Apple increases scrutiny of health apps
CUPERTINO, Calif. – Apple is tightening up the guidelines for the health apps on its App Store. The company will increase scrutiny of apps that could provide inaccurate data or information that could be used for diagnosing or treating patients, the guidelines say. Apps that calculate drug dosages need to come from a hospital, drug manufacturer, health insurance company or university, or have approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If the app has received FDA approval, a link to that documentation must be provided. “Given the potential harm to patients, we need to be sure that the app will be supported and updated over the long term,” the guidelines state.
King’s Health, Buddi to test wearable, app for diabetes prevention
LONDON – King’s Health Partners is collaborating with Buddi to test a combination of a wearable device and mobile app to help keep at-risk patients from developing Type 2 diabetes. The randomized trial will follow 200 patients with pre-diabetes for a year. The wearable device, called Nujjer, will monitor participants’ sleep and activity automatically, and will allow them to push a button on the side of the device to track how often they eat. The app uses this information to create motivational and supportive messages to encourage healthy eating, sleeping and exercise habits. “We are helping to develop a solution to enable healthcare professionals to shift their focus from reactive treatment to preventative measures,” said Sara Murray, chief executive and founder of Buddi, in a statement.
Study suggests more data may not be better
ROME – A recent clinical trial showed that remote monitoring of heart failure patients with implanted cardiac devices did not improve outcomes. The Remote Management of Heart Failure Using Implantable Electronic Devices (REM-HF) trial included 1,650 heart failure patients at nine British hospitals. The patients were randomized to receive usual care or remote monitoring. The monitored patients had data downloaded automatically from their devices on a weekly basis. The data was sent to their healthcare professional, who used it to advise them about medication and lifestyle, the need for additional clinic visits, or recommendations to visit their general practitioner or the emergency room. The findings of the study showed that remote monitoring was not associated with reduced mortality or fewer cardiovascular hospitalizations compared to usual care. “The assumption that ‘more data improves outcomes’ is not true,” said Dr. Martin Cowie, co-principal investigator of the study, in a statement. “If patients are well-treated already, and have well-controlled symptoms, looking at remotely collected data weekly is no better than usual care.”
Fairview Health, Zipnosis offer virtual protocol for chronic conditions
MINNEAPOLIS – Fairview Health Services and Zipnosis have launched a virtual protocol to prevent chronic conditions. The service allows patients to use a smartphone, computer or other web-enabled device to take a short online adaptive interview that guides them through a series of questions that adjust to their answers based on established, evidence-based medicine guidelines. If lab tests are needed, patients are provided with a ZipTicket boarding pass, which enables instant referrals to nearby lab locations. When the lab results are available, 24 to 48 hours later, a board-certified Fairview provider reviews the findings and makes a recommendation. Patients receive a summary of the findings via email, along with customized educational material. If patients are diagnosed with a chronic condition through a virtual visit and related diagnostic testing, they will need to follow up with their primary care provider or specialist. Urgent cases will be routed directly to the appropriate care setting. “The combination of virtual health screenings with laboratory access and patient education is a breakthrough that can help solve the growing problem of undiagnosed chronic disease,” said Zipnosis CEO Jon Pearce.
Study finds sensor system can predict falls
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a sensor system that can be used to predict a fall within a three-week period. Their work raises the possibility that healthcare providers and caregivers can detect changes in a patient and intervene before a fall occurs. . “Being able to predict that a person is at risk of falling will allow caretakers to intervene with the necessary care to help seniors remain independent as long as possible,” said Marilyn Rantz of the Sinclair School of Nursing at UM, one of the study leaders. The 10-year study of 23 residents of a retirement home logged baseline gait speed and stride length data through a depth sensor. Researchers noted falls, and analyzed the association between pre-fall deviations in gait speed and stride length and known falls. The data showed that within three weeks of a one-week decline in walking speed of 2.54 centimeters per second, residents were four times more likely to experience a fall than a resident with no cumulative gait change or a minimal cumulative gait change. A gait speed decline of 5 centimeters per second was associated with an 86.3% chance of falling within three weeks, while an overall decrease in stride length was associated with a 50.6% chance of falling within the same time period.
