We take a look at this week’s biggest developments, research and investment news from the world of Health Tech.
Wellthie, the New York-based health insurance navigation start-up, launched by a former Anthem Blue Cross Bue Shield product development executive, has raised Series A funding of $5 million, according to a company blog post. The new round of funding will be used to support the company’s sales and marketing muscle to expand into vision, dental and life insurance in the second quarter, Sally Poblete, Wellthie Founder and CEO, told MedCity News in a phone interview. “What’s unique and exciting about this round is insurance industry luminaries are putting in their own money… it shows that the support we’re getting is from people deep within the industry.”
New technology is constantly being developed to improve our ability to diagnose, treat, and care for a variety of medical conditions. One up-and-coming technology trend is telehealth. Some of the telehealth tools that we have already seen include services that enable video conferencing between doctors and patients, and apps that assist in patient care. In the field of hearing care, these tools also improve healthcare delivery for both patients and service providers. For example, telehealth tools like texting apps offer a secure platform for patients and hearing care professionals (HCPs) to problem-solve without an office visit within just a few minutes.
Vida, the homecare technology platform, has closed £1m in seed funding led by Hambro Perks, Barnaby Cardwell of Cardwell Technologies, Grima Ventures and a number of high-net worth angel investors. The platform matches care professionals to elderly and chronically ill clients that require at-home care, aligning needs such as skills, gender, culture, location and other variables. The funding will be used to support its service in Great London, then launch an office in Brighton that will cover East and West Sussex. Dominic Perks, founding partner and CEO at Hambro Perks commented on the news: “Our investment will enable them continue to secure partnerships with local councils, helping the elderly and to repair the care crisis in the local community.”
A revolution is happening in healthcare – the industry is shifting the centre of its universe from the physician to the patient. Some say digital innovation will be driving the force behind that monumental transformation, despite the fact the transition to patient-centred care will require systematic changes. The industry must “redesign its core processes,” such as embracing digital technology that gives patients more access to their health information and easy access to clinicians.
Researchers are developing a revolutionary contact lens that will help the lives of millions of people suffering from type 1 diabetes. The lens would use people’s tears to monitor their blood glucose levels, saving them time checking their blood four to eight times a day as recommended by doctors to the diagnosed patients. The technology used consists of a transparent biosensor that can go anywhere on the contact lens, detecting changes to the pH and acidity levels. “The lens will let people know when to give themselves injections and for patients wearing insulin pumps the signal can provide information for self-regulation,” Gregory Herman, leader of the Oregon State University research team, told The Independent.
Barcelona researchers have developed new software for lung biopsies, drawing on techniques from videos games, AI and 3D modelling allowing doctors to navigate through a patient’s airways using a precise route. The technology helps medical staff gather issue samples that are critical in the early diagnosis of lung cancer. The researchers also stated how the technology is quicker, more precise and effective, less invasive for the patient, and cheaper overall. However, the technology hasn’t been rolled-out officially yet in hospitals, but Bellvitge Hospital in Barcelona is expected to be the first to have access to the final version of the technology.
According to Amino CEO and co-founder David Vivero, they raised $25 million a Series C round of venture funding. Amino gives users the ability to search for experienced doctors in treating their particular ailment to deliver better health outcomes to patients of a similar profile, ranking doctors based on analysis of insurance claims and medical billing records. Vivero said, “We think healthcare is a unique ‘shopping’ experience. When you need it, you’ll find there is not a national price transparency tool. There is not a unique source where you go to buy it every time.”
Although it’s easy for us in developed countries to expect the latest technology in our hospitals, for millions of people around the world it’s not so easy. Due to limited budgets and resources, doctors and nurses working in these areas have to adapt by using cheap tools and materials to solve their problems, as they face a daily struggle to care for their patients. From paper microscopes, DIY medical toys and portable blood tests, medical researchers are pioneering affordable, durable solutions with limited resources.