Conrado takes lead of Ascension’s digital initiatives
ST. LOUIS – Eduardo Conrado has been tapped to fill the new position of executive vice president and chief digital officer at the nonprofit health system Ascension. “As our industry and our ministry rapidly transform, new technologies and companies are disrupting the market at an ever-faster pace, and leaders are beginning to fully embrace digital solutions to unlock innovation and drive productivity, connectivity and engagement,” said Dr. Anthony Tersigni, president and CEO of Ascension, in a statement. Conrado, who was previously executive vice president and chief strategy and innovation officer at Motorola Solutions, will be responsible for accelerating and implementing digital initiatives for the health system.
Caretaker Medical’s wireless CNIBP monitor receives CE Mark
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Caretaker Medical has received CE Mark for its Caretaker4 wireless CNIBP vital signs monitor for continuous non-invasive blood pressure and vital signs monitoring. The CE Mark registration will allow the company to expand its global sales and distribution efforts. The Caretaker4 is able to measure continuous blood pressure and vital signs without external arm cuffs and to send patient data to other monitoring platforms. “The Caretaker4 wearable vital signs device sets a new standard in monitoring patients’ continuous blood pressure and vital signs, either in hospital or remote monitoring situations,” said Warren Kressinger-Dunn, managing director, EMEA–APAC, at Caretaker Medical, in a statement.
snap40 raises $8M for real-time health monitoring wearable
EDINBURGH, Scotland, & NEW YORK – snap40, an artificial intelligence-enabled health care company, has raised $8 million in seed financing to accelerate the deployment of the company’s wearable health monitoring device in the U.S. and U.K. The snap40 device monitors the user in real-time with accuracy equivalent to ICU monitoring, said Christopher McCann, CEO and co-founder of snap40, in a statement. The company’s algorithms analyze the data to identify those whose health is at risk and proactively bring health care to them. The company is currently testing the device in several U.S. hospitals through clinical trials and pilots to identify acutely and chronically deteriorating patients earlier to reduce risk and cost while improving patient health. The snap40 device monitors patients during and after hospital admissions, as well as for chronic health conditions and in clinical trials. “It’s a moral imperative to use all of our knowledge in science and technology to improve health care,” said McCann. “Using AI to recognize illness earlier and enable earlier treatment can save lives and it can prepare our health care system for the future.”
Quashie to lead CTA’s digital health efforts
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Consumer Technology Association has named Rene Quashie as its first-ever vice president of policy and regulatory affairs of digital health. Quashie will provide guidance on key technical and regulatory issues relating to consumer digital health and wellness technology products, services, software and apps. “Innovations in health tech help consumers lead healthier lives, care for their loved ones and better connect with their doctors,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, an advocacy group for technological innovation, in a statement. “Rene’s expertise will build on our already successful work in this sector and help CTA be an even stronger advocate for digital health innovators.” Quashie will also work on behalf of CTA’s Health and Fitness Technology Division, which supports the consumer health technology industry through education, research, standards work, policy initiatives and more. CTA works closely with the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of the National Coordinator and other related government agencies. Quashie comes to CTA from the law firm of Cozen O’Connor, where he focused on telehealth and mobile health regulatory issues.
Medical Guardian introduces smartwatch
PHILADELPHIA – Medical alert systems provider Medical Guardian has launched a smartwatch designed for healthy aging. The Freedom Guardian wearable medical alert system includes safety features like two-way voice communication, GPS and Wi-Fi location tracking, text-to-speech messaging, calendar alerts and reminders, localized weather forecast and more. “Freedom Guardian is a product that is symbolic of our organization’s next phase of innovative offerings and speaks to a larger shift in the connected health space,” said Geoff Gross, founder and CEO of Medical Guardian, in a statement. “The release of this product will further our mission to empower older Americans to continue living the lives they love, for as long as they can while maintaining an independent lifestyle.”
Smart Meter integrates diabetes management solution with Validic
TAMPA, Fla. – Smart Meter, provider of the Cellular Diabetes Care Solution, is integrating its technology with Validic’s data connectivity platform for a diabetes management solution for patients, health care teams and population management programs. “Our collaboration with Validic enables us to seamlessly provide data to a wider group of health care professionals, integrate data into various health records and assist in delivering better care to those that need the most attention,” said Cliff McIntosh, CEO of Smart Meter, in a statement. The iGlucose solution uses cell-enabled technology to automatically transmit real-time blood glucose results to providers, eliminating the need for cables, synching devices and apps for people with diabetes. Health care teams can engage patients by viewing real-time results and seeing when their patient’s blood glucose results are out of range. “Through this partnership, we continue to broaden access to key clinical insights—generated outside the clinical setting—that are necessary to provide effective and targeted treatments and interventions,” said Drew Schiller, CEO of Validic, in a statement.
