Glow launches new app to help young women track sexual health, cycles

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 30, 2015        

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RubySan Francisco-based Glow, which has developed a suite of women’s health apps, launched a new app today designed to help women manage their sex life and their menstrual cycle, called Ruby.

“We’re taught in school to avoid, delay having sex for as long as possible, and when the topic of sex comes up in the classroom, it’s introduced as something fearful: ‘If you have sex, you might get pregnant and you probably don’t want to do that’,” Glow VP of Partnerships and Marketing Jennifer Tye told MobiHealthNews. “What’s not being taught is how to have open and empowering sexual relationships. How to figure out what the right birth control is for you if any and why it’s even important to track your cycles to understand your health as a woman.”

Glow’s other two apps include their eponymous app, which helps women conceive or just track their fertility if they don’t have plans to conceive, and Glow Nurture, which women can use to track their pregnancy once they’ve conceived. Tye said that part of the inspiration for Ruby came from the Glow app.

“Roughly half of our users actually use the Glow app to actively avoid pregnancy,” she said. “Based on that, we wanted to develop a whole new app and experience just for them that could more fully reflect their lifestyle.” Keep reading>>

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How Garmin plans to be a contender in the activity tracker space

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 29, 2015        

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Garmin VivosmartGarmin has been in the wearable business since at least 2003, but the company has only been in the highly competitive consumer fitness tracker market — with its VivoSmart and VivoFit lines — for a little under a year. And in that time, the company has only managed to capture between 10 and 15 percent of the market, according to their own estimates. Their fitness segment posted a sluggish 5 percent year over year growth.

On a second quarter earnings call, CEO and president Cliff Pemble talked to investors about this slow growth and, though he didn’t mention it by name, about the steps Garmin is taking to compete with the elephant in the room: Fitbit, which raised $732 million earlier this year in a record-breaking IPO.

Pemble said in his prepared remarks that slow growth in the second quarter was due to a number of factors including unfavorable currency markets, competitive pricing dynamics, and a lack of new products released this quarter. And margins were lower because the company has chosen to make significant advertising and R&D investments in order to set itself up for longer term growth.

“The operating margin decline reflects the significant investment in advertising and research and development to support our long-term goals in the segment,” the company said in a statement. “We believe these investments are appropriate and timely given the sizeable opportunity that exists in the global fitness and wellness industries.” Keep reading>>

eVisit raises $1M for video visit platform

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 29, 2015        

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eVisitPhoenix, Arizona-based eVisit has raised a $1 million seed round from Alan Ram, founder of Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions, Chris Reap, investor at Northstar Capital, and others.

The company has developed a two-way video communication offering, available on desktop computers as well as iOS and Android devices, that providers can use when treating minor medical issues, for example checking in on a patient after an operation or treating a cold. Providers can use the service to collect payments from patients and access detailed medical charts to download and submit for reimbursement. They can also electronically prescribe medications to be picked up at their patient’s pharmacy. eVisit costs providers $139 per month.

“Many people within and outside the healthcare field realize we need to change something to make care delivery simpler for both providers and patients,” Bret Larsen, eVisit cofounder and CEO, said in a statement. “We’re offering a solution that does just that, while reinforcing the doctor-patient relationship.”

eVisit is the latest of several companies with telehealth services that have raised money this year, though many of the other companies are consumer-facing. Dallas, Texas-based video visits telehealth company Teladoc raised $156.8 million in its IPO a few weeks ago. The company also recently acquired another video visits offering, called Stat Health. Two other video visits companies, Doctor on Demand and MDLive, both raised $50 million this year. And last month, Carena, which offers a video visit service for health systems, raised $13.3 million.

Text4baby tailored messages doubled new moms’ chances of getting vaccinated

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 29, 2015        

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Text4babyPhoneText message reminders that were tailored or included a reminder doubled the chance that expectant and new mothers would receive an influenza vaccine in a new randomized trial of Text4baby, a texting service for new mothers, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. As a result of these findings, vaccination reminders will be incorporated into Text4baby going forward during flu season.

“In this randomized evaluation, Text4baby mothers who received a reminder were twice as likely to report they were vaccinated and the odds of vaccination were increased among all participants who reported their status,” lead author Elizabeth Jordan, an associate professor at the University of South Florida, College of Nursing, said in a statement. “Also, Text4baby mothers who initially reported they were not planning to be vaccinated due to cost were nearly twice as likely to report vaccination at follow-up after receiving a single text on how to access free and low-cost influenza vaccines.”

