Johnson & Johnson subsidiary launches self-tracking app

By: Jonah Comstock | May 21, 2014        

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Wellness and PreventionWellness & Prevention, a division of Johnson & Johnson that works with health plans on behavior change coaching, has released a mobile app, Track Your Health. The app is not available to the general public, but rather, through health plans to the 30 million covered lives that have access to Wellness & Prevention products.

“Fundamentally, Wellness & Prevention is about encouraging positive and healthy behavior change in individuals and doing it in a way that’s rooted in science,” Tyler Steben, head of the mobile product line at Wellness & Prevention, told MobiHealthNews. “With this app we saw that there’s clearly a market trend around quantified self, around individuals wanting to capture more data around their activities as they related to their health. We noticed some problems, or rather, we identified an opportunity, an opening for the creation of a new app.”  Keep reading>>

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Independa gets $2.8M in funding for tablet, TV-based senior health platform

By: Brian Dolan | May 21, 2014        

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Independa Angela TabletSan Diego-based Independa, which has developed a telehealth platform for seniors, has raised about $2.8 million in its second round of funding, according an SEC filing. The company announced part of the round last October when it had raised $1.85 million of the round, which it said was led by longtime backer City Hill Ventures.

Previous investors in the company include LG Electronics USA, which has partnered with Independa to pre-load its home health platform on some of internet-connected TVs for use in senior care facilities.

Independa raised about $5 million in its first round of funding, which closed in early 2013Keep reading>>

Breathometer tops $1M in sales for smartphone breathalyzer

By: Aditi Pai | May 21, 2014        

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BreathometerJust three months after smartphone breathalyzer company Breathometer pitched its product on ABC show Shark Tank Breathometer’s sales grew from $140,000 to $1 million. The company’s pitch on the show resulted in an unprecedented $1 million investment from all five investors.

Breathometer is also moving on to new health conditions like halitosis, dehydration, diabetes, and asthma.

The Shark Tank investors’ contribution was part of a $2 million round. The other $1 million came from Structure Capital VC and Dillon Hill Capital.

“Since Shark Tank, it’s been crazy busy,” CEO Charles Michael Yim said in an update that aired recently on the show. “We’ve gotten a ton of preorders, actually more than we can even catch up with…We had to scale up our production just to keep up with the demand.”

Though the company was initially manufacturing about 1,000 units a week, they are now producing 15,000 units a week. In another update, Yim added that the company hopes to reach $10 million to $12 million in sales by the end of 2014.

Breathometer is a peripheral device that plugs into a smartphone’s headphone jack. It then connects to a companion app that displays the user’s blood alcohol concentration. The device costs $49 and is available on Breathometer’s website as well as at select retailers.

The Shark Tank investors include Kevin O’Leary, founder of software company SoftKey; Lori Greiner, host of the cable TV show Clever & Unique Creations by Lori Greiner; Mark Cuban, owner of Landmark Theaters, NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and Magnolia Pictures; Daymond John, founder and CEO of clothing brand Fubu; and Robert Herjavec, founder of technology company The Herjavec Group.

“Working with all five sharks has been amazing,” Yim said. “Each brings value to the table in a very different, unique way. Kevin has been helping us with international distribution, Mark has been instrumental in bringing us to big box retailers, Lori is working on helping us get on QVC, Robert and Daymond have helped us with distribution here in the US, but on top of that they have really helped us refine our branding.”

Actor Patrick Dempsey contributes to CrowdMed’s $2.4M seed round

By: Aditi Pai | May 21, 2014        

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CrowdMedCrowdsourcing diagnosis platform CrowdMed raised $2.4 million from actor Patrick Dempsey, NEA, Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, SV Angel, Khosla Ventures and Y Combinator. Grey’s Anatomy actor Dempsey will also help to expand the company’s platform by  developing new partnerships with insurance companies so that patients are incentivized to use the platform.

This recent funding is a continuation of the round CrowdMed started in April 2013. At the time, CrowdMed had raised $1.1 million.

“After meeting with several Silicon Valley healthcare startups, I was immediately drawn to CrowdMed’s mission of helping those who have run out of alternatives,” Dempsey said in a statement. “I remember being overwhelmed when my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost a decade ago, and I know how challenging it can be trying to make the best medical decisions for oneself or a loved one. The patients who are turning to CrowdMed can’t even begin to think about treatment options because they haven’t been able to find an accurate medical diagnosis yet – but hopefully we can change that.”

