News 10/17/12

It’s been a while since my last news post. It’s been a crazier month than expected, but hopefully I can start catching up now.

ONC announces winners of the Blue Button app competitions. Humetrix offers a mobile app that displays Blue Button data nicely on mobile device. It also pulls data such as drug side effects from publicly available sources. The data can also be shared between the patient app and the provider app. It seems hard to read on an iPhone, based on the video above, especially if the patient isn’t an iGrandma like the one in the video. The second winner was Kinergy, whose platform provides Blue Button data access to providers and other family members.

iTriage adds the ability to search 12,000 home health providers using its mobile app. This is an extension from the acute / urgent provider search that iTriage started with, but opens up a whole new group of providers that can sponsor listings. iTriage wants to be the place that people go to access care. I’m wondering when iTriage will launch payments and Yelp-like reviews.

ZocDoc, a big competitor to iTriage that also wants to be the entry point to healthcare, launches a new check-in service that allows patients to fill out intake forms when they book an appointment. The forms can be reused for future appointments. I’ve been wondering when ZocDoc would start doing more than booking appointments and I’m a bit surprised by how long this took. Next, we’ll probably see ZocDoc collecting payments from users at bookings or maybe adding pricing info for services.

AirStrip announces a new investment from Wellcome Trust, a UK-based charity. The money will be used by AirStrip to develop tools to access EMR data via mobile devices. This is a great investment for AirStrip because it helps with international expansion and with moving AirStrip more firmly into the mobile access platform for all clinical data (EMR + monitors).

10-17-2012 5-16-41 AM

Smartphone clinical communications vendor Voalte raises $6 million. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they had raised any previous equity rounds. The company plans to triple its 42 employees over the next 18 months, although I’m wondering how hard it will be to find good talent in Tampa depending on the skill sets they need.

Cerner and Nuance announce that all mobile EHR products from Cerner will have Nuance voice recognition embedded. Cerner will also integrate Nuance’s radiology reporting suite into Cerner’s radiology info system. Does Nuance have competition in healthcare these days?

10-17-2012 5-18-56 AM

Teladoc signs a deal for its California-based providers to offer telemedicine services to 350,000 members of Blue Shield of California. I assume this just means that Blue Shield will pay for its virtual consults. Deals like this are big steps forward for telemed companies.

A new mHealth report seems to offer findings that aren’t very surprising:

  • mHealth has incredible potential to improve care quality and access;
  • Providers can play a significant role in increasing the adoption of these technologies with consumers;
  • Security concerns need to be overcome. This, along with the need for interoperability of apps, is the message I’m hearing at every conference.

Above is a video with one of the founders of Neumitra, a Rock Health Boston company that was created by neuroscientists. The company makes a watch that tracks sweat, respirations, and heart rate to gauge stress levels and then triggers smartphone relaxation apps that offer supportive messages, games, music, and contact with loved ones. The vision is to help people deal with stress, but I’m not clear on how you pull that off. Maybe you target the quantified self people? I can’t imagine employees using this if offered through employers. It’s a cool concept – maybe I’m blind to the potential demand.

Have you always wanted to be a volunteer for an ONC working group but never knew how or where to apply? ONC will use a new site to fill openings by collecting information from those interested.

Partners health spinoff Healthrageous raises another $6.5 million to improve user experience, analytics, and predictive analysis. I’ve always thought the company would do well considering it launched with clinical validation, or at least a very big name (Partners/Harvard). It’s a cool name, too. Healthrageous targets payers and employers.

MyFitnessPal announces it has enrolled 30 million users and will open up its AP, which it’s launching  with several services integrated. It sounds like the API allows data from other sources into MyFitnessPal, but not the other way around. MyFitnessPal is a great food tracking app. but I’m not sure it is going to succeed by trying to leverage that position to become a complete personal health platform. Everybody wants to be the platform for health data these days (Fitbit, Runkeeper, MS, etc.) but I like the approach of Withings that seems to say sure, anybody can have our data. I think Withings is more than happy to make the money on device sales, which free mobile apps like MyFitnessPal and Runkeeper can’t really do.

Wellkot (yeah, I hadn’t heard of them either) raises $2.15 million. The company’s Cafe Well site seems to be a mashup of Q&A like HealthTap, health blogs, patient communities like PatientsLikeMe, and medical reference like WebMD. I think it’s supposed to be a white-labeled product for employers and payers. To be honest, I don’t get it at all, but the solid founding team is probably the basis of the funding.

A big and necessary step to increasing the adoption and usage of mobile health tools is consumer education (provider education is also necessary). I’m seeing an increasing number of mainstream stories that highlight trendy companies and products, which I think is great. An LA Times story features Withings, iBGStar, Cardiio, CellScope, and Netra.

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Travis Good is an MD/MBA involved with health IT startups. More about me.

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