Samsung Announces New Processing Chip Designed For Fitness Trackers

Samsung announces that it has developed a new logic chip that it is calling the “Samsung Bio-Processor.” The chip was designed for use in health-tracking wearable devices, and can process data from five different biometric signals simultaneously, placing it among the most sophisticated bio-processors available to date. Differentiating Samsung’s chip is that it is an all-in-one unit that includes a signal processor, power management circuit, flash memory, and all other sub-components needed to effectively manage data processing within a wearable fitness device. By consolidating these functions within one chip, Samsung is eliminating the need to incorporate multiple single-purpose chips into a wearable prototype that is typically already tight on physical space. Samsung reports that the new chip takes up one-quarter the size that its discrete parts would require in a device using single-purpose chips.

Samsung Announces New Processing Chip Designed For Fitness Trackers

The chip itself has been developed to support a wide variety of measurements, including body fat, skeletal muscle mass, heart rate, heart rhythm, skin temperature, and stress level. These measurements can be captured individually, and can also be combined to calculate proprietary exertion or fitness scores.

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Top 10 Digital Health Stories of 2015

2015 was another milestone year for digital health. Startups in the sector managed to attract the same level of record-breaking funding seen in 2014. Major technology vendors, including IBM, Google, and Apple, have expanded their own digital health strategies. The FDA has continued to loosen regulations within the industry, and the ONC is beginning its push to open new data sources to third-party developers.

To those working day-in and day-out to bring innovative solutions to healthcare’s problems, thank you. Here is HIStalk Connect’s top digital health stories of 2015.

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Cohero Health Raises Seed Funding To Compete In The Inhaler Sensors Market

New York-based digital health startup Cohero Health has raised a $2 million seed round to build a business around the idea of adding sensors to asthma inhalers to passively monitor and log usage data. Sound familiar? It should. Propeller Health launched with a near identical concept in 2007 and has been steadily closing funding rounds and announcing new R&D partnerships ever since. Propeller has raised $26 million since its launch, and has signed a number of pharmaceutical companies on as revenue generating customers, including GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca. To date, Propeller Health has faced little competition as it was the first to market with a niche product. Now, Cohero Health has ambitions of following in Propeller’s footsteps and claims to have technical underpinnings that will immediately differentiate it from the existing competition. The seed round included funding from Bioadvance, Swanhill Capital, Three Leaf Ventures, and Zaffre Investments.

Cohero Health Raises Seed Funding To Compete In The Inhaler Sensors Market

To differentiate itself from Propeller Health, Cohero is launching a platform that not only tracks inhaler usage, but also captures lung function readings through a FDA-approved mobile spirometer. Cohero’s spirometer wirelessly transmits readings from the device to Cohero’s smartphone app. The company earned FDA clearance for the device in June 2015, and as a result Cohero will indeed be the only platform available that can track both medication usage rates and lung function test results. Cohero’s press release boasts some impressive early results from trials it ran at Mount Sinai Health System and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, including a 2.5 times increase in medication adherence rates and an eyebrow-raising “100 percent reduction in hospitalizations.”

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Mount Sinai To Tackle VTE Transitions Of Care With Apps

The Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine has been awarded a $500,000 grant awarded by both the Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning and Change fund and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Independent Medical Education fund. The funding will be directed toward research and development efforts underway at Mount Sinai as its researchers look for better ways of incorporating best practices into caring for patients diagnosed with venous thromboembolism, or VTE. Specifically, researchers want to improve care coordination when these patients are moved from one care setting to another, and will develop an app designed to help patients through these transitions.

Mount Sinai To Tackle VTE Transitions Of Care With Apps

VTE is an umbrella term used to describe two conditions, deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Deep venous thrombosis is a condition in which blood clots form in the veins of a patients extremities, usually their legs. It is a common condition among hospitalized patients, particularly at risk are those who are unable to walk or get out of bed. Untreated, DVT can lead to a more dangerous condition called pulmonary embolism, in which blood clots travel to the lungs and obstruct the pulmonary arteries. DVT leads to a pulmonary embolism nearly 30 percent of the time. Pulmonary embolisms themselves are far more dangerous, causing 300,000 deaths in the US per year, and carrying a 30 percent mortality rate when untreated. For survivors, more than 30 percent of patients who have had any form of VTE will go on to develop post-thrombotic syndrome, a chronic condition that causes leg pain, swelling, and ulcers.

