uChek-maker Biosense to launch pilot with Merck for Mothers

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 7, 2014        

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uChekUrine analysis app uChek is about to launch a six-month, 375-patient trial with Merck for Mothers, a Merck-sponsored initiative to reduce global maternal mortality, according to ClinicalTrials[dot]gov. Researchers will test the feasability of providers using uChek to detect preeclampsia and eclampsia in pregnant women in Bangladesh, with usability of the app for healthcare professionals as a secondary outcome measure.

Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are dangerous pregnancy complications that manifest as sudden weight gain and high blood pressure during pregnancy and seizures after pregnancy. The study will be conducted at the Hope Hospital for Women, on women who are at least 22 weeks into their pregnancy. Each woman in the study will be given both a traditional urine analysis, with a visually inspected test strip, and an analysis using uChek.  Keep reading>>

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Kindara unveils smartphone-enabled fertility thermometer, Wink

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 7, 2014        

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Kindara WinkBoulder, Colorado-based fertility tracking company Kindara unveiled its first device this week, a smartphone-enabled fertility thermometer called Wink. The device is available for preorders at a $79 pricepoint, which will increase to $129 at retail.

Kindara also raised an additional $700,000 in funding in August from SOS Ventures, Drummond Road Capital, Vast Ventures and various angels. The recent funding brings the company’s total funding to about $1.2 million.

“This device, [Wink,] lives on a bedside table, inside a drawer maybe, next to the bed,” Kindara CEO and co-founder Will Sacks told MobiHealthNews. “The app has an alarm that wakes a woman up. When she wakes up and grabs Wink, it turns on, knows she is awake, and then sends a message to the phone: ‘OK, you can turn off the alarm.’ Wink then becomes the ‘off’ button for her alarm. Then she takes her temperature in her mouth. Wink records her temperature [and the time it was taken] on her phone, and then she’s done. She doesn’t even have to touch her phone in the morning. Later, when convenient, she can log onto Kindara and see how her fertility is. She can also share that data with friends or practitioners on Kindara, too.”

Sacks said that since the Wink device is wireless and not directly plugged into the phone, the team wanted to make sure Wink users didn’t have to touch their phone in the morning, because if they had to touch their phone to use Wink, “what’s the point of having a connected device? Then, you may as well just type it in.”  Keep reading>>

StartUp Health adds 13 companies to accelerator

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 7, 2014        

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CuratioStartUp Health has added 13 more companies to StartUp Health’s accelerator. The accelerator now has 84 companies in its portfolio.

The company also shared several data points about the startups in its portfolio.

Startups in the program have raised $154 million as of September 2014 and represent seven countries: Canada, India, Ireland, Israel, Spain, and the US. The company explained that 42 percent of founders are physicians or practitioners and 29 percent of founders are women.

In the last couple years, three StartUp Health companies were also acquired. At the end of 2013, WebMD acquired EHR-neutral patient portal startup Avado, which will accelerate the WebMD’s plans to enhance the connectivity between its recently relaunched WebMD patient app and its physician-facing MedScape app. And this year, Intel acquired Basis Science, the activity tracker company that makes the high-end Basis B1 Band.

Here is the most recent batch of startups added to StartUp Health’s portfolio:

Toronto-based AprilAge has developed software that helps users visualize what they would look like down the road based on decisions they make. The program is intended to encourage people to make healthier decisions.

Keep reading>>

Trackers for sleep, rowing, yoga, and 8 other crowdfunding campaigns

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 6, 2014        

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TechnicalDigital health devices — including consumer-facing activity trackers and wearables — have a constant presence on Indiegogo and Kickstarter these days. But lately a few health-related devices have made a big splash, raising well over their funding goal. The Darma smart seat cushion, the SmartMat smart yoga mat, and Pavlok, a wrist bracelet that uses small shocks to discourage bad habits, have all received a fair amount of attention in the last few weeks.

And of course, as usual, a number of other health and fitness products have achieved more modest success on the platforms. As with every crowdfunding roundup, it’s important to remember to have a healthy skepticism about groundbreaking medical or technological claims. Crowdfunding platforms have had a few examples in the past of devices that have, at the very least, so far failed to live up to their creators’ original promises.

Read on for 11 of the latest health technology pitches to hit the crowdfunding scene. Keep reading>>

NantHealth raises $320M, including $250M more from Kuwait Investment Authority

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 6, 2014        

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Dr Patrick Soon-ShiongNantHealth raised $320 million in a round led by Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) with participation from Verizon, Celgene, BlackBerry, and Blackstone. KIA contributed $250 million to the round, according to Nant. This brings the company’s total funding to north of $400 million.

KIA also invested $100 million in NantHealth earlier this year — in May. BlackBerry’s investment in the company was announced in April.

NantHealth offers a cloud-based, clinical decision support platform used by at least 250 hospitals, according to the company. Nant offers a range of services, including a population health platform and a suite of products built to provide a learning system for the treatment of cancer.  Keep reading>>

Next week: MobiHealthNews webinar on texting for health

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 6, 2014        

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Text MessagingThe opportunity for healthcare organizations to leverage text messaging as a channel for health education, behavior change, and patient engagement has been widely discussed over the past decade. But unlike other health technology solutions, the body of data supporting text messaging-based mobile health programs is substantial and growing.

Next Thursday during a complimentary MobiHealthNews webinar — October 16th at 2PM ET — we’ll go over data and highlights from efficacy studies published over the past few years, along with a series of individual case studies that point to not only the potential, but also the success, of texting for healthcare today.

Don’t miss out: Register today and tune in live Thursday, October 16th at 2PM ET / 11AM PT.