Clover Health Raises $35 Million Round, Bringing Total To $135 Million In Just Four Months

San Francisco-based insurance startup Clover Health has raised a $35 million Series B funding round just four months after it closed a separate $100 million round, bringing its its total raised to $135 million since its August 2014 launch. The company bootstrapped through its first year of operation, raising its first outside capital in September in the form of a $100 million investment led by First Round Capital. Its more recent round was led by Sequoia Capital, with additional participation from returning investors First Round and Athyrium Capital Management.

Clover Health Raises $35 Million Round, Bringing Total To $135 Million In Just Four Months

While $135 million is a significant haul for the young startup, the numbers are in line with other startups working in the health insurance industry. Oscar Health raised $150 million in its first year of operation, and has since raised an additional $177 million, bringing its total funding level to $327 million since its July 2013 formation. Both Clover Health and Oscar Health are building insurance companies around the idea that better data analytics and more aggressive population health outreach efforts will bend the cost curve. The major difference between Clover Health and Oscar Health is that Oscar targets young, tech-savvy consumers, while Clover Health is a Medicare Advantage insurance plan and as such is pushing headstrong into the elderly care market, where cost containment is much bigger issue.

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Foundations Raise $10 Million To Expand OpenNotes Project

A group of four foundations has partnered to establish a $10 million fund that will be used to expand the OpenNotes program from its current state as an experimental patient engagement strategy to an established national program with the potential of reaching 50 million patients. Cambia Health Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Peterson Center on Healthcare, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will fund the initiative. OpenNotes is the concept of providing patients with full, transparent access to their medical records including all provider notes. The investment is designed to fund expansion efforts for the next three years. OpenNotes will use the funding to help new providers implement OpenNotes and to measure the impact that OpenNotes has on health outcomes and cost containment.

Foundations Raise $10 Million To Expand OpenNotes Project

OpenNotes began as an experiment at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2010. A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded study was conducted in which 105 primary care providers expanded their patient portals to provide complete access to patient notes for one year. During that time, 13,564 patients had at least one note entered into the system by one of the providers. 84 percent of the patient population included in the study logged into the patient portal and read their providers note. Nationally, patient portal utilization rates tend to be much lower than that, hovering in the 20 to 30 percent range, with subtle variations for patient age and provider group size. The patients that did access their records were asked to complete a survey at the end of the study. 87 percent of those that responded indicated that reading their provider’s notes helped them feel more in control of their care, while 60 to 78 percent reported an increase in medication adherence. Only one to eight percent of respondents reported that the notes caused confusion, worry, or offense.

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Digital Health Raises $4.3 Billion In New Investments, Matching 2014 Funding Levels

Digital health startups attracted $4.3 billion in new investments during 2015, according to a recently published Rock Health report on funding activity in the digital health market. The investment total matches but does not top 2014’s record-setting levels, indicating that while funding opportunities are still strong in digital health, year-over-year investment growth has plateaued for the first time since Rock Health began tracking digital health investment activity. Overall, digital health accounted for seven percent of 2015’s total venture capital investment activity.

Digital Health Raises $4.3 Billion In New Investments, Matching 2014 Funding Levels

This year brought 278 total investment rounds, fewer than in 2014, but as the market and its startups continue to mature there have been a larger number of late-stage, high-value investments which is drove up the average deal size and kept 2015’s funding levels on pace with 2014. The average funding round was worth $15.6 million this year, up from 2014’s $14.7 million. While seed and Series A rounds continue to account for more than 50 percent of all deals, late stage Series C and D rounds are now accounting for 25 percent of total investments, up from 2014. Another metric to measure the maturing digital health market is startup size. Average head count at digital health startups has climbed from 39 in 2013 to 44 in 2014 and now to over 50. 

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Google Launches Spin Off Business Focused On Next Generation Surgical Robots

In March 2015, Google and Johnson & Johnson announced a strategic partnership focused on co-developing next generation surgical robots that will use augmented reality and image recognition software to help surgeons navigate the body and to provide on-screen clinical decision support alerts during the procedure.

Google Launches Spin Off Business Focused On Next Generation Surgical Robots

For surgeons performing robot-assisted procedures, the announcement is likely welcomed news. In recent years, the medical community has been casting an increasingly skeptical eye toward surgical robots. The machines are prohibitively expensive and have failed to reduce complications or improve outcomes at the rates anticipated when they were first introduced to healthcare. In 2010, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study comparing the cost and outcomes of robotically-assisted procedures and traditionally performed procedures, concluding that the outcomes were comparable and did not justify the increased cost. Following that study, the FDA issued a statement questioning the overall value of surgical robots, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued an updated policy letter stating that robotic-assisted hysterectomies were unwarranted due to their cost and negligible impact on outcomes. Thus far, surgical robots have failed to improve outcomes at levels that justify their use; instead they introduced another high-tech, high-cost alternative to traditional surgical procedures.

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Medtronic Partners With Samsung To Develop Mobile Health Tools

Medtronic announces that it has expanded its partnership with Samsung to develop more mobile health tools for the chronically ill. Announced at this year’s North American Neuromodulation Society Scientific Session in Las Vegas, the new partnership will focus on developing tools for patients that rely on neuromodulation therapy to treat a wide variety of conditions, including chronic pain, tremors, incontinence, and movement disorders.

Medtronic Partners With Samsung To Develop Mobile Health Tools

Neuromodulation is a medical treatment that involves altering problematic nerve activity with either an implanted device that delivers a small eclectic current, an implanted drug delivery system, or a non-invasive method that relies on magnetic stimulation of the brain. For most patients, neuromodulation involves having a transplant that connects electrodes or drugs directly to the spine or brain. Chronic pain is the most common condition that results in a patient receiving neuromodulation therapy, but Parkinson’s patients; epileptic patients; and patients with incontinence, migraines, spinal cord injuries, and a variety of ischemic conditions also benefit from the treatment.

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