US Markets – November 28, 2017

Healthcare Policy

US Healthcare Policy Highlights

  • The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggests that a shrinking taxpayer base, swelling beneficiary numbers and growing healthcare costs are threatening Medicare's long-term viability. The Medicare program would need to increase its revenue or drastically reduce benefits to balance its budget (Modern Healthcare)
  • Provider groups want the CMS to create more opportunities for physicians to participate in existing and new alternative payment models in order to advance the Innovation Center's mission of moving healthcare delivery from volume to value (Modern Healthcare)
  • The US Government’s initiative towards new policy changes that enhance the access to virtual care and reimbursement for services delivered creates new opportunities for hospitals and health systems to increase revenue from virtual care or telehealth. Some of the policy changes in this direction are:
    • The MACRA and MIPS payment models includes new billing codes for virtual visits
    • Passing of The VETS Act, HR 2123, supporting the VA’s Anywhere-to-Anywhere program
    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General plans to audit Medicaid payments for telehealth services (Healthcare IT News)

Healthcare Economy

US Healthcare Economy Highlights

  • Repeal of net neutrality could impact telemedicine which requires reliable and fast connectivity for health monitoring, consultation and service delivery. Current net neutrality rules make it illegal for high-speed Internet service providers to throttle speeds or block or slow down specific content. If repealed it could threaten low-cost service for telehealth (Modern Healthcare)
  • Five things to know about the "Restoring Internet Freedom Order:
    • Existing rules prohibit broadband companies from prioritizing or blocking some content over others
    • The new rule will require ISPs to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that suits them best
    • Stakeholders are divided about the impact of the new order. Some agree that net neutrality hinders innovation and some worry the proposal would restrict access to the internet for consumers
    • A draft proposal received more than 22 million comments from stakeholders, including healthcare groups who suggest that the proposal may lead to unintended healthcare consequences such as allowing broadband providers to restrict the flow of health information
    • The Federal Communications Commission officials noted that blocking or slowing certain content might fall under the umbrella of anticompetitive practices and this could be monitored by the Federal Trade Commission or the U.S. Department of Justice (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Technology Briefs

  • A Cognition kit study disclosed its result at the CNS meeting in Florida which says that Apple Watches could help patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) record their symptoms easily and accurately. The report revealed high levels of compliance with the daily tests and overall compliance rates of 94.6% and 96% for mood and cognitive assessments respectively (MobiHealth News)
  • According to a study by Deloitte which focused on 250 cognitive-aware leaders within cognitive-active companies reported that early adopters are bullish on cognitive and AI technologies with expectations that they will transform both companies and entire industries (Deloitte)
  • The Federal Communications Commission plans to repeal Net neutrality regulations that ensure equal access to the internet which clears the way for internet service companies to charge users more to see certain content and to restricts access to some websites (NY Times)

Market Segments

Oncology/Genomics

  • Caris Life Sciences to present its two proprietary precision medicine technology platforms- ADAPT Biotargeting System and Caris Molecular Intelligence at the 29th Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 3:10 p.m. EST in New York (Business Insider)

Life Sciences

  • Microsoft Corp. and PAREXEL International Corp (a leading global biopharmaceutical services organization) formed a technology development alliance aimed at driving innovation across the life sciences industry with technology powered by Microsoft Azure. The innovations will be aimed at helping the industry accelerate drug development and bring new therapies to patients (Scientific Computing)
  • A report by Deloitte suggests that in the next five years:
    • the quantified self will be alive and well
    • digital technologies will transform the culture of health care
    • new entrants will disrupt delivery models (Deloitte)

Imaging

  • Change Healthcare acquired dental provider credentialing software technology from Docufill LLC to expand its capabilities and product offerings. Docufill has developed a cloud-based technology which allows providers to use a single shared form across the organization to streamline the complex and redundant credentialing process resulting in cost reduction and the freeing of resources for patient care (HIT Consultant)
  • FUJIFILM Medical Systems USA launched a full-suite pediatric solutions portfolio complete with digital radiography (DR), healthcare IT and point-of-care ultrasound to serve the patients (PR News Wire)
  • DiA Imaging Analysis (medical imaging analysis software company in Israel) and GE Healthcare have signed a multi-year non-exclusive licensing and professional services agreement. DiA Imaging Analysis will develop its automated imaging analysis technology to work with GE Healthcare’s ultrasound devices. DiA has invented an image processing technology for medical imaging based on pattern recognition devices and machine learning algorithms for point of care analysis.
    (no camels)

Watson Platform for Health

  • The cloud business unit of Amazon may collaborate with Cerner to help analyze clinical data and predict available treatments. The collaboration will initially focus on Cerner’s population health product- HealtheIntent which is a cloud-based programmable vendor-agnostic pop health management tool

    (Health IT News)

  • Amazon Web Services introduced AWS Secret Region cloud service for the CIA and other members of the U.S. intelligence community. AWS becomes the first and only commercial cloud provider to offer regions to serve government workloads across the full range of data classifications including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret and Top Secret
    (CNBC)
  • Google and Stanford University collaborate to develop AI technology that can listen to conversations between doctors and patients and take relevant notes on them. The technology is based on the existing speech and voice recognition technology that is in use in products like the Google Home devices
    (Find Biometrics)

VBC - Payers

  • Anthem is dropping Express Scripts as its pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) and is suing the company for USD 15 billion because the PBM reportedly profited from drug manufacturers. Optum provided the pricing proposal after the Anthem approached them while contemplating ending its contract with Express Scripts
    (Healthcare DIVE)