Geisinger, Merck launch digital health workflow solutions
DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger and Merck have collaborated to launch two digital health solutions. The Family Caregiver application helps two-way communications and coordination of care for patients and their caregivers. The MedTrue application integrates different medication data sources to assist with medication reconciliation and adherence, resulting in a patient- and health care team-verified medication list.
The applications are embedded directly within the electronic medical record and in the health care provider’s workflow, and are accessible to patients, and in the case of the Family Caregiver application, to caregivers. Both solutions can be used from the home. “Our collaboration with Merck has allowed both of our organizations to leverage our individual strengths, expertise and resources to better enable a shared decision-making process through health care technology,” said David Ledbetter, executive vice president and chief scientific officer at Geisinger, in a statement. “Providing these tools for patients and family caregivers—tested within our own system—enables patients to be more active in health care decisions and could increase the likelihood that patients will adhere to their treatment plans and lead healthier lives.” The applications will use SMART on FHIR (Substitutable Medical Applications, Reusable Technologies / Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) technology, an open, standards-based platform for utilizing data from disparate EMRs, so both products can be used in health care systems anywhere. “Our experience in collaborating with Geisinger, a progressive, integrated delivery system, has given us many insights on the development and testing of solutions to improve patient care and we are confident these applications can be successful with other health systems,” said Lisa French, associate vice president of strategy and commercial model innovation, U.S. market, Merck, in a statement. “We are excited to begin the next phase of our work together, as we actively explore the expanded use and commercialization of these applications with other stakeholders in the health care system.”
FDA clears PNS systems for chronic pain
CLEVELAND – SPR Therapeutics, a provider of neurostimulation technology for pain, has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its SPRINTendura(single lead) and extensa(dual lead) Peripheral Nerve Stimulation systems. “Our SPRINT PNS platform is designed to deliver the least invasive and most user-friendly PNS therapy experience for physicians and their patients,” said Maria Bennett, founder, president and CEO of SPR Therapeutics, in a statement. The SPRINT PNS platform features: a dual-lead capability that allows physicians to implant two leads connected to a single wearable pulse generator; rechargeable batteries that allow continuous stimulation delivery; and a Bluetooth enabled controller that fosters patient-specific customization and ease of use. Bennett said that preliminary results from a federally funded multicenter study of SPRINT for the treatment of chronic post-amputation pain demonstrate that significant reductions in pain or pain interference were reported among two-thirds of subjects following an eight-week treatment period. Enduring and significant pain relief was reported by 80% of patients who completed the entire 12-month study.
Teva Pharmaceuticals approved to market generic EpiPen
SILVER SPRING, Md. – Teva Pharmaceuticals received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market its generic version of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr (epinephrine) auto-injector for the emergency treatment of allergic reactions. The company gained approval to market its generic epinephrine auto-injector in 0.3 mg and 0.15 mg strengths. “The approval of the first generic version of the most-widely prescribed epinephrine auto-injector in the U.S. is part of our longstanding commitment to advance access to lower cost, safe and effective generic alternatives once patents and other exclusivities no longer prevent approval,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner, in a statement. “We’re advancing new guidance for sponsors to make the development of generic versions of complex products more efficient, and we’re prioritizing review of many complex generic drug applications.” According to the FDA, an authorized generic is made under the brand name’s existing new drug application using the same formulation, process and manufacturing facilities that are used by the brand name manufacturer, but the labeling or packaging is changed to remove the brand name or other trade dress.
CoreHealth Technologies launches MyWellApp
KELOWNA, British Columbia – CoreHealth Technologies has launched MyWellAppto engage participants in corporate wellness programs. MyWellApp is a replacement of the original app called CoreHealth Mobile and showcases the complete functionality of CoreHealth’s corporate wellness platform. Through the app, wellness program participants are able to access and engage with health assessments, challenges, events, health content and video coaching, as well as watch videos and collaborate with other program participants. “MyWellApp is a powerful tool that can help keep employees informed, inspired and engaged,” said Anne Marie Kirby, founder and CEO of CoreHealth Technologies, in a statement. “Our customers now have an additional tool to boost wellness program participation by utilizing the convenience of mobile devices.”
