FDA clears VitalPatch for extended use
SAN JOSE, Calif. – VitalConnect has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that extends the wear duration for the company’s existing Class 2 wearable biosensor, the VitalPatch, from four to five days. The VitalPatch biosensor is a single patient use and fully disposable device, and is suitable anywhere continuous monitoring is needed, including for post-discharge monitoring, remote patient monitoring and clinical trials. “The extended wear duration for our fully disposable VitalPatch biosensor supports our commitment toward improving patient care and enabling nurses and physicians to have real-time insight into their patients’ vitals and well-being,” said Dr. Nersi Nazari, CEO and founder of VitalConnect, in a statement. The clinical-grade VitalPatch tracks eight different biometric measurements continuously and in real-time: single-lead ECG (electrocardiography), heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, skin temperature, body posture, fall detection and activity.
InTouch Health integrates Vivify Health’s solutions for telehealth
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Telehealth platform provider InTouch Health is partnering with Vivify Health, a provider of a remote care management platform, to enable clinicians to remotely manage high-risk patients outside the clinical environment using Vivify Health’s suite of patient engagement and monitoring solutions and within InTouch Health’s telehealth platform. “Health systems have expressed a need for a single telehealth partner, and we’re on a mission to deliver solutions that enable health systems to virtually care for patients anywhere along the care continuum,” said Joseph M. DeVivo, InTouch Health CEO, in a statement. Previously, providers would utilize separate technologies for telehealth based on the patient’s care setting.
Xcertia releases preliminary mHealth app guidelines
AUSTIN, Texas – Xcertia, a joint mHealth app collaborative effort pioneered by the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, DHX Group and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, recently released a preliminary version of its anticipated guidelines for safe and effective mHealth apps for review and comment. “Cooperative input on the guidelines from consumers, developers, payers, clinicians, academia and other motivated stakeholders will provide Xcertia with guidance on where it needs to focus its efforts in 2018 to positively impact the trajectory of the mobile health app industry,” said Dr. Michael Hodgkins, chairman of the Xcertia board of directors, in a statement. The early version of the guidelines assesses the quality, safety and effectiveness of mobile health apps in four key areas: operability, privacy, security and content. The guidelines are available at xcertia.org, and comments will be accepted through the end of January.
Mercy Health joins AVIA
CHICAGO – Mercy Health, a Catholic health ministry serving Ohio and Kentucky, has joined the AVIA Innovator Network.
“We recognize that some of the most innovative solutions may come from outside our organization and have joined the AVIA Innovator Network to accelerate the identification, adoption and dissemination of high-impact digital innovations,” said John M. Starcher, president and CEO of Mercy Health, in a statement. In partnership with over two dozen health system innovation centers across the United States and the United Kingdom, AVIA has created a field-tested methodology for health systems to develop an “innovation blueprint,” including customized organizational structures and repeatable processes to enhance an organization’s innovation capacity.
Ranger Health rebrands as FetchMD
SAN ANTONIO – Ranger Health, which provides a mobile app for people to schedule house calls for illness, minor injuries and physicals from licensed providers, has rebranded and is now FetchMD. The company recently expanded its service to the five contiguous counties around San Antonio and is planning to expand north to Austin in 2018. “FetchMD will transform the way people will access care,” said Michael C. Zucker, founder and CEO of Ranger Health, in a statement. “It will also allow health care professionals to engage directly with consumers in a way that allows them to have more control of their schedules.” He said the company is also upgrading its app with technology enhancements.
Johnson & Johnson, ACS debut Cancer.com
HORSHAM, Pa. – Johnson & Johnson, in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, CancerCare and Cancer Support Community, has launched Cancer.com, a website designed to provide people impacted by cancer useful information and tools. The website features content tailored to each visitor by cancer type, topics of interest and where they are in their care journey, as well as support tools to help visitors build skills to navigate life with cancer. “As part of our enduring commitment to the cancer community and to working toward victories over cancer, we are excited to debut Cancer.com to educate and empower patients and their caregivers,” said Tom Cavanaugh, president of Janssen Biotech, Oncology, in a statement.
Janssen Biotech is a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson. On the website, topic areas pinpoint what people impacted by cancer search for the most, including insurance and financial support, tips for effectively engaging with a health care team and how to find local support ranging from clinical trial information to travel services. It also features a digital health coaching tool.
