iPhone Placebo Effect app hopes to change patient behavior

By: Neil Versel | May 15, 2013        

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Placebo Effect AppIs the placebo effect real even without the deceptive element of making people believe they are receiving a pharmaceutical treatment? One entrepreneur thinks so, and is looking for like-minded people to back him in hopes of bringing a mobile app to market this summer.

A Seattle-based startup called Placebo has developed an app called Placebo Effect that is intended to help people feel better about themselves and to sustain behavior changes such as quitting smoking simply by mentally transporting them to someplace positive — akin to meditation or hypnosis.

“This is not a complex thing,” company director Daniel Jacobs tells MobiHealthNews. “It’s something that touches people’s hearts.”

Jacobs trying to raise $50,000 through Indiegogo to commercialize the app. In a video on the Indiegogo site, Jacobs calls Placebo Effect the “world’s first placebo mobile application.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, he had secured nearly $8,700 in crowdfunding pledges from 63 sources, including the Szollosi Healthcare Innovation Program, with 20 days until the June 3 deadline.

“This will be on the market fairly quickly, almost certainly in the next two months,” Jacobs promises. The first Placebo Effect release will be an Apple iOS app, but should the company exceed its funding goal, Android and Web versions should follow in short order, he says. Keep reading>>


LabStyle to take on iBGStar with smartphone-enabled glucose meter

By: Aditi Pai | May 15, 2013        

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plasma_04Israel-based LabStyle Innovations, which is developing a smartphone-based glucose meter, has raised $10 million by common stock that the company plans to accredited investors. The company plans to use the money to develop, market and manufacture Dario, its smartphone-enabled diabetes management system. Dario does not have a CE mark nor does it have FDA approval. LabStyle CEO Dr. Oren Fuerst aims to launch the product in Europe soon, according to a company press release.

Dario is a small glucose meter which syncs with a companion app and works with Apple iPhone 5, iPads and iPods and Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Tab. The app includes a nutrition guide, logbook, insulin calculator and monitoring system. A data overview within the app displays a radial chart of blood glucose measurements. It also shows how many measurements were above, below or within the blood glucose target range and if they were before or after a meal.

While LabStyle has remained fairly quiet, over the past year, the device caught the attention of several diabetes blogs including DiabetesMine and ASweetLife.

The company also plans to prepare a FDA 510(k) application sometime this year.

The iBGStar, which was AgaMatrix and Sanofi co-developed, was the first smartphone-enabled blood glucose meter to integrate directly with a smartphone and receive FDA clearance in 2011. Unlike Dario, which will work with both iOS and Android, iBGStar only connects to Apple devices.

DocbookMD taps Medweb for image sharing

By: Jonah Comstock | May 15, 2013        

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DocBookMD AppDocbookMD, which offers a secure physician messaging service, has partnered with Medweb, makers of a smartphone and web radiology PACS, to create Docbook Gateway, an HIE-like offering that gives physicians access to lab tests and X-rays on their smartphones without the need for an integrated EHR.

“This is the way HIEs were supposed to work,” DocbookMD CEO Dr. Tim Gueramy told MobiHealthNews. “One of the bigger problems with HIEs is they almost silo their own data. They still don’t have great interoperability. We just wanted [Docbook Gateway] to be this simple thing that would work with anybody. HIEs have no mobile footprint. You always have to go log in somewhere else, now it’s just integrated in. It is kind of an HIE, but it’s very very specific to things the doctor needs on their mobile phone to treat you.”

Gueramy’s co-founder and wife, DocbookMD CMO Dr. Tracey Haas, added another distinction.

“Another important point to that is, here in Austin, Texas, half of our doctors still aren’t on an EMR and far fewer are on an EMR that’s connected to a radiology lab,” she said. “We’re independent of that. HIEs need to be connected to an EMR to work.”

Medweb’s existing technology stores radiology imagery on a single secure server. Technicians can then access it from workstations or on their medical device. The software that displays images on mobile devices uses a pinch and zoom interface. The interface also allows the user to make annotations directly on the images.

DocbookMD is a mobile-based, HIPAA-compliant physician-to-physician communications platform. The company secured contact lists of physicians from medical societies, so the app allows doctors to contact each other whether they’re in the same hospital or practice or not, as long as they know the name of the doctor they’re trying to contact.

“I’m a family doctor who no longer works in the hospital,” Haas said. “I felt it was very important for physicians like myself to communicate with the physicians in the hospital. That’s a communication point that’s really been neglected. We’ve got the entire community [using Docbook]. It’s already uploaded. You don’t have to invite your list of friends. They’re already there when you join in.”

In addition, a recently added feature called Care Teams allows doctors to add non-physicians into private Docbook networks, to communicate about a particular patient.

The new product, Docbook Gateway, integrates existing Medweb and DocbookMD infrastructures. Gueramy and Haas said the current way that radiologists and physicians communicate leaves a lot to be desired. Images are often sent by fax, and doctors and technicians don’t have contact information for one another beyond office phone numbers.

They echoed the often-heard sentiment that secure physician communication is rapidly becoming an unimpressive offering — providers like Docbook have to look further to provide a compelling value add.

“We looked at secure messaging as nothing more than putting some HIPAA regulations and technology on communication,” said Gueramy. “I don’t find that interesting. What I find interesting is working with communities that are already tightly connected, putting physicians first. And not giving them integration to a whole EMR, but just to get them the things they need — stat X-rays.”

