Pharma mobile marketer buys Hipcricket for $44.5M

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 4, 2011        

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augmeMobile marketing firm Augme Technologies announced this week the acquisition of mobile marketing and advertising firm Hipcricket for $44.5 million. The price tag includes $6 million in cash and the remainder in company stock. Augme’s clients notably include ten of the world’s top twenty pharmaceutical companies. In 2009, Modavox bought Augme, including their mHealth marketing company Augme Mobile Health, but the company kept the Augme brand.

Augme also recently acquired Jagtag, which develops bar codes and QR codes, for about $5.5 million in (mostly) stock.

“Gartner has estimated that worldwide spending on mobile advertising will double in 2011 to $3.3 billion, from $1.6 billion in 2010, and should reach $20.6 billion by the year 2015,” stated Augme CEO Paul Arena in a press release. “As the mobile marketing industry matures, we believe companies that can provide a comprehensive array of effective mobile solutions, built upon robust technology platforms and best of breed strategic services will become more attractive to global, national and regional brand-name leaders. By positioning itself to become the preeminent one-stop mobile marketing provider, we believe that, in combination with Hipcricket and JAGTAG, Augme will be ideally situated to take advantage of these industry trends.

Read the full press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

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How camera phones can automate healthcare

By: Neil Versel | Aug 4, 2011        

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Mitek Mobile DepositThe same company behind the technology that allows bank customers to deposit checks by camera phone is entering the healthcare business.

Mitek Systems, Del Mar, Calif., is now offering its mobile imaging technology through an API so smartphone app developers can automate paper-based processes. Obviously, healthcare has many such processes.

The new Mitek Mobile Imaging Cloud, which runs on the Amazon Cloud, captures images through smartphone cameras, extracts data from each image, populates forms and forwards the information to appropriate channels. Suitable healthcare documents might include paper prescriptions, physician superbills, insurance forms and patient history forms, according to DeBello, because they represent such tedious processes.

Healthcare “is one of our priorities,” Mitek CEO James DeBello tells MobiHealthNews. “Providers are trying to engage patients and consumers in a better user experience,” DeBello says.

He gives the example of a submitting expense reports and receipts to get reimbursed through a healthcare flexible spending account. “I literally have to go to the copy machine to copy my bills and receipts, fill out a form by hand, then fax the form by hand,” DeBello laments. If all goes well, a check shows up by snail mail a few days later.

“It is so painful,” DeBello says. Keep reading>>

Mobile health investments small but skyrocketing

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 4, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsHear that? It’s the sound of tens of millions of dollars flowing into mobile health.

In July alone we reported on $138 million in investment deals, which included a whopping $61 million for ClearPractice’s parent company, $35 million for a sleep device maker, and a $25 million investment promised by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong in his new joint venture with Toumaz. Most investments, of course, were still only about a couple million in size.

During the past three days, we’ve also seen two important investment deals for August: $50 million for appointment setting app ZocDoc and $3 million for iPhoneECG developer AliveCor.

While the trickle of investment dollars appears to be picking up, a new survey from health apps incubator Rock Health finds that many digital health entrepreneurs characterize fundraising as their biggest challenge.

Rock Health mashed up data from Capital IQ, CrunchBase, NVCA, and a survey it conducted of 110 entrepreneurs working at digital health startups. Overall, Rock concluded as we have that venture capital interest in digital health is “skyrocketing” since 2010 was a record year that saw 138 healthcare technology investment deals, up from 52 such deals in 2005. Rock Health already counts 35 investment deals of $2 million for digital health startups in 2011, but many others see fundraising as a challenge.

Of the 110 startups interviewed, only 13 percent had secured angel funding. Only 2 percent had venture capital funding. Most said they were “bootstrapping” their startups on capital of $50,000 or less.

Another interesting finding from Rock’s survey: Early stage digital health entrepreneurs are building business-to-consumer (B2C) companies despite the majority of investment dollars flowing to business-to-business (B2B) ventures. Of those surveyed, 60 percent of the startups plan to have consumers pay for their product, while 30 percent said hospitals would, about 30 percent said insurers would, some 26 percent expect employers to pay, and finally some 22 percent plan to have advertisers pay for it. Obviously, some respondents had picked multiple payers.

Besides funding the Rock survey found that “establishing a sustainable revenue model” and “talent acquisition” were among the most pressing issues facing their business today.

It was often said that a lack of regulatory guidance from the FDA was causing some investors to hesitate to invest in the growing number of mobile health startups. Hopefully last month’s guidance document from the FDA goes a long way to ease those fears and investment dollars continue to flow.

Partners HealthCare’s EHR goes mobile

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 3, 2011        

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Partners Jan 2008Boston-based integrated delivery network (IDN) Partners HealthCare has taken its electronic medical record mobile with the help of InterSystems. InterSystems offering, CACHE, made mobilizing Partners’ internally developed EHR possible. The initiative took 90 days to implement, according to the company, and now an estimated 2,000 clinicians within Partners are using the app, which is currently available for iOS and BlackBerry devices.