PULSE@MassChallenge names 2018 cohort
BOSTON – MassChallenge has chosen 32 digital health startups to participate in the startup accelerator’s digital health program, PULSE@MassChallenge for 2018. The new cohort will pair two champions from the areas of health care institutions, systems and payers with each startup to help them achieve funding rounds, pilot studies or other milestones. Participants receive free co-working space and an opportunity to apply for $50,000 in need-based startups, as well as the chance to compete for a share of $200,000 in no-equity cash. The PULSE program is geared to later stage companies that are ready to scale, have raised no more than $5 million and generate under $5 million in revenue. The goal of the program is to connect selected startups with strategic relationships, resources, mentoring, and community access needed to create an impact in digital health. “What you get is a clinically valuable technology that is also highly implementable,” said Nick Dougherty, program director for PULSE@MassChallenge, in a statement.
Launchpad Digital Health expands advisory board
SAN FRANCISCO – Launchpad Digital Health, a seed investor in digital health, has added Mark Morgan to its team of advisors. Morgan is the former president of Anthem Blue Cross–California, and has held increasing levels of positions as a senior executive with Health Net of California, Blue Shield of California, Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross–California. “The digital health sector will thrive as payers scale programs broadly and design reimbursement for solutions that have proven to work,” said Morgan. “Launchpad Digital Health is positioned to continue to build meaningful and successful businesses as a leader in the digital health sector.”
Castlight Health racks up partnerships
SAN FRANCISCO – Castlight Health, a health navigation platform provider, has partnered with five digital health companies, including Livongo, which provides a chronic condition management solution platform. “Castlight and Livongo are incredibly complementary,” said Jim Pursley, chief commercial officer of Livongo, in a statement. “By plugging into Castlight’s health navigation platform, we’re able to amplify the results and deliver an even better experience making it a real win for our members and shared clients.” Castlight has also announced partnerships with: Big Health, a provider of mental health and sleep solutions; Hinge Health, a musculoskeletal disorder solution; Retrofit, a weight management and disease prevention solution; and Kurbo, a family weight loss and healthy lifestyle solution. “We are united around a mission of making it as easy as humanly possible to navigate health care,” said Derek Newell, president of Castlight Health, in a statement. “Our momentum underscores the rising appetite for health navigation among employers, our partners and other healthcare stakeholders, and we’re excited to continue helping more employees live happier, healthier, more productive lives as we grow.”
Reliq Health signs agreement with B Golden Care Services for chronic care management
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Reliq Health Technologies has signed an agreement with B Golden Care Services to implement the company’s iUGO Care chronic care management platform for its 1,000 complex continuing care patients. “Our mandate at B Golden is to support patients with complex chronic conditions who are aging in place,” said Joseph Estapa, president and CEO of B Golden Care Services, in a statement. “Studies consistently show that providing patients with medication reminders, coaching and education in the home setting drives patient engagement and improves health outcomes.” B Golden Care Services is a chronic care management agency in Southern Texas that provides services to patients in the home setting, supporting patients aging in place, improving medication adherence and empowering patients to proactively manage their own health.
Ontario invests in home health technology
TORONTO – The province of Ontario aims to help bring health care closer to home by providing grants for 12 new projects through the Health Technologies Fund. The fund supports the development of Ontario-based technologies that improve care for people, boost the impact of investments and grow health innovation companies. “Through the Health Technologies Fund, we are accelerating the development of new tools that address health system challenges and improve patient care,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s minister of health and long-term care, in a statement. “With this program, we are investing in our economy and the future of our health care system by supporting made-in-Ontario technologies.” The funded projects, totaling $5.5 million, include: a platform that allows people with upper body mobility injuries to access smart devices, computers, wheelchair driving controls and more; a portable device that detects brain bleeds in traumatic brain injury patients; a digital tool that will shorten the time patients need to spend in the hospital following heart surgery by providing high-quality monitoring from home. This is the second round of Health Technologies Fund investments by Ontario this year. The 2017-18 grants are focused on market-ready projects that were selected for their potential to improve patient outcomes and bring value to the health care system.
Reliq Health Technologies develops demo video for home health platform
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Reliq Health Technologies, a technology company focused on developing innovative mHealth and telemedicine solutions for community-based health care, has produced an animated video demonstrating the use of its iUGO Care platform in the home. “The demo video clearly illustrates the value of having a ‘virtual assistant’ at home to remind patients to take their medications, collect their vitals, use prescribed mobility aids and more,” said Dr. Lisa Crossley, CEO of Reliq Health, in a statement. Using interactive voice technology that is available in more than 100 languages right out of the box, iUGO Home not only coaches and educates patients but also acts as a resource, allowing them to send dictated messages to their clinical care team or family members and ask questions about their upcoming medical appointments, current prescriptions and health conditions. Crossley said the home health solution provides high quality virtual care in the community by creating a “virtual hospital ward” within the patient’s home, automatically collecting vital signs and tracking medication adherence.
