JAMA: Teladoc doctors prescribe antibiotics at the same rate as in-person docs

By: Aditi Pai | May 28, 2015        

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TeladocVideoVisitPhysicians who meet with patients via direct to consumer telemedicine services are just as likely to prescribe antibiotics as those who conduct in-person visits, according to a study conducted by Rand Corporation. The study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.

The study examined health plan claims from 1,725 patients who used telemedicine service Teladoc and 64,099 who went in for an office visit. Visits were covered by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).

“[Direct-to-consumer] telemedicine is often more convenient and less expensive than in-person visits,” researchers explained. “However, concerns about the quality of these services have been expressed: lack of physician-patient relationship and access to medical records; limitation of the physical examination; and barriers to testing could lead to overuse of antibiotics.” Keep reading>>

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Accelerator at athenahealth adds 3 new companies, opens up Texas location

By: Jonah Comstock | May 28, 2015        

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LifesquareHealth IT vendor athenahealth has announced the second class in its relatively new accelerator program, called More Disruption Please (MDP). MDP launched last September and now has six portfolio companies, three based in San Francisco and three in Boston.

MDP companies receive seed funding, office space, and mentorship from athenahealth along with access to athenahealth’s network of providers, which the company currently counts at 64,000. The accelerator specifically looks for late stage companies that have, at minimum, a beta version of their product and are ready to start scaling.

Boston and San Francisco will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis and a third location, in Austin, Texas, is also recruiting. Here’s the six companies currently in the program, starting with the three San Francisco-based companies announced today:

San Francisco

Hale Health offers a mobile-based clinical organization and communication tool that connects providers and patients between visits. Patients can upload photos and videos to providers, care teams can collaboratively tag patient records, and notifications let providers know when patients enter new information.

LifeSquare lets consumers create special emergency medical records that contain all the information a patient might need. That record is then stored in a secure cloud and the company prints out stickers with QVC codes. The user can stick those stickers on their wallet, refrigerator, or car or bike helmet so paramedics can quickly access their health data in an emergency.

PatientPop seeks to help small medical practices grow their reputation and engagement. The service promises to help practices acquire more patients, get better reviews online, drive repeat visits and track marketing analytics.

Boston

Arsenal Health makes Smart Scheduling, a software to streamline appointment booking and predict (and hopefully prevent) no-shows and cancellations. In January, Smart Scheduling graduated from the accelerator into the athenahealth Marketplace, and it’s now being used in hospitals including Martin’s Point Health Care, where is was able to raise the show rate from 62 to 92 percent for patients who had confirmed their appointments. The company also received an investment from seed fund Rock Health earlier this year.

CredSimple helps providers manage credentialing for their doctors. The software helps keep track of who has what credentials and automates the verification of providers’ qualifications.

RubiconMD is an in-hospital telemedicine service that connects patients to specialists for e-consults. The secure mobile consults save doctors and patients time. Rubicon is also a Blueprint Health graduate.

MC10, University of Rochester to test stretchable medical sensors, develop predictive health analytics

By: Brian Dolan | May 28, 2015        

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MC10_BiostampThe University of Rochester has teamed up with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based medical sensor company MC10 to test the company’s BioStamp platform in clinical settings and help it develop its disease-specific algorithms for predictive health analytics. The partnership’s efforts will be led by the school’s Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, but various researchers at the university will be involved. MC10 will open a Rochester office to support the initiative and it plans to work with graduate and undergraduate students there on research projects.

While MC10’s CEO, Scott Pomerantz is an alum of the university and is a member of the dean’s advisory council there, MC10’s relationship with researchers at the school actually pre-dates Pomerantz’s arrival at MC10 last year. The company has had a longstanding relationship with the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Dr. Ray Dorsey, who most recently made headlines as one of the first researchers to leverage Apple’s ResearchKit with a clinical research app, called mPower, with Parkinson’s patients.

“We fit beautifully within what [Dorsey] is trying to accomplish with mPower,” Pomerantz told MobiHealthNews in an interview. “That is trying to collect data from the body in a format that is flexible and comfortable — a way that the patient will actually want to wear it.”

