NuvoAir launches Bluetooth spirometer
STOCKHOLM – NuvoAir has launched the Air Next spirometer for people with ongoing lung conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis. The Air Next is a new version of the company’s Air Smart Spirometer. It measures FVC and FEV1 and uses Bluetooth Low Energy to transfer the device’s data to a smartphone, tablet and the cloud, where patients or caregivers can access it. “NuvoAir has demystified spirometry by bringing it directly into the hands of patients and physicians across the world,” said Lorenzo Consoli, CEO of NuvoAir, in a statement. “Our technology empowers patients to take control of their health.” The company will offer a software development kit soon to software developers to create custom apps that will use the data generated by the spirometer.
Livongo acquires Retrofit
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. and CHICAGO – Livongo Health has acquired Retrofit, a provider of weight-management and disease-prevention programs. The acquisition enables Livongo to more fully address the needs of people at risk for and living with chronic health conditions. “Retrofit has built strong, evidence-based offerings in weight management and disease prevention and brings a great group of committed people,” said Glen Tullman, CEO of Livongo, in a statement. “For our members, we now have more services that make it easier to prevent individuals from getting sick and, if they do, working with them to return to health and stay healthy. And for our clients, we’re now addressing the comprehensive health challenges their employees face, with the goal of caring for each as a whole person.” The acquisition also allows Livongo to blend its technology driven contextual “nudges” with a nationwide team of health coaches to support members with a wider range of weight-management and nutrition services. Livongo will also be able to offer Retrofit’s Diabetes Prevention Program as Livongo DPP powered by Retrofit. “Retrofit and Livongo are like-minded in strategy, values and culture,” said Mary Pigatti, CEO of Retrofit, in a statement. “Together, we will provide a comprehensive set of solutions for the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions that address the whole person.”
Video app by emocha effective for TB treatment adherence, study finds
BALTIMORE – Video directly observed therapy can be an effective way to help people with tuberculosis adhere to their treatment and lower costs, according to a study published recently in Oxford Academic. A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine studied 28 patients to determine whether the video platform emocha could be an alternative to increase treatment flexibility and better meet patient-specific needs. “Video DOT is an acceptable and important option for measurement of TB treatment adherence and may allow a higher proportion of prescribed treatment doses to be observed, compared with in- person DOT,” wrote Samuel Holzman, one of the researchers, in the study. Medication adherence with vDOT was comparable to that of in-person DOT, but the researchers found an estimated cost savings with vDOT of $1,391 per patient for a standard six-month treatment course. “Video DOT may be cost-saving and should be considered as a component of individualized, patient-centered case management plans,” Holzman wrote.
San Antonio Endovascular & Heart Institute deploys Bioflux
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The San Antonio Endovascular & Heart Institute has deployed Biotricity’s Bioflux mobile cardiac telemetry solution to help diagnose cardiac arrhythmias, enhance patient outcomes, improve patient compliance and slow health care costs. “I love the simplicity the Bioflux technology provides for my patients, which should encourage greater compliance and improved data collection,” said Dr. R. Stefan Kiesz, president and CEO of SAEHI, in a statement. “I’m also optimistic and excited about the prospects and applications of this platform in other medical markets serving outpatient treatments.” The Bioflux system consists of the Bioflux device, proprietary software and a 24/7 monitoring center, extending the support a patient receives at a care facility into the patient’s home. The device monitors a patient’s electrocardiogram in near real-time, constantly analyzing and collecting data on the device and periodically uploading to the cloud via embedded cellular technology. “Bioflux was purposely built for cardiac patients who require active monitoring because, until now, short-term monitoring or admission into the hospital for long-term observation was the most accessible option,” said Waqaas Al-Siddiq, founder and CEO of Biotricity, in a statement.
Steth IO develops smartphone stethoscope
SEATTLE – Steth IO has developed a smartphone stethoscope, which brings real-time visualization to heart and lung sounds and enables physicians to see auscultation sounds they may not hear. The device is integrated into a smartphone case and requires no batteries or charging and can be used with just one hand. It works in conjunction with a mobile app. “I have been using this product for a few months now and, as well as helping my diagnoses, I’ve found patients are much more engaged in their own physical exam,” said Dr. Mahesh Mulumudi, founder of Steth IO and a practicing cardiologist, in a statement. “They love to see and hear their own heart and lung sounds.”
