In-Depth: News, novel quotes, and notable trends from the mHealth Summit 2014

By: MobiHealthNews | Dec 12, 2014        

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The MobiHealthNews team spent the past week at HIMSS’ mHealth Summit, which was located just outside of Washington D.C. In case you missed the event or were too busy to follow along while you were there and could use a review, we’ve got you covered. The in-depth report that follows is a collection of some of the more provocative comments we heard both on-stage and off. We’ve also rounded up much of the news announced at the event and linked out to some of our previous coverage from the past week. Let us know what we missed in the comments section below.

Most everyone’s excited about CMS’s $42/patient/month: On the reimbursement front, one change coming in 2015 that was brought up a number of times during conversations at the mHealth Summit was that CMS would begin reimbursing physicians $42 per patient per month for providing virtual visits and other remote care. We heard that a number of digital health companies expect big things from that new revenue channel next year — and in the years to come.

Why one investor argues insurance companies aren’t great customers right now: During a thoughtful panel session that included three venture capitalists on-stage, Dr. Stephen Block, General Partner, Canaan Partners said: “Payers are all looking at their business models now and saying, ‘what we historically did for insurance — we are very, very good at managing risk, providing insurance through employers, processing claims — but we all know that there probably is a new business model that we are going to have to evolve to.’ And they are all experimenting on the edges and trying to figure out what they are going to be doing in the future. It’s different in different regions and obviously there are some national payers who are very experienced and have a lot of resources. I’ve seen some, like Aetna, be very active the last couple of years, and take on some small company investments, start things in-house, and try to be entrepreneurial. But they didn’t actually have a lot of success, and they started retrenching pretty heavily in the last year, and pulling back. They are also trying to deal with other problems, with pricing, with the exchanges and what not. So I don’t think they’re necessarily great customers right now.”  Keep reading>>

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Pager, University of Rochester offer two takes on a 2014 house call

By: Jonah Comstock | Dec 11, 2014        

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Dr. Richard Boxer

Dr. Richard Boxer

There’s more than one way to do a house call. That was the takeaway from a discussion of two very different mobile health initiatives that shared the stage at a panel I moderated this week at the mHealth Summit.

Dr. Richard Boxer, the former chief medical officer of Teladoc, spoke about his new startup Pager, which literally sends doctors to the doors of patients who have called for a doctor via a mobile health app. Verizon’s Nancy Green and the University of Rochester’s Dr. Ray Dorsey presented on a fully virtual program to provide specialist care to Parkinson’s patients in their homes and nursing homes.

“In the 1930s, 40 percent of patient-physician encounters were house calls and in the 1950s 10 percent were,” Dorsey said. “There were two factors that led to the demise of the house call. The first was transportation. Transportation became increasingly available and affordable so patients could seek care on their own. The second was advances in diagnostics. We heard about X-Rays, EKGs, blood work, and urinalysis. All those things when they first were developed were tied to the hospital. Now, 70 or 80 years later we’re seeing both those things being disrupted. So transportation’s being disrupted by telecommunications, which increasingly allows us to connect to anyone anywhere, and then point of care diagnostics are letting companies like Pager do X-Rays, EKGs and blood work in people’s homes.” Keep reading>>

CellScope’s iPhone-enabled otoscope, remote consultation service launches for CA parents

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 11, 2014        

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Oto_Home_CellScopeParents in California who have children who get chronic ear infections will soon have a more convenient way to get their kids care.

San Francisco-based CellScope, a Khosla Ventures-backed Rock Health alum, has begun taking preorders for its FDA registered smartphone-enabled otoscope, called Oto Home. The director-to-consumer device is priced at $79 and will ship in four to six weeks. A feature-rich, $299 version of the system, called Oto Pro, is also available for preorder now to physicians located anywhere in the US.

