News for the Week of 9/5/14

Propeller Health (formerly Asthmapolis) raises $14.5 million Series B. The round was led by Safeguard Scientifics. This brings the company’s total to over $20 million. As part of the announcement, Chris Hogg is also joining as COO and running the new Propeller San Francisco office. Chris was co-founder of 100Plus, which was acquired by Practice Fusion, and has been doing analytics at Practice Fusion since then. I think he ran the team that created the PracticeFusion insights website. I’ve been a big Propeller fan for years and it’s great to see them growing and succeeding.

News for the Week of 9/5/14

Tonic Health announces that Elsevier will sell Tonic as a compliment to its product line. Tonic offers simple data collection tools for patients with a focus on mobile data collection. I would have bet on the company years ago when I first learned about them, and from what I hear, things are going well for them.

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Putting Apple + Health in Perspective

Apple is getting a lot of health-related press, for several reasons:

  • Apple announced its Health application, which will display health information collected using apps and connected devices. From what I’ve seen, it looks like UIs and screens for blood pressure and weight, for example. It is meant to provide a unified view of health information gathered by apps and devices. Health is a part of iOS 8, launching this fall.
  • Apple announced HealthKit, which allows app developers to pass health-related information to Apple. It’s an API according to Apple’s definition in its license agreement with iOS app developers, but is really Apple’s attempt to become a health data hub, much in the same way its become a personal payment hub by collecting the credit card numbers of hundreds of millions of people. Apple has also announced partnerships with Epic and beta sites like Mayo, making the HealthKit API more appealing and potentially valuable. HealthKit is also part of iOS 8.
  • Apple updated its license agreement with iOS developers ahead of the launch of Health and HealthKit. This has been news the past week even though Apple made the changes three months ago. The updates specifically address the use and sale of health data that is a part of HealthKit. Apple is putting limits of use of the data for health and fitness only and not for resale for marketing. The press is positive for Apple. Of note with regards to Apple and its stance on PHI and HIPAA, the only reference it makes to HIPAA in its License Agreement is in reference to iCloud usage, which from what I can gather is separate and distinct from Health and HealthKit; Apple clearly states that iCloud is not meant for PHI and Apple is not to be considered a business associate.
  • Apple is rumored to be announcing its new smartwatch, often referred to as the iWatch, at an event next week. The iWatch, or hopefully some more creative name, will have functionality to track activity and potentially other biometric data like heart rate and temperature. It makes sense that Apple would be releasing its new smartwatch this fall with Health, HealthKit, and iOS 8.
  • Apple is supposedly in talks with mega-payers United and Humana about HealthKit. I’d bet this one is true. I think Apple has been talking to large healthcare enterprises for years, just not publicly.

Put it all together and it seems Apple is really moving into healthcare. It’s big and newsworthy that the company is pushing this hard, especially that it’s centering that push on mobile and on data. However, Apple won’t be the magic bullet to engage patients, reduce the cost of care, bring price transparency to consumers, improve outcomes, help providers function better around patient-centered medical homes, reduce readmissions, reduce end-of-life costs, and make the overall experience healthcare a more satisfying one.

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News for the Week of 8/29/14

Rumor has it the iWatch will be announced September 9 by Apple. Apple will also be releasing HealthKit with iOS 8 later this fall – it aggregates health data from wearable and iOS apps. Apple has updated its privacy policies to prohibit developers whose app accesses HealthKit data from aggregating that data and selling it to marketers or data brokers. It’s a strong move by Apple. I’m not surprised since there are no indications I’ve seen that they plan to sign business associate agreements or consider themselves a business associate (or subcontractor) under HIPAA. Now we just need to trust Apple as the holder of health data.

News for the Week of 8/29/14

The VA has rolled out good mobile apps for wounded warriors. A new one is being created — not technically by the VA — that will help veterans find location-based resources, including social support.

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The Next Digital Health IPO (I Hope)

Going public — doing an IPO — is considered a major success for founders and investors. Whether it’s a true sign of success or not, it’s a great way to return money to investors and for employees and founders to cash out some or all of their shares.

IPOs have been on my mind a lot recently with the Castlight IPO, the recent reports on revenue for private health companies, and now the recent news of another large strategic round of funding for AirStrip. Apparently speculating about IPOs is fun, with a story published earlier this month about potential upcoming IPOs in healthcare. I read a story by Michelle Snyder a few years back on the same subject.

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News for the Week of 8/22/14

This is a story I missed a couple weeks ago about higi and Stayhealthy merging to become the nation’s largest smart kiosk company in the country. I’m a big fan of smart kiosks. People are used to using them at pharmacies and retail locations, so you already have a proven way distribution strategy. Adding in the ability to track data overtime and share it is great. I’ve only seen one higi kiosk and I’ve never seen a Stayhealthy one, but apparently there are 6,000 total across the country. Are there any users out there?

News for the Week of 8/22/14

When Asthmapolis — now Propellor Health — launched, it created the brand for all asthma-related tech. Chemisense is a new, pre-product company that is building a wearable air quality sensor. The idea is to create dynamic air quality maps while potentially providing early warning signs to asthmatics. It’s a cool technology and it seems like a perfect add-on/integration for Propellor, which has an impressive heads tart with enterprise customers, funders, and data.

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