Biotricity appoints Shattuck to lead sales
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Biotricity has named Casey Shattuck as the company’s vice president of sales. His immediate priority will be to oversee the commercialization of Bioflux, the company’s real-time mobile cardiac telemetry solution. Shattuck previously worked for Cardio Thoracic Systems and Foxhollow Technologies. “We are thrilled to add Mr. Shattuck to our team and are confident in his ability to oversee our near-term growth catalysts,” said Waqaas Al-Siddiq, founder and CEO of Biotricity, in a statement. “We look forward to working with him as we aggressively target a commercial launch during the second quarter of 2018.”
Bonbouton to work with Gore Innovation Center on smart fabric
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Digital health startup Bonbouton and the Gore Innovation Center are partnering to explore material solutions in advanced sensor technology, and develop smart fabrics for assistive apparel and digital health applications.
Bonbouton creates inkjet-printed sensors with technology licensed from the Stevens Institute of Technology to monitor skin temperature with graphene oxide. “Bonbouton is an ideal partner,” said Paul Campbell, co-leader of the Gore Innovation Center, in a statement. “Its technology shows enormous potential for expanding Gore materials into digital health applications and other markets.” The Gore Innovation Center offers a prototyping facility where startups, researchers, customers and corporations can collaborate and innovate. “Gore is known for a science-backed approach,” said Linh Le, CEO and founder of Bonbouton, in a statement. “Coupled with its collaborative resources and exploratory mindset, this makes Gore a model partner.”
Oscar Health secures $165M, looks to next phase of growth
NEW YORK – Oscar Health has raised $165 million in funding to advance its plan to grow in multiple cities and market segments. The technology-focused health insurance provider has enrolled about 250,000 members across six states in 2018, wrote Mario Schlosser and Joshua Kushner, co-founders of Oscar Health, in a blog post announcing the funding. “We started Oscar to secure the trust of consumers, to use data science and technology to proactively guide them to the best and most affordable doctors, and to finally introduce choice, competition and value to health care,” they wrote. The company recently announced with Cleveland Clinic, Humana and AXA. “Oscar now has a proven, replicable growth playbook: secure competitive prices with new health systems, acquire and engage membership in significant volumes, build market share for our provider partners, and begin to drive health care costs down,” the co-founders wrote.
Swift Wound Care raises $11.6M
TORONTO – Digital wound care management company Swift Medical has raised $11.6 million in funding to expand its reach into home health agencies, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. The company’s enterprise-grade, smartphone-ready Swift Skin and Wound software captures images and measurement—including wound depth—without having to touch the wound and with no extra equipment and accessories. “By augmenting the abilities of clinicians and facility administrators to deliver the best possible wound care management, we’re helping them heal over 10,000 patients a month,” said Carlo Perez, co-founder and CEO of Swift Medical, in a statement. “And we’re just getting started.”
Janz Corporation to distribute BewellConnect connected health suite
BOSTON – Visiomed Group is partnering with Janz Corp. to distribute a suite of connected health devices and services from its U.S. subsidiary BewellConnect to U.S. government health facilities. Janz Corp. has the status of a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, which permits set-aside contracting access to the U.S. government. Its customers include federal agencies, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, NATO member countries, state governments and commercial hospitals, clinics and institutions. “This distribution agreement opens doors to important government markets that only the best can access,” said Olivier Hua, CEO of Bewell Connect, in a statement. “This new brand of confidence for the innovative technologies developed by our company is again proof that the strategy we have built seduces the most demanding players.” Beyond the connected health devices of the BewellConnect suite, both partners have chosen to promote the VisioCheck mobile telehealth station, which integrates five different medical devices necessary for remote monitoring of patient vitals. “We recognize BewellConnect’s strong innovation capability and are very pleased to be able to bring its breakthrough solutions in the field of connected health to our customers,” said Rick Finsterbusch, CEO of Janz Corp., in a statement.
Researchers develop 3D printed stethoscope
ONTARIO – A team of researchers at Western University have developed a clinically validated 3D printed stethoscope, according to a study on the device that was published recently in the online journal PLOS ONE. “We wanted physicians and allied health care professionals to be able to have something that was high quality,” said Dr. Tarek Loubani, one of the researchers. “The study found that the acoustic quality was the same in our stethoscope as in a premium brand stethoscope.” The researchers designed an open-access template for the 3D printed stethoscope, called the Glia, which can be created using recycled plastic in less than three hours for under $3. The device is currently in clinical use by physicians and allied health professionals in Gaza and is also in clinical trials at the London Health Sciences Centre. The researchers said the device was designed for use in low-income communities and war-torn countries. They hope to create templates for other medical devices that can be made or improved on-site in locations with scarce resources.
