Philips acquires RespirTech, plans to expand at-home respiratory care
AMSTERDAM – Royal Philips has signed an agreement to acquire Respiratory Technologies, Inc. (RespirTech), a provider of an airway clearance vest for patients with chronic respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis. The expansion of Philips’ respiratory care portfolio with RespirTech’s vest therapy solution and robust clinical support program for in-home respiratory care will further strengthen Philips’ solutions to manage care at home, said John Frank, Philips’ business leader, Sleep & Respiratory Care, in a statement. “With this transaction, we will broaden our portfolio with a proven therapy to enable patients with chronic respiratory disorders to manage their condition and receive the care they need in the
home,” he said. “By helping these patients help themselves, we aim to enhance the patient’s quality of life and reduce the overall cost of care.” RespirTech was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in St. Paul, Minn. The company employs approximately 210 employees.
Wearable patch can detect sleep apnea
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – A wearable patch developed by Somnarus can effectively detect sleep apnea, according to study results presented at the recent SLEEP 2017 annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. “Our study showed that this wearable home sleep monitor is very comfortable, easy to use and does not negatively affect sleep,” said principal investigator Maria Merchant, CEO of Somnarus Inc., in a statement. Study results showed that the total rate of clinical agreement between SomnoPatch and standard in-lab polysomnography was 87.4% According to the authors, the study results will be used in obtaining approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the skin-adhesive diagnostic patch, which weighs less than one ounce and records nasal pressure, blood oxygen saturation, pulse rate, respiratory effort, sleep time and body position. An additional home usability study found that 38 out of 39 users were successful in activating the patch and collecting at least four hours of sleep data while relying only on the instructions included with the device.
Dementia apps privacy policies lacking, study finds
BOSTON – Most dementia apps lack privacy policies, according to the results of a Harvard Medical School study that was published recently in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. “Despite tremendous growth in the number of health apps, little is known about the adequacy of protections for app users’ health data,” said the researchers. “This is particularly concerning for apps targeting dementia patients, whose cognitive impairment puts them at increased risk of privacy breaches.” Researchers evaluated 125 dementia apps, 33 of which had available privacy policies. They found that among policies detailing individual-level protections, the majority had missing information and acknowledged collecting individual data for internal purposes. Most also named instances in which user data would be shared with outside parties. “Bolstering safeguards and improving communication about privacy protections will help facilitate consumer trust in apps, thereby enabling greater use by adults with dementia and their caregivers,” the researchers concluded.
New online tool will help health device makers get to market
LONDON – The United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is launching a fee-based online tool to help
health device makers get their products to market faster. The Medtech Early Technical Assessment (META) tool will help companies identify what evidence they already
have and what gaps need to be filled to satisfy payers. The new tool will help developers of medical devices and diagnostics generate evidence to show their products are clinically relevant and cost effective. The tool will enable companies to better articulate the benefits of their products, and will help companies prepare for a dialog with health technology assessment organizations and payers, said Leeza Osipenko, head of NICE Scientific Advice, the institute’s fee-based consultancy service, in a statement. She said META is aimed primarily at small- and medium-sized companies.
Updated seizure app works with Apple Watch
ORLANDO, Fla. – SeizAlarm has released an update to its seizure detection app for people with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. SeizAlarm: Seizure Detection 3.0 was developed for Apple devices, including the Apple Watch. When a help request is sent to the user’s caregivers, the caregiver receives a text message, email and a phone call to alert them. The user’s GPS coordinates are also sent so the caregiver, so they know exactly where the user is located. The app’s “delayed help” feature can be used for those that frequently have auras (simple-partial seizures) that don’t always lead to a
convulsive grand mal seizure, allowing the user to start a time-delayed help request. Users are able to track seizure events, and the app supports multiple emergency contacts, so more than one person can be contacted when help is needed.
NeuroMetrix launches blog for people with chronic pain
WALTHAM, Mass. – NeuroMetrix, Inc. has launched a blog that will serve as an online resource for people affected by chronic pain, the user base for its Quell wearable pain relief technology. LivingQuell will cover a variety of topics for those living with pain, their loved ones, caregivers, clinicians and more. It will include perspectives on industry news, viewpoints from pain management and sleep healthcare professionals, and real stories from Quell users. “A blog that supports our customers in new ways with content from their peers, as well as experts, was a logical next step in our mission,” said Dr. Shai Gozani, president and CEO of NeuroMetrix. “Our hope is for LivingQuell to bring greater awareness, insight and education to the broader chronic pain conversation and to Quell users.”
Medtronic closed loop insulin system now available
DUBLIN, Ireland –Medtronic’s hybrid closed loop system for people with Type 1 diabetes is now available in the U.S., following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year. “We’ve essentially designed a smarter insulin pump that alleviates some of the burden associated with diabetes management, which can be unrelenting and exhausting,” said Alejandro Galindo, president of the Intensive Insulin Management division within the Diabetes Group at Medtronic, in a statement. The MiniMed670G features the company’s most advanced SmartGuard HCL technology and Guardian Sensor 3 to self-adjust basal insulin delivery every five minutes based on real-time needs. Through this personalized design, the system is able to maximize the amount of time sugar levels stay within a range considered healthy by clinical standards. The system also exclusively features the Contour Next Link 2 blood glucose monitoring system from Ascensia Diabetes Care.
