Shareable Ink hires ex-Allscripts exec as CEO; founder Hau moves to CTO

By: Neil Versel | Jun 12, 2013        

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A digital pen from Anoto.

Serial entrepreneur and longtime mobile health developer Stephen Hau is stepping aside as CEO of his current venture, Shareable Ink, as the Nashville, Tennessee-based provider of digital pen-based healthcare data capture has brought in a veteran health IT executive to run the company.

Laurie McGraw, most recently chief client officer at EHR vendor Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, took over as CEO of Shareable Ink last week to help the 4-year-old vendor move into a growth phase. Hau will shift to chief technology officer, heading up product development and platform strategy.

The news comes on the heels of privately held Shareable Ink closing late last month on a $3 million round of equity funding, led by previous investor Lemhi Ventures. “Right now, the company has some really strong momentum,” says McGraw, who tells MobiHealthNews that she will not substantially alter Shareable Ink’s strategy.

Shareable Ink uses digital pens from Anoto to capture handwriting on laser-printed, plain-paper forms, then sends data over a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone or PC, which links to a Shareable Ink cloud server. Within seconds, the server converts the handwriting to computable text for export into EHRs and practice management systems.

The software also is capable of capturing and converting handwriting from iPads or scanned documents. Shareable Ink earned certification for Meaningful Use as a module able to meet 11 of the ambulatory EHR standards in Stage 1. “It’s a platform to make workflows actionable and efficient,” McGraw says.

Today, Shareable Ink reports that 85 clients are live on its system, automating patient encounters in specialties not always amenable to keyboard-based EHRs, particularly anesthesia and emergency medicine. “That’s strong for a company in early stage,” according to McGraw, who says she was drawn to Shareable Ink by Hau’s “brilliance.”

McGraw, who is based in Boulder, Colorado, but will spend much of her time on the road, worked for EHR pioneer IDX Systems — later bought by GE Healthcare — in the 1990s. She moved to Allscripts in 2000 when that company bought point-of-care software vendor ChannelHealth from IDX.

At the time, Allscripts had $30 million in annual revenues. When McGraw left the Chicago-based company during a management purge last December, Allscripts was a $1.5 billion company.

ChannelHealth was an early player in mobile health, allowing physicians to dictate notes, enter orders and capture charges on personal digital assistants. Similarly, Hau founded mobile health company PatientKeeper in the 1990s.

McGraw says she was aware of Hau’s reputation, although the two had never met before they started talking about Shareable Ink.

“As I got to know him, I got really excited about the company,” she says.


Melon: A wearable to track concentration, maybe sleep

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 12, 2013        

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MelonLast June an LA-based startup called Axio finished building prototypes of an EEG headband with built-in audio neurofeedback, Bluetooth connectivity, an analytic engine and companion smartphone app that aimed to help people find ways to better concentrate.

“We want to revolutionize how people interact with their brains,” Axio co-founder Arye Barnehama told MobiHealthNews in an email at the time.

The startup planned to launch a Kickstarter in mid-June 2012 as a way to crowdfund is first run on its wearable headband. At the time, Kickstarter was very picky about working with companies that had any kind of medical, health, or fitness-related angle, and Axio’s campaign didn’t come to be.

That is, of course, until a few weeks ago, when Arye and the team at Axio changed their name to Melon and launched on Kickstarter. In the intervening year Kickstarter must have loosened up its rules in the face of overwhelming success from other wearable devices launching on competitor site Indiegogo — like the Misfit Shine last year, and more recently, the Scanadu Scout.

The Melon campaign achieved its $100,000 goal within 60 hours and has since surpassed $268,000. As of Wednesday morning, it has one day left in its crowdfunding campaign.

Barnehama says at launch Melon will be a fairly open-ended “cognitive enhancement” platform. Users will put on the Melon headband and start a session of monitoring focus levels for a given activity. Once the device is on, the aim is to add tags into the app’s analytics engine about what activity you are doing and how you are feeling: “math homework, coffee shop, sad,” for example. During the session the Melon app tracks your focus level based on an analysis of your EEG and asks you do to quick things to see if they might help you maintain more consistent focus — like taking a quick walk or a five minute break. The device can then measure if that tip was effective for that particular user and become more personalized in its suggestions as time goes on.

Perhaps most exciting about the Melon launch is its willingness to work with developers from the get go. The Kickstarter campaign shows people using Melon for all kinds of activities and Barnehama noted the important of concentration in everything from studying to painting and sports to meditation. He believes there will be strong interest from the developer community to create apps for specific use cases.

“Sleep is one example,” he said. “Sleep is often measured using EEG and other companies have tried that — like Zeo which was not able to continue — so sleep is an area that developers are really excited to work on using the Melon platform.”

