This Remote Patient Monitoring Startup Just Landed A $70 Million Series C

Health Recovery Solutions in action

hen Covid-19 cases began to soar around Ann Arbor in April, the University of Michigan Hospital reached 100% capacity. Like most hospitals, University of Michigan Hospital was not ready for the pandemic surge, but they did have a leg up.

That same month they’d coincidentally implemented Health Recovery Solutions’ remote patient monitoring, a patented technology system that records patient vitals via Bluetooth and connects them with their clinicians through video or instant messaging. This enabled the resource-strapped hospital to care for over 400 patients remotely throughout 2020.

Today, HRS announced it closed a $70 million series C led by LLR Partners with participation from existing investor Edison Partners, bringing the Hoboken, New Jersey-based startup’s total funding to $86 million. The news comes on the heels of a year of massive growth, which saw their head count balloon 258% to 155 employees and revenue grow by 188% to $23.5 million.

“People are choosing the proven remote-monitoring solution right now,” says Jarrett Bauer, HRS’ Forbes 30 Under 30 cofounder and CEO. “That’s one of the reasons why we’re doing so well—people are looking for the company that’s best.”

Bauer, now 34, was inspired to start by HRS by his grandma. Battling a heart condition, Bauer’s grandma was admitted to the hospital three times, resulting in over $14,000 of medical bills. While pursuing his M.B.A. at Johns Hopkins in 2012, Bauer began constructing an at-home hospital alternative that would eventually become HRS. “We didn’t know where to start,” Bauer told Forbes in 2019 when the company raised its $10 million series B. “We just knew it was a problem, and the best companies solve problems.”

With Covid-19, telehealth doctor appointments have become just doctor appointments, increasing 154% from March to October of 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Rather than cut into HRS’ margins, the telehealth boom has helped HRS soar. The healthcare company has deals with over 220 U.S. healthcare systems—74 of which signed on as clients of HRS during the pandemic—with over 20,000 nurses checking HRS logs every day.

“We consider Health Recovery Solutions the Cadillac model,” says Brandy Knudson, Michigan Medicine’s Telehealth Project Manager. “It fills a huge gap for us because we want to reduce readmissions and reduce unnecessary trips to the hospital.”

The company makes money by billing clinical institutions on subscription to integrate their solutions in treatment, coming at no additional cost to patients. HRS recognizes the varying levels of sickness and technological ability of patients, so the company’s products range from a pulse oximeter for the sickest, while near-recovered patients can manually enter symptoms on HRS’ smartphone app.

All of this patient data is stored in a cloud for clinicians, making it easier to recognize prognosis patterns and health trends. By implementing HRS, major healthcare systems like Penn Medicine have reduced 30-day readmission by over 50% for all heart failure patients, while FirstHealth of the Carolinas says the technology has saved patients more than $1.9 million since its implementation in 2016.

“Patients are looking to stay in their homes longer, get care in their homes longer, and there’s an increasing prevalence of chronic conditions,” says Sasank Aleti, a partner at Philadelphia-based private equity firm LLR Partners. “HRS met our criteria of taking costs out of the system, driving better outcomes and a better patient experience.”

For Bauer, the future of HRS lies in universalizing hospital-from-home treatment. With the $70 million round, the company plans to more than double head count in 2021 to 250 employees with the goal of being able to treat over a million patients by adding new healthcare providers and upping their disease module count (they currently treat 90 diseases). “Why aren’t we like Google? Why aren’t we like Apple?” asks Bauer. “We’re playing to win—to be that.”

I’m the Under 30 Editorial Community Lead at Forbes. Previously, I directed marketing at a mobile app startup. I’ve also worked at The New York Times and New York Observer. I attended the University of Pennsylvania where I studied English and creative writing. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @iamsternlicht.

Source: This Remote Patient Monitoring Startup Just Landed A $70 Million Series C

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The coronavirus pandemic has overwhelmed hospitals, physicians and the medical community. That’s pushed telemedicine into the hands of providers and patients as the first response for primary care. Telemedicine isn’t new to the medical community, however it hasn’t been embraced due to insurance coverage, mindset and stigma. Here’s how it works and what it means for the future of health care. » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic
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Mammograms Pick Up Swelling Related To The Covid-19 Vaccine Study Says

When she found a lump in her left breast during a routine self-check, Boston primary care physician Dr. Devon Quasha knew exactly what to do. She immediately scheduled a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound at Massachusetts General Hospital for early January.

