Sensor measures cortisol from sweat
STANFORD, Calif. – Researchers from Stanford University have developed a wearable skin sensor that measures cortisol from sweat. A paper about the device was published recently in Science Advances. “We are particularly interested in sweat sensing because it offers noninvasive and continuous monitoring of various biomarkers for a range of physiological conditions,” said Onur Parlak, a lead author of the paper. “This offers a novel approach for the early detection of various diseases and evaluation of sports performance.” The stretchy, rectangular sensor is built within a membrane that specifically binds only to cortisol. It sucks in sweat passively through holes in the bottom of the patch, and the sweat pools in a reservoir, which is topped by the cortisol-sensitive membrane. Charged ions like sodium or potassium, also found in sweat, pass through the membrane unless they are blocked by cortisol. All a user needs to see cortisol levels is to sweat, apply the patch and connect it to a device for analysis, which gives results in seconds. In the future, the researchers hope the sensor could be part of a fully integrated system. Eventually, the researchers hope to develop a device that measures several biomarkers at once, which would give a clearer and more individualized picture of what is going on in a person’s body.
Centivo raises $34M for tech-enabled health plan
NEW YORK – Tech-enabled self-funded health plan Centivo has raised $34 million in Series A funding to build the company’s technology and infrastructure, develop local partnerships and support market launch. Centivo serves as a health plan or third-party administrator for employers and partners closely with local health plans to enhance their offerings. Members are rewarded for choosing high-value care and adhering to a health action plan, and are supported through a digital app and dedicated concierge team. “It is time to turn the page on the failed era of high deductibles and implement a new solution that produces better results for individuals, employers, and providers,” said Ashok Subramanian, CEO and co-founder of Centivo, in a statement. Yumni Choi, managing director at Bain Capital Ventures, which led the funding round, will join Centivo’s board of directors. The company is launching its product for the 2019 plan year with an emphasis on employers with employees in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and select other markets.
CeQur acquires assets of J&J’s Calibra
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – CeQur, a developer of insulin delivery devices, has acquired the assets of Johnson & Johnson’s Calibra Medical, including the worldwide license for the wearable, on-demand insulin delivery system, previously known as OneTouch Via, which enables people with diabetes to deliver rapid-acting insulin at mealtime. “Clinical studies and real-world experience have shown that wearable, on-demand insulin delivery provides are an ideal solution to the pervasive challenge of mealtime insulin delivery,” said Robert Farra, CEO of CeQur, in a statement. “The Calibra device is a perfect complement to our basal and bolus insulin-infusion device. Both wearable devices provide simple, discreet, three-day insulin delivery without the barriers and discomfort created by injections.” CeQur plans to launch Calibra’s insulin delivery device under a new name in mid-2019.
Digital device detects heart failure in childhood cancer survivors
PHILADELPHIA – A wireless device was as accurate as traditional echocardiography and CMR imaging in detecting heart dysfunction in childhood cancer survivors, according to a study published recently in Clinical Cancer Research. The Vivio device, developed by Avicena, is a prototype handheld instrument that collects pulse waves and phonocardiogram data from the carotid artery. The data is then streamed wirelessly to a compatible device such as a smart phone or e-tablet. The mobile health platform eliminates the need for result interpretation and allows for real-time monitoring of heart health, the researchers wrote in the study. “This study is the first step in thinking about new paradigms of long-term monitoring and care delivery for cancer survivors who are at risk for severe and life-threatening health conditions,” said researcher Saro Armenian, director of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Clinic, City of Hope, Duarte, Calif., in a statement. Anthracycline chemotherapy can cause heart failure in young cancer patients, so they are commonly monitored for cardiac abnormalities following treatment.
Beddr raises $5.6M for sleep analytics system
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Health technology company Beddr has raised $5.6 million in Series A funding to launch its SleepTuner, a system that integrates a clinical-grade sleep sensor, mobile app and predictive analytics to provide personalized insights into how breathing and sleep position impact health. “The Beddr SleepTuner helps people objectively understand the impact of sleep position, weight loss and alcohol consumption, as well as current treatments on overall sleep quality,” said Mike Kisch, co-founder and CEO of Beddr, in a statement. “Every morning, an individual will be presented with clinical grade insights and actions that may improve breathing, increase sleep duration, reduce snoring and improve recuperation.” The SleepTuner’s sensor captures and correlates key data points that provide deeper insights into the causes of sleep issues, including blood oxygen saturation, stopped breathing events, heart rate, heart rate spikes and sleep position. The SleepTuner connects wirelessly with the Beddr mobile app, guiding users through the sleep tuning process. The app compares each sleep assessment result to the prior one so users can see the impact of sleep tuning over time.
