Glooko connects Walmart meters to iOS devices now, too

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 27, 2012        

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Glooko IR AdapterPalo Alto, California-based Glooko, which offers an app and a cable that connects various blood glucose meters to the iPhone, announced an updated version of the Glooko Logbook app and support for an additional six blood glucose meters. The Glooko meter can now connect 17 different meters to iOS devices with its $40 Glooko MeterSync Cable.

The newly supported meters include two new meters from Walmart: the ReliOn Confirm and ReliOn Prime. Walmart just launched the meters this past July. The stores sell the low-cost ReliOn Prime meter for $16.24 and $9 for 50-ct strips, which is about 18 cents per test. The other four meters are Bayer’s Contour Next EZ, Bayer’s Contour XT, Arkray Glucocard 01, and Arkray Glucocard Vital.

“By adding compatibility for meters from Arkray and ReliOn and additional meters from Bayer, we continue to pursue our goal to provide a meter agnostic logbook solution for anyone with an iOS device,” Yogen Dalal, Chairman of Glooko, said in a statement.

In June Glooko announced that it had launched in Europe and also told MobiHealthNews that it was mulling a transition to Bluetooth Smart since the newest iOS devices are no longer using the 30 pin connector dock that Glooko’s cable leverages to connect to meters. Glooko said that future versions of the Meter Sync cable would still plug into meters but instead of plugging into the iPhone’s 30-pin connector, they might use Bluetooth Smart instead. The company is also said the company is looking at the method that mobile payments company Square uses to connect to smartphones — through the phone’s headphone jack.

“There is still a certain amount of interconnect anxiety going around in the industry with the much rumored changes to the iPhone’s connector,” Dalal told MobiHealthNews in June. “Apple has been encouraging accessory vendors to come in through a wireless connection unless you have to come in through their new 19-pin connector.”

In January Glooko raised $3.5 million in its first round of funding, which was led by The Social+Capital Partnership, and included return backers Bill Campbell, Vint Cerf, Judy Estrin and Andy Hertzfeld, Venky Harinarayan, Russell Hirsch and Xtreme Labs.

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PingMD raises $1.33 million for parent-to-pediatrician app

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 27, 2012        

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PingMDNew York City-based pingMD, also known as Dauphin Health, recently raised $1.33 million, according to a regulatory filing with the SEC. The company had previously raised about $400,000 in mid-2010. PingMD describes itself an app that offers parents a quick and easy way to message their child’s pediatrician and a more efficient way for physicians to communicate with their patients.

PingMD’s Co-Founder CEO Gopal Chopra told StartUp Beat that the company’s target users are “doctors who are motivated to provide better service to their patients… [who] are searching for a solution, but they’re frustrated by their EMRs and portals, and bogged down by email and text. We know they’re using smartphones, tablets, and apps in their professional and personal lives, and that they’re open to change. PingMD is for the doc that loves technology and providing care, who does not see communication as an administrative task.”

While there are a number of other companies offering comparable apps as a product or product feature, Chopra believes that pingMD’s biggest competition is from patient portals and EMRs as well as from legacy communication lines like phone, email and text. PingMD banks on “professional boundary and security” as two reasons for physicians to choose it over regular phone calls and common text messaging or email.

Chopra said the company would use the funds to make a few big updates to the app, expand sales and marketing efforts, and recruit more employees. The company will continue to focus on growing its physician user base, while working toward a friction-less patient-to-provider experience for both doctors and parents. Both the recent SEC filing and the one from mid-2010 claim that the company has had zero revenue to date.

More over at StartUp Beat.

mHealth Alliance, UN award 8 grants for maternal, child health

By: Neil Versel | Sep 27, 2012        

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gI_105680_PattyMechael

mHealth Alliance Executive Director Patricia Mechael

Eight companies, programs and non-governmental organizations — including one associated with former President Bill Clinton — have received two-year “catalytic” grants to foster wider use of mobile technologies in the name of improving maternal and child health worldwide.

The mHealth Alliance, a global project founded by the United Nations Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation, joined with the UN’s Innovation Working Group to announce the grants Tuesday. The Innovation Working Group is a panel, co-chaired by the government of Norway and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, tasked with identifying innovations that support the United Nations Every Woman Every Child effort to improve maternal and children’s health worldwide.

“The power of innovation in mobile technology can only be fully utilized if success factors are identified and evidence is widely shared and utilized,” says Helga Fogstad, head of global health for the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), which is funding the grants. “The catalytic funding mechanism is intended to do just that. Taking to scale these innovations will improve provision, access, quality or use of highly needed maternal and child health services,” Fogstad adds in a statement.

“These grants will not only allow the grantees to scale up, but they will also provide others in the mHealth space the opportunity to learn from grantees experience and findings, adding to broader efforts to strategically mainstream mobile technologies to improve the lives of women and children,” explains mHealth Alliance Executive Director Patricia Mechael.

Notable among the winners is the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which is applying technology from Frontline SMS to help the Malawi Ministry of Health track down patients who miss appointments, communicate test results and identify patients with urgent medical conditions. The program is particularly concerned with preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Another winner, VillageReach, also operates in Malawi, as well as nearby Mozambique. The Seattle-based nonprofit social enterprise has been piloting a toll-free hotline to improve case management of maternal and child health in resource-poor rural areas of Malawi. According to the mHealth Alliance, the grant will help VillageReach expand the project to other parts of the Southeastern African nation and build an evidence base to demonstrate effectiveness in hopes of taking the service nationwide.