The small smartphone peripheral device slides onto a specialty case that fits iPhone 5 and 5s phones and leverages the devices camera and recording capabilities. After placing one of the company’s custom soft tips on the scope (or, if a physician is using it, any otoscope tip they have in the office), the parent or physician uses the companion app to begin recording a session. After inserting the Oto into the child’s ear canal, the app’s software recognition feature called the Eardrum Finder begins directing them to move and tilt the scope to capture the visuals a physician will need to attempt a diagnosis.

After removing the scope from the child’s ear canal, the user ends the recording session and enters in any symptom data, time of last ear infection, and some basic data about the child. The session can then be sent to a remote physician who will review the video and data before placing a phone call to the parent within two hours. If necessary and the physician is comfortable making a diagnosis with the information provided, a prescription can then be sent to the parent’s pharmacy of choice.

The preordered devices include one free remote consultation with a physician, the Oto Connect service, but each session costs $49 thereafter. CellScope is starting with California as regulations vary state-to-state for telemedicine services, but it expects to rollout its services to consumers in other states in the future.  Keep reading>>

Mayo Clinic partners with Techstars for post-accelerator program

By: Aditi Pai | Dec 11, 2014        

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Techstars CEO David CohenStartup accelerator Techstars has launched a post-accelerator program, called Techstars++ that provides exposure for entrepreneurs who have completed the Techstars accelerator. Techstars’ launch partner is Mayo Clinic.

Post-accelerator startups can use the Techstars++ network to spend time learning from and engaging with a corporate partner.

“For example, after completing Techstars, healthcare-oriented companies can spend two weeks at the Mayo Clinic exploring business development opportunities and other synergies,” Techstars CEO David Cohen explained in a blog post. “A full time Techstars program director will reside on-site and work closely with the startups and the corporation to help maximize the opportunity.”

Keep reading>>

Exco InTouch raises $5 million as it widens its scope from mobile-enabled clinical trials

By: Jonah Comstock | Dec 11, 2014        

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Exco InTouchExco InTouch, the clinical trial technology vendor best known for its large-scale COPD program with AstraZeneca and the NHS trusts in England, has raised $5 million (3.2 million pounds). The round was led by Albion Ventures, according to British news site HealthInvestor. Scottish Equity Partners, Exco’s largest shareholder, also contributed to the round.

The Nottingham, England-based company previously raised $4.7 million (3 million pounds) in late 2011. At the time, its big project was working with Pfizer on a novel, fully remote clinical trial of the over-active bladder drug Detrol. That trial would later be discontinued for lack of participation, with plans to try again in the future.

Exco offers patient engagement and data collection, including patient-reported outcomes software for mobile devices — they now have public-facing apps on the three major platforms, iOS, Android, and Windows8. The company originally worked with clinical trials exclusively, but has been branching out more and more for ongoing disease management programs with healthcare providers. The company has worked with Pfizer and AstraZeneca on major pilots, and claimed in 2011 to have worked with nine of the top ten pharma companies in the world. Additionally, in 2012 Exco InTouch launched a project with Vodafone.

CEO Tim Davis spoke about MeAndMyCOPD, the AstraZeneca program with the NHS, at the mHealth Summit this week. He stressed the value that the program can have for NHS by reducing readmissions for one of the most expensive chronic conditions in England.  Keep reading>>

Jawbone tackles employee wellness with Up for Groups

By: Aditi Pai | Dec 11, 2014        

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Jawbone UP3Jawbone has launched an employee wellness program, called Up for Groups, which is designed for any group with 10 or more participants. Until now, Jawbone has been a direct to consumer company with various devices including wristworn trackers UP24 and UP3 as well as clip-on tracker UP Move.

Up for Groups, Jawbone Wellness and Platform Group Manager Andrew Rosenthal explains in a blog post, is built on the company’s three-part behavior change framework: track, understand, and act. As participants in a group work on improving their sleep and activity levels, the group-assigned “administrators” can view their progress via a dashboard that displays data from the past day, week, or month.. From there, administrators can use their dashboard send messages and nudges to the participants’ in-app feeds.

Keep reading>>