The funding will support the commercial launch of the Beddr SleepTuner, as well as further develop the company’s integrated sleep approach.
FDA clears portable ECG device
PLANO, Texas – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared MEDICALgorithmics’ PocketECG Cardiac Rehabilitation System designed to provide high-quality electrocardiograph monitoring and automated arrhythmia detection during rehabilitation training. “We are thrilled to now introduce PocketECG CRS to patients and clinicians in the U.S., providing a valuable monitoring tool with the potential to improve the effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation training,” said Marek Dziubinski, CEO of MEDICALgorithmics, in a statement. PocketECG CRS is a smartphone-sized device that monitors a patient’s heart rhythm and heart rate during rehabilitation exercises to safely guide the intensity and duration of workouts in real-time. The system transmits the full disclosure ECG signal classifying every heartbeat to automatically detect abnormalities and arrhythmia. A built-in accelerometer allows clinicians to analyze the impact of physical activity on heart rate. All data are streamed through a mobile telephony network to a secure online clinician portal and to a cardiac monitoring center for constant monitoring, evaluation and urgent notifications.
SMART Brain Aging launches Brain U Online
PHOENIX – SMART Brain Aging has launched Brain U Online, a
one-on-one patient intervention program for aging brain health. The program is the result of five years of clinical trials with more than 3,000 participants at Harvard Medical School/Boston University School of Medicine and was developed specifically for aging adults and those with early stage dementia. When used immediately following physical exercise, the programs are proven to delay progression of the disease by up to 2.5 years and reduce the negative cognitive impact by up to 45%, said Dr. John DenBoer, CEO and founder of SMART Brain Aging, in a statement. Brain U Online features more than 20,0000 exercises focused on processing speed, executive functioning, speech and language, memory and attention and concentration, while the companion mobile app, Brain U Lite, features a collection of hundreds of exercises designed to be used on-the-go during or immediately after physical exercise. “Let me be clear, this is not a ‘brain game,'” said Dr. John DenBoer, CEO and founder of SMART Brain Aging, in a statement. “It is the first and only scientifically supported digital therapy program developed specifically for aging adults who want to maintain healthy brain function and those suffering from the early stages of dementia.”
Shaked named DarioHealth chairman of the board
CAESAREA, Israel – Yoav Shaked has joined digital health company DarioHealth as chairman of the board. “We are honored to welcome Yoav Shaked to our board as chairman and we believe the move shows his strong belief in DarioHealth’s vision to transform the management of chronic disease through digital health systems,” said Erez Raphael, CEO of DarioHealth, in a statement. “His wealth of experience recognizing promising health care technologies and building profitable companies around them will be an asset that helps drive DarioHealth into a market leadership position in digital health care technologies.” Shaked is currently a partner at venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. “Digital health technologies have the potential to revolutionize health care,” said Shaked. “When a digital health solution becomes a patient’s daily companion and assistant that is when it is truly differentiated and becomes an essential presence in the life of the patient. DarioHealth has achieved this level of engagement with tens of thousands of users today and I believe they can be the dominant player in the management of chronic disease through digital health platforms.” Erez Raphael will continue as DarioHealth’s CEO.
