Mobile health companies raked in $198 million during Q1 2014

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 15, 2014        

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Money TreeConsumer-focused health technology companies raised $398 million from 103 investment deals in the first quarter of 2014, according to a report from Mercom Capital Group.

When Mercom Capital Group broke this category down further, it found the majority of the funding came from mobile health companies, which raised $198 million in 61 deals. The second highest total was from telehealth companies, $79 million in 14 deals. The third consumer-focused health category, scheduling, rating, and shopping companies, received $66 million in six deals.

Mercom found that the wider category — health IT deals — totaled $858 million in 163 deals during Q1. Of that group, 65 were early-stage deals under $2 million, 29 of which were accelerator or incubator deals.

Investments less than $2 million were more likely to be consumer-focused and deals that were more than $2 million were for technologies targeted at providers more often than not. Provider-focused technology companies received more than half of all investment dollars tracked in Q1 — $460 million in 60 deals.

The most funded categories within provider-focused technology were practice management, which had $124 million in eight deals; health information exchange, which had $78 million in two deals; and data analytics, which had $43 million in seven deals.

Last week, Rock Health published its digital health funding report that included investments in companies that raised more than $2 million. According to Rock Health, funding reached nearly $700 million in the first quarter of 2014. The total funding grew 87 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2013. Rock Health tracked 68 investments in its first quarter report.

Like Mercom, Rock Health pointed to MedHOK, a healthcare platform that raised $77.5 million and MindBody, a scheduling portal for health and wellness services that raised $50 million as big dollar deals that happened during the quarter.

MobiHealthNews’ own Q1 2014 report tracked digital health and mobile health company investments too — we tracked $257.6 million for 33 deals.

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BlackBerry invests in Dr. Soon-Shiong’s NantHealth

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 15, 2014        

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Dr Patrick Soon-ShiongWaterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry (formerly known as Research In Motion) announced this week an investment in Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s digital health rollup NantHealth, which boasts that about 250 hospitals are now using its cloud-based, clinical decision support platform. The dollar amount of the investment was not disclosed.

BlackBerry and NantHealth haven’t yet finalized the specific details of their collaboration, but the companies noted opportunities to leverage BlackBerry’s QNX operating system for connect medical devices; to offer BBM Protected to healthcare providers as a secure messaging service; to integrate NantHealth’s clinical operating system platform with BlackBerry’s offerings; and more.

“This investment and planned collaboration aligns with the reliability, security and versatility of BlackBerry’s end-to-end solutions – from the embedded QNX operating system powering complex medical devices, to secure cloud-based networks, to instantaneous information sharing over BBM Protected,” BlackBerry CEO and Executive Chair, John Chen stated. “NantHealth is a proven innovator in developing leading platforms that allow medical professionals to share information and deliver care efficiently. BlackBerry’s capabilities align closely with NantHealth’s and this investment represents the type of forward-looking opportunities that are vital to our future.”  Keep reading>>

Beijing crowdfunding campaign aims to develop Lumo-like, posture-sensing wearable

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 15, 2014        

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Giraffe FriendBeijing-based Giraffe Tech has so far raised $15,283 (95,048 Yuan) on a crowdfunding platform, called Demohour with five days left in the campaign for a posture-sensing wearable device, called Giraffe Friend, according to a report in TechNode.

Giraffe Friend was developed by Xiang Renkai, a student at Peking University, who was inspired by a Chrome plug-in, which allows users to browse the internet using motion recognition technology.

Giraffe Friend is 26mm in diameter and 9mm thick and is inteded to be worn on the user’s upper body, by being clipped on to a shirt collar. If the user hunches over while wearing the device, Giraffe Friend will vibrate as a reminder to maintain good posture. The companion app receives Giraffe Friend data that shows how the user’s posture improves over time. The device comes in seven different colors and will cost about $30.

The company is also working on a somatosensory game that will help users maintain a healthy self-image based on their improved posture.

