Omada Health’s digital coaching lowers diabetes risk
SAN FRANCISCO – Omada Health’s digital behavioral coaching program reduces overweight and obese seniors’ risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, a study has shown. “This study validates what our team has known for a while: that American seniors can—and will—reduce their risk of chronic disease by engaging with a properly designed digital health intervention,” said Sean Duffy, Omada CEO and co-founder. Researchers studied 1,121 adults enrolled in Omada’s digital coaching program. The subjects were all age 65 or older with a baseline body mass index of 24 or higher, and with risks for diabetes and heart disease. The program features an initial 16-week online educational program followed by ongoing coaching and notifications to sustain behavioral changes, a social network support group, a professional health coach to facilitate group and individual counseling, and tracking tools like wireless scales and activity trackers. At the end of six months, participants on average reduced their body weight by 6.8%, with those who completed the program averaging a weight reduction of 7.3%.
Global Kinetics’ KinetiGraph gets FDA clearance
MELBOURNE – Global Kinetics has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Personal KinetiGraph, a device designed to improve the assessment and monitoring of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders that affect movement. “This technology brings clinicians a whole new level of accurate information to support more effective and timely treatment decisions,” said Malcolm Horne, Ph.D., Global Kinetics co-founder, in a press release. The Personal KinetiGraph is a wrist-worn device that automatically records motion data over a period of up to 10 days. Clinicians receive detailed information about a patient’s mobility, identifying changes and trends that could help in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s. The device can also remind patients to take medication and track when it is taken to help with adherence. “The Personal KinetiGraph provides clinicians with a clear and accurate assessment of the patient experience outside of office visits and examinations,” said Andrew Maxwell, Global Kinetics managing director and CEO, in a statement.
Telemonitoring helps control diabetes, study says
EDINBURGH, Scotland – Patients with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes had better glycemic control and a reduction in blood pressure when using telemonitoring intervention, suggests a recent Telescot Diabetes Pragmatic Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial. The trial monitored 321 patients over a nine-month period. Half of the patients self-measured and transmitted their morning and evening glucose to their primary care nurses at least twice weekly, as well as blood pressure and weight at least weekly. Nurses contacted the patients to make treatment changes or reinforce lifestyle advice. The other half received usual care, including at least an annual review and more frequent reviews for people with poor glycemic or blood pressure control.
Cigna expands telehealth access, choice
BLOOMFIELD, Conn. – Cigna will expand access and choice to affordable telehealth services for its members in 2017 by adding AMWELL to its existing offering of MDLIVE. “Since Cigna began offering telehealth to customers 10 years ago, we’ve learned a few things about how we can help people benefit from their plans in the ways that matter most: increased access and convenience, choice, care quality and affordability,” said Robert Wijnhoven, Cigna telehealth lead, in a press release. Both AMWELL and MDLIVE operate national networks of board-certified doctors that are able to treat minor medical conditions such as allergies, cold and flu, and sinusitis. Additionally, members who have mental health/substance abuse benefits with Cigna will have the option next year for individual therapy or medication management through video-based services. “We believe the best telehealth makes access to trusted, traditional health care providers more convenient, affordable and timely,” said Dr. Roy Schoenberg, AMWELL CEO and co-founder.
TeleHealth Services named finalist for NCTA award
RALEIGH, N.C. – TeleHealth Services has been named a finalist in the North Carolina Technology Association’s awards program. TeleHealth Services, a provider of interactive patient engagement and education solutions, was named a finalist in two categories recognizing innovation and leadership, Industry Driven and Communications Technology. The company develops, sells and supports technology for hospitals using patient televisions as a platform for patient engagement.
Abbott receives FDA clearance for continuous glucose monitor
ABBOTT PARK, Ill. – Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Pro continuous glucose monitor has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “This novel technology provides a solution to the ongoing challenge of the need for complete and dependable glucose data,” said Jared Watkin, Abbott senior vice president of diabetes care, in a statement. A healthcare professional applies the sensor on the patient, where it remains for up to 14 days, requiring no patient interaction with the device or the need for fingerstick blood draws. The sensor continuously measures glucose and records levels every 15 minutes. After 14 days, the patient returns to the healthcare professional, who downloads and reads the results. The system has had CE Mark clearance in Europe since 2014.
Mobile app helps women manage heart health
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Wanda, a digital health platform for chronic health condition management, has launched myWanda, a mobile app specifically for women to improve the health of their hearts. “Our goal is to empower women with the tools and knowledge they need to take control of their own health,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Wanda’s medical director. The myWanda app encourages women to set specific lifestyle goals, known as “pathways,” for exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management and hydration. The app then delivers daily tips, advice and inspiration to help women stay on track to achieve the goals.
