Report: Apple Watch battery will support 4 hours of active use for fitness

By: Jonah Comstock | Jan 23, 2015        

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Apple WatchWhen Apple announced its Apple Watch wearable last September, there was scarce mention of the device’s battery life, leading to the natural conclusion that battery was posing a problem for the Apple Watch team. At MobiHealthNews, we speculated that a shorter battery life was holding the team back from introducing sleep tracking, increasingly considered a must-have feature on fitness wearables.

Now, thanks to 9t05Mac, we have the first unofficial reports of the Apple Watch’s battery life, and it isn’t much better than predicted: They report the battery will last for 2.5 to 3.5 hours of continuous app use (2.5 for heavy app use and 3.5 for standard app use). Kept purely in passive mode, the watch will last for 3 days, or 4 days in sleep mode. The most likely use pattern is a combination of active/passive use, which would yield a battery life of 19 hours.

Notably, if all the user is running is the Fitness app, the battery will last for 4 hours of active use. That should be fine for most people provided they don’t check their fitness goal progress too obsessively — or aren’t running too many apps in addition to the Fitness app. On the other hand, the main appeal of the Apple Watch over a dedicated fitness tracker is the presence of those other apps.

Apple Watch’s unique approach to fitness tracking seems to require a passive tracker that lasts all day. In September, Apple announced that its Fitness app would present a visual display for goal-tracking made up of three interlocking rings. One ring, called Move would measure calories based on a personal goal set by the user. Another, called the Exercise ring, would measure active minutes, defined as time spent on anything over a brisk walk. Finally, the Stand ring would simply track whether or not the user stands for at least a minute each hour of the day. This last use case suggests that the Fitness app needs to be always-on, not just activated before a run or bike ride.

The Workout app, on the other hand, could be geared at more episodic use, based on what Apple said in its September announcement.

The report states that Apple’s battery woes stem from the companies decision to use a powerful processor and a high quality screen in the device, both of which require a lot of power. Furthermore, 9to5 Mac reports that the battery has been a continuous source of consternation for the Apple Watch team and has contributed to the delay in releasing the device, now set for the end of March.

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Human API raises $6.6M to help patients share data with providers

By: Aditi Pai | Jan 23, 2015        

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Human APIPalo Alto, California-based Human API raised $6.6 million from 16 investors, according to an SEC filing. Existing investors include Andreessen Horowitz, BlueRun Ventures, and Innovation Endeavors, according to AngelList.

Human API offers providers an infrastructure they can use to create a health platform that enables a group of patients to share data with their caregivers.

A few months ago, Human API CEO Andrei Pop told Information Week in an interview that the company aims to make it simple for a physician, nurse, researcher, or even a caretaker to retrieve this data.

The company allows providers to create a platform (either online or via mobile devices) that syncs different health apps and devices through a single authentication point. Human API also takes care of backend data management so its customers can aggregate data from a single API.

After customers sign up to build an aggregation platform, Human API provides them with pre-written SDKs and libraries as well as sample apps to copy and use.

Some Human API integration partners include Jawbone, Basis, Fitbit, Pebble, Withings, iHealth, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, and Moves. If a company wants to integrate with an app or device that isn’t listed, Human API will add them to the platform.

Pop also said that the company wants to integrate data from anywhere, which means they also plan to integrate traditional clinical data, lab data, and genetic data.

In 2013, Human API graduated from AngelPad, an accelerator founded by ex-Googler Thomas Korte.

Augmedix, Pristine: Glass in healthcare is stronger than ever

By: Jonah Comstock | Jan 22, 2015        

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A Glass-wearing doctor, from Augmedix's website.

A Glass-wearing doctor, from Augmedix’s website.

Last week, Google made a controversial announcement about Google Glass: that the Explorer program (by which consumers were able to get access to the devices) was shutting down, and Google Glass would move out of Google’s experimental Google X Lab to become their own Google Team, under Nest creator Tony Fadell.

