Report: Two insurers to pay $100 monthly fee for WellDoc

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 21, 2012        

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WellDoc DiabetesManagerAccording to a report in The New York Times this week, two as yet unnamed insurance companies have already agreed to pay more than $100 a month for patients who use WellDoc’s DiabetesManager. The reimbursement will not begin until some time early next year, according to the newspaper. The report cites an interview with WellDoc president Anand Iyer as its source.

MobiHealthNews reported late last year that WellDoc expected to secure CPT billing codes for its mobile-enabled diabetes management program this year.

Here’s how the New York Times reported the expected reimbursement:

“WellDoc says that in a clinical trial, DiabetesManager was shown to reduce significantly the blood sugar levels in diabetes patients. Those results persuaded the Food and Drug Administration to give the system clearance to operate as a medical device. At over $100 a month, the cost is more akin to diabetes drugs than to most smartphone apps. But two insurance companies have already agreed to pay the bill for patients whose doctors ask them to use the system when it is available early next year, said Anand K. Iyer, the company’s president. He declined to name the companies.”

WellDoc’s partner AT&T recently inked a deal with Alere to integrate the DiabetesManager program with Alere’s current offerings. Alere, in turn, quietly acquired MedApps (as MobiHealthNews exclusively reported), another home health monitoring company that has a focus on management services for a number of conditions, including diabetes.

WellDoc is also in the midst of raising its next round of funding — according to a recent SEC filing the company has raised $500,000 of a hoped for $10 million round.

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Care Innovations consolidates, focuses on aging in place

By: Neil Versel | Aug 21, 2012        

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Intel ReaderLess than two years after its founding, the Intel-GE Care Innovations joint venture is making some changes to its product line and operating structure to reflect a new emphasis on care coordination and senior living, including aging in place.

Care Innovations, which Intel and GE Healthcare set up in January 2011, is considering whether to sell or discontinue Intel Reader, a text-to-speech converter for people with low vision, and has combined business units dealing with disease management and independent living.

“We’re going to double down on our whole effort around aging,” Care Innovations CEO Louis Burns tells MobiHealthNews. “We decided that it’s time to stop viewing the concepts of disease management and home monitoring as two separate entities.”

Instead, Care Innovations has consolidated all of its products in these categories under one manager. This product lineup includes the QuietCare motion-sensing system, the Connect touch-screen communications device, the Link personal emergency response system and Guide – formerly Intel Health Guide – a wireless home monitoring hub that has FDA clearance.

With this move, Burns says Care Innovations has “gotten a little smaller” in terms of personnel, but would not give specifics. Some people have been shifted into new jobs, he adds. Keep reading>>

Telcare raises $25.5 million from Sequoia, Qualcomm

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 21, 2012        

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Telcare Blood Glucose MeterBethesda, Maryland-based Telcare, which offers an FDA cleared cellular-enabled glucose monitor and its cloud-based companion system, has scooped up $25.5 million in funding led by new backer Sequoia Capital with participation from its existing investor Qualcomm Life Fund. Telcare will use the funds to build out its marketing, sales, research and development. Telcare had previously raised about $4 million in funding also likely led by Qualcomm.

Here’s how the company explains its offerings: “Telcare provides a comprehensive diabetes solution consisting of a wireless glucose meter with two-way messaging that transmits to an FDA-cleared care management server, along with a suite of iPhone and Android apps to enable family members to follow the progress of loved ones with diabetes. Through Sequoia’s investment, the company will seek to aggressively accelerate market share to realize their vision of becoming the global leader in wireless “mHealth” solutions for people with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. The Telcare platform is currently being implemented by health insurers and employers who currently care for more than 1 million people with diabetes.”

Telcare launched its connected glucose meter at the beginning of the year, and quickly added partners, including New Jersey and New York-based health plan MagnaCaresenior care company Independa and Healthrageous, which offers companies a “personal health improvement platform” for their employees. Telcare secured FDA clearance for its BGM device in August 2011.

Qualcomm’s health-focused fund also joined Sequoia Capital on an investment in remote patient monitoring company AirStrip Technologies earlier this year. Jack Young, director of Qualcomm Ventures told MobiHealthNews that all six of the companies Life Fund portfolio companies are doing well and gaining traction. Young says the Life Fund will be announcing new investments soon, too.