Baxter Regional Medical Center to offer telehealth through grant
ASHDOWN, Ark. – Baxter Regional Medical Center has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide a telehealth care management program. The $320,538 grant will fund a program that includes remote patient monitoring and a free, 24-hour nurse help line. BRMC was one of 18 projects in 16 states to receive such a grant.
Telemonitoring app keeps tabs on active seniors
TRUMBULL, Conn. – A new app from FallCall Solutions LLC helps caregivers monitor elders by allowing them to receive heart rate, GPS location and simple communications. By pressing “I’m OK” or “Call Me” on the ElderCheck Now app’s two-button interface, the app will collect the most recent heart rate sample and GPS location, and transmit the information back to the caregiver. “We are hoping to inspire more seniors to embrace these new apps and give them the confidence that they need to get out on their own adventures,” said Dr. Kristin Gregg, FallCall co-founder.
Study of adults with COPD, pneumonia, asthma shows ResApp’s accuracy is high
PERTH, Australia – Digital health company ResApp’s mobile app is 91% to 100% accurate in distinguishing adult patients with COPD, asthma or pneumonia from subjects with no discernable respiratory disease, a recent study has found. The app was 100% accurate in distinguishing patients with an upper respiratory tract infection. The results are part of an ongoing study at Joondalup Health Campus and Wesley Hospital. Using ResApp, a patient coughs or breathes into a smartphone’s microphone and a machine-learning algorithm diagnoses conditions, including COPD, pneumonia, asthma and upper respiratory tract infections.
Web-based platform connects caregiving teams
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A new web-based platform called alska has launched, connecting caregivers and caregiving teams with secure hosting and permission-based sharing of medical and clinical records, health directives and more. “Immunization records, health history, prescriptions, emergency contacts, allergy information, discharge instructions and health directives are very important to have in one place, and the right information at the right time can be lifesaving for a chronically ill patient,” said Michelle Chaffee, alska founder, in a press release. alska is a secure, cost-efficient caregiving platform that consolidates and streamlines caregiving duties. Secondary caregivers, family and friends can get permission-based access to certain or all information, and they can log in to get patient updates or connect with the caregiving team at any time. Private information is secure, whether the site is at rest or when sending information over the Internet.
Apps should augment clinical diagnoses, Harvard researchers say
BOSTON – Human doctors are more accurate than many popular symptom-checker mobile apps, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School. “Clinical diagnosis is currently as much art as it is science, but there is great promise for technology to help augment clinical diagnoses,” said senior investigator Ateev Mehrotra, an associate professor of health care policy at HMS, in a statement. The study, published recently in the JAMA Internal Medicine, asked 234 physicians to solve 45 clinical vignettes that included patient history, but no results from a physical exam or other test findings, and to name the most likely diagnosis and two other possibilities. The results were compared to the results from 23 symptom-checker apps. The physicians outperformed the apps, listing the correct diagnosis first 72% of the time, compared with 34% of the time for the apps. Clinicians listed the correct diagnosis in the top three possibilities 84% of the time, compared with 51% for the apps. Researchers said developing computer-based algorithms in conjunction with human decision-making may help further reduce diagnostic errors.
New Zealand’s largest health insurer rolls out workplace wellbeing program
AUCKLAND – Southern Cross Health Society will launch a workplace wellbeing program next month, aimed at workers and families across New Zealand. “We want to enable our clients and their employees to understand and take control of their personal wellbeing by connecting to a wide range of wearables and other related apps,” said Chris Watney, Southern Cross’ head of product and marketing, in a statement. New Zealand’s largest health insurer will implement dacadoo’s Health Score Platform as the foundation of the program. The app helps people actively manage their health through online games, collaborative features like social networks, and personalized feedback to engage people to remain active.
FDA offers guidance on software-as-a-medical-device
SILVER SPRING, Md. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released draft guidance on the requirements for clinical evaluation of software-as-a-medical-device (SaMD). The draft guidance is intended to provide “globally harmonized” principles around when and what type of clinical evaluation is appropriate. “Based on the significant impact SaMD has on clinical outcomes and patient care, a SaMD manufacturer is expected to gather, analyze and evaluate data, and develop evidence to demonstrate the assurance of safety, effectiveness and performance of the SaMD,” the guidance states. Public comment on the draft guidance is being accepted.
UnitedHealthcare offers tech-based weight loss program
MINNETONKA, Minn. – UnitedHealthcare will offer a personalized, interactive online weight loss program to more than 2.4 million people enrolled in its employer-sponsored health plans in January 2017. Real Appeal uses personal coaches and an Internet TV show to motivate people to lose weight, get active and stay healthy. “Real Appeal creates an environment that keeps people intrigued, and works to ensure their healthier behaviors stick for a lifetime,” said Jeff Alter, CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Commercial Group, in a statement. Participants in Real Appeal will be able to use a smartphone, tablet or computer to: view an online TV show; participate in live, face-to-face video conferencing and interactive messaging; receive appointment scheduling, alerts and reminders; and track their goals.