Barnehama says Melon is designed to be comfortable and “you definitely can sleep with it on”, but admits that sleep is “such a difficult thing to integrate a device into” and that might be why the company itself isn’t pursuing it. Still, the void left by Zeo’s departure could certainly drum up a good amount of interest as Barnehama noted.

“We wanted to build something broad and not go too specific in the beginning because this is such new technology,” he said. “We want to let the platform get more specific over time. Melon can help people that need a little bit of understanding around how to focus and how to understand their everyday life a little bit better using data about themselves.”

“There are many ways it could go later.”

Basis goes Android-first for delayed app launch

By: Jonah Comstock | Jun 11, 2013        

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Basis Band syncingBasis Science, makers of the Basis Band, finally launched their first mobile app, and, notably, it’s an Android app. The app currently works on five phones, all from Samsung, but the company promises more to come.

The $199 Basis Band launched last November with Bluetooth connectivity built into all devices, but no mobile app at all. That was something of a surprising move for an activity tracker, but the device had already been in development for nearly two years. Basis’ Healthy Habits behavior change software platform has hitherto been available only as a web portal. The company announced the Android app at CES in January, slating it for the first quarter of 2013.

On their blog, the company offered a rationale for the delay. “For those who are curious about why we’re slightly delayed: Our engineers wanted to ensure that Bluetooth syncing worked well across all our supported handsets,” the company writes. “Since connectivity varies by handset and manufacturer, it took us a little bit more time to ensure that this top-requested feature worked great.”

There hasn’t been much of a consensus lately on whether it’s more important to build for Android or Apple in the activity tracking space. Misfit Wearables recently killed plans to include an Android app at launch for its Shine device, following in the footsteps of Nike, which briefly avowed that it would never develop an Android app before reportedly backing away from that assertion. Meanwhile, both Fitbit and Jawbone have launched Android apps recently to join the iPhone apps they released at launch. However, for Basis to start with Android, a platform generally considered harder and more time-consuming to develop for, especially when Bluetooth is involved, is unprecedented for such a high profile Quantified Self company.

Basis’ support of five Android devices trumps Fitbit — which supported two when it launched its Android app and now supports four — but falls to Jawbone, which announced support for 12 devices in February and now supports 14. Basis-wearing Apple fans won’t have to wait too long, though: The company says its iPhone app is in internal testing and should be out soon.

Basis’ Android app just brings the core functionality of Basis’ Healthy Habits platform mobile, but mobility does enhance the platform in several ways. The app will run in the background of the phone and sync wirelessly and automatically with the user’s Basis Band. Users can check their progress on goals throughout the day and receive notifications from the app when they meet a goal, or reminders when they’re not working hard enough toward one. This feeds very naturally into the idea of Healthy Habits.

“We call it ‘habits’ very intentionally,” Basis CEO Jef Holove said in a recent interview with MobiHealthNews. “It’s meant to reflect that these are small routines, very acheivable routines that you can build in, really specific concrete things that you can do in your life, even a busy life like we all lead, and make it habitual. And I think that’s what leads to the behavior change, which drives long-lasting improvement.”

When Basis raised $11.5 million in March in a round led by the Mayfield Fund, Holove said in a statement that the money would be used to scale and meet demand for the product. Holove recently told MobiHealthNews that Basis has finally caught up to all the initial orders for the device and is now “inviting people on the waitlist on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

Noom Walk, an all-day pedometer app for Android

By: Aditi Pai | Jun 11, 2013        

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Noom Walk Android appNew York City-based Noom launched a new Android app, a pedometer that tracks steps throughout the day while running in the background and only occupying about 3 percent of the phone’s battery life.

Noom Walk counts steps throughout the day. Because it does not leverage GPS, the app uses less battery life. After tracking steps for 24 hours, Noom Walk uses around the same battery life as a GPS-enabled app will in three minutes, the company says. The app also includes some social features to share results with others who use the app and motivate friends.

“Noom Walk is a true pedometer app — counting your steps 24/7,” co-founder Artem Petakov told MobiHealthNews in an email. “[We are] playing in a small field where [a competitor app] Moves for iOS is playing, but [Noom Walk] is about 10x more battery efficient still.”

Last December, Noom raised $2.6 million led by m8 Capital, a UK-based first that invests exclusively in mobile technologies. Other contributors included Qualcomm Ventures, Harbor Pacific Capital, and former Nexon executives. Since their conception, the company has had two high-profile seed investments of undisclosed amounts: one from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (through their iFund) and one from Qualcomm Ventures’ Qualcomm Life Fund. The company was founded in 2007 as WorkSmart Labs, but changed their name in 2011.

