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Digital Health 2021 Year in Review

The continuation of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and consumer demand for digitally delivered healthcare not only necessitated the shift from in-person to virtual care, but also continued to drive interest, adoption, investment and transactions in digital health in 2021. Digital health funding in 2021 far surpassed 2020’s totals, with no signs of slowing down in 2022, and the potential permanence of some regulatory flexibilities beyond the PHE are charting a course for continued digital health growth in 2022 and beyond.

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2022 Health Policy Outlook

The US healthcare system is entering the third year of a public health emergency due to COVID-19, and the challenges and enduring pressures of the pandemic will require US Congress and the Biden administration to consider new response strategies. But other health policy priorities also will garner attention. As we start a new year and new congressional session, McDermott+Consulting examines the health policy priorities and key initiatives likely to dominate the agenda in 2022.

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VIDEO: Telehealth Laws in Flux as Pandemic Precautions End

The uncertainty around the termination of state public health emergencies is leading to the growth of healthcare companies with physical and virtual presences. In this recent Reuters video, McDermott Partner Lisa Mazur explained how these providers are more valuable from a valuation perspective.

“And part of that is because they’re able to enroll in Medicaid and get services covered, and they’re more likely to become a participating provider with a commercial plan,” Mazur noted.

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Staying Connected: An Update on Medicare Reimbursement for Telehealth Services After the PHE

In hopes that the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) will soon end, Congress and the administration are evaluating the telehealth expansions and flexibilities put in place to respond to the PHE. As a result, the future for telehealth stakeholders remains uncertain. This article outlines various changes in Medicare telehealth reimbursement policy in effect during the PHE and identifies what actions would be required to make these changes permanent.

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The “New” Digital Healthcare Delivery System

Although digital health solutions have long been a key area of strategic growth for the healthcare industry, the COVID-19 crisis accelerated what it means to deliver safe and effective digitally-based care. As the United States shifts focus from short-term crisis response to longer-term solutions, what does a digitally-driven healthcare industry look like, and how can healthcare entities maintain the highest standards of care and meet patient expectations while constructively disrupting out-of-date practice patterns? During a recent virtual conversation, McDermott Partners Michael W. Ryan and Jennifer S. Geetter addressed these questions and more.

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Protecting the Telehealth Consumer: FTC and State-Based Considerations

Telemedicine in the United States is facing an important crossroads. While telehealth services have demonstrated their value as an integral part of care delivery, federal and state waivers instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to expire soon. As lawmakers and agency officials consider updated or expanded digital health rules, regulators are expected to intensify their scrutiny of providers.

In this webinar, McDermott partners Jiayan Chen and Brian J. Boyle explore consumer protections for telehealth consumers, including the following:

  • Privacy considerations beyond the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, including Federal Trade Commission requirements;
  • How to prepare for the Health Breach Notification Rule;
  • The ins and outs of advertising telehealth, including claims, endorsements and social media;
  • Strategies for engaging with users in the digital environment; and
  • Increased fraud enforcement.

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Internet Access Is a Critical Telehealth, Equity Issue

COVID-19 served as a major pivot event for the adoption of virtual healthcare solutions. As stay-at-home orders swept the country and the pandemic forced physical isolation, telehealth tools were rapidly rolled out to safely provide necessary services. The reality on the ground forced overnight adoption of virtual care services that otherwise likely would have plodded along for decades.

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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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