Kareo Raises $15 Million In Debt Financing

Irvine, CA-based practice management vendor Kareo announces that it has raised a $15 million debt financing round provided by Escalate Capital Partners. After launching in 2004, the company became one of the first to offer a free web-based EHR system, competing alongside other freeware EHR vendors like Practice Fusion, Hello Health, and OpenEMR. Kareo differentiates itself from the others by offering an advertisement-free EHR system that comes with both desktop and tablet apps, customer support, and online training. Rather than monetizing from ads or upfront licensing fees, Kareo generates revenue by selling premium add-on services to complement its core EHR. The company sells both billing and practice management solutions that allow practices to automate all aspects of their operations within the Kareo platform.

Kareo Raises $15 Million In Debt Financing

As consumers become increasingly more aware of how heavily data is used to deliver target advertisements, the “premium services” monetization strategy has had a resurgence as of late. Last year, analysts saw revenue generated from freemium services double on the iOS ecosystem, and triple in Android’s app store. A separate study compared revenue returns between companies charging upfront licensing fees and companies operating under freemium business models. The analysts found that freemium startups had generated more revenue by the end of their second year in business.

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Google’s Newest X Project, a Sensor-Laden Pill That Hunts For Cancer

For a company whose founder once famously stated that “health is just so heavily regulated. It’s just a painful business to be in,” Google has been spending an impressive amount of time in the digital health headlines recently. In the last two weeks alone, the internet search giant launched the fitness tracking app that connects to its Google Fit activity tracker,  piloted a program where instant virtual visits were offered within its search results listings when users searched symptom-like key words, and then just this week, Google’s recently acquired startup DeepMind announced that it has developed a computer that retrieves data from physical memory by mimicking the short-term memory behaviors of the human brain.

Google’s Newest X Project, a Sensor-Laden Pill That Hunts For Cancer

Now, after an already aggressive two weeks in the headlines, Google is back in the news after unveiling its latest X Labs project, a pill that will be packed with millions of nanoparticles so small that as many as 2,000 could fit in a single red blood cell. These nanoparticles are designed to disperse throughout the blood stream, each one coated in different antibodies that will help the nanoparticle hunt for cancer cells, ideally detecting problems in the earliest stages when doctors have the best prognosis. Once ingested, the nanoparticles remain in the blood stream indefinitely, hunting for cancer and transmitting concerning findings to a wrist-worn health sensor.

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Fitbit Unveils Next Generation Of Activity Trackers

Fitbit unveiled three new activity trackers today that extend its device capability beyond the traditional understanding of what a tracker should do, and into the smartwatch arena. Smartwatch makers are pressuring manufacturers like Fitbit to deliver more for much less, and with its latest round of devices Fitbit proves that it isn’t going to go down quietly. With Apple, Samsung, and Google quickly threatening to disrupt Fitbit’s primary revenue stream, the company was in need of a product unveil with the power to keep the wolves at bay, and today it may well have pulled it off.

Fitbit Unveils Next Generation Of Activity Trackers

First, the company unveiled the Fitbit Charge. At $129, the Charge captures basic health metrics such as steps walked, stairs climbed, and calories burned. Beyond this, the device also monitors sleep patterns, and wirelessly synchs with smartphones to push fitness data to the Fitbit app. The new Fitbit lineup also leverages this wireless smartphone link to display caller ID information for incoming phone calls. The Fitbit Charge goes on sale Monday, and is the only new product of the three that were announced that is production ready.

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Matter Announces its First Batch of Startups

Chicago has a new accelerator program for health startups called Matter that announced its first class this week.

Matter Announces its First Batch of Startups

Matter is a non-profit supported by both private and public funds. It has good public support and I believe it is trying to incubate companies that are based in Chicago, with the added benefit of creating business and jobs locally. As a non-profit, Matter doesn’t take an equity stake in the companies. Apparently companies that don’t make progress are asked to leave. Matter is targeting companies across health IT, pharma, and devices.

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Uber Emerges as the Next Uber For Healthcare

Uber, the mobile app company that connects an army of local drivers with nearby Uber users in need of a ride, has been evaluating new ways it might monetize its global network of users. To that end, this week the company is finishing up an experiment in which its app was used to coordinate free, in-home flu shots for users, rather than rides. 

Uber Emerges as the Next Uber For Healthcare

Called UberHEALTH, the one-day pilot program was carried out on October 23 in Boston, New York, and Washington DC. From 10am to 3pm, users were able to request a flu shot with their Uber app, and within the next few hours an RN would be delivered to their house with up to 10 flu shots available for anyone there needed to be vaccinated.

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Salesforce Targets Population Health Market

Reuters reports that Salesforce.com will make a push into healthcare, with an announcement expected sometime in November. The rumors suggest that Salesforce hopes to book up to one-fifth of its annual revenue from the healthcare sector once its software platform and sales units are ready to go.

Salesforce Targets Population Health Market

Salesforce is one of the fastest growing technology companies in the industry, soaring to success after the 1999 launch of its cloud-based customer relationship management software. While the company has very limited exposure to the healthcare market as of yet, the idea that a CRM system could find a home in healthcare is not entirely unfounded. Health systems have been scrambling to find feature rich, ROI generating population health tools since the Affordable Care Act introduced value-based revenue streams to healthcare. Now, startups are racing to corner the market on population health.

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If You’re an iPhone User, We Want Your Data!

Apple’s HealthKit and Health app, despite a lackluster showing at the last Apple event, continues to chug along with new press in the industry. The most recent news was about Ochsner going live with HealthKit feeding data to Epic through MyChart.

If You’re an iPhone User, We Want Your Data!

My understanding is that clinicians, care navigators, or whoever the Epic customer decides can put in orders for patients to use HealthKit. These patients, assuming they use MyChart and iOS 8, then have a new activity in MyChart that gives them the option of connecting to HealthKit to import HealthKit data into MyChart and then Epic. Alerts can be set for each individual. That’s a much more interesting integration than I expected from Epic and Apple.

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Retail Pharmacy Dispensing Machine Startup Raises $30 Million

Canadian startup MedAvail announces that it has closed a $30 million Series C round led by Pura Vida Investments, with support from Deerfield Management Company, Adage Capital Management, and returning investors Redmile Group, Walgreens, and Alliance Boots GmbH. MedAvail is building an unmanned, stand-alone medication dispensing kiosk meant to be installed in grocery stores, primary care offices, or even ER or urgent care centers. The kiosk’s help extend the footprint of local pharmacies by giving them the ability to maintain a physical location where it might not otherwise make sense to build and staff a pharmacy. MedAvail says it is trying to do for pharmacies what ATMs did for banking.

Retail Pharmacy Dispensing Machine Startup Raises $30 Million

MedAvail designed the entire medication dispensing process so that it is tightly controlled by a remotely connected pharmacist. By scanning the barcode on a prescription or pill bottle, the kiosk can call up the patient and the prescription details. Next, the kiosk will connect the patient with a remote pharmacist who will answer any questions the patient might have, collect any medication copay required, and then dispense the requested medications.  The medication stock itself is stored in a climate-controlled vault within the machine, where access is restricted and refill activity is logged and auditable.

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