Oscar Health plans expansion
NEW YORK – Tech-focused health insurance company Oscar Health is expanding its plan to six states next year, including New York, New Jersey, Texas, California, Tennessee and Ohio. “Why seek to expand in a time of uncertainty?” wrote Mario Schlosser, CEO and co-founder of Oscar, in a blog post. “We’re confident that when the dust settles, the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018.” Oscar Health offers a mobile app to guide members through its network.
think3D plans medical device printing facility
ANDHRA PRADESH, India – think3D is planning to build a $6 million 3D medical device printing facility. The 3D printing platform company will develop the project as part of a collaboration with the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone, an entity created by the national and provincial governments to modernize the country’s medical device manufacturing industry. The facility’s use of 3D printing technology will allow the manufacturers to avoid large, risky investments in new equipment by instead using 3D manufacturing technology on a pay-per-use basis.
Einstein Healthcare chooses Teladoc for telehealth goals
PURCHASE, N.Y. – Einstein Healthcare Network has selected telehealth provider Teladoc to further its goals of improving patient follow-up care and increasing patient volume. “Care delivery is changing, with telehealth being a necessary component today, and so Einstein Healthcare Network chose a telehealth partner with the experience, vision and long-term commitment to successfully guide us through this endeavor,” said Dixie James, vice president, planning and business development at Einstein, in a statement. The Teladoc Readiness Assessment tool was a driving factor in Einstein’s selection of Teladoc, said James, and is a key component in establishing the health system’s comprehensive telehealth rollout. The Readiness Assessment outlines a three-year telehealth roadmap, defining each phase, beginning with deployment to Einstein’s employees as a cost reduction measure. Einstein Healthcare Network is a 1,044-bed integrated delivery network serving the Pennsylvania communities of Philadelphia and Montgomery.
Vodafone adds iGlucose meter to IoT
LONDON – Telecommunications company Vodafone is adding Smart Meter’s iGlucose platform to its global Internet of Things network. The iGlucose blood glucose meter wirelessly sends blood glucose readings and other information to a personal web portal via Vodafone’s global IoT network. In the web portal, the person with diabetes and their designated caregiver can access customized trend reports and digital logbooks that are automatically updated every time the person with diabetes tests. “The reliable and instantaneous two-way communication we can provide through an affordable platform is a real game-changer for people that are managing diabetes,” said Cliff McIntosh, CEO of Smart Meter, in a statement. “Vodafone listened to our needs, provided a customized solution to fit our requirements, and offered the expertise and ability to give us seamless global accessibility.” The iGlucose platform sends personalized text messages or emails to family members or other designees.
Bruin Biometrics develops handheld bedsore scanner
LOS ANGELES and MANCHESTER, England – A recent study at 12 hospitals, nursing homes and long-term rehabilitation centers in the U.S. and U.K. showed that a wireless handheld scanner developed by Bruin Biometrics detected bedsores developing under the skin earlier than visual inspection of the surface of the skin. “With these new findings, we expect that early detection technology will move to the forefront of bedsore prevention,” said Rachael Lester, vice president of product for Bruin Biometrics, in a statement.
Akili adds to executive team
BOSTON & SAN FRANCISCO – Akili Interactive Labs has named Robert Perez as executive chairman. Perez, former CEO of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, has been a commercial advisor with the digital medicine platform company for the past year and will now move into a more official leadership role as the company continues its growth, said Eddie Martucci, president and CEO of Akili, in a statement. The company, which has developed an interactive digital therapeutics interface for neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, has also added Glenn Entis and Noah Falstein as executive advisors. Entis is the former CEO of DreamWorks Interactive and Falstein was previously chief game designer at Google. Akili’s Project:EVO platform is currently being evaluated in a clinical trial. The company is building clinically validated cognitive treatments and assessments that are delivered in an action video game interface.
Influenza patch succeeds in clinical trial
ATLANTA – A phase I clinical trial conducted by Emory University, in collaboration with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, has found that influenza vaccination using a patch with dissolvable microneedles was safe and well-tolerated by study participants, according to results published in a recent issue of The Lancet medical journal. The study also found that the patch was equally effective in generating immunity against influenza and was strongly preferred by study participants over vaccination with a hypodermic needle and syringe. “Having the option of a flu vaccine that can be easily and painlessly self-administered could increase coverage and protection by this important vaccine,” said Dr. Nadine Rouphael, principal investigator of the clinical trial. The researchers also are working to develop microneedle patches for use with other vaccines, including measles, rubella and polio.
Sanagate launches dacadoo health coaching app
ZURICH, Switzerland – Health insurer Sanagate AG has launched a digital health coaching platform for its members. The SanaHealth mobile app, created by digital health care company dacadoo, encourages users to improve their health by developing healthier lifestyle behaviors. The app measures all aspects of a person’s health and provides a health score. An automated coach keeps users on track by providing personalized messages. “This innovative app adds to Sanagate’s digital insurance strategy to provide customers with easy-to-use mobile tools to manage all aspects of their health insurance,” said Antonia Lepore, head of marketing and services at Sanagate, in a statement.