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WellDoc Raises $22 Million Series B To Scale Its Diabetes Management App

San Diego-based digital health startup WellDoc has raised a $22 million Series B funding round co-led by Samsung Ventures and returning investor Merck Global Health Innovation Fund. Adage Capital Management, Alexandria Venture Investments, Excel Venture Management, and Hudson River Capital Partners also participated. The new round follows a $20 million Series A that closed in January 2014, and brings WellDoc’s total funding level to $48 million since its 2005 launch, though nearly all of that funding has been raised in the last two years.

WellDoc Raises $22 Million Series B To Scale Its Diabetes Management App

In June 2013, WellDoc unveiled its flagship product, BlueStar, an app designed to help people better manage type 2 diabetes. Unlike most digital health apps, WellDoc requires a physician prescription before it can be used because the company monetizes its platform through insurance reimbursement. As such, WellDoc works closely with providers to educate them on the BlueStar app in an effort to increase prescription rates.

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StartUp Health Pegs Digital Health Funding At $5.8 Billion For 2015

StartUp Health has published its 2015 Digital Health funding report, which outlines investment trends and activity in the digital health market over the last several years. The report differs from Rock Health’s widely-read report on the same topic because this analysis includes all publically disclosed funding, while Rock Health only includes deals valued at $2 million or more. As a result, StartUp Health’s funding reports tend to be larger, and offer a more granular perspective on seed and series A funding activities.

StartUp Health Pegs Digital Health Funding At $5.8 Billion For 2015

While Rock Health’s analysis concluded that 2015 investment activities kept pace with 2014’s record breaking year, Startup Health measured a significant drop in funding activity year-over-year. 2014 attracted $7 billion in funding for startups, while 2015 only drew $5.8 billion. Deals were also down, with 561 deals closing in 2014 and only 477 deals closing this year. Due to the way Rock Health counts investments, it only included 247 deals in its own report. While Rock Health and StartUp Health differ on their conclusions in this area, the reports concur on most other points.

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Aver Raises $11 Million Of Planned $13.6 million Funding Round To Scale Bundled Payment Software

Columbus, Oh-based digital health startup Aver has raised $11 million of a planned $13.6 million Series B funding round, according to an SEC form D filing first reported by the Columbus Business First. Aver has yet to announce the new round, nor did it disclose the round’s current investors. In April 2014, Aver closed an $8.5 million Series A led by GE Ventures and Drive Capital. In total, Aver has raised $22 million since its 2010 launch, with the potential of pushing that to $24.6 million if it succeeds in closing the rest of its current funding round.

Aver Raises $11 Million Of Planned $13.6 million Funding Round To Scale Bundled Payment Software

Aver is the startup of former United Healthcare auditor Kurt Brenkus. Brenkus has developed a data analytics-based billing system designed to help health systems transition from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement models. Aver’s system imports clinical data, claims data, and administrative data from a client’s existing health IT systems and uses the information to create bundled payment bills that includes the full cost of care for treating a patient’s condition. Beyond helping hospitals transition their billing process from fee-for-service claims to value-based reimbursement claims, Aver provides data analytics tools that help health systems see which services are profitable, which are losing them money, and where to target improvement initiatives.

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Clover Health Raises $35 Million Round, Bringing Total To $135 Million In Just Four Months

San Francisco-based insurance startup Clover Health has raised a $35 million Series B funding round just four months after it closed a separate $100 million round, bringing its its total raised to $135 million since its August 2014 launch. The company bootstrapped through its first year of operation, raising its first outside capital in September in the form of a $100 million investment led by First Round Capital. Its more recent round was led by Sequoia Capital, with additional participation from returning investors First Round and Athyrium Capital Management.

Clover Health Raises $35 Million Round, Bringing Total To $135 Million In Just Four Months

While $135 million is a significant haul for the young startup, the numbers are in line with other startups working in the health insurance industry. Oscar Health raised $150 million in its first year of operation, and has since raised an additional $177 million, bringing its total funding level to $327 million since its July 2013 formation. Both Clover Health and Oscar Health are building insurance companies around the idea that better data analytics and more aggressive population health outreach efforts will bend the cost curve. The major difference between Clover Health and Oscar Health is that Oscar targets young, tech-savvy consumers, while Clover Health is a Medicare Advantage insurance plan and as such is pushing headstrong into the elderly care market, where cost containment is much bigger issue.

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