Text4baby is a texting program created by Voxiva for new and expected mothers. It has reached more than 900,000 new mothers since its 2010 launch. Women who enroll in the service receive three free text messages each week. The texts are sent from early in the pregnancy and up through the baby’s first birthday. Topics addressed in texts include labor signs and symptoms, prenatal care, urgent alerts, developmental milestones, immunizations, nutrition, birth defect prevention, safe sleep, and safety.  Keep reading>>

Six out of 10 healthcare organizations lag in digital health adoption

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 29, 2015        

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A Kaiser Permanente video visit.

A Kaiser Permanente video visit.

Nearly 60 percent of healthcare organizations are either behind on their digital health strategy or lack one entirely, according to a new survey of 450 healthcare companies from Validic.

Specifically, 59 percent said they were behind on their strategy or didn’t have one, while 41 percent said they were on track with their digital health strategy. Respondents included hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, wellness companies and healthcare technology companies.

“The purpose of this survey was to provide the healthcare ecosystem with an important update and valuable insights on the progress the industry is making with digital health,” Validic Chief Marketing Officer Chris Edwards said in a statement. “We are seeing strong examples of companies who are innovating and making progress leveraging digital health to help them advance their overall business. It was interesting to find that more than half of healthcare organizations say they have no digital health strategy or are behind schedule. We know these companies are looking for a way to accelerate their digital health initiatives, and that is why we wanted share this information, as well as provide some commonalities of thriving healthcare organizations. Digital health is moving from being a competitive, speed-to-market advantage to being a vital component of a company’s success and relevance in the new healthcare landscape. Now is the time to be executing.”

In a whitepaper associated with the survey, Validic contends that digital health services like telehealth and remote patient monitoring, which used to convey a competitive advantage to adopters, are increasingly becoming necessary to stay competitive in healthcare.

“It was only three years ago that Becker’s Hospital Review wrote that EHRs, smartphone applications and tablets were going to be competitive advantages for hospitals,” the whitepaper reads. “Today, those technologies are ubiquitous. Of healthcare providers, more than 75 percent have at least a basic EHR, and 70 percent of caregivers at hospitals use smartphones or tablets in daily care coordination. Technology is forcing the healthcare industry, which has historically moved slowly due to a number of regulatory and other factors, to move at a staggeringly quick pace to maintain competitive relevance.” Keep reading>>

Survey: 9 percent of consumers have used a telehealth service

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 29, 2015        

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HealthlineSome 9 percent of respondents said they have used a telehealth service for a minor illness at least once since these tools became commercially available, according to a Healthline survey of 3,679 people who read Healthline.com, a medical information website. The survey was conducted in June 2015.

Within this group, 90 percent said their experience using telehealth services was the same or better than their experience at a doctor’s office. And 45 percent of respondents who said they have used a telehealth service also said they were unaware of these services two or three years ago.

A small percentage of respondents are also noticing that physicians are willing to discuss digital health tools with them. Some 4 percent of consumers said their doctor recommended a mobile app to them, and an additional 2 percent said that their doctor formally prescribed an app. The most popular app category recommended or prescribed was food logs and calorie counters (34 percent), followed by pedometers or fitness trackers (24 percent), heart rate monitors (22 percent), blood sugar monitors (20 percent), and medication reminders (17 percent).

The survey also explored consumers’ interaction with digital health outside the doctor’s office. Some 15 percent of consumers said they own a Fitbit or a similar activity tracker. Of the respondents that own an activity tracking device, 80 percent said the device keeps them motivated, 48 percent said it helps them better track their activity, and 25 percent said it helps them increase their activity level.

A relatively large number of people use health apps. The survey found that 52 percent of respondents use at least one health app. Some 33 percent of consumers with a health app have been using it for three to eight months and another 33 percent have been using it for less than three months.

Respondents are still hesitant about sharing their data. Some 25 percent of all consumers surveyed said they don’t believe their personal health data is secure on a Fitbit or a health tracking app and 45 percent of wearable and mobile health app users are concerned that hackers may try to steal their personal health data from a wearable.