Digital health deals: Apple-Aetna, Philips-Emory and more

By Heather Mack
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Beginning this fall, Aetna will combine Apple’s consumer tech offerings with its analytics-based wellness and care management programs by integrating several iOS-exclusive health initiatives. First off, the company will make the Apple Watch available to some of its large employers and individual members during open enrollment season, and will be subsidizing part of the cost. Aetna will also be providing, free of charge, Apple Watches to its own nearly 50,000 employees who will participate in the company’s wellness reimbursement programs. More

Royal Philips, Macquarie University’s MQ Health in Sydney, and Emory Healthcare in Atlanta announced the launch of eICU – Australia’s first and only remote intensive care unit monitoring program. The partnership, based onsite at MQ Health in Sydney, uses Philip’s remote technology and Emory’s intensivists and critical care nurses. The care model enables the Syndey-based US clinicians to provide continuous night-time critical care oversight to patients back in the United States during daytime hours. This way, the clinical team is wide awake rather than working a night shift.

Cigna has greatly expanded its telehealth offerings, adding AmericanWell to its existing offering of MDLive. While the health insurer has been offering MDLive's service to members since 2013, they will now add AmWell, branded "AmWell for Cigna" both as a standard telehealth benefit for most of its employee health plans and many of its individual plans as well. In addition to expanding telehealth for its medical plans, Cigna is also reimbursing its contracted behavioral health care professionals for telehealth visits.

“Since Cigna began offering telehealth to customers 10 years ago, we’ve learned a few things about how we can help people benefit from their plans in the ways that matter most: increased access and convenience, choice, care quality and affordability,” Cigna Telehealth Lead Robert Wijnhoven said in a statement. “We also know about the difficulty some Americans have accessing a behavioral health professional, especially in rural areas. Enabling access to our behavioral health care professional networks via telehealth provides an innovative solution to this accessibility challenge.” More

As part of an initiative from Health 2.0’s Technology for Healthy Communities, a Medi-Cal managed care organization will get an infusion of digital health tools to better serve their at-risk community.The San Leandro-based is partnering with San Francisco-based which specializes in patient relationship management through messaging services and workflow organization. Announced at Health 2.0 in Santa Clara, the partnership will work to develop a case management platform to leverage the success of CHCN’s Care Neighborhood Program, a comprehensive outreach program supporting the at-risk populations in the East Bay Area. More

Northwestern University announced a partnership with digital health company Tempus to work towards a shared goal of providing precision medicine to cancer patients.  Tempus, which provides doctors an interactive analytical machine-learning platform, will handle genomic sequencing and analysis at the university’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. The partnership is part of the Center’s new OncoSET initiative to provide personalized cancer treatments.

Biometric wearable company, which makes a remote monitoring solution for chronic cardiac conditions, is expanding its research partnership with the University of Calgary. The focus of the new partnership will be to develop and validate medically relevant wearable monitors, moving beyond cardiac medicine into fetal and sleep apnea monitoring.

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