Nike CEO “bullish” on future Apple partnerships

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 27, 2014        

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mark_parker_hi-res_crop_originalWhen Nike reportedly laid off most of its Fuelband engineering team in April, it seemed like the end of Nike’s independent association with wearables, despite an official statement saying they would support the device “for the foreseeable future.” But many, including MobiHealthNews, predicted that Nike’s next move in the wearable space would be an even stronger partnership with long-time ally Apple.

Then Apple announced its long-awaited Apple Watch in September with hardly a mention of Nike, other than touting a new Nike Running app as one of the first third-party apps being developed for the platform.

Now, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, Nike CEO Mark Parker has confirmed that Nike will be working with Apple more in the future, although his comments weren’t especially detailed. They could refer to new hardware, but also to Nike software on the Apple Watch or another Apple device.

“I’m quite bullish on our relationship with Apple,” he told Bloomberg’s Stephanie Ruhle. “As you know, Tim Cook is on the Nike board. I worked with Steve Jobs a long time ago when we introduced Nike+ for the very first time. So, as I look ahead to what’s possible between Nike and Apple, two, as you said, amazing brands, technologically we can do things together that we couldn’t do independently. So yeah, that’s part of our plan as we expand the digital frontier and go from what we say are tens of millions of users — right now there’s 25 million Nike+ users — to hundreds of millions.”  Keep reading>>

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Harvard adds 2 digital health startups to its incubator for alumni

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 27, 2014        

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RaiingIncubator Harvard Launch Lab, a spinout from Harvard’s student accelerator, called iLab, announced 12 inaugural companies, two of which are digital health-focused.

While Harvard iLab offers space and resources to Harvard students who are building companies, the university’s new venture, Launch Lab, aims to incubate companies led by Harvard alumni. To join Launch Lab, at least one founding team member must be a recent Harvard graduate. The company should also have institutional funding or show that they are generating revenue. If they are a non-profit, the startup has to demonstrate growth. After being accepted, startups will pay a month-to-month lease and will be expected to leave after six to 12 months.

Here are the two digital health-focused companies that have been accepted into Harvard’s Launch Lab:  Keep reading>>

Report: 4.7 million used connected care in Europe last year

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 27, 2014        

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A state-side example of video comms with MDs: Verizon Wireless Virtual Visits

A state-side example of video comms with MDs: Verizon Wireless Virtual Visits

Around 4.7 million people in Europe were using some kind of connected care system by the end of 2013, according to a recent report from Berg Insight. The research firm includes traditional telecare, next-gen telecare, and telehealth systems in its report, which includes 30 countries in the region.

The growth of connected care in Europe is projected to have a 19.2 percent CAGR for the next five years. By then some 13.7 million Europeans will use some kind of connected care system.

“Traditional telecare is currently the largest and most mature of the three market segments,” the firm wrote in a statement. “The next-generation telecare and telehealth market segments are in a more nascent stage but are entering a strong growth phase that is expected to last for many years to come.”

The firm reports that deployment of next-generation telecare systems that include remote visits and video communication are on the rise in Europe.  Keep reading>>

Report: Pharma companies have many apps, relatively few downloads

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 27, 2014        

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research2guidance-main-three-groups-of-pharma-app-publishersPharmaceutical companies have a lot of apps in the market, and have been making apps for a long time, but their apps aren’t seeing downloads and usage on par with the apps from other industries. That’s the conclusion of a new report from Research2Guidance (R2G), which analyzed more than 725 apps from 11 pharma companies.

According to R2G, the top pharma companies have 65 apps in the Apple and Google Play app stores on average, compared to 1 to 2 apps from the average health app publisher. However, even the pharma companies with the most downloaded apps have only accrued 6.6 million downloads since 2008 and can boast less than 1 million active users.

The report offers some possible explanations for the disconnect between number of apps and wide adoption for pharma companies. For one thing, not all the apps are geared at mass adoption. Some are targeted at niche groups like providers, professionals, or people with a specific condition. The report categorizes companies like Bristol Myers-Squibb, Roche and Abbott as niche app makers, pointing out that they both have a below average number of apps and a below average number of downloads.  Keep reading>>

Fitbit officially unveils activity trackers Charge, Charge HR, and Surge

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 27, 2014        

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Fitbit Suge Fitbit Charge Fitbit Charge HRJust a week after news leaked about activity tracker maker Fitbit’s next generation of devices, the company has announced its three new trackers — Charge, Charge HR, and Surge.

The trackers will monitor everything the Fitbit Force tracked: steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, and sleep. One new feature which wasn’t revealed in the leaks is that the devices will now offer automatic sleep detection so that users can monitor motion throughout the night as well as sleep and wake times. All three devices will also include caller ID, a feature that was supposed to be added to the Force last February. When someone calls the user’s smartphone, the wristband will vibrate and show the caller’s name or number, but only when a smartphone is nearby.  Keep reading>>

What’s holding telemedicine adoption back?

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 23, 2014        

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American WellTelemedicine has been around for a number of years, but it’s not yet an everyday channel for patients to receive care. A panel of providers and vendors sat down at the Partners HealthCare Connected Health Symposium to discuss the question of what it would take to get telemedicine into the mainstream.

The panel, moderated by Harvard heart surgeon Lawrence Cohn, included American Well CEO Dr. Roy Schoenberg, Mercy Health CFO Shannon Sock, Wellpoint Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Martin Silverstein, and Dr. Neil Evans, Co-Director of Connected Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Like any new product category, you need to have awareness, you need to have a value proposition, and make sure the average patient has access to this as a benefit,” Silverstein said. “But a lot of employees have access to this as a benefit, some with no copay at all, and they’re still not using it. I think it has to do with awareness. They have to understand the value proposition and they have to develop a confidence that this is good medicine. And I’m not sure there’s enough consensus on what good practices are. It needs to become more mainstream and it needs to become a more visible part of the healthcare ecosystem and [then] they’ll have the confidence.”

The panel did agree that regulatory barriers like state licensing laws and lack of reimbursement were holding telemedicine back. But most agreed that those factors were not insurmountable.

“I would say the parallel to this is the [retail] clinic,” Silverstein added. “[Retail] clinic adoption in many markets took quite a while. But when there was a awareness through advertising, covered benefits through insurance, and word of mouth, people started to get comfortable.”

Schoenberg said that a big lesson in what would drive adoption came from American Well’s own experience launching its mobile app last yearKeep reading>>