Pear Therapeutics raises money for drug-software combo products

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 23, 2015        

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eformulations-infographicBoston and San Francisco-based Pear Therapeutics, not to be confused with Pear Sports, has raised an undisclosed sum in a round led by 5AM Ventures.

The company has developed a product called eFormulations that combines medication for a specific condition with a digital therapy program. The eFormulations product will be prescribed by physicians to their patients.

Depending on the patient’s condition, the software component of the offering could include games, tracking tools, and other engagement features.  Keep reading>>

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Propeller Health expands Air Louisville public health asthma pilot

By: Jonah Comstock | Mar 23, 2015        

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Propeller HealthMadison, Wisconsin-based Propeller Health is expanding its collaboration with the City of Louisville, Kentucky, thanks to a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The new program, called Air Louisville will allow the city to collect data from sensors attached to 2,000 asthma inhalers, which can then be used for public health purposes.

Chris Hogg, Propeller Health’s chief operating officer, says the program builds on a public-private collaboration Propeller Health (then called Asthmapolis) started with Louisville back in 2012.

“They started this program where some charities and philanthropies in the city paid to collect better data,” Hogg told MobiHealthNews. “They did things like put up air quality meters in the city and then also, back then, worked with Propeller to put 300 residents on our sensor to see — really within the city — where asthma was happening. That was pretty successful. We were able to put together a bunch of different data sets including our sensor data, to look at correlations and trends of how asthma is impacted by weather, air quality and wind direction, and where roads, traffic and parks and things like that are.” Keep reading>>

FirstLine’s app will send a doctor in person if call, text, video isn’t enough

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 23, 2015        

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FirstLineSan Francisco-based FirstLine Medical has launched its doctor consultation service, called FirstLine, available via iPhone app. The offering allows patients to call, text, or video chat with a doctor, similar to other doctor consultation offerings, but FirstLine goes one step further — if users choose, they can also request a doctor to make an in-person visit to their home or office.

FirstLine is backed by e.ventures and Great Oaks Venture Capital.

The app launched a beta in late 2014. FirstLine CEO Bryan O’Connell told MobiHealthNews that already the app has more than 20,000 users.

O’Connell said he wants the app to eliminate waiting rooms and added that for some patients, it could even take the place of a primary care doctor.

“We have two user groups,” O’Connell explained. “One is generally aged 18 to 27, doesn’t have a primary care doc, might have an OBGYN if she’s female, but doesn’t have a primary care doc. We can absolutely be the full replacement. We can do labs, we can do referrals, we can do whatever you need. And then our next major group is moms and families aged 28 to 35 or 40. And those guys really just value the convenience and will probably have [the service] in addition to the regular primary care doc. The mom doesn’t want to drag two kids down to the waiting room. So for some people its supplemental and for some it can be a total replacement.”

Labs that doctors can take when they visit the patient include blood work, urine analysis, and swabs.  Keep reading>>

Fitbit adds bike tracking, multi-tracker support to Surge, Obama spotted wearing one

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 23, 2015        

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Fitbit Surge smartwatch

Fitbit Surge smartwatch

Fitbit has added two new features, bike tracking and multi-tracker support, to its most advanced wristworn activity tracker, the Fitbit Surge. In unrelated news, last week, President Obama was seen wearing a Fitbit Surge. That’s not entirely unexpected since he mentioned a month prior that he was planning to try out the Apple Watch to track his workouts and that he hadn’t tried a Fitbit yet.

“Our users are passionate about fitness and have consistently requested a way to track their outdoor cycling activity,” Fitbit VP of Interactive Tim Roberts said in a statement. “We are delivering this feature on Fitbit Surge for active consumers looking to track and better understand performance during rides, in addition to their other workouts. Our goal is to provide users with the tools it takes to track their exercise and reward them for doing the activities they love to do most – like biking and running.”

Surge’s new bike tracking feature, which supports road biking, mountain biking, and BMX, monitors distance, duration, average speed, heart rate, calories burned, and time while biking. These metrics are sent to Fitbit’s in-app dashboard so that riders can review routes, speed, and elevation after their rides.  Keep reading>>

MedaCheck raises $1M for its medication reminder tablet device for seniors

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 20, 2015        

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MedaCheckCincinnati, Ohio-based MedaCheck, a company that sells a dedicated medication reminder tablet for seniors, has raised $1.1 million in a round led by Queen City Angels.

The tablet aims to help seniors who have trouble managing their medication. When the MedaCheck tablet is purchased, the senior or their caregiver will send MedaCheck a list of all of the user’s medications and supplements. From there, MedaCheck will set up the tablet with the medication reminders and ship it to the user. At that point, the user just needs to plug the device into an outlet to start up the program. MedaCheck works over a data connection.  Keep reading>>

In-Depth: Provider adoption of digital patient engagement tools

By: MobiHealthNews | Mar 20, 2015        

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You can’t avoid the term “patient engagement” in healthcare today, and for good reason.

Health Affairs explains that “‘patient activation’ refers to a patient’s knowledge, skills, ability, and willingness to manage his or her own health and care,” while “‘patient engagement’ is a broader concept that combines patient activation with interventions designed to increase activation and promote positive patient behavior, such as obtaining preventive care or exercising regularly. Patient engagement is one strategy to achieve the ‘triple aim’ of improved health outcomes, better patient care, and lower costs.”

Providers recognize that patients actively involved in their own care tend to have better health outcomes while also costing the system less. That’s why providers are increasingly turning to digital channels to engage their patient population.

And when it comes to patient engagement, the best digital channel to reach patients and consumers is still the smartphone.  Keep reading>>