Mobisante launches Windows tablet-based, FDA-cleared ultrasound system

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 11, 2013        

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Mobisante MobiUS TabletRedmond, Washington-based Mobisante announced the launch of a tablet-enabled version of its portable ultrasound system, which received FDA 510(k) clearance in early 2011. The tablet version of the offering enables physicians to use more powerful ultrasound probes and, of course, brings a larger screen for review of high-resolution ultrasound imaging. Because the tablet provides the power for the peripheral ultrasound probe, the tablet version of MobiUS, called TC1, can power probes used for endocavity probes for gynecology or prostate imaging.

MobiUS TC1 will cost about the same as the smartphone version, Mobisante’s CTO and Co-founder David Zar told MobiHealthNews. While various pricing options are offered through Mobisante or its channel partners, Zar said physicians can also rent the system, which includes a tablet running Windows 7 and Mobisante’s software, for about $400 a month.

Zar said the 2011 FDA clearance actually cleared MobiUS for use on a tablet, but the company ran into issues with that particular model and is now using a different tablet, which Zar declined to name. Zar said because Mobisante changed the hardware it did have to go through more testing to update its 510(k), but a new 510(k) clearance wasn’t needed.

“Fundamentally [the tablet version] has the same look and feel, but with the more powerful platform, we can provide a higher frame rate and additional probes,” Zar said. “Our users have asked for these larger screens and frame rates, so we can give them that now. Some are using both the smartphone and the tablets versions. The tablet might be set-up in the exam room, while the smartphone version can be in their pocket while they’re wandering around.”

According to the Mobisante site, the tablet version of MobiUS provides up to 4.5 hours of continuous scanning time on a full charge, while the smartphone version can handle about 60 minutes of continuous scanning.

Both the smartphone and tablet versions leverage WiFi and email to transmit the images. The data can be moved via USB stick, SD card, or network drive, too, according to Mobisante’s FAQ. Zar said a crucial next step would be integrating their offering with various existing PAC systems and cloud-based imaging systems.

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Startup looks to simplify iPad interface for dementia patients

By: Neil Versel | Apr 11, 2013        

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Clevermind iPad appA startup mobile app developer is testing and preparing to launch an iPad app intended to help people with dementia (and perhaps just technophobes) navigate the tablet screen with voice commands and a simplified display. The app, called Clevermind, from a Hillside, Ill.-based company of the same name, also will help caregivers manage treatment for their loved ones.

“My target market really is caregivers,” Clevermind founder and CEO Glenn Palumbo tells MobiHealthNews. Palumbo, a veteran IT professional and entrepreneur, is one himself, as his 82-year-old father has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for about five years.

“He’s extremely healthy from a vitals perspective, but his mind is deteriorating,” Palumbo says. “I wanted to create something to give him independence.”

The app essentially is a user interface in a controlled environment, according to Palumbo, with a limited number of large, color-coordinated buttons and voice control. It takes advantage of Apple’s Guided Access capability to lock a mentally impaired user into the Clevermind interface so the person does not get lost, inadvertently start deleting items or make unintended online purchases. “We want to avoid getting them confused and frustrated,” says Palumbo.

The initial release, set for June will have limited functionality, serving as the front end for communication and social hubs like Skype, Facebook and Twitter, with a simplified display including a basic Web browser. For example, the Facebook interface will show just key items such as friends, posts and pictures, not on-screen advertising or advanced options, Palumbo says.

The system will incorporate cognitive assessment training, tracking and reporting. “We’re going to track everything that [patients] do for research purposes,” Palumbo says. Keep reading>>

Welltok raises $18.7M for healthy social network CafeWell

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 10, 2013        

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CafewellOnly four months into 2013, we’ve already seen several big moves from companies presenting as “health social networks.”

In late January, Audax Health raised $21 million for its social network Zensey, and announced a partnership with Cigna. In February, employee wellness program Keas announced a new product that signaled a pivot into the health social network sphere. Last week, OneHealth raised $9 million for its health social network and announced a slew of employer and health plan partners.

Now Welltok, makers of the CafeWell social health management platform, have announced an $18.7 million raise. And although the company didn’t announce employer or health plan partners, their platform is clearly targeted at what they call population managers — reps for employers, providers, and especially health plans — as well as at consumers. The company has only disclosed one customer, Coventry HealthAmerica, but it reports that it has two of the nation’s largest health plans among its customers.

This is the second round of funding for the Denver-based company that’s been around since 2009. Emergence Capital Partners, InterWest Partners and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) contributed to the round, which the company says it will use to “accelerate product development and strategic partnership efforts, expand into new markets, and build account teams to support the rapidly growing base of clients.”

Welltok also announced that Jeff Margolis, the company’s executive chairman for the last year and a half, has been appointed CEO. Margolis founded TriZetto, a healthcare SaaS company that was acquired for $1.4 billion by Apax Partners in 2008.

“I have a lot of confidence that we have a significant enough capital base to go and win this space,” he said. “Not be one of the winners, but win it. And that ties very much with my excitement that we’re doing something that’s very important.” Margolis says he thinks Welltok can provide value not just to its shareholders and customers, but also activate “the missing leg of the stool in healthcare, which is the consumer,” and save money for the healthcare system in general.

Health plans sponsor consumers to participate in CafeWell. Once in, participants have access to health information, competitive wellness and fitness challenges, reward and incentive programs for healthier lifestyle changes, support for chronic conditions from peers and professionals, and anonymous social networking. The population managers, in return, get access to de-identified metrics on employee wellness and participation.

In a recent case study, the company found that engaging with CafeWell activities brought consumers up from 50 percent satisfaction with their health plan up to 66 percent.

