Intel partners with headphones maker to develop health-sensing earbuds

By: Aditi Pai | Aug 18, 2014        

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biosport_blueIntel has partnered with headphone maker SMS Audio to develop biometric-sensing earbuds, which the companies plan to launch later this year. The earbuds are powered by Valencell’s PerformTek technology. Rapper 50 Cent is a majority owner in SMS Audio.

“The wearable technology collaboration between SMS Audio and Intel elevates our capability to bring smart exercise to consumers,” Brian M. Nohe, president of SMS Audio said in a statement. “With the introduction of the SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones powered by Intel, we’re now the first to provide this level of integrated, seamless and helpful biometric information to inspire customers to advance their fitness experiences.”

The headphones will offer a built-in optical sensor for continuous heart rate monitoring, sweat and water resistance, and integration with RunKeeper so that users can supplement heart rate tracking with pace, distance, elevation, and calorie tracking metrics. Users will be able to see at which times they were in a relaxed state and at which times they were working hard.  Keep reading>>


Ringadoc acquisition included $2M in Practice Fusion equity

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 18, 2014        

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Practice Fusion iPadThe transaction for Practice Fusion’s acquisition of Ringadoc included a transfer of $2 million in Practice Fusion equity, according to an SEC document. It’s unclear exactly how the equity sale fits in with the acquisition, but in all likelihood Ringadoc’s investors and owners now hold a $2 million stake in Practice Fusion.

“Practice Fusion filed a Form D yesterday with the SEC in connection with the previously announced acquisition of Ringadoc. Beyond that, we’re not able to disclose financial details,” the company said in a statement emailed to MobiHealthNews.

Practice Fusion acquired Ringadoc two weeks ago for an undisclosed sum. Los Angeles-based Ringadoc was originally incubated in Practice Fusion’s San Francisco offices around the same time as another startup, 100Plus. Both startups received an angel investment from Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard and both ended up being acquired by the company, too.

Ringadoc, founded in 2010, had raised at least $1.9 million from investors including Founders Fund’s FF Angel; Howard; Sharon Knight, the former president of concierge-style health provider One Medical Group; Siemer VC; Telegraph Hill Group; and Dr. Lyle Dennis, who is the Chief of Neurology at Bon Secours Health System.

Practice Fusion, which many have speculated is heading toward IPO, has raised money twice. They raised $70 million last September in a round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with additional contributions from OrbiMed Advisors, Deerfield Management Company, and Industry Ventures. Then in December, they rounded that raise out with an additional $15 million from Qualcomm Ventures. Overall, including this $2 million, the company has raised $151 million.

Correction: A previous version of this story put the company’s total funding at $85 million. That’s actually just the total of Practice Fusion’s latest round.

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Rock Health adds Abbott, Deloitte, Blue Shield as partners, new startups to accelerator

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 18, 2014        

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Welkin Health

Welkin Health’s iOS app.

Digital health accelerator Rock Health announced this week that it has added a half dozen new startups, along with three new corporate partners that will support portfolio companies through mentorship and other forms of guidance.

Rock Health companies receive a $100,000 in investment and a variety of other perks during their stay in the program, including support from partner companies including UnitedHealthcare, the Mayo Clinic, Genentech, and Qualcomm Life. The three newest corporate partners come from different parts of the healthcare continuum: Abbott is a global healthcare company, Blue Shield of California is an independent Blue and a not-for-profit health plan, and Deloitte is a healthcare research and consultancy firm.

The accelerator released the names of six companies in the current class, but says there are eight companies total: the other two are still in stealth mode. Here are the six newest Rock Health startups.  Keep reading>>

Higi and Stayhealthy team up in kiosk consolidation

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 14, 2014        

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A Stayhealthy HealthCenter kiosk.

Health kiosk startup higi has merged with Stayhealthy, another mobile health company that also has a health kiosk business. The two announced the merger last week. The new company will apparently still be known as higi. Higi’s Jeff Bennett will stay on as CEO, while Stayhealthy CEO John Collins will take on the role of Vice Chairman and Director of Innovation.

“Our ultimate goal is to promote and develop a collaborative approach to healthcare between physicians, providers, payers, employers and individuals,” Bennet said in a statement. “By leveraging Stayhealthy’s innovative algorithms, advanced testing methods, and screening technologies, we get one step closer to achieving this goal through access to high-tech data. There is a great synergy between our products, services and passion for providing quality healthcare screening and engaging individuals to take control of their health.”

