VANCOUVER – Huami Corporation, a biometric and activity data-driven company that develops smart wearable technology, is partnering with health technology software company PAI Health. The partnership combines Huami’s biometric database collected by smart wearable devices and powerful algorithms with PAI Health’s software to offer a scientifically validated approach to helping address some of the health risks typically associated with an inactive lifestyle. The companies will be partnering with multiple channels within the health care ecosystem, including insurers, health care providers and employers. “We are excited to partner with PAI Health, as we can leverage our strong expertise in smart wearable technology and impressive algorithms that make sense of the biometric data,” said Wang Huang, chairman and CEO of Huami, in a statement. “Together, we see a huge opportunity to provide meaningful information to consumers and businesses around the world, which we expect to bring data service revenue in the near future.” Huami and PAI Health will be rolling out pilot programs with insurers utilizing proprietary algorithms for estimating cardiorespiratory fitness, as well as the PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) metric for guiding optimal levels of physical activity.
ROCKVILLE, Md. – The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has launched the AHRQ Step Up App Challenge, a three-phase competition to address the need for greater use of standardized patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data in clinical care and research. The total prize pool for the challenge is $250,000.
PRO data are defined as any report on the status of a patient’s health condition that comes directly from the patient, without interpretation of the patient’s response by a clinician or other medical expert, said Gopal Khanna, AHRQ director, in a statement. The data can yield insights into health status, function, symptom burden, adherence, health behaviors and quality of life.
“While some digital tools exist to collect these data, they are not in wide use due to problems with integrating them in practice workflow, as well as patients’ discomfort with using such tools,” said Khanna. “This competition will address this issue and result in a user-friendly app that can enhance health care data collection and thereby improve the quality of care for all Americans.”
The Step Up App Challenge is part of AHRQ’s ongoing effort to help shape the U.S. digital health care ecosystem and improve outcomes through the broader use of patient data. In partnership with AHRQ, the Office of the Secretary is providing financial support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Trust Fund, and the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is leading stakeholder efforts to develop the technical specifications for the Step Up App Challenge.
The AHRQ Step Up App Challenge is looking for innovative technologists who can develop and present user-friendly apps capable of collecting standardized PRO data in various ambulatory settings, including primary and specialty care. The winning app will be tested in nine practice settings affiliated with MedStar Health in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
The deadline for submitting app ideas is September 24.
WASHINGTON – The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services will hold its first developers conference next week for Blue Button 2.0, a developer-friendly, standards based application programming interface that will allow a majority of Medicare beneficiaries to connect their claims data to third-party applications, services and research programs.
More than 600 developers have signed up to experiment with the API since it was launched, according to Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, in published remarks she made recently at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Interoperability Forum.
The Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference will bring together app developers to learn, build software and share insights on how Medicare claims data can be leveraged to improve health outcomes. The conference will also help further advance the work of the MyHealthEData, a government-wide initiative led by the White House Office of American Innovation to give people control of their medical data to enable them to make better choices for value driven health care.
The MyHealthEData initiative also seeks to break down the barriers that prevent patients from having electronic access and true control of their own health records from the device or application of their choice.
As part of MyHealthEData, CMS has securely released four years of Medicare Part A, B and D data for 53 million Medicare beneficiaries. The data contains a variety of information about a beneficiary’s health, including type of Medicare coverage, drug prescriptions, primary care treatment and cost.
“With the release of this data, CMS wants to work with developers to create new applications that help make this data more helpful and meaningful for patients,” said Verma. “This conference is the perfect venue for developers to network with each other and with leaders in the federal government to collaborate on ways to engage Medicare beneficiaries to make informed health care decisions.”
SAN MATEO, Calif. – Evidation Health has raised $30 million in Series C funding in a round co-led by SV Health Investors and B Capital Group.
The company has also launched a new data platform that allows customers to analyze and process large-scale sensor and behavior data in clinically meaningful ways, said Deborah Kilpatrick, CEO of Evidation Health, in a statement.
“Our new data platform makes it easier for statisticians and data scientists at life sciences and health care companies to take everyday behavior and health care data, analyze it, and create a new understanding of health,” she said. “This will help Evidation speed a transformation in real world research and knowledge, so we can better treat, diagnose, and predict the onset of disease.”
