Epocrates founders raise $10.8 million for Doximity

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 16, 2011        

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DoximityDoximity, a new health IT company from the founders of Epocrates, secured a $10.8 million Series A venture capital investment from Emergence Capital Partners and InterWest Partners, funding further development of its secure physician network, which already counts 7,000 doctors as users of the free mobile app.

Doximity describes itself as a medical communications platform that uses social networking technologies to enable doctors to communicate securely with one another. It’s also designed to be used via smartphones. Unlike other physician social networking sites, Doximity is real-time and not anonymous. One of its core offerings is to help physicians find each other. An example of the type of search a Doximity user might make through the platform: “Psychiatrist in Tampa who speaks Spanish.”

Doximity also enables physicians to send text messages and MMS to each other via a secure network, according to the company. On this front Doximity is competing with doctors’ current primary mode of communication: the fax machine.

Doximity aims to help docs find the right medical expert for a patient, coordinate care with other healthcare professionals, and build their own medical practices. Eventually Doxmity hopes to become “the gold standard” national directory of physicians, health professionals, hospitals, nursing homes, imaging groups and labs.

Doximity’s founder and CEO is Jeff Tangney, who was formerly President and COO of Epocrates. Doximity’s founding team also includes: Dr. Elise Singer, Dr. Marc Lawrence, Shari Buck, Mark Pagura, and Al Fontes. Dr. Richard Fiedotin and Dr. Tom Lee, who co-founded Epocrates with Tangney, are advisors and contributors to Doximity, according to the company.

If Doximity’s promises of secure communication between doctors via smartphones are real, then the question is: Are doctors ready? Sure, three out of four doctors in the US have smartphones today, according to the oft-quoted figure, but are they willing to communicate in real-time, onymously? (That’s the awkward opposite of anonymously, apparently.)

Tangney and his team now have $10.8 million to find out.

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Android tablets may be the new Zune, but don’t count out BlackBerry

By: Neil Versel | Mar 16, 2011        

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Neil VerselThe biggest news this week in mobile healthcare might have nothing at all do with healthcare—at least not directly. Microsoft apparently giving up on the Zune music player, admitting what everyone else has known for years, that Apple’s iPod reigns supreme in the realm of digital music.

Why is this relevant to healthcare? You may have heard some news recently about the introduction of another Apple product called the iPad 2. It’s lighter, thinner, faster and has longer battery life than its predecessor, and it boasts front and back cameras to enable live video chats — important for things like telemedicine.

The praise for the hot-selling second generation tablet has been nothing short of breathless, including within healthcare. “A faster, smarter iPad 2 helps not only the clinicians who use the product in their work environment, but it also breathes life into a growing number of health applications being developed by vendors looking to organize, store, and share medical data. In fact, vendors are quick to note that their products are iPad ready — an added selling point for their own health related products,” raved InformationWeek.

Clinicians apparently are riding this iPad wave.

Aptilon, a Montreal-based company that helps pharmaceutical and medical device makers market online to physicians, reports that 79 percent of U.S. healthcare professionals named the iPad as their tablet of choice. That’s far ahead of the 12 percent of those surveyed by Aptilon who would choose a Windows tablet and the 9 percent who would go with a Google Android-powered device. Keep reading>>

Fitness app developer nabs $800,000 in funding

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 15, 2011        

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EndomondoEndomondo, the startup that developed the Endomondo Sports Tracker app, raised $800,000 in its first round of funding from SEED Capital, the largest venture fund in Denmark. The app provides GPS tracking of and distance-based sport, according to the company, and already has more than 2.3 million downloads. The app receives about 10,000 new downloads per day and counts users in more than 200 countries. The app first launched in 2007.

What sets Endomondo apart from most of its competitors is it multiplatform approach: The app is available on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, sure, but also on 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.

“Similar apps such as RunKeeper cover just a couple platforms,” Endomondo noted in its press release.

“From the beginning, our vision has been to make sports more fun and help people become physically active,” Mette Lykke, Co-Founder Endomondo stated in a company release. “We strongly believe that technology – used in the right way – can be very motivating. This infusion of funding will help us to continue to grow the Endomondo Sports Tracker and expand its most distinctive element – the social aspect of sharing and peptalking.”

Endomondo’s angel investors include Victor Feddersen, a Danish Olympic champion and world record rower, and Jacob Aqraou, a general manager at eBay Classified Group.

Endomondo’s app works in conjunction with Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitors from Polar and Zephyr if the user has certain phones.

For more on the investment, read the full press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

Smoking cessation apps don’t follow guidelines

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 14, 2011        

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Smoking CessationOf the 47 smoking cessation applications available to iPhone users back in June 2009, few if any adhered to the US Public Health Service’s 2008 Clinical Practice Guidelines for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this month concluded.

