Machine Learning Uses Social Determinants Data to Predict Utilization

A machine learning algorithm accurately predicted inpatient and emergency department (ED) utilization using only publicly available social determinants of health (SDOH) data, showing that it’s possible to determine patients’ risk of utilization without interacting with the patient or collecting information beyond age, gender, race, and address. That’s the major finding of a study recently published in the American Journal of Managed Care. By now, the healthcare industry is well aware of the connection between the conditions in which someone lives and works and her physical health. The researchers note that sociodemographic status, racial and ethnic disparities, and individual behaviors directly correlate with an increase in the prevalence and incidence of chronic diseases. Healthcare organizations have made a concentrated effort to reduce health inequalities and address social needs, but this can be challenging.

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Virgin Pulse and HealthComp Announce Intent to Merge to Create Comprehensive Employer Health Platform

PR Newswire | September 29, 2023

Virgin Pulse, a leading global digital-first health, wellbeing, and navigation company, today announced its intent to merge with HealthComp, a next-generation benefits and analytics platform. The merger will create a technology and data powered health platform-as-a-service organization poised to tackle some of the industry's biggest challenges. The combined entity will aim to improve health outcomes and lower costs for members and employers by empowering better information and decision making. By using an advanced technology and data platform that leverages AI, the combined organization will deploy innovative and flexible health plan designs that drive improved member health outcomes, engagement, and awareness across the most important aspects of a person's healthcare journey. As the healthcare industry evolves, the desire for an integrated experience in the employer-sponsored benefits ecosystem has grown exponentially. This combination will create a set of assets that will integrate plan design, plan management, payment integrity, health navigation, preventative care, and digital therapeutics through the Homebase for Health® user-centric platform. Together, the combined entity expects these assets will create a better experience and lower costs for members and employers, while providing expanded opportunities for insurers and brokers to continue to partner with the combined entity. "This combination with HealthComp creates a new category in the health space that will change the way employers address the two-fold challenge of reducing costs and improving member outcomes. Our two companies have a shared mission to improve individual outcomes by engaging users early and often, and making health and wellbeing more accessible, affordable, and personal for all," said Chris Michalak, Virgin Pulse CEO. "Together, we are addressing a problem that has plagued the industry for years – a misaligned, complex benefit structure that results in unmet needs and escalating costs. We are eliminating waste, friction, and preventable risks by putting members and their needs at the center of the ecosystem." "Self-insured employers pay for almost half of the nation's healthcare expenditures and now require more innovative and affordable solutions," said Chad Harris, HealthComp CEO. "With concierge-level service, rich analytics, and expert medical cost management, HealthComp ensures that employers can make informed benefits decisions that align with the needs of their employees and businesses. Powered by Virgin Pulse's daily wellbeing engagement and data-driven personalization, this transaction creates an end-to-end platform that will radically lower costs and improve member outcomes." [Source – PRNews Wire] "The combination of Virgin Pulse and HealthComp creates the first national value-based care platform company focused on employee health and outcomes. We are excited to work with Morgan Health, Blackstone, and Marlin to bring innovation at scale to this market," said Matt Holt, President, Private Equity and Managing Director at New Mountain Capital. "We have been working to build an innovation platform company in the employer space for more than five years. This transaction represents a significant milestone by forming a leading platform-as-a-service company focused on delivering better outcomes and greater affordability," added Kyle Peterson, Managing Director at New Mountain Capital. "The employer-employee health landscape is ripe for change and the mission of the combined HealthComp and Virgin Pulse is aligned with Morgan Health's mission to improve the quality, equity, and affordability of employer-sponsored health care," said Dan Mendelson, CEO of Morgan Health. Upon closing of the transaction, Chris Michalak will serve as CEO of the combined entity, where he will continue building upon the Homebase for Health vision and expanding the value proposition for clients and the market at large. The combined entity will serve more than 20 million members and address costs for more than 1,000 self-insured employers. HealthComp's powerful analytics will also benefit Virgin Pulse's health plan and health system clients by providing closed-loop data on health outcomes and the true ROI of investing in member experience and wellbeing programs. The merger is expected to close in Q4 2023, subject to regulatory approvals and satisfaction of all closing conditions under the definitive agreement. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed. HealthComp is backed by New Mountain Capital and Virgin Pulse is backed by Marlin Equity Partners. New Mountain Capital will be the majority owner of the combined entity. Blackstone Credit has committed to support the deal with strategic financing. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as financial advisor to HealthComp. HealthComp's legal counsel was Ropes & Gray LLP. Evercore acted as financial advisor to Virgin Pulse, with Kirkland & Ellis LLP and McDermott Will & Emery LLP serving as legal advisors. About Virgin Pulse Virgin Pulse is a leading digital-first health, wellbeing, and navigation company that empowers organizations across the globe to activate populations, improve health outcomes, and reduce spend in an era of accelerating cost and complexity. Virgin Pulse's Homebase for Health® connects data, people, and technology to deliver high tech, human touch experiences that engage and reward individual journeys. Virgin Pulse impacts over 100 million people across 190 countries by helping Fortune 500, national health plans, and many other organizations change lives – and businesses – for good. About HealthComp HealthComp, a New Mountain Capital company, has a customized and responsive approach to health benefits administration. We advocate for our members to get the best possible care suited for their unique needs. Our next generation benefits and analytics platform brings together concierge-level service, best-in-class operations, powerful analytics, and expert medical cost management. HealthComp integrates seamlessly with any benefits ecosystem to drive a personalized experience that delivers higher clinical outcomes at lower costs. HealthComp has offices in California, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania. About New Mountain Capital New Mountain Capital is a New York-based investment firm that emphasizes business building and growth, rather than debt, as it pursues long-term capital appreciation. The firm currently manages private equity, credit and net lease investment strategies with over $45 billion in assets under management. New Mountain seeks out what it believes to be the highest quality growth leaders in carefully selected industry sectors and then works intensively with management to build the value of these companies. About Marlin Equity Partners Marlin Equity Partners is a global investment firm with approximately $9 billion of capital commitments. The firm is focused on providing corporate parents, shareholders and other stakeholders with tailored solutions that meet their business and liquidity needs. Marlin invests in businesses across multiple industries where its capital base, industry relationships and extensive network of operational resources significantly strengthen a company's outlook and enhance value. Since its inception, Marlin, through its group of funds and related companies, has successfully completed over 200 acquisitions. About Morgan Health Morgan Health is a JPMorgan Chase business unit focused on improving employer-sponsored health care. Through its investments and the advancement of accountable care, Morgan Health is working to improve the quality, equity and affordability of employer-sponsored health care for JPMorgan Chase employees, their families and the U.S. health system. The business is led by Dan Mendelson, CEO of Morgan Health, reporting to Peter Scher, Vice Chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and a member of the firm's Operating Committee. Morgan Health is headquartered in Washington, D.C. About Blackstone Blackstone is the world's largest alternative asset manager. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our $1 trillion in assets under management include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, infrastructure, life sciences, growth equity, opportunistic, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis.

