Johnson takes reins of ATA
ARLINGTON, Va. – Ann Mond Johnson has been named CEO of the American Telemedicine Association. She will lead efforts to build strategic partnerships and alliances that leverage advanced health care technology to give consumers access to top-quality and cost-effective care. “With Ann’s invaluable experience working across the health care spectrum with providers, payers and innovative technology firms, we have the powerhouse leadership to achieve our objectives, seize new opportunities and take telehealth to the next level,” said Dr. Peter Yellowlees, president of the board of ATA, in a statement. Johnson has spent most of the last two decades in health care technology in Chicago, as both an entrepreneur and executive leader. Before joining ATA, Johnson was CEO of Zest Health, a company that leverages technology to guide employees through their health insurance benefits to save them and their employers time and money. “Consumers are increasingly savvy about using technology in their everyday lives and have come to expect it, even in health care,” said Johnson in a statement. “Telemedicine represents the future of health and wellness, and I’m excited by the enormous opportunity in front of us.”
New platform uses technology to highlight benefits of condition management
DANVERS, Mass. – HealthView Services, a provider of health care cost data to financial service firms, and the Mercy health system have launched HealthyCapital, a platform that provides data and applications that calculate expected health care costs for individuals based on health condition, age, gender and where they live. The joint venture’s physician- and actuary-reviewed approach draws upon clinicians, 70 million medical cases, and government and economic data, along with HealthView Services’ decade of experience in health care cost projections and Mercy’s extensive experience in population health management. “Until now we haven’t had access to actuarial data that shows individual patients the financial benefits of health condition management and lifestyle changes,” said Dr. Raymond Weick, chief medical officer of HealthyCapital, in a statement. “HealthyCapital addresses this need.” Emphasizing the benefits of clear financial incentives and condition management support, HealthyCapital will provide support services to help individuals follow treatment protocols and adopt healthier behaviors. The company’s platform offers users the option to sign up for health coaching through a text messaging service, which sends tailored messages based on individual health care goals.
Medopad raises $28M, expands leadership
LONDON – Health technology artificial intelligence company Medopad has raised $28 million in Series A funding toward a target of $120 million. The company’s health care technology data-capture platform connects patients and health care professionals in real time, enabling patients to continuously capture data through a broad set of modules and connected devices, then transmitting the collected data to health care professionals. “We now have several amazing strategic investors in the business, which is a great achievement for us as we gear up for significant growth and scale our business,” said Dan Vahdat, CEO of Medopad, in a statement. “Managing population health is one of the greatest challenges for governments across the world; we are proud to be at the forefront of solving this problem.” By improving the communication between patients and healthcare professionals, Medopad enables proactive early intervention, operational efficiencies and cost savings. The platform uses artificial intelligence to analyze collected data and develop predictive insights to detect life-threatening medical conditions. The company’s primary customers include hospitals, pharma companies, insurance companies and governments. Medopad has also announced that it has appointed industry leaders Stuart Fletcher, former CEO of BUPA Group, and Simon MacKinnon, chairman of Sinophi Healthcare, as non-executive directors.
MyTelemedicine teams with PACEMD for Spanish-language telehealth
McKINNEY, Texas – Digital health care technology company MyTelemedicine has partnered with PACEMD, an international organization focused on supporting health initiatives in Latin America, to provide telehealth services to Spanish-speaking patients in the United States and Mexico. “We are excited to partner with PACEMD and reach a broader patient population in their native language to ensure they have access to quality health care,” said Rey Colon, CEO and founder of MyTelemedicine, in a statement. Started in 2002, PACEMD provides hands-on, community-based training to physicians and other health care providers in rural Mexico and Latin America. MyTelemedicine has previously formed strategic partnerships with Univision and other Hispanic enterprises. In 2016, it launched the industry’s first comprehensive Spanish-language telehealth platform and service model, Acceso a un Medico, that allows users to access their personal health portals online or through a smartphone app, and connects them 24/7 with fully licensed, Spanish-speaking physicians nationwide and in Puerto Rico.
