Castlight Health eyes IPO with $100 million round

By: Brian Dolan | May 2, 2012        

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Castlight Mobile AppsThis week San Francisco-based Castlight Health, which offers a personalized health care shopping platform that helps employees better understand the price of medical services and the quality of certain providers, announced that it has raised $100 million in its fourth round of funding. That is the largest amount of funding in a single round that MobiHealthNews has ever reported on.

Investors included T. Rowe Price, Redmile Group and two unidentified mutual funds. The round brings the company’s total funding to $181 million. The latest investment round included participation from existing investors, which include Morgan Stanley Investment Management, The Wellcome Trust, U.S. Venture Partners, Cleveland Clinic, Maverick Capital, Oak Investment Partners and Venrock, according to Dan Primack over at Fortune.

Castlight Co-founder and CEO Giovanni Colella told Forbes that he expects the company to IPO next. He said that in the face of increasing competition from similar tools coming out from health plans, this “record breaking” amoung of money “signals to the market that we’re here to stay,” he said.

Castlight’s other co-founders include Todd Park, the current US Federal CTO and former CTO of HHS, as well as Bryan Roberts, a partner at venture capital firm (and Castlight investor) Venrock.

At the end of March, Castlight Health launched its first mobile app: Castlight Mobile, which is currently available as a native app for Apple iOS and Google Android devices users. The company suggests BlackBerry users and others can access the platform through an optimized mobile site. Of course, the free apps are only available to employees at companies that already use Castlight’s healthcare costs platform.

The company claims to have “dozens of leading organizations” already signed on as customers. They include: Allegis Group, Honeywell, Life Technologies and Regis Corporation. Castlight told Forbes that 70 percent of its customers’ employees use Castlight’s price comparison tool. About 61 percent of them said the tool helped them change their spending habits.

Castlight currently has 100 employees, and it plans to use some of the new funds to build out its sales team and beef up its marketing spend, Forbes reports. Castlight also plans to extend its service to help create more cost transparencies around medications — according to a report in TechCrunch — and that’s what another startup, called GoodRx, is developing. GoodRx launched its own app for comparing the prices at competing pharmacies earlier this year.

Ethan Prater, vice president of products at Castlight Health told MobiHealthNews in an interview last month that the company’s recently launched mobile app will make it easier for Castlight users to engage their primary care providers in discussions about costs and quality measures for specialists the PCP refers them to.

“We call this feature ‘check your referral’,” Prater said at the time. “People don’t generally want to change their primary care physician since that is someone they trust. It’s not where the cost is, anyway. The cost is in downstream referrals like specialists. So we created this feature that enables users at the point of care… to very quickly look up and locate the specialist [the PCP recommends] using the app. Then, [the patient] can view that specialist’s cost and quality metrics and ask [their] provider: Is this the specialist we are talking about?”

Prater said the conversation can then turn to other option that the app calls the patient’s attention to and help start a conversation about higher quality and lower cost options for referrals.

For more on the huge $100 million round of funding, read the press release below: Keep reading>>

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Apple Store now sells Sanofi’s iPhone glucose meter

By: Brian Dolan | May 2, 2012        

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iBGStar Diabetes Manager App iPhoneIn recent years Apple stores began selling fitness devices other than those offered by long time partner Nike+. The company also added Withings’ WiFi-enabled scale to its store shelves. Soon followed iHealth’s iOS Blood Pressure Monitor dock and more. This week Cupertino’s retail stores have begun selling Sanofi’s iBGStar device, the first FDA cleared iPhone-enabled blood glucose meter. MobiHealthNews learned about the launch during an on-site meeting at Sanofi headquarters in Bridgewater, New Jersey this week.

MobiHealthNews first reported on the iBGStar back in September 2010 when Sanofi and its partner device maker AgaMatrix released the first images of the device, which was also known as AgaMatrix’s Nugget device.

While the devices may still be making their way to some brick-and-mortar locations — Sanofi expects them to be in the stores by May 15 — Apple’s online store and Walgreens.com are already selling the device. Apple is offering the iBGStar for about $100 while Walgreens has priced it at about $75. (An iPhone or iPod touch is not included, of course, and while the meter works without the device, much of its value would be lost without one.) Since Apple will not be selling testing strips for the device, its iBGStar package includes 50 strips, which explains the higher price. Walgreens’ iBGStar package includes just 10 strips, but additional strips can be purchased at Walgreens or from the store’s website. Sanofi says the prices work out to be about the same.

