Walgreens adds PatientsLikeMe data on medication side effects

By: Jonah Comstock | Feb 19, 2015        

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PLM WalgreensWalgreens is adding data from PatientsLikeMe to its online health dashboard, giving patients a view of possible medication side effects sourced directly from other patients. The deal represents a first for both companies: It’s the first time PatientsLikeMe has allowed its data to be displayed on another company’s website, and the first time Walgreens has featured externally contributed data on its health dashboard.

“Leveraging patient perspectives and experiences through Walgreens Health Dashboard provides our patients with helpful insight into their medications and overall therapy management,” Walgreens Divisional Vice President of Digital Health Adam Pellegrini said in a statement. “Our collaboration with PatientsLikeMe underscores the power of social support and shared experiences on a wellness journey.”  Keep reading>>

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Will President Obama choose a FWOTUS to track his fitness this April?

By: Aditi Pai | Feb 19, 2015        

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Apple WatchPresident Barack Obama is considering using an Apple Watch because of its fitness capabilities, according to a recent interview with Re/Code Cofounder Kara Swisher.

“I don’t have a Fitbit yet, but I work out hard,” he told Swisher. “Word is these Apple Watches might be a good companion for my workouts. So I’m gonna see, I’m gonna test it out.”

Obama continued: “I don’t want to give Tim Cook too big of a plug here until I’ve actually seen the product, but he tells me it’s pretty good.”

The Apple Watch, which will track movement through a built-in accelerometer and heart rate through optical sensors, is expected to ship in April.

Obama has been a tech savvy president since entering office in 2008. At the time, he fought with his handlers to keep his BlackBerry even after he moved into the White House. Since then, the president has given digital health a nod a handful of times over the years.  Keep reading>>

Fitbug lost the trademark suit it brought against Fitbit

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 18, 2015        

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Fitbug OrbFitbit has won the trademark infringement lawsuit case that UK-based Fitbug brought against it in March 2013, according to court documents posted last month. As it happens with cases like these, there were a number of claims and counterclaims, but the crucial blow to Fitbug’s suit was that the company waited four and a half years — too long — to bring it to the court’s attention.

“In this case, the Court finds that Fitbug knew or should have known of the likelihood of confusion by, at the latest, September 2008, after Fitbit’s launch,” the judge writes. “While Fitbit was not yet shipping its products, at that time, Fitbit was selling similar devices ‘in the same geographic area under [a] remarkably similar name’. As a result, a prudent business person should have recognized the likelihood of confusion at that point.”

The court document includes a number of interesting bits of trivia about Fitbit. The company was founded in March 2007 and its name was chosen after a poll conducted on Facebook. According to the court document, Fitbit CEO James Park said that at the time the name was chosen no one at Fitbit knew Fitbug existed. Later, by December 2007, however, Fitbit cofounder Eric Friedman sent Park an email that included a link to the Fitbug website. Park said that he thought little of the link at the time, according to the document.

Here are some more of the “undisputed facts” of the case, according to the court, including the time Fitbug CEO Paul Landau apparently referred to Fitbit as “thieving bastards”:  Keep reading>>

CliniCloud offers consumers smartphone-enabled stethoscope, thermometer for video visits

By: Jonah Comstock | Feb 18, 2015        

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CliniCloudA company founded by two Australian doctors, called CliniCloud, is now taking pre-orders for a connected medical kit that help take the remote video visit to the next level by adding connected medical devices.

CliniCloud, which has offices in San Francisco and Melbourne, Australia, is offering a wireless non-contact thermometer and a digital stethoscope that plugs into a smartphone via the headphone jack. These devices are now available for pre-order on CliniCloud’s website.

Customers can use the devices just to track and record their stethoscope recordings and temperature readings, but they can also transmit them to a doctor in the course of a video visit via Doctor on DemandKeep reading>>

Report: Samsung and Fitbit currently leading wearables markets

By: Jonah Comstock | Feb 18, 2015        

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Samsung's Gear Fit.

Samsung’s Gear Fit.

With the Apple Watch launch, and its potential to upend the wearables market, a few months away, Canalys reports that the current market leader for “smart wearable bands” — any wristworn device that can run third-party applications — is Samsung. Meanwhile, the “basic wearable band” market, which Canalys defines as wearables that can’t run apps, is still led by Fitbit.

The up-and-comer in the non-smartwatch wearable market is Xiaomi, whose focus on the Chinese market and low price point have catapulted it into the spotlight. It has shipped more than a million Mi Bands, 103,000 of those on the first day.  Keep reading>>

Fitness device makers say engagement, not accuracy, is most important

By: Jonah Comstock | Feb 18, 2015        

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JONAH_COMSTOCK_HEADSHOTIt seems like everybody’s talking about fitness device accuracy these days. A small study at the University of Pennsylvania found that out of clip-on pedometers, wristworn wearables, and apps, the wristworn devices were the least accurate. Another study, from the American Council on Exercise, found a range of accuracy levels for step counting on wearable devices, but found them lacking when it came to tracking calories. And when a BBC reporter recently tried out four popular devices at once, she found their readings didn’t line up.

Fitness trackers, though they continue to grow in popularity and add new health tracking features, are apparently not keeping up with their core competency: tracking steps accurately. Unless, of course, that’s not their core competency at all.

In their responses to the BBC, Garmin, Misfit, Fitbit and Jawbone all said pretty much the same thing: objective accuracy, in a vacuum, is not the most important thing. They all gave some variation of the same answer: the device is consistent with itself. It gives a valid comparison of your steps yesterday to your steps today, even if that step count is a little bit divorced from reality.

That’s a response that makes sense from a company that makes its money selling fitness trackers. But it’s also a pretty valid point. Keep reading>>