Companies receive patent for outpatient ECG system
PLANO, Texas – MEDICALgorithmics and its U.S. subsidiary Medi-Lynx Cardiac Monitoring L.L.C. have received a broad patent for a new outpatient electrocardiogram monitoring and home-based cardiac tele-rehabilitation system, for use in both low- and high-risk cardiovascular patients. The system is currently under review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “We’ve applied learnings from our world-class remote arrhythmia monitoring system, PocketECG, to advance remote cardiac rehabilitation, providing physicians with real-time streaming of the full disclosure ECG signal, physical activity and symptom monitoring, and holster quality reporting to more accurately monitor and care for their heart patients,” said Marek Dziubinski, CEO of MEDICALgorithmics, in a statement. The MEDICALgorithmics system and online portal provides physicians the ability to actively monitor patient recovery around-the-clock with a single lead smart phone-sized device. Exercise modules built into the monitor control the intensity of a patient’s exercise based on their real-time heart rate and a built-in accelerometer allows for better tracking of physical activity and more accurate heart rate analysis. All data is continuously transmitted to a physician or monitoring center, so the patient’s heart is constantly monitored and urgent issues are identified. If any ECG abnormalities are detected, the patient is informed to stop the exercise and contact medical personnel. Serious abnormalities are automatically detected and the physician/monitoring center alerted.
Sensor-based fingertip glucose scanner ready for production
TOKYO – Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, Dynamic Brain Lab’s GlucoScanner fingertip sensor-based blood glucose scanner is moving into the production phase. The device assesses tissue light absorption data so it does not require finger pricking and uses an integrated system of sensors, mobile apps and data services to measure glucose levels and other vitals such as heartbeat and blood oxygen concentration. “In May we will be ready to start our pilot clinical study,” said Stefano Valenzi, co-founder of Dynamic Brain Labs, in a statement. “Consequently we want to proceed with a large scale testing in medical facilities to improve our product performance and raise the user experience as much as possible.”
Wildflower Health develops app for Wyoming Medicaid
SAN FRANCISCO – Wildflower Health has teamed up with the Wyoming Department of Health to release a new mobile health app that connects families to health resources on their smartphone. The Family Health mobile app allows families to track their health and growth. “The Family Health app provides a channel for Wyoming residents to be involved and engaged in their health care,” said Dr. James Bush, medical director for the Wyoming Department of Health, that state’s Medicaid program, in a statement. “Resources available from our department are found throughout the app, just by simply entering in the resident’s zip code, offering digital support to Wyoming families.” Features of the app include: profiles for everyone in the family with information about health milestones for men and women, adults and children; connections with local resources, such as the Wyoming Quit Tobacco Program or Wyoming Cancer Resource Services; tools like Vaccination Tracker, Weight Tracker and Height Tracker; and customized tools for an expectant mother and newborns like Kick Counter, Growth Tracker, Diaper Tracker and Feeding Tracker.
Cambia Health Solutions, Lemonaid Health pilot online intake
SAN FRANCISCO – Cambia Health Solutions health plan subsidiaries has selected Lemonaid Health to pilot a new way to get health care for select large employer groups. Pilot participants will be able to access medical advice and prescriptions for a defined list of common conditions by submitting answers to questions on an online intake form without having to meet with a physician in-person or over live video. It is an asynchronous form of a doctor visit called eCare.
“We are excited to pilot this with a select group of employers who can provide Lemonaid’s simple and convenient care options to their employees,” said Brodie Dychinco, general manager of Convenient Care for Cambia Health Solutions, in a statement. A patient completes a structured online intake form that a doctor then reviews. In states that require a live video visit between the doctor and the patient, Lemonaid doctors conduct an immediate short video visit.
Researchers develop elastic skin display
TOKYO – Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed a new ultrathin, elastic display that fits snugly on the skin and can show the moving waveform of an electrocardiogram recorded by a breathable, on-skin electrode sensor. Combined with a wireless communication module, the “skin electronics” integrated biomedical sensor system can transmit biometric data to the cloud. “Our skin display exhibits simple graphics with motion,” said Takao Someya, lead researcher, in a statement. “Because it is made from thin and soft materials, it can be deformed freely.” The system enhances information accessibility for people such as the elderly or the ill, who tend to have difficulty operating and obtaining data from existing devices and interfaces. Someya said it has the potential to help ease the strain on home health care systems in aging societies through continuous, non-invasive health monitoring and self-care at home. The new integrated system combines a flexible, deformable display with a lightweight sensor composed of a breathable nanomesh electrode and wireless communication module. Medical data measured by the sensor, such as an electrocardiogram, can either be sent wirelessly to a smartphone for viewing or to the cloud for storage. The display is stretchable by as much as 45% of its original length and the nanomesh skin sensor can be worn on the skin continuously for a week without causing any inflammation. “The current aging society requires user-friendly wearable sensors for monitoring patient vitals to reduce the burden on patients and family members providing nursing care,” said Someya. “Our system could serve as one of the long-awaited solutions to fulfill this need, which will ultimately lead to improving the quality of life for many.”
