Study: Connected healthcare device sales to surpass $3B by 2019

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 9, 2014        

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Juniper ResearchConnected healthcare device sales will exceed $3 billion globally by 2019, according to a report from analysis firm Juniper Research.

Juniper explains that the connected healthcare devices it looked at include blood pressure cuffs, oximeters for diabetes, and sleep monitors for sleep apnea.

According to the research firm, this growth can be partially attributed to the result of Apple and Samsung’s newly launched health platforms, HealthKit and SAMI. Samsung unveiled its Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions, or SAMI, in May. It described the platform as a “data broker” that future third party health tracking devices could upload data to. This data could then be used by app developers to create new apps.  Keep reading>>

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Is Fitbit’s opt-out drawing the battle lines against HealthKit?

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 9, 2014        

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Fitbit Flex__ColorsEver since Apple announced its HealthKit developer toolkit, which aggregates data from a number of different self-tracking apps and devices, it’s been a foregone conclusion that Fitbit would be connected. Apple showed a screencap of Fitbit at its developer conference announcing the product. In a recent interview, a Jawbone spokesperson used Fitbit as an example of a device that could potentially connect to Jawbone’s app via HealthKit. Beth Israel CIO John Halamka name-dropped Fitbit in talking about how his hospital might use HealthKit.

But apparently, no one bothered to tell Fitbit about its upcoming integration with HealthKit. At some point in the recent past, 9to5 Mac first reported, Fitbit posted on its customer feedback forum that it had no current plans to integrate with the platform. The company’s statement is below:

“We do not currently have plans to integrate with HealthKit.

It is an interesting new platform and we will watch as it matures, looking for opportunities to improve the Fitbit experience. At the moment, we’re working on other exciting projects that we think will be valuable to users. The question we want you to keep in mind when providing feedback is: What do you imagine a HealthKit integration would entail and what do you expect to get out of it?

Your voices are being heard. We’re actively reviewing your responses and providing feedback to our product development team.”

The statement was in response to numerous requests from users, but the requests are from as far back as June. It’s clear that Fitbit only recently chose to respond to them, but it also didn’t make a post on its public blog or issue a release to journalists.  Keep reading>>

Report: 8 motivators for the adoption of digital health

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 9, 2014        

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Commonwealth Fund Digital healthThe Commonwealth Fund published a report recently focused on how those working to bring digital health services to market can help such technologies overcome the market barriers they currently face.

The firm’s writers defined digital health as “tools as those that can be used in health care to compress large amounts of information (e.g., words and images) on small storage devices for easy preservation or transmission via the internet or other telecommunications networks. A related term, connected health, refers to the use of technology (often consumer technologies) to provide health care remotely.”

After interviewing 16 providers, investors, startup founders and others working in digital health, the researchers came up with five over-arching recommendations for those working to help digital health services find adoption.  Keep reading>>

Only Google Chromecast’s app is more popular than Fitbit’s in connected device category

By: Aditi Pai | Oct 9, 2014        

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FitbitWhen it comes to companion apps for connected devices, Fitbit’s is the most downloaded in the health and fitness category and the second most downloaded overall. That’s according to a newly released report focused on connected devices from mobile analytics company App Annie.

App Annie’s analysis wasn’t just focused on health or fitness-related devices, the reports includes companion apps for media devices (TV streaming, for example) and productivity devices (a catchall for printer-connected apps and credit card payment devices like Square). The report also looked at apps in the Apple and Google Play app stores. App Annie noted in its blog that the number of health and fitness apps grew 2.3 times year-over-year as of August 2014.

The report found that in the health and fitness category, Up by Jawbone is the second most downloaded app, followed by Garmin Connect, Nike+ FuelBand, and Misfit Shine.

Compared to connected devices in all categories, only Google’s Chromecast device, which enables internet video streaming to a TV, has more downloads than Fitbit. The fitness app beat out DirecTV, payment service Square, and GoPro.

This isn’t the first time a research firm has reported that Fitbit is leading in sales or popularity in a connected device category.

At the beginning of the year, NPD Group, which tracks the digital fitness device market at the point of sale, reported that in 2013, Fitbits, Jawbone UPs, and Nike FuelBands accounted for 97 percent of all smartphone-enabled activity trackers sold at brick-and-mortar stores or through big ecommerce sites. NPD’s data does not include sales directly from the device makers websites, which may be substantial in some cases.  Keep reading>>

PillPack raises $8.75M more for online pharmacy service

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 9, 2014        

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PillPack_ShipmentPillPack, a direct-to-consumer mail order pharmacy that launched in February, has raised $8.75 million in funding. The round was led by Accel Partners, with additional participation from existing investor Atlas Venture, as well as High Line Venture Partners, QueensBridge Venture Partners, and individual investors Andy Palmer and David Tisch.

“PillPack is a seamless service for medications, complete with passionate pharmacists who have a real sense of mission and deliver better care,” Fred Destin, a partner at Accel Partners who will be joining the company’s board, said in a statement. “This financing will accelerate PillPack towards replacing antiquated pharmacy for anyone who takes multiple medications.”

This is the second round of funding for the company. It raised $4 million from Atlas Venture and Founder Collective last July, but didn’t announce the raise until its launch in February. This brings the company’s total funding to $12.75 million. The service originally launched in 31 states, but now serves 40.

PillPack offers online and by-mail pharmacy services, which previously cost the user $20 per month, but are now free (other than the user’s copay). After a doctor eprescribes or faxes PillPack a prescription, the company sends a customer all of his or her medications for the next 14 days, prepackaged by dose. Customers are also billed every two weeks in one comprehensive charge.

Using web tools, customers can monitor their shipments and add over the counter medications and vitamins to their orders. They can see how much their meds are costing them, and how much their insurance is contributing. PillPack customers also have 24-7 access to their pharmacist by phone if they have any concerns with their medication. And the service accepts most drug insurance plans, including many Medicare plans.

“If you put yourself into the shoes of someone taking seven or eight prescriptions every single month, they’re having to go to the pharmacy three or four times a month — because of the way their refills are synced up, they can’t get them all on the same day,” CEO TJ Parker told MobiHealthNews in February. “There’s typically a line, so if you don’t want to hold anyone else up you’re hesitant to ask the pharmacist any questions … Then you get home with all these bottles, you have to put them in a pillbox or whatever mechanism you’re using to manage your meds. So it becomes this arduous confusing complicated system for people who are taking meds. [PillPack] takes all that complexity and makes it fairly simple.”

Inhaler sensor startup CoheroHealth begins pilot at Mt. Sinai Medical Center

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 8, 2014        

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herotracker profileCoheroHealth, a New York City-based startup working on medication adherence tracking for asthma inhalers, is launching a small pilot with Mount Sinai Medical Center. The company will test its platform, which includes an inhaler sensor, a mobile app, and a connected spirometer, on 50 pediatric asthma patients.

“There are 50 million patients with respiratory disease and it costs $80 billion per year to treat in America,” cofounder and COO Daniel Weinstein told MobiHealthNews. “Half of that is directly attributed to lack of adherence. So $40 billion is a direct result of lack of adherence. It’s a great market opportunity because there’s so much money to be saved and so many patients whose lives could be improved, and it’s not yet crowded.” Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the number of respiratory disease patients.

CoheroHealth’s sensor fits over the controller inhaler, which is used daily as a preventative measure, while others working on similar offerings have primarily focused on connecting rescue inhalers. In addition, the ability to measure lung function with the spirometer gives doctors and patients additional data.  Keep reading>>