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H|T: The Healthtech Times – Walmart ditches telehealth and cyberattack paralyzes Canadian pharmacy chain | BetaKit



Plus: Ottawa firm acquires mental health platform for first responders.

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Walmart Closes Health Centers, Telehealth Unit Over Rising Costs

Walmart Inc. is abandoning its plan to build out a network of low-cost health clinics due to escalating costs and reimbursement challenges.

The retailer announced Tuesday that it will close all 51 health centers that it had opened in five states and shutter its telehealth business. The clinics, conveniently located next to a Walmart Supercenter, were designed to give customers easier access to care by providing a range of health services all under one roof.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Versaterm acquires American mental health platform for first responders

Ottawa-based public safety tech firm Versaterm is acquiring Mindbase, a Logan, Utah-based mental health and wellness platform provider, for an undisclosed amount.

Mindbase describes its platform as a tool for public agencies to both monitor the mental well-being of their first responders and proactively provide care and support to first responders. Its mobile app gives first responders access to tracking and resources for mental health and fitness, as well as connections to peer support networks.


London Drugs says customers’ data not compromised in cyberattack

London Drugs says there is “no evidence of any customer databases being compromised,” following a reported cyberattack over the weekend.

The release says, “The impact of the [cyberattack] incident on operations has been significant, and the restoration process is rigorous,” explaining the company’s teams are reviewing billions of lines of code.

“We are determining if we can reopen with partial services in order to take care of customers sooner, particularly our pharmacy customers,” said Clint Mahlman, London Drugs president and COO, in a release Thursday.

(City News)

Biointelligence raises $5 million for biomanufacturing efficiency platform

Sherbrooke, Qué.-based Biointelligence Technologies has raised $5 million CAD in seed funding for its platform aimed at making industrial fermentation bioprocesses less wasteful.

The company’s flagship BAS offering then uses machine learning to identify contaminants, reduce batch-to-batch variability, and reduce the production cycle, which is claimed to result in a five to ten percent increase in batch yields.


Khosla, VCs Plow $100 Million Into Blood Test Startup Using AI

Blood-testing company Karius Inc. raised $100 million in a new funding round from investors, and will use the cash to get its technology for detecting hard-to-identify infections into more hospitals.

Redwood City, California-based Karius’ blood tests look for pathogens by comparing fragments of microbial DNA with a database of 20,000 genomic references, essentially an atlas of bacteria, parasites and more. The tool can usually hone in on the infection within 26 hours, the company said, considerably shorter than many hospital tests.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Pendium Health wins $10,000 at OCI’s DiscoveryX Conference

Toronto-based healthtech startup Pendium Health is one of the winners taking home prize money from the DiscoveryX Conference and Trade Show.

“Pendium Health impressed the judges with their groundbreaking pitch, showcasing their innovative approach to solving critical healthcare challenges,” OCI said in a statement. “Their visionary ideas and commitment to revolutionizing the healthcare industry have earned them the top spot in this esteemed competition.”


Prescriby raises €2M to bring addiction management platform to the US

Icelandic-Canadian biotech Prescriby has raised €2M for its treatment management platform for addictive medication.

Through a partnership with the Icelandic Ministry of Health, Prescriby has begun their nationwide implementation project in Iceland, entered into a commercialization project in Canada, and is beginning a controlled cohort clinical trial in Denmark later this year.


Shopify’s Tobi Lütke headlines special BetaKit Town Hall on May 7

Canada currently faces many headwinds. The federal government’s response to these issues and our looming productivity crisis have left many in Canadian tech demanding better.

BetaKit has organized a special Town Hall bringing together Canadian founders and leaders from across the technology ecosystem for a pulse check on the state of innovation, productivity, optimism, and more.

The event will feature a discussion and AMA with Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke and conversations with Cohere co-founder Ivan Zhang, MedEssist co-founder Joella Almeida, and Tulip Retail founder Ali Asaria. We hope to see you there!


Peloton CEO McCarthy stepping down; firm cutting 15% of jobs

Peloton Interactive said Chief Executive Officer Barry McCarthy is stepping down after two years in the role as the company plans to shed about 15 percent of its global workforce in an effort to revive sputtering growth.

The New York-based company was a highflier during the early days of the pandemic, when lockdowns sent consumers scrambling for its stationary bikes and fitness classes. But the shares tumbled over the past three years, erasing more than 90 per cent from its valuation.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Beyoncé’s former digital director thinks your culture is meaningless

Do ping pong tables, office dogs, and a casual dress code add up to a genuine “culture”?

Dr. Marcus Collins says no. The man who will deliver the keynote address at Inventures 2024 in Calgary this May lives at the intersection of marketing and culture. His career has seen him direct digital strategy for Beyoncé and award-winning campaigns for industry giants like Apple and Nike. Collins believes tech companies regularly tout “culture,” yet often fail to practice what they preach.


UnitedHealth CEO tells lawmakers the company paid hackers a $22 million ransom

UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty confirmed for the first time that the company paid a $22 million ransom to hackers who breached its subsidiary Change Healthcare and caused widespread fallout across the health-care sector.

Change Healthcare provides payment, revenue management and other solutions like e-prescription software. The company disconnected affected systems when the threat was detected, leaving many doctors temporarily unable to fill prescriptions or get paid for their services.


Five things you’ll want to do at the world’s most interesting crypto conference

Described as The Super Bowl of blockchain meets the Cannes Film Festival of Web3, Consensus 2024 is a three-day event in Austin, Texas from May 29-31 organized by CoinDesk.

The event is known for bringing together the most influential members of the cryptocurrency, blockchain, and Web3 communities, from Wall Street titans and AI innovators to ecosystem builders, protocols, and startups.


Image by Mike Mozart via Flickr.

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