RxMatch to launch hospital discharge service, raises $500,000

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 10, 2014        

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RxMatchSan Francisco-based RxMatch, which plans to launch a post-op care platform for web and mobile devices in the next few weeks, completed a $500,000 seed round in September.

RxMatch automates medical care after a patient’s appointment. The platform’s 12-week program helps patients with their post-surgery care. All of the follow-up care on the platform is organized by a health coach. The health coach will use text messages, push notifications, and alerts from the native app to provide patients with information about their care routine. Health coaches can also use text message surveys to gather information about the patient, like their pain level on a scale of 0 to 5. In the RxMatch online learning center, patients can learn more about recovery from content that health coaches push to them.

For small and medium-sized provider groups, RxMatch will employ the health coaches to manage the programs, the company explains. In larger institutions, though, because there are already health coaches on staff, RxMatch just provides the program for these health coaches to use.

At the moment the program is designed to help patients with post surgical back recovery, general orthopedic, heart patients and also patients with chronic back pain who have not yet undergone surgery. The company plans to expand the program to include obesity, pain management, mental health, and OB-GYN.

RxMatch also offers a white-label version to self-insured companies and providers. This program provides patients with access to health coaches and a community of patients to share with and learn from. So far, providers using RxMatch’s white-label service include Kaiser Permanente and Alvarado Hospital Medical Center. The company has a total of 25 providers on the platform.

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LifeNexus raises $12.6M to scale iChip digital insurance card

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 6, 2014        

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iChip Mobile App Record ScreenLifeNexus, a San Francisco-based startup looking to replace the traditional insurance card with either a smartcard or a mobile app, raised an additional $12.6 million in July, the company told MobiHealthNews. An SEC filing also appeared this week for an additional $1.5 million, which the filing indicates was part of a round begun in July.

UPDATE: According to LifeNexus, “the 1.5M SEC filing related to the issuance of common stock for the conversion of convertible debt.”

The $12.6 million round was led by  led by private equity firm Camden Partners and two strategic investors: Cambia Health Solutions and Mosaic Health Solutions, Inc. This raise brings the company’s total funding to about $25 million, not including the $1.5 million debt conversion. According to LifeNexus CEO David Strand, the funds will be used to scale up the company as well as for additional product development.

iChip, LifeNexus’s first product, stores both clinical and administrative information, so it speeds up check-in and serves as a mobile, tethered PHR for patients. Patients can check their own information on an online portal. At the doctor’s office, they slide their card in a reader device from LifeNexus — or scan a QR code on their app —  to transfer all the data to their provider, who can print it out, access it on a mobile device, or feed it into their own EHR.

“It’s about trying to make sure every healthcare consumer has all of their personal health information available when it matters,” Strand said. “We need to get the more and more robust solution that allows for ever more relevant information to be brought to bear. We’re really trying to create a longterm business of highly-personalized, highly specific information that’s relevant to the business they have that day. That means constantly trying to tie in to more databases and present that information in ways that are really helpful for a consumer or for the type of healthcare that’s being sought.”

LifeNexus rolled out iChip with its first payor customer — Amerigroup Nevada — in March. Since then the company has added another customer, Strand said, a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. Negotiations are under way with two more Blue plans across the country.  Keep reading>>

Connected kegel tracker Elvie now available for preorder

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 6, 2014        

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ElvieLondon-based Chiaro has launched a device, called Elvie, that aims to help consumers accurately do kegel exercises.

Up to one in three women will experience pelvic floor muscle problems at some point in their life, the company explains, but strengthening these muscles through kegel exercises could lead to better core strength and improved back and abdominal strength. Some reasons the pelvic floor muscles might weaken include pregnancy, childbirth, and obesity.

If women wear Elvie when doing their kegel exercises, data from their exercises is sent to a companion app. Based on how well the exercises were done, the companion app provides the user with a score. Over time, users can track how their score improves.

Elvie also tracks technique. One example of an technique issue the user might have is pushing instead of lifting while doing exercises, Chiaro Physiotherapist Dr. Kay Crotty explained. The device has motion sensors that can alert users if they are doing this motion incorrectly. The app also offers five-minute workouts that help users build their skill, strength, or control.

