12 virtual visit services that connect patients at home to doctors or nurses

By: Aditi Pai | Jun 12, 2014        

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This week, a bevy of telehealth stakeholders sent incoming HHS secretary Sylvia Burwell a letter as part of ongoing efforts to improve the legal and political climate for telehealth. But virtual visit practioners — whether using video, telephone, or software — are managing to do pretty well despite some coverage restrictions. There’s at least 12 companies in this burgeoning space, and that doesn’t even count home-brewed efforts by providers such as Kaiser Permanente.

Taking the doctor visit to the home reduces healthcare costs in a number of ways — it allows doctors to use their time more efficiently and see more patients, reduces waiting room congestion, and often allows doctors to bill less for a visit. The technology can also enable people who might be homebound for various reasons to have faster, more reliable access to care.

Read on for a list of 12 (now 13) companies in no particular order currently tackling video visits for primary care.



Dallas, Texas-based Teladoc offers patients an alternative to a standard doctors visit. When a patient needs a doctor but doesn’t want to make an appointment, he or she can call Teladoc to schedule a virtual visit. The visit includes a one-on-one consultation with a doctor over phone or video. The doctor can access a patient’s HIPAA-compliant EHR and in some states send certain prescriptions to the patient’s pharmacy of choice.

Teladoc is one of the oldest and largest telehealth companies, and it has recently begun acquiring other, smaller telehealth companies. Last fall, Teladoc acquired Consult A Doctor for an undisclosed amount. Just this month, the company acquired another virtual visit company, AmeriDoc.

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Sponsored Post: MapMyFitness Brands Power Leading Rewards Programs


MapMyFitness Connect with Walgreens

Sponsored by: MapMyFitness Connect

As the leading fitness activity tracking platform, with over 25 million users and connected to over 400 devices, MapMyFitness brands (MapMyRun, MapMyWalk, MapMyRide, etc.) are now powering leading health-based rewards programs for major health insurers, retail pharmacy chains, and wellness companies.

Since the launch of MapMyFitness Connect, the platform has been used by many leading companies like Humana, Discovery, Aetna, RedBrick Health, and Walgreens to help provide healthy incentives to their members through authorized activity.

Today, Walgreen’s customers can earn Balance Reward points for connecting & authorizing their MapMyFitness account and logging activity. At Humana, enrollees are choosing to live healthier while earning “Vitality Bucks” for tracking their activity through MapMyFitness which can be used towards anything from movie tickets to digital camera purchases.

These major brands have turned to MapMyFitness to ensure successful campaigns to work with a brand they can trust and that has credibility with their members. Additionally, through MapMyFitness’ verified activity feed, duplicate activity is weeded out and false data is removed insuring reliable and scalable data. MapMyFitness also supports over 400 different tracking devices and apps, so members are insured flexibility and ease of use.

As the world of mobile health data expands and becomes more complex, the MapMyFitness Connect platform is the preferred choice to major brands and healthcare companies, turning member data into actionable rewards.

Using healthy activity tracking for reward programs is a natural fit for health insurers, wellness programs, and pharmacy companies.  Fitness activity is also a great fit for reward programs from places like health clubs, grocery stores, airlines, banks, and hotels. By incentivizing healthy behavior together with a trusted fitness brand, these industries can not only increase engagement with their members, but also associate with positive activity that members enjoy.

To learn more on the MapMyFitness Connect platform, click here.

Chrono Therapeutics gets $32M for smoking cessation wearable

By: Jonah Comstock | Jun 12, 2014        

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chrono therapeutics betterChrono Therapeutics, a Hayward, California-based company working on a new wearable for smoking cessation and drug delivery, has raised $32 million in its first round of funding. The round was led by Canaan Partners and 5 am Ventures. Additional contributors included Fountain Healthcare Partners, and two strategic investors: GE Ventures and the Mayo Clinic.

The company’s flagship product SmartStop, which has been in development since 2004 and has been funded so far by a combination of NIH grants and the founders’ personal income, is a wearable device that would smartly deliver nicotine to the wearer at strategic times.