Glooko launches diabetes support products
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Glooko has announced the Glooko Advise line of new products to support diabetes patients. The Glooko Personal Advisor is a software platform that helps patients use blood glucose data to make health decisions throughout their day. Glooko Clinical Advisor enables physicians to carry out mobile insulin dosing and insulin pump settings, among other things. “With the Glooko Advise product line we are executing our vision around personalized medicine where we aim to deliver improved daily decision support for people with diabetes and the teams who care for them,” said Glooko CEO Rick Altinger.
Glooko announces compatibility with Medtronic insulin products
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – The Glooko diabetes management platform is now compatible with Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps and sensors, becoming the first such platform to be compatible with these products. The integrated solution highlights optimized workflows for both patients and clinics in downloading data from the pumps and sensors, as well as analysis of the correlation between insulin data and blood glucose readings from more than 50 blood glucose meters, continuous glucose monitors, and exercise and biometric devices. “Being the first to deliver a remote patient monitoring and mobile health solution that includes Medtronic data provides the patient population with a capability that can really have an impact,” said Glooko CEO Rick Altinger.
Canary Health diabetes management program is effective, Stanford study finds
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Stanford University researchers studying Canary Health’s Better Choices, Better Health online program found it effective in improving diabetes management. The study followed 1,242 participants with Type 2 diabetes for six months, as they interacted with the program’s online workshops. The workshops teach patients how to make informed treatment decisions and develop coping skills for fatigue and frustration, as well as how to have more effective conversations with physicians and family. The study showed participant improvement in blood sugar levels, medication adherence, exercise and depression symptoms. Hypoglycemic symptoms also decreased in the participants. “This study confirms previous evidence that empowering individuals to self-manage their condition leads to improved health outcomes,” said Dr. Neal Kaufman, Canary Health’s chief medical officer, in a statement. “These results should be a clear call for broader clinical acceptance of digital health self-management as a crucial part of transforming healthcare to a value-based model.”
Reliability of blood pressure self-measurement uncertain, study suggests
PADUA, Italy – The reliability of blood pressure measurement with wrist devices is dependent upon the correct positioning of the wrist device at heart level, a new study from the University of Padua suggests. The study included 721 participants who were trained to use upper-arm and wrist devices. Their blood pressure was measured in a doctor’s office with both devices, then self-measured at home for seven days. Using the office measurements as the reference, the study found that a total of 620 patients had inaccurate measurements at home, with more than 10 having discrepancies of more than 10mm/Hg. The study found that the use of wrist devices for home self-measurement leads to frequent detection of falsely elevated blood pressure values because the device is in the wrong position on the wrist.
Comfort Keepers, grandPad expand partnership
DAYTON, Ohio – Comfort Keepers and grandPad have announced an expanded, worldwide partnership to give technology access to seniors around the world. “We are thrilled to expand this partnership and, in turn, lead the global industry with innovative and empowering solutions for seniors who want to age in place while staying connected and active in the lives of their family and friends,” said Sarosh Mistry, CEO of CK Franchising, the international franchisor of the Comfort Keepers and Amelis brands. The grandPad tablet is designed for seniors over the age of 75, and includes features like games, photo sharing, email, video chat and more. The use of the device is now integrated into all of Comfort Keepers’ core services. “By integrating grandPad into our core services, we are able to more easily keep a client’s entire family informed on the condition, recovery and needs of their loved one,” said Ken McCord, Comfort Keepers senior director of operations services.
CliniCloud partners with Doctor on Demand for at-home medical check ups
SAN FRANCISCO – CliniCloud is making at-home medical check ups possible with a device kit and a partnership with Doctor on Demand. CliniCloud’s digital stethoscope and non-contact thermometer kit works with a mobile app to record, store and send data such as temperature and heart or lung sounds direct to a patient’s family doctor. The app guides users through either a quick or full checkup, with intuitive prompts for exactly where to place the stethoscope and thermometer. The company recently partnered with Doctor on Demand to allow patients to also video chat with a physician, get their heart and lung sounds examined, and pay for appointments.