US remote patient monitoring topped $104M in 2012

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 17, 2013        

Tags: | | | | | | |  |

raiingA new report from research analyst firm GBI Research predicts that by 2019 the remote patient monitoring market in the US will reach $296.5 million, up from $104.5 million in 2012. The firm believes that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16 percent over the next few years. Worldwide, GBI estimates that last year the global remote patient monitoring market was about $223 million, and it will top $620 million by 2019.

Earlier this year Kalorama Information released a report on remote patient monitoring, stating that the US market increased from $8.9 billion in 2011 to $10.6 billion in 2012, an increase of 19 percent. Kalorama’s numbers looked at what the New York-based research firm calls “advanced remote patient monitoring”, which it defines as technologies that have wireless or remote capabilities and can potentially interact directly with an EHR.

Last year healthcare providers remotely monitored about 308,000 patients worldwide for congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, hypertension and mental health conditions, according to a January 2013 report from InMedica. By 2017 that number should spike to 1.8 million patients, the research firm predicts.

GBI points to remote monitoring of patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease as two potential drivers of the market. The research firm also noted that a Biotronik trial on remote follow-up for patients who received implanted cardioverter defibrillators showed estimated savings per patient per year of more than $900 and more than $140 per person per year in saved transportation costs.

“However, financial issues arise, problematizing RPM use,” GBI wrote. “Hospitals also only benefit from remote monitoring if the technology reduces the length of stay, with a reduction in the number of hospitalizations generally resulting in a cut to budgets or reimbursement. Expenses are also incurred on educating patients and healthcare practitioners on how to use RPM devices, and having staff available to respond to clinician alerts.”

About a year ago GBI predicted that the global patient monitoring devices market will hit $8 billion in 2017, up from $6.1 billion in 2010. The firm pegs the device market’s CAGR at about 4 percent for the next five years. GBI notes that advancements in wireless and sensor technologies are driving the patient monitoring devices market.


Why small data, data donation should be healthcare’s future

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 17, 2013        

Tags: | | | | | | | |  |

Deborah Estrin

One of the themes of this year’s TEDMED conference was data liberation, kicked off by two speakers: Deborah Estrin, a computer scientist at Cornell Tech and Amy Abernethy, a cancer researcher at Duke Clinical Research Center. Estrin and Abernethy each talked about a rich source of data that could revolutionize healthcare, but isn’t currently being tapped; Estrin talked about the “small data” generated by our use of digital devices and Abernethy explored the potential of “data donation.”

Deborah Estrin, one of the founders of Open mHealth, spoke at TEDMED not just about mobile health applications, but about how all mobile applications can serve healthcare, by generating what she called “small data.”

“We do have special devices designed for self-tracking, like our Fitbits,” Estrin said in her talk. “I’m talking about a wider array of data we generate implicitly. We’re continuously generating digital breadcrumbs in the services we interact with.”

Estrin described how digital devices — not just smartphones but websites, feature phones, and television cable boxes — already track data about how much we use them and report it to companies, who use it to optimize advertising and consumer engagement.

“They capture and analyze data extensively, but they don’t bring that data back to the person who generated it,” she said. “There’s no way for us to gain access to that data. There should be, because there’s a lot that I can learn about my personal health from my digital behavior.”

Estrin acknowledged the concept is similar to’s passive monitoring software and that company’s idea of a “check engine” light for your health. Estrin said she prefers to think of it as a “social pulse,” which can reveal more information about us than a single visit to the doctor — for which many people will put their best foot forward, rather than acting typically.

“When I think back to my father’s last few years of life, I can identify signals that would have shown up in his small data, in his social pulse,” she said. “He stopped checking email. His patterns around the neighborhood changed. These things didn’t show up in his regular visits to the cardiologist. The attending doctor didn’t see anything atypical. There was nothing in his vital signs or his electronic health record, but it would have shown up in his social pulse.”

Abernethy talked about a different untapped data source — individual patients’ data. For example, a memorable patient of hers wanted to donate a piece of her tumor to help map out genetic predispositions to melanoma. Abernethy spoke about the need for a data donation infrastructure, perhaps partly modeled after the successful infrastructure we have now for blood donation.

“The blood bank makes great use of every component of my blood. When I need blood, I trust there is a system that will come to my rescue. And when a lot of blood is needed, we know how to band together and donate en masse,” she said. “We understand there’s a societal institution that supports the donation of a precious resource for universal good.”

