Study finds same quality for telehealth, in-person interactions
THE NETHERLANDS – There is no difference in quality between telehealth and in-person doctor-patient interactions, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. “Doctors and patients were equally satisfied with both types of consultation medium, and no differences were found in the manner in which participants perceived communicative behavior during these consultations,” the study’s authors wrote. As web-based patient-provider contact increases, researchers aimed to study how the quality of these interactions differs from those that are face-to-face. A total of 48 doctor-patient consultations on pelvic organ prolapse were simulated, both in a face-to-face and in a video setting. “The findings suggest that worries about a negative impact of web-based video consultation on the quality of patient-provider consultations seem unwarranted as they offer the same interaction quality and satisfaction level as regular face-to-face consultations,” the researchers concluded.
CloudMine named 2017 innovative startup
PHILADELPHIA – Connected health platform provider CloudMine was named one of the innovative startups of 2017 by PM360, a trade magazine for the pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostics industries. “Our core belief—that connected health care is better health care—is driving the CloudMine team to continue to partner with innovative customers to transform digital health care through connected disease management and connected clinical trials,” said Steve Wray, CEO of CloudMine, in a statement. The company was selected as part of PM360’s annual Innovations Issue, published each December, to help other companies in the industry to find potential partners and offerings that can help them advance health care and life sciences.
Inexpensive wearable captures natural sleep characteristics, study finds
MUNICH – A wrist-worn device is able to capture natural sleep characteristics over long periods of time, according to researchers who published their work in a recent issue of Current Biology. Professors Till Roenneberg and Dr. Eva Winnebeck of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München used small and inexpensive actimeters to study the dynamics of sleep phases in more than 16,000 sleep bouts from 593 experimental subjects between the ages of 8 and 92. “Our simple algorithms can be applied to thousands of activity measurements that already exist throughout the world and on many more yet to come,” said Roenneberg in the study. “Such large and diverse datasets will pave the way for important new insights into sleep physiology and medicine that one may not be able to gain with traditional methods and sample sizes.”
InTouch acquires TruClinic
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Telehealth platform provider InTouch has acquired TruClinic, a web-based telemedicine provider based in Salt Lake City, Utah, specializing in direct-to-consumer virtual care solutions. Through the acquisition, InTouch Health expands its existing portfolio to deliver a full range of virtual care programs to health care providers, enabling the continuity of care between physicians and patients. “TruClinic is the perfect addition to the InTouch Health Platform, which will soon offer health systems home-to-home virtual care solutions,” said Joseph DeVivo, CEO of InTouch Health, in a statement. “By bringing InTouch Health and TruClinic together we will reshape the way health care systems look at virtual care and ultimately the way they can interact with their patients.” InTouch Health will incorporate TruClinic’s software into its offering so that patients can initiate and receive a consultation with their health system physician from their home. TruClinic will be merged with InTouch Health and brought to market under the leadership of Steve Cashman, the recently appointed executive vice president of marketing and consumer solutions.
StartUp Health raised $19.3M to support digital health entrepreneurs
NEW YORK – StartUp Health has raised $19.3 million in support of the company’s Moonshot Academy, which uses a combination of coaching workshops, a peer community, a crowd-sourced investor and customer network, market intelligence, promotion channels and online collaboration tools to support digital health entrepreneurs. “With over $11.5 billion of capital invested into the sector globally, 2017 was the most active funding year since we began tracking in 2011,” said Unity Stoakes, co-founder and president of StartUp Health, in a statement. “We expect a dynamic year ahead with more funding activity, M&A, some big successes, more experimentation and healthy failures that will pave the way for new advancements all around the world.” StartUp Health has more than 200 digital health companies from six continents and 19 countries in its portfolio.
DarioHealth receives TGA approval for iPhone-compatible BGM device in Australia
CAESAREA, Israel – DarioHealth has received the Therapeutic Goods Administration Mark for an iPhone version of its Dario Blood Glucose Monitoring System in Australia. “We are thrilled that DarioHealth secured TGA approval to offer the Lightning-enabled version and can now accommodate users in Australia who have updated their Apple devices,” said Erez Raphael, CEO and chairman of DarioHealth, in a statement. “We hope to help the 1.7 million Australians who have diabetes, specifically the more than 100,000 Australians who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the past year.” In addition to the TGA approval, users in the U.K. are now able to purchase the Lightning-enabled Dario device, as well. DarioHealth is still waiting on approval from regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Canada, which is expected in the coming months.
