DC Medicaid payor will offer med adherence texting platform for asthma patients

By: Jonah Comstock | Feb 24, 2015        

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A Memotext intervention for diabetes.

A Memotext intervention for diabetes.

A new text messaging software aimed at improving medication adherence will be offered to asthma patients who are members of AmeriHealth District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.’s largest Medicaid managed care organization. The platform, called HealthNHand, was developed by Memotext and will be launched by pharmacy benefit management company PerformRx.

HealthNHand will use interactive voice responses, email, and text messages to remind asthma patients in the program to take their medication and to fill out questionnaires about their health. The service will use data from the questionnaires to craft personalized responses to patients about their condition, including information, support, and air quality forecasts.

Users can choose to share the data the platform collects with their healthcare provider, or they can log on through an online portal to access it themselves. Keep reading>>


American Well launches tablet to help doctors connect with specialists

By: Aditi Pai | Feb 24, 2015        

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AmWell Telemed TabletBoston-based video visits company American Well has announced that it is rolling out a tablet, called Telemed Tablet, to help providers expand their network and connect with specialists faster.

The current tablet being rolled out is a modified Microsoft Surface Pro, which American Well has stripped of extra features so that it can be HIPAA compliant. But according to an American Well spokesperson, the company can load its care coordination app onto other tablets as well.

American Well has disclosed one new client for its tablet offering — Cleveland Clinic.

“So the Telemed Tablet actually came to be because we were growing and working with a lot of the delivery systems who are clients,” American Well CEO Roy Schoenberg explained in a video about the Telemed Tablet. “They’ve seen our kiosks for patients, for consumers, and one of the preeminent feature of the kiosk is that you walk in, you click the type of provider you want to see, and they miraculously show up in front of you.”

He explained that the technology behind the kiosks is a network of providers that American Well can ping when a patient needs a specific kind of physician. And this technology could be applied to a network that helps physicians reach out to specialists.

“The people we work with said ‘Hey, listen, we could use this within our hospital systems because every now and then we need a neurologist consult and there’s no neurologist right there. If we could just walk with a tablet and say ‘Hey we need a neurologist’ and they will materialize right in front of us, that will be a game changer,'” Schoenberg said.

American Well said the Telemed Tablet, which can be hoisted onto a stand that keeps it at eye-level, is designed to bring specialists to a patient’s bedside, the nurses’ station, or to the operating room.

Cleveland Clinic will begin running pilots with the tablet to test how it works in different specialty departments, according to Peter Rasmussen, director of Cerebrovascular Center and medical director of Distance Health at Cleveland Clinic.

American Well’s other offerings include several apps: LiveHealth (which they created with WellPoint’s HMC), NowClinic (created in partnership with Optum), and Online Care Anywhere (created for BCBSMN).

Last year, American Well launched a rebranded version of their direct-to-consumer app, now called Amwell, which also pulls data from Apple’s HealthKit platform. If users have both Apple’s Health app, and Amwell, they can integrate different health-related data points into the video visits app including heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, blood glucose levels, weight, nutritional information, and respiratory rate.

Since 2010, the company has raised $81 million. Strategic investors include Anthem and Jefferson Health System.

Manhattan: Half of patients now use mobile for health

By: Jonah Comstock | Feb 24, 2015        

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Monique Levy, VP of Research at Manhattan Research

Monique Levy, VP of Research at Manhattan Research

Although there’s a lot of buzz about wearables and a lot of talk about tablets, the best digital channel to reach patients and consumers is still the smartphone, according to Manhattan Research’s Monique Levy. At the ePharma Summit in New York City, Levy shared some data with an assembled crowd of pharma marketers about how patients use mobile.

“Everyone wants to know what’s happening with wearables,” she said. “I wouldn’t worry about it. Unless you’re working in the innovation team and you’re thinking five years ahead, I wouldn’t stay up all night worrying about wearables. You need to worry about smartphones and what you’re doing to be mobile optimized.”

Levy said that Manhattan is so confident patients are digital that they’ve dropped the phone part of their surveys in favor of online-only.

“We’ve shown again and again that patients are not only digitally engaged for health, but they are so throughout the patient journey and mobile is really driving that,” she said. “We used to have the sense that people would go online when they had symptoms, and then go to the doctor and then through the traditional medical funnel. With mobile they’re online at multiple decision points in the journey.”

Levy said that 86 percent of the general population is online for health. Half are mobile health users of some kind, two thirds use social media to seek health information, and one third communicate digitally with doctors. Three quarters interact with online pharma resources.  Keep reading>>

Iagnosis raises $1.2M for consumer-facing dermatologist service

By: Aditi Pai | Feb 24, 2015        

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DermOnCallIagnosis, parent company of virtual visit skin care company DermatologistOnCall, raised $1.2 million, according to an SEC filing. This brings Iagnosis’ total funding to date to $10 million. The company had raised $2.8 million in May 2014.