“Apps identified for smoking cessation were found to have low levels of adherence to key guidelines in the index,” the researchers included. “Few, if any, apps recommended or linked the user to proven treatments such as pharmacotherapy, counseling, and/or a quitline.”

“It is recommended that current apps be revised and future apps be developed around evidence-based practices for smoking cessation,” they wrote.

The results from MobiHealthNews’ own study of the content of smoking cessation apps in our report Fastest Growing and Most Successful Health & Medical Apps, September 2010 also showed that these apps were using new methods.

As of last fall there were already 44 smoking cessation apps for the iPhone that simply enabled users to track how many times they smoked. The next most popular strategy seemed to be calculators, which typically helped users figure out how much money they had saved since they had stopped or curtailed their smoking. There were also a handful of apps that provided a tracking mechanism along with a calendar, a dozen apps that made use of hypnotherapy, another dozen that used positive affirmations and a handful that only offered information therapy and reference materials.

While the study’s abstract certainly points to a number of interesting questions: Should we assume smoking cessation apps will fail if they do not adhere to the efficacy guidelines established in 2008? Or is the smartphone a new platform that might be more effective with new or different tactics?

While understandable in the world of peer-reviewed publishing, it still amazes me that a study of the app offerings available in June 2009 is only now being published. Our study from late August 2010 (more than a year after their study) included more than twice as many smoking cessation apps as theirs. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number had almost doubled again by now. These offerings move too fast for that type of publishing cycle.

The Coming Medical Tablet War

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 10, 2011        

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Tablet_2_Thumb_260Last year, in MobiHealthNews’ first report on tablets in the healthcare space, iPad vs. the Tablets in Healthcare, we took a close look at Apple’s iPad, which had only just hit store shelves, but had already made a name for itself in healthcare. Seemingly from the get-go physicians began to realize the device’s potential to redefine their workflow. As we wrote in last year’s report, “Apple’s device holds the potential to be a game changer in the healthcare space in the same manner that it has transformed the market for consumer devices.”

Today, we are happy to announce our second report on tablets in healthcare, The Coming Medical Tablet War: iPad, Android, BlackBerry, HP and others vie to dominate in healthcare.

Yes, the iPad remained largely peerless through the end of 2010, but its dominance in healthcare is anything but guaranteed. Especially as 2011 is already gearing up for the launch of tablet devices from most every major consumer and enterprise technology company. Google, Research In Motion and HP have especially promising chances of rocking the iPad from its podium.

That’s not to say that Apple isn’t also forging ahead. The launch of iPad 2 this month brings a lighter, slimmer, more powerful tablet to market this week. The new features include missing hardware specs found in competing devices (dual cameras), but the device will maintain its relatively low price point and rather impressive battery life. Perhaps most importantly: There are already more than 1,000 healthcare specific apps specifically designed for the iPad. While Android is slowly gaining, the iPad still boasts many more offerings.

As the iPad matures and solidifies its role as an indispensible tool in the doctor’s arsenal, a new generation of tablets will seek to usurp its place. In MobiHealthNews latest report, The Coming Medical Tablet War, we’ll take a close look at the iPad’s success in healthcare, profile medical applications, usage scenarios and case studies. We’ll also provide in-depth looks at the prospects of the iPad’s competitors, including the Motorola Xoom and BlackBerry PlayBook. Finally, we’ll discuss some of the factors you’ll need to take into account when planning your own tablet deployment, from security and compliance to hardware. (Download your copy of The Coming Medical Tablet War today!)

Needless to say, 2011 will be an interesting year for tablets in the healthcare sector. While there’s little doubt that 2010 was the year of the iPad in healthcare, if Apple’s competitors have their way, 2011 will be the year of the tablet.

Visit MobiHealthNews’ Research section for more information on our latest report.

Harvard students to launch mHealth, Health 2.0 incubator Rock Health

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 10, 2011        

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Halle Tecco Rock HealthFour Harvard Business School students are launching a San Francisco-based mobile health and Health 2.0 incubator, Rock Health, that aims to provide healthcare expertise, development resources and eventually funding to winning ideas. The core team at Rock Health includes Medical Director Nate Gross (who is also involved with the soon-to-launch Doximity), Interim CFO Dan Monahan, Creative Director Leslie Ziegler and Managing Director Halle Tecco.

According to Rock Health’s website the incubator’s investor partners include Accel Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, California HealthCare Foundation and others. Importantly, the team is also working closely with the Mayo Clinic:

“No experience in the health space? That’s great. We’ve built a program to give you resources and connections in the sector. And our friends at the Mayo Clinic (consistently ranked one of the top hospitals in the world) are excited to help you out,” the incubator’s FAQ reads.

In a recent interview with MobiHealthNews, Rock Health’s Halle Tecco explained that the incubator intends to bring new talent to healthcare: “We are trying to focus on the technology itself and are looking to find technologists,” she said. “We are trying to bring in really great developers and programmers and encourage experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking about healthcare.”

Keep reading>>