Digital Healthcare

Lucira Health Announces Expanded Partnership with Switch Health to Increase Canadians' Access to At-Home Molecular COVID-19 Tests

Lucira Health, Inc., a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of transformative and innovative infectious disease test kits, announced a new agreement with Switch Health Solutions Inc. ("Switch Health") to increase Canadians' access to at-home molecular COVID-19 tests as Omicron cases surge. Lucira will provide more than 2 million at-home COVID-19 test kits in 2022 as part of the deal.

"As Omicron cases surge around the world, the need for better testing solutions has never been more apparent. Only Lucira's tests provide a PCR-quality test result in 30 minutes, wherever you are, from a simple, single-use kit. Making these tests more available is critical to help slow the spread of COVID-19."

Erik Engelson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lucira

Switch Health is a Canadian healthcare company dedicated to providing better decentralized patient care. Switch Health has quickly become a leader in COVID-19 testing on-site at its Switch Health Clinics and at-home through its remote telehealth service and in-person visits.

"Switch Health's ability to be a Canadian health care leader in decentralized diagnostics is in large part due to the innovative technologies we make available to everyday Canadians," added Marc Thomson, Chief Operating Officer at Switch Health. "Lucira has been an instrumental partner in helping Switch Health achieve that in the COVID-19 era. Together, we are removing barriers to get Canadians safely back to work and reunited with their loved ones."

Last month, Lucira announced confirmation that its COVID-19 Check-It (OTC) and All-In-One (Rx) molecular self-test kits' can detect 100% of Omicron variant genome sequences analyzed, including the "stealth variant." Lucira assays target viral sequence regions unaffected by the spike protein mutations found in Omicron, Delta, and other variants of concern, allowing it to maintain its accuracy in the face of an evolving virus.

Lucira has received Interim Order authorization from Health Canada to sell and distribute its COVID-19 test kits for at-home self-testing in Canada.

LUCIRA™ CHECK IT Test Kit

The Lucira™ Check-It (OTC) and All-in-One (Rx) test kits are Nucleic-Acid Amplification Tests (referred to as NAAT). The tests fit in the palm of your hand, extract genetic material from the virus and amplify it, similar to PCR lab tests, to detect the presence of virus earlier and more accurately than antigen tests. The test uses an approach called reverse transcriptase loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP). It was designed and tested extensively for individuals to use independently and does not require a physician's prescription or supervised assistance. There is no additional equipment to purchase, such as a reader or instrument.

Each Lucira test kit contains everything needed to run one COVID-19 test. Users get the test device, two AA batteries, sample vial, swab and simple instructions. The batteries are inserted into the device and the sample vial is placed in the test unit. The user then opens the test swab packet and rotates the swab five times in each nostril. The swab is then stirred in the sample vial, which is then gently pressed into the test unit to start the test. The "ready" light will blink until a "positive" or "negative" green light is illuminated within 30 minutes. In the US, Lucira also offers a free LUCI Pass™ digital verified test result back to a user's phone. LUCI Pass is accessed via text and does not require downloading an app. There is also an opt-in for public health reporting for users who wish to transmit their results to the relevant public health authorities.

In clinical trials, 100% of users successfully performed the test at home in about two minutes using Lucira's easy-to-use 'swab, stir and detect' Check-It test kit.

In a Community Trial setting, Lucira™ Check-It results were compared with the Hologic Panther Fusion, considered a high-sensitivity molecular test due to its low Limit of Detection ("LOD"). Lucira's accuracy was 98%, correctly detecting 385 out of 394 positive and negative samples in comparison to the Hologic Panther Fusion, excluding ten samples with very low levels of virus (those with very high PCR cycle thresholds of 37.5 or greater) that possibly no longer represented active infection. Comparative positive results agreed 97% of the time among this sample, and negative results agreed 98% of the time.

About Lucira Health

Lucira is a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of transformative and innovative infectious disease test kits. Lucira's testing platform produces lab quality molecular testing in a single-use, consumer-friendly, palm-size test kit powered by two AA batteries. Lucira designed its test kits to provide accurate, reliable, and on-the-spot molecular test results anywhere and at any time. The Lucira™ Check-It COVID-19 Test Kit (OTC) and Lucira™ COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit (Rx) are designed to provide a clinically relevant COVID-19 result within 30 minutes from sample collection. 