And there’s one big difference between data and blood, when it comes to donation.

“Data is a non-depletable resource, and the more we make use of it, the more valuable it becomes,” Abernethy said. “We need to give this data a second life.”

Merck, New York-Presbyterian kick off TigerLabs Innovation Track

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 17, 2013        

Tags: | | | | | | | |  |

Bert Navarrete, Tigerlabs HealthAs healthcare accelerators and incubators continue to grow and spread, they’re also evolving as the unique needs of healthcare startups become apparent. For many incubators, that means a stronger focus on providing ongoing working relationships with established industry partners like payers, providers, and pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Healthbox’s Nina Nashif stressed the importance of those relationships in a recent interview with MobiHealthNews. And it’s the driving force behind StartUp Health’s special class in partnership with GE Healthcare. Princeton, New Jersey-based TigerLabs announced its own similar project this morning, when it announced that Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and New York-Presbyterian Hospital would be the initial partners for its new Innovation Track.

“TigerLabs Health still remains committed to looking at all aspects of healthcare IT and healthcare IT innovation opportunities,” TigerLabs cofounder Bert Navarrete told MobiHealthNews. “Innovation Track allows us to hypertarget select companies that will be working with our partners on an individual basis.”

TigerLabs Health launched in September 2012, with the initial intent of closing applications for its first class in November. Instead, the company opted to keep applications open on a rolling basis, and it will be announcing its first class next week. There are currently five companies in the accelerator, according to Navarrete.

The Innovation Track startups will also receive all the same benefits as startups in the regular TigerLabs Health accelerator. In addition, they’ll have regular contact (up to one day a week) with one of the partner companies, both of which will be heavily involved in selecting their partner startup. Merck GHI is looking especially for startups focused on data analytics (in a way that is applicable to the pharmaceutical industry) and New York-Presbyterian is after startups who can help make their internal hospital processes more efficient — anything from marketing to billing. TigerLabs Health will be accepting Innovation Track applications until July 2.

At the end of the regular TigerLabs Health accelerator, Innovation Track companies will spend an additional month as “entrepreneurs in residence” at their partner company.

“It allows the business development cycle to happen very early on. They have a pretty good knowledge if it’s going to work out in terms of a potential pilot or licensing,” said Navarrete. “There will be a better informed decision about whether Merck [for instance] will pilot, license or invest in the particular startup company.”

Navarrete said the Innovation Track was created in response to requests from the corporate partners, who wanted more access to the startups.

“It really is a way for us to replicate what is good about the corporate VC model,” he said. “There often have been some conflicts in the past, and we feel we can be the conduit, by offering the strategic benefit while not overwhelming a startup with a Big Brother mentality or a risk of stealing ideas.”

Digital health investment firm Aberdare taps Mohit Kaushal as partner

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 16, 2013        

Tags: | | | | | | | | | | |  |

Mohit KaushalAberdare Ventures, one of the most active investment firms in digital health, announced that Dr. Mohit Kaushal has joined as a partner. Kaushal most recently served as CSO and EVP at West Health, where he helped found the West Health Investment Fund and backed companies like Humedica, Change Healthcare, RxAnte, and goBalto. (The last two are also in Aberdare’s investment portfolio.)

“Mo’s joining is sort of a capstone of a recent aggressive period of strategic evolution for us,” Paul Klingenstein, founder of Aberdare Ventures told MobiHealthNews in an interview. “Our portfolio shows that we have done things very differently in the past five years. We have been out in front of… mobile or digital health.”

Klingenstein explained that Aberdare’s investment strategy has changed markedly in recent years, and it’s not a simple shift away from traditional life sciences companies or medical device companies in favor of digital health ones. Klingenstein explains it as a shift away from investments in companies that lead to more expensive, incrementally better healthcare to companies that provide “transformational technology” that “tie together to drive efficiency in care for the system, for the individual, and for payers.”

“If you look at our portfolio today it’s clear these types of companies cover the gamut: information tools to help people take their drugs, information tools to gather data in doctor’s office, sensors that communicate with systems to perform analytics, and information tools to help people do clinical trials to discover drugs better,” he said.

Klingenstein said their latest investments stand in contrast to the way Aberdare and others investing in healthcare have been doing it for years.

