News 4/26/16

New York-Presbyterian Hospital is fined $2.2 million after the hospital allowed patients, including a man who died on camera, to be filmed without their consent. The federal fine involves the case of Mark Chanko, who was hit by a garbage truck and taken to the hospital. A crew from the ABC program “NY Med” filmed as doctors unsuccessfully sought to save his life. Mr. Chanko’s widow recognized her husband while watching the show the next year.

News 4/26/16

The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care confirm the first positive case of sexually-transmitted Zika virus in Canada. The individual from Ontario is suspected to have contracted the virus from a sexual partner who was diagnosed with Zika virus after travelling to an affected country.

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News 4/19/16

Proteus Digital Health raises an additional $50 million in Series H financing. Digital Medicine offerings, such as Proteus Discover, consist of a sensor-enabled pill, a small wearable patch, and applications that can be accessed via mobile devices and other computers by patients and healthcare providers. Proteus Discover directly measures medication-taking and physiologic metrics to support patient self-management and to help physicians and care teams optimize therapy.

News 4/19/16

Illumina invests $100 million in a new venture capital firm that will focus on unlocking the power of the genome. It will pursue investments in early stage companies that are pioneering new applications of nucleic acid sequencing, developing products that will expand the genomics ecosystem, and utilizing genomics to improve human health.

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News 4/7/16

Human Longevity, Inc. completes an offering of Series B Preferred Stock, raising over $220 million. The company previously raised $80 million in its Series A offering in 2014.

News 4/7/16

Health insurance startup Bright Health secures $80 million in Series A funding. CEO and co-founder Bob Sheehy (formerly CEO of UnitedHealthcare) said, “We are realigning the broken payer-provider relationship, focusing on the consumer and reimagining how technology can simplify the healthcare experience from beginning to end.”

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News 4/1/16

Gauss Surgical announces $12.6 million in Series B financing, bringing the company’s total funding to $24.6 million. The company offers surgeons and their teams an FDA-cleared app called Triton. It can estimate the surgical blood loss in canisters that hold blood and surgeons can estimate blood loss in surgical suction containers using the iPad’s camera. Images are uploaded to the cloud where an algorithm estimates the hemoglobin content and the blood loss.

News 4/1/16

ONC invests in a strategy that calls on innovators to develop market-ready, FHIR-enabled applications. The two challenges and competitive funding opportunities carry awards of $625,000. The first contest is geared toward helping customers get and use their health information. The second targets improving the user-experience and utility for providers. Both require the use of open APIs. A third coordinated action aims to help providers choose technology that best fits their needs and workflow.

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Recent News Roundup 3/28/16

Retail giant Target kicks off a new digital health initiative this spring. Target will offer connected health devices in 500 select stores and at Target.com.

Recent News Roundup 3/28/16

Eye-tracking virtual reality headset maker FOVE closes an $11 million Series A funding round. CEO and co-founder Yuka Kojima says the fall 2016 shipment date is still on and that the company is “working very hard to secure the timeline.”

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Maxwell Health Closes $22 Million Series C For Benefits Management Platform

Boston, MA-based benefits management startup Maxwell Health announces that it has closed a $22 million Series C investment round that included participation from new investors GIS Strategic Ventures, Sun Life Financial, and Cendana Capital. Returning investors included Adams Street Partners, which led Maxwell’s Series B round in 2014, and Tribeca Venture Partners, which led the startups Series A. Cambia Health Solutions, Catalyst Health Ventures, Industry Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Schooner Capital, and Vaizra Investments also returned to participate in the latest round. In total, this brings Maxwell’s lifetime funding level to $56 million since its November 2012 launch.

Maxwell Health Closes $22 Million Series C For Benefits Management Platform

Maxwell Health launched to bring an employee benefits management platform to market that simplifies the enrollment process and then engages end users throughout the year to encourage healthy lifestyle choices and explain benefits options when needed. The company sells its services to employers, charging a per-employee subscription fee, and then supports users as they shop for and enroll in insurance plans. Since launching, Maxwell has expanded its platform to support payroll and HR functions. With its new funding, the company will continue to develop its full product platform, and will start to push its HR and payroll services out to more customers.

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Researchers Testing Microphone-Powered Calorie Counting Wearable

Researchers from Northwestern University and SUNY Buffalo have unveiled interesting proof of concept results from a prototype wearable designed to record the sounds made while chewing and swallowing food in hopes of using the audio to eventually identify the foods being consumed based on the unique sounds they make. Researchers hope that, if foods can be identified in this way, a necklace-based wearable could potentially identify the type and amount of food being eaten, which would result in a wearable that was able to passively calculate caloric intake, something that no research team has managed to accomplish with much accuracy.

Researchers Testing Microphone-Powered Calorie Counting Wearable

The wearable device designed by the team houses high-end acoustic microphones designed to pick up sounds associated with biting, chewing, and swallowing. This information is passed to a smartphone app via Bluetooth, where the sound is analyzed and compared to a reference library for identification. To test the accuracy of the device, researchers asked 12 volunteers to eat seven different types of food: apples, carrots, cookies, potato chips, walnuts, peanuts, and water. Acoustic samples were taken from each volunteer as they ate. In total, sensors captured 4,047 unique events, including 54 bites, 3,433 chews, and 560 swallows. Researchers found that audio signals could be used to identify these foods with an  80 to 90 percent accuracy.

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Pieces Technology Raises $21.6 Million Series A Round

Dallas-based digital health startup Pieces Technologies announces that it has closed a $21.6 million Series A funding round, co-led by Pacific Advantage Capital and Jump Capital, with additional investments from Dallas Children’s Hospital, Order of Saint Francis Healthcare System, and the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation. Pieces was incubated at the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, an incubator program founded by Pieces CEO Ruben Amarasingham, MD and former University of Texas Southwestern Director of Biomedical Informatics. He now runs both both Pieces and PCCI as the president and CEO of each.

Pieces Technology Raises $21.6 Million Series A Round

Over the past three years, Amarasingham has been building a software platform that extracts data from an EHR and runs algorithms to risk stratify the patient population to identify those that are at a high risk of an adverse clinical event or readmission. The system was implemented at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in 2013. During a 2015 health IT policy committee workgroup on advanced healthcare models, Amarasingham explained that “by applying predictive analytics to accurately identify high-risk patients in real-time well before discharge from the hospital, we could accelerate targeted care pathways and interventions to help allocate scarce resources and thus reduce readmissions.” A BMJ study evaluating the company’s technology found readmission rates among high-risk heart failure patients dropped from 26.2 percent to 21.2 percent after the software was implemented.

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