Mayo: Fitbit data predicts surgical recovery time

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 30, 2013        

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Mayo Clinic fitbit

The Fitbit as it was used to track cardiac surgery patients.

Mayo Clinic has finally published a study, completed last year, on using a Fitbit activity tracker to monitor recovery in cardiac surgery patients. They found that step tracking with the Fitbit was easy and cost-effective to implement, and preliminary data suggests that collecting step data could help hospitals determine the appropriate length of stay for a patient recovering from surgery.

In February, MobiHealthNews reported that 90 percent of the 149 patients expressed satisfaction with the Fitbit and the MyCare app used in the study, while 80 percent said they were comfortable using the app.

The published study, which came out in the September issue of the Annals of Thoracic surgery, also includes data about the number of steps recorded in the study, and how those steps correlated with length of stay and with whether the patient was sent home or discharged to a skilled nursing facility.

Patients who had the shortest hospital stay also walked the most on all days in the study, by a statistically significant margin. Likewise, patients bound for home walked more than those headed for a nursing facility (675 vs 108 steps on average for the second recovery day, for instance).

“Although it is obvious that patients who recover mobility sooner are likely to have better outcomes, it is critical in the face of changing demographics and financial rules that we measure functional measures of recovery for individuals and populations,” the study authors write. “Functional status and variables such as mobility will impact discharge disposition, patient satisfaction, social support required, falls, hospital readmission, and ultimately health care costs.”

By establishing a mobility baseline for particular demographics, the authors suggest, hospitals can better detect patients who aren’t recovering as fast as they should and help them. Also, being able to predict a patient’s length of stay helps hospitals manage space and resources. The study authors contrasted the way this data is normally used and collected today.

“Specific patient mobility data are typically found in nursing notes and are not usually part of the workflow of the surgical team,” they write. “Such data may not be obtained in all patients and are intermittent (two or three times a day). With wireless technology, data are objective, acquired, and displayed nearly continuously. This means of acquiring information can greatly simplify information transfer in the hospital and demonstrates the power of remote monitoring.”

Mayo clinic fitbit data


Jawbone also quietly acquired Nutrivise

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 29, 2013        

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NutriviseEarlier this year, Jawbone bought another company, Palo Alto-based nutrition app maker Nutrivise for an unknown sum, without making any official announcement. MobiHealthNews learned of the acquisition from StartX Health, an accelerator in which Nutrivise participated.

Nutrivise was founded in 2011. In 2012 the company created an app, called Here&Now, which it described as “a nutritionist in your pocket” for Bay area residents. Here&Now had several features beyond a standard calorie counter app. The user can input biometric data, health goals, and location, and the app will recommend local and chain restaurants. It can also tell the user how healthy a dish is, both in general and for the user, personally. The app appears to have been pulled from the app store.

At least two Nutrivise team members were kept on by Jawbone after the acquisition, according to LinkedIn. Nutrivise CEO Laura Borel is now Jawbone’s Product Manager for Nutrition, while co-founder and VP of Product Tito Balsamo is now a User Experience Strategist at Jawbone.

Nutrivise had at least one funding raise, a $750,000 seed round in May 2012 which included an investment from EchoVC, as well as Angels Pejman Nozad, Zak Holdsworth, and Michael Paulus.

Jawbone’s acquisition of Nutrivise, a data-driven nutrition app, is in line with the company’s other acquisitions this year. In February, Jawbone acquired Massive Health, another bay area startup with a nutrition app. Massive’s app, The Eatery, was more social-focused, allowing users to take pictures of their food and crowdsource its relative nutritional value.

Jawbone has also shown a strong focus on data analytics, acquiring biometric tracker BodyMedia in a high-profile deal in April and hiring prominent LinkedIn data scientist Monica Rogati just last month.

It seems clear, both from its acquisitions and Jawbone’s pattern of keeping major team members on board, that the company is developing a major data-driven food tracking engine for its UP bracelet. That could be a smart way to stand out in the crowded activity tracker field, since none of the major players are putting as much focus on “calories in” tracking as they are in tracking activity and calorie expenditure. As Weight Watchers recently admitted, food tracking seems to be a popular category for health app users.

Florida Blue leads $20M round for Audax Health

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 29, 2013        

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battle by the bayAudax Health Solutions has announced a $20 million funding raise led by Navigy Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Florida Blue Cross Blue Shield. Additional contributors to the round include former Aetna CEO and current Audax board member Jack Rowe and Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships at Facebook.

