Fitbit selected for NIH study
SAN FRANCISCO – Fitbit has been selected as the first wearable for use in the national All of Us research program established by the White House in 2015. All of Us seeks to enroll 1 million or more participants to accelerate research that may improve the ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual characteristics. Researchers will use data gathered from the program to learn more about how individual differences in lifestyle, environment and biological makeup can influence health and disease. The project is funded by an award from the National Institutes of Health to The Scripps Research Institute. As a subset of the All of Us program, the STSI leads The Participant Center, a unit tasked with enrolling and engaging diverse populations across the country. Through this network, STSI will provide up to 10,000 Fitbit devices to a representative sample of All of Us volunteers for a one-year study. At the end of the study, the researchers will provide recommendations on how the devices could be more broadly incorporated into the All of Us research program.
The study will also generate a data set to explore the relationship between health indicators such as physical activity, heart rate and sleep in conjunction with other health outcomes that will be captured as part of All of Us. “As part of the global shift towards precision medicine, wearable data has the potential to inform highly personalized healthcare,” said Adam Pellegrini, General Manager of Fitbit Health Solutions, in a statement. “Through this historic initiative, we will be able to see the role that Fitbit data can play on the path to better understanding how individualization can help to prevent and treat disease.”
AMC Health selected for hypertension study
NEW YORK – Virtual care solutions provider AMC Health has been selected as the telemonitoring provider for HealthPartners Institute’s continuing high blood pressure study, Hyperlink. Previous phases of the Hyperlink study have shown positive results for home telemonitoring of hypertension. Recently, HealthPartners was awarded $6 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for the expansion of the study to include a larger sampling of patients. In the second phase of research, AMC Health and HealthPartners will work together to monitor patients’ blood pressure from home, along with a direct link to pharmacists or nurse practitioners. The monitoring, in addition to regular doctor visits, will determine if telemonitoring can improve a patient’s health and decrease blood pressure more than traditional clinic-based care. AMC Health will provide patients with in-home devices to measure their blood pressure and data will be sent through AMC’s CareConsole clinical platform into the HealthPartners electronic medical record. “Our study will show whether telehealth improves hypertension care for patients who are enrolled directly from a real-world primary care setting,” said Dr. Karen Margolis of HealthPartners in a statement.
Humana to use Revon’s self-triage app in COPD study
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Digital therapeutics company Revon Systems is partnering with Humana on a pilot for a select population of Medicare Advantage members diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “We are pleased to work with Humana on their Bold Goal to reduce chronic disease by 20% by 2020,” said Ted Smith, CEO of Revon Systems, in a statement. “We know that COPD can be a challenge for patients to manage, and we hope that Revon’s Smart Symptom Tracker technology will result in more Healthy Days for the participating members.” The pilot will use Revon’s Smart Symptom Tracker mobile app and the free Breathe COPD Resource Kit, which contains a pulse oximeter and thermometer. The app features a self-triage function intended to guide members toward the right level of care. The program seeks to evaluate the impact of digital therapies on clinical and business outcomes.
Brodsky recognized for home care contributions
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Bert Brodsky, founder of Sandata Technologies, recently received the Lillian D. Wald award from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York for his work as an entrepreneur in advancing health care technology. In particular, VNSNY recognized Brodsky for his work in introducing Electronic Visit Verification technology to the market. Sandata Technologies provides home care solutions that enable government agencies, managed care organizations and home care providers to manage and optimize the delivery of home care services. The Lillian D. Wald award is in honor of the founder of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and is presented to those who have made significant contributions to the health and welfare of others. VNSNY recognized Brodsky for his contributions to VNSNY and to the home care industry.
Study finds Glytec digital system reduces readmissions
WALTHAM, Mass. – When providers used the Hospital-to-Home module of Glytec’s eGlycemic Management System to guide insulin regimens prescribed at discharge, patients had no diabetes-related readmissions, urgent care visits or emergency department visits within the first 30 days, according to a study led by Eastern Virginia Medical School and presented at the recent 17th Annual Diabetes Technology Meeting. “For patients with diabetes, laying a foundation for optimal recovery and well-being following hospitalization means we need to give appropriate consideration to insulin regimens prescribed at discharge,” said Dr. Jagdeesh Ullal, the study’s principal investigator, in a statement. “The study suggests that an evidence-based software solution like Glytec’s can help overcome this inertia and be of great value.”