Noom’s portfolio includes six other healthy lifestyle apps, two of which have 18 million downloads, according to the company. The first, Noom Weight Loss Coach costs $9.99 per month and walks the user through a weight loss process, from steps walked to meals eaten while CardioTrainer is free and helps users track workouts.

While some apps within Noom’s portfolio such as Noom Weight also have the pedometer, the company pulled the pedometer feature out for users only looking to track steps. Petakov compares the difference between Noom Walk and Noom Weight to Facebook Messenger and Facebook.

Following FDA clearance Glooko relaunches mobile diabetes management offering

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 11, 2013        

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Glooko ChartsStarting next month Medicare patients with diabetes who receive their diabetes testing supplies via mail order may or may not notice any changes, but after negotiating prices down, CMS is set to start paying the mail order diabetes supply companies about 20 cents per strip beginning July 1. Glooko CEO Rick Altinger told MobiHealthNews in an interview this week that the change is actually welcome news for his company and others in diabetes management whose business models don’t depend predominantly on strip sales.

“This actually creates an opportunity for us because in the past a potential competitor would be a major meter company coming out with their own end-to-end diabetes management system,” Altinger said. And for others in the connected diabetes space, “it’s not enough to have your own Bluetooth-enabled meter” and proprietary test strips now that reimbursement dollars are falling, he said.

Altinger says that the rule has already led to layoffs and could mean billions of dollars in vanished revenues for meter companies — also known as cost savings for the overall healthcare system.

“Even those efforts that would have been formidable competitors to us are now being shutdown,” Altinger noted. “There’s a lot more reception [at the big pharma companies] toward working with third parties like us.”

Following its recent FDA 510(k) clearance, which MobiHealthNews first reported on last month, Glooko launched the next iteration of its diabetes management system, which includes a smart cable that links a variety of off-the-shelf blood glucose meters to an iPhone to extract readings to a companion smartphone app. Glooko 2.0 helps users learn more about their health condition by via analysis charts and accompanying web dashboard. If a user’s physician has opted-in to Glooko’s ProConnect program, they can send real-time, cloud-based sharing of their blood glucose data, too. Glooko now supports 19 popular glucose meters, which the company says are used by about 80 percent of people with diabetes, and it has plans to begin supporting insulin pumps soon, but would not share which companies it is working with yet.

Like many diabetes management apps, Glooko’s enables patients to log food intake, medication adherence, and activity. The app also leverages a food database that has data on 200,000 foods to make it easier for users to track their carb intake. The application also shows glucose data in graphs based on time of day, day of week, and reading below, within or above targets, too.

With the new app Glooko sees its customer base evolving. As always it aims to serve people with diabetes and their care providers, but in conjunction with those care providers or separately, Glooko sees an opportunity to work with disease management entities who can act like coaches to Glooko users. The company won’t comment on any particular deals yet, but it says one of its already announced provider customers, Scripps Health, is already using the Glooko platform to coach some of its patients.

Altinger said healthcare providers can remotely monitor their patients’ data as it updates and tell at a glance which of their patients had an event in the past two days, since those are the ones most likely to end up in the emergency rooms. Providers can then intervene at that moment or soon after instead of a month later during the next office visit. The provider might ring the patient up, find out they were unaware that the food they ate the night before was more carb heavy than they thought, and get a suggestion to leverage Glooko’s food database to get a better sense of carbs in particular food.

Another example Altinger floated was a physician might be able to review patients’ metrics for average glucose readings and look for those whose average BG has gone up by more than 10 percent in the past week. Maybe there was no single alarming event, but the average is trending up and providers might be able to check in sooner if they can monitor patients via Glooko, he said.

Altinger said Glooko is still working on a meter that connects to its supported meters on one end and has a Bluetooth-enabled dongle on the other, which connects wirelessly to the user’s smartphone. That step would enable Glooko users to review their readings without pulling out a medical device that is plugged into their phone.

“We also hope to have an Android [version of Glooko] out by the end of July or August,” Altinger said.

Invitation: MobiHealthNews midyear review webinar

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 11, 2013        


Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsLater this month, be sure to join MobiHealthNews and Kony Solutions as we discuss the mobile and digital health news and trends that made their mark during the first half of 2013. We’ll be discussing the year-to-date during our next webinar, which is set for Thursday June 27th at 2PM Eastern (11AM Pacific). (Register here — it’s free!)

It’s already clear that this year digital health has kicked into high gear with the rise of wearable devices, the increasing focus on patient engagement by healthcare providers, and the beginnings of consolidations and weaker company shutdowns.

Attendees will hear exclusive findings from MobiHealthNews premium research service, benefit from Kony Solutions’ perspective on digital health, and — as always — participate in an interactive question and answer period at the top of the hour.

Don’t miss out on the MobiHealthNews Midyear Review — sign up today!