Sep 25, 2019

CVS promotes insomnia app that could mainstream digital therapeutics

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

CVS Health is encouraging employers to cover an insomnia app — "Sleepio" — as an employee benefit, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: CVS Health's promotion of the app could help boost digital therapeutics, which use apps to help connect people with mental health treatment.

  • The apps are made for conditions ranging from insomnia to schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, and use both established and new treatment methods.
  • Digital therapeutic startups collected $293 million globally from 22 deals in Q2 2019, which was more than double the $107 million and 11 deals in Q1, Business Insider reports.

Researchers are still looking into how effective medical apps are at treating diseases, and some experts say they're not ready for mass adoption. Most just vaguely label themselves as wellness apps.

  • CVS told NYT it is carefully reviewing the scientific literature on various digital therapies.

The bottom line: The internet + health care = a giant experiment.

Go deeper: Separating hype from reality in health tech

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Medtech's quick-fix addiction

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Some technologists look at the pileup of crises weighing down American health care — overworked doctors, overpriced treatments, wacky health record systems — and see an opportunity to overhaul the industry, which could save lives and make them money.

Yes, but: There's frequently a chasm between can-do engineers itching to rethink health care and the deliberate doctors and nurses leery of tech that can make their lives more complicated, or worse, harm their patients.

Go deeperArrowOct 5, 2019

The state of play in Germany's health care system

Photo: Bernd Wüstneck/picture alliance/Getty Images

In Germany's health care system, even universal coverage paired with low out-of-pocket costs hasn't led to equitable health outcomes among rich and poor people, NPR reports with Kaiser Health News.

Why it matters: Medical care is only one component of a person's health. Social determinants of health are hugely important and factor strongly into a population's well-being. "Universal health care, in and of itself, may be a first step toward increasing a community's health, but it isn't a magical solution," writes KHN's Shefali Luthra.

Go deeper: What the U.S. can learn from Germany on drug prices

Keep ReadingArrowOct 17, 2019

Health care stocks aren't having a great year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The stock prices of major health care companies have not kept pace with the broader market so far in 2019, even though the industry is flush with cash.

The bottom line: Medicare for All and other health care reforms floated by Democratic presidential candidates, as well as higher-than-expected medical costs at health insurance companies, have made investors nervous about the future.

Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019