EDISON, N.J. – Hackensack Meridian Health has invested in Pillo, an intelligent health care companion which leverages voice technology and artificial intelligence to connect patients at home with their care teams and family members. This is the first product funded through the Hackensack Meridian Health’s $25 million innovation program to support the improvement of health care delivery. “We are excited to invest in Pillo Health,’’ said Robert Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, in a statement.“We see this as a landmark moment for Hackensack Meridian and for our commitment to leveraging innovation to improve the lives of our patients and countless others.’’ The Pillo device reminds people to take medication at the appropriate time, dispenses their medications and digitally coordinates prescription refills. “We’re excited to engage with experts at Hackensack Meridian Health to revolutionize the way health care is coordinated, managed and delivered in patients’ homes,” said James Wyman, co-founder and COO of Pillo Health, in a statement.
BALTIMORE – Video directly observed therapy can be an effective way to help people with tuberculosis adhere to their treatment and lower costs, according to a study published recently in Oxford Academic. A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine studied 28 patients to determine whether the video platform emocha could be an alternative to increase treatment flexibility and better meet patient-specific needs. “Video DOT is an acceptable and important option for measurement of TB treatment adherence and may allow a higher proportion of prescribed treatment doses to be observed, compared with in- person DOT,” wrote Samuel Holzman, one of the researchers, in the study. Medication adherence with vDOT was comparable to that of in-person DOT, but the researchers found an estimated cost savings with vDOT of $1,391 per patient for a standard six-month treatment course. “Video DOT may be cost-saving and should be considered as a component of individualized, patient-centered case management plans,” Holzman wrote.
BALTIMORE – Mobile health company emocha, which uses video-based technology to improve medication adherence, is building on a flurry of recent activity to push into additional markets.
The startup, which currently serves the public health market in areas like Washington, New England and Texas, was recently named among Fast Company’s 2018 Most Innovative Companies, ranking No. 9 out of 10 in the health category. It also named Tom Carroll as COO, charging him with leading the company’s market expansion.
“We’re going to push into broader markets like payers and hospitals—even life insurance,” said Carroll, who has more than 25 years of experience in health care finance, including at investment banking firms Stifel Nicolaus and RuxtonPark Healthcare Capital. “We’re really looking across the board regarding constituents.”
Patients use emocha’s mobile app to video-record themselves taking their medication. The videos are uploaded to a platform for care providers to validate and collect dose-by-dose adherence data. Communication tools are also built into the platform so providers can send messages of encouragement to patients or check in if a dose was missed.
Carroll said emocha is about to launch its new platform, which includes an update to the back-end and can address more pervasive diseases, in addition to hepatitis C, tuberculosis and opioid use disorder.
“It’s the grown-up version of what we’ve been working with and can reach a broader group,” he said.
The Fast Company ranking recognizes pioneering companies across 36 categories, from health to artificial intelligence to wellness. The company was cited for its use of technology to improve medication adherence for the treatment of high priority health challenges.
“Our technology allows people to leverage something low-tech like a smartphone and prove that through directly observed therapy, people tend to do what they’re supposed to be doing in terms of health care,” Carroll said.
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Flex has expanded its connected health care products line with BrightInsight, a managed services solution built on the Google Cloud platform that can aggregate data and deliver real-time insights for connected device, drug or combination products. “We saw the need for a secure cloud platform designed to support highly-regulated connected drug delivery and medical devices, going beyond simple connectivity to deliver real-time intelligence and actionable insights,” said Dr. Kal Patel, senior vice president of digital health for Flex, in a statement. The Google Cloud platform enables BrightInsight to securely store, analyze and gain insights from health information, without pharmaceutical and medical technology customers having to manage the underlying infrastructure. Advanced use cases for BrightInsight may include controlling connected devices, drug dosing, decision support, personalized patient interventions, trend analysis and artificial intelligence-driven insights. “Google Cloud is committed to leveraging our deep engineering expertise to accelerate innovation in digital health care,” said Dr. Gregory Moore, vice president of health care at Google Cloud, in a statement. “With a partner like Flex, we will enable our customers to develop innovative solutions and leverage machine learning-based analytics that can turn new data sets from wearables, medical devices, therapies and apps into actionable information for patients and providers.”
SAN MATEO, Calif. – New Zealand-based Adherium, a provider of digital medication monitoring systems for people with chronic respiratory conditions, has opened a corporate headquarters in the U.S. “Our headquarters at 1800 Gateway Drive deepens our existing footprint in Silicon Valley, as we take the success we have experienced globally and concentrate it here to meet U.S. demand for solutions that unlock stronger, more seamless partnerships between physicians and their patients,” said Arik Anderson, CEO of Adherium, in a statement. “In California’s tech ecosystem we can accelerate the process of bringing it to its full potential.” The company received clearance last year from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its SmartTouch for Symbicort inhaler monitoring device for AstraZeneca’s Symbicort aerosol inhaler, a device installed onto a patient’s inhaler to monitor and encourage medication adherence as part of a self-management plan.
HOUSTON – Technology from emocha was successful in helping Harris County patients with tuberculosis manage their medications in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey last September, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of the 61 patients enrolled in the state’s video directly observed therapy program for TB, 59 did not miss a single dose, the CDC found.
