Survey: 65 percent of millennials think fitness tracking is important

By: Aditi Pai | Sep 28, 2015        

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Some 65 percent of millennials think its important to track their fitness, according to a survey of 5,000 millennials, aged 14 to 34, commissioned by Technogym, a fitness equipment manufacturer. The survey was conducted by Loudhouse, a UK-based independent research agency.

The survey found that 72 percent of millennials said one benefit of tracking their fitness is that they could do it on the go, while 48 percent said it was helpful for keeping their fitness data organized in one place, and 43 percent said a benefit was more accurate data. Some 29 percent said the ease of sharing data with friends and families was a positive to using fitness trackers.

TechnogymThe survey also found that 44 percent of millennials think the traditional gym will evolve in the next five years and that gyms will be more interactive and customized to individual member’s needs. When asked about where millennials expect to get information on health trends in two years,  38 percent said from a health blog, 32 percent said from friends and family, 31 percent said from health-focused apps, and 31 percent said from health magazines.

Last month, another survey conducted about millennials, this one from Nuance, found that they are more likely than baby boomers to crowdsource their choice of physician, both online and in-person with friends.

The survey found that 70 percent of patients aged 18 to 24 choose a primary care physician based on recommendations from family and friends, compared to just 41 percent of patients over the age of 65. When patients are unsatisfied with their care, different age groups use that information in different ways: 51 percent of patients 65 and older tell their doctors directly, while 60 percent of patients aged 18 to 24 tell their friends instead.


Teva Pharmaceuticals buys smart inhaler company Gecko Health Innovations

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 27, 2015        

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CareTRxGeckoHealthTeva Pharmaceuticals will acquire Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Gecko Health Innovations (previously known as GeckoCap), a smart inhaler company. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gecko’s main product is CareTRx a platform for chronic respiratory disease management that combines a sensor device that connects to most inhalers, a data analytics platform, an accessible user interface, and behavioral triggers to help asthma and COPD patients manage their condition.

Gecko Health Innovations founders Mark Maalouf and Dr. Yechiel Engelhard will work with Teva to explore ways to apply the CareTRx technology to Teva’s product pipeline and portfolio of respiratory products with the goal of improving clinical outcomes. Keep reading>>

Iodine’s new antidepressant tracking app sets sights on postpartum depression

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 24, 2015        

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Iodine StartIodine, the crowdsourced drug review startup that launched last year, is continuing to focus on antidepressants. Three weeks ago, the company launched an iOS app called Start to help users document their experience with antidepressants, and today the company announced a partnership with Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit that supports women with postpartum depression.

“Start is our mobile health program designed to help people track their experience with an antidepressant and determine if it’s working for them as fast as possible,” the company wrote in a blog post. “It helps people know what to expect from a medication, and also helps them remember to take it. For those who feel their medication isn’t working – which could be as many as half, judging by medical research – we help them talk to their doctor about options.”

The app includes both symptom trackers and medication reminders, and also checks in with a questionnaire every two weeks to track the patient’s depression status. At six weeks, when an antidepressant should have kicked in, it delivers a data report so users can objectively evaluate whether it’s working for them. It also delivers crowdsourced insights and tips from other users of the same drug from Iodine’s website, and integrates with HealthKit to pull in data on sleep, weight gain, and activity. Keep reading>>

Health kiosk company higi finds incentives help lower blood pressure

By: Aditi Pai | Sep 24, 2015        

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higiCombining health tracking with incentives, rewards, and challenges can contribute to consumers’ lowered blood pressure, according to a study that looked at historical data from higi, a health kiosk company. The company examined data for 159,000 people with hypertension over nearly three years, from September 2012 to April 2015.

The data higi collected included activity from higi’s health kiosks, mobile app, and web portal. Higi’s health kiosks, which are available in pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retail locations, have grown to almost 10,000 units. According to higi, this puts a kiosk within 5 miles of 75 percent of the US population.

“A blood pressure reading is a vital health measure that most people understand and know how to monitor easily when given the tools to do so,” higi Chief Medical Officer and CTO Dr. Khan M. Siddiqui said in a statement. “When this behavior is encouraged through rewards and challenges, individuals have a powerful opportunity to hardwire healthy habits in their everyday lives.” Keep reading>>

Merck, Telefonica subsidiaries partner to launch London health accelerator

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 24, 2015        

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Money TreeMerck Sharpe and Dohme (MSD), the UK subsidiary of US pharma company Merck and Co., has partnered with Wayan Open Future, a digital startup accelerator run by Spanish telecom company Telefonica to create a new digital health accelerator focused on preventative health.

Called Velocity Health, the new accelerator will offer a group of startups $48,800 (32,000 pounds) in funding plus an additional $48,800 in other benefits — including office space in London, a network of mentors, coaches, and investors, and potentially access to Telefonica and MSD’s customer bases. The program will run 10 months.

The companies have chosen to focus on preventative health because it’s an area that has a lot of potential for healthcare savings and yet to be heavily invested in by the NHS — currently only 4 percent of the NHS’s budget is spent on preventative programs. Keep reading>>

Text messaging reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI in heart disease patients

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 24, 2015        

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text message IBM ebolaA relatively large randomized control trial in Australia has shown that a text messaging program can improve not only health behaviors, but actually affect health outcomes. The 2-year study of 710 patients with coronary heart disease, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that six months of a text messaging intervention produced significant reduction in cholesterol, blood pressure, and BMI and participants were also exercising more and smoking less.

“I have to say, we were pretty surprised that it worked,” Clara Chow, the lead author of the study, told NPR. “These are the things that medications usually do, not text messages.”

About 350 of the 700 patients in the study received text messages four times a week. The texts contained advice, motivational reminders, and support. Messages were customized to some degree based on surveys taken before the study (for instance, nonsmokers didn’t receive messages about quitting smoking) but the program wasn’t interactive and didn’t require that users text back. Keep reading>>