Blueprint spinoff brings payer, pharma, providers together to solve healthcare problems

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 28, 2015        

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Junto Health members gather at a dinner.

A Junto Health working group meets at the last team summit.

There are a lot of digital health accelerators designed to help startups catch the eye of big pilot partners, but what about the other way around? Last December NYC-based tech accelerator Blueprint Health spun off the Blueprint Health Collective, now renamed Junto Health, to help stakeholders like payers, pharma companies, and hospital systems, find and curate innovative solutions to their problems by working with the right startups — or by developing innovations together in-house.

Now Junto Health has added another dimension to the service by promoting the Sachs Policy Group from a member of the consortium to a partner, who will lend expertise on trends and policy analysis to the members of the invite-only consortium, which include The Mount Sinai Hospital, North Shore LIJ, Montefiore Medical Center, The New York-Presbyterian Innovation Center, EmblemHealth, Samsung, Philips, HP AstraZeneca, Aetna, Healthware International, Allied Physicians Group, Boehringer Ingelheim, CarePoint Health System, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation — a mix of provider groups, payers, pharma companies, and technology companies. Keep reading>>

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TytoCare raises $11M for handheld, guided diagnostic device

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 28, 2015        

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TytoCareIsraeli digital health device maker TytoCare raised $11 million in a round led by Cambia Health Solutions. Existing investors include OrbiMed Israel Partners, LionBird, Walgreens, and Fosun Pharma. This brings the company’s total funding to $18.5 million to date. Update: A previous version of this post had a less precise figure for the company’s total funding.

TytoCare is developing a handheld device that can help patients examine their mouth, throat, eye, heart, lung, and skin. The device can also measure the patient’s temperature and heart rate. These exams can be guided by a physician online or guided offline by instructions displayed on the device. In either situation, TytoCare aims to have the physician ultimately provide the patient with a diagnosis based on the information collected by the device. TytoCare will work with another telemedicine company that has a physician service.

“TytoCare is addressing key limitations in the rapidly expanding use of telehealth for remote patient diagnosis of common acute problems,” TytoCare CEO and Founder Dedi Gilad said in a statement. “At present, the range of telehealth diagnoses is limited because clinicians must rely on phone or video conference only, without the benefit of vital clinical information provided by physical exam tools in the provider setting. TytoCare can remove these limitations with its connected examination technology.” Keep reading>>

Opternative launches online refractive eye exam

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 28, 2015        

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OpternativeChicago-based Opternative has launched an online refractive eye exam service that helps consumers get prescriptions for glasses or contacts.

According to the company, the offering is registered with the FDA as a Class I device.

Consumers access Opternative’s service on the web via desktop. Opternative asks users a few questions, like when their most recent eye exam was, and then takes the user through the eye exam, which lasts at most 25 minutes. Users take the test on a desktop computer but record results on a mobile device. After the exam, users can pay $40 to receive a prescription for glasses or contacts, which will arrive within 24 hours. Users can also pay $60 for both a glasses and contacts prescription. The service can also diagnose patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and emmetropia.

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Nike, Apple settle class action suit over alleged misleading FuelBand fitness tracker claims

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 27, 2015        

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Nike and Apple have agreed to settle a class action lawsuit, first filed two years ago, that claimed the companies made misleading statements about the Nike+ FuelBand’s ability to track calories, steps, and NikeFuel. The lawsuit also argued that there was a failure to honor the warranty terms for Nike+ FuelBand.

Nike and Apple deny these allegations, but according to the settlement, in order to avoid further inconvenience and distraction of continued litigation, the companies have agreed to settle.

Nike will provide members of the settlement class — consumers who purchased their Nike+ FuelBand devices between January 19, 2012 and June 17, 2015 — either a check for $15 or a $25 gift card redeemable at Nike-owned stores and online at Nike.com. Members can receive one of these payments for each Nike+ FuelBand they purchased during that time period. As part of the settlement, Apple is not responsible for providing members of the class with compensation.

The law firms that sued on behalf of the class members will apply to the court for an award of $2.4 million in attorneys’ fees and costs.  Keep reading>>

New government how-to guide hopes to prevent mobile EHR data breaches

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 27, 2015        

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The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), a division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has penned a five-part draft guidance on cybersecurity for mobile devices that connect to electronic health records. The guidance includes a step-by-step how-to guide for improving data security that uses commercially available and open source tools and technologies, as well as sections on standards and control mapping and risk assessment.

“The NCCoE was established specifically to help organizations solve real-world challenges, and this was one of particular concern to the health care community,” NCCoE Director Donna Dodson said in a statement. “This guide can help providers protect critical patient information without getting in the way of delivering quality care.”

NIST guidelinesThe guidance reflects the tightrope that hospitals have to walk in implementing mobile EHR access. Protecting patient data is important, but the interface can’t require too much of doctors or it won’t be adopted — doctors already complain that EHRs aren’t easy to use and don’t fit into their workflow. So, for instance, NCCoE proposes a five-step login process to mobile EHR tools, but only the first and last step require the user to enter a password: logging into the mobile device and logging into the EHR. The rest of the authentication happens automatically using certificates and media access controls. Keep reading>>

Diabetes app uses Apple HealthKit data in realtime to alert caregivers

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 27, 2015        

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HelpAroundAlertHelpAround, the Israel-based startup that raised $550,000 last year to bring the sharing economy to diabetes care, has launched a new app, Alert, which uses HealthKit data in realtime to provide support to patients.

The app imports glucose data from HealthKit and, when it detects a reading outside of a predetermined range, a popup gives the user a one-touch option to contact a predetermined list of friends and family. The user can send text message alerts to their contacts for free, or they can sign up for a paid premium option that allows the app to initiate a conference call.

“When we talked to our users, they talked about moments of distress,” HelpAround CEO Yishai Knobel said in a statement. “They talked about hyperglycemia, being confused, having panic attacks. And it was just about the time Apple came out with HealthKit. So we were already completely tuned to ‘What do I do when I’m in trouble?’ and then it became very clear that the best way to remove friction was to suggest to them a way to notify their support system. Instead of just sitting there and waiting for them, if we can already tell that something is going wrong than we can offer it to them.”

The app is also compatible with HelpAround’s existing app, Diabetes Helper. After the app initiates a conference call with the users’ support network, it can also automatically send out an alert to other Diabetes Helper users in the area.  Keep reading>>