Workplace wellness startup Keas raises $6.5M

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 21, 2011        

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KeasKeas, the health gaming platform for corporate wellness programs co-founded by the original Google Health chief Adam Bosworth, has raised $6.5 million in its second round of funding. Atlas Ventures and Ignition Partners led the deal.

Keas describes its offering as a mix of a corporate wellness program, morale program, social network, addictive social game, and more. The company says it has launched team challenges for more than 60,000 employees at companies including Pfizer, Bechtel, Progress Software, and others. Challenges typically last 12 weeks.

The startup plans to use the new funds to build out its distribution channels as well as to add sales and marketing teams.

Since it first launched in late 2009, Keas has pivoted quite a bit. Originally, Keas planned to offer various personalized care plans for consumers interested in leveraging their personal health data to make healthier decisions. Keas planned to take the Apple AppStore approach: People with medical expertise (like Partners HealthCare) would create care plans for Keas which then makes them available to consumers. When consumers bought a care plan, Keas planned to take a 30 percent cut of the revenue and passed the rest onto the plan’s designers.

While still working toward the original approach, in February 2010, Bosworth said: “We have tens of thousands of users right now That’s not as many as we want. Originally we wanted to have about 100,000 users by now. By the end of the year our goal is to have at least one million users and at least 10 million by the end of next year. That’s just within the U.S., but we are under enormous pressure from other countries.”

Ultimately, not gaining enough traction as a consumer health play, Keas transformed into a workplace wellness by November 2010. (Xconomy has a great writeup of the pivot here.)

In the release announcing its new funding, Keas included some results from two of its corporate customers:

“At Chilton Hospital, a non-profit hospital with 1,300 employees, 40 percent of eligible employees registered for the Keas challenge. In addition to the 1,230 pounds Chilton Hospital employees shed during the 12-week challenge, 73 percent of Keas players reported feeling more positive towards their employer and 64 percent thought the experience made them more productive at work. By the end of the Keas challenge, 88 percent of players reported that they would remain proactive about their health as a result of the program.”

“At Progress Software, an enterprise software firm headquartered in Massachusetts with 1,700 employees globally, 65 percent of eligible US-based employees registered for Keas. At week 12, half of all participants were consistently and continuously engaged with the program, setting goals, sharing results and posting to the challenge feed. Plus, 63 percent of participants lost weight (592 lbs. in all), and 36 percent reported an improvement in their stress level. In January 2012, Progress will expand the challenge to include all 1,700 employees across the globe.”

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More in the press release below: Keep reading>>

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Rock Health unveils second batch of startups

By: Chris Gullo | Dec 20, 2011        

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Screen Shot 2011-12-20 at 2.18.22 PMMobile health incubator Rock Health recently announced its second group of startups, the “Spring Class of 2012.” The 15 companies will begin the incubator’s five month program in January. The program includes $20,000 in grants, mentorship from health policy and business experts, as well as office space.

Rock Health, founded by four Harvard Business School graduates, launched as an digital health incubator in March. Rock announced its first class of startups in June. The first batch included 13 companies, including CellScope and Skimble.

During a recent interview with TechCrunch TV, Rock Health Managing Director Halle Tecco said that of the 13 startups in its first class of startups, “a good handful of them have already received funding.”

TechCrunch TV also asked Tecco why startups should join Rock Health instead of other incubators, like Y Combinator. Tecco said that the startups in Rock Health’s program benefit from its network of mentors, which offer expertise in the nuances of healthcare policy, regulation, and business models.

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Read on for a brief description of each of the 15 companies in the Class of 2012: Keep reading>>

Healthbox incubator’s first class of startups

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 20, 2011        

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healthbox-logoA new health incubator, Healthbox, is  set to launch on January 9th with its first batch of 10 health startups, which it chose from some “hundreds” of applications that came in from 26 states and eight countries. A group of healthcare providers, payors, venture firms and others supported the formation of Healthbox, including venture capital firm Sandbox Industries, the BlueCross Blue Shield Venture Fund, the California Healthcare Foundation, Walgreens, Ridgeview Medical Center, Merrick Ventures, and HLM Venture Partners.