Quasha didn’t notice much of a reaction to the vaccine at first, but a couple of days before her appointment her left arm began to hurt.
Tender, swollen lumps developed under her left armpit, along with a large swelling above her collarbone — all areas where there are lymph nodes, the body’s filters for germs.
“You have lymph nodes above and below your collarbone,” Quasha said. “You don’t want to feel those. It was scary when I felt it.”
Lymph nodes contain immune cells that help fight invaders. That’s why it made sense to Quasha that the nodes were reacting to the vaccine, building antibodies as they were designed to do. But she couldn’t be sure.
The swelling was only on the left side where she had gotten the shot — the same side as the worrisome lump. Was it a reaction to the vaccine or another sign of breast cancer?

‘It was like a wildfire’

After the ultrasound, Quasha’s radiologist was concerned. She told Quasha she considered the lump she had felt in her breast to be of little significance, but the lymph nodes that showed up as white blobs on her mammogram were another matter. In non-pandemic times, that finding would set off alarm bells, requiring the need for further investigation, even an immediate biopsy.
Yet Quasha had just had the vaccine. After talking it over with her, Quasha said her doctor decided not to do a biopsy at that time. Instead she told Quasha to come back for a follow-up ultrasound in six weeks.

“I cannot tell you how many women are showing nodes on mammograms and people thought it was going to be not that common,” said Lehman, who is also a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School.
Tales of unnecessary biopsies spurred the patient care committee of the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) to put out an advisory in January: Ask your patients about their Covid-19 status, and record the date and which arm received the vaccine. Consider that before automatically scheduling a biopsy.
“We wanted to advocate that women don’t always need to have a biopsy,” said Dr. Lars Grimm, associate professor of radiology at Duke University School of Medicine and one of the authors of the SBI advisory. “Because oftentimes the default if you see swollen lymph nodes in a patient would actually be to recommend doing a biopsy.”
Mass General’s Lehman agreed. “When you hear hoofbeats, don’t think zebra,” she said. “If a woman had a vaccine in the arm on the same side, and the lymph nodes are swollen, this is a normal biological response. It’s totally expected. It just doesn’t make sense to start imaging.”
That does not mean that women who wish to be sure about their cancer status cannot have a biopsy, Grimm stressed. “You actually have some women who want to biopsy,” he said. “You might tell them, ‘Hey, I think this is due to your Covid vaccine, and I’m sure that it’s going to resolve in a few weeks on its own and you’re going to be fine.’ But that patient tells you, ‘I’m not going to be comfortable waiting, I want to know now.’ “

Focus on screening to save lives

For Quasha, the knowledge that many women were experiencing the same type of reaction to the vaccine was a welcome relief from worry. After a discussion with her doctor, she said she no longer needs the follow-up screening. “I was very reassured,” Quasha said. “The point here is that there are a number of side effects from the vaccine which are not dangerous but can sometimes increase patient anxiety.”
Instead of bringing women back in for an unnecessary ultrasound, radiology centers should be focused on scheduling women who have missed or are overdue on their mammogram, Lehman said.
“We need to take care of the large percentage of women who didn’t get screened because of the shutdowns during Covid,” she said. “At Mass General alone, we failed to screen 15,000 women because of Covid, and we’re still trying to get them back in.
“This isn’t where I need to start doing axillary ultrasounds, because someone had a vaccine and the node swelled. It’s just not being practical or pragmatic or putting our patient’s needs first,” she said. It’s not just breast cancer, Lehman stressed. Lymph nodes in other parts of the body are also reacting to the Covid-19 vaccines, causing people with other forms of cancer to undergo unnecessary procedures.
“There have been some false scares and some unnecessary biopsies because people didn’t think to ask, and they assume that the node was the cancer coming back,” she said.

What to do?