SnapMD adds Spanish capabilities
LOS ANGELES – Telehealth technology provider SnapMD
has expanded its Virtual Care Management telemedicine platform language offerings to include support for Spanish-speaking patients. “SnapMD built the VCM platform to deliver all the features and functions needed for a true point-of-care solution,” said Dave Skibinski, president and CEO of SnapMD, in a statement. “The development of Spanish-language capabilities allows us to further our mission to help providers deliver care virtually to conquer the last mile in healthcare.” SnapMD’s VCM telemedicine platform is designed specifically for health care providers to integrate the technology into existing operating models. When using the VCM platform, patients will now have access to user-friendly Spanish support throughout the patient portal. By clicking the flag icon, the language selector will open so that patients can easily choose their preferred language thus optimizing their virtual care experience.
Researchers develop smartphone-compatible spectrometer
WASHINGTON — Researchers at Zhejiang University in China have developed a wireless handheld spectrometer that is compatible with smartphones and could be used for point-of-care diagnosis in remote locations, according to a study published in the journal Biomedical Optics Express. “Many home-made portable spectrometers use a smartphone camera to acquire data and a phone cradle that contains other necessary optics,” said Fuhong Cai, one of the study’s authors, in a statement. “The cradle can be hard to align correctly and makes it awkward to wave the smartphone over the body.” Rather than using a smartphone camera to acquire images, the new spectrometer uses a commercially available complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor camera that wirelessly transmits images to a smartphone. They also used it to scan a person’s hand, obtaining a 16-second video containing 200 spectral images. From the 3D spectral images, the researchers could distinguish five fingers and the palm and saw differences in hemoglobin distribution in various parts of the hand. “We want to develop ways to use machine learning algorithms to analyze the massive amounts of data that could be collected with the portable spectra imager,” said Sailing He, a member of the research team, in a statement.
AMA online community connects physicians, health tech entrepreneurs
CHICAGO – A new online platform designed to bring physicians and health tech companies together has been launched by the American Medical Association to develop and improve health care technology solutions. The Physician Innovation Network is an online community where physicians can find and connect with companies and entrepreneurs who are seeking physician input in the development of health care technology products and services. “We know that when physician expertise is aligned with input from partners on the leading edge of health technology, we produce meaningful results,” said Dr. David Barbe, president of the AMA, in a statement. “The Physician Innovation Network will help ensure that physicians play a greater role in leading digital health innovations that expand the bounds of science, enhance patient care and shape a better health system.” The platform provides an online forum for physicians to explore paid and volunteer opportunities to collaborate with health tech companies and allows companies to search for physicians with specific expertise who are interested in and can offer feedback on their solutions, as well as access to virtual panel discussions with experts.
USC designs app to increase physical activity
LOS ANGELES – Researchers at the University of Southern California will use a grant from the National Institute on Aging to develop and test a mobile app designed to increase seniors’ levels of physical activity. “We’re looking at a wonderful opportunity for utilizing mobile devices to promote wellness and prevent disease,” said Stacey Schepens Niemiec, assistant professor of research at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, in a statement. The MovingUp app features messaging that promotes positive attitudes toward aging, a coach that suggests ways to intensify everyday activities and peer-generated suggestions for activities to combat sedentary time. The researchers will beta test the app with research participants and analyze the resulting data to discover what parts of the app are most effective and why. “We intend to truly harness this technology’s life-changing potential for older adults,” said Schepens Niemiec.
Byteflies joins Google Launchpad
SAN FRANCISCO & ANTWERP, Belgium – Wearable health startup Byteflies was selected to join the Google Launchpad Studio program to generate medical insights from raw sensor data. Google Launchpad Studio vets all technical and business plans for its startup candidates then brings them together with Google products and research teams in a six-month program. “We are excited to work with Byteflies,” said Malika Cantor, global lead at Google Launchpad Studio, in a statement. “They share our vision of applying machine learning to enable new applications in the healthcare industry.” Byteflies’ Sensor Dot is a modular wearable that uses machine learning to measure any vital sign, anywhere, anytime. “Two key components are needed to establish the importance of wearables in healthcare: high quality vital sign data and medical insights gleaned from those vital signs,” said Hans Danneels, CEO and co-founder of Byteflies. “Our versatile and modular Byteflies Sensor Dots take care of the first—with Google Launchpad, we can achieve the latter by working with the best machine learning experts in the world.”