As the announcement essentially takes Glass off the market for the consumer, many have viewed it as a death knell for the device, which has always been viewed with a healthy amount of skepticism about its mass market future. But Google says they’re merely closing a beta that’s served its purpose in order to focus more on its Glass at Work enterprise program and on developing version 2.0 of the hardware.

Augmedix and Pristine, two of Glass at Work’s enterprise partners in the healthcare field, echoed these sentiments in interviews with MobiHealthNews.

“I think the media certainly holds Google to an unfair standard,” Augmedix CEO Ian Shakil said. “They’ve always called it the ‘explorer’ program. It’s never been widely available and for them to halt it, it’s not the same thing as an Apple product failing in the market, or even like Newton, which was properly launched. I wouldn’t call it a failure, I would just call it a beta.”

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What would Samsung buying BlackBerry mean for healthcare?

By: Jonah Comstock | Jan 22, 2015        

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BlackBerryDespite denials from both companies involved, rumors continue to circulate, based on reports from Reuters and the Financial Post, that Samsung wants to buy — or at least acquire a majority stake in — BlackBerry.

Analysts have speculated on a number of reasons the bid might be in Samsung’s interests, from an increasingly competitive smartphone market to BlackBerry’s extensive patent database, but most agree that what BlackBerry has to offer is on the enterprise, not consumer side. And part of the appeal of BlackBerry’s enterprise offering is its historical appeal to doctors and hospitals. So what might a Samsung acquisition of BlackBerry mean for healthcare?

Samsung has made no secret of the fact that it sees healthcare as a major growth area. The company has dabbled in fitness and healthcare for years with its FDA-cleared S Health app and, more recently, Gear Fit smartwatch. Last year it launched SAMIIO (formerly SAMI) and SimBand, the hardware and software components of an open source health tracking platform play, and brought on 24 digital health partners including Cleveland Clinic, WellDoc, and EarlySense. EarlySense was also highlighted by Samsung at its CES keynote and was the beneficiary of a $10 million investment tied into plans for Samsung to market a consumer version of EarlySense’s passive bed sensor. Keep reading>>

Most states with CMS-backed SHIP grants are investing in telehealth, digital tools

By: Aditi Pai | Jan 22, 2015        

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State Health Innovation Plans CMS AccentureNineteen states intend to invest more in telehealth this year as they roll out innovative health care delivery services for their Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP populations. Twenty-five states have created “innovation plans” backed by grants from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CCMI). This week Accenture published a report that analyzes the investment priorities of these 25 State Health Innovation Plans (SHIPs).

The states first received funding in 2013 to help them design and test health projects. Then, in 2014, a second wave of funding for plans was awarded to help them deploy. The 2013 funding from CMMI totaled $300 million, while in 2014, the states received another $660 million.  Keep reading>>

Report: Fitbit expected to IPO in 2015, Jawbone experiments with brands

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 22, 2015        

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Jawbone UP3

Jawbone UP3

A pair of (worthwhile but lengthy) features running in Fortune and Forbes this week offered up an in-depth look at 16-year-old health and fitness tracking company Jawbone, makers of the UP line of wearable wristbands. Fortune chronicled Jawbone’s transformation from a Bluetooth earpiece device maker, to big name wireless speaker company, to a leading fitness tracker maker. The company still offers products in all three categories, but has focused mostly on health tracking and behavior change in the past few years. Jawbone has raised more than $400 million since its founding and has a valuation of well over $3 billion.

“For all its accomplishments, though, Jawbone remains on the verge. It is no closer to making money today—with 450 employees and hundreds of millions in revenue—than it was more than a decade ago, when it was scraping by on government grants. Execution misses and slow-footed strategic moves have left Jawbone vulnerable to disciplined competitors, including the surging Fitbit. Indeed, despite all the money it has raised and its patina of success, Jawbone continues to scramble for cash and struggles to ship a quality product on time. And that’s all before Apple itself pounces on the wearables market with its eagerly awaited Apple Watch,” Fortune reports.

The publication also notes that market leader Fitbit, which has only raised $66 million to date, is widely expected to go public this year.  Keep reading>>