Walgreens, Microsoft partner for new cloud-based consumer health initiative

Healthcare IT News | January 15, 2019

Walgreens Boots Alliance and Microsoft are partnering for a project they say will lead new delivery models and technology for consumer health – and will offer new competition as companies such as Amazon continue to make inroads in the healthcare space. The collaboration will be based around Microsoft's Azure cloud and artificial intelligence platoform, and will take shape through various new investments and retail innovations for access to outpatient healthcare, the companies say. The partnership between Microsoft and WBA has many facets. It will enable consumers to access health services and virtual care via their smartphones. It will focus on AI-powered data analytics for population health and the expansion of access into more community-based locations. It will focus on engaging with provider organizations to help improve medication adherence, reduce visits to the ER and lower hospital readmissions.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi collaborates with a leading healthcare company to boost health technology and clinical research

The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi | June 17, 2022

The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of healthcare in the emirate, signed a Declaration of Collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Middle East FZ-LLC, to support Abu Dhabi's vision in developing a regional hub for clinical research and data generation. The new strategic collaboration seeks to bring innovative treatments and breakthrough solutions to the UAE and the MENA region as well as exchange knowledge across the healthcare sector. Witnessed by HE Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the signing ceremony happened during the BIO International Convention 2022 which took place between June 13-16 in San Diego, California, U.S. The Declaration of Collaboration between the parties was signed by Dr. Asma Al Mannaei, Executive Director, Research and Innovation Centre at DoH and Jamie Phares, Managing Director of Janssen GCC, one of the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson and Johnson. Headed by HE Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the Abu Dhabi delegation comprised of government officials is visiting the USA this month to explore prospects of joint collaboration within the framework of healthcare at large and life science in specific. Through these strategic collaborations, DoH and Johnson & Johnson Middle East FZ-LLC will explore key potential areas of interest to develop short and long-term projects in the generation of Data and Real-World Evidence (RWE). Through international collaborations, Abu Dhabi seeks to lead research groups supported by global partners to establish the strength and sustainability of the healthcare sector as well as provide quality care to patients. "We are pleased with all that we have achieved during the Abu Dhabi Life Science Mission thus far. Our collaborations with leading healthcare companies echo Abu Dhabi's ongoing efforts to position itself as a leading life science destination as well as an incubator for innovation. Through our collaboration with Johnson and Johnson Middle East FZ-LLC, we aim to further improve the resilience and sustainability of the healthcare sector as well as provide quality care to patients in Abu Dhabi and worldwide." Dr. Asma Al Mannaei, Executive Director, Research and Innovation Centre at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH)

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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

Nomi Health Acquires Everyone Health, Sano Surgery

Nomi Health | July 14, 2022

Everyone Health has agreements with self-funded employers and third-party administrators for pre-negotiated, all-inclusive prices that save employers up to 70% relative to commercial fee-for-service rates. The company delivers these savings via Sano Surgery’s direct contracting with more than 10,000 physicians and facilities — surgical hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, endoscopy centers, radiology centers, labs and more — in 300 of the largest U.S. cities across 48 states, all now part of Nomi Health’s national provider network. “Nomi Health believes healthcare needs a rebuild, not a renovation. These companies share in our vision of extracting the complexity and cost from traditional healthcare, so buyers experience substantial savings and, most importantly, patients have greater access to more affordable care. In three short years, we expanded easy access to care to 15 million Americans, while significantly driving down cost of care to buyers. The immediate contributions of Everyone Health and Sano Surgery will accelerate this track record in the years ahead.” Mark Newman, founder and CEO of Nomi Health Founded by CEO Dutch Rojas 10 years ago, Sano Surgery has a network of nearly 6,000 medical facilities and 8,000 lab locations nationwide, ranging from radiology and orthopedics to women's health and oncology. This network enables Everyone Health to deliver higher quality medical treatments and services at lower prices. As a result, physicians benefit from predictable volumes and payments, while patients enjoy a more streamlined care and billing experience. “My goal is affordable and accessible healthcare for all. We’ve built a nationwide network of physicians and medical facilities that allows us to bring substantially lower pricing and more transparent transactions to the market, benefiting countless Americans,” said Rojas, founder and CEO of Sano Surgery and Everyone Health. “As the dual crisis of access and affordability grows on the heels of the pandemic, the time is right to increase our impact as part of Nomi Health.” The acquisitions enable buyers to turn to Nomi Health for a full suite of solutions — analytics, care delivery and a direct network — all underpinned by a modern claims infrastructure and payment rails. It also brings 12 full-time employees, including Rojas, to Nomi Health to accelerate the continued expansion of the company’s network of clinical partners, which is critical as Nomi Health takes its support and services into more communities nationwide. The acquisitions of Everyone Health and Sano Surgery come on the heels of Nomi’s $200 million acquisition of healthcare analytics leader Artemis Health in January. About Nomi Health Nomi Health is a nationwide direct healthcare system making it easier than ever for any buyer of healthcare to access the highest quality affordable care for their communities. The company’s direct care ecosystem encompasses a real-time operating and payment system — inclusive of analytics and payment rails — as well as an integrated care delivery infrastructure featuring essential care services, pharmacy and an open network. To date, Nomi Health has saved buyers of care an average of 30 percent compared to traditional healthcare costs, while enabling them to give their communities more access to lower cost, high quality care. From rural counties to some of the largest cities in America, Nomi Health has administered everyday healthcare services to more than 14 million Americans and counting in hundreds of communities nationwide. During COVID-19, this direct care model played a pivotal role in care access, public health and keeping economies open and operating. Based in Orem, Utah, Nomi Health employs more than 2,000 nationwide, working to lower healthcare expenses, widen care access and improve the patient experience. The company is led by an experienced, cross-functional leadership team with clinical, healthcare, technology and finance backgrounds. Nomi Health has so far invested more than $10 million dollars in improving the well-being of the communities it serves.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

