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5 Themes to Watch as Digital Health Takes Center Stage

The challenges of the past year have underscored the importance of life sciences to a dramatic degree. With countries worldwide now distributing vaccines that were developed in record time, COVID-19 has also made plain the value of investing in technological and scientific solutions that can reshape the world and improve health outcomes.

The pandemic has particularly accelerated investments in the digital health space, as a significant share of everyday life has migrated to computer screens by necessity. So what does this mean for the sector going forward?

Writing for MPO Magazine, McDermott partner Steve Bernstein shares five themes to watch in the digital health sector, including what life sciences developers and investors should know about the current deal-making landscape.

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Three Tips for Tackling Risk in Digital Health

Digital health companies face a complicated regulatory landscape. While the opportunities for innovation and dynamic partnerships are abundant, so are the potential compliance pitfalls. In 2018 and in 2019, several digital health companies faced intense scrutiny—not only from regulatory agencies, but also in some cases from their own investors. While the regulatory framework for digital technology in healthcare and life sciences will continue to evolve, digital health enterprises can take key steps now to mitigate risk, ensure compliance and position themselves for success. We offer three tips for tackling risk in digital health.

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Telehealth and the Changing Regulatory Landscape: Opportunities and Challenges in the Digital Health Ecosystem

What if you didn’t have to take time out of your day to see a physician in person when you needed a prescription? What if a diagnosis could be delivered over video chat? What if your psychiatrist was available at the press of a button or swipe on your screen?

These options are fast becoming a reality, as telehealth (or telemedicine) continues to take hold in a health care system that is desperate for increased efficiency and higher quality outcomes. And while telehealth offers exciting new possibilities in terms of convenience and access for patients, it also poses new regulatory challenges for industry stakeholders still learning the new rules of the game in today’s digital health ecosystem.

The Chronic Care Act

One of the biggest drivers of change in the industry right now is the Chronic Care Act. Last month, as part of the House and Senate budget deal to fund the government through March 23, legislators included the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017, which will increase reimbursement for a lot of different telemedicine programs.

For example, if you went to a rural hospital and they didn’t have a stroke neurologist and you were having a stroke, you would have an ED doctor with no stroke specialty diagnosing you—not an ideal situation. With telemedicine, it’s now possible for rural doctors to consult with specialty doctors at renowned sites, which the government will fund thanks to the Chronic Care Act. (more…)




A Net-Neutral Decision for Health Care? What Providers Can Expect in the Wake of Net Neutrality Repeal

As the Federal Communications Commission repeals the Open Internet Order—more commonly known as the net-neutrality rules—health care consumers and providers have been left wondering how this change will affect their ability to receive and deliver health care using digital health tools. In this On the Subject, we outline how changes in internet access will affect digital health and what the regulatory landscape will look like in the coming months and years.

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Digital Health Governance: Management and Strategy for the 21st Century Digital Economy

Jennifer Geetter and Dale Van Demark wrote this bylined article on how companies must manage and govern their use of digital healthcare information assets. “Organizations will need to design and implement digital governance structures that … include additional components and organizational stakeholders, in order to meet the business and strategic demands of the digital health revolution,” the authors wrote.

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