Pfizer’s game for ResApp a sign of the times

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Written by Kate McDonald on .

ASX-listed ResApp Health has made some pretty big moves and some pretty big claims over the last year or so for its respiratory health software apps, so it’s not really surprising that a big pharma sniffled. What’s a little surprising about Pfizer’s bid for the Brisbane company is the size of its offer, which values ​​the company at $100 million.

ResApp has been around for a few years, having been founded in 2014 to commercialize technology developed by biomedical engineer Udantha Abeyratne of the University of Queensland. It was officially listed on the ASX in 2015 via a reverse listing with the former Narhex Life Sciences, and since then it has conducted some pretty impressive trials, particularly at the Joondalup Health Campus in WA, on the use of technology for the remote diagnosis of COPD, asthma and pneumonia using artificial intelligence analysis of cough sounds. It also has a sleep apnea app called SleepCheck which works great.

ResApp saw telehealth as a market for its diagnostics in 2015 and has since announced deals with Medgate in Europe, Alodokter in Indonesia, Homify in the Philippines, and Doctors on Demand, Phenix Health and Coviu in Australia. It is working on a COPD diagnosis for indigenous people, is getting into the elderly care sector with a deal with local start-ups Health Teams, an elderly patient tracking platform, and it also has a deal with HealthEngine for SleepCheck.

Things got really interesting for ResApp with the pandemic, and last month it announced good results for early detection of COVID-19 in addition to RAT and PCR testing. This claim has raised some eyebrows but Pfizer is obviously convinced. While $100 million is a drop in the ocean for the pharmaceutical giant, it’s a big enough sum for a small Australian diagnostics app developer. There’s a saying in the start-up community that there’s silly money available on the ASX right now, that’s why some overseas companies have listed, but this one seems to be the real one affair.

Separately, the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne added to its significant list of digital health achievements with the revalidation by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) of its Stage 6 ranking for its adoption of medical records. electronic inpatients and Step 7 for its outpatients. score. This time around there were the other three hospitals in the Parkville compound – Royal Melbourne, Royal Women’s and Peter Mac – all of which have adopted RCH’s EMR implementation plan and all of which have gone live with an epic DME in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. .

Despite doubts about the wisdom of this, including our own, all three hospitals managed to reach Stage 6 for EMRAM and O-EMRAM. It’s the highest level they can achieve on the first try, and they’ve not only managed to do that during the pandemic, but the assessment itself was done virtually. Kudos to everyone involved, especially the project leader, Professor Mike South, who has now successfully conducted 11 such assessments in addition to his day job as a pediatrician and intensivist at RCH.

They join St Stephen’s Hervey Bay, a small private hospital, and Princess Alexandra in Brisbane, a large public hospital, which both use a Cerner system. We learn that the ACT is seeking accreditation soon after its new Epic system goes live later this year, although NSW Health seems oddly reluctant to try it for one of its Cerner hospitals. According to Professor South, HIMSS seems to be changing its model to take more account of the results of digital adoption for patient safety and clinician satisfaction in the future, so perhaps they could reconsider. Although Professor South admits the process is taxing, he thinks it is very useful for benchmarking against other hospitals and finding areas where there is still work to be done.

And finally this week, we were going through the results of a survey conducted as part of a research project on gender diversity in the digital health sector in Australia, involving Telstra Health, the Australasian Institute of Digital Health ( AIDH), the Digital Health Cooperative Research Center (DHCRC) and the Australian eHealth Research Center (AeHRC) at CSIRO.

The results were quite illuminating, but they very much reflected the general consensus that digital health is one of the few areas of the broader ICT industry that has historically had a fairly reasonable level of gender equity, all things Considered. The report is worth looking at, if you have the time.

What struck us the most was the beautiful nuance the report’s authors brought to a comment from a male interviewee.

“All the companies I’ve worked at evaluate men and women equally,” he said. “They give men and women equal opportunities to prove themselves, to be hired and to progress. In fact, women get more benefits in business than men. They get promoted faster and move up the corporate ladder faster than men. It is unfair and that is why progress is needed. Women, by nature, prefer arts subjects to STEM. But today’s society encourages them to pursue STEM and prefers them over men even though women have less STEM skills. I mean, a woman who has less STEM skills is preferred over a man who has more skills, experience, vision, and ability.

The succinct answer of the authors of the report? “This is not mentioned by any woman.”

That brings us to our poll for this week:

Do you think women get a fair chance in digital health compared to other tech sectors?

Vote here or leave your comments below.

In our latest survey, we asked whether voluntary patient enrollment heralded the end of publicly funded telehealth in Australian primary care. We received a range of strong opinions – see here – with 60% of votes saying yes and 40% saying no.


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