SpineGuard Announces a New Partnership with Sorbonne, CNRS and Inserm to associate its DSG® Technology With Ultrasound and Serve Surgical Robots

SpineGuard | June 08, 2022

pineGuard an innovative company that deploys its DSG sensing technology to secure and streamline the placement of bone implants, announces the launch of a new three-year collaboration program with two labs of Sorbonne University CNRS and Inserm: the ISIR. DSG is based on the local measurement of electrical conductivity of tissues in real time without X-ray imaging, with a sensor located at the tip of the drilling instrument. Its efficacy was proven by more than 90,000 surgeries across the globe and 19 scientific publications. SpineGuard has entered in 2017 a collaboration with ISIR for the application of DSG to surgical robots and the enhancement of their safety, accuracy, and autonomy. SpineGuard and ISIR capitalize on first order outcomes published so far… At the close of a first collaboration phase, SpineGuard announced sub-millimetric accuracy experimental outcomes in bone boundary detection and automatic stop of a vertebral drilling performed by a robot using the DSG technology. These impressive outcomes were presented as they were produced successively at the Hamlyn medical robotics conference in London in May 2019, receiving the first price for best scientific paper, then in plenary session at the SMISS minimally invasive spine surgery (SMISS) in Las Vegas in November 2021, and lastly during the CRAS conference in Naples in April 2022. … and join forces with the LIB laboratory in order to add ultrasound to the project. Encouraged by this success, the research and development teams wish to go even further in surgical robots advancement: the guidance technologies that allow the robot to position itself properly relative to the patient to find the drilling entry point rely today on X-Ray imaging, dangerous for health, in combination with space-consuming optical registration. SpineGuard has long explored the possibility to use ultrasound complementarily to DSG for this preliminary step, before the tool is penetrating bone, and was granted two families of international patents on that topic. The LIB laboratory, who features an international level expertise in the field of ultrasound imaging, answered with enthusiasm the invitation to join the project. SpineGuard, ISIR and LIB thus start a new 3-year collaboration that is expected to produce breakthrough results in the field. “We are happy to launch this partnership that will allow us to go even further in improving surgical robots in orthopedics. This new phase of the project aims at enabling robots to perform bone drilling and cutting, as well as implant placement, in a secured and more autonomous manner in the human skeleton. Our goal is to implement first-class collaboration between French Research and Industry and trigger commercial ventures in the orthopedic field via strategic agreements with industry partners.” Stéphane Bette, co-founder and Deputy CEO of SpineGuard Guillaume Morel, Professor at Sorbonne University and ISIR Director, and Brahim Tamadazte, Researcher at CNRS and member of ISIR, added: “We are delighted to continue the close and dynamic collaboration initiated in 2017 with SpineGuard. The entry of robotics and associated new technologies in operating room is no doubt one of the biggest medical advances of the last twenty years. Robotic approaches often allow the surgical gesture to be less invasive, more accurate, safe and intuitive in numerous surgical procedures. The first outcomes from the previous collaboration gave us more visibility on the clinical added value that a robot with original and effective sensors can bring to Orthopedic Surgery in general and Spine in particular. This new collaboration will be about ultrasonic sensors coupled with robotics. This original and promising association will allow the surgeon to define the entry point and the pedicle screw trajectory accurately and non-invasively, without relying on ionizing or costly preoperative imaging (scanner, MRI). The association of two prestigious labs of Sorbonne University (ISIR and LIB), whose competencies are highly complementary to SpineGuard’s industrial vision constitute a stimulating work environment favorable to innovation. The journey with