Telehealth can manage chronic conditions but barriers remain, study finds
ONTARIO – A study published recently in JMIR Medical Informatics concluded that telehealth can reduce the cost of managing chronic conditions like hypertension, but barriers remain in its adoption. “There are potential benefits for implementing telemedicine programs with patients dealing with chronic conditions,” the study’s authors wrote in the article. For the study, researchers reviewed available published data to collect information about self-management of hypertension through the use of telemedicine. Results showed the use of telehealth to manage the condition: increased access to care for patients; increased patient knowledge and involvement in treatment; advanced technology with remote monitoring; and reduced costs. The biggest barriers to the adoption of telehealth to treat hypertension were found to be a lack of evidence to its effectiveness and difficulty for patients to maintain self-management. “Understanding the facilitators and barriers to implementation is important, as is understanding how these factors will impact a successful implementation of telemedicine in the area of self-management of hypertension,” the authors wrote.
Anthem launches Engage digital platform
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Anthem Blue Cross has launched an integrated digital health platform called Engage that creates a personalized member experience by connecting health plan and benefits data with individual clinical and claims data and information pulled from health and wellness apps.
“Engage is born out of Anthem’s commitment to provide an engaging health care experience for everyone while sparking personal action and empowerment,” said Brian Ternan, president of commercial business at Anthem Blue Cross, in a statement. “Rather than contending with a myriad of one-off digital offerings that address only small portions of their health benefits and health care or fitness data, Engage brings together an individual’s health and benefits into one location, empowering employees with information and support for better health and better health care decisions.”
The platform offers employers access to a single web and mobile digital solution that brings all of their employees’ key health and benefits together in one place, providing employees with personalized messaging based on their individual clinical and claims data.
Developed in collaboration with Castlight Health, Engage includes online guidance and support on health care questions, including assistance to locate after-hours health care and information on out-of-pocket costs for lab tests, procedures and prescription drugs, as well as access to information on all of the doctors and hospitals in a member’s network. The digital health platform also connects to fitness trackers and can be used to administer wellness challenges and incentives, helping support a company’s culture of health.
iHealthHome integrates digital care plan tools
SEATTLE – Software vendor iHealthHome announced a release of their Interactive Plan of Care solution that provides care managers with mobile and telemonitoring tools to coordinate care and leverage in-home technologies that help seniors stay healthy and independent at home.
“What makes our Plan of Care unique is that it truly allows care managers to meaningfully include family members, caregivers and even the client to become active members of the care team,” said Dew-Anne Langcaon, founder and CEO of iHealthHome, in a statement. “We believe in integrating caregiver tasking with biometric telehealth monitoring with community resource management, all within the context of the senior’s goals, and we have worked very closely with highly experienced community care managers to develop this closed-loop approach to care planning.”
Langcason said introducing proactive technology-enabled care processes into the home encourages better adherence to the care plan by seniors, improves accountability of caregivers, gives family members peace of mind and provides physicians with important information about the senior at home to supplement and enhance their medical decision making, all of which improves the quality of care at home and reduces the cost of aging in place.
Researchers find mHealth consultations ease treatment process, reduce costs for RA patients
SAN DIEGO – Researchers in China have developed a new online consultation tool for people with rheumatic disease that eases the process and reduces costs of treatment, according to new research findings presented at the recent American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.
The researchers from multiple institutions collaborated to develop the Smart System of Disease Management, a series of mobile applications based on clinical data and a system that includes online consultation via a mobile app.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the economic feasibility and medical benefits of using SSDM for online consultation with a rheumatologist.
Dr. Fei Xiao, lead author of a study on the research, said more than 100 million people in China with rheumatic disease seek treatment from only about 5,000 rheumatologists, so they end up traveling long distances and extended wait times. The study showed that RA patients trained to use SSDM were able to perform self-management afterward, including disease activity scoring of 28 joints, health assessment questionnaire evaluations, and medication and lab test data entry. The patients also saved money in consultation fees.
The researchers also found that 66.35% of participating patients were satisfied with SSDM.
“SSDM inspires a paradigm shift in medical care for chronic disease through empowering the patient,” said Xiao in a statement. “Based on the trajectory and real-time data, physicians are able to take proactive interventions and turn passive practice into outcome-driven care.”
Xiao said the model can be replicated into the other disciplines and fields of chronic disease.