Manatt Digital and Technology

In this newsletter, we highlight some of the ways digital technologies are transforming healthcare and the opportunities and challenges they present to individuals and businesses. We also introduce you to our team at Manatt Health Solutions, who are trusted advisors to government entities, nonprofits and private companies across the healthcare industry.

Opportunities in Connected Health and Wellness

By Mary Ermitanio

The healthcare industry has experienced unprecedented transformation over the last few years. Regulatory changes, combined with changing demographics and the rise of connected devices, are creating a new ecosystem of data-centric, consumer-focused business models, including mobile health and wellness service apps, home diagnostics, telemedicine and continuous lifestyle monitoring.

For the consumers, technology is enabling cost-effective, convenient and personalized health and wellness solutions. Among U.S. broadband households, 67% use a portal or app for health purposes, 33% own at least one connected health and wellness device, and 8% use video consultation with a doctor, according to Parks Associates. Connected health and wellness apps and devices span numerous lifestyle applications, including sleep, exercise, diet, mental health and safety. They can also vary in functionality and can include a home sensor that analyzes your sleep and environment (Sense), an app that provides nutrition guidance (MyFitnessPal), a wearable that tracks brain activity to detect anxiety or depression (Muse) and a wearable strip that continuously monitors your vital signs (Vital Connect).

Diagnostics will become more accessible outside of traditional hospital settings as start-ups seek to "mobilize" healthcare. For example, Cellscope lets a parent examine a child's ear canal and send recordings and notes to a doctor. AliveCor is an FDA-approved electrocardiogram that enables a user to monitor her heartbeat using an iPhone and share information with her doctor. Such technologies are also enabling telemedicine, which refers to virtual delivery of health services. Doctor on Demand facilitates video chats with physicians, and Mahmee (more on it below) provides ongoing, personalized postpartum support and video sessions with healthcare providers.

Sensors embedded in wearables and homes and the use of digital health services open the doors to massive amounts of data. Emerging platforms, such as H2 Wellness, are connecting patients to providers and integrating data from electronic medical record (EMR) systems with data from digital health wearables and services.

The industry shift toward cost-effective, value-based care may be an impetus for more intelligent data analytics and the convergence of consumer-generated data with more conventional forms of HIPAA-protected health information. Insights from the intersecting data set can lead to more holistic solutions; provide real-time feedback; and enable personalization, risk identification and predictive capabilities. These can be used to improve the experience of the patient, the ongoing relationship between a patient and her providers, and the collaboration across entities in the new healthcare ecosystem.

back to top

How Mobile Apps Will Empower Healthcare Consumers

By Joel Ario, Managing Director, Manatt Health Solutions | Stuart R. Butler, Senior Fellow, Brookings

Note: According to MobiHealthNews, the number of health-centric apps has quadrupled since 2010—and Frost and Sullivan predicts that the mobile health market will exceed $390 million this year. Pew research shows that almost two-thirds of Americans now own smartphones—and 62% have used them to look up health information. In a new post for Health360, the Brookings Institution blog, summarized below, Joel Ario of Manatt Health Solutions and Stuart Butler of Brookings, a nonprofit public policy think tank in Washington, D.C., examine how the explosion in smartphone usage and mobile apps is empowering healthcare consumers as they make decisions around their healthcare coverage. Click here to read the full post.

Choosing a health plan on one of the new public or private exchanges is no easy task. That's especially true for those with medical conditions who want to be very sure the plan they enroll in will provide the services they need.

Of course, it's always hard for consumers to buy complex and technical services or products. Health insurance can be particularly daunting, however, with so many factors to consider. Even the terminology can be confusing.

Consumers will have many questions—from what the price is to whether their doctor is in the plan's network to whether the drugs they take are on a formulary. There are so many choices that the decision process can result in what some call "choice anxiety." Technology, however, can reduce choice anxiety in healthcare, as it has for other complicated searches.

Technology's Dramatic Impact on Healthcare Coverage

Expect technology to have a dramatic impact on buying healthcare in the near future. There are several reasons for this:

  • The presentation of consumer information will get better. When large new markets for products and services are created and demand for buyers' information rises sharply, the incentive for entrepreneurs—both for-profit and nonprofit—to provide customer-friendly information also rises.
  • Navigation technology will make searches quick and simple. We expect plan navigation to improve the shopping experience in ways that will help customers search a large inventory and still make choices easily. Expect increasing collaboration between public exchanges and private vendors with a surge of apps and gadgets to make navigation in health exchanges increasingly easy.
  • Technology will allow choices to be tailored to medical history. Advances in technology will enable Americans to base their choices on their likely medical needs. New forms of choice technology are beginning to utilize questions about medical history to guide buyers to the plans most suited to their conditions.

Consumers' ability to enter more detailed health histories and get more sophisticated assistance will only continue to improve as exchanges publish more data in machine-readable formats. Expect more and increasingly sophisticated customized navigators, especially as patients get more access to their electronic medical records. In addition, expect sellers to respond with products that bundle services to meet the new demand.

Health insurance marketplaces will continue to present thorny regulatory challenges. Insurance regulators will need to guard against unfair practices, privacy concerns will be raised when apps ask for medical history, and new forms of provider integration will test antitrust doctrine. But one thing is clear: Improving technology will soon make picking the right health plan a far more precise and simple process.

back to top

Client Spotlight: Five Questions With Melissa Hana, Founder and CEO of Mahmee

Mahmee, a Manatt Digital Media client, is a digital healthcare company using predictive analytics to provide personalized, on-demand support to new mothers and infants. Mahmee members can book both in-home and virtual appointments with a growing network of highly qualified postpartum care providers, including registered nurses, board certified lactation consultants, registered dietitians, certified massage therapists, sleep trainers, emotional wellness counselors, and more. Mahmee also features a text message hotline, online support groups led by experts, and the Motherboard™—a digital content experience that evolves with mom and baby through every age and stage.

