Lumoback patch and app to track posture

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 19, 2011        

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MedKenyaThe DEMO conference in California last week featured three mHealth startups, according to a report from PC World.

First off is Lumoback, a system that aims to correct poor posture using a wearable patch, which measures about two inches long and is powered by a lithium-ion battery. The user wears it on the lower back. The sensor transmits posture data via Bluetooth to a smartphone app on the user’s phone. The patch vibrates when the wearer has incorrect posture either sitting or standing, and the app can provide real-time feedback on the user’s posture via an on-screen model. That leads to corrective advice and a summary of the tracked data over time.

The company looking to work with health, fitness and sports-related companies and hopes for a commercial launch in the middle of next year.

The second startup that PC World highlighted, Poosh, uses SMS to send motivational workout reminders from “elite athletes” to users. Messages are divided into specific categories for men’s and women’s weight loss, men’s and women’s general health, marathon training and a category called In Your Face, for users who decide they need additional motivation. The free service is ad-supported. The company’s chief content development officer is Jaime Komer, who won a silver medal in women’s water polo at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In its demonstration, Poosh showed an “In Your Face” message that read, “Get off your lazy butt and do 5 push ups right now!! Add 1 additional push up each day until you reach your max!” Users can sign up to receive as many as three messages per day, and along with those, they will get one advertising message, which is targeted at health and fitness topics.

The third company highlighted in the article is MedKenya, a reference service similar to WebMD, that won top prize recently at the Pivot25 entrepreneurial contest held in Nairobi. The app provides symptom checkers, first-aid information, medical alerts, and searchable doctor and hospital directories in an attempt to make healthcare more accessible for Kenyans. The service is available via Android and Symbian apps, as well as SMS and the web.

Read the PC World article here


HHS launches SMS smoking cessation services

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 19, 2011        

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HHS SmokeFreeTXTThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this week two new SMS smoking cessation programs, QuitNowTXT and SmokeFreeTXT, as part of their Text4Health initiative. The programs, a collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, are aimed separately at adults, and teens/young adults, respectively.

HHS formed the Text4Health Task Force in November 2010 to provide recommendations for HHS’ role in encouraging and developing health text messaging initiatives, and to report on the effectiveness of programs like Voxiva’s Text4Baby. The HHS has invested $5 million dollars since January to develop its mHealth smoking cessation resources. The backend technology for SmokeFreeTXT was built by Washington, D.C.’s Infield Health.

Voxiva’s own smoking cessation program, Text2Quit, launched in June. Earlier this month, it announced that the program would be offered exclusively through Alere Wellbeing.

“More than 70 percent of smokers want to quit, we are committed to providing evidence based information to smokers through emerging and innovative technology,” stated HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press release.

Both of the cessation services offer tips, motivation, encouragement, and facts via SMS, based on information tailored to the user’s response and are an considered an extension of the website.

HHS plans to make the QuitNowTXT program available globally, and has formed partnerships with the mHealth Alliance (hosted by the United Nations Foundation), World Medical Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Center for Global Health at the George Washington University and Johnson & Johnson.

“Mobile device texting initiatives, like this one, have the potential to be a powerful tool to support tobacco cessation globally. Text messaging is widely available, inexpensive, and allows for immediate delivery of cessation information,” stated HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park in a press release.

Read the full press release below. Keep reading>>

Is FDA’s EHR Exemption Becoming Extinct?

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 19, 2011        

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Bradley Merrill ThompsonBy Bradley Merrill Thompson

FDA’s exemption for EHRs seems headed the way of the dodo bird.  Nobody planned it that way, but a combination of opposing trends– the trend toward greater and greater functionality for EHRs and the trend toward greater FDA regulation of any software functionality that can impact patients — means there may very well be little left of the traditional EHR exemption in the future. That second trend was really brought home this past week when FDA held a hearing on the scope of its planned oversight of clinical decision support software.  More on that later.

Industry needs to start planning its response now.  And when I say industry, I’m including not only traditional software vendors, but those users that potentially cross the line of FDA jurisdiction by modifying what they purchase.  Industry’s response can include a wide range of activities from advocacy to ensure the agency understands the importance of a light touch in some areas of software development where speed and agility are essential, to preparing for FDA regulation for those types of software that clearly and directly impact patient care.

