Basis advisors hail from Facebook, Guitar Hero

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 28, 2011        

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b1-perspective_col_SM1Wrist-worn wellness device maker Basis announced this week that its advisory board includes an executive at Facebook as well as the co-founders of RedOctane, co-creators of the Guitar Hero series.

The advisory team includes Kevin Colleran, long-time executive at Facebook and one of its first ten employees; Kai and Charles Huang, co-founders of RedOctane and creators of Guitar Hero; Patrick McGill, global corporate development, media and entertainment specialist; Daniel Kraft, MD, a Stanford and Harvard trained physician and innovator who chairs the Medicine track for Singularity University and its FutureMed Program; and Jeff Rosenthal along with his co-founders of entrepreneur organization Summit Series.

For six years Basis was known as PulseTracer, but the company changed names recently in anticipation of a commercial rollout. Its B1 Basis Band is a wrist worn device that measures the wearer’s heart rate and other vital signs. The company plans to allow third party developers to build apps that work with the device. The B1 Basis Band is expected to be released later this year for $199. Basis closed $9 million in a first round of funding in March led by Norwest Venture Partners and Doll Capital Management.

“The emergence of smart, integrated devices, like the Basis band, that are easy for individuals to use on a daily basis, are game-changing for both wellness and healthcare,” stated Daniel Kraft, MD in a press release. “What Basis is doing represents a significant step forward. By giving people the opportunity to see, gain insight, interact with, and share their own health metrics, it becomes easier to make and maintain behavior changes that can improve health and wellness.” (Check out Kraft’s TED talk on mobile health here.)

“We believe the key to encouraging consumers to play a more active role in their wellness lies in combining comprehensive information about their body, easy-to-understand insights, and a motivating experience,” stated Basis CEO Jef Holove in a press release. “This approach, combined with our technical advantages, is attracting high-caliber health, technology and entertainment talent, who not only have great experience but are committed to our mission.”

Holove spoke to MobiHealthNews this summer about Basis becoming a symbol for wellness: “I really think we are not at the beginning — but at a threshold — and this trend is exploding and is becoming sustainable,” he told us. “Just like driving a Prius or having a recycling bin outside your house are symbols that you are doing your part for the environment, there will be certain symbols that show you are doing your part for wellness. Devices like ours could become that symbol.”

Read the press release below.

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Kennedy-backed Health eVillages program to deliver mobile reference to health professionals

By: Neil Versel | Sep 27, 2011        

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Neil VerselI normally prefer to remain independent, lest I compromise my journalistic objectivity, but I have decided to make an exception.

Monday at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Marlborough, Mass.-based Physician’s Interactive Holdings, which owns mobile medical reference software vendor Skyscape, and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, announced that they are jointly launching Health eVillages, a program that will provide smartphones and other mobile devices, loaded with medical texts, drug guides, and other reference tools, to health professionals in low-income regions of the world.

I am honored to be serving on the advisory board to Health eVillages, along with co-founding partners Kerry Kennedy—president of the RFK Center, and daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy—and Physician’s Interactive CEO and Vice Chairman Donato Tramuto.  Other board members include: John Boyer, chairman of government consulting firm Maximus Federal Services; Glen Tullman, CEO of EHR vendor Allscripts; Steve Andrzejewski, former CEO of pharmaceutical company NycoMed, Alexander Baker, chief operating officer of Partners Community Healthcare, which provides management services for physicians affiliated with Partners HealthCare System in Boston; and Dr. Mary Jane England, former president of Regis College, Weston, Mass.

Many of the other board members have committed large sums of money to this project, either through their companies or out of their own pockets. As a humble journalist who’s used to slumming in style (I once flew business class to Europe using frequent-flier miles, then stayed in a hostel), I’m not in position to give a lot of cash, or even provide expertise on technology or healthcare. But I have ideas and contacts from my nearly 11 years covering this industry, and I know of other projects and organizations in the U.S. and abroad that could benefit from working with Health eVillages. Keep reading>>

Practice Fusion unveils native smartphone apps

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 27, 2011        

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practiceFusionIOSEMR developer Practice Fusion announced native iOS and Android versions of its web-based platform at the Health 2.0 conference held San Francisco this week. The app is currently in private beta and is expected to launch early next year.

With the new apps providers will be able to view patient charts, review lab results, respond to prescription refill requests, and send HIPAA-compliant messages to patients. The apps, like the currently available web version, will be free to physicians.

While Practice Fusion hasn’t previously announced any native smartphone apps, it did launch a version of its EMR for the iPad last February. However, it was not a native iPad application — users had to download the $30 LogMeIn Ignition virtualization app to access the service. The company also stated that Practice Fusion users could access their EMR on Android tablets and smartphones through LogMeIn’s software.

“Doctors love mobile technology,” Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard stated in this week’s press release. “An estimated 80 percent of physicians have smartphones. This prototype is the next step we promised our mobile-hungry medical community. Soon, our doctors will access their free EMR accounts anytime, anywhere securely with a free iPhone app.”

At the time of the LogMeIn announcement last February, a press release stated that Practice Fusion had 70,000 users. According to the company’s latest press release, the service currently counts 100,000 medical professionals as users.

Read the full press release below.

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FDA OKs Calgary Scientific diagnostic imaging app

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 26, 2011        

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Calgary Scientific ResolutionMD MobileWhile MIM beat them to it by about seven months, Calgary Scientific just announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted it clearance to market its medical imaging application, ResolutionMD Mobile, as a mobile diagnostic app in the US. MIM spent close to two years working with the FDA to secure clearance for its diagnostic mobile imaging app, Mobile MIM, after it was featured on-stage at the original Apple event that launched the iPhone’s AppStore in 2008. MIM received FDA clearance only this past February.