NIH team develops patch for diabetes control
BETHESDA, Md. – Researchers with the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering have developed a wearable patch that can regulate blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes through microneedles. The base of the experimental patch is material called alginate, a gum-like natural substance extracted from brown algae, which is mixed with therapeutic agents and poured into a microneedle form to make the patch. Researchers infused the alginate with a formula of biochemical particles that stimulates the body’s own insulin production when needed and curtails that stimulation when normal blood sugar concentration is reached. The responsive delivery system of the patch can meet the body’s need for days instead of being used up all at once. “This experimental approach could be a way to take advantage of the fact that persons with Type 2 diabetes can still produce some insulin,” said Richard Leapman, scientific director at NIBIB, in a statement.
Bigfoot Biomedical raises $37M in Series B funding
MILPITAS, Calif. – Bigfoot Biomedical, Inc., a medical device company using artificial intelligence to develop systems to optimize insulin delivery for people with diabetes, has raised $37 million in Series B equity financing. Funds will be used to support ongoing product development and clinical trials for Bigfoot’s investigational Class III medical device systems, which include Bigfoot Loop, an infusion pump-based closed loop automated insulin delivery system, and Bigfoot Inject, an auto-titrating connected insulin pen-based system for people on injection therapy, according to a press release.
Carepoynt earns digital health award
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Carepoynt, a health and wellness rewards program, platform and network, has won silver in the Health Information Resource Center Digital Health Awards. “We are honored to have been chosen as a leading digital health program—a segment where we see tremendous opportunity to help people live their best life,” said Tim Stanley, CEO and founder of Carepoynt, in a statement. Carepoynt is a consumer-centric program built around a multi-channel, cloud-based Rewardsware for Healthcare platform where members can connect, align, engage and be rewarded within a trusted network of providers, payers and employers. “The need for consumer engagement in health care has never been higher,” said Stanley.
New group to work with FCC to expand rural broadband access for telehealth
WASHINGTON – A group of community leaders, rural advocates and innovators have launched Connect Americans Now, an alliance that will work with the Federal Communications Commission and other policymakers to ensure that there is sufficient unlicensed low-band spectrum in every market in the country to enable broadband connectivity, which could boost access to telehealth in rural areas.
“All Americans—regardless of where they live—deserve access to high-speed Internet,” said Richard Cullen, executive director of Connect Americans Now, in a statement. “Without a broadband connection, millions of students struggle to keep up with their assignments, Americans in rural areas are unable to fully utilize telemedicine, farmers are denied the promise of precision agriculture and businesses are unable to tap into the world of online commerce.”
CAN’s founding partners include Microsoft, ACT: The App Association, and the National Rural Education Association.
The plan endorsed by CAN will accelerate the deployment and reduce the cost of high-speed Internet service for 23.4 million rural Americans by taking advantage of unused bandwidth below the 700 MHz frequency range, also known as television white spaces, made available on an unlicensed basis. Wireless signals in this range can travel over hills and through buildings and trees.
Underserved patients and rural hospitals pay up to three times more for broadband than those in urban areas, according to CAN.
“Broadband allows patients, regardless of where they live, to access specialists and benefit from advanced monitoring services that would normally require hours of travel for patients or their providers,” said Cullen.
Texas hospital offers Bluetooth pacemaker to share data with physicians
ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth hospital is offering Bluetooth-enabled pacemakers to patients, allowing them to share data with their doctors anywhere, at any time.
“It’s smart medicine for your heart,” said Dr. Aleem Mughal, a cardiac electrophysiologist on the Texas Health Fort Worth medical staff, in a statement. “Having an application that offers convenience, reduces health care costs and allows people with pacemakers to remain mobile is technology that benefits the patient and the physician.”
Previous pacemaker technologies allowed patients to connect via computer with their doctors using a stationary bedside monitor and a phone landline. With the Bluetooth technology, patients connect wirelessly using a hand-held monitor and mobile app.
Mughal said the device cuts down the number of routine doctor visits because patients can download heart data and check the pacemaker’s effectiveness by using the device’s Bluetooth technology wherever they are.
“With this technology, a patient can easily send information to me, and I’ll be able to determine if he needs to simply rest or immediately head to the hospital,” he said.
Using a small, hand-held “reader,” the patient places the device close to his chest. The device quickly sends detailed information, via Bluetooth technology, to the doctor.
“With the Bluetooth-enabled device, the patient is afforded more freedom because they’re not tethered to a monitoring device at the bedside every night,” said Dr. Charles Lampe, part of the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and the Texas Health Physicians Group, in a statement. “It’s all connected wirelessly and that’s innovation helping both of us.”
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the United States with 29 hospital locations that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources.