Fitness tracker device revenue to reach $5.4B by 2019

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 25, 2015        

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Microsoft BandThe global revenues for smartphone-connected fitness tracking devices and equipment will grow from $2 billion in 2014 to $5.4 billion by 2019, according to a report from research firm Parks Associates.

“Our latest data finds adoption of connected health devices increased from 24 percent of US broadband households at the beginning of 2013 to nearly 30 percent by the end of 2014,” Harry Wang, director of health and mobile product research at Parks Associates said in a statement. “The most popular devices are exercise equipment with built-in app support and digital pedometers with wireless connectivity.”  Keep reading>>

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Xbox Fitness console app now syncs with Microsoft Health

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 25, 2015        

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Microsoft HealthMicrosoft has updated the Xbox One console’s fitness app, called Xbox Fitness, to sync with Microsoft Health, the cloud-based health integration platform that Microsoft launched with the Microsoft Band.

Xbox Fitness launched with Xbox’s newest console, Xbox One, in November 2013. By early January 2014, the company reported that nearly 1.5 million people used the fitness app, which offers users workout videos from celebrity fitness trainers Jillian Michaels, Tracy Anderson, Insanity’s Shaun T, and P90X’s Tony Horton.

In addition to playing the workout videos, the Kinect sensor on the Xbox One monitors the user and displays tips on the screen to help the user better match the trainer’s instructions. It also monitors the user’s heart rate using minute changes in skin pigmentation, and displays it on the screen.

At the time, the company said they aimed to take Xbox Fitness to other platforms, like smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

Microsoft Health is available online and for iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones. It connects to the Microsoft Band as well as several other apps and devices including Jawbone, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, and MyFitnessPal. The platform also syncs to Microsoft HealthVault, which brings in data from other health devices like blood glucose monitors, weight scales, and other fitness and medical devices.

At the beginning of the year, Microsoft added a dozen new guided workouts to the Microsoft Health app. The workouts are stored in the phone, but users can download them into the band to get workout feedback right on their wrists.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital to equip rooms with 200 tablets loaded with patient apps

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 24, 2015        

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Journey Board appPhoenix Children’s Hospital has announced that it will install 200 tablets in patient rooms to provide patients and their families with customized, interactive information about their treatment plan.

The hospital was awarded $200,000 from the James M. Cox Foundation to launch this initiative, called the “Connected Patient Project”. The James M. Cox Foundation provides support for organizations in communities where media conglomerate Cox Enterprises operates its businesses.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital will digitize its “Journey Boards”, which are tools that help a child’s family understand discharge instructions before they take their child home from the hospital. Currently, the instructions are printed out and distributed to patients and their families.  Keep reading>>

Arkansas legislators vote down pro-telemedicine bill

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 24, 2015        

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Rep. Dan Sullivan

Rep. Dan Sullivan

The Arkansas House of Representatives has voted down a bill that would allow telemedicine companies to offer services within the state. The bill was defeated 41-21 with two people voting present.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Dan Sullivan (R-Jonesboro) who explained in the hearing that the bill specifically addressed “the opportunity to do certain primary care activities, primary care diagnoses over the phone and over video”.  The bill did not include exchanges that were audio-only, email, text messages, or online questionnaire-based.

If the bill had passed, telemedicine companies would still have to ensure they employed licensed Arkansas doctors to conduct the online visits with Arkansas patients.  Keep reading>>

NHS England launches library for accredited mobile health apps

By: Jonah Comstock | Mar 24, 2015        

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Ieso Digital Health, one of the apps in the NHS's new library.

Ieso Digital Health, one of the apps in the NHS’s new library.

The National Health Service in the UK is taking steps to create a curated database of government-approved mobile health apps, starting in the area of mental health. NHS launched a library of five approved apps on its NHS Choices website, which gets 40 million visits per month, according to the NHS.

As a large public health system, NHS struggles with waiting lists for health services including mental health. So they’ve aggressively looked to mobile health as a way to connect people to health services more efficiently. NHS began publicly evaluating mental health apps in February 2013, when they published a discussion paper on the subject.

“We want to offer people the chance to use apps and digital tools routinely to help them take control of their own healthcare,” Tim Kelsey, the National Director for Patients and Information, said in a statement. “There are online services already working for patients and we hope, by giving them our official backing, we will give clinicians, citizens and carers the confidence to use them. Digital platforms have a key role to play in improving access to psychological therapies and helping us meet our ambition of achieving parity of esteem for mental health services.” Keep reading>>

Health, fitness connected device services market to hit $1.8B by 2019

By: Jonah Comstock | Mar 24, 2015        

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Juniper March 2015Juniper Research predicts that connected healthcare and fitness device services will produce $1.8 billion in annual revenues by 2019, according to a new report, a sixfold increase from 2015, which has predicted revenues of $320 million.

The services market is due to explode because in order to succeed, connected fitness devices will have to shift their focus from just hardware, to software and services author James Moar writes.

“Connected fitness and health devices provide a way to collect biometric data, not interaction platforms,” he said in a statement. ‘People want to interact with the devices at the app level – the draw is the information. Because of this, and the omnipresence of sensors, the importance of the hardware will diminish at a much faster rate than other CE market segments.”

A report last August put the connected healthcare device market at $3 billion in 2019. It’s because of the prevalence of the smartphone that connected devices are even emerging as a mass market category, the report contends, but that connectivity is also a threat to devices as continually advancing smartphone technology can make devices obsolete. Keep reading>>