Startup CEOs and Investors: Michael Burke

Accelerators and Incubators: Have They Jumped the Shark?
By Michael Burke

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FDA Clears Way For Smartphone-Connected Continuous Glucose Monitors

The FDA has cleared the way for a new continuous glucose monitor that will wirelessly connect to a smartphone, and then securely transmit glucose readings in real time to anyone involved in the patient’s care. Since 2013, the FDA has taken a hands-off approach to regulating mobile medical apps, but has maintained regulatory authority over apps that connected with a medical device. As a result, diabetics have been patiently waiting for technology that would allow them to remotely check glucose levels with their smartphones.

FDA Clears Way For Smartphone-Connected Continuous Glucose Monitors

The newly approved app comes from Dexcom, a California-based medical device manufacturer. The technology, called Dexcom Share, wirelessly syncs data from an implanted continuous glucose monitor with a paired smartphone. That data is then shared with anyone that the patient provides access too. The Share app also includes an alert feature that will send an alarm to a designated caregiver if glucose levels trend out of range.

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Startup CEOs and Investors: Brian Weiss

Common CommonWell Thoughts (or, Who is Working on A National Social Being Identifier?)
By Brian Weiss

Did you read the CommonWell piece on HIStalk?

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Gamification Startup Settles Deception Charges With FTC

Texas-based digital health startup Focus Education has settled a suit with the FTC in which it was charged with making false or unsubstantiated claims related to its flagship product, Jungle Rangers, a video game that it claims will help improve children’s focus, memory, attention, behavior, and school performance – including children with ADHD. The company has been marketing the game since 2012, and has generated $4.5 million in revenue from sales.

Gamification Startup Settles Deception Charges With FTC

Terms of the settlement are subject to public comment before being finalized but because the company raised significant funds from its marketing and the FTC did not levy any fines within the settlement, it feels like a slap on the wrist. The proposed settlement does not even ban Focus Education from continuing to sell Jungle Rangers, it just mandates that Focus Education must stop marketing its game with false claims about improving cognitive abilities in children, and bars the company from marketing future products with unsubstantiated scientific claims.

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Startup CEOs and Investors: Michael Barbouche

Why I’m Happy That I Did Not Go to the JPMorgan Conference (Or, You Can Go Back to College)
By Michael Barbouche

Now in the sixth year of my entrepreneurial journey with Forward Health Group, one thing is abundantly clear—I don’t watch TV. No, really. I know nothing. “Breaking Bad?” That’s my email inbox. Many things in my world come down to the wire, but not “The Wire” [1]. About the only thing I do try and sneak into the mix is college football. [2] Fall Saturdays are my day. Social media? The only social texting in my life involves my beloved Badgers and occasional jabs at impostors. [3]

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Startup Launches Pathology-driven InnerAge Assessment Tool

Last week, a Boston-based startup called InsideTracker launched a new health assessment tool that brings analytics and blood tests to the task of predicting lifespan. At first glance, everything about the test and the claims made on the startup’s website seem dubious. The new test, called InnerAge, starts with an at-home blood test. A sample is collected and mailed away for processing. For $99, InsideTracker will analyze glucose, cholesterol (both LDL and HDL), and triglycerides. For $299, the test will also look at cortisol, CRP, and vitamin D. For $499, InsideTracker will run a full panel of more than 30 tests. The lab results are then analyzed and a “true” internal age is calculated. Next, the company claims that by adjusting nutritional intake, for which they will provide personalized recommendations, anyone’s InnerAge can be lowered, effectively adding years back onto your lifespan.

Startup Launches Pathology-driven InnerAge Assessment Tool

Why these tests? According to the InsideTracker website, “the brightest minds in aging research have been studying biomarkers and they’ve identified the key markers that contribute to aging.” Over 3,000 biometrics were reportedly evaluated and the team boiled that list down to a handful of tests that correlate with longevity, and that can be influenced through nutritional adjustments. The biggest problem with the InnerAge marketing material though is that none of this data is independently substantiated. There is no clinical research data that explains how glucose, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides can be used to accurately predict lifespan, and nothing that validates that the company’s “InnerAge” metric does in fact correlate with longevity.

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Stride Health Raises $2.4 Million To Scale Its Private Insurance Exchange

When Healthcare.gov launched with a underwhelming thud, Stride Health CEO and founder Noah Lang saw an opportunity. Launching shortly after, the company set to work building a competitor to Healthcare.gov, and in true Silicon Valley style, it’s mobile-first.

Stride Health Raises $2.4 Million To Scale Its Private Insurance Exchange

The concept behind the platform is that if users are willing to share more detailed medical data, like current medications, preferred primary care physician, and a more personal general questionnaire, then health costs can be forecasted for individuals fairly accurately and, by using these forecasts, an ideal insurance plan can be identified that has the lowest premiums and co-pays for the services or medications that the individual will likely need.

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Introducing Quell, The First Wearable Focused On Treating Chronic Pain

This year, CES product unveils were dominated by wearables, each putting its own subtle spin on an already played out form factor. Google Glass saw a laundry list of copy-cats, but with cleaner, less intrusive designs. The smartwatch was re-imagined, seemingly by every company in attendance, with a few promising enhancements among the new designs. For fitness trackers, CES product unveils included new companies building new devices that delivered the same designs, sensors, and functions. It was beginning to seem like a yawn year for wearables, problematic considering many were calling this the “Year of the Wearable.” But then there was Quell.

Introducing Quell, The First Wearable Focused On Treating Chronic Pain

Quell may not have rescued everyone’s dashed hopes for big wearables unveils at CES, but for those that follow digital health, the device is compelling and opens up an exciting new branch within wearables. Quell is a portable, smartphone-connected Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation device, or a TENS device, which in layman’s terms means that it uses electrical stimulation to treat chronic pain. Quell is worn around the calf, and with the push of a button, the device delivers a low-level electrical signal to the nervous system.

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