Survey: 69 percent of physicians think patients should use tech to assist in diagnosis

By: Aditi Pai | Sep 24, 2014        

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Medscape surveyEighty four percent of patients said they should be able to use technology to help their doctors make a diagnosis, while 69 percent of physicians said patients should use such tools to help them form a diagnosis. That’s according to a recent survey from WebMD. In a follow up, the survey asked physicians if patients should self-diagnose using technology, to which only 17 percent of physicians said they should.

The survey was completed by 1,102 random visitors to WebMD’s consumer-facing website and 1,406 active members of Medscape, WebMD’s clinician-facing service. Within the group of clinicians surveyed, 827 were physicians, 152 were nurse practitioners, 85 were nurses, 107 were physician’s assistants, and 235 were medical school students.  Keep reading>>

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Medtronic showcases smartphone-enabled continuous glucose monitoring

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 24, 2014        

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Guardian Mobile medtronicMedtronic has developed a Bluetooth-enabled continuous glucose monitoring system for patients with diabetes, that will connect to an iOS app, Medtronic Global Program Marketing Manager Samantha Katz announced from the stage at Health 2.0 in Santa Clara, California.

MobiHealthNews has learned that though the new system is not yet FDA cleared, it will start a “pivotal clinical trial” later this fall.

“We’ve heard from our customers that they don’t like having to carry a separate display device and they feel self-conscious when they use it in public, so we want to address that.” Katz said, referencing Medtronic’s current CGM offering, the Medtronic Guardian, which uses a custom display device. “Introducing Guardian mobile, Medtronic’s first CGM system enabled by Bluetooth LE that communicates directly with the user’s smartphone.”

Although a number of noncontinuous fingerstick glucometers are smartphone-connected, the race to an app-connected CGM is still in the early stages. Notably, Dexcom filed a patent in January for such a device and Maryland-based Senseonics raised $20 million this summer with an eye on smartphone-connected CGM. And CGMs have connected to smartphones in research contexts, especially around efforts to develop an “artificial pancreas” by linking CGMs up to insulin pumps.

Said Bolorforosh, vice president of global technology at Medtronic, told MobiHealthNews in an email that regulation is a hold up, as is the high standard of accuracy CGMs need to meet for their patients.

“With a product like Guardian Mobile, the stakes are higher than your average mobile app because we’re talking about personal health,” he wrote. “And we’re talking about information related to diabetes, which is a very challenging disease to manage. So, from the technical side, it’s important that we make sure that the data is safe and secure and that changes made to the phone (software updates, new app installations etc.) don’t impact the integrity of the CGM data or how it’s displayed. Communication to a device we completely control is easier, but we want to make managing diabetes more convenient for people with diabetes who don’t want additional devices to carry around.”  Keep reading>>

Safeway helps other employers strategize about health data, behavior change

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 24, 2014        

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BradleySafeway Health president Dr. Kent Bradley believes healthcare data has arrived. The challenge now for stakeholders, especially employers, is to figure out how to use that data meaningfully.

Safeway Health entered the health market in an unusual way. In 2010, the grocery store chain Safeway was getting so much attention for its novel approaches to employee wellness that the company spun off Safeway Health, a wholly owned subsidiary that now offers services and platforms to other employers to improve health at their own companies.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t necessarily know how progressive you are because you’re just internally doing what you need to do until it bubbles up into national attention, and you recognize ‘I guess we are ahead of the pack in some of our thinking’,” Bradley told MobiHealthNews on the sidelines of Health 2.0 this week. “And then the lightbulb went off, if we’re really differentiated, maybe there’s an offering there that could benefit others and maybe be successful as a business.”

Four years in, Safeway Health is still going strong. Bradley says an important learning of that business is to stick to core principles that work, while being willing to iterate the specifics as technology advances. Bradley thinks the central tenets of good employee health savings are corollaries to the triple aim, the popular idea that healthcare innovation should improve patient care, improve population health, and reduce costs.

“Safeway did our own introspection and came up with what I call it the ‘triple insight’ from an employer perspective,” he said. “And from an employer perspective, those insights were healthcare costs were concentrated [in] a small percentage of the population; behavior was a key cause of conditions and therefore we needed a focus on lifestyle and behavior and that incentives, when properly designed, could, in fact, drive behavior change and improve health. And then the third was that, we had this understanding that we needed to have a marketplace and individuals had to be empowered and be able to make thoughtful decisions around their healthcare like they would other things in life.” Keep reading>>

Samsung exec says it will be a custodian, not owner, of user health data

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 23, 2014        

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YoungSohnAt Health 2.0, Samsung Electronics President and Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn’s presence, may have said more about Samsung’s health agenda than anything he said during a 20-minute onstage interview with Health 2.0’s Indu Subaiya. According to Subaiya, this was Sohn’s first appearance at a healthcare-focused technology conference, and it demonstrated a serious and growing commitment to the health vertical for the electronics company.

“If we look at the landscape of whats going on, of the mobility we have with a supercomputer in our pocket, with cloud capabilities, and the wearables that are coming, we think there is an opportunity to converge the information technology we’ve been working on and medicine and preventative health, that we believe we’ll be able to combine and we’ll be able to solve bigger problems than we have done in the past,” he said.

Samsung unveiled two health offerings, both collaborative platform approaches, at an event last May: Simband and SAMI. Simband is an investigational wearable that will include both sensors from Samsung and room for developers to add their own third-party sensors — essentially an open source wearable hardware product. Similarly, SAMI (Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions), a cloud-based software offering that will serve as a data broker for health tracking data, similar to Apple’s HealthKit. Keep reading>>

Webinar invitation: Insights into the success of text messaging for health

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 23, 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.

During our next 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 October 16th at 2PM ET / 11AM PT.

Jiff raises $18M for its employee wellness curation platform

By: Aditi Pai | Sep 23, 2014        

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Jiff Image1Employee wellness curation platform Jiff raised $18 million in a round led by Venrock with participation from existing investors Aberdare Ventures and Aeris Capital. Jiff has raised $25.8 million to date.

Jiff originally launched with a provider-to-patient education platform, called JiffPad, the company pivoted in June 2013 and now offers a service called The Health Outcomes Marketplace. The marketplace is a customized app that Jiff builds for each of its employer customers.

The app enables employees to choose from among a curated marketplace of wellness programs. The service has been developed on the Jiff platform in partnership with Towers Watson, a global professional services company.

“The way the app works is that we help employers design their benefits around these new, emerging digital health tools,” Jiff CEO Derek Newell told MobiHealthNews in a recent interview. “What I mean by ‘design their benefits’ is they give people incentives, or reduce premiums, or reduce copays, or some form of a change in the amount they would pay for their insurance. There are other rewards as well, but they design their benefits around the use of digital health tools. And those tools are subsidized through this Jiff app. So what happens is the employer says ‘I will subsidize these different solutions that you have integrated with your platform’. The employer doesn’t need to worry about which person needs which solution.”  Keep reading>>