Welltok acquires Wellpass
DENVER – Welltok, a provider of a consumer health activation platform, has acquired Wellpass, formerly Voxiva, a provider of of interactive, text-based programs. The acquisition expands Welltok’s presence in the managed Medicaid and government markets, and brings text messaging capabilities and evidence-based health programs into its consumer health activation platform. “Wellpass is a natural extension of the tremendous work we have been doing to enable health entities to activate consumers by targeting and connecting them with personalized health improvement resources,” said Jeff Margolis, chairman and CEO of Welltok, in a statement. “We look forward to building on Wellpass’ successful creation of consumer-first, actionable solutions that enable managed Medicaid, community focused organizations and state agencies to effectively improve the health and wellbeing of their populations.” Wellpass’ evidence-based, clinically validated programs range from adult and child health to diabetes management, smoking cessation and prenatal care. The acquisition will allow Wellpass’ current clients to more effectively target and engage their members through machine learning and data driven insights, additional outreach channels like interactive voice, chatbot and live coaching, and the ability to incentivize and reward actions. In addition, Wellpass’ interactive programs and capabilities will be available in conjunction with Welltok’s full product suite. “Welltok’s end-to-end platform delivers unparalleled insights and the seamless ability for our clients, and the market at large, to connect individuals with the right resources, programming and incentives that drive action and positive outcomes for all,” said Paul Meyer, CEO of Wellpass and Welltok’s new public and community market president, in a statement.
AHA supports FCC’s Connected Care Pilot
CHICAGO – The American Hospital Association has voiced support for a Federal Communications Commission proposal to create a $100 million pilot program to support telehealth for low-income Americans. The AHA called the Connected Care Pilot Program “a critical next step towards delivering affordable telehealth services to those Americans who need it the most,” in a comment letter sent to the FCC this week. The agency unanimously approved the pilot program in August. “Telehealth connects patients to vital health care services through video conferencing, remote monitoring, electronic consults, and wireless communications,” the AHA wrote in the letter. “Telehealth is rapidly emerging as a cost-effective solution for overcoming many of the obstacles to health care delivery faced in isolated communities.”
A&D Medical launches wrist-worn blood pressure monitor
SAN JOSE, Calif. – A&D Medical, a provider of connected health and biometric measurement devices and services, has launched its line of ULTRACONNECT blood pressure monitors that fits on the user’s wrist. “The recent change in hypertension guidelines from the American Heart Association underscores the need for more consumers to monitor and understand their own blood pressure readings,” said Terry Duesterhoeft, CEO of A&D Medical, in a statement. “That means providing patients with the right tools to make it extremely easy to self-monitor on a regular basis, so they can make changes in their own lives to reduce hypertension-related risks.” The ULTRACONNECT monitors include a tubeless design, a mobile app to automatically detect and connect to the monitor and the ability to save and transfer up to 100 readings.
Researchers develop blood pressure app
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a proof-of-concept blood pressure app that can give accurate readings using an iPhone. Their work was featured recently in Scientific Reports. “By leveraging optical and force sensors already in smartphones for taking ‘selfies’ and employing ‘peek and pop,’ we’ve invented a practical tool to keep tabs on blood pressure,” said Ramakrishna Mukkamala, lead researcher, in a statement. “Such ubiquitous blood pressure monitoring may improve hypertension awareness and control rates, and thereby help reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and mortality.” The team is looking to have an app ready for market by late next year.
OneLife Technologies acquires Yinuo Technologies’ intellectual property
ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – Mobile monitoring, health and medical data company OneLife Technologies has acquired certain intellectual property rights from Yinuo Technologies related to wearable products, designs and work. “The acquisition of Yinuo’s wearable and tricorder assets is yet another milestone for OneLife as we continue to execute our business strategy,” said Robert Wagner, CEO of OneLife Technologies, in a statement. “Owning the intellectual property of these assets further strengthens our company and its position in the rapidly growing remote patient monitoring and telemedicine marketplace.” OneLife plans on launching its newest medical wearable device later this year with a strategy of developing a complete, intuitive mobile health care solution, he said.
Mellitus Health, Smart Meter partner on insulin titration service
TAMPA, Fla. – Through a new partnership, health care providers using Mellitus Health’s Insulin Insights insulin titration service will now have access to real-time patient data from Smart Meter’s iGlucose cellular diabetes care solution to help calculate precise insulin dosing recommendations for patients. “We’re excited to combine the remote monitoring power of iGlucose’s easy-to-use solution with our software’s precision insulin dosing recommendations to bring better glycemic control to insulin-using people with diabetes,” said Josh Davidson, CEO of Mellitus Health, in a statement. A recent remote monitoring study using Mellitus Health’s Insulin Insight software showed a 2.4% drop in HbA1c in 180 days, with no change in patient lifestyle and no severe hypoglycemic events, Davidson said. Smart Meter’s iGlucose solution uses cell-enabled technology to automatically transmit real-time blood glucose results that can be viewed and acted on by a health care team. “Our partnership with Mellitus Health will undoubtedly alleviate hurdles, improve insulin titration recommendations and ultimately deliver better outcomes,” said Cliff McIntosh, CEO of Smart Meter, in a statement. “We are extremely proud of the role our iGlucose solution will play in improving diabetes management.”