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Healthcare Analytics

Weave Introduces AI-Driven Voicemail Transcriptions for Healthcare Providers

Business Wire | October 31, 2023

Weave a leading all-in-one experience platform for small and medium-sized healthcare practices, today announces the addition of AI-driven voicemail transcriptions to its platform. Now available to Weave’s 27,000+ customers, Voicemail Transcription automatically transcribes voicemails from patients allowing for efficient, visible, and private reading experiences. With this update, users will now see the voicemail transcription when they click on the Voicemail tab within their Desktop Application or within the mobile app, improving overall user experience by making it faster to consume messages without having to listen to the audio, which can often be difficult in busy settings. said Branden Neish, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Weave. AI has exploded in popularity over the past year, and we’re taking steps to ensure Weave is delivering state of the art offerings that empower our customers to enhance patient experiences and deliver top of the line care. AI will only continue to grow in popularity and daily use, which will have a transformative impact on the future of the healthcare industry. Weave customers that have already implemented AI into their practices claim they save an average of an hour a day with the technology. [Source:Business Wire] In a new customer and consumer report conducted by Weave, the company found that patients are accepting of AI in healthcare settings and they see it leading to enhanced care and patient experiences. In fact, the majority of consumers (65%) are open to providers using AI tools in their practices. The report also found that consumers and providers are aligned with how they think AI will impact the healthcare industry, with two in three consumers (67%) and 3 in 4 (75%) healthcare providers believing that AI is likely to become a prevalent tool in healthcare. "Artificial Intelligence is the catalyst for a new era in healthcare,” says Dr. Matt Nejad, DDS of Beverly Hills, CA. “Weave's AI-enabled voicemail transcripts are a leap in this direction, providing automation and actionable insights that empower providers to focus on what truly matters: patient care." This announcement follows months of AI-driven activity from Weave to enhance features that allow healthcare providers to deliver quality care and improve patient experiences, including Email Assistant and Response Assistant. About Weave Weave is a leading all-in-one customer experience platform for small- and medium-sized healthcare businesses. From the first phone call to the final invoice and every touchpoint in between, Weave connects the entire customer journey. Weave’s software solutions transform how local businesses attract, communicate with and engage customers to grow their business. In the past year, Weave has been named a G2 leader in Patient Engagement, Optometry, Dental Practice Management and Patient Relationship Management software.

