14M networked medical devices to ship by 2018

By: Jonah Comstock | Dec 23, 2013        

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Parks Associates predicts unit sales of networked medical devices will exceed 14 million units by 2018, more than five times the sales from 2012, according to a new report. The firm also looked at what connected medical devices consumers had in their homes.

parks associated

“The addressable market for networked medical devices includes 68 million Americans with hypertension and 26 million with diabetes,” Harry Wang, Director, Health and Mobile Product Research said in a statement. “Consumers are also demanding more autonomy in managing their care, which will drive the market in 2014 to improve patients’ self-care experience. Network connectivity will enable new business models built on health software and services instead of hardware and consumable sales.”

The research group found that more than 50 percent of consumers had some kind of healthcare product in their home. The most common was a digital weight scale, followed by blood pressure meters and large fitness equipment. Digital pillboxes and medical alert buttons were among the least common devices.

“With networking technology integrating into devices that capture patient vital signs and help diagnose health conditions, health professionals are able to extend the point of care to locations more convenient to patients, most notably the household,” said Wang. “Networked medical devices enable patient-centered care and drive care cost away from the most expensive premises.”

Wang also predicted that the growing consumer market, and the increased emphasis on outcomes-based incentives in clinical contexts, would lead to continued growth.

“The health data gateway market will garner substantial interest from both device makers and care providers,” Wang said. “Health data will be a hot commodity in this ACA era. Device makers and health data gateway providers, both incumbents and start-ups, will leverage these data to build new revenue opportunities and create new business partnerships.”


Customized weight loss startup Retrofit nets $5M

By: Aditi Pai | Dec 20, 2013        

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RetrofitChicago-based Retrofit raised $5 million in a round led by Cambia Health Solutions with additional funding from Draper Fisher Jurveston. This brings the company’s total funding to $15.7 million.

Cambia Health Solutions invested in Retrofit because of the company’s personalized and tech-enabled model, the company said.

“Retrofit empowers consumers to make healthy lifestyle choices that are sustainable and achievable, as they are focused on personalized, long-term behavioral change,” Cambia Senior Vice President, Strategic Investment and Corporate Development Rob Coppedge said in a statement. “We saw the opportunity to help consumers improve their quality of life, in line with Cambia’s cause to support consumer-focused products and services.”

Retrofit offers users personalized weight loss programs, which, depending on the program, will include consultations with an advisor or expert via video chat and a dashboard that has tracking results and 24-7 online support. Over the course of 12 months, customers can pay $259 a month for a program that aims to help them lose 10 percent of their body weight or $349 a month to lose 15 percent.The first six months of the program are spent in the active weight loss phase, Retrofit said, and the remainder of the program is dedicated to keeping the weight stable and acquiring the skills needed to keep weight stable.

The company’s clients include Google, Salesforce.com, VISTA Staffing Solutions, the NFLPA Former Players, Forsythe, DeVry, and the American Medical Association. VISTA Staffing Solutions has reported the company’s 60 employees that enrolled in the program have lost a combined total of 800 pounds.

More than 90 percent of Retrofit’s clients are losing weight, the company said. Retrofit also reports that in studies, clients lose an average of 20 pounds a year or a 9 percent reduction in overall body weight.

While Retrofit’s program has a steep price point, the program offers need-based scholarships for applicants who are overweight, with a BMI greater than 25. The company selects one applicant every month.

Other companies in Cambia Health Solutions’ portfolio include aging-in-place startup Lively, population health company Rise Health and big data analytics company GNS Healthcare.

Readers weigh in on Happtique suspension, mTrials, devices for seniors

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 19, 2013        


Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsQuick note: As it does every year, the MobiHealthNews-letter will be taking a break for the holidays, but we’ll return to regular publishing just after New Year’s. This morning’s edition will be our last email issue in 2013, but we’ll still be posting articles on the site over the next two weeks, too. Happy Holidays from the MobiHealthNews team!

It’s already been a busy December. Here are a few standout comments from MobiHealthNews readers in recent weeks, along with a link to the relevant post:

Happtique suspends mobile health app certification program
I hope this doesn’t end here because this is an important effort. At least Happtique is looking at security. The IMS app report that came out this year with great fanfare lists recommended apps, Medscape picks that report up and recommends those apps to doctors, and I assume those doctors may recommend to patients…and no one along that chain evaluated privacy or security policies and procedures of these apps. It’s a disgrace. Who are the companies behind some of these apps that we have never heard of? How do we know this isn’t a case like the Flashlight App that was selling data unbeknownst to its customers? I hope to see Happtique fix these oversights and get back to this important task soon.