Smartphone, Fitbit can help monitor chemotherapy patients
PITTSBURG – Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment were able to use a smartphone and wearable device to monitor their symptoms from treatment in a study published recently in JMIR. The goal of the study was to prevent unnecessary doctor or hospital visits and improve quality of life, the researchers wrote in the journal article. Researchers from the University of Pittsburg monitored 14 patients who carried a smartphone and Fitbit device, which provided data to physicians on mobility, sleep, activity and communication. A smartphone app developed by researchers passively collected data on patient behavior patterns, which was then used to develop an algorithm that could identify and correlate the patient’s high-symptom, average-symptom and low-symptom days with 88% accuracy. “These findings highlight opportunities for long-term monitoring of cancer patients during chemotherapy with minimal patient burden, as well as real-time adaptive interventions aimed at early management of worsening or severe symptoms,” the researchers wrote.
Researchers develop chip to monitor through sweat
LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Researchers at EPFL, one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, have teamed up with startup Xsensio to develop a tiny sensing chip that can encapsulate and analyze biomarkers in a person’s sweat. “With its new nanotechnology, Xsensio aims to exploit the goldmine of information available at the surface of our skin, electrolytes, metabolites, small molecules and proteins,” said Esmeralda Megally, CEO and founder of Xsensio, on the company’s website. The low-power system, which uses nonotechnology, was presented in early December at the International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco. It can be integrated into wearable products and skin patches for continuous monitoring, and relies on just a few nanoliters of sweat, so it does not require any artificial stimulation. “These technical differences unleash a whole new set of possibilities that have never been exploited before,” said Megally.
FDA clears Bioflux mobile ECG device for production
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Biotricity, a provider of biometric remote monitoring solutions, has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Bioflux mobile electrocardiogram device. The technology enables physicians to remotely monitor and diagnose patients with cardiovascular coronary heart disease by detecting and transmitting probable arrhythmias, along with other diagnostic heart information. “We are ready to hit the ground running,” said Waqaas Al-Siddiq, founder and CEO of Biotricity, in a statement. “With our manufacturing infrastructure fully developed, we expect to be able to bring the Bioflux solution to market imminently.” He said the company plans to develop other disease specific remote biometric technologies to diagnose, treat and manage chronic conditions.
PharMedQuest invests in helparound
BREA, Calif. – PharMedQuest, a health care management company, has made a strategic investment in helparound, a company that provides a mobile app to support people with chronic conditions. PharMedQuest is working with helparound to enhance its clinical customer relationship management solution, ACE, which focuses on managing patients with complex diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C. “We are excited to partner with helparound to match patients who have complex diseases with the appropriate resources and improve their access to care,” said Chris Nee, CEO of PharMedQuest, in a statement. “We think that customized interactions with patients in their real-life environment will lead to cost-effective quality care.” Pharmaceutical marketers and hubs are able to share information with patients on the helparound app, which gives users educational resources, real-time patient support and crowd-sourced community support. It also has a mobile channel to engage its patients, improve access to care and increase retention and adherence.
Cornell researchers develop touchless vital sign monitoring system
ITHACA, NY – Scientists at Cornell University have developed a method for gathering vital signs with “tag” devices that use radar-like technology.
“If this is an emergency room, everybody that comes in can wear these tags or can simply put tags in their front pockets, and everybody’s vital signs can be monitored at the same time,” said Edwin Kan, who developed the tag system, in a statement. “I’ll know exactly which person each of the vital signs belongs to.”
The system of radio-frequency signals and microchip tags can gather blood pressure, heart rate and breath rate by emitting radio waves that bounce off the body and internal organs and are then detected by an electronic reader that gathers the data from a location elsewhere in the room.
Kan said the system works like radar but integrates near-field coherent sensing, which is better at directing electromagnetic signals into body tissue, allowing the tags to measure internal body movement such as a heart as it beats or blood as it pulses under skin. Because each tag has a unique identification code it transmits with its signal, up to 200 people can be monitored simultaneously using just one central reader.
The signal is as accurate as an electrocardiogram or a blood-pressure cuff and could also be used to measure bowel movement, eye movement and other internal mechanical motions produced by the body, Kan said.
Kan’s research team is also working with Cornell’s Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design, who have demonstrated a way to embroider the tags directly onto clothing using fibers coated with nanoparticles.
Partners Connected Health, Hitachi team to use AI in predicting heart failure readmission risk
BOSTON and TOKYO – Partners Connected Health and Hitachi are working together to develop artificial intelligence technology which can accurately predict the risk of hospital readmissions within 30 days for patients with heart failure.
“With this innovation, doctors and nurses using the algorithm will be able to tell exactly why a certain patient is at high risk for hospital admission, and what they can do about it,” said Dr. Kamal Jethwani, senior director, Partners Connected Health Innovation, in a statement. “We want to enable our providers to act on this information, which is a step beyond the state-of-the-art today, in terms of machine learning algorithms.”