Virta raises $45M to move from ‘care’ to ‘cure’
SAN FRANCISCO – Digital diabetes coaching and management company Virta Health has raised $45 million in Series B funding to advance its artificial intelligence technologies, conduct further research, and add partnerships with employers, health plans and government agencies. “We have a unique opportunity to define the standard of care for chronic disease treatment and go from ‘care’ to ‘cure,’” said Sami Inkinen, co-founder and CEO of Virta, in a statement. “This requires substantial investment in machine learning and AI to provide accessible technology tools for both patients and clinicians, in addition to key hires in the product, engineering, data science and clinical teams.” Recently released one-year, peer-reviewed results from the company’s ongoing clinical trial demonstrated that the Virta Treatment can quickly reverse and then sustain reversal of Type 2 diabetes at one year, while substantially improving obesity, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease risk and inflammation.
Ghoshal to lead ResMed’s informatics, data analytics team
SAN DIEGO – Bobby Ghoshal has been named ResMed’s first chief technology officer and will lead the company’s global health care informatics and data analytics team, as well as investments in emerging health technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. “Bobby has played several key roles in ResMed’s emergence as a world-leading connected health company this past decade, and we’re excited to appoint him as our new CTO,” said Mick Farrell, CEO of ResMed, in a statement. Since 2016, Ghoshal has been COO at Brightree, a ResMed-owned provider of cloud-based, software-as-a-service provider for out-of-hospital care. Before that, he was vice president of information technology at ResMed. “I’m excited to lead ResMed’s extraordinary health care informatics team to help drive the value of connected health, leveraging the power of technology and data for the hundreds of millions of people who suffer from sleep apnea, COPD and related chronic diseases worldwide,” Ghoshal said in a statement.
Students develop diabetic foot examination device
HOUSTON – Students at Rice University have developed a device to help people with diabetes find early signs of foot ulcerations. Patients with diabetes are often at risk of cuts or other injuries to their extremities that they may not be able to feel or easily check. The device, developed by sophomores Caz Smith and Kelvin Boateng, allows a patient to stand on it and uses cameras, lights, a mirror and electronics to easily inspect their feet. Images are posted to an automatically generated website they can view on a cellphone or other device and forward to a doctor. “We wanted it to be an at-home device you could put in the corner of your bathroom or living room and have it stay there,” said Boateng in a statement. The device is being studied by another class of Rice engineering students who are exploring ways to streamline the design and move it toward manufacturing.
Profusa develops in-body continuous sensor
NEW ORLEANS – Profusa, which creates bioengineered sensors, has developed an in-body sensor capable of continuous, long-term monitoring of body chemistry and streaming the data to a mobile phone and the cloud for personal and medical use. “Based on our ongoing studies, tissue-integrated sensor technology has the potential to enable wearables to live up to the promise of personalized medicine, revolutionizing the management of health in wellness and disease,” said Natalie Wisniewski, chief technology officer and co-founder of Profusa, in a statement. The Profusa researchers are developing a family of tiny biosensors composed of a tissue-like hydrogel that are placed under the skin with a single injection. They work fully integrated within the body’s tissue—without any metal device or electronics—overcoming the body’s attempts to reject it. To date, the injected biosensors have functioned for as long as four years. The Lumee Oxygen Platform, the first medical application of the biosensor technology, was approved for sale last year in Europe, and is helping wound-healing specialists track oxygen in the lower extremities of patients undergoing treatment for chronic limb ischemia. In addition to measuring oxygen, the Profusa team is developing biosensors for continuous monitoring of glucose, lactate, carbon dioxide and other molecules.
Researchers advance human motion monitoring
KELOWNA, British Columbia – Researchers at the University of British Columbia Okanagan have developed a sensor to monitor and interpret human motion through a wearable device. The sensor is made by infusing graphene nano-flakes (GNF) into a rubber-like adhesive pad. The researchers tested the durability of the sensor by stretching it to see if it can maintain accuracy under strains of up to 350% of its original state; the device went through more than 10,000 cycles of stretching and relaxing, while maintaining its electrical stability. “We tested this sensor vigorously,” said Homayoun Najjaran, one of the researchers, in a statement. “Not only did it maintain its form but more importantly it retained its sensory functionality.” The goal was to make something that could stretch, and be flexible and a reasonable size, and have the required sensitivity, performance, production cost and robustness, as well as respond to movements, including a heartbeat, twitch of a finger, walking and running. The researchers said their results could help manufacturers create the next generation of health monitoring and biomedical devices.