Why Sharecare’s AskMD launch is important for digital health
 Thanks for pulling together the history behind AskMD and the clinical decision support engine that drives it. PKC never felt the public (consumer or professional) was ready until now. We hope that merging with Jeff [Arnold] and Dr. Oz will put our 20 year effort to bring Larry Weed’s ideas to life in the best hands possible. – Howard Pierce, CEO PKC

How mobiles make clinical trials bigger, faster and more efficient
I attended this session as well, and one salient nugget I wrote down was Matt [Hendrick]’s opening statistic: In 1950, $1B bought 50 new compounds a year. Now, even after adjusting for inflation, $1B doesn’t even buy one. Despite this, he pointed out that at present day, the ROI for a big pharma is still much higher in traditional drug development than it is in tech. That is going to change over the coming years, and he pointed to three recent trends that might serve as indicators of pharma’s evolving interest: FDA’s mobile guidance, AMA’s classing obesity as a disease, and the emergence of unexpected “lifestyle” companies Google, Samsung, ATT, etc. Companies who can provide unique, “new” value will get attention, like WellDoc.

Where are all the mobile health solutions for seniors?
 I’m with Orlov — Why does there need to be a Fitbit for seniors specifically? This seems more like a messaging/packaging issue than a product design issue. Though I could certainly see it coming down to interface design (bigger icons, etc.). When I think of the stack of needs seniors have I see solutions that already exist that can be used by anybody, including seniors: Medication adherence/tracking, solved by eg Nightingale; Sharing medical data with caregivers, solved by eg Prime; Finding care providers, solved by eg TenderTree and SugarCare; Travel to/from care, solved by eg Lift Hero (potentially anyway, still beta).

Mayo’s iPad study had 98 percent engagement among seniors
Given the obvious benefits, why wouldn’t the iPad’s cost be bundled into the cost of a $7,000 surgery, and where the patient keeps the device afterwards? On one hand, the medical facility could load their app onto the patient’s own device, which could lower costs and allow apps from multiple institutions to coexist on the same device. On the other hand, as device costs come down, they will become like electronic brochures, but rather than being disposed of when no longer needed, the device can be enhanced with new apps to improve compliance and recovery along with overall health and wellness.

Home telehealth helps specialists reach Parkinson’s patients

By: Neil Versel | Dec 19, 2013        

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Vidyo Samsung Galaxy Tab“Virtual house calls” over consumer-grade webcams and mobile devices have great potential to improve the care of patients with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, new research has shown, but the lingering issues of reimbursement and physician licensure continue to hinder growth of remote consultations.

In a study published this month as an open-access article in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice, 100 percent of the 55 patients who participated in a virtual house call with a neurologist said they were likely to recommend telemedicine to a friend. The researchers, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the University of Rochester (N.Y.), found patient satisfaction levels topping 90 percent for most aspects of remote consultations.

Nearly all remote sessions led to neurologists recommending specific treatments or activities. According to the paper, 86 percent of patients were instructed to exercise more, 63 percent had their medications changed, 53 percent were prescribed new meds and 10 percent had discussions with the doctor about possibly having surgery to address their condition.

One patient who had previously been diagnosed with Parkinson’s was instead found to be likely to have progressive supranuclear palsy, and four patients with previously unknown diagnoses were diagnosed with other serious neurological conditions. Four more likely had an impulse control disorder, according to the study, and received appropriate counseling.

“As demonstrated by more than 50 remote consultations, providing neurologic care to new patients with PD and related disorders directly in their home is feasible, results in recommended changes to care, and is largely well-received. Such an approach has the potential to transform care and increase access for patients not only with PD, but also other chronic neurologic conditions from autism to Alzheimer disease,” the study said.

This research is important because telemedicine helps neurologists connect with patients they might otherwise never see, according to corresponding author Dr. Ray Dorsey, co-director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics (CHET) at the University of Rochester. He told MobiHealthNews that more than 40 percent of Medicare beneficiaries with Parkinson’s don’t have a neurologist caring for them – “and those are the people who have insurance and a [Parkinson’s] diagnosis.”

Dorsey said the U.S. has more than enough neurologists to treat those with Parkinson’s and associated movement disorders. But many do not see a specialist because of the hassle associated with visiting the doctor while fighting a disabling condition, distance from care sites and the geographic distribution of physicians, according to the study.

“The care you receive has largely been determined by who you are and where you reside,” Dorsey said.

