News 3/14/14


I thought this startup was pretty cool. It’s a platform for optimizing medication lists for patients based on cost. RxRevu offers a solution and API to enterprises and applications to help patients, payers, and health systems to reduce costs by looking at options such as pill splitting and alternatives. It’s a bit different from GoodRx, which offers low-cost lookups for meds across mail order and brick-and-mortar pharmacies. It simply ingests medications lists and comes up with a list of recommendations based on average prices of doses and alternatives, not just generics. As an API, it seems powerful as it can be integrated into EHRs and portals. They apparently have data on potential savings from mining Aetna’s claims database.


Blue Shield of California (BSC) and Adventist Health partner to offer BSC members remote access to Adventist employed specialists. The cost of a telehealth visit through the program is the same for patients as for an in-person specialty visit.


Qualcomm signs a deal with Tunstall, a UK-based home monitoring company with 3.6 million lives monitored. Tunstall had been using its own connected devices, but chose to move to Qualcomm because of the high number of devices and services that integrate with Qualcomm 2Net. This is exactly what 2Net was built for.


UCDavis is working with on a mental health study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that will test it as an early intervention tool for newly diagnosis psychotic patients. The idea is to proactively prevent expensive and sometimes dangerous relapses. Those patients without a smartphone will be given one through a partnership with T-Mobile.


Dell announces a mHealth Challenge for startups. The challenge is seeking companies that are "developing mobile technologies that have the potential to improve patient outcomes and engagement." Dell, along with Intel, will hold three live pitch sessions and an online one. The winners of these sessions, all held in April, will pitch against each other in May for the grand prize. The winner gets coaching, Dell tablets, and the chance to propose a proof of concept. I hope the press is worth a lot because it seems like a lot of effort just for coaching and Dell tablets.


Zipnosis wins the first innovators showcase from the Minnesota Health Action Group. Zipnosis provides a platform that allows patients to get an online diagnosis and treatment. It also announced a partnership with University of Alabama at Birmingham earlier this week.


United Allergy Services launches a mobile app to help patients receiving home immunotherapy. The app helps patients with self management and education. Those patients should be engaged in their care, so hopefully the app gets good uptake.


A Canadian company, LionsGate Technologies, secures $2 million in mixed private and public funding to build out a smartphone pulse oximeter. The goal is to create a device that costs $40 and be used globally to identify and track conditions like pre-eclampsia and pneumonia. It seems like it would also work well for home care in the US.

Hickory Ridge Capital is raising a $50 million fund focused on health IT. Hickory Ridge has funded Healthloop and Watermark Medical through previous funds.


Startup Kannact raises $637,000 in funding, bringing its total to $3 million. Kannact is creating a tablet-based system that does, from what I can tell, almost everything. It is a portal, does secure messaging, offers video conferences, conducts health risk assessments, and can be used as a remote monitoring platform. It is geared towards health systems that can use it to connect with patients, keep them engaged, and ideally drive down costs by keeping them outside of the hospital, ED, and office. It seems like an expansive product to launch. I wonder if it’s targeting a specific subset of patients, probably an expensive one.


Am I the only one who has become a big fan of Triple Tree for quality content, especially related to reform, ACOs, and risk management in healthcare? This post discusses the practical implications for labs of the new HHS law that requires patients to have direct access to lab results without the need to go through a clinician to request them. Around 23,000 labs do not have the policies or tools to delivery results securely to patients, so there’s a big opportunity to work with labs and help them meet the new law. Identification and then a form of secure transmission is what’s required. It seems like a good opportunity for companies to go after.


iRxReminder raises another seed round, this time for $250,000, to bring the total raised to about $500,000. The company offers a mobile app for clinical research to facilitate better compliance as well as capture patient reported data.


Travis Good is an MD/MBA and co-founder of Catalyze. More about me.

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