Umana launches tattoo heart monitor
BIRKIRKARA, Malta – Umana Medical Technologies has developed a tattoo with sensors to measure vital signs like electrocardiogram data and other biomarkers. The Umana T1 Heart Monitor is made from a clear film with conductive sensors. Once the tattoo is applied, a small lightweight device is attached to store and share a stream of accurate real-time vital signs, such as ECG data and respiration rate, which are shared directly with clinicians. The monitor is part of an ecosystem of medical software, a smartphone app, online dashboards, data-analysis algorithms, and online and offline data access. An independent clinical trial was launched this month with 2,000 patients at the national hospital in Malta, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. “Finally, we are able to accurately collect and monitor patients’ important medical data without interfering with their day-to-day activities,” said Dr. Samuel Meilak, who is leading the clinical trial, in a statement. “The ease of access, coupled with the data analysis capabilities are complete game-changers.” The device will be launched across Europe in 2018.
Partnership creates registry for people with Marfan syndrome
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – The Marfan Foundation and Backpack Health have entered a partnership that enables The Marfan Foundation to create a patient registry to help advance the understanding of Marfan syndrome. The patient registry will leverage de-identified, aggregated data to perform meta analyses, allowing patients to receive customized information to manage and support their care. “By working together, The Marfan Foundation and Backpack Health can accelerate our joint mission of empowering patients affected by rare disease, advancing research goals, fostering strong community ties with patients, and allowing individuals to play an active role in research that may lead to new treatments,” said Michael Weamer, president and CEO of The Marfan Foundation, in a statement. The Marfan Syndrome and Related Disorders International Patient Registry is scheduled to launch this month with an initial goal of enrolling 6,000 patients in three years. Those who join the registry will receive a subscription to Backpack Health, an app-based personal health records tool. Marfan syndrome is a life-threatening genetic disorder of the body’s connective tissue.
Ascensia releases upgraded diabetes app
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ascensia Diabetes Care has launched an upgraded version of the Contour Diabetes app, featuring My Patterns, which uses algorithms to more intelligently analyze blood glucose results received from the Contour Next One meter and deliver meaningful feedback to patients. “The My Patterns feature on the new Contour Diabetes app represents a real advance in the use of data for diabetes management,” said Michael Kloss, CEO of Ascensia Diabetes Care, in a statement. “This can help people with diabetes stay on track between visits to their doctor and can provide meaningful information for more informed consultations.” Once it has notified the user that a sub-optimal pattern has been identified, the app prompts them about the possible causes of the pattern and provides guidance to help address it. It allows patients to set reminders or use testing plans to help improve their blood glucose patterns and tracks their progress to see if the pattern improves over time. The latest version of the app includes the ability to recognize 14 different patterns and use 11 different structured testing plans.
Health2047 receives $27M investment from AMA
MENLO PARK, Calif. – Health2047 has raised $27.2 million in funding from its founding partner, the American Medical Association, to advance the development and commercialization of technology-based solutions for chronic disease reduction, radical productivity change and value-based health care. “This new investment will help us create much-needed changes in the U.S. health care system,” said Lawrence Cohen, CEO of Health2047, in a statement. “We will deploy this new investment to broaden our network of strategic partners and accelerate the pace at which we are able to develop and spin out new businesses.” The company also expanded its leadership team to include: Gary Cookhorn, CFO; Daphne Li;
Piers Nash; and Lúcia Soares. “Improving the health of the nation is at the core of the AMA’s work, and the innovation that Health2047 is leading can address some of the greatest challenges in health care today,” said James Madara, CEO of the AMA and Health2047 board chair, in a statement. “Our mutual goal is to improve both care delivery and health outcomes to benefit the nation’s physicians and their patients.”
