Survey: Many physician-pharma interactions aided by iPad

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 16, 2012        

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iPad 2According to the latest survey from Manhattan Research, many in-person interactions between pharmaceutical company representatives and physicians are now aided by the pharma rep’s iPad. Manhattan polled more than 1,800 practicing physicians in the United States during the second quarter of 2012 and found that of those that had met with a pharma sales rep in person, some 65 percent said they had seen a rep use an iPad. A similar survey in 2011 found that only 30 percent of physicians had an iPad-aided interaction at the time.

According to Manhattan Research, iPads help pharma reps better interact with physicians too. Of those physicians surveyed who had interacted with pharma sales reps with iPads, 35 percent said they were more likely to request a sample and 29 percent said they were more likely to consider prescribing the drug.

“We’re seeing more positive signs this year that the use of iPads by reps is driving the desired engagement and behavior among physicians,” Monique Levy, Vice President of Research at Manhattan Research stated in an announcement about the survey. “We’re also getting more clarity on the kinds of features and content physicians want on these devices such as demos of apps they can download and KOL [key opinion leaders] videos.”

More details from the Manhattan Research survey will be released next week.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield MA to mentor Healthbox Boston startups

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 16, 2012        

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healthbox-logoChicago-based Healthbox kicks off its accelerator program in Cambridge, MA this week with 10 teams from the Boston area and support from Blue Cross Blue Shield MA, Express Scripts, HLM Venture Partners and Long River Ventures. The three month accelerator program will conclude in November with an “Innovation Day” where the teams will share their pitches.

San Francisco-based Rock Health launched its own Cambridge, MA-based chapter earlier this year. The six startups in Rock Health’s Boston class have spent the summer working with Harvard Medical School. They will demo their wares later this month.

Healthbox offers its startups free office space, mentorship, and $50,000 in seed funding, in exchange for seven percent equity in the participating startup.

Here’s how Healthbox describes each of its startups in the Boston class: Keep reading>>

West Health names CEO, launches incubator, drops “wireless”

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 16, 2012        

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West HealthSan Diego-based West Wireless Health Institute has named a new CEO, former Johnson & Johnson executive Nicholas Valeriani, and launched a new incubator open to startups that have received investments from the West Health Investment Fund. The institute’s first CEO Don Casey served in that role for about two years before resigning in March of this year. Casey was also a former Johnson & Johnson executive.

The institute is also changing its name to the West Health Institute and dropping “wireless” from its moniker “to better reflect the broad work required to lower health care costs.” The WHI acknowledged in its announcement that “while wireless plays an important role in lowering costs, it alone will not solve the health care cost crisis,” however, “wireless will remain integral to the work of the West Health Institute as a core competency.”

The WHI further stressed the continued importance of wireless health for its mission by pointing to two of its “major ongoing projects” — the Sense4Baby wireless fetal monitor and the WHI’s Medical Grade Wireless Utility architecture initiative for healthcare facilities.

The WHI’s new CEO Nicholas Valeriani will oversee the entire West Health initiative, including the Institute, the Washington D.C.-based West Health Policy Center, the West Health Investment Fund and the newly formed West Health Incubator. Valeriani brings some 34 years of experience at Johnson & Johnson where over the years he served as a member of the company’s executive committee as corporate vice president of human resources, worldwide chairman of medical devices & diagnostics, and as vice president of the office of strategy & growth. According to the WHI, while at J&J Valeriani “was instrumental in identifying the global health care trends that led to the creation of a new wellness and prevention business platform and pioneering opportunities in the area of digital health.”

Valeriani will assume his role as the new West Health CEO on September 5th.

The new West Health Incubator offers about 10,000 square feet of space at the La Jolla campus of the Institute. The incubator will also provide early stage companies strategic guidance and access to its corporate partners.

WellDoc, MyHealthTeams and others raise money

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 16, 2012        

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WellDoc DiabetesManagerAccording to an SEC filing this week, Baltimore, Maryland-based WellDoc has raised more than $500,000 toward a hoped for $10 million round of funding. According to the filing, six investors have contributed to the round so far. (Correction: Original article misstated the amount as $13 million.) In the past the company has raised some $5 million, according to various reports. When Forbes named WellDoc to its list of Most Promising Private Companies in the US last year, it claimed that the company had annual revenues of more than $8 million in 2010 and more than 60 employees. WellDoc’s flagship product is its DiabetesManager mobile-enabled therapy, but it has partnered with companies in the past to work on asthma management tools and has indicated an interest in developing tools for patients with Crohn’s Disease, too.

Another San Francisco-based startup, MyHealthTeams, recently announced that it had raised $1.75 million to continue to build out its various health-related social networks, including one for parents of autistic children. The funding will help the company develop mobile apps for its social networks. The company’s backers include Adams Street Partners and 500 Startups. According to TechCrunch, the MyAutismNetwork now has more than 27,000 registered parents.

San Francisco-based HealthLoop, which equips doctors with a “micro medical visit” platform that automatically sends messages to patients at specific times to check up on them after visits, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Founders Fund and others, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Venture Capital Dispatch.