Siren launches smart diabetic socks, raises $3.4M
SAN FRANCISCO – Health technology company Siren has launched a sock using its Neurofabric material to detect diabetic foot ulcers. The sock continuously monitors foot temperature so people can detect signs of inflammation, a method that is clinically proven to be the most effective way of catching foot injuries, and is up to 87% more effective at preventing diabetic foot ulcers than standard diabetic foot care. “We built this technology because foot ulcers are the most common, costly and deadly complication for people with diabetes, yet there was no way to continuously monitor for these massive problems,” said Ran Ma, CEO and co-founder of Siren, in a statement. “Our Neurofabric has endless applications across health care, sports, military and fashion, but it was obvious to us that solving this specific problem is where we had to start, because it impacts so many and can mean the difference between losing a limb or not.” Siren has also announced it has raised $3.4 million in seed funding.
Health care execs want automated health care, report says
SAN FRANCISCO – A majority of health care executives think automated health care will help close gaps between episodic transactional care to continuous and collaborative care experiences, according to a recent report by World Business Research and Conversa Health.
The report, “Healthcare 2020: How Automated Patient Experiences Will Transform the Landscape,” is based on direct interviews and survey responses from 134 health care executives. It explores how they view automated health care technologies, conversational artificial intelligence technology and patient-generated data, their use cases and planned adoption.
“When you look at all the latest research and look around the industry to see what the innovating health systems and pharma companies are doing, they are embracing automated, conversational AI,” said Chris Edwards, chief marketing and experience officer at Conversa Health, in a statement. “They see the value of these personalized, automated conversation experiences helping them to accelerate their key strategic business needs around population health management, care coordination, patient acquisition and engagement.”
The report also found that 87% of respondents see value in using automated health care solutions for gathering more patient-generated health data and that 79% of respondents will be working on integrating automated health care solutions within the next two years. Almost half of respondents are either integrating or already have integrated patient-generated health data into their patient experience initiatives.
“We absolutely need to move in the direction of a continuous care experience because it is demanded by the world we live in now,” stated Sven Gierlinger, chief patient experience officer at Northwell Health, who was one of the survey respondents. “Listening to the voices of our patients and caregivers is important because their voices become bigger and bigger.”
Health systems deploy Bright.md’s virtual physician assistant
PORTLAND, Ore. – Two health systems have implemented Bright.md’s SmartExam telehealth solution and are making it available to all of their patients.
Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico and Providence Health & Services in Oregon are using the virtual solution, which leverages artificial intelligence to get smarter as it learns about patients’ specific needs and conditions.
Presbyterian is also introducing Bright.md’s new medically certified Spanish translation services.
“We know that many of our patients and members face cost or language barriers when accessing care so we are trying to remove those obstacles through innovative programs like SmartExam,” said Ries Robinson, chief innovation officer at Presbyterian Healthcare Services, in a statement. “We’ve experienced an enthusiastic response to our virtual care option, and are on pace to complete more than 600 visits in just our first month.”
Through Bright.md’s SmartExam, patients are able to receive care from their primary care providers using a mobile phone, tablet or computer. The intelligent software interviews patients, using answers to gather more information and support providers in care delivery. It uses patient answers and information from the electronic medical record system to develop the next question, improving the ability to identify important issues and potential causes, which enable the physician to provide evidence-based treatments.
“Through SmartExam’s care automation, members of a health system can access their trusted physicians to quickly and easily address their most common health concerns, at a cost that is significantly less than a typical co-pay,” said Dr. Ray Costantini, co-founder and CEO of Bright.md, in a statement.
Providence has been emphasizing digital health services in recent years, said Dr. Benjamin LeBlanc, chief medical officer at Providence Medical Group.
“We believe this provides a significant opportunity to reach more patients and members when they need us, while providing valuable services more cost-effectively,” he said in a statement.
BCBS of Massachusetts deploys digital health solutions portfolio
BOSTON – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has introduced the Emerging Solutions platform to curate digital health solutions and provide advice to employer customers on which solutions could best help improve their employees’ health.
“Through the Emerging Solutions platform, we serve as a trusted advisor to our employer customers, working closely with them to identify the health solutions that can best address the specific needs of their employees,” said Kathy Klingler, BCBS chief marketing officer, in a statement. “We are focused on advancements that matter to our employer customers.”
Emerging Solutions is available to self-insured accounts with 1,000 or more employees beginning July 1.
BCBS currently offers solutions for diabetes prevention and management, as well as fertility, pregnancy and parenting from: Livongo, a digital health platform for people with chronic conditions; Omada, a digital provider of the Diabetes Prevention Program; and Ovia Health, which uses technology and predictive coaching to support women from preconception and pregnancy through return-to-work and parenthood.
The insurer plans to grow the portfolio of solutions over time.
“Our decades of experience, commitment to innovation, and strong partnerships with digital health companies allow us to curate solutions that can best improve employees’ health and lower overall health care costs,” said Klingler.