UCSF using CloudMedx AI to study orthopedic surgery outcomes
PALO ALTO, Calif. – CloudMedx, a health care artificial intelligence company, is collaborating with the University of California San Francisco Department of Orthopaedic Surgery to study how patient-generated health care data collected from wearable sensors can predict clinical outcomes following hip and knee replacement surgery. By looking at structured and unstructured data from patient medical records, as well as from wearable devices, the UCSF research team, advised by the National Science Foundation’s Center for Disruptive Musculoskeletal Innovations, aims to create a new class of algorithms that can predict a patient’s individual outcome and recovery following surgery, said Dr. Stefano Bini, one of the researchers. “There currently is a huge cache of unstructured information in the medical records in the form of physician notes, nurse progress notes, discharge summaries, radiology notes and patient-reported outcomes that is being overlooked due to lack of resources,” said Bini in a statement. “By using CloudMedx’s robust AI to read clinical notes using machine-assisted natural language processing, we aim to surface insights in real time to improve patient outcomes.” CloudMedx uses evidence-based algorithms to provide real-time clinical insights to the health care industry with the goal of improving clinical and operational outcomes.
Researchers develop wearable that measures blood cell count
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Engineers at Rutgers University-New Brunswick have created a smart wristband with a wireless connection to smartphones that can count blood cells. Their work was published online recently in Microsystems & Nanoengineering. The technology could be added to watches and other wearable devices that monitor heart rates and physical activities, the engineers wrote in the published article. “It’s like a Fitbit but has a biosensor that can count particles, so that includes blood cells, bacteria and organic or inorganic particles in the air,” wrote Mehdi Javanmard, senior author of the study. “The ability for a wearable device to monitor the counts of different cells in our bloodstream would take personal health monitoring to the next level.” The plastic wristband includes a flexible circuit board and a biosensor with a channel thinner than the diameter of a human hair with gold electrodes embedded inside. It has a circuit to process electrical signals, a micro-controller for digitizing data and a Bluetooth module to transmit data wirelessly. Blood samples are obtained through pinpricks, with the blood fed through the channel and blood cells counted. The data is sent wirelessly to a smartphone with an app that processes and displays data. In the field, health professionals could get rapid blood test results from patients without the need for lab-based equipment, the engineers wrote.
Health Navigator, Macadamian develop Alexa Skill for home health triage
LA GRANGE, Ill. – Health Navigator, a company that delivers clinical content for digital health, has partnered with Macadamian, a health care software design and development consulting firm, to develop and demonstrate a proof-of-concept skill for voice-enabled digital assistants. The Alexa Skill is a voice-enabled health triage service based on the clinical content in Health Navigator’s triage engine and allows a person to ask a digital assistant about symptoms and to receive care advice. Based on user-entered symptoms, the skill provides information on how serious the symptoms are, whether it is an emergency and if the user needs to see a doctor.“Solutions like the Health Navigator Skill can increase access to health care, while reducing the cost of care,” said Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, president of Health Navigator, in a statement. “By interacting with their voice assistant, people can easily make decisions about the level of care they need and can manage their symptoms in ways that are more cost effective than a trip to the emergency room or clinic.”Health Navigator and Macadamian are currently looking for partners to publish the skill and make it widely available for public use.
Xcertia adds to board
AUSTIN, Texas – Xcertia, an industry and government collaborative that supports the development of guidelines around safe and effective mobile health applications, has added four new directors and two ex officio members to its board of directors. The new full members of the Xcertia board of directors are: Murray Aitken, executive director IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science; Ann Mond Johnson, CEO American Telemedicine Association; Dr. William Kassler, deputy chief health officer, IBM Watson Health; and Karen Dunn Lopez, Alliance for Nursing Informatics. “Working in collaboration with Xcertia helps to ensure that virtual care apps are developed and implemented within a consistent framework to the benefit of consumers, providers and technology developers alike,” said Johnson in a statement. The ex officio members are: Bakul Patel, associate director for digital health, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and Dr. Andrew Gettinger, chief clinical officer, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “Bakul and Andrew will be key voices to influence and support how Xcertia evolves its mHealth guidelines,” said David Vinson, founding director and vice chairman of Xcertia, in a statement. “We believe it’s a significant step forward for the market when industry and government join forces to present a unified voice and positively affect the trajectory of the mobile health app market.” The new board members are now engaged in updating the draft guidelines released in December 2017.
HHS offers guidance on disposing of technology containing PHI
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has released guidance for health providers, payers and others when disposing of technology that contains electronic protected health information (ePHI). “Improper disposal of electronic devices and media puts the information stored on such devices and media at risk for a potential breach,” the guidance states. “Data breaches can be very costly to organizations.” Examples of digital equipment include desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones, hard drives and USB drives. The guidance suggests that when disposing of technology that contains ePHI, providers and others should: determine and document the appropriate methods to dispose of the hardware, software and the data itself; ensure that ePHI is properly destroyed and cannot be recreated; ensure that ePHI previously stored on hardware or electronic media is securely removed so that it cannot be accessed and reused; identify removable media like CDs/DVDs or thumbdrives and their use; and ensure that ePHI is removed from reusable media before they are used to record new information.
