News 4/18/14

I’ve mentioned Oscar, the new tech-powered insurer in New York, a few times. It was gunning big for the insurance exchange there, but only enrolled 14,000 people during the open enrollment period, which is less than 2 percent of the people who enrolled in New York. I have to imagine that’s a major letdown for them. I think the value in Oscar will ultimately be in the technology it creates, so I’m interested to see if this result changes its trajectory.

News 4/18/14

Validic seems to be everywhere these days. Here’s a good local story on what they are doing in Durham. I had no idea they were growing so fast, currently with 16 people and growing by another 19 by the end of the year.

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Nuance Acquires Image Exchange Vendor Accelarad

Speech recognition vendor Nuance formally announces its acquisition of cloud-based image exchange vendor Accelarad, following several days of speculation that Nuance would enter the image exchange market with an acquisition. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Nuance Acquires Image Exchange Vendor Accelarad

The acquisition has been in the works for a while, because in line with the acquisition announcement Nuance reported that its new image exchange network, renamed the Nuance PowerShare Network, would be immediately available for licensing. The network is web-enabled platform that allows clinicians to connect with one another and share reports and images across a secure web connection in a similar workflow to how information is shared on social networks. 

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Mayo Clinic-Backed Health Assistant App Raises $5 Million Seed Round

The Mayo Clinic is partnering with a new mobile health startup called Better that is launching an app it hopes will fundamentally disrupt the process of researching health conditions online. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup was founded in 2013 and has raised a massive $5 million seed round led by Mayo Clinic and the Social+Capital Partnership.

Mayo Clinic-Backed Health Assistant App Raises $5 Million Seed Round

The team behind the project has a track record of success. Geoff Clapp is a serial entrepreneur who previously founded the Health Hero Network before being acquired by Bosch Healthcare, and now serves as an advisor for Rock Health. He has also held positions with Apple and Genomera. Co-founder Chamath Palihapitiya is the founder and managing director of The Social+Capital Partnership, a prestigious VC fund in Palo Alto, Calif. with an equity stake in the new startup.

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Remember the Past or be Doomed to Repeat It

I had to Google that quote to figure out who said it first. Apparently the proper quote or original quote from George Santayana is, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." "Doomed" is often used in place of "condemned," but I prefer the ring of condemned because it’s more like a punishment for forgetting.

Why should we be thinking about the past? Health IT is booming and more is coming to healthcare. In many respects, healthcare is at a crossroads, with large shifts taking hold. Many of these shifts will be powered by new technology, technology-enabled services, and data-enabled services. Layer on top of all of this new rules — I’m hesitant to say “standards” because of the track record of HL7 standards being implemented in a standard way for data exchange and interoperability — and we’re at a crossroads as an industry.

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Health Data Consortium Announces Code-A-Palooza Challenge

The Health Data Consortium announces a Code-A-Palooza challenge that invites programmers to dig into the hoards of newly released CMS payment data to create apps and visualization tools that would help consumers make more informed decisions about their healthcare.

Health Data Consortium Announces Code-A-Palooza Challenge

The challenge is soliciting written proposals through April 25, during which applicants will have to explain the use case and benefits of their idea. Ten finalists will be selected from those that enter and will get free passes to the Health Datapalooza conference as an award. Finalists will have all of May to code their final prototypes, before the June 1 – 3 Health Datapalooza conference, where they will present a live demo of their final product in front of a panel of judges. At the end of the demos, three winners will be chosen. The first place team will receive a $20,000 price. A second place award of $10,000, and a third-place award of $5,000 will also be issued.

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LifeSum Closes $6.7 Million Series A For Fitness App

Swedish digital health startup LifeSum announces a $6.7 million Series A round led by German-based Bauer Media Group and Palo Alto-based SparkLabs Global Ventures. The new funding is the startup’s first outside money, having bootstrapped through its first several years of growth.

LifeSum Closes $6.7 Million Series A For Fitness App

Founded in 2008, LifeSum has been steadily building a user base for a fitness app that helps consumers count calories and track activity throughout the day. Barcode scanning streamlines calorie counting, and integration with third party activity trackers allows users to capture a full picture of their daily burn. The app operates in the same space that LoseIt! and MyFitnessPal do, but LifeSum operates entirely in the European markets. To date, the company’s app has racked up an impressive 6.5 million downloads on the iOS and Android ecosystems, propelled by claims that its users average 13 pounds in weight loss during the first three months of use. The app is advertisement free, and is monetized by converting users over to its premium subscription services.

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NHS Looks To Telehealth, mHealth Drive Non-Emergencies Out Of the ER

In England, the NHS is making final preparations before this week’s nation-wide kick-off of a program designed to expand out-of-hospital care availability, and therefore drive down the number of non-emergency visits presenting in local emergency rooms. The program, called the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in December 2013.

NHS Looks To Telehealth, mHealth Drive Non-Emergencies Out Of the ER

The goal of the new program is to extend the office hours in the primary care setting to include nights and weekends, an idea many politicians and public health advocates say will help reduce the reliance on emergency rooms as a non-business hour alternative to primary care. To accomplish this, the NHS will look to the local primary care physicians to reinvent the way that care is accessed in the ambulatory space.

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InfoBionic Raises $17 Million Series B Round, Marking Second Major mHealth Deal This Week

Lowell, MA-based patient home monitoring startup InfoBionic announces a $17 million Series B round led by Safeguard Scientifics, with additional contributions from returning investors: Mass Medical Angels (MA2), Broadview Ventures, TiE, Beta Fund, Boardwalk, Launchpad Venture Group, Cherrystone TCA, HTC, Boynton, and Keiretsu. 

InfoBionic Raises $17 Million Series B Round, Marking Second Major mHealth Deal This Week

The round follows a $1.2 million convertible note provided by Cherrystone in November 2013, a Series A round in March 2013, and a December 2012 seed round that raised just under $1 million. As part of the deal, Safeguard has negotiated a 20 percent ownership stake in InfoBionic, and will install Safeguard Scientifics investment partner Al Wiegman to the board. Safeguard has a history of investing in health IT projects, with multi-round funding participation in QuantiaMD, and Medivo and an additional investment in genetics startup Good Start Genetics.

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