Health Recovery Solutions: The new standard of care
It is safe to say that COVID-19 has impacted the healthcare sector in more ways than one. From switching entire systems to virtual overnight, ramping up around the clock service and revamping the entire patient care model, a lot is to be said about the digital transformation of the sector at large. Technology partners are working tirelessly at the frontline in efforts to boost patient care and safety, and one such organisation is Health Recovery Solutions.
Founded in 2012 by three college roommates in a one-bedroom, New York City apartment, HRS has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Today, HRS partners with over 220 leading health systems, spanning 46 states, servicing nearly 225,000 patients, across 90 disease conditions. It is now a nationally recognized provider of telehealth and remote patient monitoring solutions. In order to best understand the advantage of having a remote monitoring solution in place, Sudeep Pisipaty, VP of Strategy and Value-Based Care explains "For many patients, including high-risk, chronic patients, they're often discharged without digital tools to aide them in their recovery process. It's these patients we see return back to the hospitals, and the same patients we have opportunity to engage, intervene, and empower in self-care management.” HRS’ focus is to empower patients with technology-based solutions to help them manage their diagnosis independently, but also help healthcare providers, like MercyOne, manage total cost of care over time.
Speaking about how HRS started collaborating with large-scale providers, Doug Lang, HRS’ VP of Client Growth says, “For the last 10 years we've been working with hundreds of providers across the entire landscape. We really got our start with home health agencies, because they were the path of least resistance and already had the infrastructure and workflows to monitor these patients.” Soon after, the team at HRS was fully involved with transforming RPM to larger regional medical establishments – from physician groups to health systems and payers.
Healthcare providers today are faced with a number of challenges when considering a shift to remote monitoring, a prominent one being the lack of appropriate infrastructure. HRS recognizes this challenge and aids providers in increasing workflow efficiency and capacity for care and maximising value in terms of what’s delivered to patients. Furthermore, COVID-19 has caused rural communities to become cut off due to travel restrictions, and health centres are experiencing an overall shortage of physicians and nurses due to employee burnout. A silver lining to the pandemic, however, is that the possibilities of telehealth have been brought into the spotlight. Remote connectivity solutions have now enabled patients to connect with their providers, families and caregivers without putting their lives at risk.
HRS provides a number of ancillary Bluetooth peripherals such as pulse oximeters, heart and lung rhythm devices, scales, and BP monitors. These allow patients the freedom to virtually connect to their clinician and health centres without stepping foot outside their homes. HRS’ goal is to create a device-agnostic environment as the world continues to adopt a lower-touch model as the new standard of care.
Who Will Be the Next Tech Giant to Back Bitcoin?
PayPal was the first truly major tech giant to throw its weight behind Bitcoin, unveiling a cryptocurrency buying-and-selling service in October. Next was Tesla, which shocked onlookers in February by announcing the purchase of $1.5 billion in bitcoin, as well as plans to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.
Since then, things have calmed down as far as Big Tech and Bitcoin are concerned (although a number of banks have rolled out cryptocurrency investment services for their wealthier clients). This raises the question: when will another significant tech firm take the plunge and back bitcoin?
This is a difficult question to answer, if only because the bitcoin market is in something of a funk right now. At the same time, regulators worldwide are looking to restrict crypto in the name of curbing money laundering and other illicit activities. Nonetheless, rumours continue to swirl through the sector that a few other important names in the tech industry may be on the cusp of embracing bitcoin, with Apple being the most notable.
Is Apple Buying Bitcoin?
If you tend to spend any amount of time on Crypto Twitter, you may be aware of rumours to the effect that Apple has recently bought something in the region of $2.5 billion in bitcoin.
Such rumours were almost certainly a desperate attempt to boost the price of bitcoin. And given that the market didn’t witness a sudden, dramatic rise (but rather a steep loss), it seems pretty clear that Apple didn’t buy a substantial quantity of bitcoin in the past few weeks or so.
That said, there remains a good chance that Apple will enter the cryptocurrency sector at some point, even if it won’t be adventurous enough to buy crypto for itself. Back in May, it placed a job ad for a business development manager for “alternative payments.”
Such a manager would be tasked with cultivating partnerships with “strategic alternative payment providers,” implying that Apple may be weighing up the possibility of launching its own cryptocurrency-purchasing service (à la PayPal) via Apple Pay.
Needless to say, it would be huge for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency if the Cupertino company were to follow through with this.
Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook?
Rumours have also revolved around possible bitcoin interest from Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, although there’s a little less substance to most of these rumours.
Back in October former Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager Raoul Pal predicted that Microsoft (along with Apple) would buy bitcoin in five years. Unfortunately, a CNN interview with Microsoft’s Brad Smith in February (shortly after Tesla’s bitcoin purchase) revealed that the company had no plans to purchase crypto, although Smith vaguely hinted that it might one day change its collective mind.
More interestingly, Amazon purchased three cryptocurrency-related domain names back in 2017: amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com. Nothing has been heard since then, while a job listing from February of this year revealed that the retail giant may be planning to launch its very own digital currency.
Facebook is another tech firm with plans for its own digital currency (Diem, formerly known as Libra). As for whether it’s likely to turn to bitcoin, a few relatively respected figures within the cryptocurrency industry (e.g. Alistair Milne) did spread rumours in April that the social media company would disclose bitcoin holdings on its Q1 financial statement. This didn’t happen, although Mark Zuckerberg did reveal in May that one of his pet goats is called “Bitcoin,” fuelling further speculation as to his and his firm’s interest in the cryptocurrency.
Risks and Rewards of Cryptocurrency
Again, it’s arguable that some or most of the rumours are generated largely to pump crypto prices. But if bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do continue to appreciate in value and attract more adoption, it will become increasingly harder for large tech companies to ignore them.
But at the moment, it’s likely that most major tech firms will shy away from actually buying bitcoin, if only because it remains highly volatile and unpredictable as an asset. And as we saw with Tesla, buying a massive chunk of the cryptocurrency effectively turns you into a hedge fund overnight, something which can adversely affect your stock price if bitcoin goes down.
Even so, there’s clearly a considerable amount of money tied up in the cryptocurrency market. And with numbers of holders growing every year, it’s only a matter of time before other big tech firms attempt to siphon off some of this value for themselves.