Consumers won’t get to use Google Glass 2.0, but their doctors might

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 15, 2015        

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Google GlassIt’s been clear for a while that Google sees the future of the Glass program in the enterprise, rather than through the Explorer program or directly to consumers. Now 9to5Google is reporting that Glass version 2, due out this year, will be distributed exclusively through Google’s Glass at Work partners.

A full five out of ten of those partners are healthcare or healthcare-adjacent companies: Augmedix, Pristine, Advanced Medical Applications, CrowdOptic, and Wearable Intelligence. And according to 9to5, select partners have already had access to the second-generation device.

As a consequence of Google’s enterprise focus, the next generation of device is being designed with enterprise needs in mind. This includes the addition of a 5 GHz WiFi band to support smoother streaming video, which could be key to a number of healthcare applications. It also includes improved battery life, both thanks to an Intel chip that will extend the life of the device and an optional external battery.  Keep reading>>

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Mayo Clinic joins new JV to reinvent smartphone-based diabetes management

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 15, 2015        

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NovioSense's glucose sensor.

NovioSense’s glucose sensor.

A new joint venture made up of two American and two European companies will aim to use near-field communication (NFC) technology to create new options for diabetes management. The Mayo Clinic and Washington, DC-based medical technology company Gentag will form the American half of the venture, while Dutch medical technology company NovioSense and German R&D firm Fraunhofer IMS will work on the problem in Europe. Both pairs of companies have collaborated in the past.

“By pooling our resources together, we are in a position now to dramatically advance diabetes monitoring,” Dr. John Peeters, CEO of Gentag, said in a statement. “Our patented technology allows us to make wireless sensors that are battery-less, disposable, painless and use cell phones or other NFC devices as glucometers. Furthermore we can use the cell phones as controllers for insulin delivery, including disposable NFC insulin delivery systems, under our issued worldwide patents.”

Both NovioSense and Gentag have been developing alternatives to the fingerstick glucometer that use NFC to send glucose readings directly to a consumer smartphone. NovioSense’s device, like the Google-Novartis contact lens, uses tears to detect and monitor blood glucose. The form factor is a tiny rod-shaped sensor that fits under the user’s lower eyelid. Gentag’s products are lightweight, adhesive skin patches. The combined technology the joint venture is developing will work with both, as well as with traditional implantable CGMs. Keep reading>>

Eli Lilly’s Glucagon app now available for Android

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 15, 2015        

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GlucagonIndianapolis-based pharma giant Eli Lilly has announced the company now offers an Android version of its app, called Glucagon, which is designed to help caregivers and providers treat people with diabetes if they fall into an insulin coma.

The app helps the user feel prepared to use Glucagon, which is a prescription drug that must be injected. The Glucagon app allows the user to practice the steps for administering Glucagon, using the touchscreen simulator. It also allows users to record the locations of Glucagon kits so one can be located in an emergency. It also tracks expiration dates of all the kits, so if a kit is going to expire soon, it can be replaced. The app has an injection tutorial and emergency instructions.

Though the Glucagon Android app just launched this year, it has been available in the Apple App Store since September 2012.

Glucagon is one of four apps that Eli Lilly currently offers. The other three are Lilly Oncology CT Resource, which helps healthcare professionals locate clinical trials based on cancer type, country, state, drug, and phase; Lilly AudioTour, which provides healthcare professionals with audio commentary on more than 30 scientific posters from the American Diabetes Association’s 2015 Scientific Sessions; and Lilly Oncology Pipeline.

Earlier this year, Eli Lilly announced its plans to open a new drug delivery and innovation center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The center has a planned staff of 30 scientists and engineers. The focus of the new Lilly Cambridge Innovation Center will be on drug delivery and device innovation, specifically related to diabetes, neural degeneration (including Alzheimer’s), immunology, and chronic pain. Those are all areas where the medication involves some kind of injectable or biologic, and Lilly wants to explore all kinds of innovations related to drug delivery devices — including, potentially, additional mobile health offerings.

New DreamIt class targets epilepsy, cancer, concussions, and more

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 15, 2015        

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macbook-oncoraPhiladelphia-based digital health accelerator DreamIt Health has announced its third class. As in previous years, the accelerator is sponsored by Penn Medicine and Independence Blue Cross.

DreamIt Health takes an 8 percent equity stock in accelerator companies. In exchange, companies get $50,000 in seed funding with a possible $250,000 in follow-on funding, as well as other benefits: free workspace in the University Science Center’s Innovation Center, mentorship, legal advice and counsel, and access to healthcare personnel at Penn Medicine and Independence. Companies will participate in a 16-week course that ends in October. Keep reading>>

Survey: 35 percent of consumers would choose virtual visits over in-person

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 15, 2015        

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TechnologyAdviceSome 35 percent of consumers said they would likely choose a virtual visit over an in-person one, according to a TechnologyAdvice survey of 504 US adults conducted via Google Consumer Insights.

The survey also found that 56 percent of respondents said they would be somewhat or very uncomfortable conducting a doctor visit using a telemedicine offering. And 75 percent of people said they would not trust a diagnosis that a doctor made over a video visit, or would trust it less than if they met with a doctor in person.

Interestingly, the responses to the trust question varied by age. When asked how much they would trust a virtual diagnosis, 54 percent of respondents over 65 years old said they wouldn’t trust the diagnosis, but only 16.9 percent of people aged 18 to 24 said they wouldn’t trust it. Keep reading>>

Fitbit CEO talks software focus, future acquisitions, and blurring fitness-health

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 14, 2015        

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James Park

Fitbit CEO James Park

Forget everything you thought you knew about Fitbit. According to founder and CEO James Park, speaking to Forbes International Editor Brian O’Keefe at a recent Forbes event, Fitbit doesn’t see itself as a hardware company or a wearable company, but rather as a consumer health and wellness company that happens to sell wearables — for now.

“While press and analysts focus on Fitbit as a wearables company, the mission of the company is actually a lot broader,” he said, responding to a question about whether activity trackers might be a fad. “We’re all about ‘How do we use technology to help people become healthier and more active, giving them data and inspiration and guidance?’ And we’re pretty agnostic about how that’s done. It could be in the form of devices that are wearables, devices that are not wearable, or software and services. And in that sense, what we’re doing is pretty profound and well beyond a fad.”

In fact, according to Park, more than two-thirds of Fitbit’s R&D budget is currently spent on software and services, which dovetails nicely with the company’s recent acquisition of fitness video company Fitstar. And while Park wouldn’t comment specifically on future acquisitions, he did say that one of the big reasons for Fitbit choosing to IPO when it did was to get funds to do more acquisitions.  Keep reading>>