Walgreens Expands Access To Telehealth Visits To 25 States Through MDLive Partnership

Walgreens unveils an updated version of its mobile app that adds support for telehealth visits in 25 states, a significant increase over the five states it brought live with telehealth this summer. The news was expected, as Walgreens had previously announced that its strategic goal was to roll telehealth services out to at least 25 states by the end of 2015. In December 2014, telehealth vendor MDLive was contracted to support the initiative, and since then Walgreens has been slowly adding new states to its telehealth footprint. At launch, the Walgreens app offered telehealth visits to users in California and Michigan, then in June the services were extended to users living in Colorado, Illinois, and Washington. Now, telehealth visits will be available in Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Walgreens did not discuss its timeline for expanding these services to the remainder of the country.

Walgreens Expands Access To Telehealth Visits To 25 States Through MDLive Partnership

The way Walgreens delivers telehealth sessions is also changing. Prior to its latest app update, users were required to have both the Walgreens app and the MDLive app on their devices to use the telehealth services. Now, the entire virtual visit experience is facilitated through the Walgreens app alone, doing away with the need to use MDLive.

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Researchers Find Remote Patient Monitoring Fails To Improve Heart Failure Outcomes

The American Heart Association’s 2015 Scientific Sessions are being held this week in Orlando, FL. The conference draws an audience of researchers, public health officials, and front-line cardiologists working to curb some of the nation’s most costly diseases. During the conference, a team of researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA presented findings from a randomized control trial measuring changes to readmission rates and mortality rates when remote patient monitoring solutions designed to supplement heart failure treatment were used. The researchers delivered disappointing news at the conference. Their study showed that the use of remote monitoring technology and regular phone calls from a heart failure coach resulted in no meaningful improvements to either 30-day readmission rates or six-month mortality rates.

Researchers Find Remote Patient Monitoring Fails To Improve Heart Failure Outcomes

Heart failure has long been targeted as an ideal candidate for remote patient monitoring because of the significant toll it takes on society, and because monitoring the disease involves trending a small number of easily captured metrics, namely weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. Based on this premise, researchers recruited 1,400 patients receiving conventional treatment for heart failure. The participants were randomly split into two groups, one that received remote monitoring technology and phone calls from coaches, and a second group that received the current standard heart failure disease management protocol. 

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American Association For Cancer Research Launches Genetic Data Sharing Program

The American Association for Cancer Research announces a new collaborative research project that will combine raw genetic data and outcomes reports from seven major cancer hospitals across North American and Europe. The new initiative, called AACR Project Genomics, Evidence, Neoplasia, Information, and Exchange – or Project GENIE, was announced this past Friday. The founding research partners include US institutions Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins University’s Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Toronto-based Princess Margaret Cancer Center, along with Netherlands-based Center For Personalized Cancer Treatment, and France-based Institut Gustave Roussy round out the list of participating cancer centers. Sage Bionetworks of Seattle and cBioPortal of New York are stepping up as informatics partners to facilitate the data sharing efforts that underpin the project’s goals.

American Association For Cancer Research Launches Genetic Data Sharing Program

AACR has coordinated this partnership to provide the oncology community a central repository to store and analyze tumor mutation data. Each year, thousands of patients have tumors genetically analyzed in hopes that an ideal treatment plan will emerge from the data. Unfortunately, this is typically not the outcome of such tests. While evidence continues to mount, correlating specific tumor DNA mutations with effective treatment plans, most mutations do not have evidence linking them to a specific treatment plan. In response to this lack of understanding, AACR is calling on research centers to begin submitting the results of these screening tests so that a single tumor registry can be developed. The hope is that the resulting data set will allow researchers to unlock new links between tumor mutations and effective drug treatment plans. Today, results from the genetic sequencing tests done at prestigious cancer centers are stored in data silos within the organization, where local scientists can use them to for their own research projects, but where they are largely unavailable to the general scientific community.

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Yale Launches Second ResearchKit App, This Time Aimed At Preventing Pregnancy Loss

Yale University has launched its second ResearchKit app in just the last two months. The new app was designed by members of Yale’s Reproductive and Placental Research Unit, led by Harvey Kliman, MD. For years, care providers have suspected that there may be a link between an undersized placenta and late-term pregnancy losses. The placenta is a complex organ that grows during gestation, providing oxygenated blood and nourishment to the fetus, and removing harmful waste. Though the healthy development of the placenta is vital to the overall wellbeing of both the mother and the baby, measurements of estimated placental volume (EPV) are not routinely captured during pregnancy.

Yale Launches Second ResearchKit App, This Time Aimed At Preventing Pregnancy Loss

Now, with the help of Yale’s new app, Kliman and his team hope to validate the suspicions of providers by recruiting pregnant women and helping them track their EPV measurements throughout their pregnancy. The app is designed to take basic placenta measurements that would be captured during a routine ultrasound exam, and use those measurements to calculate an EPV measurement. The team behind the app asks users to work with their OB/GYN or ultrasound technicians to properly capture placental measurements during examinations, and asks that users only enter data into the app with the assistance of a healthcare provider. Users are also asked to report the outcome of their pregnancy.

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Lumo Raises $10 Million Series B To Launch Its Full Stack Wearables Platform

Lumo Bodytech, a Palo Alto-based digital health startup that markets a series of wearable trackers, has just closed a $10 million Series B funding round led by new investor WuXi Healthcare Ventures, and with support from returning investors AME Cloud Ventures, Innovalue Capital, Innovation Endeavors, Madrona Venture Group, and MAS Holdings. Eli Harari, founder of SanDisk, also joined the round as an angel investor. The new funding brings Lumo’s total raised to $17 million since it launched in 2011. Outside of equity investments, Lumo has also done notably well in the crowdfunding space. In a 2012 campaign on Kickstarter, Lumo raised $200,000 for a posture improvement sensor and app, doubling its initial funding goal of $100,000. In 2014, Lumo launched a self-hosted crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for its next-generation posture sensor, the Lumo Lift. The team set a goal of $200,000, which it passed in just four days on its way to raising north of $500,000. In total, Lumo has raised $2 million through equity-free crowdfunding campaigns.

Lumo Raises $10 Million Series B To Launch Its Full Stack Wearables Platform

Last month, Lumo added its third product to its portfolio, Lumo Run, a sensor-laden pair of running shorts that incorporates its posture sensor technology into a new form factor designed to track and improve running form. Lumo says the shorts are washing machine safe and have an expected battery life of one month. An array of sensors embedded in the waistband tracks cadence, ground contact time, bounce, stride length, pelvic rotation, and changes in speed. Each data point is synced with a running coach smartphone app that provides real-time audio feedback to help correct a user’s form during the run. The app also provides an after-workout graph pinpointing a runner’s variance from the ideal form. The shorts will not ship until 2016, but the company is now taking discounted pre-orders.

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