Report: Unregulated data sometimes just as sensitive as HIPAA-covered data

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 21, 2014        

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Personal Health InformationIn a new report from the California HealthCare Foundation, the report’s author, health economist and consultant Jane Sarasohn-Kahn concludes that while the increasing amount of consumer wellness and fitness data collected today has a lot of value for personalized healthcare, it also presents new risks for consumer privacy.

For one thing, as healthcare moves out of the hospital and onto the wrist, the smartphone, or the Facebook wall, healthcare data moves out of the realm of HIPAA, the law designed to protect patients’ healthcare data. HIPAA can’t protect things like your Fitbit steps, what health search terms you enter into Google, or where you check in on FourSquare.

As Deloitte’s Harry Greenspun puts it in the CHCF report, “It’s one thing to know you’re on a statin. It’s another thing to know that you eat fast food three times a week. What is more predictive?”

HIPAA also doesn’t govern “health scores”, algorithm-generated numbers used by insurers that are similar to credit scores for health. These scores are built entirely from data that rests outside the purview of HIPAA.

“Digital dust can have health implications, even if the actual ‘dust’ is devoid of health information,” Deven McGraw of Mannatt, Phelps and Phillips tells Sarasohn-Kahn in the report. “[The FICO Medication Adherence Score] and other ‘scores’ could have significant implications for consumers — arguably as significant as a score generated using health data.”  Keep reading>>


Epion Health raises $4.5M for iPad-based patient check-in tool

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 21, 2014        

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Epion HealthRoseland, New Jersey-based Epion Health raised $4.5 million in an investment led by investment firm Deerfield Management Company for its iPad-based patient check-in tool.

Epion Health was in Healthbox’s second Boston class, backed by Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts.

Staff at physician practices can use the tool in place of paper-based registration forms — contact information, consent, and health history information – and to collect payments with a credit card reader that is built in to the casing around the iPad. The check-in software also includes quality surveys, health risk assessments, and pre-loaded personalized messages from their providers, which they can review in the waiting room pre-appointment. The company provides healthcare organizations with the iPads, which they lock down into a kiosk mode that prevents patients from using apps besides Epion’s.  Keep reading>>

HelpAround raises $550K for sharing economy diabetes app

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 18, 2014        

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HelpAround Safety NetIsrael-based HelpAround, which makes an app that connects people with diabetes in the same immediate area, has raised $550,000 from Windham Venture Partners and angel investors Walter Winshall, Robert Oringer and former Harmonix COO Michael Dornbrook. Windham and the angel investors co-led the round.

MobiHealthNews wrote about HelpAround earlier this year at HIMSS, where the company positioned itself as one of the first to bring the “sharing economy” to healthcare — starting with diabetes but eventually moving into other areas like food allergies. The company was building up users at the time, but their commercial launch was just announced this month.

“Here at HIMSS it’s all about hospital-to-patient, doctor-to-patient, nurse-to-patient. Why is no one talking about patient-to-patient?” HelpAround Co-founder and CEO Yishai Knobel said at the time. “Especially when research has shown that peer support drives medical outcomes.”

The app allows patients with diabetes and parents of children with diabetes to reach out to a nearby support network if they forget test strips at home, need help operating a Glucagon injection, or just want to talk to someone about their diabetes. Outside of crisis situations, anonymous networks of people can help each other find local healthcare services, insurance plans, doctors, pharmacies and retailers.

“Diabetes management is exhausting for both patients and caregivers, yet there hasn’t been a healthcare industry after-care solution that helps patients by connecting them to each other,” Knobel said in a statement. “HelpAround’s premise is: the best resource for a patient is another patient. We harness the superior trust, empathy and camaraderie within the diabetes patient community, allowing members to discover peers who truly ‘get it.’”  Keep reading>>

Report: Mobile health companies raised $400 million last quarter

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 17, 2014        

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HITVCFundingQ22013-Q22014Healthcare information technology companies, including mobile and digital health companies, raised more than twice as much in total venture capital funding in the second quarter of 2014 as they did in the first, according to a new report from communications and consulting firm Mercom.

“It was a quarter of several milestones,” Raj Prabhu, CEO and cofounder of Mercom Capital Group, said in a statement. “It was the first billion dollar fundraising quarter for the sector which has now raised almost $7 billion in venture funding since 2010. Healthcare IT funding rounds have now crossed 1,000. We are also seeing mobile health companies continue to outraise other technologies, and have now brought in over a billion dollars since 2010.”  Keep reading>>

DreamIt Health announces nine startups for its next class

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 17, 2014        

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BioBotsPhiladelphia accelerator DreamIt Ventures announced its next class of startups for its health-focused program, DreamIt Health. Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and Penn Medicine are sponsoring the class.

Like its last class, each startup will be provided with up to $50,000 in funding, office space, mentoring, and resources for developing and testing health-related products. The incubator lasts four months, starting in late July. Coaches for the class include seasoned entrepreneurs and health care executives.

DreamIt will host its accelerator at research park University City Science Center, which is also running it’s own new accelerator, called Digital Health Accelerator. This accelerator, which announced its first class earlier this week, accepted two startups that previously graduated from DreamIt Health, Biomeme and Fitly.

Here are the nine startups in DreamIt Health’s new class:  Keep reading>>

What will the IBM-Apple partnership mean for healthcare?

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 17, 2014        

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JONAH_COMSTOCK_HEADSHOTWhen it comes to tech partnerships, it’s hard to imagine one more hard-hitting than Apple and IBM, two companies who announced this week that they would be collaborating on enterprise software for iPhones and iPads. Apple is also rolling out a new customer service and support offering specifically for enterprise customers.

“The landmark partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change—grounded in four core capabilities,” the joint release says. “A new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad; unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration; new AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise; and new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.”

It’s no secret that doctors love the iPad, and that one fact is what has allowed an unabashed consumer device to gain such a strong foothold in an enterprise like healthcare. Hospital CIOs, though, are often concerned about security, battery life, software compatibility, and a service plan for when things go wrong. They would sometimes rather their doctors use devices designed for enterprise use, a refrain we hear again and again from competing tablet vendors like Dell and Microsoft.

Apple has made it very clear that they are not customizing their platform for business,” Dell’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Litt told MobiHealthNews last year at HIMSS 2013. “If people want to use them in business environments that’s fine.”

Keep reading>>