To avoid unnecessary worry, SBI recommends women schedule any routine, annual breast screening before getting the Covid-19 vaccine. If a woman has already had the vaccine, or is soon scheduled to do so, the society suggests waiting at least four to six weeks after the second dose before scheduling your appointment.
At Mass General, Lehman and her team have gone a step further. They are screening all women regardless of vaccine status, but telling those with no history of cancer that any swelling in the lymph nodes that might be connected to a Covid-19 vaccine is benign — meaning not cancerous.
“This follows the American College of Radiology recommendations that if you have a known inflammatory cause you can say it’s benign,” said Lehman, who recently published a paper on the hospital’s procedures.
“If their concern is a swelling or tenderness after the vaccine in their armpit, we suggest that they wait four to six weeks, talk to their doctor, and if it persists, then we have them come in to do an evaluation of it,” she said.
Whatever you do, experts stress, don’t skip getting your breast cancer screening when it is recommended. A study published Tuesday in the journal Radiology that followed over half a million women made the point clearly: Women who skip even one scheduled mammography screening before they are diagnosed with breast cancer have a significantly higher risk of dying. In fact, the risk of having a fatal breast cancer within 10 years of diagnosis was 50% lower for women who had regular breast screenings, the study said.

By: 

Source: Mammograms pick up swelling related to the Covid-19 vaccine, study says – CNN

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Researchers Warn of Heightened Risk of HIV With Certain COVID-19 Vaccines

As the race to approval of a safe and effective vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues, a group of researchers is warning some of these vaccines could make patients more susceptible to contracting HIV.

Writing in The Lancet, the researchers are urging caution when it comes to the use of adenovirus type-5 (Ad5) vectored vaccines for COVID-19, recalling their research from a decade ago on an Ad5 vectored vaccine in 2 HIV vaccine trials.

“On the basis of these findings, we are concerned that use of an Ad5 vector for immunisation against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) could similarly increase the risk of HIV-1 acquisition among men who receive the vaccine,” wrote the researchers. “Both the HIV and COVID-19 pandemics disproportionately affect vulnerable populations globally. Roll-out of an effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine globally could be given to populations at risk of HIV infection, which could potentially increase their risk of HIV-1 acquisition.”

There are several clinical trials assessing Ad5 vectored vaccine candidates underway, including by China’s CanSino Biologics and California-based ImmunityBio.

The group’s ”cautionary tale” stems from the Step and Phambili phase 2b trials that studied the efficacy of an Ad5 vectored HIV-1 vaccine in preventing HIV infection. Across both international studies, they found that the vaccine actually increased the risk of HIV among the vaccinated men.

The findings from the Phambili study, in particular, have important implications for the use of the vaccines in COVID-19, according to the researchers, as findings from this study showed that heterosexual men receiving the Ad5 vectored vaccine faced a consistently increased risk of HIV infection. Notably, this increased risk appeared to be limited to men, with women not having an observed increase of infection in the study.

In the Step trial, the risk of acquiring HIV was particularly high among men who were uncircumcised and Ad5 seropositive men who reported having unprotected anal sex with a partner who was HIV seropositive or who had unknown serostatus as baseline.

Of note, the vaccine in both studies did not have the HIV envelope. Meanwhile, in another study that used a DNA prime and an Ad5 vector, both of which had the HIV envelope, there was no observed increase in HIV infection.

The reason for the observed increase in HIV risk remains uncertain, although several follow-up studies have suggested a potential explanation, according to the researchers.

“The vaccine was highly immunogenic in the induction of HIV-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells; however, there was no difference in the frequency of T-cell responses after vaccination in men who did and did not later become infected with HIV in the Step Study,” they wrote. “These findings suggest that immune responses induced by the HIV-specific vaccine were not the mechanism of increased acquisition.

Participants with high frequencies of preimmunisation Ad5-specific T cells were associated with a decreased magnitude of HIV-specific CD4 responses and recipients of the vaccine had a decreased breadth of HIV-specific CD8 responses, suggesting that pre-existing Ad5 immunity might dampen desired vaccine-induced responses.”

Other exploratory studies have indicated that the vaccine enhances HIV replication in CD4 T cells or that Ad5-specific CD4 T cells could be more susceptible to HIV infection.

Jaime Rosenberg

Reference

Buchbinder SP, McElrath MJ, Dieffenback C, Corey L. Use of adenovirus type-5 vectored vaccines: a cautionary tale. Lancet. Published online October 19, 2020.doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32156-5

Source: http://ajmc.com

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ENewsTrends

A new paper warns the link between COVID-19 vaccines and HIV risk.

Mayo Clinic

Nearly half of people in the U.S. diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are over 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HIV damages the body’s immune system, and interferes with the body’s ability to fight infection and disease. Does that make it more difficult to fight off COVID-19? Dr. Stacey Rizza, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic, says, “We know that anybody who has a suppressed immune system may have an altered response to the virus that causes COVID-19. We know that older people whose immune systems are a little weaker, and people who have medical issues or organ diseases, are going to generally do worse with the infection.