Giraffe Friend seems to be taking a number of queus from incumbent Lumo Body Tech, maker of similar posture-sensing devices, which crowdfunded its latest device in January 2014, called Lumo Lift. The small device is meant to be worn on the upper half of the user’s shirt. Lumo Lift, Lumo Body Tech’s second product, was created in part because the company’s existing customers, who had tried Lumo Body’s chest strap, wanted a smaller form factor.

Both Giraffe Friend and Lumo Lift are pitched as fashionable device. The Giraffe Friend’s crowfunding campaign’s category on the Chinese crowdfunding site is categorized loosely translates to “fashion technology”. Lumo Body Tech has made clasps that resemble small brooches and can be attached to a Lumo Lift device.

Modular EHR apps initiative SMART adds advisors to scale up adoption

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 15, 2014        

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Blood pressure centiles, a SMART app.

Blood pressure centiles, a SMART app.

The SMART platform (Substitutable Medical Apps and Reusable Technology), an ONC-funded, Boston Children’s Hospital-led effort to encourage the development of modular apps for EHRs, has announced an advisory committee to help support the growth of the platform.

The committee includes representatives from The Advisory Board Company, AARP, BMJ, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, England National Health Service, Hospital Corporation of America, Eli Lilly and Company, MyHealthBook, Polyglot Systems, and Surescripts, as well as Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. In addition to advising on how to scale adoption, each member of the committee will be required to use SMART themselves in their businesses or institutions.

“The advisory committee is a number of companies, and a few individuals, and a couple of government agencies, that have within their strategic interest to see something like the SMART API emerge,” Dr. Kenneth D. Mandl, a Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a faculty member in the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program at Boston Children’s, told MobiHealthNews. ”And they’re working with us to help create the environment where SMART is pulled into use as a standard of sorts, so we can have a demand for this kind of economy of scale you get from a SMART API.”  Keep reading>>

MobiHealthNews Q1 2014 report now freely available

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 14, 2014        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsFor the past few years MobiHealthNews has published quarterly reports on the state of mobile and digital health, but moving forward those paid reports will take the form of Friday Exclusives — the Friday edition of our daily newsletter — and In-Depths on our website. They will be free for all to read thanks to our generous sponsors and advertisers.

Last week we published our Q1 2014 review and like most quarters for digital health, the past three months were eventful.

Among arguably much more important events, Apple hired a whole lot of medical sensor experts for some unknown reason – most suspect for the rumored iWatch. More NBA players started wearing health tracking devices. The Google Flu Trends debacle got some scholarly attention. Disney helped launch a tooth brushing app for kids. Facebook bought a virtual reality company for $2 billion that it might use for remote doctor visits someday. And a company called HealBe said it had developed a device to passively track caloric intake.

As we do every quarter, the MobiHealthNews team rounded up the emerging trends, investment announcements and digital health news summaries categorized by health care stakeholder (provider, payer, pharma, government, and so on.)

Be sure to give the full 7-page report read over at the MobiHealthNews site right here.

Sweden’s Lifesum raises $6.7 million for food tracking app

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 14, 2014        

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LifesumStockholm, Sweden-based calorie counting app company Lifesum (formerly known as ShapeUp Club) has raised $6.7 million in its first round of funding led by Germany’s Bauer Media Group and SparkLabs Global Ventures, according to a report in TechCrunch. The company has 4.5 million members and 6.5 million downloads in Europe for its Android and iOS apps. At the end of last year it reported having about half a million monthly active users.

The app aims to make it easier for users to track what they eat and how they exercise. It offers barcode scanning for food tracking, food and exercise charts, quicker entry for often-consumed foods, a database of millions of food items, and more. The free (and ad-free) app also has integrations with RunKeeper, Withings, and Moves.

The company claims to create a personalized weight loss plan for users after they enter their weight, height, age, and daily activity level.

Lifesum’s app is currently available to users in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Scandinavia. The company, which was founded in 2008, plans to use the new funds to continue to build its team — it already stands at 21 employees — and to roll out internationally.