More on the Telcare investment in the press release below: Keep reading>>

2015: Medical apps to generate $46.6 million in Brazil

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 21, 2012        

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Allscripts Wand iPad EHRAccording to a recent report from Frost & Sullivan, the Brazilian market is the second fastest growing BRIC market after China. Last year Brazil’s health IT market generated revenues of $410 million, which is expected to hit $714 million by 2015. The country will also make up more than 47 percent of the Latin American market by 2015, according to the report.

The country’s healthcare IT market is being held back by a lack of knowledgable workers and basic infrastructure, including the Internet and electric power.

While growth is largely being driven by electronic medical records and hospital information systems, the customer base for mobile health apps is also growing, Frost reports:

“The expansion of a strong customer base for mobile health apps, with the revenues generated from smart phones and tablets, is another driving force for the growth of the healthcare IT sector in Brazil. It is estimated that the revenues from smart phones will reach $46.6 million in 2015, with growth of 112 percent annually. The apps are considered to have huge potential for growth in clinical diagnostics and education areas for diseases, medicines information, etc.”

The key for continued growth requires those serving the healthcare industry in Brazil to help them effectively demonstrate the payback of health IT solutions, according to the Frost report.

Happtique to pilot health app prescriptions soon

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 20, 2012        

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HapptiqueThis week the The New York Times delved into a notion — hard to call it a trend yet — that has received a lot of ink this year: Physician prescription of mobile health apps.

The report focuses on the Greater New York Hospital Association’s subsidiary Happtique, which has slowly and surely developed a healthcare-focused appstore and delivery mechanism, a health app certification program, and a health app prescription platform called mRx.

The New York Times reports: “The company evaluates apps in several areas — diabetes, cardiology, rheumatoid arthritis and physical therapy — and allows doctors to prescribe apps to their patients from selected lists. It monitors whether the patient has downloaded the app, and can send automated reminders to those who have not done so. The company is opening its system to doctors this week.”

Happtique is actually just beginning recruitment of physicians to its mRx platform this week to test the system out in a multi-week trial set to begin later this year. Ben Chodor, the company’s CEO, tells MobiHealthNews the pilot is just 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. It’s not an efficacy trial or a clinical trial of any kind, Chodor stressed.

Last September Happtique kicked off a different pilot for its healthcare appstore, which include about a dozen mostly New York-area hospitals. This time Chodor hopes to recruit anywhere from 200 to 400 physicians from across the country to help it test out the mRx platform.

“We want to do for mobile health app prescriptions what SureScripts did for e-prescribing,” Chodor said.

As The New York Times reported, Happtique has its critics: Dr. John Moore of the MIT Media Lab’s new media medicine project said that Happtique is ahead of its time since there are so few quality health apps available in the market today.

“Making a clearinghouse for apps today is a tough job because you’re just filtering through a lot of stuff that doesn’t do much,” Moore told The Times.

Gmate smartphone-enabled meter cleared for European market

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 20, 2012        

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Philosys Gmate SMART glucose meterNew York City-based Philosys recently announced that it had received a European CE Mark for its Gmate Smart glucose meter, which connects to the iPhone and iPad via the devices’ headphone jacks. Philosys noted that the CE Mark approval was a year in the making and so it aims to bring the device to market in Europe by the end of this year.

As Medgadget points out, since the device uses the Apple devices’ headphone jack to connect it assumedly could be connected to other smartphones and tablets via the same mechanism. The company claims that its Gmate Smart meter is “the smallest, most innovative glucose meter in the world” and “uses the operating system of the smart phone and works by plugging the device into the headphone connector of the smart phone, and launching the companion app.”

Now Philosys is looking for a telecom company to partner with it to bring the device to market. It expects to work with multiple mobile operators in a number of markets. The company notes that the CE Mark means it can market the device in the 27 member states of the European Union (EU).

Sanofi’s iBGStar, which was developed with Agamatrix, also received its CE Mark and launched in Europe long before it received FDA clearance and arrived in the US.