If somebody has HIV and their immune system is weaker, meaning they’re not on therapy, or they’re earlier on in their therapy and their CD4 count is still low, they may be at risk of having a worse reaction to the virus. We will learn more about SARS-CoV-2 on people living with HIV over time.” Read more: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/di… More health and medical news on the Mayo Clinic News Network. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/ Journalists: Clean and nat sound versions of this pkg available for download at https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/ Register (free) at https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/re…

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4 Reasons Your Practice Needs a Virtual Waiting Room

Technology has accelerated changes in healthcare as a result of the public health crisis, offering patients convenient and safe ways to stay connected to their doctors. Telehealth, for example, allows patients to attend doctor appointments via video technology which ensures a face-to-face interaction while enabling both patients and providers to attend the appointment in the privacy and security of their own environments. Now, in addition to telehealth visits, virtual waiting rooms have emerged as a way to help patients continue to socially distance through the check-in process before attending a visit in person or online.

What is a virtual waiting room?

A virtual waiting room is a remote way for patients to:

  • Check-in for appointments (in-person and virtual visits)
  • Complete necessary paperwork digitally
  • Receive instructions and safety protocols for in-person visits
  • Be notified of when and where to go once their doctor is ready to see them in the exam room

A virtual waiting room can be deployed in just about any kind of medical setting, giving patients the option to check-in for their appointment or a visit to the emergency room while remaining in their car until their provider is ready to see them. This reduces the amount of time patients spend around others inside the office, thereby minimizing the chances that they’ll infect others or be infected by COVID-19. Virtual waiting rooms can also be used for telehealth visits to guide the registration process and notify patients when providers are ready to initiate the visit.

There’s a variety of ways to implement a virtual waiting room solution, from using HIPAA compliant texting and chatbots to other technology that can facilitate the remote check-in process. In many cases, patients can join a virtual waiting room after receiving a link via text message. After completing any necessary digital forms online, patients are placed in a virtual queue and alerted in real-time when the doctor is ready to see them. This offers many benefits for patients seeking care at any kind of specialty clinic, hospital, or primary care office.

Reasons why you need a virtual waiting room.

1. Contactless patient registration improves COVID-19 infection control.

Using a virtual waiting room allows your patients to bypass face-to-face registration which reduces contact with staff and other patients. Because COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets passed through the air after a cough, sneeze, or other forceful expressions, the only way to eliminate the risk of spread is to avoid contact altogether with others. By employing a remote patient registration process using digital forms or a chatbot, medical practices can still collect the information they need and offer any support patients need while filling out forms without coming into close contact.

2. Virtual waiting rooms offer a patient-friendly experience in a comfortable environment.

The traditional waiting room experience is often frustrating and inconvenient if you think about it. Whether or not you’re sick, the waiting room is often full of people with runny noses, coughs, and crying children who are also waiting to be seen which means it’s noisy, overwhelming, and a little bit awkward. When doctors fall behind, these noises seem to multiply as every minute waiting feels like a minute lost that could have otherwise been better spent.

In contrast, virtual waiting rooms allow patients who are waiting to see their doctor in person remain in their own vehicle where they can control the temperature and noise. As they wait, they can do what they’d like with the time they have whether that’s reading a book, working on their laptop, or FaceTiming a friend. And, a virtual queue keeps them updated on how much longer they have to wait so they’re never left wondering.

For patients using telehealth visits, your staff can still capture the required information and payment virtually using waiting room solutions. Meanwhile, patients register and wait for their appointment in the comfort of their own home where they’re relaxed, socially distanced, and maybe even surrounded by a supportive family. And, patients can spend their time how they wish in a “virtual parking lot” until their provider is ready to initiate the video visit.

3. It’s easier to maintain privacy and security.

If you think back to the traditional waiting room set-up, it can be challenging to maintain a sense of privacy, especially if you’re filling out paper registration forms with nearby patients looking over your shoulder. Waiting solutions eliminate this problem while collecting private health data using HIPAA compliant technology that helps providers understand the patient’s health condition without compromising security. And, patients don’t need to remember patient portal passwords or clunky app logins to “show-up” in the waiting room. Instead, they simply confirm their identity using two-step authentication via a direct link to their phone number.

