Survey: Mobile health intervention adoption was low for clinics, health centers in 2013

By: Jonah Comstock | May 14, 2015        

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A 2013 survey released this week from the Commonwealth Fund shows that use of mobile health interventions at the time was low among urban and rural community health centers and clinics for a variety of reasons. The Commonwealth Fund reached out to nearly 1,000 centers and received responses from 230, of which 181 were included in the final analysis.

COmmonwealth Fund

“[U]sing technology to promote patient-centered, coordinated care can help make significant advances in improving population health and reducing inefficiencies in care delivery,” authors Andrew Broderick and Farshid Haque write in the research brief. “But, as the findings from this survey reveal, providers have not been able to effectively leverage technology tools toward these goals. To fully unlock the potential of technology to improve health care will require an improved understanding of the use of mobile health in patient care, as well as policies that provide funding, technical assistance, and reimbursement and address the issues of informed consent, privacy and security.” Keep reading>>

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Everyday Health sees mobile marketing growth, eyes more acquisitions

By: Brian Dolan | May 14, 2015        

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Everyday Health appDuring Everyday Health’s first quarter earnings call this week, CEO and Co-founder Ben Wolin pointed to strong growth in mobile marketing revenues for the health media company. Everyday posted a $8.1 million loss on total Q1 revenue of $41.2 million, which is up 10 percent over Q1 2014. Mobile revenues grew 35 percent year-over-year, according to the company, and accounted for 38 percent of Everyday’s total Q1 revenue. For all of 2014, the company said 37 percent of its revenues came from mobile channels.

“Like in prior periods, in Q1 we saw strong growth in mobile as a delivery channel for our advertising and sponsorship programs,” Wolin said. “Some recent reports have suggested that pharma companies are hesitant to market via mobile channels. That is obviously not what we are seeing or experiencing. It’s not something we expect to see going forward… We’re highly focused on delivering mobile-friendly content and tools to our users. This mobile engagement also allows us to deliver advertising solutions that monetize equally well across mobile and desktop.”

As he also mentioned during the company’s Q4 call in March, Wolin said Everyday is aggressively pursuing acquisitions.

“The M&A environment of the digital sector remains very active,” Wolin said during the Q1 call this week. “While we are very excited about the progress in our business and the new revenue opportunities I’ve discussed, we are always exploring additional opportunities to accelerate our growth through acquisitions that are, both smart strategically and financially prudent… We are going to remain active and focused on three pillars that we’ve outlined in the past. Those really are going deeper with our existing consumers and physicians — so a website or mobile application or another type of property that would allow us to gain reach our frequency in a specific therapeutic category. Second, new tools or services or companies that service pharma in unique ways that we haven’t had in the past. Third, businesses that would be able to take advantage of our existing platform to open it up for existing new customers sets.”  Keep reading>>

London hospital pilots Apple Watch for chemo patients

By: Jonah Comstock | May 14, 2015        

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MedoPad Apple watchA London hospital is the latest to put the Apple Watch to use within its walls, this time to improve medication management and adherence for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. According to a report from Wareable, King’s College Hospital will be the first to pilot an app from Medopad, a British company that also makes tablet-based mobile health technology.

“Cancer treatment is a challenging journey,” Dr Siamak Arami, a Consultant Haematologist at King’s College Hospital, told The Journal of mHealth last month, when Medopad launched the app. “Adherence to complicated treatment regimens, and the streamlined recording and reporting of health issues during treatment are of paramount value. Medopad’s Apple Watch chemotherapy application is an exciting new development in medical technology that can transform the quality and safety of care for patients, carers and care providers. This can eventually reduce the cost and improve the outcome of treatment for cancer patients.”

The app will combine medication reminders, served via haptic feedback, with data sharing directly to physicians via Apple HealthKit. The app will automatically share activity data, and patients will be able to submit data about symptoms and temperature. This is valuable, because if patients have a negative reaction to a drug, doctors can adjust prescriptions on the fly based on the realtime data pouring in from the app. Keep reading>>

Cigna updates its health coaching app with more advanced user profiling

By: Aditi Pai | May 14, 2015        

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Coach by CignaCigna has updated its health coaching app, called Coach by Cigna, which aims to help users improve their health by making healthier lifestyle decisions. Cigna developed the app in partnership with Samsung for Samsung’s S5 and S6 smartphones. The app first launched one year ago this month.

Coach by Cigna previously collected health information either manually through the smartphone or via sensors in wearables like Galaxy Gear or Gear Fit to generate a personal health coaching regimen for users. But the new version uses “psychology of lateral assessment” to determine the user’s personality type, wants and needs, as well as preferences, so that Cigna can profile the user more accurately.

Health improvement programs offered through the app help the user with their diet, exercise, sleep, stress, and weight.

Cigna is all about finding effective ways to help people achieve healthier, more secure lives.” Cigna Global Head of Channel and Partnership Marketing Heather Valteris said in a statement. “We tested, we learned and now we’re putting our expertise into our next generation of Coach by Cigna. With less than 20 simple questions, we can get to know your style, your preferences and the best ways to meet you where you are and help get you to where you want to be.”

The app will identify the user’s personality type, including “Planner”, “Day Dreamer”, or “Explorer”. It will also learn the user’s level of conscientiousness, like whether they are disciplined or disorderly, how they prioritize their health, and their understanding of health issues. Based on the results, the app will personalize the health coaching it provides its users.  Keep reading>>

Crowdsourced medication review site Iodine launches antidepressant study

By: Jonah Comstock | May 13, 2015        

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Thomas Goetz, IodineIodine, the crowdsourced medication review company run by former Wired editor Thomas Goetz and former Google engineer Matt Mohebbi, is launching a new study this month to look specifically at the effects of antidepressants.

The study, called Iodine Timeline, will guide anti-depressant users to give feedback for one month about their treatment by opting into short, regular survey questions by email. Participants who answer the questions about mood, appetite, sleep and weight gain, will, at the end of the 30 days, get access to the topline data findings from the survey.

“While there are millions of Americans taking antidepressants, few track their daily experiences,” Goetz said in a statement. “With Timeline we hope to capture feedback from hundreds and thousands, so we can help create meaning out of the frustration they feel when trying to identify the best treatment option.”

Iodine hopes the study results will provide guidance on things like when particular antidepressants can be expected to kick in, and the severity and frequency of side effects like weight gain or sexual disfunction. Keep reading>>

Researchers develop pressure sensing socks for people with diabetes

By: Aditi Pai | May 13, 2015        

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Pressure sensing socksResearchers in Wurzburg, Germany have developed sensor-embedded socks designed to help people with diabetes, who have nerve and circulation problems in their feet and, therefore, less feeling in that area.

The researchers explained that as a result of the nerve problems, people with diabetes end up developing pressure sores without realizing it, and many eventually have to get their toes or feet amputated.

Fraunhofer Institute’s pressure-sensing socks, which are embedded with 40 dielectric elastomer sensors, aim to protect against this by sending the user a warning when they put too much pressure on a part of their foot.

“Existing systems on the market measure the pressure distribution only on the bottom of the foot using shoe inserts,” Fraunhofer ISC Research Scientist Dr. Bernhard Brunner said in a statement. “Our sensors are attached to the stocking’s sole, at the heel, the top of the foot and the ankle, so they can take readings in three dimensions. This is a totally new approach.”  Keep reading>>