Readers react to Aetna shutting down CarePass

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 25, 2014        

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CarePass iPhone appLast week MobiHealthNews broke the news that Aetna had decided to shutdown its high-profile, health tracking and data aggregation platform CarePass by the end of the year. After we reported on two CarePass leaders recent departures from the company, Aetna confirmed its long-rumored plans. For many the shutdown of CarePass was no surprise at all, while others were shocked. Still other commenters pointed to the downfall of CarePass as the beginning of the end for mobile health apps.

On Twitter former ONC lead Dr. Farzad Mostashari suggested that the comments on our Aetna story were worth a read. We’ve rounded up a few of them below along with reactions we collected from Twitter:

Kevin: API’s and marketplaces have been around forever. Aetna should have brought in outside talent to drive this initiative and then moved obstacles out of the way for them to execute. They started with flawed assumptions and delivered very little value to consumers, solutions providers, members or their shareholders.

Jeff: This is a shame, However patient facing apps are not the real value if they are not connected to the EHR, Insurance company [and] others don’t get it yet.

D: Another breathlessly hyped “game-changing” platform bites the dust. Did anyone think contrarily that users did not want their fitness/vitals data accessible to an insurance company? It’s not like consumers think of payers overall as “good guys” particularly this year! Also you could access every one of these apps separately and only deal with the possibility that they’d sell your aggregated deidentified data. The only chance for these and for Cigna’s equivalent GoYou is to spin them off and de-identify them with the insurance parent.

Marcelo: This is fundamentally a consumer-engagement issue. CarePass likely failed because it used old-industry language and mechanics to try to get users using the app. It [delivered] very little value for way too much effort from a users’ perspective. Aetna seems to be leading a lot of initiatives to convert itself into a software-powered health insurance company driven by consumer needs. I hope they don’t abandon that strategy.

Naveen: It was evident that there wasn’t much traction with CarePass at HIMSS earlier this year. So this doesn’t come as a huge surprise even though it stings a little bit. Hopefully [it] will serve as a little reminder to all of the digital health hypemen who have been noisy all summer long that this stuff is easy to talk about, but hard to translate into business value. While many will jump on this “failure” – let’s not forget that Aetna was and continues to be way ahead of the curve on the payer front when it comes to digital health. Perhaps smart of them to pull the plug on an effort that wasn’t working — fail, learn, and move forward. I’m sure there will be more news out of Aetna before too long.

Read on for reactions to the news on Twitter:  Keep reading>>


In-Depth: Q2 2014 Digital Health State of the Industry

By: MobiHealthNews | Aug 22, 2014        

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The second quarter of the year is oftentimes a slow one as the summer months approach, but Q2 2014 was surprisingly busy for digital health on all fronts. Investment dollars are up. FDA clearances averaged two per month and a surprising FDA deregulation proposal dropped during the quarter, too. M&A was even stronger than it was in Q1, which was already a record quarter for such deals.

Consumer health perhaps received the biggest boost during Q2 as AppleGoogle, and Samsung — three of the largest companies in consumer tech — each announced plans to launch health and fitness tracking platforms in the coming months. While details are still scarce for these three initiatives, their launches are sure to boost consumer interest health tracking and management tools — at least to some degree.  Keep reading>>

14 private digital health companies shared their 2013 revenues

By: Aditi Pai | Aug 21, 2014        

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This year, on Inc Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies, several of the companies listed were in the digital health space. Inc created this list by measuring a private company’s revenue growth between 2010 and 2013 and sorted the results by percentage. The awards mark one of the few opportunities to get a peek at a private company’s revenue figures and a general idea of its growth.

Some digital health companies on the list, like Vitals and Imprivata, have made several announcements over the last few years, while others, like BestDoctors, have remained relatively quiet. These are the 14 digital health companies that Inc said have grown significantly over the past three years.

Teladoc, 2013 revenues: $20.5 million

Dallas, Texas-based Teladoc offers patients an alternative to a standard doctors visit. When a patient needs a doctor but doesn’t want to make an appointment, he or she can call Teladoc to schedule a virtual visit. The visit includes a one-on-one consultation with a doctor over phone or video chat. The company’s revenue grew 348 percent, from $4.5 million in 2010. Since 2010, Teladoc has added 35 jobs and the company now employs 80 people. Company

Best Doctors, 2013 revenues: $179.9 million

Boston, Massachusetts-based Best Doctors helps employees choose the right physician. The company raised a $45.5 million round in 2013, which was one of the biggest deals for digital health that year. Best Doctors’ revenue grew 91 percent in the past three years, from $94.0 million in 2010. The company also hired 285 people over the past three years, and now employs 600. Company  Keep reading>>

Microsoft, TracFone give smartphones to 100 Medicaid beneficiaries with diabetes

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 21, 2014        

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Nokia Lumia Windows Phone MicrosoftMicrosoft is launching a major mobile health pilot along with mobile service provider TracFone Wireless and the Health Choice Network, a Miami-based company that manages a 17-state health IT network for community health centers. In the pilot, 100 Medicaid patients with Type 1 and 2 diabetes will be equipped with smartphones containing both health management tools and traditional smartphone features. Forbes’ Dan Munro first reported the story this morning.

The Windows Phones, Nokia Lumia 520 handsets, will have Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft HealthVault, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM pre-installed. But they won’t just be normal consumer phones — they will have enterprise-level security features, allowing patients to communicate with their doctors via email and messaging while staying HIPAA compliant, as well as to use calendar and appointment reminder functions securely. The data and service will be prepaid by TracFone, and HCN will develop additional applications specific to diabetes care. Specifically the HCN applications will “help participants provide consent, deliver and receive reminders, ensure treatment plan understanding, and aid in disease self-tracking for blood sugar levels and other vital health information,” according to a release from Microsoft.  Keep reading>>

Healthsense raises $10M for remote patient monitoring products

By: Aditi Pai | Aug 21, 2014        

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HealthsenseMedical device maker HealthSense raised $10 million in equity, debt, and securities in a round led by Mansa Capital with additional investment from existing investors Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Radius Ventures. Another existing investor that wasn’t mentioned in this round is Fallon Community Health Plan.

This brings the company’s total funding to date to at least $17 million.

“Mansa Capital possesses exceptionally strong relationships that Healthsense can leverage to expand our reach into the managed care and home health markets, where we see major growth opportunities,” Healthsense President and CEO A.R. Weiler said in a statement. “This is an ideal complement to our thriving senior living business.”  Keep reading>>

AliveCor gets FDA clearance for atrial fibrillation algorithm

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 21, 2014        

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alivecorAliveCor has received an additional FDA 510(k) clearance, this time for an algorithm that allows its smartphone ECG to detect atrial fibrillation — an abnormal heart rhythm that isn’t always detectable to the patient, but if left untreated can lead to stroke or congestive heart failure — with high accuracy. The app is set to launch for consumers in September.

“Our pretty strong belief is that if people did this, if they got the app and used it regularly, especially in the at risk population of people over 40, that they will catch atrial fibrillation that was previously undiagnosed, using a mobile technology,” Euan Thomson, president and chief executive officer of AliveCor, told MobiHealthNews. “It’s got great value to patients. From a conceptual standpoint or from a mobile helath perspective, I think we’re really delivering on the promise of mobile health in a very meaningful way.”

AliveCor’s smartphone ECG, which is available for both Apple and Android phones, has had FDA clearance since last fall and has been in use by patients since March. But up until now, consumers using the device would simply send their ECG readings to a board-certified cardiologist or cardiac technician, who would turn a response around in 24 hours — or faster for a small fee.  Keep reading>>