The incubator’s three-month program offers $50,000 in seed capital, access to business and healthcare mentors, the requisite collaborative workspace, and “structured forums led by business experts,” according to the organizations recent announcement.

Like most incubators, the three months end with an Investor Day where the startups each pitch their wares to a select group of venture capitalists.

Chicago-based Healthbox is just the latest health startup incubator to launch this year: San Francisco-based Rock Health and New York-based BluePrint Health are two other existing incubators. We expect there will be more in the year ahead.

Here’s how the 10 Healthbox startups describe themselves:

PUSH Wellness (Chicago, IL) is an outcomes-based wellness incentive provider that drives behavior change in health factors that are meaningful, measurable and modifiable, producing tangible benefits for participants and employers.

PaJR-Patient Journey Record (Dublin, Ireland) uses a cloud-based system with machine learning capabilities to identify patients at high risk of readmission using patient and caregiver self-reported health status.

SwipeSense (Evanston, IL) is hand-washing 2.0, arming healthcare providers with a portable hand-sanitation device in combination with real-time data analytics in order to increase compliance and reduce hospital-acquired infections.

CareWire (Minneapolis, MN) is a patient engagement solution that utilizes automated patient text messaging to increase billable appointment yield, visualize patient satisfaction in near-real-time and improve provider performance.

The Coupon Doc (Atlanta, GA) provides an easy-to-use, centralized platform that allows consumers to access manufacturer discounts on their prescription and OTC medications.

Corengi (Seattle, WA) connects qualified patients with ongoing clinical research studies through a comprehensive online platform. Patients are able to quickly distill relevant studies, trial sponsors are able to reduce costly delays and medical innovation is accelerated.

Iconic Data (Norcross, GA) delivers a cloud-based patient list manager solution that provides physicians access to near-real-time snapshots of clinical care episodes across disparate, non-integrated facilities, resulting in increased charge capture and reduced inefficiencies.

UnitedPreference (Princeton, NJ) offers employers a Tailored Spend™ payments network that allows health plans to improve participation in preventative health initiatives via branded prepaid cards that can be used to purchase items determined by the health plans.

DermLink (Atherton, CA) is a cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant application that enables remote diagnosis of dermatology cases, dramatically reducing wait times for patients while driving increased revenue and flexibility for providers.

CareHubs (Beaverton, OR) is a healthcare enterprise social platform that offers dynamic, innovative tools to help patients and healthcare providers better connect, coordinate and engage.

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Read on for more from the press release: Keep reading>>

CardioMapper: First iPhone app to use Bluetooth Smart

By: Chris Gullo | Dec 19, 2011        

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cardiomapperCardioMapper, the first app to use the Bluetooth Smart low-energy spec, is now available in Apple’s AppStore and available for iPhone 4S users. The $1.99 app from developer body-PRO is capable of connecting and continously transmitting data from heart rate monitors that feature Bluetooth Smart (previously known as Bluetooth 4.0) support.

For more than 10 years body-PRO has developed mobile health and fitness apps — first for the Palm OS platform and now for Apple’s iOS.

CardioMapper uses the iPhone’s GPS to track a user’s route while running, hiking, or biking and provides metrics including speed, calories burn, and distance. Using a compatible heart rate monitor, “live pulse data will graph heart beat rhythm to match your heart,” according to the developer. The only iPhone that currently supports the new Bluetooth standard is the iPhone 4S, limiting the app’s usage to that device only.

The Bluetooth Smart standard includes developer specifications for connected vital sign monitoring devices for wireless health; the first two, a health thermometer profile and heart rate profile, were announced in June by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). A blood pressure monitor profile was later released. An estimated forty million medical devices already feature Bluetooth technology, according to the SIG.

