Fitness apps that offer real world rewards

By: Chris Gullo | Aug 30, 2011        

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nexerciseAs the space for fitness apps continues to grow, app developers need to innovate to gain users. While many apps include an in-app award component, Nexercise, a free iOS app that’s the subject of a recent Reuters article, aims to incentivize users with real world products including gift cards, coupons, and vitamin supplements.

Using the app, users track their fitness activities, which can range from running to swimming to yoga, and earn points for accomplishing tasks such as working out each morning or running with a fellow Nexercise user.

The real world rewards are earned via a lottery system; The more in-app points a user collects, the greater chances of winning prizes, and those achieving higher rankings in the app can earn more expensive items. While Nexercise is a free app, the developers’ business plan is to take a cut as a transaction fee when a user redeems a coupon earned by exercising via the app. The startup also plans to form partnerships with municipal governments to promote fitness, according to a Washington Post article from earlier this year.

After receiving criticism for lackluster prizes, the company partnered earlier this month with advertising startup Kiip, which has inked deals for the app with companies including Sephora and GNC.

Earndit offers a similar rewards system. Where Earndit differentiates itself from Nexercise is its integratation with services like RunKeeper, FitBit, and Nike+, using those companies’ wearable sensor devices to set goals for fitness. Successful completion of goals rewards users with points that can be spent on things like online gift cards or consultations with dietitians.

In addition, a social enterprise called Zamzee is providing young people with wrist-worn wireless pedometers that sync up to a similar rewards system. Zamzee was also partially designed by its core user demographic. Its product is expected to launch this fall.

You can read the Reuters article here.

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ConversePoint plans healthcare unified communications offering built on Qualcomm technology

By: Chris Gullo | Aug 30, 2011        

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ConversePointChicago-based ConversePoint announced this week its plans to develop a communications platform for the healthcare industry.  The company offered few details about the platform, but says it will use Qualcomm technology and support multiple mobile communication standards, carriers, and devices.

ConversePoint website states that “messages from multiple peer points such as personal computers, handheld devices, and database systems are consolidated by the ConversePoint Platform. The platform intelligently deciphers message context, priority and status and then organizes the clutter of multiple message systems in to streamlined conversations. The platform then delivers the conversations to the right people, at the right time and on the appropriate device, ensuring communications are efficient and relevant to all recipients.”

ConversePoint’s website also states that Qualcomm Wireless Health VP Don Jones and Airstrip CEO Alan Portela are both on ConversePoint’s Medical Advisory Board.

Dr. Benjamin Kanter, Chief Medical Officer of ConversePoint, stated in a press release that “In healthcare, transmitting the right information to the right person quickly is critical — yet it remains surprisingly difficult. The ConversePoint platform promises to radically advance communications in a medical setting without disrupting a clinician’s established work practices. I think this will improve clinician and technician satisfaction, and will lead to safer and more efficient patient care.”

Kanter is also Chief Medical Information Officer of Palomar Pomerado Health in San Diego, which has partnered with Cisco to become a “tablet-based” hospital. The hospital group has also worked with Cisco to create a mobile app called MIAA, “medical information anytime anywhere,” which enables physicians to access a patient’s complete health record from a variety of different sources spanning organizational boundaries via Google Android devices.

Curious to see how ConversePoint’s offering compares to PerfectServe.

Read the full press release after the jump.

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Wrist-worn pulse sensor shows promise

By: Chris Gullo | Aug 29, 2011        

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wriskwatch01-300x364Emergency Medical Technologies (EMT), maker of a wireless watch sensor called the Wriskwatch, recently published a single-blinded, phase I study in the journal Heart Rhythm to evaluate their device as a detector of pulselessness, reports iMedicalApps. The Wriskwatch includes a motion sensor and a pulse sensor designed to identify a patient in cardiac arrest, and features built-in fall detection and a panic button. The Wriskwatch has not yet received FDA clearance.

The study included 34 patients, with 24 hospitalized and 10 presenting for implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) testing. The sensitivity of the watch to detect pulse status (based on 15 second intervals) was 99.9 percent and the specificity 90.3 percent.

The study’s conclusion (and one that may be applied to similar wristwatch devices) is that the Wriskwatch is a “novel device that shows promise as a tool to hasten activation of emergency medical systems and facilitate early defibrillation in patients with cardiac arrest.”

You can read the study abstract here via iMedicalApps

AFrame nabs NIH fall prevention grant

By: Chris Gullo | Aug 29, 2011        

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aframe mobilecareSenior monitoring service AFrame Digital announced this week it has received a research grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging to examine reduction in elderly falls using its wireless MobileCare monitor platform.