Inova, ContinuumRX team to serve northern Virginia patients
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Personalized health system Inova will work with ContinuumRX, a provider of home infusion and pharmacy services, to provide services to patients across northern Virginia and surrounding areas. “Inova and ContinuumRX understand that the continuum of care does not end when a patient leaves the hospital,” said Dr. Loring Flint, Inova’s chief medical officer, in a statement. “It is critical for health systems to identify new and innovative ways to deliver the best possible care for the patients they serve both inside and out of the hospital to improve patient satisfaction, outcomes and reduce unnecessary readmissions.” The new venture will begin serving patients in the fall.
Oculus Health recognized by SiliconIndia
BOSTON – Oculus Health Care was recently chosen for a SiliconIndia’s Top 20 siTech 2017 award for its technology-driven personalized care management. “We’re very excited to be selected and recognized for this extremely prestigious award,” said Dr. Kishori Somyreddy, co-founder and chief medical officer for Oculus Health, in a statement.
SiliconIndia is the largest community of Indian professionals featuring technology, business, entrepreneur news, jobs and career opportunities and more. The awards recognize the 20 most promising technology companies in the U.S. being led by Indian-Americans. “Oculus uses behavior science to help people change their habits, improve their health and better manage their chronic diseases,” Somyreddy said.
VA technology programs recognized
WASHINGTON – The print and digital publication Federal Health IT has recognized several innovative health information technology programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs, including a video telehealth program and a mobile app that provides text messaging capabilities.
“When you think of life-changing innovations, you don’t always think of VA first, but you should,” said David Shulkin, VA Secretary, in a statement. “VA researchers and scientists are working behind the scenes to make life better for the nation’s veterans, knowing that the impact of their work is far-reaching.”
The following innovations were among those recognized:
- Video Connect: A Veterans Health Administration video telehealth program that virtually connects caregivers and patients.
- Annie: A mobile app that provides SMS text messaging capability, allowing patients to receive appointment reminders and messages from the patient’s local VA Medical Center, as well as health-monitoring prompts.
- VA Mobile’s Veteran Appointment Request App: VA is currently rolling out the VAR, which allows veterans to self-schedule primary-care appointments and request assistance in booking primary care and mental health appointments at VA facilities.
- Health Hub: Aimed at boosting the health and well-being of veterans, this portal consolidates all VA programs and includes guides to programs that may complement veterans’ care or help them better manage chronic illnesses.
- Emerging Health Technology Advancement Center: A lab environment used to conduct investigations of emerging health technologies or trends that are expected to mature within the next five years.
- Innovators Network, Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation: The VA Innovators Network provides a mechanism for employees to see and solve interoperability problems at the facility level.
- Continuous Readiness in Information Security Program: Focuses on maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture across all of VA, including protecting more than 50,000 medical devices connected to VA networks via the Internet of Things at more than 1,400 locations.
- Enterprise Veterans Operations: A customer relationship management system that allows care providers to create a 360-degree view of a veteran, integrating information from nine systems in real time.
- VistA Intake: Leverages software solutions created by developers outside VA’s Office of Information & Technology.
- Veterans Benefits Management System: A multi-year technology solutions project to transition the Veterans Benefits Administration from a paper-intensive claims processing environment to a paperless-based one.
Patients give positive feedback to video physician visits, study finds
PHILADELPHIA – Patients gave positive feedback for video visits with their primary care providers as part of a study conducted at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.
“Patients identified convenience, efficiency, communication, privacy, and comfort as domains that are potentially important to consider when assessing video visits versus in-person encounters,” said the study’s authors, who outlined their findings recently in the Annals of Family Medicine.
All 19 participating patients reported overall satisfaction with video visits, with the majority interested in continuing to use video visits as an alternative to in-person visits. Some patients felt more comfortable with video visits than office visits and expressed a preference for receiving future serious news via video visit, because they could be in their own supportive environment.
Primary concerns with video visits were privacy, including the potential for work colleagues to overhear conversations, and questions about the ability of the clinician to perform an adequate physical examination.
The researchers found that video visits were acceptable in a variety of situations and that future studies should explore which patients and conditions are best suited for video visits.
Validic teams with Microsoft for patient health insights
DURHAM, N.C. – Validic, a provider of health care data connectivity platforms, is integrating with Microsoft HealthVault Insights, a research-based project designed to transform patient engagement by generating new insights about patient health.
“Validic provides the scalable infrastructure needed to acquire a broad range of data for millions of patients,” said Drew Schiller, CEO and co-founder of Validic, in a statement. “With a vision for a health care system built around intelligent insights, we are excited for this opportunity with Microsoft to improve care management and delivery in a way that benefits providers and patients.”
Through this integration, Validic will enable HealthVault Insights to connect to as many as 400 clinical and consumer devices—enabling the data from these devices to drive meaningful insights for patients.
Patients will be able to connect their in-home medical devices and wearables to HealthVault Insights, giving providers contextual information into a patient’s lifestyle, activities and health.
Patients will receive trends and correlations that are based on the their electronic health records and analyzed by Microsoft’s machine learning capabilities to improve the management of their chronic condition and general wellness.
Clinicians will be able to remotely view the patient’s adherence and engagement with a provider-defined care program to track the patient’s progress and health data.
“We are working to bring together critical data sources with machine learning to deliver personalized, actionable insights to both patients and clinicians,” said Heather Jordan Cartwright, general manager, Artificial Intelligence and research at Microsoft, in a statement. “This collaboration helps us continue to build a seamless experience for the patient while providing unique insights to the care team.”