Despite the pandemic’s devastating public health and economic effects, COVID-19 has been a major catalyst for healthcare funding. Healthcare Dive reported that healthcare equity funding smashed previous records in the first quarter of this year, hitting an all-time global high of $31.6 billion. Not surprisingly, telehealth companies raised a record $4.2 billion across 32 countries – the most ever recorded.
In other health tech news, it was hard to miss Microsoft’s high-profile acquisition of Nuance Communications. The voice recognition company, which sells AI solutions that can listen to clinical conversations and auto-populate electronic health records, has the potential to significantly improve care by removing sources of digital friction. But it’s not considered a win by everyone. In commentary published by STAT, experts suggested that as big tech companies increase their role in healthcare through mergers, acquisitions, and internal developments, they could push technologies like Nuance’s faster than some providers would like.
Lastly, the idea of vaccine passports has sparked debate globally. In late-April, The Hill reported that a World Health Organization panel came out against any requirements that travelers show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter certain countries. The panel specifically cited concerns about inequity as the vaccine remains less available in certain areas. I anticipate there is much more to come on this topic!
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