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.

Top 10 health searches from mobile devices in 2011

By: Chris Gullo | Dec 16, 2011        

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Healthline mobile searchHealthline, a consumer health search engine, published a list of 2011’s most-searched health and medical terms via both desktop computers or laptops (web searches) and via mobile devices (mobile search). The published data reveals significant differences in what consumers search for from the privacy of their mobile devices vs. from PCs. Top mobile searches included keywords related to more private issues like sexually transmitted diseases and mental health topics.

Healthline’s search technology is integrated into a number of consumer and provider websites, including Yahoo! Health, Aetna, AARP, Sharecare, and United Health.

Mobile search data revealed that March was the busiest month of the year for mobile searches, possibly because of that month’s recall of Tylenol’s 8 Hour Extended Release Caplets and the Japanese earthquake’s consciousness-raising on the health effects of nuclear radiation. People are less likely to search for health and medical information on the weekend. Most searches take place mid-week and most searches on mobile devices are — like web searches — likely to occur at night between 9 PM and 11 PM.

Below is Healthline’s list of top health-related searches via mobile devices during 2011:

1. Chlamydia
2. Bipolar disorder
3. Depression
4. Smoking/quit smoking
5. Herpes
6. Gout
7. Scabies
8. Multiple Sclerosis
9. Pregnancy
10. Vitamin A

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Read on to see the top ten health-related web searches and to read the entire press release. Keep reading>>

Why Aetna acquired iTriage app maker Healthagen

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 16, 2011        

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Aetna iTriage Aetna has acquired mobile health startup, Healthagen, developer of the popular health app iTriage, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition marks one of the first exits for a high profile mobile health startup.

Aetna is also leveraging the mobile application in its accountable care organization (ACO) offering, where it will be a key component for consumer engagement, Aetna executives said during an investor day presentation this week. (More on how iTriage fits into that offering in the graphic at the end of this article).

“iTriage is our patient engagement side of this [ACO offering],” Dr. Charles Saunders, Head of Strategic Diversification at Aetna, said during his presentation yesterday. Saunders said that the care providers he has spoken with recently all recognize that consumers need to be engaged in order to help them navigate the healthcare system, understand how the system works, “prevent leakage” outside of the ACO network, and have a better patient experience. Saunders said all of this was key “to engaging them in behaviors that help them to be a partner in reducing the cost of care.”

iTriage looks to be at the forefront of Aetna’s consumer engagement strategy: “There is an extensive vision for the consumer experience, but we do think that patient engagement will be key to the relationship here,” Saunders said. “iTriage has relationships with several hundred hospitals and tens of thousands of physicians. It is growing very rapidly.” In August, Healthagen added 180 new hospital customers thanks to a deal with Schumacher Group.

“iTriage is a mobile application that is the market leader, market leading healthcare application with over 3 million downloads across the Apple iTunes and Android platforms,” Saunders continued. “It is available worldwide and was created by a couple of ER docs [who] understood that consumers engaged with healthcare differently than people [had previously thought].”

iTriage offers a symptom navigator that helps users find nearby health facilities or physicians that could help them with their specific health issue. Thanks to a recent acquisition of its own (it bought AppointmentCity this past February), iTriage added appointment booking functionality into the application. Saunders described iTriage as a mobile application that “meets users where they are” and “provides an array of tools for understanding their symptom” along with “geolocation features” that help users “find a provider near them” who can solve that problem in a facility “that is appropriate to that condition.”

“People don’t generally engage healthcare when they already know that they have a meniscus tear and they need to have an MRI of their knee or that they already know that it is time to get a colonoscopy,” Saunders said. “As it happens, more commonly consumers engage the healthcare system far farther upstream when they have a vague notion that they need something but they don’t know what that something is.”

Aetna is already bolting on new features for iTriage users.

“We are layering on additional tools and capabilities so that [iTriage users] can get an accurate estimate of what the costs will be,” Saunders said. “So that they can make an intelligent choice based on who is in-network or which is the lowest cost, highest quality option. And then to be able to directly register or book an appointment with that provider and do that in a disruptive way.” Saunders said the information collected in that visit would then be pulled through and down to the personal healthcare record, which Aetna’s ActiveHealth product team manages.

Saunders closed his discussion of iTriage by noting that the mobile app as well as other offerings from recent Aetna acquisitions, including Medicity, are tools that are provided by Aetna in a “payor neutral way.”

“iTriage is a market neutral application that is available to all payors, all consumers, all providers,” Saunders said. “Access to data and privacy are absolutely critical to the success of these applications and we believe in that strongly.”

Interestingly, just a few weeks ago Aetna announced an iTriage-like app for people living in various markets outside of the US.

For a better understanding of how Aetna is leveraging its recent acquisitions and existing assets, including Medicity, iTriage, ActiveHealth, iNexx and more to create its ACO offering, check out the graphic below: Keep reading>>