“We invested a lot of capital over long periods of time for companies to take their intellectual property, reduce it to practice, test it in animals, test it in humans, do the large studies required to get regulatory approval, and then have the monopolistic imprimatur conferred on them,” Klingenstein said. “At the end of that process, when these things were shown to provide ‘better care’ in the fancily-structured, double-blinded, controlled trials, then there was this implicit assumption that then we would charge more for them. This still occurs. The problem is that core assumption, providing incrementally better care at a much higher price, is a much more questionable assumption than it used to be.”

Klingenstein said that Kaushal is uniquely positioned to help Aberdare continue to execute on its new strategy given his experiences as an investor, an MD, and a policy person. Prior to West, Kaushal was the director of connected health at the FCC. Before that he worked at Polaris Venture Partners.

In the past four or five years Kaushal has seen a number of important changes in the digital health landscape.

“I have definitely seen teams get better,” Kaushal told MobiHealthNews. “Let’s just call the early companies 1.0 for the sake of no argument. The first versions of [digital health] startups were technology-heavy. For example, the teams coming out of Silicon Valley were great technology teams, great designers, but healthcare is an extremely complicated ecosystem with all sorts of nuances, perverse incentives, and asymmetrical incentives. So, great technology doesn’t always get adopted in healthcare. As I see 2.0 and 3.0 companies grow and emerge, I see technologists getting paired with folks who really understand the ecosystem and how business models in healthcare really work.”

Kaushal also pointed out two other recent trends: increased clarity around health reform and a slight uptick in digital health exits. He has seen an uptick in acquisitions in recent years, but, of course, not as many as he’d like to see, he said.

“We are seeing a lot more activity,” he said, “and payers have bought a lot of things — not just startups — but other plans and systems to get scale. That makes sense to me: The strategy is to get the foundations in place to be able to deliver better managed care before intermingling all the technology.”

7 MobiHealthNews reader comments worth revisiting

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 16, 2013        

Tags: | | | |  |

It’s been a busy few weeks in mobile health and our loyal readers have done a great job of analyzing, interacting with and contributing to our reporting. We wanted to give a shout out to some especially thoughtful comments that we’ve seen in the past couple weeks. Be sure to keep the comments coming and find us on Twitter @MobiHealthNews or on our Facebook page and LinkedIn group because we always look forward to what you have to say.

Lively, a new eldercare monitoring system focused on social connections, heads to Kickstarter

By: Neil Versel | Apr 16, 2013        

Tags: | | | | | |  |

Lively hub sensorsA startup company is touting its system for remotely monitoring elderly people with chronic illnesses as having three advantages over existing products: elegant design, a focus on social connection rather than “fear of death,” as the CEO puts it, and price.

Lively, a San Francisco-based startup, is launching its eponymous system Tuesday, combining a series of wireless sensors, a data-collection hub and biweekly printed mailers that serve as kind of an analog social network.

A basic setup, to measure medication compliance, food and drink intake and general activity outside the home, will cost $149 up front with a monthly service fee of $19.95, though the company is taking pre-orders on crowdfunding site Kickstarter beginning Tuesday for $99, including one month of free service. (Like stress sensor startup Zinc, Lively is also is participating in a business accelerator from PCH International, an Irish-Chinese firm specializing in the launch of consumer electronics accessories.)

The disclike sensors—perhaps evoking the Misfit Shine in terms of form—are passive sensors with embedded communications chips. The base station, which has no wires other than an electrical cord and no on-off switch, was designed by Fred Bould of Bould Design, who, among other things, styled the Nest smart home thermostat. An embedded cellular link sends data to Lively’s cloud server.

But unlike the Misfit Shine or other personal monitoring devices, the sensors go on objects, not people. Co-founder and CEO Iggy Fanlo says participants in a pilot test of Lively complained that products for the 75-plus set often are not nicely designed. “We want something that’s beautiful that doesn’t stigmatize you as old and frail,” he tells MobiHealthNews.

One type of sensor goes on pill boxes, while another measures whether people are eating and drinking on a regular schedule by indicating when refrigerator or pantry doors are opened, both using accelerometers. A third variety is a key fob with a Bluetooth Low Energy transmitter than lets the server know when the user is out of range, typically 125 meters (about 410 feet). This measure acts as a proxy for indicating when the person has left home.

Additional sensors can be placed elsewhere, such as inside a car door to show when someone who might not be a safe driver got in the car or on a telephone handset to suggest, for example, that the elderly person called to make a doctor’s appointment. Keep reading>>