BIRKIRKARA, Malta – Umana Medical Technologies has developed a tattoo with sensors to measure vital signs like electrocardiogram data and other biomarkers. The Umana T1 Heart Monitor is made from a clear film with conductive sensors. Once the tattoo is applied, a small lightweight device is attached to store and share a stream of accurate real-time vital signs, such as ECG data and respiration rate, which are shared directly with clinicians. The monitor is part of an ecosystem of medical software, a smartphone app, online dashboards, data-analysis algorithms, and online and offline data access. An independent clinical trial was launched this month with 2,000 patients at the national hospital in Malta, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. “Finally, we are able to accurately collect and monitor patients’ important medical data without interfering with their day-to-day activities,” said Dr. Samuel Meilak, who is leading the clinical trial, in a statement. “The ease of access, coupled with the data analysis capabilities are complete game-changers.” The device will be launched across Europe in 2018.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The San Antonio Endovascular & Heart Institute has deployed Biotricity’s Bioflux mobile cardiac telemetry solution to help diagnose cardiac arrhythmias, enhance patient outcomes, improve patient compliance and slow health care costs. “I love the simplicity the Bioflux technology provides for my patients, which should encourage greater compliance and improved data collection,” said Dr. R. Stefan Kiesz, president and CEO of SAEHI, in a statement. “I’m also optimistic and excited about the prospects and applications of this platform in other medical markets serving outpatient treatments.” The Bioflux system consists of the Bioflux device, proprietary software and a 24/7 monitoring center, extending the support a patient receives at a care facility into the patient’s home. The device monitors a patient’s electrocardiogram in near real-time, constantly analyzing and collecting data on the device and periodically uploading to the cloud via embedded cellular technology. “Bioflux was purposely built for cardiac patients who require active monitoring because, until now, short-term monitoring or admission into the hospital for long-term observation was the most accessible option,” said Waqaas Al-Siddiq, founder and CEO of Biotricity, in a statement.
SEATTLE – Steth IO has developed a smartphone stethoscope, which brings real-time visualization to heart and lung sounds and enables physicians to see auscultation sounds they may not hear. The device is integrated into a smartphone case and requires no batteries or charging and can be used with just one hand. It works in conjunction with a mobile app. “I have been using this product for a few months now and, as well as helping my diagnoses, I’ve found patients are much more engaged in their own physical exam,” said Dr. Mahesh Mulumudi, founder of Steth IO and a practicing cardiologist, in a statement. “They love to see and hear their own heart and lung sounds.”
SAN DIEGO – Technology and health companies Arm, ForgeRock, Philips and Qualcomm Life, along with innovative healthcare startups Sparsa and US TrustedCare, have launched a collaborative effort focused on enhancing data from medical devices to enable more trustworthy data sourcing and consented patient-information sharing.
OpenMedReady is a framework designed to complement existing standards in remote clinical care by addressing five critical areas in remote patient monitoring: patient identity, device identity, data integrity, patient privacy and consent.
As a part of the framework, OpenMedReady will use capabilities such as fingerprint biometrics, available in many smartphones, with connected medical sensors to add patient identity into the data stream. The framework also includes device identity, which ensures that clinicians are aware of the actual device from which a reading was taken, helping to connect patient to device for data transparency and clarity. The framework is designed to be readily implementable by telehealth service providers and medical device vendors for improved clinical decision-making.
“Historically, clinicians have been reluctant to use remote patient data for clinical decision-making due in part to the concerns regarding identity management, consent and data integrity,” said Dr. James Mault, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Qualcomm Life, in a statement. “OpenMedReady combines connected sensors with modern smartphone capabilities to provide doctors a cryptographic log of a patient’s identity, their device’s identity, and their consent, giving care teams the confidence they need to treat patients based on data acquired remotely.”
TEL AVIV, Israel, NEW YORK and LANCASTER, Pa. – Private equity firm Aspire Universal and LG Health have launched the Aspire Ventures Precision Medicine Fund to accelerate innovation for precision medicine.
The mission of the AVP is to transform and improve population health by leveraging artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to develop cutting-edge precision medicine technologies that could have a national, or even global, impact.
The AVP will invest in devices and therapies that leverage AI and the IoT to deliver affordable solutions at a massive scale that take into account each individual’s DNA, microbiome, biochemistry and lifestyle.
Leveraging strategic resources like proprietary AI, health data and clinical expertise, the fund aims to accelerate the time-to-market for innovative and transformative personalized health care solutions, the foundation of precision medicine, while maximizing the potential market success rate of those solutions, said Essam Abadir, fund manager of AVP and managing partner of Aspire Universal.
Aspire plans to combine its Adaptive Artificial Intelligence platform and venture expertise with research and clinical expertise from strategic partners targeting an 18-month concept-to-market acceleration.
Clinicians from LG Health and innovators from Aspire will work together to fast-track ventures through clinical trials and FDA approval, Abadir said.
