The promising but fragmented health-tech space keeps innovating into cohesiveness as new concepts and therapeutics close the telehealth and treatment gap for patients and doctors.
With digital transformation quickly gaining momentum in a healthcare system that’s been slow to change, the Tuesday (June 14) announcement that health technology platform Proximie raised $80 million in Series C financing shows how far digital connected tech is taking the trend.
Per a press release, “Hospitals and surgical centers who leverage Proximie’s technology will have access to preoperative data that can help inform patient care, real time collaborative tools to record, train, and deliver care, and postoperative content management tools to capture and distribute content to their colleagues.”
The platform, enables health systems “to establish an intelligent, digital layer to the [operating room], enabling them to save time, money, and more lives,” it said, adding that in the past year “Proximie saw a significant increase in its Total Contracted Value, supported over 13,000 surgeries, and expanded their global footprint to 100 countries.”
Perfecting artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted technology that allows a surgeon in one state (or continent) to assist in a procedure happening hundreds or thousands of miles away via digital means has been in the works for years, but digital infrastructure is now catching up with legacy limitations.
While surgery is at the more advanced end of the trend, developments in digital therapeutics continue with the Thursday (June 16) announcement that digital therapeutics company Swing Therapeutics closed a $10.3 million Series A funding round to test its digital therapies.
In a press release, the company said it is testing “effectiveness of two treatments for fibromyalgia: Digital Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a form of cognitive behavioral therapy; and a Digital Symptom Tracker” employing Swing’s Digital ACT daily-use digital therapeutic of “engaging lessons and interactive exercises that help patients apply ACT principles to their unique circumstances and improve the ability to manage their condition.”
That was followed on Friday (June 17) by an announcement digital therapeutics firms Sidekick Health that it’s partnering with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly to combat breast cancer through digital interventions centering on behavioral change and disease management.
Per a press release, “The integrated digital therapeutics offering will be initially rolled out in Germany where, according to the World Health Organization, there were 69,697 new cases of breast cancer in 2020, representing 24.5% of all cancers affecting females that year, and 11.1% of cancers affecting all sexes,” adding that the initial rollout “will be tailored to support the needs of patients within Lilly’s oncology treatment programs.”
Lawmakers, Dealmakers Eying Health Tech
Lawmakers are seeing the potential of these developments. A bipartisan bill called the “Access to Prescription Digital Therapeutics Act of 2022” is making its way through Congress now.
According to a brief outlining the proposed legislation, “Prescription Digital Therapeutics (PDTs) are software-based disease treatments designed to directly treat disease, tested for safety and efficacy in randomized clinical trials, evaluated by the FDA, and prescribed by healthcare providers. These therapies are designed and tested much like traditional prescription drugs with one distinction: rather than swallowing a pill or taking an injection, patients are treated with software.”
In a statement, co-sponsor Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) said, “Living in the modern age requires medicine to adapt to address the needs and challenges of accessing quality care. Prescription digital therapeutics, software-based health care treatments, present significant benefits to patients and provide a new tool to help improve peoples’ lives.”
It’s altruism and capitalism combined, as the draft bill notes, “Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall establish a payment methodology for manufacturers of prescription digital therapeutics, which may consist of a one-time payment or periodic payments, as determined appropriate by the Secretary.”
Amid this activity, watch for consolidation in telehealth and adjacent services in 2022 and beyond. Digital Health Acquisition Corp. — “a collective of industry leaders and investment professionals who bring deep sector knowledge and a history of success in SPACs, operations, investing and M&A to the table” per its website — is eyeing telehealth consolidation.
Per its website, “We intend to focus on early growth, accelerated and mature businesses within the Telehealth industry that have an aggregate enterprise value of approximately $175 to $500 million and would benefit from access to public markets and the operational and strategic expertise of our management team and board of directors.”
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