Study: Less than 3 percent of The Eatery downloaders really used it

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 21, 2014        

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The Eatery 10Less than 3 percent of users of The Eatery, the first app from now-defunct app maker Massive Health, used it often enough to be considered active users, and of those, only about 10 percent showed an improvement in the healthiness rating of their meals, according to a new study in JMIR.

This is an especially interesting finding, as the company’s unique approach to food tracking had driving up engagement as a primary goal. Using The Eatery app, users took pictures of their food and uploaded them to a social network within the app wherein other users rated them as “Fat” or “Fit.”

“We build things that people are going to love to use,” Massive Health head of business development Andrew Rosenthal told MobiHealthNews in 2011. “Our approach has always been to focus on user engagement partly because no one else does. The more someone loves something, the more they use it, and the more opportunities we will have as a company to help them be healthy.”

Massive Health, which was acquired by Jawbone in February 2013, made the data from its nearly 200,000 users available to researchers between October 2011 and April 2012. Massive Health always referred to the app as an “experiment” and not as a fully-baked product.

According to the JMIR study, 69 percent of people who downloaded the app didn’t take a single picture of food. Another 17 percent took only one picture. Of the remaining users, 11 percent were classified as semi-active: They took between 2 and 10 pictures and used the app for less than a week. Only 2.58 percent of users, or about 5,000 people, took 10 or more pictures and used the app for more than a week.  Keep reading>>


Twitter offers data grants to three health-related projects

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 21, 2014        

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Researchers for UCSD’s Happiness study

Earlier this year, Twitter announced that it would provide six data grants to researchers looking to access its vast archives for big data insights. Last week, Twitter selected six proposals out of the 1,300 entries and three teams, HealthMaps, University of Twente, and UCSD, had health-related projects.

HealthMaps is a project from Boston Children’s Hospital that aims to mine data for food borne gastrointestinal illness surveillance. Another, from University of Twente in the Netherlands wants to study the effectiveness of public health campaigns for the early detection of cancer, and the third from UCSD is researching whether happy people take happy pictures.

HealthMaps also recently teamed up with Merck to turn Twitter and Facebook into a new source for sleep health data, specifically data about how many people in a population suffer from insomnia and what they have in common with each other. For that project, Brownstein and his team will take publicly available data from Twitter and Facebook, including post content, frequency, user analytics, and demographic information to determine which social media users are likely suffering from sleep deprivation. They’ll then compare that group to the larger social media population and look for risk factors for insomnia.

Researchers from the University of Twente will use Twitter’s public data to study the diffusion process and effectiveness of public health campaigns for the early detection of cancer, University of Twente researcher Djoerd Hiemstra told MobiHealthNews in an email.

The team will analyze popular Twitter campaigns covering different types of cancer and geographical scopes through hashtags, for example #Mamming (breast cancer), #Movember (prostate cancer), #DaveDay (pancreatic cancer), and #HPVReport (cervical cancer). Hiemstra also said the analysis will reveal if the campaigns led to word-of-mouth discussion, promotion and responses. Finally Hiemstra will look at the frequency of mentions for their campaigns to gauge how effective they were.

The third project is run by a team of researchers from the University of California San Diego and The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). Researchers will study if it’s possible to accurately measure the overall happiness of a city based on what images users in the area share on Twitter.

“Can visual characteristics of images shared on social media tell us something about the ‘moods’ of cities?” principal investigator Mehrdad Yazdani said in a blog post on the Calit2 website. “We will analyze one million tweeted images over the course of one year in specific U.S. cities, and test for correlations with other measures of happiness in the same cities.”

In-Depth: Mobile adoption among US physicians

By: MobiHealthNews | Apr 17, 2014        

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iPad 2After a few years of similar data points, Manhattan Research‘s Director of Physician Research James Avallone feels confident that smartphone adoption among physicians in the US has plateaued.

“We have seen this number in the low 80s since 2011 — it’s been static,” Avallone said. “In 2010 we were at 72 percent of physicians and then the following year we hit four out of five. Since then it’s really plateaued at a low- to mid-80 number in terms of physicians using it for professional purposes.”

Avallone is quick to point out that high level metric is, of course, only a part of the story. What has been more interesting to Manhattan and others who track the field is the way that smartphones, tablets, and potentially future devices will each fit into a physician’s day.  Keep reading>>

At least four startups are now focused on Google Glass apps for doctors

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 17, 2014        

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AugmedixThis week, Google opened Google Glass sales to the general public for one day only and before the day ended the limited supply of Glass devices that Google offered sold out. While there is clearly some demand for the wearable device, another camp is more skeptical about the role Google Glass will play in the life of consumers and professionals.

One prediction is that Google Glass will find greater success in professional settings, like in healthcare facilities as tools for physicians and other staff. While it’s still unclear whether Google Glass will be a viable longterm option for either healthcare providers or consumers, Google Glass has already inspired a handful of entrepreneurs to launch startups focused wholly on a Glass-enabled offering for physicians.

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Chief Innovation Officer John Halamka told MobiHealthNews in a recent interview that Glass could have the potential to be the new iPad. Beth Israel is also working with a startup called Wearable Intelligence that develops enterprise offerings using Google Glass, which Halamka has used while working in the emergency department. The startup has developed multiple apps for Glass that will help providers in an doctor’s office setting.