The category of “health social network” is a hard one to pin down — online patient communities like PatientsLikeMe have a social component (although the company resists the label “social network”), as do most wellness and fitness consumer apps. And many of the latter are directly or indirectly gunning for the employer and health plan markets as well (for instance, we wrote about EveryMove’s backdoor employer strategy last week). What’s clear is that it’s an emerging and crowded field.

Unlike Facebook, whose back-end value to advertisers became clear after the juggernaut of adoption had already set in, these health social networks don’t have much choice but to be upfront about their business model: they are selling patient health engagement — and data to back it up — to employers and health plans. But the people who need to really buy into these networks to make them succeed are the patients, users, and employees themselves. It’s clear that many investors believe these platforms can secure that kind of engagement, and deliver value to payers. It remains to be seen if that confidence is justified.

Zinc raises $850,000 for ear lobe sensor, stress relief app

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 10, 2013        

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Zinc Software Zen SensorDublin, Ireland-based Zinc Software recently announced a seed round of about $850,000 (€650,000) in funding from Kernel Capital, AIB Seed Capital Fund, and Enterprise Ireland. Zinc is developing wearable health sensors, including the Zen Sensor, which clips to a user’s ear lobe to collect heart rate data. The Zen connects to an iPhone or iPad app to provide heart rate variability biofeedback, which the company says can reduce blood pressure and levels of stress hormones. Zinc also announced that it was entering product development and supply chain management company PCH International’s accelerator program.

Zinc aims to have the Zen sensor up for sale online sometime in mid-2013 for about $99 both in the US and Europe.

“Regular exercise and good diet will be big part of this but we also believe good health starts in the mind and creating time in your day to be mindful and refocus is an excellent basis to build a healthy lifestyle,” Darran Hughes, CEO of Zinc Software said in a statement. “The Zen Sensor provides the perfect context to learn meditative breathing techniques and in only 10 minutes, become refocused and re-energized.”

Zinc’s sensor device and app is similar to other devices already on the market, including HeartMath’s Inner Balance sensor (which also clips to the ear) and companion iOS app, which that company unveiled at CES this year. Inner Balance also costs $99.

As MedCity News reported, the PCH Accelerator launched following the company’s partnership with sleep and health monitoring device company Lark. It has also worked with smart sports watch startup MetaWatch and the makers of Autom, the weight loss-focused, personal robot.

FDA clears ResolutionMD diagnostic imaging app for Android

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 9, 2013        

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Calgary Scientific ResolutionMD AndroidCalgary Scientific announced this week that the US Food and Drug Administration had cleared its ResolutionMD software for diagnostic medical imaging on Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy. The software is already cleared by the FDA for iOS devices and by regulatory agencies in Europe and Canada.

In early 2011 the FDA cleared a competitive offering, called Mobile MIM, as the first diagnostic imaging app to secure FDA Class II clearance for use on iPhones. Calgary Scientific claims that its ResolutionMD software, which now has six FDA clearances — including for iPhone and iPad back in September 2011 — this is the first diagnostic imaging app cleared for use on mobile devices, according to the company.

Calgary Scientific has inked a number of deals since it received its first FDA clearance for the mobile version of its diagnostic imaging offering. ResolutionMD is used by neurologists at the Arizona location of the Mayo Clinic for remote consultations, and the company also has deals with Sprint and AT&T.

In 2012 a study at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix found that radiologists using ResolutionMD Mobile versus a traditional PACS workstation were able to access CT scans of stroke victims 24 percent faster, according to the company. Calgary Scientific says the study found its software saved an average of 11 minutes per patient. This data appears to be new as our report at the time focused on the accuracy of the diagnoses instead of the specific time to diagnosis.

About a year ago a study from the University of Maryland found that radiologists using iPad 2s to evaluate patients for tuberculosis (TB) took twice as long to make a diagnosis as they did when using a 27-inch LCD monitor. However, that study used a different imaging software from Osirix.

Prediction: Alere won’t acquire WellDoc this quarter

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 9, 2013        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsIn a recent blog post about its quarterly funding round-up, San Francisco-based health incubator Rock Health wrote that it’s “hearing WellDoc will be the first major acquisition announced in Q2.” Given WellDoc’s stature in mobile health, such a deal would be quite a story.

MedCity News was sure to mention the prediction in its coverage of Rock Health’s funding report and VentureBeat appeared to have built on that by doing some homework and coming up with “sources” that told it that WellDoc had “found a buyer”. One such source told VentureBeat that the buyer might be Alere, which has a partnership with AT&T to market WellDoc’s DiabetesManager offering.

While I have no inside information on this rumored acquisition, I think it’s pure speculation. It’s not going to happen.

WellDoc has been moving at a good clip since it secured FDA clearance for its mobile-enabled diabetes management offering in 2010. Most recently WellDoc President Anand Iyer told The New York Times last year that sometime early in 2013 two insurers would begin reimbursing patients $100 a month if their doctor suggests they use DiabetesManager.

For a company that eschews the “mobile app” designation and prefers terms like “mobile integrated therapy”, it’s clear that getting to the reimbursement phase of its DiabetesManager rollout is a huge milestone. Over the years it has also made mention of plans to move into other chronic conditions with similar offerings. In some ways, it’s really just the beginning for WellDoc.

It’s probably worth noting that MedCity News, which syndicates much of VentureBeat’s health-related reporting, removed the VentureBeat Alere-WellDoc piece after publishing it on its site. And, much more interestingly, WellDoc’s Chief Commercialization Officer Chris Bergstrom took to Twitter to joke that he heard from sources at Rock Health that VentureBeat had found a buyer and would be acquired in Q2.

While WellDoc won’t officially comment on the rumor, I don’t think this one has any substance.