The device costs $95 for those who preorder it, but it will retail for $155. Elvie is expected to ship in March 2015.

In May, the company raised $1 million in seed funding from Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen and Jawbone co-founder Alex Asseily, according to a report from TechCrunch. Chiaro received another $160,000 in August 2013 after winning a UK Technology Strategy Board innovation award.

University of Alabama researchers develop NIH-funded eating tracker that monitors chewing

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 6, 2014        

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AIM eating trackerResearchers at the University of Alabama have developed a diet-tracking sensor that collects information based on the wearer’s chewing.

The sensor, called Automatic Ingestion Monitor, or AIM, is fitted around the user’s ear and monitors vibrations from jaw movement. AIM is programmed to ignore jaw motions from talking. This data, paired with pictures the user would take of their meals, would give them information about how much and how often they eat.

“Weight gain comes from an unbalance of the energy we take in versus the energy we expend,” University of Alabama Associate Professor and Lead Researcher Dr. Edward Sazonov said in a statement. “We can estimate diet and nutrient intake, but the primary method is self-reporting. The sensor could provide objective data, helping us better understand patterns of food intake associated with obesity and eating disorders.”  Keep reading>>

New app scours baby pictures for eye health risks

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 6, 2014        

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Cradle White Eye DetectorA new app from Baylor University takes advantage of a smartphone’s camera — and of the smartphone owner’s tendency to take a lot of pictures — to potentially detect rare eye cancers in babies.

Baylor chemist Bryan Shaw and Baylor computer scientist Greg Hamerly have launched the White Eye Detection app, in which parents can upload pictures of their babies and digitally scan them for signs of rare eye diseases including retinoblastoma, pediatric cataract, and Coats’ disease.

In conditions like these, tumors in the back of the eye that can’t be seen normally can show up in digital photographs as a white pupil in one or both of the child’s eyes. As NPR reports, Shaw’s own son had retinoblastoma and he was able to detect it after noticing white eye — properly called leukocoria — in a baby photo.

“If I would have had some software telling me, ‘Hey, go get this checked out,’ that would have sped up my son’s diagnosis and the tumors would have been just a little bit smaller when we got to them,” Shaw told NPR. “There might have been fewer.”

The app can automatically look through all the baby pictures on an iPhone or iPad’s camera roll and flag any potential leukocorias, which is important because they tend to show up only inconsistently in photographs. When it finds pictures, it suggests that parents go to their pediatrician. It also requests that they upload the photos to Baylor’s database, so they can be used to continue refining the algorithm. Ideally, the app will learn to be better and better at eliminating false positives that might cause needless worries for patients.

An additional feature is a screening mode, which allows the user to shine the phone’s light into someone’s eye and use the camera to search for the telltale white reflection.

The algorithm was developed out of work done on photographs of Shaw’s son and eight other children for a paper published last year in PLOS ONE. The paper established that a large number of photographs taken in aggregate could even give information about the size of the tumor and the progression of the disease.

6 more crowdfunding campaigns for health tracking tools

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 6, 2014        

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Last month, MobiHealthNews published a roundup of digital health crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. One campaign that reached its goal early, called Flaredown, aims to help people manage their chronic conditions, while another campaign that was pitching a sensor-embedded pair of shorts has only reached $15,107 of its $99,000 goal with 28 hours left.

Even though a majority of the campaigns from that roundup still have a few weeks left before they’re done, several other campaigns have launched since. New campaigns include products that help people monitor their diets, track their babies’ health, and analyze how their “physiological” age compares to their chronological age.

Read on for six of the latest digital health products to crowdfund their devices:

MonBaby

MonBaby

The device is a wireless sensor that monitors a baby’s sleep patterns, breathing, and movement. MonBaby’s device, a small button that attaches to any article of the baby’s clothing, transmits data about the baby’s breathing, sleeping, and movement to a companion app. Using the app parents will be able to tell whether their babies’ are asleep, how well the babies are breathing, and what position the babies are in. Through the app, users can set alerts for what information they want pushed to them. For example, the app can alert parents every time their babies roll onto their stomachs. The app will also alert parents if MonBaby senses an emergency.

The campaign ended this week, but it raised $16,336 of its $15,000 goal.

Keep reading>>