GSK, Merck use social media to learn how patients use drugs outside the lab

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 5, 2015        

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MedWatcher, from Epidemico.

MedWatcher, from Epidemico.

We’ve written before about Epidemico, a startup that grew out of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s work on combing social media for medical and health data. Today at the Health 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, California, Greg Powell, director of pharmacovigilance at GlaxoSmithKline, talked about how the pharma company uses the data it collects from its partnership with Epidemico.

“People really are communicating a lot online on social media,” Powell said. “There’s actually a wealth of information here that potentially hasn’t been tapped into until recently. The question is ‘If people are talking about our products, should we be listening to what they’re saying?’ The answer is ‘Of course’.”

GlaxoSmithKline collected data about public postings on Twitter and Facebook that mentioned any of a list of 1,000 of the companies drugs. Altogether, they found more than 6 million hits on Twitter and more than 15 million hits on Facebook.

“To put that in perspective, there’s more adverse events discussions online, in social media, in one year than there are in the FDA database since it started in 1968,” Powell said.

Epidemico helps GSK to filter that data, eliminate the noise posts, de-identify it (which importantly helps GSK get around FDA reporting requirements) and standardized the language around things like drug names and medical conditions. Keep reading>>


MedZed raises $3.2M for provider-assisted video visits

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 5, 2015        

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MedZedAtlanta, Georgia-based MedZed has raised $3.2 million for its doctor house call service that allows providers to remotely connect with their patients with the help of a caregiver. The funding includes a few seed rounds from as early as January 2014.

“MedZed is focused on connecting doctors and their patients,” MedZed CEO Scott Schnell told MobiHealthNews. “Our focus is on going to a frail or elderly patient that can’t get to the doctor or won’t get to the doctor — they have a number of comorbidities and they’re sick and unwilling to travel. Typically their means of transportation is an ambulance. What we are is a bridge that allows their physician to see them in their home… Our goal is to reduce utilization by keeping people healthy.” Keep reading>>

PinpointCare raises $11M to help docs create care plans for patients

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 5, 2015        

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PinpointCareChicago-based PinpointCare has raised $11 million from private and existing investors for its web-based program, hosted in Microsoft’s Azure cloud, that helps doctors create, customize, and track care plans for patients.

Although the offering was initially designed for patients who have had an orthopedic procedure, the company explained in a statement that the offering can now also be used to create care plans for patients in other departments including oncology, cardiology, and other episodic conditions as well as chronic conditions.

Before a patient’s procedure, physicians can use the platform to send patients a pre-operative assessment that predicts how much care the patient will need. PinpointCare also connects all providers in the patient’s care network, including the hospital, physician office, and the patient’s post-acute care venues so that these groups can stay connected during the patient’s transitions of care. Keep reading>>

NIH awards UCSF $9.8M for digital health research platform

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 5, 2015        

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The National Institutes of Health has awarded UCSF $9.75 million to develop a platform, over the next five years, that researchers can use to conduct digital health studies. This platform, called Health ePeople, will provide researchers with access to a large group of volunteers that have agreed to participate in research and the infrastructure to collect participant health data through mobile and wireless technologies.

“The primary goal of Health ePeople is to provide a resource enabling convenient and efficient mobile and wireless health research,” a co-principal investigator, Jeffrey Olgin, who is also a professor of medicine and chief of cardiology at UCSF, said in a statement. “It will help investigators collect mobile health data via integration with sensors, devices and apps, deliver online surveys, connect with external data sources including electronic health records, and use novel methods for ascertaining and adjudicating clinical outcome events.”

UCSF received these funds in part because of the success of UCSF’s existing digital health venture, the Health eHeart Study, which leverages mobile health apps and connected consumer medical devices in an effort to eventually track and monitor 1 million people in real-time. Since launching in 2013, the venture has enrolled more than 30,000 participants.

The tech capabilities of the Health eHeart study have grown in the past few years. Researchers have added a number of new features including a user-friendly interface to collect patient-reported data, modular electronic consenting for participants, a study management portal that connects to a dashboard, and a flexible messaging system. Keep reading>>

University of Michigan pilots smartphone-based home blood pressure monitoring system

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 5, 2015        

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Tactio blood pressureTactio Health Group, a Montreal-based company that builds smartphone-connected remote patient monitoring devices, will run a 25-person pilot study with the University of Michigan Health System, studying the effects of pharmacist-led home blood pressure monitoring and medication reminders on people with hypertension.

“This study seeks to put patient collected data into the hands of a healthcare provider who has the ability to act on that data in near-real time,” Lorraine Buis, assistant professor in the University’s Department of Family Medicine, who will lead the study, said in a statement. “I am excited by the opportunity to connect patients with their care team in a way that has the potential to dramatically change routine clinical practice in primary care. By using the TactioRPM platform to connect patients with their providers, and by better understanding how to meaningfully integrate this technology into a clinical setting, we have the potential to demonstrate the full benefit that mobile health has to offer.”

Participants will be given Bluetooth-connected blood pressure monitors and Tactio’s TactioRPM mobile app, which will allow them to send data to clinical pharmacists. The pharmacists will intervene as necessary based on the patients’ reading and adherence. Keep reading>>

In-Depth: Digital health news recap of Q3 2015

By: admin | Oct 2, 2015        

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The third quarter of 2015 was another big one for digital health, with $689 million in funding raised by 49 different companies. Read ahead for an exhaustive recap of the quarter with links to MobiHealthNews coverage of notable events throughout. If you’d prefer to navigate to a particular section, here’s where you can find our digital health news round-up section for payor news, pharma news, government and regulatory news, mergers and acquisitions, funding announcements, and survey results, market data, and other industry metrics. Or read on below for our round-up of healthcare provider-focused digital health news.

Healthcare provider digital health news for Q3 2015

The quarter saw a fair about of digital healthcare provider news, mostly consisting of pilots, studies, and trials, including some using Apple’s new ResearchKit app.

Patient-facing tools

This quarter, one big name provider, San Diego-based healthcare system Scripps Health, launched an app for patients. Given Scripps Health’s early involvement in digital health, it was almost surprising that the provider waited this long to launch an informational app for patients. The health system’s eponymous app, available for iOS and Android devices, allows patients and visitors to find information about Scripps physicians, hospitals, and clinics.

Another provider, Kaiser Permanente, reported usage results for its patient-facing tools in its 2014 annual report. The company found that around 4.9 million members in Kaiser’s 9.6 million member network are using Kaiser’s online health management platform, called My Health Manager. In 2014, through Kaiser’s online and mobile health services, 37.4 million lab test results were viewed online, 20 million secure emails were sent, 4.1 million online appointment requests were made, and 17.5 million online prescriptions were refilled. Keep reading>>