Apple manufacturer funds fitness watchmaker

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 5, 2011        

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wimm-weatherA new Android-powered watch platform from startup WIMM Labs features sensors that could be used for mHealth applications, reports CNET. WIMM Labs is being funded by iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, which will, not surprisingly, be manufacturing the WIMM device, too.

The watch module, which runs on a custom Android OS developed for the small display, includes WiFi, Bluetooth, an accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer, speaker, buzzer, and 30 hours of rechargeable battery life. Exposed contacts on the watches back can communicate with other accessory devices. The watch will not become a WIMM-branded product, however, instead the company plans to license the tech to other companies.

WIMM also plans to maintain an apps platform for the device. The watch can be controlled via a smartphone app or web interface.

WIMM spokesperson Tim Twerdahl stated in the article that the device can serve as fitness gear, as news readers, calendar monitors, displays for sports equipment, and as a secondary display for text message and call notifications. WIMM, which is licensing the technology to other companies, is close to signing with an undisclosed fitness brand who will sell and market the watch, the company claims.

Read the CNET report here.

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RunKeeper adds apps to build its Health Graph

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 4, 2011        

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RunKeeperFitness app maker RunKeeper has added eight new partners to its Health Graph, which it announced today in a blog post. According to the company, hundreds of apps are in the process of integrating with Health Graph.

The Health Graph API, which launched as an alpha release this June, allows users to aggregate data from the RunKeeper mobile app with other health and tracking services to provide a unified view of workout data, social interactions, diet, and sleep habits. The data is presented in charts and graphs that can then be shared with other users. FourSquare, Zeo, Withings, Polar, Wahoo, and BodyMedia are among the first companies to participate in the program.

The new apps partnering with RunKeeper include:

Jog Log is an iPhone app that helps you track your running and other fitness activities using GPS. iSmoothRun lets you use your iPhone as a training aid for running and multisports. Swim Converter tracks your swimming activities in yards or meters. WeightConnect lets you connect your WeightBot measurements with your Runkeeper account. Fitocracy helps you surpass your fitness goals by turning fitness into a game. Arookoo sends you on challenges that motivate you to move around your city. Fitness Widget Generator creates a widget you can include on your site to display your activities. Withings Blood Pressure Monitor takes your blood pressure and updates your RunKeeper profile automatically.

In addition, RunKeeper expects a handful of apps to arrive in the coming, including Kinetic, “a GPS app for running, walking cycling and other activities”; Weight Meter, “a web site that can be used to keep track of your daily scale readings;” and Superproof, “an online fitness game and iPhone mobile app that helps you rally your friends to achieve your health goals together.”

You can read the RunKeeper blog post here.

Pharma mobile marketer buys Hipcricket for $44.5M

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 4, 2011        

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augmeMobile marketing firm Augme Technologies announced this week the acquisition of mobile marketing and advertising firm Hipcricket for $44.5 million. The price tag includes $6 million in cash and the remainder in company stock. Augme’s clients notably include ten of the world’s top twenty pharmaceutical companies. In 2009, Modavox bought Augme, including their mHealth marketing company Augme Mobile Health, but the company kept the Augme brand.

Augme also recently acquired Jagtag, which develops bar codes and QR codes, for about $5.5 million in (mostly) stock.

“Gartner has estimated that worldwide spending on mobile advertising will double in 2011 to $3.3 billion, from $1.6 billion in 2010, and should reach $20.6 billion by the year 2015,” stated Augme CEO Paul Arena in a press release. “As the mobile marketing industry matures, we believe companies that can provide a comprehensive array of effective mobile solutions, built upon robust technology platforms and best of breed strategic services will become more attractive to global, national and regional brand-name leaders. By positioning itself to become the preeminent one-stop mobile marketing provider, we believe that, in combination with Hipcricket and JAGTAG, Augme will be ideally situated to take advantage of these industry trends.

Read the full press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

How camera phones can automate healthcare

By: Neil Versel | Aug 4, 2011        

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Mitek Mobile DepositThe same company behind the technology that allows bank customers to deposit checks by camera phone is entering the healthcare business.

Mitek Systems, Del Mar, Calif., is now offering its mobile imaging technology through an API so smartphone app developers can automate paper-based processes. Obviously, healthcare has many such processes.

The new Mitek Mobile Imaging Cloud, which runs on the Amazon Cloud, captures images through smartphone cameras, extracts data from each image, populates forms and forwards the information to appropriate channels. Suitable healthcare documents might include paper prescriptions, physician superbills, insurance forms and patient history forms, according to DeBello, because they represent such tedious processes.

Healthcare “is one of our priorities,” Mitek CEO James DeBello tells MobiHealthNews. “Providers are trying to engage patients and consumers in a better user experience,” DeBello says.