DermatologistOnCall offers online, tablet, or smartphone-based consultations. Patients who want to use the service first fill out a questionnaire that verifies whether or not their issue is appropriate for online care. Once they are confirmed as a viable patient, they set up a profile with demographic info and other basic facts.

After that, patients are matched with a doctor so that they can send pictures of the skin condition that needs treatment. Users without coverage pay $59 per consult — the price dropped from $65 sometime this summer — and the information is sent to the dermatologist. The average time patients wait to get a response is 10 hours. The max time users wait is three and a half days. After the diagnosis, patients can message back and forth with the dermatologist for 30 days.

Dermatologists in the company’s network can address over 3,000 skin conditions, according to the company.

In October 2014, Iagnosis announced that starting in 2015, health insurance company Highmark would cover web-based dermatologist visits for its commercial members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware.

In May, Iagnosis Chief Strategy Officer and cofounder Larry Eakin told MobiHealthNews that DermatologistOnCall plans to develop more channel partners across what he calls the “skincare value chain” too, with insurers, hospital systems, pharamacy retailers, large dermatology groups, and large pharmaceutical companies.

Microsoft updates Band with biking tracker, online dashboard, SDK

By: Aditi Pai | Feb 24, 2015        

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Microsoft BandMicrosoft has updated its wristworn fitness tracker, called Microsoft Band with new functionality to track cycling and an SDK for Windows and Android phones. The company says iOS integration is coming soon.

Microsoft also launched an online dashboard to track health that it first unveiled in October 2014 when the company launched the Microsoft Band.

The wristworn wearable, a small, plastic, black band with a long screen, looks similar to the Nike FuelBand or the Samsung Gear Fit. Microsoft Band offers a 24-hour heart rate monitor that tracks heart rate during exercise to help users understand how many calories they’ve burned, but also during sleep to understand sleep patterns.

It also tracks steps, calories, additional sleep data, and interestingly, the watch offers a UV monitor so users can keep track of the UV index when they are out in the sun. The smartwatch’s other features include call notifications, calendar alerts, a timer and alarm, and — if users have Windows 8.1 on their smartphone — access to Microsoft’s intelligent assistant, Cortana. Microsoft calls the different apps and features on the Band “tiles”.

When users choose the Bike Tile, their heart rate sensor is optimized for their biking activities. For outdoor rides, the band will also track speed, distance, and elevation. The band helps users track their current and average biking speeds, review their custom splits for longer bike rides, and view an estimate for how long it would take their body to recover from the ride. The tile also offers new five indoor biking workouts: Indoor Bike Tabata Sprints, Indoor Bike Hour of Sweat, Indoor Bike Total Body, Indoor Bike Pyramid, and Indoor Bike Intervals.

Microsoft first started adding guided workouts in a firmware update last month.

With the addition of the SDK, developers can now integrate different metrics that the Microsoft Band collects, including heart rate, UV, accelerometer, gyroscope, and skin temperature, into their apps.

And as expected,  Microsoft Health’s web portal connects to MapMyFitness and Microsoft HealthVault, which brings in data from other health trackers like blood glucose monitors, electronic scales, and activity and medical monitors.

FTC fines two melanoma risk detection apps, MelApp and Mole Detective

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 23, 2015        

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Mole DetectiveThe Federal Trade Commission has taken action against two melanoma detection apps: MelApp and Mole Detective. Some of the marketers behind the apps have agreed to settle with the FTC, while two additional marketers of Mole Detective have refused. Total settlements for the two apps came to just north of $20,000. Both apps claim to provide an “automated analysis of moles and skin lesions for symptoms of melanoma and increase consumers’ chances of detecting melanoma in its early stages”, according to the FTC.

This move was not unprecedented. In 2011 the FTC took similar action against two acne apps.

Here’s how the FTC summed up each of the melanoma app’s claims:

Advertising for MelApp stated that it used “patent protected state-of-the-art mathematical algorithms and image-based pattern recognition technology to analyze the uploaded image [of a skin lesion],” to “provide a risk analysis of the uploaded picture being a melanoma” and “assist in the early detection of melanoma.”2 Advertising for Mole Detective stated that it “is the first and only app to calculate symptoms of melanoma right on the phone,” and that it could “analyze your mole using the dermatologist ABCDE method and give you a risk factor based on the symptoms your mole may or may not be showing,” “increase the chance of detecting skin cancer in early stages,” and “save lives through the early detection of potentially fatal melanoma,” using “shape recognition software.”

Mole Detective was first developed by Kristi Kimball and her company, New Consumer Solutions in January 2012, according to the FTC. In August of that year, UK-based Avrom “Avi” Lasarow and his company, L Health, took over the app. The app cost as much as $4.99 at one time. Kimball and her company agreed to settle and will pay $3,930. Lasarow refused so the agency is pursuing litigation against him and his company.  Keep reading>>