One program, Director, aims to improve workflow for doctors. It can be used to dictate messages or retrieve information from clinical systems. Mentor, another program, allows healthcare providers to take point-of-view videos and photos that they can sent to colleagues who will consult the information and provide recommendations. And Informant offers near-realtime data to the clinician while he is with a patient so that the clinician can have contextual information about the patient while he or she is treating the patient.

Another company, Pristine, advertises the fact that it offers a stripped-down version of Glass in order to keep it HIPAA compliant. So far, the company has launched two products, EyeSight and CheckLists. EyeSight streams near-real time audio and video from Glass to authorized iOS devices, Android devices, Macs, and PCs so that, among other uses, wound care nurses can transmit point-of-view video to a physician, emergency responders can send relevant video and information to hospital staff who are preparing to treat the patient, and surgeons can send a livestream of a surgery from their point of view to residents, fellows, and surgeons at other medical centers.

CheckLists helps physicians reduce errors by allowing them to launch any list they want to refer to, for example a surgical timeout checklist, asystole checklist, and cardiac arrest checklist. Voice activation launches any checklist.  Keep reading>>

Pharma company Opko acquires smart inhaler startup for at least $10M

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 17, 2014        

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The Inspiromatic inhaler.

The Inspiromatic inhaler.

Biopharmaceutical company Opko Health has acquired Israeli smart inhaler company Inspiro Medical for a sum in “the low eight figures”, according to Opko’s Director of Strategic Investment Les Funtleyder. The company will be using Inspiro’s Inspiromatic technology to develop an app-connected inhaler that will be bundled with a forthcoming new drug for asthma, COPD, and cystic fibrosis.

“We are pleased to add this next generation inhaler to Opko’s growing product portfolio,” Dr. Phillip Frost, Opko’s CEO and Chairman, said in a statement. “We expect this innovative device to play a valuable role in the improvement of therapy for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis and other respiratory diseases. We plan to use the Inspiromatic device to test the inhaled form of Opko’s new sulfated disaccharide drug against these disorders. … Of course, we believe that Inspiromatic can improve outcomes of treatment with other drugs, those presently available in more ‘standard’ type inhalers, as well as new inhalation drugs being developed. This acquisition fits our strategy of developing new products that address large markets in need of more effective therapeutic solutions.”  Keep reading>>

RunKeeper launches Breeze, an all-day tracking app for iPhone 5s

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 17, 2014        

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breeze2RunKeeper launched a new iPhone 5 app this morning called Breeze, aimed not just at runners but at walkers and casual exercisers. The app uses the phone’s M7 motion coprocessor to track the user’s movements all day, similar to ProtoGeo’s Moves app or Azumio’s Argus app.

“Breeze gives you simple insights into your daily activity and motivates you to make fitness a bigger part of your life,” the company writes in an introductory blog post. “Breeze starts by tracking all the steps you take — but it goes far beyond your average pedometer. Breeze tells you where and when you are moving throughout the day, offers personal daily goals, motivating notifications that are subtle yet persuasive, and celebrates big moments and achievements. You’ll gain more insight into how your daily activities through a simple, easy-to-use interface.”

The app tracks a user’s movement continuously throughout the day, and sends push notifications informing them of how close they are to reaching pre-set goals. It’s also designed to help give users an idea of when they’re already moving throughout the day and when they could fit in some additional exercise. Finally, the app gives recaps of the previous days’ movement every morning and allows the user to compare each days’ steps to previous days or averages.

At an Xconomy event last month, RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs talked about how he sees passive tracking on the phone fitting into the activity tracker market over time, compared to dedicated devices like the Fitbit or Nike Fuelband.

“What we started to notice was this fitness-specific hardware was on a road to nowhere, because over time it’s on a path to commoditization and how can they possibly maintain these margins when there’s less and less differentiation and more and more players in the market?” Jacobs said at the time. “So from a focus standpoint, we’re squarely focused on being the software that powers the fitness component of phones and, in general, wearables. And while we still plan to integrate with the third party inputs, we don’t think the standalone devices that are fitness specific are the vehicle that is going to take this stuff to the mass market. We think it’s going to be the phone.”

Because it relies on the M7 co-processor to provide continuous tracking without overly taxing the battery, the app is currently available only for the iPhone 5s. However, the company says it is looking into expanding Breeze to other devices. Other future plans include deeper integration with RunKeeper’s flagship app and more personal and specific features and notifications — likely the same sort of personalized features Jacobs talked about at the Xconomy event.

“If we know that you’re supposed to run 10 miles tomorrow or today and we know your schedule and we know that it’s raining outside, we also know when it stops raining,” he said at the time. “Or we don’t today, but we sure could, the technology’s there. Right? So what if we pinged you and said ‘Hey it stopped raining, might be a good time to get in that 10 miles,’ since we know you have two hours free in your schedule? It’s scary, but it’s incredibly powerful if harnessed for good.”

RunKeeper incorporated the M7 motion coprocessor into its app back in November as well, when the company introduced a feature called Pocket Track. Breeze seems to be a broader, more advanced implementation of the technology.