The device can be worn on the wrist, arm, or as an adhesive patch. A smoker can wear the device and it would deliver progressively smaller doses of a nicotine over a 10-week period, much like existing nicotine replacement therapy patches. However, rather than releasing the drug continuously throughout the day, the patch will deliver doses at key times, like first thing in the morning and after meals, when smokers’ cravings are most likely to occur. The objective is to not just alleviate cravings, but actually prevent them.  Keep reading>>

UPMC to deploy 2,000 Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablets across its health system

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 12, 2014        

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UPMC Surface Pro 3 ConvergenceThe University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has committed to deploy at least 2,000 Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablets throughout its healthcare system. The system’s clinicians will use the tablets as laptop replacements. The devices will be equipped with the healthcare facility’s Convergence app, which sits atop its Cerner and Epic deployments and and also knits together many of its legacy hospital IT systems.

“In the case of a clinical or healthcare professional, they are moving around room to room, and most users will tell you that they want a tablet but need a laptop,” Cyril Belikoff, Senior Director of Surface at Microsoft told MobiHealthNews. “What they essentially need is something that is instant-on, light, and that has a long battery life. They also want something that is very functional and productive and gets them access to their traditional applications to be productive on-the-go.”

Dr. Rasu Shrestha, Vice President of Medical Information Technology at UPMC and a practicing radiologist, told MobiHealthNews that the combination of Surface Pro 3 tablets and his healthcare organization’s Convergence software will give clinicians more time to focus on the patient and less time “playing detective” and hunting for information in disparate systems.  Keep reading>>

iHealth to launch smaller glucometer, drop test strip price

By: Jonah Comstock | Jun 12, 2014        

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Picture iHealth Align - Device with iPhoneiHealth Labs, a San Francisco-based subsidiary of China’s Andon Health, has received FDA clearance for iHealth Align, a new smaller, smartphone-enabled glucometer. iHealth announced the product along with a new pricing strategy for diabetes care, dubbed Simple Savings.

The new device is just slightly larger than a quarter in circumference and plugs into the phone’s headphone jack, allowing it to be used with either Apple or Android phones. Because it connects to the phone while being used, it’s able to use the phone’s screen as a display, eschewing a native screen.

“We thought, we want to keep the cost down and removing the display will help with some cost issues,” Adam Lin, president of iHealth Labs told MobiHealthNews. “More importantly, if we make a hard connection to the device, the display is your phone. And also I think, for some people, a hard connection onto something gives a sense of security. Sometimes with Bluetooth or WiFi, people will worry, ‘Did I really connect properly?’ With the hard connection, people think ‘Wow, this is really that simple’.”

The device will use the same cloud-based companion app as iHealth’s previous glucometer, released last October, which will remain on the market as a higher end Bluetooth-connected option. The iHealth Align will retail for $16.95, compared to the $29.95 price tag on the Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System.  Keep reading>>

Yosko wants to build all-in-one, enterprise hospital app for iPad, Glass

By: Jonah Comstock | Jun 11, 2014        

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ipad_yosko_screenshotYosko, a hospital software startup that is now a veteran of three digital health accelerators, is gearing up to launch pilots with as many as five hospitals this year. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company just graduated from the Sprint-TechStars accelerator and is developing its software for two platforms — the iPad and Google Glass.

The startup is led by wife-and-husband team CEO Dr. Andriana Nikolova, a Harvard Medical School alum, and co-founder Javier Otis, whose background is in IT. The team previously went through Healthbox and MassChallenge.

The iPad app is designed to be a comprehensive, single login app for doctors who work in hospital settings. As such, it includes EHR access, communication with other members of the care team, and care coordination to improve patient hand-offs. Nikolova says that patient handoffs are currently done mostly verbally and with paper, and that the errors introduced by this process contribute to the too-high number of deaths from preventable hospital errors — the third largest killer in the United States, according to an oft-stated report in the Journal of Patient Safety.

“There’s a lot of tools that solve particular problems, but they create the problem of physicians having to log into multiple applications to do our work,” she told MobiHealthNews. “And for me it’s important for efficiency and productivity to have a single log-in application.”  Keep reading>>