Industry leaders form new health care technology venture firm
NEW YORK and MINNEAPOLIS –Three health care industry leaders have formed a venture capital firm that will invest in health care technology and service companies transforming care delivery to America’s most vulnerable populations. Town Hall Ventures will be led by Andy Slavitt, former administrator of the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services and group executive vice president of Optum; Trevor Price, founder of Oxeon Holdings; and David Whelan, managing general partner of Oxeon Ventures and formerly general partner and CFO of investment firm Accretive. “We are at the beginning of a wave of innovation serving Medicare and Medicaid populations,” Slavitt said in a statement. “Town Hall is being formed to help lead this massive and necessary shift. The answers are not always traditional; they involve investments in underlying systemic issues, as well as innovative approaches that improve people’s health and well-being.” In addition to the three partners, the founding team includes: David Mishkin; Natalie Davis; and Lauren Robb. Town Hall Ventures’ first investments include: Cityblock Health, which provides services to address unmet health and social needs in urban populations; Somatus, Inc., providing treatment and new models of care for chronic kidney patients; Welbe Health, a provider of integrated medical and social services to frail seniors who qualify for PACE; and Aetion, a provider of real-world analytics and evidence to help biopharma companies and payers better understand how drugs work in the real-world to enable value-based care.
Dictum Health, eMD partner to expand access to telehealth for rural communities
OAKLAND, Calif. – Virtual exam room technology provider Dictum Health is partnering with telehealth company eMD to expand access to specialty and emergency care in rural communities. eMD will use Dictum Health’s VER products, which provide simultaneous video conferencing and viewing of comprehensive vital signs, cardiopulmonary data and medical images for immediate diagnostic assessment and medical decisions in-clinic or in the field. “We are filling gaps in the continuum of care where and when patients need it most,” said Joe Monsour Jr., founder and CEO of eMD, in a statement.
Aspire Ventures aims to fast-track health innovation
TEL AVIV, Israel, NEW YORK and LANCASTER, Pa. – Private equity firm Aspire Universal and LG Health have launched the Aspire Ventures Precision Medicine Fund to accelerate innovation for precision medicine.
The mission of the AVP is to transform and improve population health by leveraging artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to develop cutting-edge precision medicine technologies that could have a national, or even global, impact.
The AVP will invest in devices and therapies that leverage AI and the IoT to deliver affordable solutions at a massive scale that take into account each individual’s DNA, microbiome, biochemistry and lifestyle.
Leveraging strategic resources like proprietary AI, health data and clinical expertise, the fund aims to accelerate the time-to-market for innovative and transformative personalized health care solutions, the foundation of precision medicine, while maximizing the potential market success rate of those solutions, said Essam Abadir, fund manager of AVP and managing partner of Aspire Universal.
Aspire plans to combine its Adaptive Artificial Intelligence platform and venture expertise with research and clinical expertise from strategic partners targeting an 18-month concept-to-market acceleration.
Clinicians from LG Health and innovators from Aspire will work together to fast-track ventures through clinical trials and FDA approval, Abadir said.
“Integrating better technology into the U.S. health care system is one of the most viable solutions for curbing skyrocketing costs,” he said. “The overwhelming majority of health care investments fail because they are designed in isolation from the health systems that use them. By establishing the new AVP fund, we are pursuing the promise of precision medicine as one of the main drivers for health care transformation.”
Companies form data safety alliance
SAN DIEGO – Technology and health companies Arm, ForgeRock, Philips and Qualcomm Life, along with innovative healthcare startups Sparsa and US TrustedCare, have launched a collaborative effort focused on enhancing data from medical devices to enable more trustworthy data sourcing and consented patient-information sharing.
OpenMedReady is a framework designed to complement existing standards in remote clinical care by addressing five critical areas in remote patient monitoring: patient identity, device identity, data integrity, patient privacy and consent.
As a part of the framework, OpenMedReady will use capabilities such as fingerprint biometrics, available in many smartphones, with connected medical sensors to add patient identity into the data stream. The framework also includes device identity, which ensures that clinicians are aware of the actual device from which a reading was taken, helping to connect patient to device for data transparency and clarity. The framework is designed to be readily implementable by telehealth service providers and medical device vendors for improved clinical decision-making.
