The Promise and Peril of AI in Healthcare

Managed Healthcare Executive | February 26, 2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to identify outbreaks such as the coronavirus, which, to date, has resulted in nearly 1,800 reported deaths and more than reported 71,000 infections. In a February 13 webinar, Casey Ross, national technology correspondent for STAT, pointed to efforts by John Brownstein, PhD, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, to use machine learning to review social media posts, reports by physicians, news outlets, and information released by official public health entities to assess the condition’s outbreak beyond China’s borders.  Brownstein’s work is proof that AI is showing its value in tracking the outbreak of the disease, says Ross. Closer to home, healthcare systems around the country use AI to inform operational tasks such as scheduling. Some healthcare organizations use AI to pinpoint patients who need additional care, says Ross. For example, it’s used in sepsis detection and prediction, the assessment of readmission risk, and the identification of patients who are deteriorating.

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Over-the-counter medications Non-medication suggestions to alleviate symptoms Antihistamines, cough suppressants and decongestants may mask some cold and cough symptoms, but there has never been good evidence that they work. Natural cold medications have become popular in the treatment of colds in children, but the safety and effectiveness of such medications have not been carefully studied.


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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

TELUS and LifeWorks receive court approval and key regulatory approvals for proposed acquisition

TELUS Corporation | August 12, 2022

TELUS Corporation and LifeWorks Inc. announced that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has granted its final order approving the plan of arrangement in respect of the acquisition by TELUS of LifeWorks previously announced on June 16, 2022. TELUS and LifeWorks also announced that the Competition Bureau of Canada has issued a no action letter in respect of the Arrangement. Accordingly, Competition Act Approval, as defined and as required by the Arrangement Agreement previously entered into between LifeWorks and TELUS, has been obtained. In addition, the applicable waiting period in relation to the Arrangement under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, has expired with the result that the acquisition is clear to proceed in the United States as well as Canada. The Court Approval, the Competition Act Approval and the HSR Approval are significant milestones toward closing TELUS’ acquisition of LifeWorks and follows LifeWorks’ shareholder approval, which was obtained at a special meeting of LifeWorks’ shareholders on August 4, 2022. Pending receipt of regulatory approvals in the United Kingdom and Australia, and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, the Arrangement is expected to proceed to closing which is anticipated to be on or about the fourth quarter of 2022. “We are pleased to have reached this significant milestone, with clearance to proceed with the TELUS – LifeWorks transaction in Canada and the United States. Importantly, we have seen overwhelming support from LifeWorks’ team members, customers and shareholders, and I am confident that the potent combination of the respective skills and capabilities of LifeWorks and TELUS Health will create a world-leading, end-to-end, digital-first employee primary and preventative healthcare, mental health and wellness platform, covering more than 50 million lives, and growing, on a global basis. We look forward to welcoming LifeWorks employees into our TELUS family so that, together, we can help even more people around the world lead their healthiest and most productive professional and personal lives.” Darren Entwistle, President and CEO of TELUS “This is an exciting new chapter for LifeWorks and together with TELUS we will be able to accelerate our shared vision of empowering individuals to take a more proactive role in the management of their health by unifying the continuum of care through digital-first innovations, as well as our unmatched in-person care,” said Stephen Liptrap, President and CEO of LifeWorks. “Our two organizations are aligned as leading purpose-driven companies that are committed to improving the lives of people around the world.” About TELUS Corporation TELUS is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company with $17 billion in annual revenue and 17 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security. Our social purpose is to leverage our global-leading technology and compassion to drive social change and enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. The numerous, sustained accolades TELUS has earned over the years from independent, industry-leading network insight firms showcase the strength and speed of TELUS’ global-leading networks, reinforcing our commitment to provide Canadians with access to superior technology that connects us to the people, resources and information that make our lives better. TELUS Health is Canada’s leader in digital health technology, improving access to health and wellness services and revolutionizing the flow of health information across the continuum of care. TELUS Agriculture & Consumer Goods is a global technology provider of innovative data insights and digital solutions, creating a unified, trusted and sustainable value chain. TELUS International is a leading digital customer experience innovator that designs, builds, and delivers next-generation solutions, including AI and content moderation, for global and disruptive brands across high-growth industry verticals, including tech and games, communications and media and ecommerce and FinTech. TELUS and TELUS International operate in 28 countries around the world. Driven by our determination and vision to connect all citizens for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired TELUS, our team members and retirees to contribute more than $900 million, in cash, in-kind contributions, time and programs, and 1.8 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world. Together, let’s make the future friendly. About LifeWorks LifeWorks is a world leader in providing digital and in-person solutions that support the total wellbeing of individuals – mental, physical, financial and social. As the trusted leader in mental health and wellbeing, LifeWorks delivers a personalized continuum of care that helps our clients improve the lives of their people and by doing so, improve their business. Guided by our purpose to improve lives and improve business, we help our clients improve the wellbeing of their people, we help them improve workforce engagement and productivity, thereby improving the performance of our clients’ organizations. LifeWorks is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: LWRK). LifeWorks has approximately 7,000 employees, 25,000 clients, and serves 36 million individuals and their families in more than 160 countries.

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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

GeneQuantum Healthcare's Two Next Generation Bioconjugate Drugs, GQ1005 and GQ1007, Have Been Approved for Clinical Trials in Australia

GeneQuantum Healthcare | May 16, 2022

GeneQuantum Healthcare Co., Ltd. a global innovative biotechnology company dedicated to the development of bioconjugate drugs, announced that two of the company's bioconjugate drug candidates have won the approval for clinical trials in Australia, further enhancing GeneQuantum's pipelines in the clinical stage. They are GQ1005, an ADC with an excellent bystander killing effect, and GQ1007, a first-in-class antibody-immune-agonist-conjugateboth with global intellectual property rights. "The core technologies that we have focused on since the founding of GeneQuantum, bring the company into the harvest period for exciting next generation bioconjugate drugs. The EC approval of GQ1005 and GQ1007 in Australia is an important milestone for the company. More than once, GeneQuantum's enzymatic site-specific conjugation platform and the stable linker technology have demonstrated the advantages through several IND enabled drug candidates. GeneQuantum conjugation technologies are widely compatible to different molecular modalities with various Mechanism of Action. Committed to the core value of "breakthrough for humanity", GeneQuantum is dedicated to developing safe, effective, and affordable novel therapeutics for patients with cancer around the world." Dr. Gang Qin, founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer About GeneQuantum Healthcare Co., Ltd. GeneQuantum Healthcare Co., Ltd. is a global biotechnology company dedicated to the development of innovative biotherapeutics. The company is focused on the development of next generation bioconjugate therapeutics to address the unmet medical needs of patients globally. This press release contains statements relating to GeneQuantum's future business, future events or developments, and related statements may constitute forward-looking statements. Statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual results to differ materially. Risks and uncertainties include, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, follow-up clinical data and analysis; factors that may cause any delay, transfer or change; regulatory authority decision whether and when to approve drug applications; factors that may lead actual results to seriously deviate from current expectations, etc. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Except as required by applicable laws, GeneQuantum assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements.

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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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Spotlight

Over-the-counter medications Non-medication suggestions to alleviate symptoms Antihistamines, cough suppressants and decongestants may mask some cold and cough symptoms, but there has never been good evidence that they work. Natural cold medications have become popular in the treatment of colds in children, but the safety and effectiveness of such medications have not been carefully studied.

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