While Walgreens has an exclusive arrangement with Sanofi to sell the device and strips, Sanofi’s Shawna Gvazdauskas, VP and Device Head for US Diabetes, said that any pharmacist can order the device for a patient through McKesson.

Sanofi’s iBGStar is tiny. Some of the other bloggers and diabetes community leaders that attended Sanofi’s demo day this week noted that the device’s size alone is an impressive feature.

The device’s companion app, called iBGStar Diabetes Manager App, launched on Apple’s AppStore early last month. The app helps users analyze their glucose patterns over time, track eating and other activities that may have influenced their levels, and email data to care providers or others. The collected information is also displayed as scorecards that show individual test results in different colors that are coded to indicate high, low and within range blood glucose results. Readings from the iBGStar device are automatically loaded into the app when synched, and those readings are “locked” in — users are not able to edit them. Those readings also are indicated by a lock symbol on the corner of their scorecard, while any manually entered readings are marked with an “x” to indicate that they are editable and were manually entered. Sanofi expects that information to help care providers who might like to know which readings came from the device and were not edited. Keep reading>>

Waldo Health settles Bosch suit, licenses patents

By: Brian Dolan | May 1, 2012        

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Waldo NetworksThis week Robert Bosch Healthcare announced that it had come to an agreement with Waldo Networks, one of the companies that Bosch had sued over patent infringement this past January. The company sued three makers of remote home health monitoring technology — MedApps, ExpressMD, and Waldo — claiming that the competitors infringed on patents for Bosch’s Health Buddy system.

“Bosch Healthcare is pleased to work with Waldo Health as a licensee of our telehealth technology,” Dr. Jasper zu Putlitz, president of Robert Bosch Healthcare Systems stated in a press release. “This is an important step in giving innovative start-up companies like Waldo Health the opportunity to advance the telehealth market. Our ultimate goal is patient-focused — we all want to improve patient health outcomes and lower healthcare costs by leveraging technology to provide premium care at home. Licensing our technology helps Waldo Health to fulfill these common goals and we wish them great success in continuing to enhance patient care.”

Waldo developed a tablet-based home monitoring system and raised $750,000 in private equity in 2010.

While this week’s announcement did not specifically address the lawsuits, Bosch did suggest earlier this year that a licensing agreement would end the suit:

“We feel it is important to demonstrate that IP is important, and not just to our company,” Robert Bosch spokesperson Cheryl Kilborn told MobiHealthNews in February. “Bosch Healthcare Systems, like most high-tech companies, values its intellectual property as an essential asset of its business,” she added in an e-mailed statement at the time.”Bosch is open to working with those companies that are interested in securing this technology through a licensing agreement, and we are in discussion with numerous companies in this regard.”

At the time, Bosch was seeking to have the court order the three defendants to stop marketing their products, plus unspecified punitive damages.

While Waldo never commented on the lawsuits in past reports, MobiHealthNews reported in February that both MedApps and ExpressMD said the suits against them were baseless.

Vincent Salvo, Waldo Health’s CEO noted that his company was one of the few to license the company’s technology patents: “Waldo Health is excited to be one of the first companies to license the Bosch portfolio. It provides our team with the ability to focus on larger strategic initiatives and create the most meaningful customer experiences in the telehealth space. Our competitors do not have rights to the Bosch technology. This, combined with the launch of our next generation of innovative products and services, makes Waldo the clear choice when it comes to collaboratively improving people’s lives.”

More about the Waldo Networks licensing deal with Robert Bosch Healthcare in the press release below: Keep reading>>

Digital health program seeks startups to redesign Medicaid care

By: Brian Dolan | May 1, 2012        

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Money TreeLast week the New York eHealth Collaborative, the New York City Investment Fund, and the NYS Department of Health launched the New York Digital Health Accelerator (NTDHA), a program for 12 startups that are developing products in care coordination, patient engagement, analytics and message alerts for healthcare providers. The accelerator already has 18 healthcare providers signed up as partners and seven investors lined up to fund the program.

Each of the 12 chosen digital health startups will receive up to $300,000 in funding, mentorship from senior level executives at leading hospitals, and “priority access” to the platform that is connecting EHRs across New York state, the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).