At the end of July, NetPulse also announced $15.6 million in funding led by August Capital with contributions from Javelin Venture Partners, DFJ Frontier, and Parkview Ventures. According to VentureBeat that brings the company’s total funding to more than $20 million. NetPulse is working with Rock Health alum BitGym to bridge the current divide between exercise equipment in gyms and at home and our smartphones and tablets.

Alere acquires MedApps for home health monitoring

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 15, 2012        

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MedApps HealthPalWaltham, Massachusetts-based Alere acquired wireless remote patient monitoring company MedApps last month for an undisclosed sum, MobiHealthNews has learned. MedApps CEO Kent Dicks confirmed the news in an email to MobiHealthNews this afternoon.

MedApps offers a suite of home health devices, including the HealthPAL, a small, portable, dedicated device that the company used to collect data from connected glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and weight scales. The data is then sent over a secure server to an online portal for caregivers, physicians or the patient themselves to view. The FDA granted HealthPAL 510(k) clearance about three years ago and a CE Mark in early 2010.

While more details about the acquisition are likely to emerge when the deal is officially announced (perhaps as early as next week), the MedApps deal is part of a larger strategy that likely builds on Alere’s announcement last week about its deal with AT&T to integrate WellDoc’s DiabetesManager mobile application and service into its offerings.

MedApps has inked deals with VRI, AT&T, CardioNet, and others over the years. The company has piloted HealthPAL at The Cleveland Clinic, Baptist Home Health Network, and New Jersey’s Meridian Health.

Alere already has distribution deals with AirStrip Technologies and Monica Healthcare for remote fetal monitoring technologies. The company also has an exclusive deal with Voxiva to offer that company’s Text2Quit smoking cessation service in the United States.

Digital health’s busy summer for FDA clearances

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 14, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsAugust is not yet half over and already the FDA has had a busy summer.

In recent weeks MobiHealthNews reported on the FDA’s de novo clearance of Proteus Digital Health’s intelligent medicine platform and Asthmapolis’ inhaler sensor and companion software. As we noted early last month, the FDA granted 510(k) clearance to a variety of digital health companies in June, including the app-enabled toothbrush from Beam Technolgies, a Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure monitor from iHealth, a surgical sponge management app from Gauss Surgical, and a WiFi-enabled weight scale from China-based ShenZhen. (For more details on these, see our round-up of June 510(k) clearances here.)

In July the agency granted 510(k) clearances to at least a half dozen mobile health companies, including Vignet, Constant Care, Watermark, iHealth, AirStrip Technologies, and iRhythm.

The 510(k) clearances from AirStrip and iRhythm appear to be just another in the series of clearances each company has accumulated for its products. AirStrip already has a handful of 510(k) clearances for its smartphone and tablet based remote patient monitoring (RPM) suite of applications. (The summary details on the latest add-on 510(k) for AirStrip can be viewed here.) Similarly, iRhythm added another clearance for its Zio patch, which has so far bucked the connectivity trend and instead stores heart data that patients transmit to a care center by physically mailing the cardiac monitoring device after wearing it for a period of time.

Vignet, Watermark, and Constant Care each had home health offerings cleared by the FDA in July.

Vignet’s TeleHealth Manager received Class II 510(k) clearance from the FDA last month. The software works with a variety of already cleared external biometric measuring devices, according to the company, including blood pressure devices from A&D and Fora Care, weight scales from A&D and Omron, glucose meters from Entra Health Systems and Fora Care, a pulse oximeter from Nonin Medical, a pedometer from Omron, a thermometer from Fora Care, and a peak flow meter from Vitalograph. The company’s software system collects the physiological data “for transmission to a secure central storage server which can be accessed by health care professionals for analysis and intervention using standard digital communication technologies and protocols.” Patients can also view the data “as an aid in maintaining wellness regimens,” the company stated in its FDA filing. Vignet’s iPhone app was the first one to gain certification from interoperability group Continua Health Alliance in March of this year.

Like Vignet’s telehealth offering, Constant Care’s LILAH Home Health Monitoring System is software that collects data from various external biometric devices. Constant Care’s offering has two components, according to the company: The patient-side software that is installed on an Asus EeTop PC or an Acer tablet PC and transmits data to the caretake portal online, and the caregiver-side software online. The system “provides guidance in operating medical sensor devices, reminders for medication compliance and connectivity to healthcare professionals through text messaging and real-time video conferencing technology,” according to the FDA filing. It works with wired and wireless glucose meters, weight scales blood pressure monitors, medication reminders, and pulse oximeters.

Watermark also received 510(k) clearance for software that acted as a home health hub: Watermark’s Connected Care Mobile Application receives, displays, and transmits patient information “on a retrospective basis” — not in real-time or in emergency situations. The mobile app is designed to work on various platforms, including tablet computers and smartphones, according to the filing. The app helps users collect vital signs data from Bluetooth-enabled medical peripherals, including weight scales, glucose meters, blood pressure devices, and pulse oximeters.

Finally, Andon Health, which counts iHealth Lab as a subsidiary, received clearance for a WiFi-enabled weight scale. Currently, the company only offers a Bluetooth-enabled weight scale through its iHealth subsidiary.

If the agency keeps up this pace in August, we expect another half dozen devices and apps that the FDA considers to be medical devices to announce clearance this time next month.