JDRF, Cam Med partner to develop patch insulin pump
NEW YORK – The Juvenile Diabetes Research and Cam Med, a developer of microfluidic-based drug delivery technologies, are partnering to develop an insulin pump for next-generation artificial pancreas systems. The funding commitment from JDRF will enable Cam Med to further the development of the Evopump, an ultra-thin and flexible, bandage-like patch pump.
“The Evopump represents the type of miniaturized and user-centric design that could substantially reduce the burden of living with Type 1 diabetes and remove obstacles preventing some people, particularly children, from using devices that could improve their glucose management,” said Jaime Giraldo, program scientist, research, at the JDRF, in a statement.
InTouch Health earns KLAS distinction
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Telehealth platform provider InTouch Health has been awarded the KLAS Category Leader distinction for Virtual Care Platforms in the recent 2018 Best in KLAS: Software & Services report. “Our top priority is to deliver the world’s most secure, reliable and scalable telehealth solution to our customers, so they can deliver state-of-the-art, life-saving care to patients every day,” said Joseph DeVivo, CEO of InTouch Health, in a statement. “To hear from our customers and from KLAS that we deliver upon and beyond our promise only proves our continued commitment to excellence, innovation and high quality care.” The Category Leader designation is given to vendor solutions that lead select market segments in which at least two products meet a minimum level of “KLAS Konfidence.” The company was also recognized as the highest-rated vendor in KLAS’ October 2017 performance report on Telehealth Virtual Care Platforms.
Chronicare integrates Biocorp smart insulin pen cap into diabetes management platform
ISSOIRE, France –Chronicare, a company developing connected monitoring solutions for chronic disease patients, will integrate Biocorp’s Easlylog smart insulin pen cap device into its Chronicare Connect platform to improve medication adherence through remote monitoring, reminders and notifications, data analytics and coaching services. “As a smart sensor converting all insulin delivery devices into Internet-connected and communicating devices, Easylog is a keystone of Chronicare’s offering,” said Eric Dessertenne, deputy CEO of Biocorp, in a statement. “In addition, it enlarges the scope of partnerships that Biocorp has engaged through health systems, health care providers, disease management and population health companies. Incorporating Easylog into Chronicare Connect is strategic and our teams will continue to work hand in hand to make sure we’ll offer the best possible solution.” Easylog is a smart sensor that transforms all classic pen injectors, disposable and reusable, into smart, connected devices. It captures key treatment information like dose, date and time, and transfers it to the Chronicare Connect mobile app. This integrated solution includes other Bluetooth devices like a blood glucose meter and medication bottle cap, both of which connect to the Chronicare Connect platform to provide important patient treatment information. The company plans to add more connected devices to its portfolio as Chronicare expands into other chronic conditions.
W21C teams with AGE-WELL on aging in place innovation
CALGARY, Alberta – The Ward of the 21st Century (W21C), a health systems research and innovation initiative, has been named a new AGE-WELL Core Facility in Human Factors and Usability Testing.
W21C is focused on improving patient safety and quality of care and is based in the University of Calgary’s O’Brien Institute for Public Health and in the Calgary zone of Alberta Health Services.
Launched in 2015 through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program, AGE-WELL is Canada’s Technology and Aging Network with a mission to accelerate innovation in the field of technology and aging that will improve quality of life and produce economic and social benefits for resident.
“The W21C will be a great resource for AGE-WELL researchers, trainees and network partners,” said Dr. Alex Mihailidis, scientific director of AGE-WELL, in a statement. “It will provide a collaborative space and expertise to help bring new ideas, prototypes or health care products for testing in pre-clinical and clinical environments.”
W21C’s facilities include the Healthcare Human Factors and Simulation Laboratory, which serves as a test-bed for innovative medical technologies and approaches. W21C’s Human Factors team uses a variety of research methods to gain a better understanding of human-system interactions to inform decisions, from product design to policy.
“Our organizations both place a premium on involving end-users―the people who will actually use our innovations―at all stages of product design and evaluation,” Mihailidis said. “This partnership will help ensure that our network members get the user’s perspective, so that we come up with useable, real-world products to support older adults and their caregivers.”
AGE-WELL core facilities promote and trigger national and international interactions for AGE-WELL and provide physical and/or virtual venues for researchers to meet, collaborate and exchange ideas.