The hoped for end result is new products that support New York State’s Medicaid Redesign Team, which aims to make care more coordinated and efficient for Medicaid patients in New York.

The accelerator program has already secured an initial investment of $4.2 million from backers that include: Aetna, Milestone Venture Partners, New Leaf Venture Partners, New York City Investment Fund, Quaker Partners, Safeguard Scientifics, and UnitedHealth Group.

The 18 participating healthcare provider facilities include: Albany Medical Center, Catholic Health System, Community Healthcare Network, Continuum Health Partners, Ellis Medicine, FEGS Health and Human Services System, Finger Lakes Community Health, Hometown Health Centers, Hudson Valley Initiative, Institute for Family Health, Maimonides Medical Center, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, North Shore LIJ Health System, NYU Langone Medical Center, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Visiting Nurse Service of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties, and Winthrop-University Hospital.

The program is hosting an informational session for those interested in applying on May 10, 2012 in New York City. Applications for the program are due June 1, 2012.

More details (and many, many quotes) are in the press release below: Keep reading>>

Survey: 71 percent of US nurses use smartphones

By: Brian Dolan | May 1, 2012        

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voalte-one-iphoneAccording to a recent survey conducted by Wolters Kluwer Health’s Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), 71 percent of nurses are already using smartphones for their job. The survey included responses from 3,900 nurses and nursing students. About 66 percent of those nursing students surveyed said they use their smartphones for nursing school.

Overall, 85 percent of the nurses and nursing students said they want a smartphone app version of LWW’s Nursing 2013 Drug Handbook. Some 87 percent of those surveyed said they would want a smartphone app version of the text as well as a print version.

This month LWW plans to launch its first mobile app version of the handbook. The new forthcoming app includes nearly 900 drug monographs addressing more than 3,000 generic and brand name drugs. The app also offers a dosage calculator, pill images, detailed monographs and weekly drug updates. The app will work on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices once it launches later this month.

Earlier this year the New York Times reported on the effects of the increased adoption of smartphones among students at nursing schools: “The most profound recent change is a move away from the profession’s dependence on committing vast amounts of information to memory. It is not that nurses need to know less, educators say, but that the amount of essential data has exploded,” the Times wrote.

In January Massachusetts General Hospital also announced plans to equip its nurses with iPhones thanks to a recent deal with Voalte. Voalte’s offering combines high-definition voice calls, critical care alarms and presence-based text features and is intended for use by staff in acute care hospitals in the US and Canada — especially nurses. The company has helped a number of healthcare facilities equip their nurses with smartphones, including, Cedars-Sinai, Nebraska Medical Center, Texas Children’s, Heartland Health, Huntington Hospital, and Sarasota Memorial.

Another prominent smartphone app for nurses, Your Nurse Is On, automates nurse scheduling by sending out alerts via text, phone, e-mail or any other electronic medium when there’s a shift to fill. The system, which launched in 2009, was created by registered nurse Matthew Browning.

Read more about the LWW survey in the press release below: Keep reading>>

VA to launch iPhone EHR app this summer

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 30, 2012        

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Veteran Affairs iPhone mockupThe Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) aims to rollout an electronic health record (EHR) app for the iPhone that clinicians will begin using at the veterans’ medical center in Washington DC this summer, according to a report in Government Health IT. The initial deployment will include as many as 1,000 mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads at the DC-based centers and others as needed.

The mobile app, which Government Health IT referred to as the “clinic in hand” app, is currently being tested by physicians at the DC facility while on their rounds.

“The EHR app is really powerful. It is reported to be a significant time saver, and I would use the phrase morale improver, but primarily it makes it clear that we’re using the latest technology at the VA again and not just older technology,” the VA’s CIO Roger Baker said in a teleconference with reporters last week.

Baker said the VA will roll out the app once it has a more robust mobile device manager (MDM), which it first mentioned last October when it announced plans to deploy as many as 100,000 tablet devices. The VA also plans to develop an EHR app for use on Android devices, too. It used to be that only BlackBerry devices were supported by the VA.

Last July when Baker first mentioned the mobile EHR initiative, he noted that the app would be read-only: “We will be highly confident that anything that is storing information on the device has encryption, and in all of the cases we’ll be satisfied that the authenticated user is able to view information but not download it on to the device,” Baker stated at the time during his monthly briefing.

More details, including the VA’s WiFi plans, over at Government Health IT