SpineGuard goes on for three more years with a target of several technologic and scientific innovations to serve patients and care providers.” Quentin Grimal, Professor at Sorbonne University and Manager of the team “Ultrasound and imaging for bone quality characterization” at LIB, concludes: “Using ultrasound to position a surgical tool is particularly relevant. Ultrasounds are danger free and provide real time information about interfaces, bone anatomy, even bone mechanical quality. The use of an ultrasound probe should allow to position the robotic arm in an optimal manner to place pedicle screws. In general, echography does not allow to see beyond the bone surfaces because ultrasounds are strongly reflected at the surface and strongly attenuated when propagating in bone. Low amplitude signals coming from inside bone can however be exploited through specific treatments which are a specialty of our team. Our team, pioneer in ultrasound utilization to probe bone, has introduced several approaches that offer an alternative to X-Rays for characterization of trabecular or cortical bone health. For our team, this partnership with SpineGuard and ISIR is a great fit: it will accelerate methodology and instrument developments for a broader utilization of ultrasound in orthopedic surgery. We are very happy to participate in this innovation rich project.” About SpineGuard® Founded in 2009 in France and the USA by Pierre Jérôme and Stéphane Bette, SpineGuard is an innovative company deploying its proprietary radiation-free real time sensing technology DSG® (Dynamic Surgical Guidance) to secure and streamline the placement of implants in the skeleton. SpineGuard designs, develops and markets medical devices that have been used in over 90,000 surgical procedures worldwide. Nineteen studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals have demonstrated the multiple benefits DSG® offers to patients, surgeons, surgical staff and hospitals. Building on these strong fundamentals and several strategic partnerships, SpineGuard has expanded the scope of its DSG® technology in innovative applications such as the « smart » pedicle screw, the DSG Connect visualization and registration interface, dental implantology and surgical robotics. DSG® was co-invented by Maurice Bourlion, Ph.D., Ciaran Bolger, M.D., Ph.D., and Alain Vanquaethem, Biomedical Engineer. SpineGuard has engaged in multiple ESG initiatives. About ISIR ISIR is one of the largest French Research institutions in robotics and intelligent systems, reporting mainly to Sorbonne University, CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) and Inserm (National institute for health and medical research). It regroups more than 50 teaching researchers and permanent researchers and approximately 80 PhD ad post-doc students. ISIR is structured around 6 research teams focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, mobile robotics, small scale robotics, assistance robotics (physical therapy and mobility support), human-robot interaction and surgical gesture assistance. ISIR has a rich expertise in the design of innovative robotic architectures, simulation and control, clinical validation and transfer of high industrial potential results. Over the last 5 past years, 10 pre-clinical or clinical studies were conducted at ISIR. 8 patents were granted, and 2 start-up companies created. About LIB The Laboratory for biomedical imaging (LIB) is specialized in Fundamental and Applied Research for biomedical morphologic imaging methods, functional and molecular on small animal and human. It reports to Sorbonne University, CNRS and INSERM. It regroups 35 permanent researchers and teaching researchers, of whom half are also hospital practitioners, approximately 10 engineers and technicians and more than 30 PhD students and post-docs. LIB is structured around 6 teams whose focuses correspond to key priorities of 21st century Public Health: cancer, cardiovascular and neurologic diseases, bone quality. LIB develops new diagnostic and treatments methods exploiting various modalities: ultrasound, MRI, CT, SPECT-PET, etc. LIB has a strong commitment to technology transfer. Over the last 5 years, 6 patents were granted, 7 software were filed, and 5 startup companies launched.

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