10 mobile health acquisitions in 2011 so far

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 23, 2011        

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While the year is little more than halfway through, 2011 has already seen at least ten acquisitions for mobile health companies. Here’s a roundup of memorable ones:

Vitality's GlowCapsSoon-Shiong Buys Vitality-GlowCaps: In February pharma entrepreneur and billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong acquired Vitality, the company that developed GlowCaps. Vitality CEO David Rose stated in the company press release that while the financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, Vitality’s investors achieved a ten-fold return on their investments. In 2009 InformationWeek reported that the company had raised about $4 million, including investments from Dr. Soon-Shiong. The Boston Globe reports that Dr. Soon-Shiong negotiated the deal with Vitality’s co-founders courtside at an LA Lakers game. Dr. Soon-Shiong is partial owner of the team. Vitality’s flagship product, GlowCaps “illuminate, play a melody, and even ring a home phone so patients don’t forget to take their medication,” according to the company’s description. “GlowCaps send weekly emails to remote caregivers, create accountability with physicians through adherence reports, and automatically refill prescriptions.” More

WellDoc Oncology ManagerWellDoc buys Oncology Care Home Health Specialists: Baltimore-based WellDoc acquired home health consulting company Oncology Care Home Health Specialists for an undisclosed sum. The move will help WellDoc more quickly develop its oncology solution, which it expects will be a complement to its already FDA-approved DiabetesManager. WellDoc has integrated Oncology Care’s proprietary intellectual property and care algorithms into its own WellDoc Automated Expert Analytics System, which better positions WellDoc to offer coaching and clinical support to cancer patients and their providers over the Internet and through mobile phones. More

Doro's mobile phones for seniorsDoro buys Android developer: Doro, a Swedish telecom company that creates easy to use mobile devices for seniors, has acquired Prylo SAS, a France-based Android developer, reports InvestInEU. The purchase price for the company was 1.35 million EUR. The news comes shortly after Doro competitor GreatCall, which offers the senior-focused Jitterbug mobile phone service, announced its first smartphone app: MedCoach for the iPhone. Doro’s upcoming products will run on the Android OS. Prylos SAS has an impressive history, which lead to it being acquired: It previously developed mobile applications for French telecom operators including SFR, Ten and mobile health applications for INRA and Mobile Health. In 2010, it began focusing on applications for seniors, and were selected to participate in a program financed by the French government, called Proxima mobile, by developing a mobile application (called Tel & Age) that provides seniors with services related to comfort, assistance and health. 

The app will be available soon in France. More

PeaksawarePeaksware acquires app from Scottish developer: US health and fitness company Peaksware announced that it had acquired a fitness app from Scotland-based Screenmedia. Peaksaware, develops software systems to help individuals and professionals achieve health, fitness and peak performance, but had not yet offered mobile solutions. The app, previously called Sprint GPS Fitness Tracking is designed to help walkers, runners and cyclists track their activities and monitor their fitness levels. It measures distance, time, speed, pace, calories and altitude in real-time. Other features: ghost running, detailed in-app statistics, and sharing tools. The app is now rebranded as four different apps: ‘Run Tracker Pro’ for runners, ‘Cycle Tracker Pro’ for cyclists, ‘Walk Tracker Pro’ and ‘Walk Tracker Free’ for walkers. More

Humana acquires stake in Vitality: Humana has acquired a stake in South Africa-based Discovery Holdings to launch a joint venture with the company called HumanaVitality, which will provide Humana members with wellness tools and rewards. Humana will own 25 percent of The Vitality Group, Discovery’s US subsidiary, which will also offer wellness solution to US employers that are not necessarily Humana customers. More

AppointmentCityHealthagen acquires AppointmentCity: Healthagen, which offers the popular iTriage mobile health app, announced the acquisition of AppointmentCity, a mobile-enabled service that helps consumers more easily book appointments at hospitals, urgent care facilities, physicians’ offices and more. The functionality is a natural add-on to iTriage’s current offering, which includes a patient self-assessment guide, laction-based facility locator information and wait times at participating care facilities. No financial details about the deal were disclosed. More

USA Mobility buys Amcom: Wireless paging giant USA Mobility bought Amcom Software for $163.3 million in cash. USA Mobility used $110.8 million of cash on hand and $52.5 million through a credit facility from Wells Fargo Capital Finance. The acquisition helps modernize USA Mobility’s messaging services beyond legacy paging services and into messaging and unified communications. More

