Healthcare Hot Takes: 7 “Must Read” Updates on Digital Health

Healthcare Hot Takes is Luma Health’s monthly rundown of healthcare innovations and events happening right now. Check out what the industry is thinking, reading, doing. This month’s main topic is digital health.

COVID-19 continues to dominate our news cycle as it continues to spread across the globe. States have reopened and cases have begun to surge again, so staying informed with relevant, accurate information is as important as ever in enabling communities to remain safe as the nation tries to navigate life in the new normal. 

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Here are a few updates on the pandemic and how it is shaping the future of strategy and innovation with regards to digital health and healthcare delivery.

1. Humana to offer at-home COVID-19 testing, drive-thru testing at Walmart

As the pandemic rages on and many states across the country begin to see upticks in cases, the need for more testing continues to grow. To help meet the increasing demand, health insurer Humana is now offering two options for COVID-19 testing to its members — LabCorp’s at-home tests and drive-through tests at Walmart that will be processed by Quest Diagnostics. 

Given that a large portion of Humana’s membership is made up of seniors, the data is already showing a higher demand for at-home tests, as elderly patients are taking precautions not to go out unless absolutely necessary. For those who opt to take a test at home, education and support on how to administer the test and how to interpret results are provided. 

This testing initiative enables Humana to increase its reach in access to care for its members, especially through partnership with Walmart, since the retail giant conveniently has locations everywhere. (Source)

2. Pfizer, BioNTech nab fast track tag, prep for major phase 3 COVID-19 vax test this month 

Pfizer has partnered with German company, BioNTech, to nab a fast track from the FDA for a 30,000-patient COVID-19 vaccine test before the end of July. This fast track comes following an initial clinical test of 45 candidates who, after receiving the vaccine, generated up to 2.8 times the number of antibodies in that of a previously infected patient. 

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to begin their testing by the end of the month. If results from the test are looking positive, the goal is to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of the year. (Source)

3. Houston endocrinology clinic taps into digital health to navigate care delivery during the pandemic 

Ever since the pandemic began taking hold in the U.S., providers across the nation have been making the quick shift to embrace digital health in response to limited in-person appointments. For Dr. Medhavi Jogi, an endocrinologist at Houston Thyroid & Endocrine Specialists, the adjustment hasn’t been a drastic change, as he has been an avid user and advocate of technology to improve delivery of care for several years now. 

During the pandemic, like many other providers, Dr. Jogi has been taking advantage of telehealth to continue seeing patients. His clinic has also been utilizing Luma Health’s messaging technology, which has given him and his staff a seamless way to stay in touch with patients and keep them updated on office hours, treatment plans, and more. Navigating the pandemic with digital health has shown that there are many points across the care journey where technology can be applied to make patients’ and providers’ lives easier; it is clear that digital health solutions are here to stay even in a post-pandemic world. (Source)

Click here to read, “5 Tips for Restoring Patients’ Confidence During Pandemic”

4. 10M people likely to drop out of employer coverage this year due to COVID-19 

As people continue to lose employment due to the pandemic, it is predicted that more than 10 million Americans will drop out of employer-sponsored health coverage this year. Though most of them will regain coverage, it is still predicted that 3.5 million people will remain without insurance. Most of those who are losing coverage are low-wage workers who are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 recession. The pandemic is certainly calling into question the validity and sustainability of having healthcare tied to employment. (Source

5. First half of 2020 sees record $5.4B in digital health funding 

With the healthcare industry adopting more digital health to adapt to the pandemic, investments in digital health have soared, hitting a record-high of $5.4 billion in funding so far this year. There has never been more of a need for digital health solutions, so it’s likely that we will see investments in health tech continue to rise.  (Source)

6. Walgreens and VillageMD to open up to 700 full-service doctor offices within the next five years 

Following a highly successful trial that started last year, Walgreens and VillageMD are expanding their partnership to open 500 to 700 full-service doctor offices in over 30 U.S. markets within the next five years. The offices will be co-located at Walgreens stores and will be staffed with over 3600 primary care providers, with the aim to provide comprehensive healthcare services under one roof. Each clinic will accept a variety of health insurance options and will offer telehealth and at-home visits. 

With 60% of Americans today living with at least one chronic condition, operating with an integrated model like this can help make care more accessible for patients and improve the patient experience. (Source)

7. VA inks 10-year, $100M deal with Philips for remote critical care services

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has signed a 10-year contract with Philips to expand remote care services. The VA’s $100M investment in Philips will go towards enhancing telehealth capabilities and other services including tele-ICU, diagnostic imaging, sleep solutions, and patient monitoring. 

The VA serves over 9 million veterans per year, so this expansion in telemedicine offerings will help them provide quality care to veterans wherever they are and improve healthcare outcomes. (Source)

Luma’s Take: COVID-19 continues to transform the way healthcare is being delivered, on a global, national, and individual level. Now that we’re living life in the new normal, we’re keeping tabs on all the news and developments surrounding the pandemic to get a pulse on all the ways the healthcare landscape continues to adapt. As we continue navigating the pandemic together, proactively keeping an eye on data driven news and results will help prepare us for what’s ahead and keep us and our communities safe. 

We’re continuing to enable patient-provider communication at a time when it’s absolutely crucial. Our end-to-end COVID-19 solution ensures healthcare providers quickly and seamlessly adapt to healthcare’s New Normal. It’s built to ensure healthcare systems, primary care practices, specialty clinics, and FQHCs can efficiently deliver ongoing routine, preventive, and chronic care services in a way that meets new — more modern — patient expectations. We’re proud to be part of an industry that is working around the clock to fight COVID-19, and we are grateful to every single person who’s been a part of that effort. Lastly, we want to remind everyone to stay indoors and to take social distancing guidelines seriously. All of our individual actions affect each other — and at the end of the day, we are all in this together.

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