By linking real world data from smartphones and connected sensors—including wearables and medical devices—with traditional medical data, Evidation measures how behaviors outside of the doctor’s office or hospital relate to health and impact outcomes, Kilpatrick said.
The new platform can process data from more than 100 sources, including Apple Health, Fitbit, Epic, Blue Button and Dexcom. It currently processes more than 1 trillion data points each year across millions of individuals, and is being used in the areas of diabetes, cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, asthma and more.
In addition to supporting the new data platform, the funding will also be used to develop partnerships, and to launch research studies to better understand and measure how everyday behavior and health interact, said Kilpatrick.
“Evidation’s ability to link patient behavior to medical outcomes is truly revolutionary and will help transform how we measure health in everyday life,” said Raj Ganguly, co-founder and partner of B Capital Group, in a statement.
Since 2012, Evidation Health has built a virtual pool of more than 2 million research participants through its Achievement app.
‘It’s a huge opportunity’
MADISON, Wis. – Results from a public-private partnership this year between digital inhaler provider Propeller Health and the city of Louisville, Ky., show that digital health tools can help reduce the community burden of asthma.
“AIR Louisville demonstrated the value of crowdsourced health data, influencing positive outcomes from an individual level up to the policy-making level,” said Meredith Barrett, vice president of research at Propeller Health and co-author of the paper. “We think the potential for this collaborative approach is huge.”
AIR Louisville was one of the largest studies of asthma conducted in a real world setting, Barrett said. More than 20 public, private and philanthropic organizations collaborated to use digital health technology like inhaler sensors and a digital health platform to: monitor where and when local residents used their inhaled medications for asthma, assess the environmental conditions that might have influenced asthma symptoms, and share those findings with participants and city decision-makers.
Results show that participants experienced several positive clinical outcomes, including a 78% reduction in rescue inhaler use and a 48% improvement in symptom-free days. The hundreds of thousands of real-world data points on inhaler use, combined with environmental data, also informed municipal policy recommendations.
Barrett said the project helped asthma patients better understand how environmental triggers impact their condition and then inform their conversations with their health providers.
“It improved their daily experience with their disease so they could live their lives without being held back by their symptoms,” she said. “It helped people be more confident in the self-management of their disease.”
Barrett said the project has drawn attention domestically and internationally from cities interested in conducting similar programs.
“This is a model that could also be replicated for other diseases that have environmental impact,” she said. “It’s a huge opportunity.”
BOSTON – Dr. Daniel Karlin believes that digital health technologies can drive progress in clinical trials and help the health care industry develop treatments for patients faster and more efficiently.
“We are carrying around a ton of sensors that act as information collectors every day,” said Karlin, head of clinical informatics and regulatory strategy, digital medicine, and the Pfizer Innovation Research Lab, to attendees of this week’s Biomarkers & Immuno-Oncology World Congress. “The hope is that we’re able to progress clinical trials in a myriad of ways.”
Karlin said in the past, and still today, some clinical trials involved a face-to-face visit between participating patients and a physician to get information about how a new treatment or medication is working. The question-and-answer session gives researchers endpoints in the trial and reveal a trend.
“In our modern era, we have Internet of Things-everything that pick up signals and send data back and forth,” said Karlin. “Now we can record data every day, or multiple times a day, and get more points on the graph to show the complex reality.”
More frequent endpoints often reveal a different health trend than what traditional trial methods may have shown before.
“Often the realities we discover don’t line up with our current models,” Karlin said. “Today we can measure people better, more frequently, more objectively and in more ways to give us more data-rich trials.”
Karlin said the work doesn’t stop with digital endpoints, however, and researchers still have to interpret what all the data means.
“You have to think about what the sensors do, what that means, and how you can gain clinical understanding from them,” he said. “We have to try to use clinical knowledge to come up with better diagnoses and treatments, and always ask how our work will affect a patient’s ability to do what they need to do.”
The big question: What do we do with the data?
BOSTON – Patient generated health data (PGHD) has the power to bring new insights to population health and predictive models, said Dr. Fatima Paruk, chief medical officer at Allscripts, at the recent Bridge to Pop Health conference.
