Latest ResolutionMD app adds side-by-side comparisons, multi-facility support

By: Neil Versel | May 14, 2013        

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ResolutionMD MobileCalgary Scientific claims its ResolutionMD Mobile diagnostic imaging app was the first of its kind to regulatory clearance for use on mobile devices, though competitor MIM Software gained Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for an iPhone app in January 2011, months before ResolutionMD did the same.

ResolutionMD was the first to earn Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for an Android diagnostic imaging app in April this year. GE Healthcare also has had an Android version of its Centricity Radiology Mobile Access for two years, but clearance came later.

Whether someone is first does not matter all that much when there are competitive products available, so Calgary Scientific is stepping up its game. This month, the Canadian firm released version 3.2 of its ResolutionMD system, available in both app and Web-based formats, the first update since the FDA clearance of the Android app.

ResolutionMD Mobile now has market clearance from US, Canadian and European regulators and has been validated on: Apple’s iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S and 5; all generations of iPad including the iPad Mini; the Samsung Galaxy tab 10.1 Android tablet; and LG Optimus LTE Android smartphone, according to the company. It is available in 12 languages.

While 3.2 is a “point” release and not a completely overhauled system, the new version does contain a number of improvements. ResolutionMD now permits split-viewing mode on mobile devices so physicians can compare studies side-by-side, as well as retrieval of entire patient histories. “You get quick access to historical images,” Calgary Scientific President and CTO Pierre Lemire told MobiHealthNews.

Version 3.2 also adds “multi-tenant support,” which, according to Lemire, means organizations can manage many hospitals and imaging centers from a single server. “This is essential for a cloud deployment,” he said. Keep reading>>


Nike+ FuelBand’s rumored pinch-for-heart-rate feature unlikely

By: Brian Dolan | May 14, 2013        

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Nike Fuel BandLast week a widely spread rumor made it’s way to various tech blogs about the next generation Nike+ FuelBand: Reportedly, the second generation device is currently being tested by Nike employees who are wearing it out in the public because the prototype still has the form factor of the original. A report in gadget blog, Gear Live, claims that the next FuelBand will include Bluetooth 4.0 (aka Bluetooth Smart) auto-syncing, heart rate sensing, a faster UI, and accelerometer data accessibility via the API.

The report also claims that a Nike+ FuelBand Android app is also in the works, even though the company previously said it would not stray from Apple’s iOS platform.

“First, a heart rate monitor will be built-in to the upcoming FuelBand,” Gear Live’s Andru Edwards writes. “You scroll through your options to get to the heart rate monitor, and then pinch the FuelBand on the monitor area, and it will take your pulse. We weren’t able to confirm if it would save the results to your Nike+ profile for tracking purposes, or if it was just something to give you information when you used it.”

Based on Gear Live’s widely cited report, the next generation FuelBand would require users to “pinch” the device between two fingers to get a pulse reading. Meanwhile, other wearable devices like those offered by Basis and BodyMedia are able to passively read heart rate from the person’s wrist — no pinching required.

Would Nike really offer up a second generation FuelBand that was more difficult to use than devices made by its (much smaller) competitors? Devices that are already available in the market? The pinch-for-heart-rate feature would be a misstep for Nike. This part of the rumor, anyway, seems unlikely to come to pass, but if it does, it could prove to give other device makers a real leg up on the FuelBand 2.

How consumers might find digital health tools

By: Brian Dolan | May 14, 2013        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsFor many years there has been a common refrain for mobile health app discovery: There’s no Consumer Reports for health apps. With tens of thousands of health-related smartphone apps, dozens of direct-to-consumer wearable health sensors now available, and various other websites and services — how is the increasingly health-conscious consumer to choose? Or, perhaps, if you believe that digital health tools are a new product category: How do consumers even hear about all these digital health tools in the first place? The discoverability problem is a big one, but there are many new and existing players doing something about it.

First off, while Consumer Reports has yet to truly step up and come up with a definitive and ongoing assessment of which digital health tools are best for consumers to adopt, it might do so in the future. In 2009 a Consumer Reports analyst compiled a fledgling list of health and medical apps that the writer says shows the diversity of health apps available at the time. Not a true “recommended” list, but — at the time, anyway — it certainly seemed like a start.

Earlier this year Consumer Reports provided some press for popular diet and fitness app MyFitnessPal. Consumer Reports asked 9,000 of its magazine subscribers about which diet plans they prefer, including commercial diet plans and do-it-yourself ones. The usual suspects came out on top for the commercial diet plan category (Weight Watchers, Medifast, Jenny Craig), but MyFitnessPal won the do-it-yourself diet plan category, besting diet plans like the Paleo Diet and the Mediterranean Diet.