He gives the example of a submitting expense reports and receipts to get reimbursed through a healthcare flexible spending account. “I literally have to go to the copy machine to copy my bills and receipts, fill out a form by hand, then fax the form by hand,” DeBello laments. If all goes well, a check shows up by snail mail a few days later.

“It is so painful,” DeBello says. Keep reading>>

Mobile health investments small but skyrocketing

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 4, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsHear that? It’s the sound of tens of millions of dollars flowing into mobile health.

In July alone we reported on $138 million in investment deals, which included a whopping $61 million for ClearPractice’s parent company, $35 million for a sleep device maker, and a $25 million investment promised by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong in his new joint venture with Toumaz. Most investments, of course, were still only about a couple million in size.

During the past three days, we’ve also seen two important investment deals for August: $50 million for appointment setting app ZocDoc and $3 million for iPhoneECG developer AliveCor.

While the trickle of investment dollars appears to be picking up, a new survey from health apps incubator Rock Health finds that many digital health entrepreneurs characterize fundraising as their biggest challenge.

Rock Health mashed up data from Capital IQ, CrunchBase, NVCA, and a survey it conducted of 110 entrepreneurs working at digital health startups. Overall, Rock concluded as we have that venture capital interest in digital health is “skyrocketing” since 2010 was a record year that saw 138 healthcare technology investment deals, up from 52 such deals in 2005. Rock Health already counts 35 investment deals of $2 million for digital health startups in 2011, but many others see fundraising as a challenge.

Of the 110 startups interviewed, only 13 percent had secured angel funding. Only 2 percent had venture capital funding. Most said they were “bootstrapping” their startups on capital of $50,000 or less.

Another interesting finding from Rock’s survey: Early stage digital health entrepreneurs are building business-to-consumer (B2C) companies despite the majority of investment dollars flowing to business-to-business (B2B) ventures. Of those surveyed, 60 percent of the startups plan to have consumers pay for their product, while 30 percent said hospitals would, about 30 percent said insurers would, some 26 percent expect employers to pay, and finally some 22 percent plan to have advertisers pay for it. Obviously, some respondents had picked multiple payers.

Besides funding the Rock survey found that “establishing a sustainable revenue model” and “talent acquisition” were among the most pressing issues facing their business today.

It was often said that a lack of regulatory guidance from the FDA was causing some investors to hesitate to invest in the growing number of mobile health startups. Hopefully last month’s guidance document from the FDA goes a long way to ease those fears and investment dollars continue to flow.

Partners HealthCare’s EHR goes mobile

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 3, 2011        

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Partners Jan 2008Boston-based integrated delivery network (IDN) Partners HealthCare has taken its electronic medical record mobile with the help of InterSystems. InterSystems offering, CACHE, made mobilizing Partners’ internally developed EHR possible. The initiative took 90 days to implement, according to the company, and now an estimated 2,000 clinicians within Partners are using the app, which is currently available for iOS and BlackBerry devices.

Partners’ network includes both major teaching and community hospitals and is staffed by more than 5,000 practicing physicians who attend 4 million outpatient visits and 160,000 admitted patients each year.

“The mEHR enhances the daily life of physicians by enabling them to be mobile. Instead of finding a workstation, logging in, accessing the patient record and then going to see a patient, they can just pull the iPhone from a pocket and review results at the bedside while they’re talking to the patient,” stated John Pappas, Associate Director of Clinical Systems Integration, in a press release. “And, they can check on the latest information—test results, for example—at any time from any location… it’s having a major positive impact on workflow.”

It is not at all surprising that Partners made a big leap in mobile accessibility for its EHR. The IDN’s Center for Connected Health hosts a symposium on digital health issues every fall, including sessions on mobile health and related topics. Healthrageous, a startup that leverages wireless sensors and consumer fitness devices to keep people in good health, spun out of Partners’ Center for Connected Health in 2009. The Center has also conducted a number of pilots that leverage mobile phones and devices for remote patient care and health reminders.

Partners also announced that plans are in the works for Android OS support, as well as enabling clinicians the ability to view radiology images on iPads.

“Partners’ success at developing and deploying the mEHR so rapidly is an example of why they’re viewed as an innovation leader in the use of healthcare technology,” stated Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems Vice President of Strategic Planning, in a press release. “Mobility is becoming a watchword in the healthcare sector. The Partners mEHR provides clinicians with the ultimate in mobility by delivering the information they want, when and where they want it, in the presentation form that they want and expect.”

UPDATE: Partners created its own EHR internally, it was not built by InterSystems as this article originally stated.

Read the full press release after the jump. Keep reading>>