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March 13, 2024

#ViVE2024 Unwrapped: Highlights and Insights

Jo Peddhinti

ViVE has always been an essential event for digital health decision-makers, offering invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of healthcare. At this year's event, industry luminaries spearheaded discussions on pivotal trends shaping the healthcare landscape, from harnessing data analytics for personalized medicine to the integration of AI and machine learning in diagnostics and beyond. The sessions delved into the crucial realms of prior authorization and payment innovation, telehealth and virtual care, addressing equity issues and championing interoperability and cybersecurity measures.

Here are our Top 6 key highlights from ViVE 2024 –

1. HealthXL Roundtable: The rise and tumble of digital health
2. Positive developments in the Prior Authorization Landscape
3. Health Systems’ Big Bet on Innovation
4. Breaking the Invisible Barrier Between Research and Care Delivery
5. From Hospitals to Hollywood: The Rise of GLP-1’s
6. Introducing The Digital Twin Neighborhoods - Cleveland Clinic with MetroHealth

(1) HealthXL Roundtable: The rise and tumble of digital health

Amidst a slowdown in VC funding, layoffs, and significant shifts in business models, the digital health sector persevered and advanced in 2023. The year was characterized by strategic learning and targeted market development, seen by industry experts as a step towards maturity. However, the outlook for 2024 remains uncertain, with many startups experiencing declining cash reserves despite additional bridge rounds. Discussing the funding landscape in digital health, the HealthXL panel including Robert Garber (Partner, 7wire Ventures), Lisa Fitzpatrick (CEO, Grapevine Health) and Adam Kaufman (Senior Advisor, Eversana) noted that while ample capital is still available, investment standards have become much more stringent. They advised on the timing of fundraising, recommending completion before July to mitigate potential market volatility during an election year.

Lisa Fitzpatrick, CEO of Grapevine Health, underscored the disparity between patient technology and user proficiency, advocating for digital health to better align with patient needs. Emphasizing early intervention in healthcare, the conversation with the panelists highlighted the transition from reactive to proactive care. Additionally, the panel viewed the market downturns as opportunities for growth, with investors adopting de-risking strategies.

Looking ahead, while uncertainties loom for 2024, optimism prevails for 2025, with substantial funding anticipated from both corporations and venture capitalists, driving growth and acquisitions. Consolidation within the digital health sector is expected to rise due to low prices and financial constraints. Health systems are seen actively investing in digital health, signaling a commitment to innovation and its implementation. Despite the continued focus on AI, there is a growing awareness of its capabilities and suitable applications. The financial challenges faced by US hospitals in 2023 underscore the importance for startups to align with healthcare workflows and financial incentives for success.

(2) Positive developments in the Prior Authorisation Landscape

Prior authorisation remains a significant challenge within the US healthcare system, characterized by a diverse array of programs varying in effectiveness. While some payers manage to respond to physician queries promptly, many physicians face frustration due to delayed or unclear responses, leading to added workload and potential risks to patient health. However, recent discussions at ViVE showcased positive developments in this area, with initiatives underway to streamline prior authorization processes and enhance response times for coverage queries. Despite progress, challenges persist as stakeholders navigate the integration of policy reforms and technological advancements. Of particular focus is the anticipated impact of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Final Rule, which is expected to reshape the prior authorization landscape and improve transparency through the implementation of Application Programming Interface (APIs) regulations. These regulations, anticipated to take effect in 2027, hold the potential to revolutionize the prior authorization process by facilitating smoother communication between health plans and providers and offering transparency into approval metrics.

During the panel, Tim Law, Chief Medical Officer of Highmark Inc., emphasized the need for proactive innovation in addressing prior authorization challenges. He stressed the importance of collaboration between health plans and providers to shape policies and highlighted Highmark's commitment to achieving prior authorization approvals within 90 seconds through its provider portal, ensuring timely patient care.

(3) Health Systems’ Big Bet on Innovation

A wave of innovation centres within health systems is reshaping healthcare, each with unique missions to drive transformation. These centres, while somewhat mysterious to outsiders, are key players in disrupting the deeply-rooted healthcare industry. They are agile, buck tradition and are re-platforming heavily while making big bets on generative AI.

Health systems like Northwell Health are investing significantly in AI initiatives, such as their "AI catalyzer" program aimed at enhancing quality, safety, and efficiency. Partnerships with startups, like Northwell's joint venture with Aegis Ventures, demonstrate a commitment to developing novel AI tools for patient care.

Innovative approaches extend to institutions like Houston Methodist, which is leveraging AI to redesign patient care experiences through technologies like smart hospital rooms. Similarly, Providence and Sutter Health are adopting AI-driven solutions to enhance patient navigation, communication, and engagement.

These endeavours underscore a shift towards personalized healthcare experiences and streamlined operations. From AI-powered clinical decision-making to digital navigation and support programs, health systems are embracing tech-driven solutions to meet the evolving needs of patients and clinicians alike. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, these innovation centres remain at the forefront, driving meaningful change through the strategic integration of technology and AI.

(4) Breaking the Invisible Barrier Between Research and Care Delivery

Breaking down the barrier between research and care delivery is crucial in the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare technology. David Feinberg, M.D., Chairman, Oracle Health, hosted a panel about the value of an interconnected care continuum that facilitates an evidence-based approach to care, underpinned by real-world data. Oracle Health is pioneering a learning health network, boasting a vast de-identified patient repository. This initiative from Oracle aims to expedite clinical research by utilizing a nationwide network of diverse health systems sharing de-identified data.