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Healthcare Analytics

Aya Healthcare Expands into UK with ID Medical Acquisition

Aya Healthcare | January 17, 2024

Aya Healthcare, the largest healthcare talent software and staffing company in the United States, today announced the acquisition of ID Medical, a leading workforce solutions provider in the United Kingdom (U.K.). ID Medical brings over 20 years of experience providing the National Health Service (NHS) and other healthcare organizations with innovative workforce solutions, including workforce management, international recruitment and temporary healthcare staffing. As part of the acquisition, ID Medical will make Aya Healthcare’s market-leading technology available to the NHS and U.K.-based clinicians. The companies plan to share best practices from each market with their respective clients. “We are excited about ID Medical joining the Aya family of brands. We believe that we will deliver enhanced value to our respective clients and clinicians through this cross-Atlantic collaboration,” said Alan Braynin, president and CEO of Aya Healthcare. ID Medical will continue to operate as its own brand in the U.K., supporting thousands of healthcare professionals and hundreds of healthcare organizations. “We are excited to join Aya in our shared mission to transform the healthcare industry worldwide,” said Deenu Patel, CEO of ID Medical. “With Aya’s support, we’ll have access to additional resources, technology and expertise to enhance our services and expand our impact.” About Aya Healthcare Aya Healthcare is the largest healthcare talent software and staffing company in the United States. Aya operates the world’s largest digital staffing platform delivering every component of healthcare-focused labor services, including travel nursing and allied health, per diem, permanent staff hiring, interim leadership, locum tenens and non-clinical professionals. Aya’s software suite, which includes vendor management, float pool technology, provider services and predictive analytics, provides hospital systems greater efficiencies, superior operating results and reduced labor costs. While technology drives efficiency and scale, Aya’s 7,000+ global employees power the company to deliver unparalleled accountability and exceptional experiences for clients and clinicians. Aya’s company culture is rooted in giving back and supports organizations around food security, education, healthcare, safe shelter and equity.

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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, 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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Medical Devices

Medtronic Diabetes announces world's first approval for MiniMed™ 780G System with Simplera Sync™ disposable, all-in-one sensor

Medtronic | January 08, 2024

Medtronic plc a global leader in healthcare technology, today announced CE (Conformité Européenne) Mark approval for the MiniMed™ 780G system with Simplera Sync™, a disposable, all-in-one continuous glucose monitor (CGM) requiring no fingersticks or overtape. Simplera Sync™ features an improved user experience with a simple, two-step insertion process and is half the size of previous Medtronic sensors. The MiniMed 780G system with Simplera Sync™ sensor will be available in Europe via limited release in spring 2024. Medtronic will begin the phased commercial launch in Europe in the summer of 2024. Today, the MiniMed™ 780G system can be used with the Guardian™ 4 sensor. The MiniMed™ 780G system is Medtronic's most advanced insulin delivery system, automatically adjusting and correcting† glucose levels every 5 minutes.§ It's the world's only system with a Meal Detection™ feature‡ that is designed to reduce post-meal hyperglycemia when users occasionally forget to give themselves insulin or underestimate the number of carbs in their snacks or meal. The system, which is available with the world's only 7-day infusion set, also features one of the lowest glucose target settings (as low as 100 mg/dL) of any automated insulin delivery system. With this "treat to target" approach, the system more closely mirrors the glucose levels of someone not living with diabetes. With both Simplera Sync™ sensor and the Guardian™ 4 sensor, no fingersticks are required. "A challenging aspect of living with diabetes is counting carbohydrates and dosing the right amount of insulin before consuming snacks and meals. Many people underestimate their carbs, which can lead to high blood sugars (hyperglycemia). Prolonged hyperglycemia can lead to serious health problems impacting the eyes, major organs, and even cognitive function, which is particularly concerning in developing children," Robert Vigersky, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Medtronic Diabetes, Professor of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences "With its responsive algorithm, the MiniMed™ 780G system can help people living with diabetes even when they occasionally forget to bolus or undercount their carbs. The system takes on more of the work involved in diabetes management and helps alleviate mental burden." "We're incredibly proud that the MiniMed™ 780G system continues to be the most widely used automated insulin delivery system in Europe since we launched it in 2020. Real-world data on over 100,000 users on the system across many geographies and cultures shows that when using recommended settings the system is delivering an average Time in Range of nearly 80%, raising the bar on what 'good' looks like2," said Que Dallara, EVP and President, Medtronic Diabetes. "With the introduction of Simplera Sync™ sensor, we're able to offer the proven benefits of our MiniMed™ 780G system with our newest and most comfortable sensor that can be applied in under 10 seconds." The MiniMed™ 780G system with Simplera Sync™ sensor is indicated for ages 7+ and compatible with iOS and Android. Simplera Sync™ sensor is not approved by the FDA and is limited to investigational use in the U.S. Simplera Sync™ sensor is designed to leverage Medtronic's advanced AID algorithm as part of its MiniMed™ 780G system while having a similar look and feel as the Simplera™ CGM. The Simplera™ CGM for integrated use with the InPen™ smart insulin pen received CE Mark in September 2023. About the Diabetes Business at Medtronic Medtronic Diabetes is on a mission to alleviate the burden of diabetes by empowering individuals to live life on their terms, with the most advanced diabetes technology and always-on support when and how they need it. We've pioneered first-of-its-kind innovations for over 40 years and are committed to designing the future of diabetes management through next-generation sensors (CGM), intelligent dosing systems, and the power of data science and AI while always putting the customer experience at the forefront. About Medtronic Bold thinking. Bolder actions. We are Medtronic. Medtronic plc, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is the leading global healthcare technology company that boldly attacks the most challenging health problems facing humanity by searching out and finding solutions. Our Mission — to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life — unites a global team of 90,000+ passionate people across more than 150 countries. Our technologies and therapies treat 70 health conditions and include cardiac devices, surgical robotics, insulin pumps, surgical tools, patient monitoring systems, and more. Powered by our diverse knowledge, insatiable curiosity, and desire to help all those who need it, we deliver innovative technologies that transform the lives of two people every second, every hour, every day. Expect more from us as we empower insight-driven care, experiences that put people first, and better outcomes for our world. In everything we do, we are engineering the extraordinary.

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