StartUPDATES: New developments from healthcare startups

Check out news from Carrum Health, Equiva, SpectrumAi, Transition Bio and SamaCare.

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Carrum Health and Employer Health Innovation Roundtable (EHIR) released a survey that found employers’ desire to drive down healthcare expenditures and improve quality will likely lead to an increase in usage of Centers of Excellence (COE).

Overtreatment – including invasive treatments and unnecessary surgeries – wastes up to $101 billion a year in the U.S., according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Furthermore, because of pent-up demand, surgical volumes are expected to increase 5% compared to pre-pandemic levels into 2023, according to McKinsey. The combination of these factors led EHIR and Carrum Health to assess how employers perceive their overall surgical spending and its relation to COEs. Responses revealed that surgical costs are 34% of employers total spend, yet most of the cost-reduction solutions relied on by many are not containing these expenditures.

“Mounting healthcare costs, exacerbated by COVID-19, have become an even more prominent concern for self-funded employers. The pent-up demand for elective surgeries could have a significant impact on their total medical spend,” said EHIR CEO Michael Laquere. “We’re hearing from our EHIR members that they’re concerned with rising surgical costs, and our survey, along with anecdotal evidence, indicates an increased interest by our members in Centers of Excellence as an enabler to reduce expenditures and improve quality.”

Carrum Health and EHIR conducted a survey of 217 benefit leaders working at U.S.-based companies with 3,000 or more employees that offer employee health insurance and are self-insured.

Equiva, an innovator in patient engagement and health relationship management solutions, is pleased to learn about a new collaboration of American College of Physicians(ACP), the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and ORCHA, the Organization for the Review of Care and Health Applications. In May, the organizations announced a new framework for assessing digital health technologies in the U.S., with a focus on helping physicians recommend high-value digital health tools to their patients and identifying barriers to wider adoption of digital health tools.

“Leveraging the clinical expertise of ACP members, the technology expertise of ATA members, and ORCHA’s experience in assessing apps to create libraries of high-quality apps, this pilot has the potential to address the needs of many stakeholders,” said Ryan D. Mire, MD, FACP, and ACP president in a recent news release.

“We’ve seen years of uber-rapid advances in digital health technologies and hyper-accelerated adoption of these solutions during the pandemic,” said Beth Strohbusch, Equiva’s head of marketing. “Our customers have told us how challenging it is to sort through a plethora of options when evaluating digital patient engagement and education tools, not to mention the difficulties of managing an growing array of point solutions from multiple vendors.”

The Digital Health Assessment Framework is being developed to help healthcare organizations have confidence that the health and wellness tools they recommend meet quality, privacy, and clinical assurance criteria. “This is a positive step for patients, clinicians, healthcare organization and digital health vendors,” Strohbusch added.

SpectrumAi, a digital health company focused on the autism spectrum, has raised $9 million in a funding round co-led by F-Prime Capital and Frist Cressey Ventures. Other sources of investment include Autism Impact Fund.

SpectrumAi’s technology seeks to improve the quality of Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for people with autism.

To learn more, click here.

Transition Bio, a drug discovery platform company using biophysical sciences and artificial intelligence tools to map and modulate biomolecular condensates, has raised $50 million in a Series A round, led by Northpond Ventures. Also taking part in the round are Taiho Ventures, Bristol Myers Squibb and Magnetic Ventures. Lifeforce Capital, the lead investor from the company’s seed financing, also participated and was joined by other existing seed investors.

In addition to the fundraise, Shilpi Arora, Ph.D., joined Transition Bio as senior vice president of discovery research, having previously worked at Exo Therapeutics as vice president of discovery and translational biology.

To read more, click here.

SamaCare, a prior authorization platform for physician-administered medications, has closed a $12 million Series A funding round led by Clearlake Capital-backed Vive Collective. Other existing investors also took part in the round including NextView Ventures, South Park Commons, and Susa Capital. As part of the investment, Vive’s Founder and CEO Cheryl Cheng will join the company’s board of directors.

The funding will help the company grow its physician practice customers, help it expand into existing and new specialties, ramp up customer acquisition and support for pharmaceutical manufacturers, and add new executives.

To read more, click here.

Picture: akindo, Getty Images