Directly observed therapy of patients, where a patient takes each dose of their TB medication in front of a health care provider either in person or virtually, is a cornerstone of TB control activity, said Sandra Morris, TB controller for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“Video-enabled DOT using electronic devices, such as smartphones, has become a useful tool for patients who cannot visit, or be visited by, a health care provider,” she said.
The Texas Department of State Health Services uses federal and state funding for TB surveillance, prevention and control activities in eight health service regions and 31 local health departments, Morris said. In advance of major storms, protocols for providing patients with medications to take on their own are activated.
Harris County has been using emocha’s VDOT technology for three years following a successful pilot, said Sebastian Seiguer, CEO of emocha. The technology has a high rate of success because, when patients know someone will be watching them take their medications, they are more apt to do it, he said.
“The fact that a provider cares enough to make an appointment with you to watch you take your medications strengthens the patient-provider relationship,” he said.
During the hurricane, patients recorded themselves taking their medications on a smartphone. The video was saved until services were restored, then automatically uploaded to their provider through a mobile app.
“During Hurricane Harvey, the high proportion of patients successfully managed through video-enabled DOT demonstrates that it can help ensure TB treatment completion when regular treatment options have been disrupted by a major storm or other disaster,” said Morris.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Health care startup Epharmix is building on its clinically proven SMS-based adherence technology and looking to scale up as quickly as possible.
Epharmix uses automated text messages and phone calls to help people with chronic diseases better manage their condition and improve outcomes.
“We’re just going to continue to advance the research and build out our portfolio,” said Jason Roche, growth engineer at Epharmix, which is currently partnering with several large health systems.
The company was recently selected as one of seven health care startups for Dreamit Health’s ninth cohort. The 14-week accelerator program provides one-on-one coaching, opportunities to pitch to dozens of potential customers, meet with top-tier venture funds and gain access to a network of Dreamit alumni and other resources.
Epharmix’s technology has been clinically proven to drive lasting patient engagement and improve adherence through several published papers including the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Scientific Reports and JMIR Diabetes.
“Patients don’t always have the time to troubleshoot Bluetooth devices or walk through new mobile applications,” said Roche. “Our technology collects patient-reported outcomes in a form patients and providers understand most—phone calls and text messages.”
Epharmix’s system automatically collects biometrics and symptoms for 24 disease states and several chronic conditions. Roche said the technology is currently being used in 10 different states and is live on 100 platforms, with a focus on medically underserved patients in the home who are hard to engage.
“The technology is helping health care to move into a ‘true value’ space,” Roche said. “With increasing connectivity, clinicians can oversee more patients.”
VIENNA – A new partnership combines SHL Group’s drug-delivery systems and QuiO’s ConnectedRx solution to improve adherence. The companies hope to integrate connectivity into drug-delivery devices to boost user experience and improve adherence. “As the health care industry embraces digital and people increasingly take their treatment into their own hands, our natural next step is connectivity that seamlessly captures high-quality data to form a detailed picture of the patient to improve clinical decision-making,” said Roger Samuelsson, founder of SHL Group founder, in a statement.
ATLANTA – Intent Solutions, maker of the TAD mobile medication dispenser, has expanded its executive team in preparation for a commercial launch later this year. The commercialization efforts follow the company’s successful $1.5 million seed round capital raise in 2016. “The board’s mandate to me is to grow the company and successfully take it to market,” said Sam Zamarripa, CEO of Intent Solutions, in a statement. “With the addition of new key executive members, Intent Solutions is poised for commercial success in the areas of addiction, pain treatment, clinical trials, and beyond.” Recent staff additions include Ward Broom as COO, and Paul Quiner as chief strategy officer and general counsel.
SAN FRANCISCO – LifeAssist Technologies has been selected by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation to participate in the Industry Innovation Partnership Program.
I2P2 seeks to connect companies who have innovative aging and brain health products/services that are at an advanced stage of development with health care institutions who are seeking solutions to challenging issues in aging and brain health.
Through the program, LifeAssist will partner with Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and Baycrest Health Sciences to evaluate and validate medication adherence, efficiency, resource utilization and overall senior care participant’s satisfaction and engagement in health management.
The focus of the trial is on enhancing medication and related compliance for homecare clients and long-term residents.
“Our focus is assisting people during health care transitions and the care coordination that promotes independence,” said Tim Pauley, manager of research and knowledge mobilization, Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network, in a statement. “Our clinical trial with LifeAssist’s medication adherence technology and in-home device is a great opportunity to enhance medication compliance in a home setting.”
LifeAssist competed against companies around the world for the opportunity to participate in the program, which will provide further validation of LifeAssist’s Circura + Rosie medication management and care coordination platform/device.
“We are very happy to be an I2P2 partner with LifeAssist,” says Dr. Anna Ballon, Executive Director, Residential Living and Community Programs, Baycrest. “This I2P2 project will enhance care and connectivity across senior-friendly communities and specialized programs,” said Dr. Anna Ballon, executive director of residential living and community programs at Baycrest Health Sciences, in a statement.