Technology, financial incentives have little effect on adherence, study finds
YARMOUTH, Me. – Wireless technology has little effect on medication adherence or outcomes for heart failure patients, according to a study published recently in the publication JAMA Internal Medicine.
While wireless technology and behavioral economic approaches have shown promise in improving health behaviors, the study’s authors wrote, the HeartStrong Randomized Clinical Trial did not back up the theory.
Some 1,500 patients ages 18-80 with acute myocardial infarction and taking a combination of medications participated in the study. The participants had been hospital inpatients for up to 180 days and discharged home.
About 1,000 of the patients used smart pill bottles, a lottery incentive and social support, with about 500 using usual care. The objective of the study was to see if the technological, financial or social interventions could delay subsequent vascular events.
The study’s authors found that there was no significant difference in medication adherence, hospital readmissions, medical costs or mortality between the two groups.
mHealth coaching helps patients manage blood pressure, weight
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Mobile health coaching apps can help overweight patients lose weight and manage high blood pressure, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
“Mobile phone app-based health coaching interventions can be an acceptable and effective means to promote weight loss and improve blood pressure management in overweight or obese individuals,” wrote the study’s author, Dr. J Nwando Olayiwola of the University of California San Francisco.
The retrospective study used existing registry data from a pilot commercial collaboration between Vida Health and a large national insurance provider, which enrolled adult members who were overweight and able to engage in a mobile phone-based coaching intervention. Participants received four months of intensive health coaching via live video, phone and text message through the Vida Health app. Participants were also provided with a wireless scale, pedometer and blood pressure cuff.
Participants in the intervention group lost an average of 3.23% total body weight after four months of coaching and 28.6% intervention participants achieved a clinically significant weight loss of 5% or more, with an average of 9.46% weight loss in the intervention group. In the matched-pair control group, participants gained on average 1.81% total body weight in four months without Vida coaching and lost, on average, 2.47% total body weight after four months of Vida coaching.
Participants also improved their blood pressure at the four-month mark.
“Given the ubiquity of mobile phones, digital health coaching may be an innovative solution to decreasing barriers of access to much-needed weight management interventions for obesity,” wrote Olayiwola.
Patients would welcome virtual physician visits, survey finds
WASHINGTON –A majority of consumers would welcome virtual health provider visits, according to a new Virtual Visits Consumer Choice Survey from Advisory Board.
Up to 77% of consumers would consider seeing a provider virtually—and 19% already have, according to the survey.
“Across industries, consumers have become accustomed to using virtual technology for both real-time and asynchronous interactions,” said Tom Cassels, national strategy partner at Advisory Board, a best practices research and consulting firm, in a statement. “Health care providers can no longer wait to catch up.”
The survey tested several types of virtual visits and found many interested more than 70% of respondents, including a prescription question or refill, pre-surgery and select post-operation appointments, receiving ongoing results from an oncologist and ongoing care for chronic condition management.
Overall, the survey found that the majority of the nearly 5,000 survey respondents reported that they would be willing to consider a virtual visit in each of the 21 primary and specialty care scenarios tested.
Among survey respondents, care quality was the top concern with a virtual visit, followed by the provider not being able to diagnose or treat them virtually. Very few respondents said they had no concerns about virtual visits.
When Advisory Board conducted hundreds of interviews with health care leaders, researchers discovered a common barrier to growing a mature program—physician resistance.
“Many physicians perceive their patients as only being interested in having an in-person relationship with their doctor, especially when it comes to specialty services,” said Cassels. “The survey results indicate otherwise.”
Cricket Health, American Kidney fund partner for patient education
SAN FRANCISCO – Cricket Health, a developer of technology-enabled care solutions for chronic kidney disease patients, is teaming up with the American Kidney Fund, to bring education and support to advanced stage CKD and end-stage renal disease patients.
“Cricket Health’s platform is a great complement to the patient-focused programs and services we provide,” said LaVarne Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund, in a statement.
Over the summer, 100 advanced stage CKD and ESRD patients from AKF’s patient network will voluntarily enroll in Cricket Health’s online kidney care platform, which connects patients and their loved ones to structured, multi-channel educational content, virtual health care expertise and a community of peers and patient mentors to help them make informed decisions regarding ongoing disease management and treatment options.
These 100 patients are the first large group participating in the platform, which Cricket Health is refining for a wider commercial rollout to providers and health plans seeking a comprehensive education and care management program for CKD and ESRD patients.
At no cost to them, patients enrolled through AKF will have access to education relative to their condition, a virtual kidney care nurse moderating texts and chats and the Cricket Health community of patient peers and mentors.
“As organizations deeply committed to the best health outcomes for the patients we serve, AKF and Cricket Health are logical partners in helping bring technology and patients together,” said Burton.
Cricket Health is a developer of scalable health care technology services designed to transform the care and treatment of people with chronic kidney disease who are at high-risk of progressing to end-stage renal disease.