Stayhealthy has been around since 1995, but has been in the digital health space since at least 2009, when the startup’s focus was on standalone health devices for the mass market as well as health tracking iPhone applications. The company’s main mission statement has to do with going beyond BMI to provide customers with a way to assess the healthiness of their weight based on body fat percentage, body composition, and hydration.

In 2011, the company pivoted into the kiosk business, incorporating their body composition sensor technology into a design they developed with IBM in the late 90s.

“What is unique in the Stayhealthy HealthCenter approach goes beyond the kiosk hardware,” Collins said at the time. “Anyone can make a blood pressure machine or health station. It’s the science and research behind the solution, and our bundling of both the hardware and software technologies into a HIPAA and ADA-compliant, Web-enabled and user friendly total wellness management system that is unique. This is what the average consumer is looking for in today’s consumer-driven healthcare environment.”

Stayhealthy had major deals to put kiosks in Kroger grocery stores, Supervalu supermarkets, and Albertson’s drug stores, while higi was previously rolled out in 2,000 stores including Whole Foods, CVS, and Rite Aid. The newly merged company will have 6,000 kiosks, with contracts for 10,000 by the beginning of 2015. In a statement, higi indicated that Stayhealthy’s strength is in the accuracy of its novel clinical measurements, while higi brings an engaging, rewards-based user experience to the table.

“Bringing the two companies together makes great strategic sense and expands our influence in the market,” Collins said in a statement. “By combining our different technologies and resources, we can offer a best in class, next generation product. Higi’s engagement platform makes tracking your health simple, fun and rewarding. This merged with our clinical-quality health measurement technology is a win-win for the end user.”

While Stayhealthy is nearly two decades old, higi just launched last year at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Backed by serial entrepreneur Michael Ferro and hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco, the company quickly gained traction. It acquired rewards and challenge platform Earndit in December.

Why hospitals are investing in telemedicine technology

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 14, 2014        

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HIMSS telemedicine 8.2014Forty-six percent of healthcare providers answering a HIMSS survey used multiple telemedicine technologies in their practice, with the most popular technology by far being two-way video messaging.

HIMSS had 400 responses to an online survey, mostly from directors and managers at hospitals, but also from doctors and nurses in hospitals and private practices. The results paint a picture of telemedicine slowly being adopted to fill niches in a healthcare system still very much focused on Meaningful Use.

“Having different solutions integrated and the ability to seamlessly connect physicians to patients, physicians to other physicians and organizations to other organizations, the electronic health record [EHR] is seen as somewhat of the hub of being able to do that within an organization,” HIMSS Director of Research Brendan FitzGerald told MobiHealthNews. “Now as organizations move toward more value-based care and set up ACOs and even HIEs, telemedicine networks are becoming increasingly important in terms of being able to connect all that clinical data together. ”

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Ten biggest digital health investments of 2014 so far

By: Aditi Pai | Aug 14, 2014        

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MC40VoalteBy the end of the second quarter this year, digital health funding had already surpassed the total funding for 2014, according to a June 2014 report from Rock Health. This growth also shows in the top funded companies for the first half of the year.

While Proteus Digital Health received the largest investment in the first half of 2014 as well as the first half of 2013, last year Proteus raised $62.5 million, but this year, announced in two separate SEC filings, Proteus raised $172 million. Similarly, while last year, the top ten digital health investments brought in a total of $252.5 million, this year, the top ten investments totaled $553 million.

Here are the top 10 funding stories this year from most funding to least:

Proteus Digital Health raises $172 million: Redwood City, California-based Proteus Digital Health raised an additional $52 million from undisclosed investors following a whopping $120 million raise the company announced a month prior. That brings Proteus’ latest round of funding — its seventh — to $172 million. By our count the company’s total known funding is now close to $400 million, which makes it one of the most-funded, private companies in digital health. When it announced the first part of this round of funding in June, the company attributed the funds to “major new institutional investors based in the United States, Europe and Asia” and said the money would help it continue to commercialize its ingestible sensor system at scale, as well as to continue demonstrating the value of the technology on health outcomes and costs. Read More

NantHealth raises $135 million: NantHealth raised $135 million from three investors. The amount almost certainly includes the $100 million NantHealth raised the previous month from the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), that country’s sovereign investment fund, as well as the investment Blackberry contributed in April. This latest round brings NantHealth’s total announced funding to about $166 million. NantHealth offers a cloud-based, clinical decision support platform used by at least 250 hospitals, according to the company. Nant offers a range of services, including a population health platform and a suite of products built to provide a learning system for the treatment of cancer. Read More

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