“Historically, clinicians have been reluctant to use remote patient data for clinical decision-making due in part to the concerns regarding identity management, consent and data integrity,” said Dr. James Mault, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Qualcomm Life, in a statement. “OpenMedReady combines connected sensors with modern smartphone capabilities to provide doctors a cryptographic log of a patient’s identity, their device’s identity, and their consent, giving care teams the confidence they need to treat patients based on data acquired remotely.”
University of New Mexico Hospital to use Glytec’s technology for diabetes patients
WALTHAM, Mass. – University of New Mexico Hospital will use Glytec’s eGlycemic Management System to help reduce hypoglycemia in patients with diabetes.
“With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid poised to institute a new quality measure for severe hypoglycemia, I would say our decision to implement Glytec’s eGlycemic Management System is very timely,” said Dr. Kendall Rogers, division chief of hospital medicine at University of New Mexico Hospital, in a statement. “We believe that using Glytec’s eGlycemic Management System will not only help elevate our performance, but will make it far easier for our physicians and nurses to effectively care for hospitalized patients with diabetes.”
The eGlycemic Management System centers on decision support for personalized insulin dosing and has been designed in accordance with standards of care sanctioned by the American Diabetes Association, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Society of Hospital Medicine and Society of Critical Care Medicine.
The technology will be integrated with University of New Mexico Hospital’s electronic medical record and deployed across the institution for both critically ill and non-critically patients.
In addition to the eGMS technology suite, Glytec will provide University of New Mexico Hospital with a comprehensive array of expert professional services and methodologies tailored to workflows and configured for safe and effective management of intravenous and basal bolus insulin, as well as the transition from IV to subcutaneous insulin.
“We look forward to improving our transition management and further standardizing our nursing practices with a system that makes it easy to do the right thing and gives us the data and reports we need to continually improve our care,” said Dr. Matthew Bouchonville, medical director of Endo ECHO at University of New Mexico Hospital, in a statement.
Preventice partners with GE Healthcare to bring ECG in-home
BOSTON – GE Healthcare is expanding its electrocardiogram services into the home by partnering with Preventice Solutions, a mobile health and remote monitoring systems provider.
Through the collaboration, clinicians will have access to ECG data from home-based cardiac patients by integrating in-hospital ECG; long-term Holter, cardiac event monitoring; and mobile cardiac telemetry results into a single portal using the GE Healthcare MUSE cardiac management system.
“Our relationship holds the power to create a consistent patient experience and a high standard of clinical care, providing hospital-quality ECG algorithms to ECGs acquired outside the hospital,” said Ashutosh Banerjee, diagnostic cardiology general manager at GE Healthcare, in a statement. “This alliance will help standardize operations management and workflow for health care providers.”
Preventice Solutions also recently launched the BodyGuardian Mini—compactly designed technology that includes a lightweight cardiac monitor that enables up to 14 days of ECG measurements that are transmitted to a physician in an easy-to-read, data-rich report.
“Our vision for the BodyGuardian Heart system has been grounded in transformative advancement of the technology to address patient and physician needs,” said Jon Otterstatter, CEO of Preventice Solutions, in a statement. “It is an example of technology progress that directly enhances patient compliance through ease-of-use and comfort, based on its small size and reusable, waterproof design.”
The BodyGuardian Mini device features a wearable patch that can be moved and reapplied by the patient. The patch can also be replaced during monitoring without jeopardizing data collection or requiring the patient to return to the clinic.
CMS plans to increase access to telehealth with Rural Health Strategy
WOODLAWN, Md. – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the agency’s first Rural Health Strategy last week, a strategy intended to ensure that individuals who live in rural America have access to high quality, affordable health care.
“For the first time, CMS is organizing and focusing our efforts to apply a rural lens to the vision and work of the agency,” said Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, in a statement. “The Rural Health Strategy supports CMS’s goal of putting patients first.”
One of the focuses of the agency-wide Rural Health Strategy is to advance telehealth and telemedicine access in rural areas. Other focuses include: applying a rural lens to CMS programs and policies; improving access to care through provider engagement and support; empowering patients in rural communities to make decisions about their health care; and leveraging partnerships to achieve the RHS’s goals.
CMS plans to transform access to telehealth by paying for additional services and making it easier for providers to bill Medicare, Verma said.