“Integrating better technology into the U.S. health care system is one of the most viable solutions for curbing skyrocketing costs,” he said. “The overwhelming majority of health care investments fail because they are designed in isolation from the health systems that use them. By establishing the new AVP fund, we are pursuing the promise of precision medicine as one of the main drivers for health care transformation.”
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.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. and CHICAGO – Livongo Health has acquired Retrofit, a provider of weight-management and disease-prevention programs. The acquisition enables Livongo to more fully address the needs of people at risk for and living with chronic health conditions. “Retrofit has built strong, evidence-based offerings in weight management and disease prevention and brings a great group of committed people,” said Glen Tullman, CEO of Livongo, in a statement. “For our members, we now have more services that make it easier to prevent individuals from getting sick and, if they do, working with them to return to health and stay healthy. And for our clients, we’re now addressing the comprehensive health challenges their employees face, with the goal of caring for each as a whole person.” The acquisition also allows Livongo to blend its technology driven contextual “nudges” with a nationwide team of health coaches to support members with a wider range of weight-management and nutrition services. Livongo will also be able to offer Retrofit’s Diabetes Prevention Program as Livongo DPP powered by Retrofit. “Retrofit and Livongo are like-minded in strategy, values and culture,” said Mary Pigatti, CEO of Retrofit, in a statement. “Together, we will provide a comprehensive set of solutions for the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions that address the whole person.”
STOCKHOLM – NuvoAir has launched the Air Next spirometer for people with ongoing lung conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis. The Air Next is a new version of the company’s Air Smart Spirometer. It measures FVC and FEV1 and uses Bluetooth Low Energy to transfer the device’s data to a smartphone, tablet and the cloud, where patients or caregivers can access it. “NuvoAir has demystified spirometry by bringing it directly into the hands of patients and physicians across the world,” said Lorenzo Consoli, CEO of NuvoAir, in a statement. “Our technology empowers patients to take control of their health.” The company will offer a software development kit soon to software developers to create custom apps that will use the data generated by the spirometer.
NEWTON, Mass. – Newton-Wellesley Hospital has partnered with Twine Health for a program that virtually connects cardiac patients with a health coach to help them modify lifestyle behaviors to stay out of the hospital.
Based on its success, the hospital plans to expand it to other departments in the coming months.
“The platform is a behavior modificiation tool,” said Daniel Destin, prevention manager and health coach for Newton-Wellesley’s cardiovascular program. “It’s good for changing their habits, which will help them in the long run.”
The Twine app tracks the patient’s behaviors and allows two-way messaging. The coach has access to a dashboard so they can see how the patient is trending. The app helps boost adherence because the patient has to indicate on the app whether or not they’ve completed an activity or action on their plan, Destin said.
Cardiac physicians usually suggest their patients lose weight or exercise more, but they often don’t have the time to follow up to make sure the patient is adhering to their care plan. Destin sits down with patients in the office and together they download and use the Twine platform on their smartphone to create a health plan with goals that could help them stay out of the hospital.
“We work hand in hand with patients,” he said.
The hospital deployed the program about a year ago and has used it with about 150 patients. It has seen significant improvements in the areas of weight loss and patient engagement.
Twine Health’s platform supports health coaching across a full spectrum of care, from prevention to disease management for cardiac conditions, diabetes, hypertension and others. It allows one coach to manage more than one patient, which makes the program efficient.
WASHINGTON – Millenials see telehealth as a critical component of their health care, and providers and payers need to emphasize convenience if they are going to stay relevant in a changing health care industry, according to a recent report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
The report found that 40% of Millenials—those born between 1997 and 2000—consider telehealth an extremely or very important option to their health care. That statistic is not surprising to Catherine Jefcoat, a health care consultant with ECG Management Consultants.
“Millenial customers’ expectations are that health care will integrate to their current digital ecosystem,” she said. “Convenience is the biggest driver for them when seeking care, which is a shift from previous generations.”
EBRI is a nonprofit agency that produces original research on health, savings, retirement and economic security issues.
Experts agree that providers, payers and other health care companies that serve this generation will have to offer services that emphasize convenience and transparency of information, like an app or telehealth, to position themselves for continued growth.
“As these patients age and take increasing control over their own health care, or that of their aging parents, they will expect that same level of technology to be available from the health care systems they frequent,” said Scott Lomond, CEO of TokBox, a provider of live video platforms for health care, financial services and other industries.
With advances in artificial intelligence and precision medicine and an increasing understanding of the social determinants of health, technology in the home will become more important in everyday health and critical episodes of illness, Jefcoat said.
“Health systems can’t expect to stay competitive without a comprehensive strategy for engaging Millennial patients outside of their walls that includes the entire patient life cycle from first web search through to care plan adherence,” she said. “Technology is the only cost-effective way to do this at scale.”