Modernizing Medicine raises $15M for tablet-based EHR, virtual medical assistant

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 12, 2014        

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modernizing medicine EMABoca Raton, Florida-based Modernizing Medicine has raised $15 million from existing investors, the company announced yesterday. The round was led by Summit Partners and Pentland Group, both of which contributed to the company’s previous $14 million round in August 2013. This latest investment brings Modernizing Medicine’s total funding to $55.2 million.

Modernizing Medicine makes a mobile-based electronic health record targeted at specialists called EMA (electronic medical assistant). The company has more than 4,000 provider users according to a recent press release, including more than a quarter of US dermatologists. They use aggregated, deidentified data to create population-level insights that are then delivered back to the physician.  Keep reading>>

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Researchers diagnose glaucoma while patients watch TV

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 12, 2014        

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Glaucoma StudyAn eye scanner may be able to detect glaucoma in patients by examining patterns of eye movements recorded when subjects watch a movie, according to researchers at City University London who published their findings in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

“At present, healthcare detection and monitoring of patients with sensory impairments resulting from chronic age-related neurodegenerative disease is done, mainly inadequately, in a clinic; a system that is likely unsustainable in the future,” researchers wrote. “Instead of relying on infrequent tests in a clinic, focus should shift to capturing health-related data acquired as part of a person’s ordinary daily activities.”

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Joslin, Glooko add activity tracker data to their HypoMap diabetes management system

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 12, 2014        

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Firefox Browser TemplateThere’s been a lot of talk lately about integrating activity data collected by devices like the Fitbit or the Misfit Shine into the clinical workflow, but there haven’t been too many concrete examples yet. Now diabetes management technology company Glooko, which made its name with a universal cord and app for connecting glucometers to smartphones, is changing that. The company introduced a feature today which lets patients feed activity data into its population health management software, the Glooko-Joslin HypoMap system.

“Being here in Silicon Valley, there’s all this press and all this attention to fitness devices,” Rick Altinger, CEO of Glooko, told MobiHealthNews. “But the reality is, those fitness devices don’t correlate. They don’t help drive people with a chronic disease to change their behavior and understand this sort of correlation between exercise and lower blood glucose levels.”

Glooko’s new feature, which will be rolled out immediately to the company’s provider customers, uses that data in a number of ways. Educationally, being able to show the patient a graph where days with more exercise line up with healthier blood glucose levels can be a powerful tool for physicians, Altinger said. In addition, doctors and diabetes educators will be able to monitor patients’ activity and glucose levels remotely and check in if need be.  Keep reading>>

Fitlinxx unveils AmpStrip, a direct-to-consumer heart rate patch

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 11, 2014        

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AmpStripShelton, Connecticut-based Fitlinxx, maker of the B-to-B activity tracker Pebble, has announced its newest device, a bandaid-like heart rate tracker, called AmpStrip. This is Fitlinxx’s first direct-to-consumer device.

The sensor is a small patch that the user sticks on their torso. It tracks heart rate, calories burned, respiration, body temperature, and posture. AmpStrip will last between three and seven days before the adhesive portion will need to be replaced, but the rechargeable battery on the device will last for more than seven days and charges in two to three hours. The device will sync via Bluetooth to a companion app, which will be available on both iOS and Android devices when AmpStrip launches early next year.

The device is meant to be worn during workouts, swim sets, showers, and while sleeping.
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Spirometrix raises $8.6M to develop nitric oxide asthma sensor

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 11, 2014        

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spirometrixPleasanton, California-based Spirometrix, a company working on a breath analysis sensor for early detection and treatment of asthma and COPD, has raised $8.6 million in second round funding. The round was led by NGK Spark Plugs, a Japanese company  that manufactures spark plugs and oxygen sensors, which contributed $5 million. Existing investor Simul Investments also contributed. The raise brings the company’s total funding to $12 million.

Spirometrix’s device, which is still under development and not yet FDA-cleared, measures nitric oxide in the breath as a biomarker of asthma and other respiratory diseases. The Fenom sensor system will work similarly to a spirometer — the user will exhale into the device for 10 seconds and get results returned in a minute. But the test has a high sensitivity — it can detect NO in 5 parts per billion.

The sensor device will also include standard sensors like a peak flow meter, GPS, and an environmental sensor for pollen counts. It will be used both as an initial diagnostic test for asthma and to predict episodes in people with existing respiratory conditions. The company says data will be transmitted to patients and physicians via the cloud.  Keep reading>>

Can this Utah health plan reel in 20-somethings with a gamified app?

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 11, 2014        

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Arches beginningJust in time for the start of open enrollment, a Utah health plan has devised a mobile app solution to the problem of convincing so-called “young invincibles” to sign up for health coverage: a gamified app they hope will educate users about the costs of being uninsured. Arches Health Plan is a 27,000-member co-op health plan funded by provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

“We were on college campuses talking to this demographic,” Tricia McGarry-Schumann, Chief Marketing Officer for Arches, told MobiHealthNews. “It became pretty evident they did not understand how costly [health] services are, particularly services related to the typical lifestyle in Utah which is a very active one. We have a lot of skiers here, hikers, bikers, cyclists, and they generally have no idea services are so expensive.”

The app, called “Arches Saves Your Bacon” aims to give users an idea of how different behaviors affect their health risks and how much they can cost them. First, the user spins a wheel to generate six behaviors that range from mundane behaviors (binge-watching Netflix) to extreme sports (skiing or skateboarding) to just plain silly entries (one just says “BEES!!”, for instance).

After the user answers a few questions about themselves, the game has them click through each month of the year as it randomly flashes from green to yellow to red. If it’s green, the user is rewarded with a safe month, yellow turns out a minor incident, and red is a catastrophic accident that leads to a game over. The incidents are paired with two money amounts — the cost with and without insurance — but also with a little story tied to one of the risk factors the user initially selected.  Keep reading>>