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Trouble mounts for Cerebral
Online Mental Health Society Cerebral was slapped with a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York last week – the same day he announced plans to suspend stimulant prescriptions for new clients amid growing concerns about the inappropriate prescribing of certain ADHD medications. These concerns had led some pharmacies – including CVS, Walmart and Cerebral “preferred pharmaceutical partner” realpill – to block, delay or stop filling certain prescriptions from telehealth providers, including Cerebral.
The company still advertises its services on Facebook, though it’s “actively adjusting” its marketing strategy to emphasize testing and counseling services instead of ADHD prescriptions, a spokesperson said. . Armaan Gandhi, brand manager at Cerebral, told STAT that part of adjusting his ADHD practice “includes updating the language of our advertisements to accurately reflect this change.” Mohana has the story.
Exclusive: nference plans to get ahead of the next pandemic and wants your help
machine learning company nference made its business of picking treasure troves of patient clinical notes for models. It was precisely this type of analysis that warned the founders that the loss of taste and smell could be linked to infection with Covid-19: a finding that they quickly passed on to the CDC. As founder Venky Soundararajan contemplates the next global public health crisis, he’s betting there’s even more crucial information hidden in clinical notes that could be revealed if combined with viral genome sequencing: Clues on disease progression, for example.
Nference is the sole founding partner of a new initiative to combine viral sequencing with electronic health records to prepare for the next pandemic – and it is seeking philanthropic foundations, health systems and industry partners around the world to both speeding up testing and developing the underlying IT infrastructure for health records so that companies like nference can analyze it for clues about containment and prevention, Soundararajan told STAT. “It’s not just about SARS-CoV-2,” he said. “It’s any virus that has the potential to spread quickly.”
Part of the plan is to get health systems around the world to invest in sequencing so that companies like nference have more global data to mine. And nference offers its own machine learning software at cost to interested partners. With enough data, Soundarajan said, “we might have a plan for the next mutation.”
Federal audit flags interoperability failures
A new federal audit highlights flaws in a multi-billion dollar effort to create a seamless exchange of health data between the defense department and veterans affairs. Despite the adoption of a common electronic health record in identify, the effort failed to consistently integrate historical patient information into the new system, according to the audit. It also highlighted a lack of software interfaces to enable automatic uploading of data collected by medical devices, and weak controls over access to health records. In short, the dream of a seamlessly connected health records ecosystem with the federal government is still far from a reality.
Can telehealth open the Paxlovid bottleneck?
There is finally a more stable supply of oral antivirals to treat Covid-19, but not enough patients are getting them in the five-day window when they are most effective. Some public health departments think telehealth could help: Last week, Massachusetts launched free televisits and home delivery of Paxlovid for residents, and New York’s similar program has already delivered more than 2,000 classes from medication. Free programs are key to ensuring drugs help the most vulnerable patients, but a simple Google search shows telehealth companies advertise to anyone struggling to get a care appointment primaries. The next step for virtual care companies: Closing the loop in the same way as the federal “test to treat” program, providing testing, doctor appointments, and door-to-door drug delivery in one place . Find out more in Katie’s latest news.
The new geography of telemedicine
A new report on the use of pediatric telemedicine in the United States Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention highlights geographic disparities in the use of technology during the Covid-19 pandemic. The largest gap was between rural communities (7%) and large urban communities (16%). But there were also significant differences between regions, with the Northeast seeing the most adoption by far (20%) and the South (11%) and Midwest (13%) seeing considerably less. The report also breaks down usage among different types of patients, finding that the technology appears to be widely adopted by pediatric patients with disabilities and developmental disabilities.
I have just begun
- The venture capital firm General Catalyst and Intermountain Health Care entered into a partnership in which the healthcare system will implement new technologies created by General Catalyst portfolio companies. The effort will focus on advancing value-based care and include startups such as olive, Transparent, Commune, Sprinters’ healthand Cadence.
- the US Department of Veterans Affairs signed an agreement with the healthcare AI company Tempus to use its genetic sequencing tests to provide more personalized cancer care to VA patients. The multi-year agreement will roll out Tempus testing to all 171 VA medical centers.
- Hearda startup that handles accounting for behavioral health providers, raised $10 million in a Series A led by Footwork. The company charges subscription fees for using its software to handle administrative tasks such as payroll and accounting.
CMO and CEO
- Like All Scripts offloads its products for hospitals and large practices, it has a new CEO: former chairman Rick Poulton will assume the role as Paul Beck steps down. Poulton will oversee the business as it focuses on its life science and insurance data businesses, Veradigm.
- Digital health company Lark health appointed Lynne Nowak as its new chief medical officer. She comes from Evernorthwhere she was Vice President of Clinical, Data and Vendor Solutions.
- Over the past two weeks, telehealth companies Am fine and Teladoc each announced new CMOs. Teladoc’s is chief medical officer, bringing in Vidya Raman-Tangella from her role as general manager of healthcare and life sciences at Amazon Web Services. Amwell Hiring Relates to Chief Marketing Officer, Removing Susan Worthy from Optimum.
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