Other grantees include: Keep reading>>

Healthrageous aims to bridge gap between B2B and B2C

By: Neil Versel | Sep 26, 2012        

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Telcare Blood Glucose Meter

Telcare Blood Glucose Meter

Digital health management company Healthrageous is teaming with health insurer Highmark to test the latest iteration of its behavior modification program for type 2 diabetes.

Highmark is sponsoring a six-month trial that started in July at Acosta Sales and Marketing, a self-insured company in Jacksonville, Fla., for diabetes self-management using Healthrageous automated coaching technology tied to wireless glucometers. The plan is to follow newly updated recommendations from the American Diabetes Association and European Association for the Study of Diabetes that healthcare providers tailor diabetes care to each individual.

“We focus on the habits that contribute to obesity, and obesity and type 2 diabetes are closely linked,” Healthrageous CEO Rick Lee tells MobiHealthNews.

Boston-based Healthrageous, a spinoff of Partners HealthCare’s Center for Connected Health, is supplying selected Acosta employees with cellular-enabled blood-glucose monitors as part of the Healthrageous’ existing relationship with Telcare. The vendor also draws data from wireless blood-pressure cuffs, weight scales and accelerometers.

This, according to Lee, is what differentiates Healthrageous from other technology companies in the realm of behavior modification and in disease management.

Healthrageous provides only the technology, since health plans already have plenty of what Lee calls “clinical assets” at their disposal, such as nurse case managers. Lee likes to think that his company fills the “chasm” between business-to-consumer and business-to-business approaches. Healthrageous collects, aggregates and analyzes data while following HIPAA privacy regulations. That, according to Lee, is something B2C companies often are not able to do.

“Unlike previous attempts [at disease management] throughout the years, this is a consumerized version, not a medicalized version,” Lee says. In other words, the program coaches people on making lifestyle decisions, rather than providing medical advice such as reminders to take medications. “We feel like you really have to break down the medical jargon to get stickiness,” Lee says. Keep reading>>

Aging in place company Healthsense raises $7 million

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 25, 2012        

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Healthsense eNeighborMinnesota-based aging in place technology company Healthsense has raised $7 million in its fourth round of funding led by new investors Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Fallon Community Health Plan. Healthsense offers a remote monitoring platform for the senior care market called eNeighbor, a WiFi-enabled passive monitoring service that alerts care givers to emergencies like falls.

The eNeighbor system can include a PERS pendant, motion sensors, bed sensors, toilet sensors, and other contact sensors placed around the home. According to the company, these track the senior’s “activities of daily living” or ADLs.

In May 2011 Healthsense inked a deal with Verizon that saw the telecom provider marketing the Healthsense platform to senior living communities that have FiOS connections already installed.

In 2010 Healthsense funded and participated in a study that showcased the savings a senior housing facility equipped with Healthsense technology could bring over a standard nursing home. The study found that safely moving 33 elderly residents from nursing homes and into a new supportive housing complex in Philadelphia, resulted in savings of $1.85 million annually. According to the study, Healthsense’s technology monitored the seniors for almost two years and the combined cost of technology and staff support for all 33 of the residents was $288,600 for one year in supportive housing vs. $2.14 million for the nursing home care. The annual cost of Healthsense’s sensor technology alone was $39,000.

At the beginning of this year, the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund also invested in Physicians Interactive, which offers the popular Skyscape suite of mobile medical applications.

Motivational gaming gets more middle-schoolers to exercise, study shows

By: Neil Versel | Sep 25, 2012        

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Zamzee badgesGetting people to embrace motivational gaming for health and fitness may be a struggle, but some new data suggest that the concept works well when used properly.

Results of a study presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society in San Antonio, Texas, found that 59 percent of adolescents using Zamzee, an activity meter that resembles a USB drive, had higher levels of physical activity during a six-month test when they had access to a motivational website than those who did not.  Exercise prompted by extra motivation helped reduce risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, according to the study, sponsored the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Zamzee developer HopeLab, Redwood City, Calif.

HopeLab is a nonprofit organization that applies technology to improving the health of children, adolescents and young adults.

For this study, the group gave Zamzee, which has an accelerometer to measure both quantity and intensity of movement, to 448 middle-school-aged kids from urban, suburban and rural environments nationwide. Half also had access to Zamzee.com, where they could upload data from the devices and earn points – and rewards – for staying active. The other half were only able to upload data, not receive motivation.

Those with access to the website in addition to the device averaged 45 additional minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week, or 59 percent more, than kids in the control group. The difference was more striking for girls, who had a 103 percent increase in their activity when they used the motivational site. Overweight adolescents had a 27 percent higher rate of exercise after six months.

Data reported at the obesity conference indicated that “bad” LDL cholesterol levels fell in the children who regularly used Zamzee, and these participants also had better control over hemoglobin A1c levels than those in the control group.

“This study shows that technology is not just part of the problem; it can also be part of the solution in helping kids be more physically active,” HopeLab R&D Vice President Steve Cole, a professor of medicine at UCLA, says in a press release. “These results also show that Zamzee can increase physical activity enough to improve some of the key biological processes that underlie the long-term disease risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.”

HopeLab sells the Zamzee meter for $29.95, and there are no recurring fees for use. Access to the Zamzee.com motivational website is free.