Nima launches peanut sensor
SAN FRANCISCO – Connected food sensor provider Nima has launched the Nima Peanut Sensor, a device that follows the previous launch of the Nima Gluten Sensor. “Millions of people with peanut allergies are eating at restaurants every day, not knowing whether or not hidden sources of peanuts in their food is going to make them sick,” said Shireen Yates, CEO and co-founder of Nima, in a statement. “We are so eager to get this device into their hands to help them make more informed decisions about what they eat.” The device tests for the presence of peanut proteins that cause allergic reactions and has been proven to detect 10 parts per million of peanut
Rx.Health raises $1.8M
NEW YORK – Digital medicine platform Rx.Health, a spinoff of Mount Sinai Health System and a provider of RxUniverse, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding. The funding will be used to diversify Rx.Health’s client base and support its Bulk Prescription digital therapeutics and patient engagement tool, which allows health care teams to prescribe digital therapeutics and patient-centered care plans to entire cohorts of patients through a single click. The feature will be initially launched for the treatment and monitoring of various chronic diseases, including respiratory, cardiovascular and gastroenterological illnesses. Patients who do not have their symptoms under control can simultaneously receive immediate access to education, digital therapeutics, or remote monitoring via smartphone or email. Incoming patient data is then integrated into electronic health records and care management dashboards. “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the demand for our services and the landscape of potential clients has broadened,” said Andy Pfau, COO of Rx.Health, in a statement. “By integrating multiple evidence-based solutions under one digital medicine platform, we‘re making digital transformation simple and affordable,” noted Rx.Health COO Andy Pfau. Rx.Health curates digital solutions that are clinically proven to improve patient health, lowering the cost for health systems as they transition to value-based care. RxUniverse is the first enterprise-level, app-prescribing platform that provides an efficient prescription mechanism built into a health system’s EHR, becoming part of an evolving, bundled care plan that provides real-time feedback to providers. The platform gained recognition over the last year after scoring in the 96th percentile on the System Usability Score based on the results of RxUniverse’s eight-week pilot study and facilitated a 40% reduction in readmissions for patients of chronic heart failure. RxUniverse is live in several U.S. health systems, with additional implementations currently underway. “Rx.Health is expanding the model for patient care by extending care outside of the clinical setting and allowing health care systems to harness the power of digital health,” said Erik Lium, executive vice president of Mount Sinai Innovation Partners, in a statement. “Rx.Health is a prime example of the innovative, patient-first discoveries valued by the Mount Sinai Health System and I look forward to seeing its expansion as a leader in digital medicine.”
One Drop platform integrates with Apple Watch
NEW YORK – One Drop has expanded its Apple Watch diabetes management solution with a wireless blood glucose monitoring system that connects directly to Apple Watch, allowing users to accurately log, monitor and share their diabetes data and import other biometric telemetry straight into One Drop for diabetes management.
Previously, One Drop had launched a companion Apple Watch app to manually log blood glucose, food, medication and exercise moments, and view daily stats and goals. Now, One Drop gives users the option to seamlessly transfer blood glucose data from One Drop | Chrome directly to the Apple Watch companion app, making One Drop the first and only device to send blood glucose data directly to Apple Watch, said Jeff Dachis, CEO of One Drop, in a statement.
Apple Watch Bluetooth connectivity is the newest of thousands of One Drop integrations that allow users to pull their data from other apps and devices into One Drop | Mobile. The solution captures data from Apple HealthKit, Google Fit, Fitbit, Dexcom and Companion Medical’s InPen, among others. With the release of iOS 12, One Drop will further expand iOS integrations by launching Apple Health Records and Siri Shortcuts.
Users subscribed to One Drop | Experts can grant their coach permission to view vitals, labs and medications shared to Apple Health Records. Personalized Siri Shortcuts to log food moments and recall average blood glucose and percent in blood glucose range are also featured.
One Drop also recently announced One Drop | Automated Decision Support, which uses artificial intelligence to accurately provide forecasted blood glucose prediction values over time and provide behavioral recommendations based on those predictions. One Drop’s propriety AI generates accurate predictions for a single user based on over 1.3 billion aggregate longitudinal diabetes health data of all people utilizing the One Drop platform. The service will be offered to free mobile users later this month.
“For too long the diabetes industry has operated on point solutions and closed systems focused on the needs of healthcare providers in the clinic, rather than the needs of the people using the systems to manage their disease every day,” said Dachis. “We are excited to further empower One Drop users with this exciting addition to the One Drop experience.”