“Finding solutions to aging in place is a strategic research priority for W21C,” said Dr. John Conly, medical director of W21C, in a statement. “Our partnership with AGE-WELL provides an exciting opportunity for us to collaborate at a national level―working with industry, government, patients and their families, and other health care providers to develop and test innovations that will enable us to age where we choose.”
Viz.AI gets FDA approval for stroke app
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has permitted marketing of the Viz.AI contact app, a type of clinical decision support software designed to analyze computed tomography (CT) results that could notify providers of a potential stroke in their patients.
“The Viz.ai LVO Stroke Platform is the first example of applied artificial intelligence software that seeks to augment the diagnostic and treatment pathway of critically unwell stroke patients,” said Dr. Chris Mansi, CEO of Viz.ai, in a statement. “We are thrilled to bring artificial intelligence to health care in a way that works alongside physicians and helps get the right patient to the right doctor at the right time.”
The Viz.AI Contact application is a computer-aided triage software that uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to analyze images for indicators associated with a stroke. The FDA is currently creating a regulatory framework for these products that encourages developers to create, adapt and expand the functionalities of their software to aid providers in diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions.
The Viz.AI Contact app is designed to analyze CT images of the brain and send a text notification to a neurovascular specialist if a suspected large vessel blockage has been identified. The algorithm will automatically notify the specialist during the same time the first-line provider is conducting a standard review of the images, potentially involving the specialist sooner than the usual standard of care, in which patients wait for a radiologist to review CT images and notify a neurovascular specialist. The notification can be sent to a mobile device, such as a smart phone or tablet, but the specialist still needs to review the images on a clinical workstation.
The app was reviewed through the FDA’s De Novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for some new types of medical devices that are low to moderate risk and have no legally marketed predicate device to base a determination of substantial equivalence. This action also creates a new regulatory classification, which means that subsequent computer-aided triage software devices with the same medical imaging intended use may go through the FDA’s premarket notification process, whereby devices can obtain marketing authorization by demonstrating substantial equivalence to a predicate device.
Study shows ketogenic diet, mobile app can reverse Type 2 diabetes
SAN FRANCISCO and WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A ketogenic diet combined with remote monitoring through a mobile app could reverse Type 2 diabetes, according to a recently published study by Virta Health in Diabetes Therapy.
The study also showed that the treatment could improve other chronic metabolic diseases without medication or surgery intervention.
Virta Health, in collaboration with Purdue University and IU Health, has been conducting the ongoing five-year trial. The published study included one-year outcomes of 349 patients with Type 2 diabetes.
A control group of 87 patients elected to receive usual care provided by their own physicians and dieticians following the American Diabetes Association recommendations; the other 262 patients elected to adopt individualized, low carbohydrate, high fat nutrition, while being connected to a health coach and physician via a mobile application with educational resources.
The study focused on five points: access to a health coach, a physician for medication management, biomarker feedback, nutrition and behavior change education, and an online community.
“We feel that it is really important to support a patient in many different ways,” said Dr. Sarah Hallberg, the study’s principal investigator, in a statement. “Making lifestyle changes can be hard, but the ability to ask questions whenever necessary provided patients with a support system to stay on a potentially life-changing program.”
The dietary intervention promoted non-starchy carbohydrate sources with a moderate protein intake, which enabled patients to sustain nutritional ketosis, where the body uses fat as its primary fuel source instead of glucose. Patients also interacted with their health coach or physician through the mobile app, sometimes multiple times per day.
“Due to the unique structure of the trial and use of telemedicine, we helped prevent any significant hypoglycemic events,” Hallberg said. “Instead of patients scheduling an office visit, they could log their blood sugar and ketone levels in the app. Then, both the patient and I could track their levels and make adjustments accordingly.”
Of the study’s 262 intervention patients, 83% remained in the program. The patients also showed an average decrease of 1.3% in hemoglobin A1C, a marker that represents a person’s average blood glucose over the last three months. In addition, patients saw a 12% weight loss during the year.
The findings demonstrated a reversal in diabetes progression, Hallberg said.
“Our results push against the accepted norm that A1C cannot be improved while taking patients off of medication,” she said. “Our trial shows we did both—sometimes in a matter of weeks—and sustained and even improved results at one year. Establishing the right intervention and remote support resources is critical for our treatment approach.”
Virta Health has opened an office in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette that will be led by Hallberg. Other collaborators include the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles; Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Genetics, St. Louis; and Ohio State University, Department of Human Sciences, Columbus, Ohio. Any individual with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes can sign up for the Virta Treatment.