Cardiogram heart health app now compatible with Garmin wearables
OLATHE, Kan. – Cardiogram’s heart health app is now compatible with all Garmin wearables featuring the optical heart rate function. “By directly integrating through the Garmin Health API, Cardiogram has access to the wide array of advanced metrics these devices generate,” said Johnson Hsieh, co-founder of Cardiogram, in a statement. The Cardiogram app provides advanced insights based on data from wearable devices, helping users better understand how activity and sleep affect their overall health. Partnering with the Department of Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco, Cardiogram has combined data from optical heart rate sensors and DeepHeart, an artificial intelligence-based algorithm developed by Cardiogram, to detect major health conditions. Through multiple studies, DeepHeart has so far demonstrated the ability to detect four medical conditions: atrial fibrillation, sleep apnea, hypertension and diabetes. “Combining the high-quality sensor data of Garmin devices with the powerful capabilities of Cardiogram DeepHeart will provide our customers with meaningful health insights that can improve their everyday life and opportunities to reduce their health care costs,” said Travis Johnson, global project lead, Garmin Health, in a statement.
Fitbit, BCBS team up on health benefits for members
CHICAGO – Fitbit is partnering with Blue Cross and Blue Shield on Blue365, a health and wellness program for BCBS members.
Through the program, BCBS members now have access to discounts on Fitbit activity trackers and smartwatches, as well as gym memberships. Employers can either buy in bulk or subsidize a purchase of Fitbit devices for their employees.
“There is no question that increasing activity and moving more is a tremendous benefit that can improve health, and I’m excited Blue365 members will have even more incentives to get and remain healthy by exercising at a pace that’s right for them,” said Mark Talluto, vice president of strategy and analytics for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, in a statement. “This strategic partnership will bring personalized health and wellbeing to the next level, allowing members to put their health first.”
Blue365 is available to members of the 23 participating BCBS companies, as well as the BCBS government-wide Service Benefit Plan, also known as the Federal Employee Program.
“Fitbit provides a powerful platform to engage consumers by offering data, insights and guidance to help them meet their health goals,” said Adam Pellegrini, general manager of Fitbit Health Solutions, in a statement. “This partnership is an example of how Fitbit is expanding access to our devices and software so that we can help more people focus on their health and wellness and achieve better health outcomes.”
CMS developer conference shares insights on how to leverage Medicare claims data to improve health outcomes
WASHINGTON – The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services held its first developers conference this week for Blue Button 2.0, a developer-friendly, standards based application programming interface that will allow a majority of Medicare beneficiaries to connect their claims data to third-party applications, services and research programs.
More than 600 developers have signed up to experiment with the API since it was launched, according to Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, in published remarks she made recently at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Interoperability Forum.
The Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference brought together app developers to learn, build software and share insights on how Medicare claims data can be leveraged to improve health outcomes. The conference also helped further advance the work of the MyHealthEData, a government-wide initiative led by the White House Office of American Innovation to give people control of their medical data to enable them to make better choices for value driven health care.
The MyHealthEData initiative also seeks to break down the barriers that prevent patients from having electronic access and true control of their own health records from the device or application of their choice.
As part of MyHealthEData, CMS has securely released four years of Medicare Part A, B and D data for 53 million Medicare beneficiaries. The data contains a variety of information about a beneficiary’s health, including type of Medicare coverage, drug prescriptions, primary care treatment and cost.
“With the release of this data, CMS wants to work with developers to create new applications that help make this data more helpful and meaningful for patients,” said Verma. “This conference is the perfect venue for developers to network with each other and with leaders in the federal government to collaborate on ways to engage Medicare beneficiaries to make informed health care decisions.”
Microsoft acquires patent for Glabella
REDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft has acquired a patent for glasses that monitor blood pressure.
The wearable device, called Glabella, continuously monitors heart rates at three sites on the wearer’s head, and integrates optical sensors and processing, storage and communication components into the frame to passively collect physiological data about the user without the need for any interaction.
In a recent paper published by Microsoft, author Christian Holz wrote that Glabella continuously records the stream of reflected light intensities from blood flow, as well as inertial measurements of the user’s head.
The company has tested the device on four participants who wore Glabella during their regular daytime activities over five days.
“Our analysis shows a high correlation between the pulse transit times computed on our devices with participants’ heart rates and systolic blood pressure values measured using the oscillometric cuffs,” Holz wrote. “Our results indicate that Glabella has the potential to serve as a socially acceptable capture device, requiring no user input or behavior changes during regular activities, and whose continuous measurements may prove informative to physicians as well as users’ self-tracking activities.”