The survey led NBC’s The Today Show’s blog to declare MyFitnessPal a top app according to Consumer Reports. That’s a coveted designation many health app developers have been wanting for years — even if it wasn’t as official an assessment as other have previously hoped.

Meanwhile the federal government has assembled its own budding list of “wellness resources” as the Digital Health LinkedIn Group’s Paul Sonnier pointed out in a recent group discussion.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) writes on its site: “Whether you’re looking to maintain or improve your health, a large number of web sites, apps, and devices exist to help you track and manage your health and wellness. On your own, you can use such resources to better understand your health and meet your personal health goals. But you may also be able to use the information you collect to help your doctor better understand your concerns and conditions.” As HHS notes, the list “contains just a fraction” of digital health tools available currently, and the government is quick to point out that it doesn’t endorse any of the tools listed.

Apple has stepped up its curation of the iTunes AppStore over the course of the past year with new sections, including one on top iPhone fitness apps to “get moving”, which now includes top running, swimming, and cycling apps for the first time. AppStore users no longer are on their own wading through the tens of thousands of health apps if they don’t want to be.

There are many great review sites, like Greatist, a StartUp Health company, that often provide consumers with suggestions for digital health tools. Sites like Greatist could turn out to be the next generation Consumer Reports.

Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar stores like Apple, Best Buy, Walgreens and others are increasingly stocking health and fitness gadgets. While in-person retail sales are proving difficult for some businesses, these impromptu encounters with a relatively new product category like digital health might be crucial for adoption in these early days.

Health economist and Health Populi blogger Jane Sarasohn-Kahn noted over the weekend that digital health companies were marketing their wares to mothers — and those buying gifts for mothers — for Mother’s Day. Newspaper magazine insert Parade included a piece on Mother’s Day gift ideas that featured Fitbit’s “smart pedometers” as one suggestion. Men’s Health Magazine prodded sons and husbands to consider a Garmin Forerunner watch. Entertainment Weekly pointed to the Jawbone UP.

Sarasohn-Kahn concluded (and I agree): “From Parade magazine to Amazon, digital health is mainstreaming.”

Maybe Consumer Reports will join the fray someday. Maybe not. Despite that, the marketing and curation of consumer-facing digital health tools is now well underway.

Mayo Clinic-powered heart patient sensor commercially launches

By: Jonah Comstock | May 13, 2013        

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BGsensorandphoneMinneapolis-based Preventice announced the commercial launch of its first hardware product: the BodyGuardian Remote Monitoring System. The device, a small sensor attached to the body via a peel-and-stick patch, received FDA 510(k) clearance in August 2012. BodyGaurdian RMS uses an algorithm developed by the Mayo Clinic, sensor technology from STMicroelectronics, and wireless technology from Samsung.

The company also suggested to MobiHealthNews that at least one additional hardware product is in the works from the company. The second device will leverage a developer’s agreement with Avery Dennison for Proteus Digital Health’s disposable patch technology. That’s the same patch technology that powers BodyMedia’s possibly forthcoming VUE patch.

“We understand that in this ambulatory market, different devices will serve different purposes according to length of stay and quality of signal, and our strategy is to have different offerings,” Preventice Senior VP of Marketing Michael Emerson told MobiHealthNews.

The BodyGuardian RMS is for detecting and monitoring nonlethal cardiac arrhythmias in ambulatory patients. The company is not marketing it directly to consumers, since its FDA clearance is only for prescription use. Instead, Preventice will sell units to providers and organizations that work with providers. Emerson said the device qualifies for reimbursement under many health plans.

Patients using the system will receive a number of peel-and-stick patches, two sensor units, plus a dedicated smartphone with preloaded software. The patches are cleared to be worn for 30 days at a time, but Preventice recommends changing them more frequently. The devices are designed to be swapped out every morning and night, with the patient putting the device they’re not wearing in a charging cradle. This allows the sensor to collect data for all but a few minutes each day. The patch is water-proof and the sensor is water-resistant.

“Most patients have reported that they lose track that they’re wearing it after a few hours,” Emerson said. “It really disappears from your conciousness. We really have had no issues with longterm wear. Unless you have a spandex shirt on you really don’t even see it underneath a shirt or blouse.”

