologies NextHealth Technologies, based in Denver, is an AI-powered analytics platform that rapidly optimizes the effectiveness of health plans' cost, quality, and service enhancement initiatives resulting in significantly reduced costs and improved outcomes. Its cloud-based solution utilizes scientifically rigorous methodologies and standardized processes, enabling and promoting a culture of measurement. The platform is HITRUST-certified, scalable, and is deployed with expert services to ensure client adoption and success. Know what works™ and make it better.

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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Valtruis Brings Advanced Healthcare Data Analytics Capabilities Into Its Portfolio With Ursa Health Partnership

Ursa Health and Valtruis | June 28, 2022

Valtruis, a WCAS company, has entered a strategic partnership with Ursa Health, a healthcare data analytics company that brings a paradigm-breaking approach to how healthcare organizations use their data to learn, make decisions, and innovate Valtruis portfolio companies Cricket Health and Wayspring are already experiencing quantifiable advances in their data analysis and management capabilities through both the Ursa Studio no-code analytics development platform and the unusually productive training, support, and consultative relationships they have formed with Ursa Health’s team of healthcare IT and data analytics experts. “Building on the investments made in our first year – with Cricket Health, Wayspring, U.S. Medical Management (USMM) and Oncology Care Partners – we are moving quickly and strategically to realize our foundational commitment,” said Valtruis Managing Director Karey Witty. “That commitment is to accelerate the adoption of value-based care through investments in and collaboration with companies and entrepreneurs that share the vision, talent, and innovative strategies to make value-based care a reality. Ursa Health is one of those companies.” “We bring scalable innovation to healthcare. Companies driving toward meaningful strategic innovation need their data to provide richer, more nuanced answers than healthcare as an industry has historically delivered – and they need these insights at the speed of business. Ursa Studio is a technology that unlocks a fresh approach to developing trusted information. On the technical level, the platform shifts IT team time from the labor of debugging code and managing data plumbing, opening up their capacity to answer additional business questions. On the human level, the platform enables rapid iteration and collaboration between the producers and consumers of analytics, bringing teams to a successful endpoint more quickly. As a result, organizations gain the self-service capacity to fill their information gaps and guide their innovations more efficiently and effectively.” Ursa Health CEO and Co-Founder Robin Clarke, MD Early-phase successes from Valtruis’ partner companies attest to the value, intelligence, and flexibility of the Ursa Health technology and analytics approach. Adam Dunning, Chief Information and Analytics Officer at Wayspring, stated: “We needed a solution to fast-track the development of our SUD Home offering. Working with Ursa Studio, allowed us to accelerate the building of foundational data analytics structures. Our clients and staff will see notable returns as we continue to master the technology offering developed by Ursa Health.” About Valtruis Valtruis, a WCAS company, provides a unique platform that invests in and partners with disruptive leaders whose mission is to align, and transform healthcare through what is truly value-based care. Founded on a commitment to accelerate meaningful change, Valtruis brings the functional expertise, access to capital, and an expansive network that advance our partners’ evolution from early-stage development to industry-leading enterprises. Together, Valtruis and its partner companies will break through the systemic barriers in the healthcare industry to reduce costs, expand access, increase quality, and radically improve the patient experience. About Ursa Health Ursa Health is transforming analytics so innovators can transform healthcare. Our analytics development platform, Ursa Studio, combines no-code technology with healthcare-specific content, enabling health plans, providers, digital health companies, and others to take a Buy Your Build™ approach to their analytics infrastructure. With the structured adaptability of Ursa Studio, organizations can make full use of their rich data resources to accelerate growth.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Spectrum Science Acquires The Seismic Collaborative, Deepening Expertise in Emerging Innovation and Health Technology

Spectrum Science | June 10, 2022

Spectrum Science, an independent, integrated marketing, communications and media agency hyper-focused on health and science, announced the acquisition of The Seismic Collaborative, an independent health and life science agency that specializes in supporting early-stage health tech and biotech companies. The Seismic acquisition establishes the Emerging Innovation Group within Spectrum, a new offering that expands the agency's capabilities to deliver at all points of a company and product lifecycle. "We're delighted to welcome Seismic's incredible talent and expertise to the Spectrum team," says Jonathan Wilson, Owner and CEO of Spectrum. "For the past several years, we've worked to strategically diversify talent and capabilities within our agency, to keep pace with client needs in a rapidly evolving industry—including the burgeoning biotech and health tech sectors. With today's acquisition, we're now able to broaden the scope of clients we support, bringing a flexible model and approach to service both early-stage and start-up clients as well as those who are more established." This new venture brings seasoned leaders with extensive experience and current business in emerging innovation and health technology to the Spectrum team, including Seismic CEO, Lisa Rodriguez, who will serve as the President of the Emerging Innovation Group within Spectrum and will play a lead role within the company's existing Health Tech practice. "Becoming a part of the Spectrum organization strengthens Seismic's connection to clients who are growing, expanding and advancing innovation in the health tech and life science sectors. Now more than ever before, emerging companies require end-to-end, global capabilities to reach their hypergrowth goals—Spectrum is the perfect place to make that happen. Our new home provides a dynamic and vibrant extension of our services where we can evolve with our client partners throughout their lifecycle." Seismic CEO Lisa Rodriguez Also joining the Spectrum organization from Seismic are EVPs Melissa Laverty and Vikki Herrera, along with Seismic's full team of strategists, writers and earned and social media specialists. Today's announcement builds on the recently announced acquisition of SONIC Health, the first deal of its kind for Spectrum in the company's 26-year history. Financing for both acquisitions was provided by Monroe Capital. About The Seismic Collaborative The Seismic Collaborative communicates the stories of the people, products and services that transform healthcare and save lives through a range of strategy, media relations, content and social media services. The Seismic Collaborative's model rejects traditional PR agency norms, focusing instead on high-touch, deeply engaged, collaborative partnerships that are structured upon the results achieved. To learn more, visit www.teamseismic.com. About Spectrum Science Spectrum Science is an integrated marketing, communications and media agency like no other. An independent, full-service agency with end-to-end capabilities, Spectrum's team are experts in science—focused on strategic engagements with our audiences. We leverage human-centered insights, motivating creative, innovative storytelling and technology to reach audiences where they are with the content they need and want. Spectrum offers global reach as the US partner and chair of Global Health Marketing & Communications (GHMC).

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Spotlight

Healthcare spending in the U.S. accounts for almost 18% of GDP, with per-capita spending double that of comparable OECD countries.1 The costs from chronic disease alone are projected at $42 trillion through 2030,2 highlighting the increasingly unsustainable burden of the American healthcare system for all involved. While much ink has been spilled with regard to the failures of the American healthcare system, and just as much in service of solutions, the rapid growth and adoption of technology have substantially changed the conversation.

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