4. The entire process can be automated, saving you practice precious resources.

The best part about remote check-in is that your practice can establish automated workflows from appointment reminders to patient check-in. This frees up your staff to focus on the tasks in front of them. Text messages can be created using customizable templates that pull relevant patient data, such as their appointment date and time, while repurposing language that guides patients through the process. You can still establish ways for patients to seek extra support, such as by texting “HELP” back to the office to solicit a phone call from the staff. But, the simple step of automation can greatly speed up the registration process while capturing and syncing patient information digitally into their medical record without the manual effort.

Do you need help launching a virtual waiting room at your practice? Contact us today for a free demo.

By: ProviderTech

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LifeLink

Virtualizing the waiting room experience will be key as healthcare providers get back to business.

UK Trials Antibody Cocktail That Could Halt Covid Outbreaks In Care Homes & On Cruise Ships

An antibody cocktail that gives immediate protection against coronavirus and could bring outbreaks on cruise ships and in care homes to a halt is being trialled in Britain.

The treatment has been developed by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca from Covid-fighting antibodies found in the blood of a patient who survived the virus.

With a vaccine, the body takes around six weeks to develop immunity after an injection. With the cocktail, it is thought that the antibodies are able to fight off the virus immediately and may last for a year before needing to be replenished. 

The Government hopes the treatment could protect hundreds of thousands of people who cannot be vaccinated because their immune systems are compromised.

It could also be used to prevent vulnerable patients from catching Covid in hospitals and care homes, or be issued quickly to cruise ship passengers and crew should a traveller be diagnosed with the virus.

The first trial participant is due to be given the drug at North Manchester General Hospital on Saturday, and results are expected in the spring.

Describing how the drug could be used, Sir Mene Pangalos, an executive vice president at AstraZeneca, said: “So imagine a cruise ship that has an outbreak where half the people have been vaccinated and half haven’t because of access to the vaccine. You’d be able to go and immunize the whole cruise ship with this antibody and everyone will be protected straight away.

“Or where there has been a case confirmed in a care home, you will go and immunize everybody in the care home to protect them from progressing on with the disease, or in a hospital or a school. Or someone comes to the doctor or hospital with confirmed Covid disease and symptoms, and we treat them with the antibody and then they go home and we hopefully stop them getting sicker. 

“There’s also going to be a significant number of people, even in a world where vaccines are highly effective, who will not respond to vaccines, or will not take vaccines, and so having potential therapeutics I think it is important.”

Kate Bingham, who chairs the Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, said the antibody cocktail could also be used to give front line workers immediate protection, adding: “It will work instantly, so there may be examples of the military or healthcare workers or people that need immediate protection, and you could use this antibody cocktail, as opposed to waiting. This is part of the portfolio to protect the whole UK.”

The team at AstraZeneca screened thousands of antibodies to find the most effective at fighting coronavirus, and eventually used two types from a Covid survivor who had an extremely potent immune response.

However, the antibody cocktail will not be rolled out to a large proportion of the population because it is far more expensive and difficult to make than vaccines. While a vaccine costs just a few pounds, a dose of antibodies can cost hundreds of pounds.

But there are around 350,000 people in Britain who are unable to be vaccinated so, if successful, they are likely to be offered the treatment.

Phase Three trials on 1,000 volunteers are taking place at nine sites across Britain, but the team is planning to recruit a further 4,000 participants globally, and researchers are urgently calling on more people to volunteer. 

Sir Mene also said the Oxford vaccine team was still “on track” to have final results before Christmas, adding: “We’re still hoping we might be able to dose, if we show the vaccine is safe and effective, towards the end of the year.

“We’re not going to be able to vaccinate the whole population of the UK immediately. There is a large group of people who will have to wait a while to receive the vaccination.”

By Sarah Knapton

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LiveScience

The new COVID-19 drug called REGN-COV2 contains two antibodies shown to help neutralize the virus. Read about the possible #COVID-19 treatment: https://www.livescience.com/antibody-… Science News • Videos • Explainers SUBSCRIBE to the Live Science YouTube channel → http://www.shorturl.at/fzCV5 Twitter→ https://twitter.com/LiveScience Facebook→ https://www.facebook.com/livescience Instagram→ https://www.instagram.com/live_science/ For the science geek in everyone, LiveScience.com breaks down the stories behind the most interesting news and photos on the Internet, while also digging up fascinating discoveries that hit on a broad range of fields, from dinosaurs and archaeology to wacky physics and astronomy to health and human history. If you want to learn something interesting every day, #LiveScience is the place for you.

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