The ResolutionMD mobile app is cleared to run on iPhone and iPad devices. It already has the greenlight from Canada’s regulatory body, Health Canada and has a CE Mark for distribution in Europe.

ResolutionMD Mobile had other “non-diagnostic” versions, which were previously distributed through original equipment manufacture agreements with other companies. (This may be a reference to Sprint, which has said it had a partnership with Calgary Scientific.)

Last September Calgary Scientific announced plans to offer ResolutionMD Mobile through Sprint to provide the app to physicians who own HTC EVO 4G devices — assumedly this was the non-diagnostic version of the offering. The HTC EVO 4G, which launched in June 2010, was the first phone Sprint has offered for its new 4G network. Calgary Scientific has also partnered with Siemens, Viatronix and Sentinelle Medical to distribute ResolutionMD.

Here’s what Calgary Scientific says makes its solution different:

“The mobile app offers unparalleled performance, advanced capabilities and complete security, utilizes minimal bandwidth and offers strong performance even on 3/4G wireless, and ensures that no highly sensitive or confidential patient information is ever retained on the mobile device. The patient image data cannot be lost or stolen, as in the case of traditional mobile-device rendered software, which requires that data to be sent to the mobile device.”

More in the press release below:

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SEED Capital invests $2.3M in Endomondo

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 26, 2011        

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EndomondoEndomondo, developer of the Sports Tracker fitness app, announced this week $2.3 million in funding from SEED Capital. It is the second round of funding for Endomondo from SEED, which also contributed $800,000 this past March.

The app, which provides GPS tracking of distance-based sports, including biking, running and walking, now has 5 million downloads, according to the company.

Part of the app’s popularity stems from its wide availability on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Phone, Windows Mobile and Java phones. According to the company the app is available on more than 250 handsets and supports almost all GPS phones.

The capital will be used to increase staff (especially developers), add an office in the San Francisco Bay area, and “create scalable revenue channels to secure profitability by year end 2012.”

“People do not change their lifestyles just because their doctor tells them to exercise more or eat better,” stated Mette Lykke, co-founder, Endomondo, in a press release. “It’s not that people don’t know exercising is good for them, it’s just that they lack the motivation. We don’t believe that aggregating people’s health data is gonna do the trick alone. People will change behavior when they are motivated because something caught their interest or when faced with positive social peer pressure. When users compare themselves to their peers, especially close connections like friends and family, then the fun and social factor works for fitness and they get motivated.”

Read more in the press release below. Keep reading>>

Zeo sleep manager goes right to the phone

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 26, 2011        

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Zeo_iphone_newZeo unveiled the Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile this week, the next iteration of its sleep monitoring offering, which connects Zeo’s sleep phase monitoring headband directly to iOS and Android devices without the need for a bedside monitor.

MobiHealthNews has anticipated Zeo’s plans to transmit directly to smartphones since May of last year.

The name of Zeo’s new device offers a clue about the company’s strategy moving forward: It’s no longer called a sleep “monitor” but a sleep “manager.” MobiHealthNews recently visited Zeo headquarters in Newton, MA to discuss the product launch with CTO and co-founder Ben Rubin.

Sleep tracking is big but sleep management is huge, Rubin said. It’s a $30 billion dollar market today and it could be five times that, in Rubin’s estimation. Expect Zeo to move more into mobile health management apps and services that have sleep as a hook: What about a mobile app and program that is focused on helping users beat jetlag while traveling internationally? Now that Zeo is more portable, such an app is likely in the works at the company.

While Zeo’s devices had been previously available at a number of electronics stores, including some Best Buys, both of Zeo’s offerings will be available at some 1,100 Best Buy stores nationwide starting at the end of October. The device will also have its own display unit at the stores. The new Sleep Manager Mobile will retail for $100, while the legacy offering will retail for $150.

Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile uses Bluetooth — not Bluetooth Low Energy — to send sleep data directly to users’ smartphones, which is viewable via a recently released free Sleep Manager app. Zeo launched its first iPhone app earlier this year, but the new app was completely redesigned, according to Rubin.

While the headband looks almost exactly the same, its guts couldn’t be more different. Zeo’s legacy model had all the processing power in the bedside display, while the new headband has the intelligence onboard. The processor coupled with Bluetooth makes for a more power-intensive device, but Rubin said that it can easily last the night and could hold its charge for at least an entire day and up to three. The device also includes an accelerometer for the first time, which enables it to track the wearer’s movement at night and determine sleep position. The accelerometer can also help refine Zeo’s algorithm. Since the processing power is local, the headband does not need to transmit continuously anymore — it sends data to the smartphone every five minutes, Rubin said.

Zeo has two main customer segments: the Frustrated Sleeper and the Health Optimizer. The frustrated sleepers are typically older, have had trouble sleeping for the past five to seven years, and are willing to pay a couple hundred dollars for a solution. The optimizer group is typically younger, knows that sleep is important to overall health, shops at Whole Foods, does yoga, etc. This group is more price sensitive, which helps explain the $99 price tag for Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile.

Rubin also showed off an option that will become available in the future for those Zeo users who have trouble sleeping with the headband around their heads: a peel-and-stick version of the sleep sensor. The one-time use, peel-and-stick backing would be thrown out each morning, but could make the device more attractive to restless sleepers who wake up in the morning to find their Zeo headband had fallen off some time during the night.

Read more from the press release below.

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