Pomerantz said that a lot of the sensor information researchers want to collect from patients isn’t best tracked from the wrist, and a platform like MC10’s BioStamp can support peel-and-stick, flexible, stretchable sensors that can be placed on various parts of the body, like the chest or ankle.  Keep reading>>

Mango Health uses Google Fit to add activity, blood pressure, weight tracking

By: Jonah Comstock | May 28, 2015        

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Mango HealthGamified medication adherence app maker Mango Health is moving beyond medications, using a new Google Fit integration to add tracking of blood pressure and weight, as well as activity tracking, into its app, the company announced today.

“From a patient or consumer’s perspective in the app, it leverages the existing paradigm around reminders, which we think is a very effective way to begin encouraging patient populations in other forms of even more proactive health,” CEO Jason Oberfest told MobiHealthNews. “So whether it’s recording blood pressure regularly, or moving regularly, monitoring glucose regularly, whatever the case may be, it was a very logical extension for the app.”

Oberfest says that Mango isn’t looking to compete with or replace dedicated fitness or health trackers. Instead, Mango Health wants to be the first step into other types of health tracking for users who already track and schedule medications.

“[Our demographic] looks very similar to the casual mobile game demographic,” Oberfest said. “Fifty-five to 64-year-old consumer, skews a little bit female, very similar to the Candy Crush demographic. Our hope is we provide an experience that’s very familiar and inspiring to that audience and we get them thinking about some of this for the first time. And then if we can provide a really simple and frictionless experience to begin thinking about tracking steps, that’s a good plan.” Keep reading>>

Jawbone lawsuit alleges Fitbit poached employees who stole Jawbone trade secrets

By: Aditi Pai | May 28, 2015        

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Jawbone UP2

Jawbone UP2

Just a few weeks after Fitbit filed for an IPO, one of the company’s biggest competitors, Jawbone, has sued Fitbit, according to the New York Times. Jawbone alleges that Fitbit poached employees who downloaded sensitive data about Jawbone before leaving the company.

The full text of the suit can be read here.

“According to the complaint, recruiters for Fitbit contacted nearly a third of Jawbone’s employees early this year,” the NYT explained. “Some of those employees then decided to leave, but before doing so downloaded information like Jawbone’s current and future business plans and products. Those individuals used thumb drives to download files and used programs to cover their tracks or deleted system logs, according to the court filing.”

In the filing Jawbone describes one of its former employees as requesting a meeting with company executives to better understand the company’s future strategy and get a look at prototype devices for future products. Weeks before leaving to join Fitbit, she then downloaded the presentation, which Jawbone said was its “Playbook for the Future” onto her personal computer.

Fitbit put out a statement responding the lawsuit Wednesday night.

“As the pioneer and leader in the connected health and fitness market, Fitbit has no need to take information from Jawbone or any other company,” the statement says. “Since Fitbit’s start in 2007, our employees have developed and delivered innovative product offerings to empower our customers to lead healthier, more active lives. We are unaware of any confidential or proprietary information of Jawbone in our possession and we intend to vigorously defend against these allegations.”  Keep reading>>

FDA clearances: Microsoft Kinect PT program, Sotera adds fall detection, CHF necklace

By: Jonah Comstock | May 27, 2015        

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Necklace-21-Fev-043-2-300x221In the last two months, the FDA has cleared a number of clinically-focused mobile health devices. Some are first-time clearances for companies that have been waiting on their 510(k) for a while, including a few MobiHealthNews has been keeping an eye on over the years. Others are incremental clearances for slight hardware or algorithm updates. Here’s five mobile health clearances that came through in April or May.

toSense’s CoVa monitoring systemWe wrote about the CoVa monitoring system last year when the company was making the rounds at HIMSS with its necklace for clinical use that can track a number of vital signs including thoracic fluid levels, an early predictor of congestive heart failure that isn’t currently monitored by most connected sensors. ToSense, formerly known as Perminova, has now received FDA 510(k) clearance for its device, which is intended to be worn for a few minutes a day by patients managing their care at home. The startup lists Scripps Health cardiologist Eric Topol as an advisor.

“Heart failure is the most important cause of hospital admission and readmission in the United States,” Topol said in a statement. “This innovative necklace technology to track chest fluid status and key heart parameters has promise for use in patients with heart failure.” Keep reading>>