Click Therapeutics raises $17M for digital therapeutics platform
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & NEW YORK – Click Therapeutics, a provider of digital therapeutics solutions, has raised $17 million in financing in a round led by Sanfoi Ventures. Click plans to use the financing to continue advancing its platform and pipeline of prescription digital therapeutics to treat a wide range of diseases. “We’ve evaluated many companies in this space, and we believe Click Therapeutics’ mobile patient engagement platform positions the company to be a leader in the field of prescription digital therapeutics,” said Bernard Davitian, senior vice president and managing director of Sanofi Ventures, in a statement. Davitian has joined Click’s board in conjunction with the financing. “Click’s platform enables the company to target multiple indications efficiently and effectively, and we have invested with the intent of partnering across a variety of therapeutic areas.” In addition to Clickotine, Click’s commercial product for smoking cessation, the company is developing prescription digital therapeutics to treat depression, insomnia, acute coronary syndrome and chronic pain. The company will seek clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for these programs as class II medical devices with disease-specific treatment claims to be prescribed by physicians and reimbursed by payers. Click expanded its collaboration last year with Magellan Health to seek FDA clearance for indication-specific prescription digital therapies, leveraging the suite of intellectual property and data from Magellan’s existing software, as well as their coverage and reimbursement experience. “The addition of Sanofi as a strategic investor, and the closing of this financing, represent major steps forward for Click and for the field of software as prescription medical treatments,” said David Benshoof Klein, co-founder and CEO of Click Therapeutics, in a statement. “By connecting patients with cognitive and neurobehavioral interventions, our platform will bring clinically-validated digital therapeutic solutions into mainstream health care.”
Streaming channels to focus on health and wellness
LOS ANGELES – Streaming channel provider has created a new venture that will operate a portfolio of global streaming channels and an original content studio dedicated to individual mental and physical health and wellness. Digital Health Networks will offer inspirational content, real stories and personal community connections, while providing educational resources for individual conditions. DHN will work with category-specific experts to aggregate, produce and curate authentic video content into easy-to-find, highly focused channel brands. “Disease brings with it chaos,” said Jon Cody, founder and CEO of TV4 Entertainment, in a statement. “We created Digital Health Networks to offer better choices that help patients, caregivers and survivors cut through the clutter and bring clarity in chaos.” The first channel, THRIVE Cancer Network will launch later this year with a video library of more than 1,000 hours designed to inform, inspire and entertain people impacted by cancer. THRIVE will be joined over the next year with channels dedicated to nutrition, stress management, chronic pain, autism, fitness, addiction, diabetes and caregivers. All channels will launch globally as free services, with premium member content tiers. DHN channels will be offered directly to viewers through websites and apps, and super-distributed to leading television, streaming and mobile platforms, as well as point-of-care domains including physician offices, hospitals and telemedicine screens.
Phillips-Medisize launches next connected health platform
HUDSON, Wis. – Phillips-Medisize has launched its third generation connected health platform for its pharma and drug delivery device clients. The platform builds on the success of the company’s first connected health solutions, including a combination product for medication adherence. “This new, advanced connected health platform builds on our deep knowledge and experience,” said Bill Welch, chief technology officer at Phillips-Medisize, in a statement. “For us, connected health is a strategy for better serving our customers and their patients, not a buzz word.” Phillips-Medisize teamed with healthcare IT providers to develop the cloud-based platform that is secure and scalable, featuring an analytics tool that can can integrate patient data with electronical medical records and other data from pharmacy and IoT devices, allowing customers to conduct insightful analysis focused on improving medication adherence.
Anthem, Samsung, American Well collaborate on telehealth offering
INDIANAPOLIS & MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. & BOSTON – Anthem, Samsung and American Well have announced a telehealth collaboration for people with an Anthem-affiliated health plan and who have the updated Samsung Health app on a Samsung Galaxy device to access LiveHealth Online within Samsung Health.
“Anthem’s partnership with Samsung and American Well is one way we are investing in innovation and digital capabilities that will advance access to health care for consumers across the country,” said Peter Haytaian, executive vice president and president, commercial and specialty business division, Anthem, in a statement.
The telehealth service in Samsung Health connects consumers with U.S. based, board-certified health care providers for a variety of non-emergency medical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The health care needs of consumers are incredibly dynamic, and technology will continue to be the gateway to enable consumers broader choice of care to improve their health and wellbeing,” Haytaian said.
LiveHealth Online, which is powered by American Well’s technology, gives consumers the ability to “Ask an Expert,” and consult a care provider through video chat. During the visit, the care provider can provide a diagnosis and submit a prescription. Consumers also have access to additional services offered exclusively on the Samsung Health app like fitness training, maternity advice, sleep tracking and other health-related offerings.