The first company to announce a heart rate monitor featuring Bluetooth Smart was Dayton Industrial this June. Its low energy heart rate chest belt will feature energy efficiency technology that the company claims will enable it to run an average of 1.5 years on a single coin cell. The first production ready Smart-enabled blood pressure monitor was recently announced by IDT International, with a scheduled release date of March 2012, pending FDA and CE Mark clearance for the US and Europe.

In June 2009, MobiHealthNews spoke with Bluetooth SIG’s Executive Director, Mike Foley, about the potential for Bluetooth Low Energy (LE). Foley discussed Bluetooth’s potential in fitness and medical devices, the SIG’s relationship with Continua and discusses other short range wireless technologies.

Read the press release below.

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Mobile MIM receives second FDA clearance

By: Chris Gullo | Dec 19, 2011        

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Mobile_MIM_3_0_iPad_iPhone_1MIM Software received its second FDA 510(k) clearance this week for the latest version of its Mobile MIM radiology app. The newest FDA clearance adds support for viewing images to plan for a radiation-based treatment.

Mobile MIM is used to view high resolution diagnostic X-ray and ultrasound images downloaded from either MIM’s MIMcloud cloud-based service or a workstation. With the app’s latest update, version 3.0, radiation oncologists can review dose volume histograms, isodose curves, contours, and images for treatment plans.

The company also announced plans to launch a co-branded version of the Mobile MIM with a partner, Accuray Incorporated. Called PlanTouch, the co-branded app will have an interface that enables physicians to review and approve a treatment plan for Accuray’s CyberKnife treatment. CyberKnife, according to the company’s website, is a “robotic radiosurgery system delivering customizable, non-surgical treatments for a broad range of tumors anywhere in the body” using high doses of radiation.

Mobile MIM was one of the very first medical applications to debut in Apple’s AppStore when the store first launched in 2008, but the application also has the distinction of being the first medical application pulled from the store because of regulatory concerns. In February, The FDA granted the mobile radiology application a 510(k) clearance for viewing images and making medical diagnoses based on computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine technology, such as positron emission tomography (PET).

“Making Mobile MIM intuitive for radiation oncology was a primary goal, and we focused on creating the most natural and streamlined experience possible. The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” stated MIM software director Jerimy Brockway in a press release.

Read the press release below. Keep reading>>

Microsoft launches HealthVault Windows Phone app

By: Chris Gullo | Dec 19, 2011        

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HealthVaultMicrosoft released an official mobile app for its HealthVault PHR platform last week for smartphones running the company’s Windows Phone 7 operating system. The free app allows users to quickly input medical information such as immunizations and allergies to the cloud-based service, view graphs charting blood pressure and glucose readings, review insurance information and family medical history, and more.

Microsoft’s chief architect of Health Solutions, Sean Nolan, commented on the app’s launch in a recent blog post: “I am stunned at how many folks have already installed our brand new [app]. Forget any questions I may have had about the momentum of the mobile platforms; this is where the world is going.” He added that the app was meant to be a general purpose tool for adding and sharing health information with providers, such as a nurse or physician.

While Nolan was stunned about the number of downloads since the app launched on December 13th, he did not disclose any specific numbers.

HealthVault first went mobile this June, when it launched a mobile optimized layout for its website, as well as a software developer kit (SDK) for Windows Phone 7 OS, iOS, and Android. The SDK allows third-party developers to integrate HealthVault’s PHR cloud service into their health apps’s back end. The shuttering of Google Health in June has led some health app developers to switch from Google Health to HealthVault for the back end.

At the time of the SDK launch, Nolan wrote that it has become “completely obvious” that mobile devices are becoming the primary channel through which people “communicate and compute” throughout the day. Mobile makes “complete sense” for health, Nolan wrote, because all meaningful health-related activities occur while we are away from our laptops: “office visits, emergencies, workouts, daily glucose testing, sleeping, you name it.”

Despite the fact that Microsoft has made an SDK available for Android and Apple iOS apps, this Windows Phone 7 HealthVault app release includes no mention of plans for an Android or iPhone version of the app.

Read Nolan’s blog post for more details.