The device collects data on ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate, and activity level. The data is transmitted over a cellular network that can be accessed on a doctor’s mobile device or through a web portal. At the request of the hospital, that data can also be moved into an EHR, Emerson said.

The company has a number of customers lined up, according to Emerson, as well as some pilots and clinical trials set to launch. The Mayo Clinic will be running some pilots and will receive some of the devices as part of the ongoing agreement by which Preventice licensed the algorithm. Other trials will be run in Italy and France and will test the device with post-surgical cardiac patients, patients with congestive heart failure, and infrequently symptomatic patients.

Additionally, the company has a financial pilot in the works with an as-yet-undisclosed payor to establish whether the device delivers significant healthcare savings.

FDA clears Sorin’s SmartView, cardiac implantable device remote monitor

By: Aditi Pai | May 13, 2013        

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SmartViewThis week, Sorin Group announced that the FDA cleared SmartView, a remote monitoring application for patients with implanted cardiac rhythm management devices. The technology allows physicians whose patients have a Paradym device, Sorin Group’s implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), to monitor them outside of the office.

SmartView is a home health hub that collects data wirelessly from the patient’s implanted device. The data is then sent to a web application via a cellular network. Physicians can access the information in a PDF report available through the web application. The monitor also alerts physicians via text, fax or email and sends the information to a second physician if the alert remains unopened.

While SmartView just received clearance in the United States, the monitor launched in select European countries in June 2012 and Canada in December 2012.

Adding remote monitoring to these types of devices has proven to help patients in the past. In 2010, Executive Director of USC’s Center for Body Computing Dr. Leslie Saxon completed a study of 100,000 patients with implanted heart devices that concluded patients with remote monitoring faced half the mortality rate than those that did not use wireless enabled tracking.

“A lot of naysayers have said they don’t want to use US healthcare dollars on these high tech devices in sick patients,” Saxon said in an interview with MobiHealthNews at the time. “Over time it turns out to be very cost effective. It’s a good bet. That is important for patients with heart failure, because the incidence is rising. This is the first study to show this is a worthwhile and durable therapy from an economic standpoint.”

Many other medical device companies have created remote monitoring systems similar to Sorin’s SmartView. For example, in June 2011, Medtronic launched its first app for physicians that helps them monitor patients with implantable devices and later that year St. Jude added an alert system to its implantable device monitoring offering Merlin@home.

Healthfundr aims to uncrunch startup investing

By: Jonah Comstock | May 13, 2013        

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Money TreePrograms like Rock Health Angel Group and SecondMarket’s recent collaboration with StartUp Health both focused on getting more accredited investors into healthcare — high net worth individuals who don’t have access to big venture funds, but are willing to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into startups. But both those programs are selling accredited investors on the earliest stage of investment, in an effort to get them in on the ground floor.

Healthfundr, a new digital health investment crowdfunding platform, wants to leverage those same investors to create a new source of capital at the next stage, what Healthfundr COO and Co-founder Sean Schantzen and others call the “Series A crunch.”

“Because there’s an enormous increase in angel and seed funding, more people are doing innovation, but the amount of money available through venture funds has basically stayed flat. So there’s more innovation upfront, but a lot of those companies end up capital starved,” Schantzen told MobiHealthNews. “We took this approach of focusing on companies that are a little further along, close to regulatory approval or they’ve gotten it already. We figure that’s where we can add value. Increase the number of innovators that can get past the valley of death, basically.”

Healthfundr plans to attract investors by promising to do a lot of the work for them in terms of vetting the companies. So rather than taking a marketplace approach of listing many different companies, Healthfundr will work closely with “no more than five to ten” startups at a time, Schantzen said.

“We’ll look at business plans, run background checks on founders, and all of that up front,” Schantzen said.

SEC regulations prevent Healthfundr from publicly naming the companies it’s working with until they’re funded, but Schantzen said they are recruiting investors for three companies currently and in conversations with a few others. Accredited investors can see the list of companies by creating a profile on the Healthfundr site.

Schantzen said that, like Rock Health, his group is particularly interested in physician investors, who are, of course, not only well-educated, but are also knowledgable about healthcare specifically. But Healthfundr also wants to focus strongly on investor education, building up educational resources on topics such as FDA clearance.

Because most of the existing health accelerators are interested in early stage companies, Schantzen said Healthfundr sees them as potential partners, not competitors.

“They do a great job of helping companies take the very first steps,” he said. “Building up relationships with the accelerators and the incubators is definitely something we’re doing.”