He noted that physicians routinely use telemedicine to see and monitor patients in intensive care, those recovering from strokes and even those with skin conditions. “It’s done every day in prisons,” Dorsey said.  Keep reading>>

Beddit opens online store for additional preorders

By: Jonah Comstock | Dec 18, 2013        

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2013-08-04-Beddit-06-black-muokattu_grandeHelsinki, Finland-based sleep sensor company Beddit is on track to fulfill its promise to ship its product to its Indiegogo backers by the end of the year, the company says, and is opening the door for additional pre-orders via Amazon, its own online store and a number of resellers.

The company, which makes a sensor that straps to the user’s bed, raised $503,000 this year in an Indiegogo campaign with an original goal of $80,000. Now it’s opening two online stores, one for the United States and one for Europe, and accepting Amazon pre-orders. Whereas Indiegogo backers paid a discounted $99 for the sensors, preorders are listed at the full $149. They’re expected to ship in January 2014. In addition, Beddit’s online stores are offering gift cards to give as holiday presents.

Beddit also announced a list of global resellers and distributors, which includes Medisana, Now-Mobile, Danholt, Unikulma, Santé Connectée, Allo Matelas, Atlantis Sängspecialisten, Red-Dolphin, Trendhoek.nl, and Fonq.nl.

CEO Lasse Leppakorpi attributes interest in the device to consumers’ desire to track sleep in a way that does not require them to wear cumbersome monitors.

“We’ve hit a sweet spot with fitness enthusiasts and health-conscious consumers who want to monitor their wellness and sleep quality, but who don’t want to wear wires or bands while sleeping,” he said in a statement. “Unlike the smartphone-only sleep apps, which rely on the phone’s microphone and accelerometer and therefore don’t work very well, our professional-grade sensor measures and tracks sleep quality, heart rate, breathing, movements, snoring, bedroom noise, and light with scientific accuracy. We’ve opened our online stores to keep up with demand.”

Beddit’s sensor uses ballistocardiography to detect individual heartbeats from cardiac contraction forces and breathing rhythm from chest wall movements. The strap measures bed time, awakenings and bed exits, sleep time, sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep), testing heart rate, sleep quality and breathing movements, including snoring. From there the sensor uses Bluetooth to connect with the companion app, which offers personalized coaching, a wellness diary, a history of sleep recordings and a social sharing option.

Since the shut-down of sleep tracking startup Zeo earlier this year, sleep tracking startups with various form factors have emerged, including the wristworn Lark device and smart sleeping mask maker IntelliClinic, which is on track to possibly match Beddit’s crowdfunding success (it’s raised $344,000 so far).

Maxwell nets $6M for mobile benefits management

By: Jonah Comstock | Dec 18, 2013        

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Maxwell HealthMaxwell Health, a web- and mobile-based “employee benefits operating system” has raised $6 million, bringing its total first round funding to $8 million. The round was led by existing investor Vaizra Investments, with contributions from new investor Catalyst Ventures and other previous investors Tribeca Venture Partners, Serious Change, Lerer Ventures, and BoxGroup, as well as undisclosed angels.

The company intends to use the funds for product development and building out its sales force. CEO Veer Gidwaney told MobiHealthNews that Maxwell, which launched in February, currently has “clients in the triple digits” and focuses on companies with 1,000 or fewer employees. The platform is multifaceted, according to Gidwaney, and includes a digital marketplace to help employees select and manage medical plans, dental plans, health savings accounts, 401ks and other benefits.

“I think what makes us unique is the fact that we’ve created an experience that actually helps people manage their benefits and engage with their healthcare system successfully,” he said. “As an example, all of your benefits details are on the mobile app, so when you go to the doctor’s office, you’re not carting around documents. All your details are on the phone. You know what’s covered and what’s not and you find the right physician to go to. There’s a built-in concierge service that will help you compare costs, find the right doctor, and will even go so far as adjudicating a bill on your behalf.”

Additionally, Maxwell includes a wellness platform that integrates with devices including Fitbit and Jawbone to track steps. Employees can engage in competitions with one another on the platform and earn rewards.

Maxwell makes apps for both Apple and Android, and Gidwaney stressed that mobile is a big part of Maxwell’s strategy. For instance, if a patient leaves the doctor’s office with a high-seeming bill, he or she can take a picture with the Maxwell app and someone from Maxwell will look over it.

“That’s using mobile in my mind in a way that delivers really high value to someone,” he said. “And then to combine that value with a wellness program on one system, that’s what the world of healthcare should be like. A manifestation of what the future of healthcare should look and feel like.”