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Healthcare Analytics

FDA Grants De Novo for Xenex's LightStrike+ UV Robot in Healthcare

Xenex | September 11, 2023

United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has issued a De Novo authorization to Xenex Disinfection Services, Inc. (Xenex) for its LightStrikeTM+ device, an advanced high-intensity, broad-spectrum ultraviolet (UV) light robot. The LightStrike+ devices are designed for microbial reduction on non-critical medical device surfaces in healthcare environments, following manual cleaning and disinfection practices. They are authorized for use in various healthcare settings, including unoccupied operating rooms and hospital rooms. These devices have an impressive track record, with over 1,200 healthcare facilities worldwide employing LightStrike robots for over 37 million cycles. The new LightStrike+ device, capable of microbial reduction in as little as 2 minutes, represents the culmination of over a decade of knowledge accumulation from healthcare facilities' best practices, supported by 45 peer-reviewed studies demonstrating its safety and effectiveness, a portfolio of 193 patents, and unparalleled technical and epidemiological expertise. Dr. Mark 'Tuck' Stibich, Xenex's Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, emphasized the long-standing collaboration with healthcare partners spanning more than a decade to enhance patient safety and public health. As an infectious diseases epidemiologist, Dr. Stibich expressed concern about antibiotic resistance within hospital environments and the potential for FDA authorization to facilitate the broader adoption of the LightStrike+ tool in combating pathogens. Perilous pathogens persist on surfaces within healthcare facilities, notwithstanding diligent manual cleaning endeavors. The LightStrike+ robot employs a xenon lamp to generate high-intensity pulsed UV light, which effectively diminishes the presence of these pathogens on surfaces and plays a pivotal role in interrupting the transmission chain from one patient or healthcare worker to another. Xenex's FDA authorization is substantiated by comprehensive testing conducted on more than 10,000 samples of vegetative bacteria and Clostridiodes difficile (C. diff) spores. This authorization establishes a novel medical device product classification, with the LightStrike+ robot being its inaugural and sole product. It is a landmark in the FDA's regulatory framework for UV robots designed to diminish pathogens on non-porous, frequently touched surfaces within healthcare settings. Furthermore, Xenex's Chief Executive Officer, Morris Miller, acknowledged the challenges hospitals face when evaluating UV technologies, citing the prevalence of unverified and exaggerated claims by some manufacturers. He underscored the significance of FDA authorization in instilling confidence among hospital decision-makers, assuring them of the accuracy and validation of Xenex's claims regarding the LightStrike+ device. Numerous world-renowned hospitals, such as HonorHealth, Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Ochsner Health System, Stanford Health Care, and Texas Health Resources, have integrated LightStrike robots into their comprehensive disinfection strategies. About Xenex Xenex is a global leader in pioneering strategies and solutions grounded in UV technology. Its fundamental mission revolves around enabling its partners to safeguard lives and reduce human suffering by eliminating the dangerous microorganisms that cause infections. The company benefits from substantial support from renowned investors, including EW Healthcare Partners, Piper Sandler, Malin Corporation, Battery Ventures, Targeted Technology Fund II, Tectonic Ventures, and RK Ventures.

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Healthcare Analytics

AirLife Completes Acquisition of Avanos Medical’s Respiratory Health Business

Business Wire | October 04, 2023

AirLife, a leading North American manufacturer and distributor of consumable medical devices for anesthesia and respiratory care formerly known as SunMed, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Avanos Medical, Inc.’s (NYSE: AVNS) (“Avanos”) respiratory health business, including the BALLARD*, MICROCUFF* and endOclear® product lines. The acquisition adds three complementary brands, the R&D expertise behind them and two manufacturing facilities into AirLife’s growing platform. The transaction advances AirLife’s strategy to enhance its leading portfolio of the most trusted products in anesthesia and respiratory care and serve even more customers as a one-stop source for the highest-quality consumable breathing solutions that support the best patient outcomes. “We’re thrilled to complete this exciting milestone in AirLife’s evolution as we strengthen our leadership as a premier, completely dedicated consumable breathing products company,” said Hank Struik, AirLife CEO. We are especially pleased to welcome the exceptional team that has driven the success of these market leading brands to our company. As some of the most trusted closed suction and endotracheal consumables used to treat patients in critical care, this addition to AirLife unlocks new opportunities to accelerate our growth, serve more healthcare practitioners and drive innovation across our comprehensive portfolio of leading brands. [Source – Business Wire] Goodwin Procter LLP is acting as legal counsel to AirLife. About AirLife AirLife, formerly known as SunMed and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan with manufacturing and distribution sites in the United States, Mexico, China and Europe, is a leading medical device manufacturer, offering one of the most comprehensive portfolios of consumable anesthesia and respiratory care products. AirLife’s product portfolio spans the continuum of care from first responders to hospitals and home care, with safety, patient comfort and clinical performance in mind. AirLife’s comprehensive portfolio of trusted anesthesia products and respiratory care include premier brands such as Salter Labs®, Ethox Medical™, Ventlab™, Westmed™, AirLife™ and Vital Signs™. Currently, AirLife has over 1 million square feet of manufacturing space, providing comprehensive expertise in all plastics materials and conversion—supported by a world-class Quality Management System. Frazier Healthcare Partners, a leading healthcare investment firm, acquired a majority ownership stake in AirLife in 2021.

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