Traditionally, conducting multi-centre research involves complex logistics and resource-intensive efforts to consolidate data. However, Dr. Louis Ehwerhemuepha from Children's Hospital of Orange County highlighted the revolutionary potential of EHR databases in addressing questions that would typically require randomized controlled trials, significantly reducing the time and resources needed for research. For instance, deploying a readmission model using a multi-centre database allowed them to gain a deeper understanding of factors contributing to readmission rates.

Kristine Ashcraft, President and Founder of YouScript, emphasized the significance of personalized medicine and the crucial role of comprehensive data analysis in its realization. YouScript, for example,  provides extensive support for informed decision-making at the point of care by synthesizing all pertinent evidence concerning drug response. Kristine highlighted the importance of user-friendly analytics in managing risks by incorporating drug-gene and drug-drug interactions, offering both population and patient perspectives, thereby facilitating faster and proactive decision-making at the point of care.

In terms of implementation, integrating personalized medicine into clinical practice involves collaboration with hospitals and providers to provide detailed information at the point of care and on a population level. Despite initial hesitancy, there is a growing willingness among patients to share data for purposes such as drug discovery and improving patient care. This shift reflects a broader acceptance of leveraging data to drive positive outcomes and enhance healthcare delivery.

(5) From Hospitals to Hollywood: The Rise of GLP-1’s

In a panel discussion at ViVE 2024, experts delved into the significance of GLP1 therapy in managing diabetes and aiding weight loss. The conversation highlighted the transformative effects of GLP1s on patients' lives while addressing concerns regarding access limitations.

Angela Fitch kicked off the discussion by emphasizing the need to comprehend the future trajectory of GLP1 therapy, shedding light on challenges such as access barriers and the necessity for comprehensive wraparound services. Jo Murad chimed in, stressing the importance of a practical approach to prescribing these medications, suggesting the consideration of lower-cost options and adherence to clinical pathways.

The panel also discussed the role of telehealth in enhancing healthcare accessibility, underscoring the importance of trust-building and supportive services beyond mere prescription delivery. A call for universal access to obesity treatment as a standard benefit for all Americans resonated throughout the discussion. The speakers emphasized the challenges of deprescribing medications and the burden it places on clinicians, proposing telehealth and automated care as potential solutions. Regulatory advocacy, extending access to rural areas, and promoting awareness of non-traditional healthcare modalities were also highlighted.

The panelists dove into the complexities of treating obesity, advocating for a nuanced approach and emphasizing the need for more research. The debate touched upon the challenges of deprescribing medications and the importance of evidence-based practices. Furthermore, considerations about medication formularies and the necessity for standard benefits for obesity treatment in insurance policies were discussed.

Addressing the need for order in the healthcare system, the panelists underscored the importance of post-launch accountability trials for new medications like GLP1s. They advocated for diverse clinical trials and coordinated efforts between stakeholders to clarify indications for use. The panel discussion provided valuable insights into the future of GLP1 therapy and the challenges and opportunities it presents in healthcare. By addressing issues such as access barriers, regulatory advocacy, and the need for comprehensive wraparound services, the experts paved the way for a more informed and patient-centric approach to managing chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. As advancements in medicine continue, it becomes increasingly crucial to ensure equitable access and personalized care for all individuals, ultimately improving health outcomes and quality of life.

(6) Introducing The Digital Twin Neighborhoods - Cleveland Clinic with MetroHealth

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland’s MetroHealth medical system are pioneering an innovative technology aimed at tackling healthcare disparities rooted in community locations. Their approach involves utilizing advanced computer data models known as digital twin neighborhoods (DTNs). These DTNs are digital replicas of real communities, incorporating various data such as biological, social, and geographic information derived from anonymized electronic health records (EHRs) from both health systems. By accurately representing economic, environmental, and social factors, these models provide insights into the complex dynamics contributing to health inequalities among neighboring communities.

Dr. Jarrod Dalton, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Populations Health Research, along with Dr. Adam Perzynski of MetroHealth’s Population Health Research Institute, is leading the DTN project. During the session at ViVE 2024, they emphasized the profound impact of where individuals live or work on their health outcomes, including life expectancy and disease risks. Disadvantaged communities are particularly vulnerable, facing higher rates of heart attacks, strokes, and shorter life expectancies compared to wealthier areas.

The initiative aims to leverage digital models to conduct observational health research on diverse simulated populations, evaluating how factors like race and socioeconomic status influence disease prevalence and outcomes. By coupling spatial and aspatial modeling resources with real-world data sources like EHRs and U.S. Census files, researchers anticipate gaining new insights into population health and place-based health inequities.

Moving forward, the researchers plan to further develop their modeling infrastructure, including creating a scalable Digital Twin Neighborhoods Platform (DTNP) accessible to researchers interested in employing the DTN approach. Dr. Perzynski underscored the transformative potential of this project, emphasizing its ability to inform community-level policies and interventions to improve health and equity. By evaluating technologies like digital twins, the research team aims to facilitate data-backed approaches to public health interventions, benefiting communities beyond Cleveland.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at ViVE this year, connecting with our global community members and gaining invaluable insights into the ever-changing healthcare landscape. As healthcare evolves, we remain committed to providing you with the latest updates from industry leaders addressing healthcare's most pressing challenges. To learn more about the HealthXL community, click here.

We can provide an introduction on your behalf so that you can contact them directly with any questions/queries on this topic. Simply click on the link below to request an introduction.

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