The AI technology helps select appropriate patients to participate in a readmission prevention program following hospital discharge, and can explain the reason why patients were identified as being at high risk.
The technology is an example of explainable AI, a new term currently defined as enabling machines to explain their decisions and actions to human users, and enabling them to understand, appropriately trust and effectively manage AI tools, while maintaining a high level of prediction accuracy.
As part of the study, the Partners Connected Health Innovation team simulated the readmission prediction program among heart failure patients participating in the Partners Connected Cardiac Care Program, a remote monitoring and education program designed to improve the management of heart failure patients at risk for hospitalization.
Hitachi’s new AI technology uses deep learning to construct the prediction model. The company developed the technology for risk prediction with analyzing the results presented by deep learning and extracting the several dozens of actionable factors for each patient from the vast amount of data collected from heart failure patients. Through a standard statistical approach based on this risk prediction model, the extracted factors were used to calculate the risk of hospital readmission, and the relevance of the factors was calculated. Thus, this explainable AI technology can enhance prediction accuracy and the quality of medical decision-making.
Hitachi and the Partners Connected Health Innovation team will jointly conduct a prospective study, which evaluates the prediction program by clinicians, and study how to integrate this within clinical workflows.
CiperHealth announces Partner Awards
NEW YORK – CipherHealth has announced its list of 2017 Partner Award winners for using its Voice automated outreach technology.
The recipients are:
- Baptist Health (Awarded for Excellence), which used the technology to reduce inpatient readmissions 12.5% and COPD readmissions 15.8%;
- Baylor Scott & White Medical Center (Awarded for Excellence), which reached its goal of less than 11% readmissions compared to fiscal year 2016 using the SMS feature of the automated outreach technology to target condition specific groups;
- Middlesex Hospital’s Center for Chronic Care Management (Awarded for Innovation), which uses automated outreach to ask condition-specific questions in order to provide high-touch educational opportunities; and
- Well Care Home Health (Awarded for Innovation), which used the technology in post-acute care engagement to improve average HH-CAHPS scores by 6% in only three months.
“Our partnership with CipherHealth has allowed us to maintain our connection with patients during that critical transition period from hospital to home,” said Pat Cooper, director of health care improvement at Baylor Scott & White, in a statement. “By using the service, we have been able to more appropriately allocate our resources to identify and follow-up with patients that need our assistance.”
NYCEDC, HITLAB announce new Digital Health Breakthrough Network cohort
NEW YORK – The New York City Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with HITLAB, have announced the third class of the Digital Health Breakthrough Network, an initiative for startups to pilot their products with end-users and strengthen their connection to New York City’s health care and technology sectors.
HITLAB is an innovation and teaching lab dedicated to improving the quality and accessibility of health care worldwide.
The third class of startups are developing technologies such as virtual reality-based coaching platforms and scheduling coordination technology to streamline medical services. Companies include: Altopax, which provides specialized virtual reality behavioral health teletherapy; Navimize, which uses innovative technology to streamline scheduling between various physician’s offices and hospitals; Tatch, which develops wireless biometric patches that diagnose sleep apnea and other chronic sleep disorders; and PainQx, a cloud-based software that measures bodily pain levels.
The Digital Health Breakthrough Network is part of a portfolio of initiatives launched by NYCEDC to support life sciences and health care ecosystems based in New York City. Selected startups in the program are able to pilot their previously lab tested technologies with clinical partners and patients around the city. The pilots are designed to provide startups with comprehensive data that will help them improve their products and pitches to investors.
“NYCEDC is focused on creating good-paying, accessible jobs in industries with the greatest potential for growth,” said James Patchett, NYCEDC president and CEO, in a statement. “That includes investing in digital health startups that will create jobs, solve global medical challenges and strengthen New York City’s position as a global hub for health care technology.
UK groups to develop Parkinson’s mHealth library
LONDON – Health app assessor Our Mobile Health and the charity organization Parkinson’s U.K. are partnering to create a curated library of mHealth apps and devices for people with Parkinson’s disease. “We believe that technology is a vital part of helping people with the condition live empowered lives,” said Julie Dodd, director of digital transformation and communication at Parkinson’s U.K., in a statement. “Not only will all the apps and devices in our library have been rigorously quality checked by Our Mobile Health, but our user panel will provide real-life feedback and guidance for other users.” In the library, which is expected to launch in 2018, people with Parkinson’s can expect to find apps that track symptoms and help them to manage their condition. Our Mobile Health will source the apps from developers and review them against their quality assurance process. The reviews are conducted by a panel of independent experts and look at a range of areas like patient safety, data security and indicators of effectiveness.”