“Our goal with Samsung Health’s ‘Experts’ service is to provide users with ubiquitous access to leading health care providers and insurers quickly and cost effectively, right from the palm of their hands,” said Nana Murugesan, vice president and general manager, services and new business at Samsung Electronics America, in a statement.
Atrium Health lands $1.1M grant to improve post-surgery cardiac care
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Atrium Health Foundation will use a $1.1 million grant from The Duke Endowment to establish the “Perfect Care: Personalized Cardiac Care and Collaborative,” with a focus on engaging cardiac patients and their families through remote monitoring.
“We are the first health system in the country to implement this patient-centered monitoring approach with a multi-institutional learning collaborative for cardiac services,” said Dr. Kevin Lobdell, director of regional cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgery quality, education and research at Atrium Health, in a statement.
The initiative, which will be piloted at Atrium Health’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute,seeks to address the specific actions or activities that must occur at each phase of a cardiac patient’s care following surgery. It integrates newer technologies such as wearable passive monitors to assist in achieving high-quality outcomes. The program will emphasize post-acute care to those with limited social support and financial resources by bringing health care directly to patients outside of hospital walls.
In year one, the program will launch at Carolinas Medical Center, Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville and Carolinas HealthCare System Northeast, with the intent to expand to three other major Atrium facilities over the next two years.
As the initiative expands, Perfect Care aims to develop a collaborative for health care teams around the Carolinas to learn together and continuously improve the quality, safety and value of cardiac care. Teams will develop new patient reported outcomes and continuously improve the PROs, as well as mortality and morbidity rates.
“Once developed, this approach could serve as the standard for the peri-procedural home both within Atrium Health’s 40-plus hospitals and for other health systems across the country,” said Dr. Lobdell.
UCSF, Dignity Health collaborate on patient engagement
SAN FRANCISCO – The University of California San Francisco is collaborating with Dignity Health on a patient engagement platform that will be used by both systems that will help patients navigate primary, preventive, acute and specialty care.
The platform will be hosted by Dignity Health.
“Our collaboration with Dignity Health will empower patients and their families with digital health care and connectivity, while simplifying the provider experience,” said Shelby Decosta, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for UCSF Health, in a statement. “Together, we are opening new pathways for health care organizations to create a superior experience for their own patients and, ultimately, for patients nationwide.”
In the first phase of the collaboration, UCSF is incorporating analytics and machine learning into its web and mobile offerings. Dignity Health will then work with UCSF’s Center for Digital Health Innovation to map out the multiple pathways that patients follow in moving from primary and secondary care to more acute care services; and to create a digital system that connects patients and providers, while providing patients with the information they need throughout the process.
“Dignity Health is pushing the boundaries of digital transformation and digital therapeutics across the continuum of care,” said Dr. Shez Partovi, chief digital officer of Dignity Health, in a statement. “This collaboration between UCSF and Dignity Health will set a new national standard for how patients should be supported through their digital health care journeys with intensely positive and personal experiences.”
Geisinger teams with AstraZeneca on suite of mHealth ashtma products
DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger and AstraZeneca have partnered to improve asthma care by creating a suite of products that integrate into the electronic health record. The goal is to engage patients and providers in co-managing the disease, especially during intervals between office visits.
The new asthma app suite includes a mobile app that allows patients to view asthma-related weather forecasts, log symptoms and asthma triggers, establish medication reminders, track health status over time communicate with their health care team.
“A tool to help patients and physicians stay connected and share information in real-time is what connected health is all about,” said Tosh Butt, vice president of respiratory services at AstraZeneca, in a statement. “AstraZeneca’s partnership with Geisinger is focused on how we can arm patients and physicians with digital tools with the intention of speeding diagnosis and treatment decisions. This is an exciting time in patient care.”
Data from the mobile app is connected to a real-time, web-based application called Provider Asthma Management Assistant. The assistant combines EHR and patient-reported data feeds to enable asthma educators and respiratory therapists to triage patients immediately and bring in specialists as needed.
“Patients sometimes do a lot worse with their asthma than we know based on a three-, six-, or nine-month periodic office visit,” said Dr. Paul Simonelli, chair of pulmonary and critical care at Geisinger, in a statement. “This new suite of products could easily be adapted to any long-term chronic respiratory illness that needs monitoring.”