Technology Trends

I’m a liberal arts guy, so I won’t even pretend I can offer great insight into the direction of IT in hospitals.  But here’s my 100,000 foot summary of what I hear is going on. Keep reading>>

CellTrak acquires Canada-based MedShare

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 16, 2011        

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CellTrakCellTrak Technologies announced that it had acquired Ontario, Canada-based MedShare. As a result of the acquisition, CellTrak has formed a new Canadian subsidiary, called CellTrak Canada.

CellTrak’s home-care software, available for GPS-equipped smartphones, offers tools for tracking visit compliance, error reporting, mileage and time reimbursements as well as schedule management. MedShare’s software, available for BlackBerry and Windows tablets, feature access to clinical information, decision support and care documentation tools at the point of care.

“The MedShare team has built a successful portfolio of innovative mobile solutions that complement an agency’s use of their back office and clinical applications,” stated Michael K. Wons, President and CEO of CellTrak, in a press release. “Our companies share similar values and technologies with a common goal of providing the best mobile solutions for the home and community care market and we are very excited to join forces with the employees, partners and clients of MedShare.”

Wons spoke to MobiHealthNews last December about the mobile opportunity for home health workers. At the time he said that “At Celltrak, we talk a lot about our mobile app and there is a lot of excitement around that. It’s easy to build mobile apps, though. It’s not easy to create a healthcare offering that has the ability to be directly integrated on the backend with most any system.”

Wons also said at the end of last year that the company is planning an iPhone launch in 2011, which has yet to be announced. “We want to be device and carrier agnostic,” Wons told MobiHealthNews last year. “It’s not hard to see there’s a lot of buzz about smartphones, but feedback from our customers has shown what helps to make us different is our ability to work on low-end handsets.”

Read the full press release below. Keep reading>>

HealthTech Capital invests $200K in PharmaSecure

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 15, 2011        

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Don Ross HealthTech Capital

HealthTech Capital's Don Ross

PharmaSecure announced a $200,000 new round of funding led by HealtTech Capital, a Silicon Valley-based angel investing group. The second round included Gray Ghost Ventures and other undisclosed investors.

PharmaSecure uses SMS to verify a prescription drug’s authenticity, using a unique code and phone number printed on a pill bottle’s label. One of the startup’s competitors is Sproxil, which partnered with GlaxoSmithKline in May.

Earlier this year, HealthTech Managing Director and Founder Don Ross wrote a column for MobiHealthNews on how health tech is the next big opportunity for investors.

HealthTech also contributed to a round of funding in Niveus Medical, which is developing a technology to preserve muscle strength during long periods of sedation and bed rest.

“With healthcare costs continuing to spiral out of control, companies that decrease costs by leveraging new technologies are providing very attractive investment opportunities,” stated Anne DeGheest, managing director of HealthTech Capital, in a press release. “PharmaSecure and Niveus Medical are well positioned to be the next wave of successful HealthTech companies, and we are delighted to work closely with such great entrepreneurs.”

Read the press release below. Keep reading>>

Teladoc closes $18.6 million led by Kleiner

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 15, 2011        

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iPad2FaceTimeTeladoc announced this week a round of funding totaling $18.6 million, led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). Other investors in the funding round include Cardinal Partners, HLM Venture Partners, Trident Capital, and New Capital Partners.

Teladoc offers consumers remote consultations with licensed physicians for routine medical issues. The visits are on-demand and can be scheduled any time — day or night — and any day of the week. Currently the consultations can take place over the phone or via a video chat online. According to Teladoc, a consultation request is answered, on average, in 22 minutes, and averages $38 or less per session.

“The telehealth industry has reached an inflection point in its growth curve,” stated Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic in a press release. “This capital from KPCB and our existing investors distinguishes Teladoc as the clear leader in this emerging space. Our entire business model is focused on solving the greatest challenges we face in healthcare – access, cost and quality. We look forward to partnering with KPCB to leverage their expertise in building great companies.”

In May, MobiHealthNews reported on plans (revealed by Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic during a presentation at the Wireless Life-Sciences Alliance (WLSA) Convergence Summit) to offer Apple FaceTime consultations between doctors and patients. The feature has yet to be announced.

“KPCB seeks to identify industry leaders in markets that address significant unmet needs and are poised for explosive growth,” stated Dana Mead, partner at KPCB, in this week’s press release. “Teladoc and telemedicine clearly meet these criteria. We look forward to partnering with Teladoc to make a meaningful impact on the U.S. healthcare system.”

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