CrowdMed applies the theory of a prediction market — that when a large enough population bets real or fake money on predictions in a system similar to a stock exchange, their bets will reflect their confidence and, in aggregate, will create a robust predictive model — to healthcare.

Patients or caregivers can post medical cases on the platform anonymously. Other patients and medical experts can then see these cases and collaborate with each other to find solutions to a case and then vote on the diagnosis they think is correct. CrowdMed then applies the prediction market technology to solve the problem addressed in the case. When a case is “solved”,  CrowdMed encourages the patient to discuss CrowdMed’s potential diagnosis with their physician.

People who work on these cases are labeled “medical detectives”. The company currently incentivizes these detectives to work on cases with a cash reward system. CrowdMed also compiles a list of next steps that is given to patients who receive a crowdsources diagnosis. Next steps might include treatment ideas, diagnostic tests, and dietary or lifestyle changes.

Medtronic bought Corventis to bolster Cardiocom acquisition

By: Brian Dolan | May 21, 2014        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsIn 2009 when Corventis first unveiled its technology, its main offering was an innovative fluid sensor, which was part of the array of sensors embedded in its peel-and-stick patch that was eventually named PiiX. One of the grave symptoms for heart failure patients is fluid collection in the heart — a symptom that most remote monitoring companies track by simply keeping tabs on a patient’s weight and looking for signs of sudden spikes.

Corventis’ plan was to offer a more precise data point that tracked the actual fluid build-up in a patient’s body rather than a proxy for it. After a false start in the market, Corventis pivoted to focus on mobile cardiac telemetry since CMS had already announced reimbursement for these services and Corventis’ patch could be used to support that kind of monitoring. The company never made much of a dent in the MCT market, however, and went dark shortly after making the pivot. Most industry watchers had all but assumed that the Corventis story ended quietly about two years ago. Two of the company’s four investor groups had even removed the Corventis logo from their website’s portfolio pages.  Keep reading>>

Mango Health gets $5.25M to focus on provider business

By: Jonah Comstock | May 21, 2014        

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Mango Health Mango Health, a startup using gamification principals to work on medication adherence, has raised $5.25 million in first round funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The company, which participated in the Rock Health digital health accelerator in 2012, had previously raised at least $3 million in a seed round from Floodgate Fund, First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, Bullpen Capital and individual investors.

CEO Jason Oberfest told MobiHealthNews that the money raised will go toward scaling and developing the company’s enterprise business. Mango is currently working with “one of the top three integrated care delivery systems in the country, one of the top three pharmacy benefit managers, and one of the top five largest US health plans,” he said. The funds will go into supporting those existing relationships and seeking out additional customers. Customers are charged by Mango on a per active member per month basis.

Oberfest stressed that adherence is just a starting point for the company, which can leverage high engagement numbers into a variety of use cases.

“We focused on medication adherence first because we believe that for millions and millions of Americans the first step toward better health is that,” he said. “So many Americans are taking medications for chronic disease – chronic disease accounts for 75 percent of healthcare spending in the US — that we’ve started there as a first step. But we believe that there is much more that needs to happen with population health management. So by starting with medication adherence, we wanted to solve a huge problem, but also build a daily relationship with these patient populations that we can use for longer term population health management in other ways also. We feel that’s a really critical longterm goal that we have.”

Oberfest said that now that the company has 180 days of clinical data, they’ve started to see positive data on engagement. For instance, Mango Health delivers content to patients about the over-the-counter and prescription medications and supplements they take, informing them about possible drug interactions, among other things. Oberfest says the open rate on that content is 40 percent over 14 months. The unaided return rate for the app — that is, the number of people who continue to revisit the app after 180 days without prompting from the app –was 60 percent.

Additionally, the platform has increased adherence to anti-hypertensives to 89 percent (59 percent is average), adherence to diabetes medication to 85 percent (51 percent is average), and adherence to statins to 84 percent (52 percent is average).

“So long term, we think there’s potential for us to support the leaders in healthcare we work with in getting the right info to the right audience at the right time,” said Oberfest. “And it could be much broader than just medication information. We could deliver disease management content or other forms of health-related information in a way that’s highly engaging to them.”

As the relationships with providers have been prioritized, Mango seems to have backed off from its direct to consumer trajectory. Mango Health continues to offer rewards on its system for continuous adherence, but the rewards are tied to chance and Oberfest says users tend to see them as a nice surprise rather than a motivator for using the app.

“The value proposition of the app has worked way more than any reward we could ever have picked,” he said.