10 companies paid Happtique for health app certification

By: Aditi Pai | Dec 2, 2013        

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HapptiqueRegistryHapptique, subsidiary of the Greater New York Hospital Association’s for-profit arm GNYHA Ventures, announced the first apps in its registry, which came from 10 companies that paid to have their apps go through the certification process. The launch happened almost two years after Happtique first announced its plans to create a certification program.

The apps in Happtique’s group ranged from calorie counters to chronic disease managers, and the developers included: Power20, MyNetDiary, Cardiio, CalorieKing, GenieMD, iHealthVentures, Osmosis, QxMD Medical, Tactio Health Group, and GreatCall. While some apps, like MyNetDiary, are available on iOS and Android platforms, the registry specifies the platform on which the app is cleared.

To pass the certification program, Happtique looks at four aspects of the app, which MobiHealthNews first wrote about in 2012 — operability, privacy, security and content. Part of the application process for certification requires developers to submit proof of FDA certification, if applicable, and sources of content from the app.

A year ago, Happtique launched a pilot for its health app prescription program, mRx, which was meant to help the company get an idea as to how many apps physicians prescribe through the platform and how many of their patients actually download the apps as prescribed.

In May, GNYHA Ventures decided to re-focus Happtique on hospital customers and repurpose its budget. This led to several high profile employees parting ways with the company including CEO Ben Chodor and Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer Tammy Lewis. At the time, GNYHA SVP of Communications Brian Conway told MobiHealthNews despite the changes to the budget, the certification program and mRx were both on track for completion.


Misfit Shine adds Android support, social features

By: Jonah Comstock | Dec 2, 2013        

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shineSensor startup Misfit Wearables announced that it has added Android support for its Misfit Shine activity tracker, just six months after dropping Android support from its original launch. According to the company, Shine will now work with any phone that both runs Android 4.3 or higher and has Bluetooth Smart connectivity, including Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3, the Google Nexus 4 and 5, and the HTC One.

Misfit originally planned to have Android support for the device when it shipped to Indiegogo backers. The company announced that the launch would be iOS-only the same time it pushed back the shipping date from June to mid-July, saying that “iOS allows us to roll out the features we want and give you the best user experience out of the box.” This latest announcement actually comes earlier than Misfit had previously announced: at the time, the company promised Android support in early 2014.

The Android app will allow users to sync their device, set goals, and see graphs and visuals summarizing daily and weekly activity. However, it is not currently as fully featured as the iOS app, lacking the intensity graph, highlights, and recently announced social features.

Last week, Misfit launched new social features for its iOS app, including a leaderboard that allows Shine users to compete with one another on activity, and a profile and social feed to share milestones and achievements. The update also added push notifications that tell users when friends are about to catch up to them on the leaderboard.

As Android’s user base and portion of the mobile market share grow, more and more activity trackers are supporting the platform, sometimes even to the exclusion of iOS. Both Jawbone and Fitbit began offering Android support for their wearable fitness trackers this year, and Basis Science launched its device with Android as the only mobile support, though it has since added an iOS app. Of the major players, only Nike still claims to have no plans to move beyond iOS, though rumor has it the company is working on an Android app after all.

Roundup: Framingham Heart Study, Bill Gates, 2013 trends

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 30, 2013        

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Bill GatesThis week MobiHealthNews covered UCLA’s partnership with smart cane startup Isowalk, rounded up 51 digital health metrics for 2013 and reported on a UK startup’s Bluetooth measuring system for ostomy bags. This was just some of the news that has come out recently. Here are some other pieces we have been reading.

The Next Frontier in Heart Care — Wall Street Journal

The Framingham Heart Study and the Jackson Heart Study have teamed up on an initiative to track risk factors, diet habits and exercise habits of participants in near real time, instead of only during checkups, which are far less frequent. Because the checkups aren’t regularly scheduled, oftentimes, the Wall Street Journal reports, prescribing medicines is imprecise. To better understand how these risk factors and medicines work together, researchers on this new initiative believe more might be learned about blood pressure, heart risk and stroke risk by monitoring patients with mobile devices. By doing so, researchers want to see if there’s a difference in a patient’s heart rate during events like exercise, that they wouldn’t normally see during a checkup.

4 World-Changing Products Dreamed Up by Bill Gates — Wired

Bill Gates revealed four technology concepts that haven’t been made into real products yet in a special edition of Wired that he edited. Then, Wired asked four product design firms to create prototypes of the ideas. While his goal for the four ideas was to eventually bring them into fruition for developing countries, one of his ideas has a mobile health tilt. Kernel is “a diagnostic accessory that offers cloud-based health care.” Gates dreamed up this device as a solution to areas in which doctors are not within easy traveling distance, but this problem doesn’t just exist in developing countries. The accessory created by FuseProject is a Bluetooth-connected diagnostic amulet, which is embedded with medical tests. The amulet opens to reveal a pad with four quadrants: red for blood, yellow for urine, blue for saliva, and green for breath. The pad absorbs samples and then transmits test results to a mobile app via Bluetooth.

