Updated March 15, at 4:37 p.m.
At ATA2023 in San Antonio, Texas, the American Telemedicine Association held its second annual innovators' challenge. In four categories, 12 competitors participated in a live pitch competition to present their novel digital health solutions to a panel of judges.
SimpleFed, a virtual breastfeeding and baby feeding provider network, won in the femtech and women's health category, a new category in the 2023 competition. The digital health provider also won the overall judges' choice award.
Virtual speech therapy platform Great Speech was victorious in the in-patient care solution category.
For patient experience, Clearstep Health was deemed premier for its smart care routing solution. The platform streamlines patient touchpoints on clinical journeys while reducing administrative burdens.
Strados Labs was tops in the "tools that deliver care" category for its respiratory management solution.
Virtual-first gastrointestinal care clinic Oshi Health won the overall peoples' choice award, as voted by attendees and the telehealth industry at-large.
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) announced the 12 organizations that are finalists for the second annual ATA telehealth innovators challenge. Out of 40 companies that cleared the first round, the dozen companies were chosen to share their platforms at a live pitch competition at the ATA 2023 annual conference in March.
Finalists were separated into four categories: femtech and women's health, in-patient care solutions, the patient experience and tools that deliver care. A panel of industry leaders from organizations like AstraZeneca, CommonSpirit Health and Good Samaritan Hospital, along with a handful of representatives from venture capitalist firms, will choose the final winner in each category.
Telehealth applicants have already had to prove cost benefit, history of success, product originality and patient and provider outcomes. For the final round, competitors must share whether they have secured payer reimbursement for their product, completed a clinical trial or research study to validate their innovations and made their product widely publicly available.
The final challenge will be for platforms to prove whether their solution is designed to transform " the current treatment paradigm for caring for individuals with an unmet need or global health crisis."
“When the ATA launched the first Telehealth Innovators Challenge last year, we did not anticipate the overwhelming response it would receive from leaders in virtual care at every level,” Samir Batra, founder and CEO of BAHA Enterprises and adviser and emcee of the ATA Telehealth Innovators Challenge. “The Innovators Challenge has instantly become the premier platform to introduce the most exciting new innovations in virtual care and the companies selected to participate represent the best of the best in setting new standards in telehealth technology and service delivery."
Last year's competition included the same categories minus femtech and women's health. Pulsenmore, the at-home ultrasound for prenatal care, topped as in-patient care solution. Stel Life won in the patient experience category for its remote patient monitoring technology free from broadband dependence. Biobeat's AI software solution was named victorious in the "tools that deliver care" category.
The ATA was founded in the telemedicine dark days of 1993, long before broadband cables stretched across the country or the COVID-19 pandemic propelled the technology into the homes of millions of Americans. Now, the organization works to continue the implementation of the technology as a foundation of future medicine and a springboard for innovative healthcare solutions.
All 12 companies will present live on the ATA2023 main stage March 6.
Femtech and Women's Health
Nest provides virtual same-day lactation support. The health tech company works directly with ancillary stakeholders including healthcare teams, payers and employers to engage families early. The service is Medicaid reimbursed and delivered in 11 different languages.
Providers like Kettering Health and Connecticut Children's Care Network have partnered with Nest to support the overall goal of improving infant health outcomes.
Ouma provides a range of services in collaboration with the patient’s local maternity provider to bridge gaps in care. Ouma can perform pregnancy risk assessments and mitigation, high-risk pregnancy consultations and co-management of maternal at-home health, including virtual prenatal visits with midwifery team and remote patient monitoring.
Ouma is available in all 50 states and has partnered with Nuvo to provide robust remote patient monitoring solutions. Ouma also works to support patients' mental health before and after birth and performs at home fetal non-stress testing.
SimpliFed - category winner and judges' choice award recipient
SimpliFed begins working with caregivers before an infant is born to create feeding plans. Through a virtual breastfeeding provider network, support is covered by health plans at no cost to families. SimpliFed cites literature showing that birthers who don't meet their lactation goals are more likely to be diagnosed with postpartum depression and therefore emphasized mental health support. Text messaging are a prime mode of communication for issues with pain, latching, breast pumping and transitioning back to work and weaning.
In-Patient Care Solutions
Oshi Health - peoples' choice award recipient
Oshi Health is a virtual gastrointestinal care clinic addressing issues including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The platform uses a comprehensive approach with gastroenterologist, dietitians, behavioral health support and care coordinators.
Oshi has scored partnerships with health platform Solera Health and virtual care company Firefly Health. Clinical trial results published in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement found that Oshi improved patient outcomes with savings over $10,000 within six months.
Omnicure is a SaaS technology platform provider addressing tele-critical care. The company's solution was designed to instantly respond to clinical consult requests from the bedside on-demand while advancing legacy tele-ICU systems. The technology is used by 35 hospitals in nine states and a provider of the U.S. government’s National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network.
Great Speech - category winner
Great Speech claims a network of over 200 licensed speech therapists nationwide to provide speaking support. The platform leveraged AI to assign a speech therapist to a patient based on needs matching. The platform offers reimbursement from 12 health plans with more partnerships in the works.
The Patient Experience
Vori Health is a virtual musculoskeletal provider offering care from physical medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, health coaches and nutritionists. Patients can be reimbursed by most major insurances for a wide array of treatments including before and after surgery support, virtual physical therapy and healthy lifestyle coaching.
Vori is designed in a multi-tier care approach so patients find the right path with the ultimate goal of surgery avoidance and plan adherence. The MSK provider boasts a less than 3% surgical referral rate, according to Vori, showing a stark shift from industry standards.
Videra Health is a reimbursable remote patient monitoring platform used between traditional or telehealth visits. Providers are proactively alerted when a patient varies from baseline metrics. The technology is designed to fit into existing clinical workflows and boasts a 100-times increase in actionable patient data and an 83% increase in clinical capacity.
Clearstep Health - category winner
Clearstep Health uses self-service virtual triage and automating patient services to assess patients' symptoms, insurance, location and preferences to direct them to the right provider. The AI chat tool can be added to provider platforms to streamline clinical workflow and decrease the tedious work of clinicians shepherding patients through care journeys.
Tools That Deliver Care
Strados Labs - category winner
Strados Labs' FDA-cleared respiratory monitoring system assesses lung sounds through smart sensor technologies. The company's cardiopulmonary platform evaluates sounds like wheezing and coughing which are then sent to clinician portals that can determine the level of care needed through the use of AI.
Continuous assessment of respiratory health was proven to be more sensitive than intermittent assessments, according a 2022 study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Starling offers a first-of-its-kind at-home urine diagnostics remote patient monitoring tool with the goal of improving the outcomes of recurrent urinary tract infections, obstructions and chronic kidney disease. Starling's own team of nurses examines incoming data, reaches out to patients and alerts their clinicians if more steps are needed. Through longitudinal use, early treatments can be administered to avoid expensive hospitalizations and ER visits.
OPTAC-X global SATCOM enabled telehealth
OPTAC-X is a telehealth platform that connects Special Operations Medical Forces to physicians anywhere around the world. Through using 5G and satellite communication, providers can be connected with patients in extremely remote locations. OPTAC-X has partnered with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School to provide global telehealth support through their exclusive partnership with communications company Kymeta.