Apple adds spirometry data tracking to Health app

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 5, 2014        

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MySpirooIn the latest update to the iOS 8 beta, Apple added a number of health-related features, according to various reports. Most notably, the company added a data tracking capability for spirometry, which is data about how obstructed the lungs are collected by people with conditions like asthma or COPD.

Apple announced its Health app and HealthKit developer package at its WWDC event in June. The app will allow users to store the data from any number of health and fitness tracking devices in a single app that will come preloaded on future Apple mobile devices. From there it could potentially, with users’ permission, make that data available to their doctor or hospital.  Keep reading>>

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DuoFertility maker raises $4M to improve fertility tracker, add smartphone connection

By: Aditi Pai | Aug 5, 2014        

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DuofertilityUK-based Cambridge Temperature Concepts raised $4.38 million (£2.6 million) in a round led by Longwall Venture Partners.

The company previously raised just over $5 million (£3 million), CEO Dr. Claire Hooper told MobiHealthNews in an email. This brings the company’s total funding to date to around $9 million.

Cambridge Temperature Concept’s flagship product, called DuoFertility, is a stick-on sensor and handheld reader device that tracks specific biometrics like temperature to help women conceive. The company offers three different levels of services: lite, premium and deluxe. The cheapest version, lite, is a subscription service that costs $79 per month plus $385 for the device. Women can purchase the other two service levels for a one-time fee of $795 for premium and $1,299 for deluxe.

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Hospital pilots iPad video chats in lieu of ambulance rides

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 5, 2014        

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Female Doctor with TabletAllegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has begun a one-year pilot of a novel telemedicine program, one that will allow first responders to connect select patients to a doctor via an iPad rather than actually transporting them to the hospital.

“The benefits of telemedicine to the patient are innumerable, offering direct in-home access to a physician who can see them and talk to them,” Richard Gibbons, Director of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Pennsylvania Department of Health, said in a statement. “I’m very excited about the potential of this program and glad to see that it is happening in a community hospital such as Allegheny Valley.”

Emergency services crews have already used the technology on one patient, a 59-year-old woman with diabetes who called 911 after experiencing anxiety, sweating and shakiness. After the emergency crew provided her with orange juice and a glucose solution, the woman felt better and told the first responders she didn’t want to go to the hospital. They offered her a telemedicine visit, via iPad, and after a short interview the doctor cleared her to stay home.

As more and more hospitals adopt outcome-based payment models, services like Allegheny’s pre-hospital telemedicine service, which can save money by keeping patients from being admitted to the hospital unnecessarily, become more and more attractive, particularly to hospitals with Accountable Care Organizations.  Keep reading>>

Proteus Digital Health study finds system detects pill ingestion 99.1 percent of the time

By: Aditi Pai | Aug 5, 2014        

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Proteus Digital Health

Proteus Digital Health

Proteus Digital Health published a paper on its ingestible sensor that explains the design of the sensor, the safety tests Proteus completed, and the clinical trials Proteus conducted with 412 patients who used the system over 5,656 days.

The Proteus digital medicine platform is a medication management and adherence system that includes unique measurement tools, like sensor-enabled pills, a peel-and-stick biometric sensor patch worn on the body, and companion smartphone apps. The patch records when a pill is ingested and also tracks other things like sleep patterns and physical activity levels. The ingestible sensor component secured FDA clearance in July 2012, while the company’s sensor-laden patch got FDA clearance in 2010.

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Text messages could help decrease rate of surgical infections

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 5, 2014        

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Text MessagingA small study conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee shows that text message reminders can increase patients’ compliance with pre-surgical showering, thus reducing their risk of acquiring an infection during surgery.

Pre-surgical antiseptic showers, using a chemical like chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG), reduce the number of microbes on the skin, which guards the patient against surgical site infections, or SSIs. The researchers write that 400,000 surgical site infections occur each year in the US and a quarter of those are fatal. Surgeons can reduce the risk of SSIs if they recommend that their patient take two or three antiseptic showers 24 to 48 hours prior to admission, according to a press release from the American College of Surgeons.

In the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, researchers split 80 volunteers into three groups. Half of the volunteers were instructed to shower three times and half were instructed to shower twice. Within each of those groups, half received text messages reminding them to shower and half did not.  Keep reading>>

Philips, Accenture prototype app would let ALS patients mind control their devices

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 5, 2014        

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emotivMakers of EEG tracking headband devices have pitched the devices with a number of different use cases: as a biofeedback device to help the user manage stress, as a controller for gadgets, or as a quantified self device for assessing sleep. Now Philips Healthcare and Accenture have teamed up to show off the possibility of using one such device, the Emotiv Insight Brainware, to help patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to manage both their care and their life.

Patients with ALS, which is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, have gradually diminished muscle control, and can eventually become completely paralyzed without losing any other brain function. Philips and Accenture have developed a proof of concept app that would allow such a patient, equipped with an Emotiv sensor, to control Philips devices like the Philips Lifeline Emergency Alert system using only their minds.  Keep reading>>