The Complex and Nuanced Challenge of mHealth Privacy — Huffington Post

Privacy is a big topic in digital health, and Huffington Post writers Lisa Gallagher and Hilary Wandall took a crack at tackling it. While, the authors say, most people agree keeping data private is important, the extent to which data is kept private might also be an issue left to deal with. The authors give an example of four different women from around the world: a pregnant woman with HIV in Bangladesh, a mother with an HIV positive child in Nigeria, a woman with an HIV positive fiancé in India, and a single woman with HIV in Chile. In each situation, regional customs and laws on privacy differ. Still, the authors argue that the issue of privacy is one of the key issues holding digital health back because of regulations that haven’t been figured out.

My 2013 Digital Health Entrepreneur, Investor, And Writing Of The Year — Forbes

Forbes’ writer for entrepreneurial innovation in medicine, David Shaywitz, says the end of 2013 marks the “conclusion of digital health’s honeymoon period”, and the beginning of the phase where companies need to “deliver value rather than just promises”. Coupled with his welcoming of this new phase in digital health, Shaywitz also shared his views on the top people in digital health. He starts with digital health entrepreneur of the year, Dr. Dave Albert, founder of AliveCor. In his reasons for choosing Albert, Shaywitz includes FDA clearance for AliveCor’s heart monitor and the fact that the device may “democratize simple EKG measurements”.

Shaywitz’s other mention goes to his digital health investor of the year, Social + Capital Partnership’s Chamath Palihapitiya, who has invested in Propeller Health (formerly Asthmapolis), Neurotrack, Simplee, Breakthrough Behavioral, Syapse, Flatiron Health, and Better. While Shaywitz gave honorable mentions to firms Aberdare Ventures, Psilos, Bob Kocher’s team at Venrock, Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund, and Qualcomm Ventures, he believes Palihapitiya “he backs up his talk with thoughtful investments in a range of interesting digital health startups”.

Forrester: Top Technology Trends for 2014 And Beyond

Technology and market research company Forrester shared its top technology trends for 2014. While the trends are meant to describe the general technology sphere, many relate closely to digital health technology. Forrester predicts digital convergence will erode boundaries, or that there will be a closer tie between the digital and physical world. In digital health, this could translate to the way a patient interacts with his or her doctor — in office and through patient engagement focused mobile apps. On a similar note, Forrester also says sensors and devices will draw ecosystems together, and will “move from hype to reality with the ubiquity of connectivity and proliferation of devices”. Forecasts from Juniper are already showing the high growth rate of health and fitness devices.

US seniors want more online, mobile health tools

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 27, 2013        

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accenture seniorsOlder Americans are using the internet more and more, and they are particularly interested in using online and mobile technology for health-related purposes, according to a new study from Accenture Research.

Accenture surveyed 9,015 adults in nine countries, including 1,470 US seniors 65 over and conducted a separate survey of 200 Medicare consumers. They found that among the Medicare set, most used the internet at least once a day. Ninety-one percent said they use email frequently and 73 percent search the internet frequently. Around 30 percent regularly use Facebook or other social media.

As for accessing health data, Accenture’s survey showed seniors were making use of services offered to them and wanted more. A full 67 percent of US seniors said accessing medical information online was very or somewhat important to them. Fifty-six percent of Medicare customers had visited their health plan’s website at least once in the past 12 months. And while only 28 percent of seniors reported having full access to their electronic health record, 83 percent wanted access.

Prescription refill services were another area where demand outstripped availability: 68 percent of seniors said the ability to refill prescriptions electronically was somewhat or very important, while just 46 percent reported being able to do so. Booking appointments online was rated important by 62 percent of seniors, while 53 percent said it was important to be able to email with providers.

Seniors were asked to describe the importance of various digital offerings from their doctor or hospital. Forty-six percent said accessing electronic health records and medical history online or via mobile was most important, while 42 percent were more interested in virtual doctor visits without a co-pay. Mobile appointment booking was described as “most important” by 15 percent of seniors.

“Just as seniors are turning to the Internet for banking, shopping, entertainment and communications, they also expect to handle certain aspects of their healthcare services online,” said Jill Dailey, managing director of payer strategy at Accenture Health said in a news release. “What this means for providers and health plans is that they’ll need to expand their digital options if they want to attract older patients and help them track and manage their care outside their doctor’s office.”

UCLA partners with startup to build smart, connected cane

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 27, 2013        

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isowalk_hires_compositeThe University of California at Los Angeles Wireless Health Institute has teamed up with smart cane startup Isowalk to create a sensor-laden cane that could be used to predict falls or help speed up recovery for injured athletes.

CEO Ron Goldberg began developing the Isowalk cane in 2010, and launched an Indiegogo campaign this past summer. Although the Indiegogo campaign included a paragraph about the possibility of Bluetooth connectivity, Goldberg’s original smart cane was merely an engineering innovation.