Docbook isn’t the only mobile company offering what amounts to an HIE workaround. Another company, Doximity, also facilitates physician image sharing over a secure message system. The company’s founder Jeff Tangney recently told MobiHealthNews physicians were using Doximity and EMR screenshots as a “poor man’s HIE.”

Slideshow: 7 startups using Microsoft Kinect for online physical therapy

By: Jonah Comstock | May 15, 2013        

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Reflexion HealthPhysical therapy is approaching a crisis, according to Dr. Kourosh Parsapour, founder and CEO of 5plus, a startup working on building digital health physical therapy tools. The specialty is experiencing provider shortages at the same time as the need for physical therapy and rehabilitation services increases — as the baby boomer generation ages.

“By 2030, the number of states with substandard physical therapy will increase from 12 to 48 states, and 1 out of 5 americans will be 65 or older,” said Parsapour during a panel discussion at the American Telemedicine Association event in Austin, Texas last week. “Last year, CMS reduced reimbursment to therapists by 12 percent.”

Telerehabilitation, where physical therapists work with one or more patients over video chat, is one technological solution for addressing that gap. Healthbox Boston startup Theravid, for instance, is working on an online portal which includes video instructions on different exercises, online workout reminders, workout tracking, and a secure messaging system to contact their therapist. TeleRehab Systems, a stealth-mode stroke rehabilitation startup, is developing a tablet-based system.

The technology that’s jumpstarting most telerehabilition startups, however, is Microsoft Kinect for Windows, an off-the-shelf 3D motion-capture sensor with an open API. Therapy games can interact directly with patients and even track their movements to report to doctors remotely. These interactions can be either realtime or asynchronous. A number of startups, many of which are coming through high-profile digital health accelerators, are leveraging those possibilities with soon-to-be released offerings.

Here are nine companies tackling digital rehab solutions, many of which Parsapour mentioned in his ATA talk or in an interview MobiHealthNews after the event.

Reflexion Health

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Reflexion spun off from the West Health Institute last year and has recently begun running clinical trials to validate the technology. The company offers a rehabilitation measurement tool,which uses Microsoft Kinect software to both instruct the patient on exercises through animations and measure whether or not they’re doing their exercises correctly. Physical therapists can prescribe exercises that are preloaded into the platform or design their own.

Keep reading>>

Latest ResolutionMD app adds side-by-side comparisons, multi-facility support

By: Neil Versel | May 14, 2013        

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ResolutionMD MobileCalgary Scientific claims its ResolutionMD Mobile diagnostic imaging app was the first of its kind to regulatory clearance for use on mobile devices, though competitor MIM Software gained Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for an iPhone app in January 2011, months before ResolutionMD did the same.

ResolutionMD was the first to earn Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for an Android diagnostic imaging app in April this year. GE Healthcare also has had an Android version of its Centricity Radiology Mobile Access for two years, but clearance came later.

Whether someone is first does not matter all that much when there are competitive products available, so Calgary Scientific is stepping up its game. This month, the Canadian firm released version 3.2 of its ResolutionMD system, available in both app and Web-based formats, the first update since the FDA clearance of the Android app.

ResolutionMD Mobile now has market clearance from US, Canadian and European regulators and has been validated on: Apple’s iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S and 5; all generations of iPad including the iPad Mini; the Samsung Galaxy tab 10.1 Android tablet; and LG Optimus LTE Android smartphone, according to the company. It is available in 12 languages.

While 3.2 is a “point” release and not a completely overhauled system, the new version does contain a number of improvements. ResolutionMD now permits split-viewing mode on mobile devices so physicians can compare studies side-by-side, as well as retrieval of entire patient histories. “You get quick access to historical images,” Calgary Scientific President and CTO Pierre Lemire told MobiHealthNews.

Version 3.2 also adds “multi-tenant support,” which, according to Lemire, means organizations can manage many hospitals and imaging centers from a single server. “This is essential for a cloud deployment,” he said. Keep reading>>

Nike+ FuelBand’s rumored pinch-for-heart-rate feature unlikely

By: Brian Dolan | May 14, 2013        

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Nike Fuel BandLast week a widely spread rumor made it’s way to various tech blogs about the next generation Nike+ FuelBand: Reportedly, the second generation device is currently being tested by Nike employees who are wearing it out in the public because the prototype still has the form factor of the original. A report in gadget blog, Gear Live, claims that the next FuelBand will include Bluetooth 4.0 (aka Bluetooth Smart) auto-syncing, heart rate sensing, a faster UI, and accelerometer data accessibility via the API.

The report also claims that a Nike+ FuelBand Android app is also in the works, even though the company previously said it would not stray from Apple’s iOS platform.

“First, a heart rate monitor will be built-in to the upcoming FuelBand,” Gear Live’s Andru Edwards writes. “You scroll through your options to get to the heart rate monitor, and then pinch the FuelBand on the monitor area, and it will take your pulse. We weren’t able to confirm if it would save the results to your Nike+ profile for tracking purposes, or if it was just something to give you information when you used it.”

Based on Gear Live’s widely cited report, the next generation FuelBand would require users to “pinch” the device between two fingers to get a pulse reading. Meanwhile, other wearable devices like those offered by Basis and BodyMedia are able to passively read heart rate from the person’s wrist — no pinching required.

Would Nike really offer up a second generation FuelBand that was more difficult to use than devices made by its (much smaller) competitors? Devices that are already available in the market? The pinch-for-heart-rate feature would be a misstep for Nike. This part of the rumor, anyway, seems unlikely to come to pass, but if it does, it could prove to give other device makers a real leg up on the FuelBand 2.