(1) What is the reason your company exists (and what problem(s) are you looking to solve)?

Mahmee exists to give new mothers a very personalized healthcare experience, all in one place. The maternal healthcare market is very fragmented, and data on each mom and baby are disconnected. Care providers want to prevent moms and babies from getting sick, but providing preventative healthcare at scale requires being able to predict with data who is most at risk. My team and I built a predictive data analytics platform that allows us to tend to new moms' concerns, both in person and over video chat, before they become serious health issues that land families in the emergency room or urgent care.

(2) How are you different from your competitors?

Most of our competitors are effectively virtual nurse registries allowing a mom to quickly chat with a random healthcare provider online for a onetime fee. These companies do not actually provide any health services; they just match you with whichever provider is online at that moment. We are taking a different position: we are a digital health services company and we build ongoing relationships with patients. Mahmee offers a robust digital experience for mothers that combines the best in maternal health services with personalized content and product recommendations, which evolve with you and your baby.

(3) Why will you succeed (and what is your single most important ingredient for success)?

Our company is a heavyweight in the category of domain expertise. Our medical advisory board consists of one dozen nationally renowned maternal and child healthcare physicians. And, my cofounder (and mom!), Linda Hanna, RNC, MSN/Ed., IBCLC, is a leading maternal healthcare specialist who has worked in this field for over three decades and built successful outpatient maternal healthcare programs at top-ranked hospitals on the West Coast. After caring for tens of thousands of mothers and babies, Linda and her team can expertly spot patterns, prevent serious issues, and predict health outcomes.

Before Mahmee became a tech company, it was just a passion project to digitize my mother's writings and her legacy in the maternal healthcare industry. I saw algorithms in the work my mom was doing and began writing them down. That was the beginning of our predictive analytics platform. Since then, we've partnered with over 200 OB/GYNs and pediatricians in Southern California to help bring this new product and service to market. The fact that doctors enthusiastically endorse what we're doing for their patients is a very good sign that we're on the right track.

(4) What makes your company unique (and what do you enjoy most outside of building your business)?

One of the most unique characteristics of our company is that we are a mother-daughter founding team. Over the past six years, I have worked with tech start-ups in Los Angeles and New York City, and both Linda and I had separately built other businesses before Mahmee. So, entrepreneurship definitely runs in our family! Starting this company has been incredibly rewarding, and I'm lucky I get to build on my mother's legacy in this industry. When I'm not working at Mahmee, I enjoy mentoring black and Hispanic high school and college students and fostering more diverse tech talent for our pipeline, and for the industry in general. A rising tide raises all boats.

(5) What digital media trend is most interesting to you (and what is the least)?

I am very excited about the quantified self-movement, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the hardware and software that facilitate better health and wellness tracking get further integrated into our everyday lives in more natural and meaningful ways. I am probably least interested in cryptocurrency right now. I'm following the evolution of the industry, but I'm definitely a late adopter. The PR around how these currencies are being used for illegal activity online is a big turnoff to me.

back to top

The Connected Patient: Using Digital Health in Care Management (Webinar)

Digital health is transforming care delivery around the world. The global digital health market is expected to reach $233.3 billion by 2020. How does the digital health revolution translate into improved outcomes for Medicaid populations? With Medicaid the single largest payer for healthcare in every state, that's a critical question. Get the answer at "The Connected Patient: Using Digital Health in Care Management." Join us for this webinar on October 26 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. ET.

Click here to register for free. Even if you can't make the October 26 date, register now, and we'll send you an on-demand link to view the session at your convenience.

In this webinar, Manatt will explore how new initiatives and emerging models in healthcare can become a framework for using telehealth and other digital technologies to help improve the health of Medicaid populations, reduce overall hospital admissions and support accurate reporting of quality metrics. The session will share real-world examples from states already implementing care innovations.

During the program, you will:

  • Review policies and programs driving Medicaid delivery system transformation.
  • Explore examples of emerging innovative care models.
  • Discuss how providers and payers are working together toward multipayer delivery system transformation.
  • Understand how new care management models are reducing disease progression and managing complex chronic conditions more effectively in high-risk Medicaid and uninsured populations.
  • Examine how new care management approaches are driving opportunities for introducing telehealth and other digital innovations to improve care outcomes and quality.
  • Discover the health IT, organizational and financial considerations supporting the integration of connected health solutions into emerging care management approaches.
  • Benefit from "lessons learned" to help healthcare stakeholders and technology vendors overcome common barriers to adopting connected health solutions in care management programs.

back to top

Manatt Health Overview

Manatt Health is the first fully integrated legal, regulatory, advocacy and business advisory healthcare practice and has been consistently ranked as one of the nation's top firms in healthcare by Chambers USA. With decades of experience and 80 professionals dedicated exclusively to healthcare clients, Manatt Health advises clients across the healthcare industry, including state policymakers and agencies, payers and healthcare providers, foundations, associations, and product and service vendors, who seek to understand and adapt to the new imperatives of health reform and the industry's digital transformation.

Manatt Health is working with providers and health systems at the forefront of new payment and delivery models, as well as with Medicaid and other state agencies undertaking innovative solutions to reimbursement. The team also has expertise in health information technology, connected health and data security. Manatt Health has been integrally involved in the complex interplay among healthcare entities and their underlying health information needs.

Currently, Manatt professionals are leading complex strategy engagements for state governments, major insurance companies, major health delivery systems and leading pharmaceutical companies.

Click here to learn more about our Manatt Health team.

back to top