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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HealthTap Launches National Virtual Visit Platform

HealthTap announces that it will expand its current consumer health website to include the option to connect with a physician for virtual consultations.  HealthTap is a Palo Alto-based digital health startup operating a Q&A website that connects anonymous patients who post medical questions on a public forum with board-certified physicians willing to provide answers. The new service will cost $44 per visit, and will complement the site’s existing health information infrastructure.

Since its 2010 launch, HealthTap has focused on building a platform that disrupts traditional symptom checker websites like WebMD, by delivering the opinion of a board certified physician at no cost to the patient. The company did an excellent job building a reliable and useful outlet of health information for consumers. A doctor was guaranteed to respond to every question within 24 hours, but often, responses would come in much sooner, and in many cases, multiple doctors would collaboratively speculate on what might be causing the patient’s symptoms.

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Finalists Announced In Health Sensor XPRIZE Competition

The XPRIZE Foundation has unveiled 11 finalists in a $1.25 million contest it is holding to bolster innovation in the health sensor field. Teams are competing to develop cheap, accurate, and scalable sensors that bring new capabilities to the digital health marketplace. The $1.25 million purse will be shared among the six highest scoring teams, with the first place team taking $525,000, and the remaining five taking home $120,000.

Finalists Announced In Health Sensor XPRIZE Competition

The Nokia Sensing XPRIZE finalists are:

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SMS-based Ebola Screening Tools Are In the Works

Public health officials from Doctors Without Borders are building a next generation outreach tool that it hopes will help West African countries turn the tide as they battle to control a historic Ebola outbreak.

SMS-based Ebola Screening Tools Are In the Works

The project started this summer when public health officials began work on an Ebola outbreak map that could be updated by anyone with access to a smartphone. The team created an app that can be used by local health workers to report and track new Ebola cases, and communicate bed availability to other local clinics. The app also identifies villages that practice high risk cultural behaviors, such as unsafe burial customs, or a general unwillingness to report symptoms or seek medical care. The map has been a key tool for public health officials and care providers trying to balance patient needs across a network of short staffed clinics.

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IntelliQuit Launches Kickstarter Campaign For Gamified Smoking Cessation Platform

IntelliQuit Launches Kickstarter Campaign For Gamified Smoking Cessation Platform

New York-based digital health startup IntelliQuit launches a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of a smoking cessation platform that it hopes will improve success among smokers using the traditional smoking cessation program that clinicians have relied on for years. The program was designed by Matthew Bars, co-founder and CEO of IntelliQuit, and the director of the tobacco treatment program for the New York Fire Department. Under his leadership, the NYFD has seen its smoking rates drop 70 percent. Victor Marchione, MD, co-founder, and CMO of IntelliQuit is a pulmonologist with 30 years experience helping patients quit smoking.

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Google Extends Its Cloud-based Genome Data Set Business

This summer, Google formed a partnership with Autism Speaks, a US-based autism research foundation, that resulted in Google hosting 10,000 fully sequenced genomes on its cloud infrastructure. The partnership was formed to reduce the lag time researchers were experiencing when they tried to share newly sequenced genetic data. With a single fully sequenced genome filling a 100 gigabyte disk, researchers tend to rely on conventional mail to share data when sharing hundreds of genetic samples, rather than trying to transfer the information over the web. The financial arrangements behind this deal were never disclosed.

Google Extends Its Cloud-based Genome Data Set Business

Now, Google is announcing a similar partnership with the Institute for Systems Biology, a Seattle-based cancer research foundation. ISB has been pioneering genetic research for the Cancer Genome Atlas for the past five years. The Cancer Genome Atlas is a collaborative project that aims to explore the link between genetic abnormalities and various types of cancers. This data set also holds 10,000 samples, which researchers have no easy way of sending to new collaborators, other than to mail it to them.

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Welltok Raises $25 Million Series D To Expand Patient Engagement Platform

Welltok publishes a seemingly premature press release announcing that it has raised $25 million of a planned $37 million Series D round. The round is being led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with no details provided on secondary investors. Welltok and BVP anticipate completing the fundraising by the end of the year. The new funding follows a February 2014 Series C that netted $22 million and brings the company’s total funding to $73 million. That number will jump to $85 million if it is able to extend its Series D round all the way to its $37 million target.

Welltok Raises $25 Million Series D To Expand Patient Engagement Platform

Welltok operates in a particularly difficult digital health segment to monetize, patient engagement. The company launched in 2009, and has been marketing a software suite that lets patients and providers set health goals, and then tracks progress toward those goals through integration with fitness trackers, medical devices, and weight loss apps. Health systems and insurers can use the platform to incentivize healthy decision making by providing rewards when goals are met, and providers can use the platform .

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