This round is the company’s first publicly-announced equity raise, although the company reports it previously raised $35 million in funding from corporate partners Cigna and Cardinal Health, as well as New Leaf Ventures and former Apple CEO John Sculley. Sculley is a supporter of the company and mentor of 24-year-old CEO Grant Verstandig. A previously reported $21 million debt raise for the company in January was most likely part of that funding.

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Experts apparently agree: Fitness wearables are now a fashion statement

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 29, 2013        

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JONAH_COMSTOCK_HEADSHOTOver the past two years, there have been a few efforts to make activity trackers more like jewelry.

The Misfit Shine’s market strategy turns on the simple elegance of the device, and Misfit CEO Sonny Vu has said many times that invisibility and fashion are the two options for making a wearable device catch on.

BodyMedia — whose armband device is the most-data-intensive, but also the most clinical-looking tracker out there — previewed a shiny fashion-forward armband at CES in January.

When Vogue magazine calls the Nike FuelBand “the A-list’s chicest accessory,” though, that’s something else entirely.

Yes, in the famous fashion magazine’s mammoth September issue, social editor Chloe Malle chronicled the rise of the FuelBand, also giving lip-service to the Fitbit, Jawbone’s UP and BodyMedia’s armband. Malle explains how the device works, and waxes poetic on the addictive nature of Nike Fuel, but she also defends her thesis that fitness trackers have really caught on among the fashion elite.

“In fashion circles, the FuelBand reigns supreme,” she writes. “It all began when Serena Williams strode onto Centre Court last year at Wimbledon sporting one next to her magenta sweatband. Was this the new tennis bracelet? Since then, they’ve started popping up on chic wrists all over town: Shala Monroque’s got quite the tour of Paris at the recent couture collections; Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis has mixed hers into a medley of thin gold bangles, a Victorian locket chain, and an Aurelie Bidermann gold torque bracelet. Even Kanye’s wearing one! Right next to his Cartier Love cuff.”

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JAMA commentary argues new HIPAA regs stymie innovation

By: Neil Versel | Aug 29, 2013        

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C Jason WangAlthough the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently updated the HIPAA privacy rule for the first time in more than a decade, the regulations still are not flexible enough to keep up with the pace of innovation in digital health, according to a newly published commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Plus, the authors contend, the new requirement that business associates such as vendors be subject to the same HIPAA requirements as covered entities – healthcare providers, insurance companies and the like – poses a serious threat to startup companies.

“Although there is much interest in potential partnerships between innovative companies and healthcare organizations to leverage new mobile technologies (e.g., smartphones, tablets, mobile monitors), the final rule may impose an unfunded mandate for organizations, which ironically may impede adoption of innovation in mobile health,” wrote Dr. C. Jason Wang, Stanford University, associate professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention, and Delphine J. Huang, a medical student at the University of California, San Francisco.

One problem is that the original 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the privacy rule, in place since 2002, were written with EHRs, not mobile devices and consumer engagement, in mind. “Smartphone applications and wearable remote devices that have diagnostic capabilities are becoming readily available, allowing patients to transmit information, such as electrocardiographic abnormalities or elevated blood glucose levels, directly to a physician,” the authors said.

“Recently, there has been interest in devices that move beyond telephones and computers, such as the potential for Google Glass to quickly access medical records and improve health communications. Moreover, as individuals gain more sovereignty over their own health data, they also may perceive the use of passwords and log-off features as a nuisance if they do not see some of their health information (e.g., exercise data, weight) as sensitive,” they add.

Although the update is the result of the same 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that created the Meaningful Use EHR incentive program, the new rules still create a “conundrum” between safeguarding patient privacy and encouraging innovation, according to the authors.  Keep reading>>

Study: Instructional app keeps iPads more sterile

By: Aditi Pai | Aug 28, 2013        

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deBacA paper published this week in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that using tablets in a clinical setting leads to a large amount of surface contamination, and that using an instructional app to sterilize the device can reduce the contamination.

The app chosen is deBac-app for iPad, which uses in-app sensors to ensure the iPad was properly cleaned. Results are logged in a file on the app and users can set an alarm for daily iPad sterilizations.

This April, a survey of 971 physicians found that about 74 percent already own or plan to buy an iPad in the next six months. The growth of iPads in a clinical setting called the attention of Dr Urs-Vito Albrecht, the author of the paper.

“With the use of highly mobile tools like tablet PCs in clinical settings, an effective disinfection method is a necessity,” he wrote in the paper.

To conduct the trial, 10 new iPads were randomly distributed to members of the nursing staff of 10 clinical wards to be used for four weeks. The app was used daily and results were logged at the end. The research group then deployed the iPads to be used for four weeks without sanitation daily and results were logged again.

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