Quartz Health Solutions succeeds with Kiio digital program
MADISON, Wis. – Quartz Health Solutions has found that plan members who were offered Kiio’s digital program to treat low-back pain experienced a 100% decrease in emergency department and urgent care visits.
Additionally, it found that Kiio participants, compared to a non-participant group, experienced: a 78% decrease in filled opioid prescriptions; 3.5 times fewer MRIs; 1.8 times fewer spinal injections; and a 55% reduction in low-back-pain-related medical spend.
“Back pain has consistently ranked in our top three for both claims prevalence and cost,” said Elaine Rosenblatt, director of quality and care management at Quartz Health Solutions, in a statement. “Kiio provided an innovative approach that helps our members live healthier lives, take fewer medications and avoid unnecessary medical services.”
Given the positive results, Quartz Health Solutions is moving forward with a full rollout of the Kiio program, Rosenblatt said.
More than 85% of participants said the program helped them to better manage their pain. They reported that they used the program more regularly because of its easy 24/7 access, interactive digital coaching and the accountability tools that kept them on track.
“Forward thinking health plans and employers are seeking new consumer-centric approaches for chronic health issues,” said David Grandin, founder and CEO of Kiio, in a statement. “Kiio helps people get back to enjoying their lives.”
Quartz Health Solutions is also working with its provider partners to integrate the program into primary care to achieve more extensive reach and benefits for its members.
“The program aligns with our strategic initiatives to achieve wellness, optimal member experience and opioid reduction, and is a new tool for our provider partners,” said Rosenblatt. “We’re extremely excited by the potential to have a broader impact.”
Patients use mHealth to track pain, study finds
STAMFORD, Conn., and DANVILLE, Pa.– Patients in a study conducted by Purdue Pharma and Geisinger are using wearable health technology frequently and consistently to document pain scores, medications, alternative therapies, sleep and activity, according to a recently-released interim analysis.
“We are encouraged by these interim data and pleased to report that adding wearable health technology to our Multidisciplinary Pain Program has been well received by patients and, furthermore, has increased communication between providers and patients,” said Dr. John Han, director of the department of pain medicine at Geisinger, in a statement. “The integration of wearable health technology augments the assessments conducted in clinic with patient-reported data. The additional data seem to be supporting more robust interactions between doctors, clinic staff and patients compared to what we’ve seen when patients rely on memory to describe their pain between clinic visits.”
The ongoing, prospective, non-randomized, non-blinded trial with historic and concurrent controls will assess the effect of wearable health technology on patient and health system outcomes. Announced last year, the study is designed to assess the effect of the addition of wearable health technology on patient and health system outcomes within a multidisciplinary pain program for patients with chronic pain in the Geisinger health care system.
The wearable health technology under evaluation includes an Apple Watch and iPhone equipped with a pain app, and a customizable provider dashboard to facilitate review of the collected data and discussions with patients. The app and dashboard were designed specifically for this study.
“We’re pleased to see patients benefiting from the technology,” said Thomas Alfieri, director of medical affairs strategic research at Purdue Pharma, in a statement. “We believe there is a strong potential for wearable health technology to be used by patients with chronic pain and other chronic conditions, and this analysis provides important information that will inform the use of such technologies in the future.”
Cigna launches $250M venture fund
BLOOMFIELD, Conn. – Cigna is committing $250 million to the newly launched Cigna Ventures, a corporate venture fund focused on transformative and innovative health care companies.
“Cigna’s commitment to improving the health, well-being and sense of security of the people we serve is at the front and center of everything we do,” said Tom Richards, senior vice president and global lead, strategy and business development at Cigna, in a statement. “The venture fund will enable us to drive innovation beyond our existing core business operations, and incubate new ideas, opportunities and relationships that have the potential for long-term business growth and to help our customers.”
Cigna Ventures will focus on investing in startups and growth-stage companies in three strategic areas: insights and analytics; digital health and retail; and care delivery/management.
Richards said Cigna Ventures was created to help Cigna identify, assess and sponsor early-stage innovation ideas that warrant deeper exploration through focused pilot and test-and-learn activities with the goal of realizing meaningful business value.
The fund builds on Cigna’s existing venture activity, including collaboration with five venture capital partners and an equal number of existing direct investments, including Omada Health, Prognos, Contessa Health, MDLIVE and Cricket Health.
“Our partnership with Cigna has been about so much more than capital,” said Sean Duffy, co-founder and CEO of Omada, in a statement. “The ability to collaborate with, learn from, and integrate deeply with a health services company so dedicated to delivering a 21st-century care experience to its customers and clients has enabled us to accelerate innovation, advance our capabilities, and grow our customer base.”