AFrame’s MobileCare platform is a watch-like device that wirelessly transmits a users’ motion and location data, including activity, weight, blood pressure, pulse, oxygenation levels and more, to cloud-based monitoring and alerting resources.

The study will be supported by Dr. John Lach, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Virginia, as well as the Vinson Hall Retirement Community in McLean, Virginia. Last year, Vinson Hall deployed the AFrame Digital MobileCare Monitor System throughout its facility.

“Real time continuous monitoring of gait for the risk of falls must encompass normal activities of daily living. The new study will help differentiate between a wearer’s daily activities and his or her walking. Once periods of walking can be isolated, further progress can be made in the real time analysis of abnormal gait,” stated Dr. Amy Papadopoulos, AFrame Digital Senior Research Scientist in a press release. “This analysis could in turn lead to fewer falls and trips to the emergency room and dramatically improve the lives of millions of people and our nation’s aging population allowing them to live fuller independent lives.”

Read the full press release below. Keep reading>>

Investors pick 11 most promising health IT startups

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 29, 2011        

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Skimble Workout TrainerVenture capital firm Morgenthaler Ventures has named the 11 most promising health IT startups in the US that are seeking seed stage or first rounds of funding. The 11 startups will present demonstrations of their wares at an event next month in Mountainview, California, called DC to VC. The showcase is co-organized by the Silicon Valley Bank, Health 2.0 and Practice Fusion.

Among those tapped to present at the event were a number of mobile health startups. The seed stage mobile health contenders include EyeNetra, Skimble, SurgiChart and Telethrive. The first round of funding contenders include Jiff and YourNurseIsOn.com.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based EyeNetra calls itself the most affordable mobile eye diagnostic ever developed, allowing anyone to take their own eye test, get a prescription for glasses, and connects to eye-care providers all on a mobile phone. San Francisco-based Skimble powers the mobile wellness movement with a cross-platform ecosystem of fun and dynamic coaching applications. (Skimble is also a member of incubator Rock Health’s first class of startups.) Nashville Tennessee-based SurgiChart is a mobile, cloud-based, social-clinical network for surgeons to exchange relevant perioperative, case-centric information. Los Angeles-based Telethrive provides patients an instant connection to doctors for a medical consultation using any telephone or computer with complete audio and video conferencing.

San Francisco-based Jiff calls itself the first HIPAA-compliant iPad platform for patient education in the medical industry –used by doctors, nurses, patients and more. New Haven, Connecticut-based YourNurseIsOn.com employs bi-directional text, phone and email communications to help hospitals and agencies put “the right healthcare providers, in the right places, right now.”

CareyinSync, a real-time care collaboration platform for smart-mobile devices such as iPhones or iPads to radically transform patient care, was listed as an “honorable mention” in Morgenthaler’s press release.

“The tremendous response we received shows that health IT is becoming as sexy a sector as social media and games,” said Rebecca Lynn, partner at Morgenthaler Ventures and head of the firm’s health IT investing team stated in a press release. “We received 117 applications that reflect how entrepreneurs are ‘thinking big.’ They are building powerful applications and services on top of today’s Web, mobile, social media, and cloud-based infrastructures to transform our healthcare system. Many of the applicants were driven to build health IT companies because of their own personal experiences battling the deficiencies in our healthcare system.”

“I believe that entrepreneurs – not corporations or the government – will ultimately fix healthcare,” Lynn stated.

For more on the startups and the event, read the press release below: Keep reading>>

Ten predictions for the mobile health market

By: Chris Gullo | Aug 26, 2011        

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Doctor ReportOver the past three years, research firms including InMedica, Juniper, Chilmark, ABI, In-Stat, IDC, and Manhattan have been predicting the future size of and eventual revenues generated by mobile health services. This week MobiHealthNews has compiled its list of ten predictions for the next five years of mobile health — including prognostications for both consumer and enterprise — beginning with one that has already come to pass.

81 percent of physicians using smartphones by 2012

Manhattan Research has repeatedly predicted that by 2012, 81 percent of physicians would own a smartphone. That level of adoption already occurred in 2011, according to a May 2011 report from Manhattan. The original prediction came from a 2010 Taking the Pulse report, which tracked physician adoption rates of various information technologies. In 2001 only about 30 percent of physicians used smartphones, while in 2009 some 64 percent of physicians were users. Physician smartphone adoption outpaces the general US adult population’s adoption of smartphones, which now stands at just north of 30 percent.

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