Partners’ network includes both major teaching and community hospitals and is staffed by more than 5,000 practicing physicians who attend 4 million outpatient visits and 160,000 admitted patients each year.

“The mEHR enhances the daily life of physicians by enabling them to be mobile. Instead of finding a workstation, logging in, accessing the patient record and then going to see a patient, they can just pull the iPhone from a pocket and review results at the bedside while they’re talking to the patient,” stated John Pappas, Associate Director of Clinical Systems Integration, in a press release. “And, they can check on the latest information—test results, for example—at any time from any location… it’s having a major positive impact on workflow.”

It is not at all surprising that Partners made a big leap in mobile accessibility for its EHR. The IDN’s Center for Connected Health hosts a symposium on digital health issues every fall, including sessions on mobile health and related topics. Healthrageous, a startup that leverages wireless sensors and consumer fitness devices to keep people in good health, spun out of Partners’ Center for Connected Health in 2009. The Center has also conducted a number of pilots that leverage mobile phones and devices for remote patient care and health reminders.

Partners also announced that plans are in the works for Android OS support, as well as enabling clinicians the ability to view radiology images on iPads.

“Partners’ success at developing and deploying the mEHR so rapidly is an example of why they’re viewed as an innovation leader in the use of healthcare technology,” stated Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems Vice President of Strategic Planning, in a press release. “Mobility is becoming a watchword in the healthcare sector. The Partners mEHR provides clinicians with the ultimate in mobility by delivering the information they want, when and where they want it, in the presentation form that they want and expect.”

UPDATE: Partners created its own EHR internally, it was not built by InterSystems as this article originally stated.

Read the full press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

Basis: On becoming a symbol for wellness

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 3, 2011        

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Jef Holove Basis CEO 5.11“Personal wellness is like the green tech movement,” said Jef Holove, recently appointed CEO of Basis, in an interview with MobiHealthNews earlier this summer. “I believe it is one of the most important trends of our time, both on the individual level as well as a societal level.”

“Regardless of your stance on it, the current national debate on healthcare has dramatically increased awareness of the costs of healthcare. Certainly, it made it abundantly clear to the nation we maintain a society that is not well,” Holove said.

For six years Basis was known PulseTracer, but the company changed names recently in anticipation of a commercial roll out. It also received $9 million in funding earlier this year to help bring its wares to market.

Basis offers a wrist worn device called the Basis Band that measures the wearer’s heart rate, pulse, walking rate, and sweat thanks to a suite of embedded sensors. The company plans to allow third party developers to build apps that work with the Basis Band device, but apps will be complements to the device. Not its equal.

“We can get literally right on your skin, which you simply cannot do with an app,” Holove said. “That’s what we are bringing that apps don’t.”

Holove says that Basis Band should be considered a continuous use device, unlike some of their competitors: “Other devices that can track heart rate from Polar, Garmin, etc.– if you are a fitness person who wants to track heart rate, fine, but no one is going to wear a chest strap 24/7. Fitbit is more focused around continuous wellness, but it’s about a subset of sensors vs. what we are getting to. It’s a pedometer if you want to count steps you can but it’s very narrow. We are [building] a much richer data set.”

“I really think we are not at the beginning — but at a threshold — and this trend is exploding and is becoming sustainable. Just like driving a Prius or having a recycling bin outside your house are symbols that you are doing your part for the environment, there will be certain symbols that show you are doing your part for wellness. Devices like ours could become that symbol.”

This week Medgadget also interviewed Horlove and wrote up an extensive, must-read Q&A. Check it out here.

New JAMA editor sees mobile opportunity

By: Neil Versel | Aug 3, 2011        

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Neil VerselYou know how we keep hearing that there just isn’t enough clinical evidence yet to justify reimbursement for mobile and wireless technologies such as home monitoring systems? That may be about to change, possibly in an unlikely venue: the venerable, oftentimes stuffy, Journal of the American Medical Association.

The American Medical Association, which publishes JAMA, has a reputation as being a staid defender of the status quo, which is why you’ll rarely see any AMA news in a publication like MobiHealthNews that covers the cutting edge of health innovation. But the new editor of JAMA, Dr. Howard Bauchner, sounds like he’s ready to embrace mobility.

I base this on an extensive interview Bauchner gave with longtime Chicago Tribune healthcare reporter Bruce Japsen (who, unfortunately, is losing his job soon). Bauchner, who was vice chairman of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine before taking over at JAMA last month, told Japsen he is interested in “intelligent innovation” for the 127-year-old journal and the nine “Archives” titles that the AMA publishes for various medical specialties.

“Most practitioners are inundated with information,” Bauchner is quoted as saying. “How do you get information to them in a usable format?”

The answer? Small bites. Mobility. Alerts through social media.

“If you look at some of the other creative sites like TED or Big Think, they have been experimenting with video clips,” Bauchner said in the interview. “I could imagine having some of our authors do video clips where they speak about the meaning of their research for eight or 10 minutes, and then that’s easily linked into a smartphone.”

(Seriously, did you ever think you’d see the day when the editor of JAMA would cite TED or Big Think?) Keep reading>>