“It’s a pretty radical redesign of the cane,” Goldberg told MobiHealthNews. “It’s self propulsive. It kind of moves with you and for you.”

Goldberg’s Indiegogo campaign only raised $11,000 out of a $185,000 goal.

“In a general sense, I believe the crowdfunding crowd is kind of young and not necessarily consumed with thoughts of aging, and injury, and disability,” Goldberg said, explaining why he thought the campaign didn’t do well. But, he said, the campaign paid off in other ways.

“[UCLA] had been working on a gait analysis technology which they had validated in the field and they didn’t really have an appropriate carrier for this technology, because a conventional cane is just too crude,” he said. “When they saw Isowalk, they were very impressed by what we had mapped out in terms of what a better walking aid could be. They reached out and asked if we could collaborate on the project. They thought it was a great match.”

UCLA and Isowalk will incorporate accelerometers and gyroscopes into the cane, allowing it to collect gait data and send it to an app or the cloud to be analyzed.

“The collaboration between electrical engineering and the UCLA medical school really found an intriguing application for this working with geriatrics and stroke recovery,” Goldberg said. “The opinion was arrived at that human gait is a primary indicator of wellness, but it has never been quantified before. There’s never been anything but anecdotal data.”

By presenting a quantified measure of gait, the Isowalk could be used as a screening tool to determine whether an elderly person can live at home safely or should move into assisted living. It could help athletes or other patients recovering from injuries get a clearer timetable of their recovery. A regular user’s doctor could be alerted of a significant change or deterioration in their gait. For a consumer version, Goldberg has ideas of adding a PERS button or an automatic alert system for friends and family when the cane goes unused for too long.

The Isowalk is currently registered as a Class I device with the FDA. Goldberg said some applications, particularly clinical ones, may require the device to also secure 510(k) clearance as a Class II device, and UCLA is currently working on those applications. He foresees a third quarter 2014 release for the device.

51 digital health metrics in 2013

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 26, 2013        

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pew-caregiver-dataThe year is drawing to a close, and as some take the time to look back on personal highlights, we’ve taken the time to compile some mobile health highlights, mostly through numbers. While bigger research companies have forecasted potential growth in the space four or five years ahead, other surveys and studies offer different takeaways on digital health today — from iPad vs iPhone comparisons to data privacy estimates for health tracking app users.

95M Americans used mobile for health in 2013

As of 2013, 95 million Americans are using mobile phones as health tools or to find health information, according to Manhattan Research. That’s 27 percent more than 2012, when the number was 75 million. More>>

Pew: 35 percent of US adults are online diagnosers

When it comes to looking for health information online, consumers have had fairly consistent behaviors over the past 12 years. A report, Online Health 2013, from The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that of the 81 percent of US adults who use the internet, 72 percent have gone online to look for health information in the past year. Some 59 percent of that online health information seeker group went online to specifically try to figure out what medical condition they or someone they know has. Pew calls this group “online diagnosers” and it includes about 35 percent of all US adults. More>>

Seven in ten doctors have a self-tracking patient

Seventy percent of doctors report that at least one patient is sharing some form of health measurement data with them, according to Manhattan Research’s annual “Taking the Pulse” online survey of 2,950 practicing physicians. More>>

Survey: 31 percent of doctors make Rx decisions from smartphones

Nearly three-quarters of physicians in the United States are using their smartphones at work, according to a March 2013 survey conducted by ad agency WPP’s Kantar Media. The survey of more than 3,000 physicians representing 21 specialties found that 74 percent said they were using their smartphones for professional purposes. The 2012 study found that about 68 percent of physicians were using their smartphones at work and 64 percent were in 2011. More>>

Pew: Caregivers are top digital health users, but only 59 percent find online tools helpful

Research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that adults who are unpaid caregivers for a parent or child use online and mobile health tools considerably more than the average American, but only 59 percent of connected caregivers find internet tools helpful in giving care. Fifty-two percent said that online tools helped them deal with the stress of being a caregiver. More>>

Manhattan: 72 percent of physicians have tablets

Manhattan Research shared a few more numbers from its annual “Taking the Pulse” online research survey of 2,950 physicians in a webinar. The numbers showed that smartphone, desktop and laptop use has leveled out among physicians while tablet adoption has risen to 72 percent, up from 62 percent last year. The 62 percent number was a surprise for Manhattan last year, more than doubling 2011′s 30 percent metric. More>>

Survey: 43 percent of doctors use mobiles for clinical purposes

A survey by Deloitte found that 43 percent of doctors use smartphones or tablets for clinical purposes, which the firm suggested included EHR access, e-prescribing, and physician-to-physician communication. The study polled 613 physicians in the United States. More>>

IMS: Half of Android health apps have fewer than 500 downloads

There are more than 43,000 healthcare apps available from the US iTunes store, but only about 16,275 of those are patient-facing apps with “genuine” health content, according to a study from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Furthermore, in an analysis of the Google Play Store, IMS found that 50 percent of health apps are downloaded fewer than 500 times and just five apps account for 15 percent of all health app downloads. More>>

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