Spotify will tap into phone’s accelerometer to match tunes with runners’ paces

By: Jonah Comstock | May 20, 2015        

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RunKeeper's current Spotify integration.

RunKeeper’s current Spotify integration.

Music streaming service Spotify made some unexpected health and fitness related announcements at its press event today, TechCrunch reports. The company’s app will actually use the phone’s accelerometer to detect the pace of a user’s run and select music with a tempo to match. If the pace of the run changes, so will the song.

The second part of the announcement is even more ambitious: Spotify is working with artists to create music specifically for runners that can adapt and change with changes in the runner’s pace. One participating musician is Dutch performer Tiesto. Spotify has created six of these compositions so far.

The company also announced partnerships with Nike and RunKeeper that will be rolled out later this year. RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs shared a little about RunKeeper’s Spotify partnership earlier this year in a conversation with MobiHealthNews about Under Armour’s acquisition spree. He said it came out of both companies’ desire to add new, unexpected value to fitness experiences.  Keep reading>>

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Apple Watch updates fitness algorithms; future plans rumored to include sleep, glucose

By: Jonah Comstock | May 20, 2015        

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Apple WatchThe Apple Watch had its first software update this week, and it did include some minor updates to the health tracking features. In addition, reports have surfaced of additional health features Apple might be planning to add as the company’s June 8th Worldwide Developer Conference approaches.

Although the exact details are elusive, yesterday’s Apple Watch software update included changes to the way the watch tracks standing activities, changes to how it tracks calories for indoor cycling and rowing workouts, and changes to how it calculates distance and pace for outdoor running and walking workouts. Fitness features seem to have been a pretty major part of the update.

Meanwhile, 9to5Mac is reporting, citing multiple unnamed sources, that Apple has plans to expand the Watch’s health and fitness features. The report mentions a number of features that were in the original Apple Watch plan but were cut for regulatory or accuracy reasons. One feature that Apple is reportedly experimenting with, but which is unlikely to ship as a feature of a device that’s not cleared by the FDA, is one that would notify the user of an irregular heart rate. Keep reading>>

Stride Health raises $13M for smarter health insurance shopping

By: Aditi Pai | May 20, 2015        

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Stride HealthSan Francisco-based Stride Health has raised $13 million in a round led by Venrock with participation from Fidelity Biosciences and existing investor NEA, according to a post from TechCrunch. This brings the company’s total funding to at least $15.4 million.

Stride Health helps people shopping for health insurance on the open exchanges by providing a more advanced search engine can factor in a user’s health profile. It can take into account 38 different data points to estimate the user’s medical costs for the year on a plan-by-plan basis. Some of the factors that Stride Health considers includes age, gender, location, and illness history.

From there, Stride Health will recommend a plan that takes into account the user’s preferred doctors and prescriptions. The company is certified to match users with government assistance as well.

Stride Health also offers a prescription price search service and provides users with discounted rates on prescriptions if they go through Stride. Users can check prices on prescriptions by entering information into the search engine including the drug name, how many days they plan to take the medication, and how many times they plan to refill the prescription.

Last year, Stride Health took part in Rock Health’s accelerator program, though Rock Health has since transitioned into a full seed fund. At the time, Stride Health was only available to consumer looking for health insurance in California. Since then, the company has expanded and moved into six other states: New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, but they are licensed to sell health, accident and life insurance in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

The company has also partnered with Uber, TaskRabbit, and Postmates, to tap those companies’ large networks of contract employees.

MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper equips breast cancer patients with Apple Watches

By: Brian Dolan | May 20, 2015        

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MD Anderson Cancer Apple WatchSouthern New Jersey’s MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper is setting up a program for 30 of its breast cancer patients that equips them with Apple Watches to help them self-manage their treatment as well as stay better connected to their care team and each other. The center is working with Wayne, Pennsylvania-based behavioral health technology company Polaris Health Directions on the nine-month feasibility study, which will move into a Phase 2, randomized control trial if it goes well.

Polaris is covering the cost of the Apple Watches, which will feature a pink band, and will also equip patients who don’t have iPhones with those devices too. Once the study is over, patients will get to keep the devices and be able to continue to participate in the program, which will continue even though the initial study will end in nine months.

Patients will use the Apple Watch to answer quick multiple-choice questions about their mood, symptoms, possible treatment side effects (like headaches or nausea), and more. The provider will also use the device to capture activity and heart rate data to help them anticipate potential issues before they worsen and intervene sooner. While the Apple Watch itself offers no specific sleep tracking features, sleep tracking will be an important part of the study. As the Apple Watch charges at the patient’s bedside overnight, patients will keep their iPhone close to them as they sleep — likely on their bed — and an app on the smartphone will estimate the patient’s sleep quality (probably via the phone’s accelerometer).  Keep reading>>

Trialbee raises $5M to bring mobile-enabled clinical trials business to US

By: Jonah Comstock | May 20, 2015        

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TrialbeeSwedish clinical trial recruitment company Trialbee has raised $5 million in first-round funding from existing investors Industrifonden and Briban Invest. The company previously raised about $3.2 million in seed funding. The money will be used, among other things, to support Trialbee’s entrance into the US market.

Trialbee provides mobile and web-based tools for clinical trial recruitment, online study feasibility evaluation, study retention and electronic data capture. This is a market that has seen some success in recent years, but has yet to catch on in a big way with pharmaceutical companies.

“We are successfully providing e-recruitment to an increasing number of leading top pharmaceutical companies,” Tobias Folkesson, CEO of Trialbee, said in a statement. “We predicted that 2015 would be the breakthrough year when the pharmaceutical industry switches from traditional patient recruitment to more efficient e-recruitment methods. We see this transformation happening now. With additional funding we are well placed to further expand our business and grow the workforce to be able to help more customers save time and resources in their clinical trial programs.” Keep reading>>

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles offers patients imaging app

By: Aditi Pai | May 20, 2015        

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CHLA Imaging appChildren’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) has announced that they will offer an imaging app, called ImageInbox, to their patients. The app will help patients access digital versions of their imaging records, including MR, CT, ultrasound, and x-ray files.

Providers have trouble sharing digital versions of imaging files with patients or other clinicians because the files are massive, CHLA explained. A typical MR image, for example, is about 500 MB. If a patient wants certain imaging files, they usually have to ask a radiologist to transfer the images to a CD, they then pick up the CD in person, and deliver it to a referring physician.

With ImageInbox, which is a free app, parents of patients treated at CHLA can access imaging files and send the files to another provider. The imaging files that patients request are encrypted and stored on a cloud-based system.

ImageInbox, which was first released in August 2014, was developed by NexGenic, a company founded by Stephan G. Erberich, director of biomedical information at The Saban Research Institute of CHLA, and Marvin D. Nelson, chair of the Department of Radiology at CHLA.

Nelson explained in a statement that the app helps children avoid unnecessary radiation exposure that would occur if they needed to repeat imaging tests.