And this is how they tell me the world ends…
Over the weekend, I finished reading a startlingly disturbing book on the murky and dangerous world of cybercrime that costs hundreds of billions every year, including healthcare. “This is how they tell me the world ends” by NYT reporter Nicole Perlroth is a stemwinder of a tale that walks us through the cyberweapons arms race currently raging among nation states, unseen by most of us. It also tells us how vulnerable our information technology backbone is today and how cybersecurity now needs to be a more urgent national priority than ever. Coincidentally, San Diego-based Scripps Health suffered a crippling takedown last week of its website by malware that has had patients locked out for more than a week.
While consumers and digital health solution providers continue to push for releasing access to patient medical information with the CMS information blocking rules, the case of a mental health startup in Finland that was hacked and found all its patient records dumped online in public should give us some pause. With the mad rush towards digital health riches underway, it’s a matter of time before one of them ends up being the one weak link that stops us in our tracks.
Telehealth companies continue to sell like hotcakes. The latest one to get acquired is meMD, an unknown company that Walmart picked up to expand its presence in the virtual care market. meMD’s customers include employers such as the used-car agency Carvana that provides virtual care and mental health services to its employees with the platform. Walmart’s other telehealth partner Doctor-on-demand recently merged with virtual rounding platform provider Grand Rounds.
As VC funding takes on dizzying heights and digital health companies mushroom, their customers are finding it hard to keep up. Clearly, the supply of digital health providers overhangs demand by a wide margin. The question may be: how soon are we going to see a shakeout? A recent study by Philips Healthcare finds that healthcare leaders are overwhelmingly committed to healthcare in the short term but expect to invest more in AI in another 3 years.
In my latest podcast episode, I interview Sachin Patel, Chief Executive Office of Apixio, a healthcare analytics company that was acquired recently by Centene. Take a listen.