future of medicine

University of Houston teams up with health care company for value-based care program

The University of Houston in partnership with Humana is now offering a six-course, fully online program focusing on value-based care. Photo via UH.edu

Last week, the University of Houston announced a new online program that will provide specialized value-based care training for providers, academia and other business and industry professionals.

UH teamed up with Kentucky-based health insurance giant, Humana, to create the new Value-based Care Specialization program that will teach the fundamentals and real-world application of value-based care. The flexible, fully-online program is being provided via the collaborative Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute and through global online learning platform Coursera.

"This readily available and affordable option will support those who are working with practices and providers to create better outcomes for their patients," says Tray Cockerell, director of strategy advancement for Humana, in a news release. "It's more important than ever, with the tumult caused by COVID-19, that practices focus on prevention and care coordination.

"We learned in 2020 that providers in value-based care agreements were better positioned to withstand the financial impact the pandemic brought on the health care industry because they had established patient-centered medical practices.," he continues. "Because they could quickly pivot their resources into action to best serve patients, their income was not as drastically affected as those of their fee-for-service peers."

Recent surveys have shown that there is a varied understanding of the definition of value-based care within the health care industry, and now more than ever there is a need to retool the workforce.

"It's essential that those who work to improve the health of their communities speak the same language," says Dr. LeChauncy Woodard, general internist and founding director, Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston, in the release. "The collaboration on this content assures that everyone, from the physician and nurse, to social workers, pharmacists and claims representatives, as well as consumers of health care understand what it takes to work together. These multisector partnerships help to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care and achieving the best outcomes at the lowest possible cost."

The program consists of six courses and a capstone project, and each course features a few learning modules and a summative assignment. Participants can take any of the six courses independently — receiving a certificate for each — or collectively for the specialization designation, per the release.

"The health care industry is rapidly changing, and high-quality, flexible learning can help support medical professionals preparing for the future," says Betty Vandenbosch, chief content officer at Coursera, in the release. "We are excited to partner with leaders such as the University of Houston and Humana to offer job-relevant content in the emerging area of value-based care."

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Building Houston

 
 

You can now hop online and invest in this promising cell therapy startup. Photo via Getty Images

A clinical-stage company headquartered in Houston has opened an online funding campaign.

FibroBiologics, which is developing fibroblast cell-based therapeutics for chronic diseases, launched a campaign with equity crowdfunding platform StartEngine. The platform lets anyone — regardless of their net worth or income level — to invest in securities issued by startups.

The funding, according to a press release, will be used to support ongoing operations of Fibrobiologics and advance its clinical programs in multiple sclerosis, degenerative disc disease, wound care, extension of life, and cancer.

"We're excited to partner with StartEngine on this campaign. StartEngine has over 600,000 investors as part of their community and has raised over half a billion dollars for its clients," says FibroBiologics' Founder and CEO Pete O'Heeron, in the release.

"This is an exciting time at FibroBiologics as we continue progressing our clinical pipeline and developing innovative therapies to treat chronic diseases," he continues. "This new funding will fuel our growth in the lab and bring us one step closer to commercialization."

The campaign, launched this week, already has over 100 investors, at the time of publication, and has raised nearly $2 million, according to the page. The minimum investment is set at around $500, and the company's indicated valuation is $252.57 million.

In 2021, FibroBiologics announced its intention of going public. Last year, O'Heeron told InnovationMap on the Houston Innovators Podcast of the company's growth plans as well as the specifics of the technology.

Only two types of cells — stem cells and fibroblasts — can be used in cell therapy for a regenerative treatment, which is when specialists take healthy cells from a patient and inject them into a part of the body that needs it the most. As O'Heeron explains in the podcast, fibroblasts can do it more effectively and cheaper than stem cells.

"(Fibroblasts) can essentially do everything a stem cell can do, only they can do it better," says O'Heeron. "We've done tests in the lab and we've seen them outperform stem cells by a low of 50 percent to a high of about 220 percent on different disease paths."


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