Wallace Wireless WIC PagerVocera buys Wallace Wireless: Vocera has acquired Toronto-based Wallace Wireless, a competitor that enables healthcare professionals to send pages, text messages, and alerts through their smartphones. Wallace says its system is “secure, reliable, and traceable” and works over both WiFi and cellular networks. Vocera did not disclose the acquisition sum. Healthcare has proven to be a core vertical for Wallace Wireless, but its offering has found a home in any industry that is weaning off its use of pagers. Wallace counts 200 customer sites across North America in healthcare, finance, public safety and more. More

Wolters Kluwer buys Lexi-Comp: Wolters Kluwer Health, a clinical reference information provider that among other things offers the UpToDate series of Web and mobile apps, has announced plans to acquire another big name in mobile medical reference: Lexi-Comp. Wolters Kluwer described the deal as “the latest in a series of strategic acquisitions” for its clinical solutions business, which focuses on point of care services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company stated that the acquisition would “enable pharmacist, physician and nurse customers to use an extended suite of mobile capabilities and online platforms, making access to critical medical information more convenient than ever before.” More

Augme buys JagTag: Mobile marketing company Augme Technologies, which has a core focus on health-related mobile marketing, recently acquired Jagtag, which develops bar codes and QR codes, for about $5.5 million in (mostly) stock. The startup had previously raised $3.6 million. Augme said the technology will be leveraged by its pharmaceutical company customers. “Augme expects that its combined resources with Jagtag will create a premier mobile marketing provider for brands, agencies, pharmaceutical/health and media companies.” More

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7 medical phone peripherals you should know

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 22, 2011        

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Inventors have created a number of medical device peripherals that attach to mobile phones in recent years. This past week we wrote about an iPhone peripheral LED light that illuminates flourescent ink “tattooed” under a person’s skin to detect sodium levels or blood glucose levels. In years past we’ve covered peripherals that transform inexpensive mobile phones into microscopes, mini eye exam machines, and more.

Read on for our roundup of seven mobile phone peripheral devices you should know…


cellscope closeup

Cellscope takes a standard cell phone and transforms it into a compact, high-resolution, handheld microscope with the capability of on-site disease diagnosis and wireless transmission of patient data to clinical centers for remote diagnosis and treatment. The company is currently piloting a program focused on at-home diagnosis of pediatric infections. It was developed by Dr. Daniel Fletcher, Dr. Erik Douglas and Dr. Wilbur Lam of the University of California at Berkeley. Cellscope was also one of the startups chosen to be a part of mHealth incubator Rock Health’s first class of 2011 startups. Keep reading>>

Intel-GE joint offers wellness tablet to seniors

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 22, 2011        

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Connect_MemberPageCare Innovations, a joint venture between Intel and GE, announced a new software platform called Care Innovations Connect this week, which aims to increase wellbeing and decrease social isolation among seniors.

The software includes wellness surveys, brain fitness games, community calendar events, medication compliance reminders, and social networking functionality, all running on a third-party tablet device with an embedded webcam. For care providers, the software suite includes an online portal that includes access to wellness data for multiple patients, news, and community information.

Laurie Orlov of Aging In Place Technology Watch lauded the JV for creating something new: “When the companies combined last year, spun out of Intel’s Digital Health group and GE’s QuietCare business units, I was hopeful that they would transcend limitations of the previous parents,” Orlov wrote. “Especially given Intel’s investment history of researching social needs of seniors, Omar Ishrak’s comment last August really resonated: ‘We recognize that the conditions faced by home health patients are not necessarily clinical. It is part of our core mission [in the Joint Venture] to address social and support needs.’”

Intel, of course, already had a device comparable to a tablet called Intel’s Health Guide. Connect and the tablet it runs on are a clear departure from the Health Guide, not just in form factor but function too. While Health Guide is largely focused on the clinical — tracking biometrics — Connect is a wellness device.

“Research has shown that loneliness, as a health risk factor, is twice as detrimental as being obese, and equal to the risk of smoking cigarettes and alcoholism,” stated Louis Burns, Care Innovations CEO, in a press release. “With Connect, we’re helping senior service providers overcome this issue by helping them identify major health deterioration in their members, while enabling seniors to stay engaged and live more socially connected lives.”

For more on the strategy Burns has in place for Care Innovations, be sure to read our interview with him from earlier this year.

Read the full press release after the jump.