“We have lots of solid data, but we’ve never really been able to combine it effectively to drive better population health,” she said.
Artificial intelligence and neural networks are tackling that challenge, but now health organizations need to leverage the progress that has been made, she said.
“The electronic health records industry has facilitated the collection of large scale data and health organizations can afford to keep this data in the cloud,” she said. “The question becomes what do we do with it?”
Allscripts has been working on building neural networks and incorporating machine learning on large amounts of PGHD to predict health outcomes for patient populations with chronic conditions and opioid abuse disorder.
The company has been able to show some payers the annual direct cost estimate of care for people with certain chronic conditions, like diabetes. It used their technology, for example, to show one payer that 80% of the patients they studied converted from pre-diabetes to diabetes over a five-year period. The payer believed it was 30%.
“We are trying to get payers on board for paying for diabetes care and other conditions,” said Paruk. “We are proving that we can use Big Data for better disease management.”
Paruk said the time is right for the health care industry to leverage new technologies and the consumerization of health care to manage patient populations.
“Patients are willing to share their data,” said Paruk. “We can use it to help them take better care of themselves.”
DALLAS – People with cardiovascular diseases now have digital access to personalized care plans through the Health Motivation Platform, developed by the American Heart Association and PatientBond, a cloud-based platform for digital patient engagement.
The Health Motivation Platform is a suite of digital solutions designed to improve cardiovascular health across multiple conditions. It combines the American Heart Association’s science-based CarePlans and health content with PatientBond’s proprietary psychographic segmentation and digital engagement applications to drive desired behavior change through a emails, text messages, interactive voice response calls and in-app content. The user’s experience is then personalized by appealing to their health-related motivations, compelling the user to take action.
“The American Heart Association is dedicated to reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases stroke and, to that end, we are publishing scientific statements and guidelines that are the foundation of evidence-based care,” said Patrick Wayte, senior vice president, American Heart Association, Center for Health Technology & Innovation, in a statement. “With this initiative, we are working essentially to translate this science into increasingly actionable intelligence that motivates consumers, particularly patients, to use the best of what the Association knows about heart disease and stroke.”
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google recently launched the Cloud Healthcare application programming interface to address interoperability challenges in health care data.
The API was designed to extract data from electronic health records and other platforms through DICOM, FHIR and HL7 protocols, freeing up the flow of information leading to actionable insights from artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve patient outcomes.
“Google Cloud’s goal for health care is very much a reflection of Google’s overall mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” said Dr. Gregory Moore, vice president of health care at Google Cloud, in a blog post announcing the API’s release. “Applying this mission to health care means using open standards to help enable data sharing and interactive collaboration, while also providing a secure platform.”
Google opened access to the API early for a group of customers and partners, including the team at the Stanford School of Medicine.
“The ability to combine interoperability with Google Cloud’s scalable analytics will have a transformative impact on our research community,” said Somalee Datta, director of research IT at Stanford School of Medicine, in a statement.
Moore said Google’s goal with the Cloud Healthcare API is to help transform the health care industry through the use of cloud technologies and machine learning.
“Health care is increasingly moving to the cloud, and the adoption of machine learning will allow the industry to unlock insights that can lead to significant clinical improvements for patients,” he said.
DANVERS, Mass. – HealthView Services, a provider of health care cost data to financial service firms, and the Mercy health system have launched HealthyCapital, a platform that provides data and applications that calculate expected health care costs for individuals based on health condition, age, gender and where they live. The joint venture’s physician- and actuary-reviewed approach draws upon clinicians, 70 million medical cases, and government and economic data, along with HealthView Services’ decade of experience in health care cost projections and Mercy’s extensive experience in population health management. “Until now we haven’t had access to actuarial data that shows individual patients the financial benefits of health condition management and lifestyle changes,” said Dr. Raymond Weick, chief medical officer of HealthyCapital, in a statement. “HealthyCapital addresses this need.” Emphasizing the benefits of clear financial incentives and condition management support, HealthyCapital will provide support services to help individuals follow treatment protocols and adopt healthier behaviors. The company’s platform offers users the option to sign up for health coaching through a text messaging service, which sends tailored messages based on individual health care goals.