Parks: 5 percent of US broadband households use a health tracking smart watch

By: Aditi Pai | Feb 26, 2015        

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Fitbit Surge smartwatch

Fitbit Surge smartwatch

Five percent of US broadband households use a smart watch that offers health and fitness tracking features, according to research firm Parks Associates.

Parks also found that 8 percent of US broadband households use a digital pedometer or activity tracker.

Parks Associates’ research analyst Tejas Mehta pointed out that unless smartwatch makers can convince consumers that these devices offer features separate from their smartphone, they won’t see adoption.

“Though increased adoption of smartphones is fueling the mobile revolution that includes wearable devices, consumers’ all-encompassing desire to use smartphones in all aspects of their lives is creating a dilemma for wearable OEMs,” Mehta said in a statement. “In the case of smart watches, these devices are regularly marketed as companion or ‘tethered’ smart products. Companies need to rally consumer interest in smart watches by educating them on the unique experiences and benefits of these and other wearables. Otherwise, the majority of consumers may not see the reason to purchase another device that has similar, if not the same, capabilities as their smartphone.”

Another Parks Associates report, from the fourth quarter of 2014, found that 7 percent of US broadband households use a GPS watch to track a wearer’s location and 5 percent use a sports watch with a built-in heart rate monitor. The research firm estimates that by 2016, more than 32 million US consumers will actively track their personal health and fitness online or via mobile and by 2018, US sales of digital health devices and services will exceed $8 billion.

Earlier this month, Parks released a report that found more than 40 million US smartphone owners are active users of at least one wellness or fitness app. The firm has also reported that one in four heads of household — at homes with broadband — use a mobile app to track their fitness or track their caloric intake.

A few months prior, the research firm published research that estimated 41 percent of caregivers in broadband homes used some kind of digital health device. And 8 percent use some kind of online tool to coordinate their efforts.


Sharecare acquires voice, text analysis company Feingold Technologies

By: Aditi Pai | Feb 26, 2015        

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SharecareAtlanta-based Sharecare, the health and wellness engagement platform founded by WebMD founder Jeff Arnold and television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, has acquired Germany-based Feingold Technologies, a company that offers software that analyzes human behaviors.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Feingold Technologies closed an undisclosed Series A round in October 2014 led by Thomas Putter, the founder of Ancora Finance Group.

“As part of our strategy to create the comprehensive health profile for every consumer regardless of where they are on their health journey, it is critical we find new ways to help people be mindful of their health every day without disrupting their daily routine,” Arnold said in a statement. “With more mobile phones on the planet than people, we believe strongly that harnessing the power of the phone is critical to achieving this, and Feingold Technologies’ advanced voice and text analysis, correlated with data from various mobile sensors, introduces a whole new level of possibilities.”

Feingold has developed technology that aims to understand human behavior, mindsets, and emotional states. The company has discovered a series of patterns in voice and text communications that correlate to certain emotional expressions, Feingold explains. Based on this research, Feingold created a “framework” to help consumers understand their mindset so that they can reduce stress, refocus, and improve their personal relationships and productivity.

Many larger companies in the logistics, pharmaceutical, and financial industries, including DHL, Merck (MSD), and Boehringer Ingelheim are using Feingold’s business apps, iCoach and StressControl.  Keep reading>>

Report: Google considering strategic investment in Jawbone

By: Aditi Pai | Feb 26, 2015        

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Jawbone UP3Google is considering strategic investment in Jawbone, although discussions are in preliminary stages, according to a report from Re/Code.

Re/Code adds Google and Jawbone have not agreed on the size of investment or valuation and that the discussions are so early that there may be no investment. What the report does make clear is that Google is not planning to acquire Jawbone.

Jawbone last raised money in September 2013 when the company racked up $93 million in debt. The company also raised an additional rumored $20 million in equity from Silver Lake, Fortress Investment Group, JP Morgan, and Wells Fargo. That raise brought Jawbone’s total equity funding to over $220 million. Existing Jawbone investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.  Keep reading>>

Patient-sourced drug satisfaction data has its own role to play in healthcare

By: Jonah Comstock | Feb 25, 2015        

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imgresSan Francisco-based Iodine, the startup from former Wired executive editor Thomas Goetz and former Google engineer Matt Mohebbi that launched last fall, is already starting to see some interesting data come out of its crowdsourced medication reviews.

For instance, Goetz said at the ePharma Summit in New York City, Iodine collects ratings on drugs in three categories, one of which is an overall satisfaction score. They ran the numbers for four of the highest-grossing drugs still covered by patents (Nexium, Cybalta, Crestor, and Abilify) against their generic counterparts. They found that the difference in satisfaction scores was only about one percentage point for each drug.

“This was an amazing analysis, but what do you make of it?” Goetz said. “I’m not going to say it’s as simple as substituting those generics for those brands. But it does suggest all sorts of interesting opportunities for exploration.”

Keep reading>>

How ACOs are pushing pharma further beyond the pill

By: Jonah Comstock | Feb 25, 2015        

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Paul Ivans

As payors and providers advance toward outcomes-based medicine, that shift is affecting pharmaceutical companies as well. As decisions about prescribing shift away from the doctor, who has been the primary recipient of pharma marketing for the past 20 years, to the C-level of integrated delivery networks (IDNs) and accountable care organizations (ACOs), pharma is going to have to dramatically change how it sells drugs.

“Decision-making is getting stripped out of the point of care,” Manhattan Research VP of Research Monique Levy said at the ePharma Summit in New York City. “Now we know that physicians tell us one in two of the scripts they write are not based on their clinical preference. This is a big deal. Fifty percent of everything you’re doing is more or less irrelevant.”

But others at the conference had a more optimistic take. Paul Ivans, president and CEO of Evolutionary Road consulting, said that although pharma will gradually see less return from selling to doctors, selling to higher up decision makers allows pharma to market their drugs based on efficacy and plain demonstrations of ROI.  Keep reading>>

Klara raises $2.5M for dermatology remote care app

By: Aditi Pai | Feb 25, 2015        

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KlaraBerlin-based Klara has raised $2.5 million from Partech Ventures; Creathor Venture; Stephan Schambach, founder of ecommerce service Demandware; and Heilemann Ventures.

Existing angel investors include Atlantic Labs, 6Wunderkinder CEO Christian Reber, former CEO of Bayer-Dermatology, Marc Lafeuille, and TA Venture.

Klara has developed an app, available on iOS and Android devices, that helps dermatologists communicate with their patients. Patients can send their dermatologist pictures of their skin condition and doctors can then use the app to find a treatment for the patient, follow-up with the patient about their skin problems, and answer their questions. In the most recent app update, Klara added a new messenger features that helps patients view and send messages from their timeline within the app.

The basic app is free for doctors and patients, but if doctors charge patients for visits, an optional feature, Klara takes a commission, Klara Cofounder Simon Lorenz told MobiHealthNews via email.

The service launched in German-speaking markets at the beginning of 2014 and launched in the US later that summer. Klara is currently working with dermatologists in 30 states in the US.

“At the moment, the US is the most attractive market for Klara,” Lorenz said in a statement. “Not only because of its size, but also legal and infrastructure conditions as well as the willingness of patients and doctors to try innovative solutions and make them part of their daily lives. These factors will enable us to scale Klara successfully.”