Keep reading>>

iPhone peripheral reads glucose from nano-tattoo

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 21, 2011        

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Credit: Heather Clark and Matt Dubach

Technology that allows sodium and blood oxygen levels to be monitored with an iPhone via a nanosensor “tattoo” is currently being developed, reports Technology Review. A team at Northeastern University’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences lead by professor Heather Clark is working on the project, who recently presented her work recently at the BioMeds Boston conference at Harvard Medical School.

The project began as a way to check blood glucose levels in diabetics without the need for finger-prick bloodletting. The technology works via two major components: first, a solution containing certain nanoparticles is injected into the skin. These nano particles fluoresce when exposed to a target molecule (in this study, that includes glucose and sodium).

An iPhone inside a modified case, created by one of Clark’s graduate students, is then pressed to the skin and tracks changes in the level of fluorescence, which then reveal the amount of sodium or glucose present. The custom iPhone case contains a nine-volt battery, a camera lens filter, and a three LED-array that produce visible light which causes the tattoos to fluoresce. The LED light is filtered out by the lens, leaving only the fluorescent light. Currently, the iPhone only takes images of the tattoo, which are then analyzed on a computer. The team has plans to create an iPhone app which would allow analysis on the phone.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that this sort of technology will catch on,” Jim Burns, head of drug and biomedical research and development at Genzyme told Technology Review.

Clark has plans to expand the technology beyond detecting glucose and sodium to include dissolved gases like nitrogen and oxygen in the blood. The nanosensors would also allow people to monitor the amount of a drug in their blood for more accurate dosing.

Read more about the project in the TR report here.

Dossia adds games, incentives, social networking

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 20, 2011        

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the_frameworkPHR provider Dossia unveiled the latest version of its Dossia Health Manager software this week. It will be available to existing customers in the third quarter of 2011. According to the non-profit consortium, the Health Manager now “integrates game and social dynamics, incentives and messaging to foster sustained user engagement and behavior change, thereby offering long-term value to employers, employees and their families.”

“Employers are increasingly proactive about engaging their employees as partners in their effort to achieve higher value from their health benefits investment,” stated Dossia CEO Mike Critelli in a press release. “The Dossia Health Management System enables transformation in benefit plan design to drive healthier behaviors and more effective use of the health care system. ‘Empowering’ individuals is incredibly important, but this is also a tool for nudging them toward the right behaviors.”

Dossia has remained relatively quiet in recent years even as a similar offering from Google — Google Health — folded and Microsoft’s HealthVault offering added mobile apps and other features. Cerner also recently announced that it was entering the personal health records fray with its own offering.

Back in 2009, we reported on Vanguard Health joining the consortium, which includes AT&T, Applied Materials, BP America, California Capital Equity LLC, Cardinal Health, Intel, Pitney Bowes, Sanofi, and Walmart. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who acquired GlowCaps-maker Vitality and recently formed a joint venture with wireless sensor company Toumaz, previously provided $1.5 million in funding to Dossia. He’s also on the consortium’s board.

Read the full press release below. Keep reading>>

OnPage: The newest nail in the pager’s coffin

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 20, 2011        

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OnPageOnset Technology released OnPage this week, a subscription-based mobile app for iOS and BlackBerry that acts as a pager-like priority messaging service. Onset is no newcomer to the mobile messaging space: The company was founded in 1997.

OnPage aims to attract doctors who still use pagers as a priority messaging system by eliminating the need to carry two devices, while still providing a higher urgency than email, SMS and phone calls. The OnPage service alerts recipients until the message is acknowledged and read, includes a log and audit trail, as well as group messaging. OnPage subscription pricing starts at $8.99 per month, per user.

In a press release, Adam C. Marks, Director of Business & Technical Operations at RSC New England, wrote that “the healthcare industry is still reliant on what most professionals view today as an outdated technology—the pager. Up until this point, our physicians have used a traditional pager to help them keep priority messages distinct from other, less urgent communications. Unfortunately, with a one-way communication system, reliability and responsiveness have always been a concern. OnPage has mitigated those issues for our organization by enabling our physicians to use their smartphones to send and receive priority messages instantly.”

Currently, Cisco partner Extension offers a similar service, called HealthAlert for Nurses, which is available on the Android platform as well as for iPhones. In January, the app was submitted for FDA clearance.

Early this year, Vocera acquired smartphone paging service Wallace Wireless, which offers WICPager, a service similar to OnPage. WICPager is available for Apple iPhones and BlackBerry devices. Wallace Wireless has strong partnerships with AT&T and BlackBerry-maker RIM.

Check out the full press release below.

Keep reading>>