Telehealth for PTSD, SPAC sadness and FDA clears VR

You are reading the web edition of STAT Health Tech, our guide to how technology is transforming the life sciences. Sign up to have this newsletter delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday.

A great success for rural telecommunications health

Telecommunications health from city to country

An innovative effort to send mental health providers in metropolitan areas to primary clinics in rural areas to treat PTSD and bipolar disorder showed overwhelmingly positive results, underscoring the technology’s potential to address gaps in care. “It shows that if you provide evidence-based treatment to patients in underserved environments who have not had access to it before, you can just make huge gains,” said John Fortney, lead researcher and a University of Washington professor, told Mario. But the project is also a clear example of the enormous economic and logistical barriers involved in new telecommunications healthcare schemes with distant psychologists and psychiatrists. Read Mario’s story here.


The AI ​​frontier needs a new sheriff

With healthcare algorithms becoming more common and more complex, standards for evaluation and monitoring are becoming particularly important. That message came out loud and clear yesterday during Casey’s discussion with AI experts below STATE Summit. Mayo Clinic‘s John Halamka said that developers of algorithms should be required to reveal the gender and racial diversity in their data sets, as well as details about their performance and suitability for different types of patients. Maia Hightower, Chief Medical Officer at University of Utah, said health systems must also carefully monitor algorithms after they are implemented, a step that does not yet happen in a formal or consistent way.


“Most healthcare systems do not have an AI management structure,” she said. “We have a long way to go to develop the tools and infrastructure needed to do that.”

Prescription VR is advancing

That Food and Drug Administration has approved the marketing of EaseVRx, a prescription virtual reality treatment that uses cognitive behavioral therapy and other methods to treat people with low back pain. The Novo clearance was based on a randomized controlled trial with 179 subjects, which showed that the treatment reduced pain better than control both immediately after treatment and at one month of follow-up. The developer, Used VR, announced last week that they had raised a $ 36 million Series B round.

The FDA has moved on to many digital therapies recently. Last month it did Luminopia‘s VR headset-based treatment for childhood amblyopia, a disorder that leads to weaker vision in one eye.

Apps to improve surgical outcomes

The potential for using apps and portable devices to improve postoperative patient outcomes has not been lost to researchers, according to a new review of 44 articles describing digital interventions given to patients following a series of procedures. The existing evidence suggests that regular collection of patient-reported measures and activity data can provide better insights into improvement, and that incentives from digital health tools can help reduce complications. For all possibilities, however, the review revealed a number of issues, including inconsistent and inadequate reporting and lack of transparency around AI. They also found that most tools were developed without patient input, and individuals without specific mobile devices were often excluded from studies.

Problems in SPACland?

Light, the emerging drug discovery firm, and Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co. have increased their announced plans to merge into a $ 2.8 billion public company. Valo had raised $ 450 million since its inception in 2019. The deal was terminated due to “current market conditions, particularly in the field of biotechnology.”

In the meantime Talkspace, the teltherapy app, whose $ 1.4 billion SPAC merger announcement started a stratospheric investment year in January, revealed that its founders Oren and Roni Frank are already leaving the company, reportedly to pursue their next entrepreneurial venture.

Also: We hear Pear therapyThe $ 1.6 billion SPAC deal is about to be closed. The company announced this week that it had raised an additional $ 50 million investment as part of the deal.

Rounds and rounds

  • Owkin, an AI medical research firm, received a $ 180 million investment from a pharmaceutical giant Sanofi.
  • Start-up of home health care MedArrive, launched last year by ex Uber HealthExec Dan Trigub, raised a $ 25 million Series A round, led by Section 32.
  • H1, a LinkedIn-like platform with profiles of doctors, raised a $ 100 million Series C led by Altimeter capital.
  • Ribbon Health, an API data platform, raised $ 43 million Series B led by General catalyst. Andreessen Horowitz and others participated.
  • Cala Health, which makes a portable device that treats essential tremor, raised $ 77 million in new funding led by Ascension Ventures.
  • Charco Neurotech, working on a portable device to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, raised a $ 10 million seed round led by Amadeus Capital Partners and Parkwalk advisor.

What we read

Leave a Comment