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  • RWJF Plan Choice Challenge Finalists Announced!

    rwjf-logo (1)The winners of the RWJF Plan Choice Challenge, launched this summer to address consumer choice in purchasing health insurance and understanding cost-features of each plan, were announced last week at the Health 2.0 Fall Conference in Santa Clara, CA.

    This challenge sought app based solutions to simplify the process of choosing a health plan based on pricing and cost-sharing features. In an increasingly consumer-based health care marketplace, one of the main goals of this challenge was to offer a greater number of choices and variation for those looking to purchase healthcare for themselves or their employees.

    The RWJF Plan Choice Challenge works to convey highly customized healthcare data to its users, so that they are able to make the most informed and cost conscious choice. The tools’ focus on comprehensive data and cost-sharing features, using Breakaway Policy Strategies’ Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) Compare Dataset will allow for a strong consumer experience.

    The Phase I finalists are:

    Learn more about the challenge & winners here, and stay tuned for updates on the Phase II winners, who will be announced in February!

    The Investment Community Has Spoken, Traction Winners Announced!

    Bright and early on the morning of September 22nd, Health 2.0 Conference attendees gathered to watch promising health tech startups vie for the championship title at Traction: Health 2.0’s Startup Championship. For all of those who watch ABC’s “Shark Tank”, Traction was similar, but with a digital health twist. The competition was divided into two tracks, consumer facing solutions and provider facing solutions. Five companies pitched in each track and faced hard-nosed questions from an expert panel of judges.

    Speaking of judging…those evaluating both the presentations and the efficacy of the solutions represent a diverse group of opinions in the digital health community. Venture capitalists and investment professionals made up the majority of the panel, providing important insights and critiques on the presenters business models, revenue data, and growth potential. This direct interaction between startups and investors allowed the burgeoning companies to gain important feedback, and the potential investors a first glance at the latest and greatest in digital health.

    Though each company brought a new and inventive solution to the table, only one startup in each track could claim a victory, and eventually two were named: Frame Health and the MediSafe Project.

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    FrameHealth CEO, Bruce Ettinger, with his Traction Mentor, Martin Kelly of HealthXL

    Frame Health employs personality assessments to anticipate patient non-compliance to a treatment regimen and assists physicians in developing care plans that better align with a patient’s behavior. The company reports that 75% of the 3 Trillion (yes, you heard that right) health care dollars have been spent on those with chronic conditions (obesity, cancer lung disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes) that can be prevented through intensive adherence to physician recommendations and prescriptions. Frame Health assists patients whose busy lives conflict with their medical needs by facilitating personalized care and lowering systemic healthcare costs.

    Medisafe Project CEO, Omri Shor, accepts prize onstage at Traction

    Medisafe Project CEO, Omri Shor, accepts prize onstage at Traction

    In the consumer solution track, MediSafe took home top prize for their work, simplifying medication dosages for busy families and individuals. Categorized as a “medication management solution,” MediSafe allows users to synch their mobile device and their medication schedule to create a user platform that will simplify medication scheduling and regimes. MediSafe was spurred, in part, by the lack of adherence it observed in the majority of Americans; only 50% of the population took their medication regularly, which led to approximately 700,000 hospitalizations…in 2008 alone! The dubiousness of these numbers prompted the folks at MediSafe to take a stand. MediSafe has already proven to be a popular consumer tool, with nearly one million downloads.

    Congratulations to our winners! A big THANK YOU to all those who entered the competition and our judges and mentors who contributed their time and expertise. We are excited to share these two companies with you, and can’t wait to read all about their traction in the coming year. For more information please visit the Traction website.

    PCORI Rewards Apps that Connect Patients and Researchers

    This week at the Health 2.0 Fall Conference, Bill Silberg, Director of Communications and Orlando Gonzales, Chief of Staff Engagement, from PCORI announced the winners of the Matchmaking App Challenge live on the main stage. This challenge had the noble goal of building an app that will bring together patients, stakeholders and researchers as partners to conduct patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). We received very competitive submissions for this challenge and we are happy to announce the winners:

    First Place: PatientPowered.us

    Second Place: WellSpringBoard

    Third Place: CareHubs

    PCORI will work to make PatientPowered.us available for use by patients, researchers and stakeholder and further promote their mission of patient-centered research. Learn more about the challenge & results here.

     

    An Interview with Mike Lee, CEO & Co-founder of MyFitnessPal

    Next week the co-founders (and brothers!) of MyFitnessPal, Mike and Albert Lee, will sit down with Jane Sarasohn-Kahn during our session 3 CEOs at Health 2.0′s Eighth Annual Conference. Our own CEO, Indu Subaiya, recently asked Mike a few questions about their popular app, the business, and big trends in personal tracking.

    IS: Can you tell us the story (again!) behind how MyFitnessPal started?

    MFP: The idea for the app actually stemmed from a personal need. My wife and I were preparing for our beach wedding and we both wanted to lose a little weight. We went to see a fitness trainer and he gave us a book listing the nutritional values of around 3,000 foods and a small pad of paper to use for tracking our calories. I’ve been programming since I was 10 years old, so I just knew there had to be a better way to keep track of my meals and snacks, but I couldn’t find anything online that was good enough. Every digital product on the market at that time was just as painful and time-consuming to use as food-logging in that notebook. So, I built my own solution, and it eventually became MyFitnessPal.

    It really started as a side project—I’d spend a few hours here and there, on weekends and evenings building the earliest version of MyFitnessPal. I started by sharing the website with family and friends, and finally launched MyFitnessPal in September 2005. Eventually, I realized it was too big to be a side project, and decided to focus solely on MyFitnessPal as a business. My brother Al joined me in early 2009 to head up development and redesign, and we launched our first iOS app later that year.

    Since, we’ve helped more than 65 million people achieve and maintain a healthier and happier lifestyle. We have a database of nearly 4 million foods and hundreds of exercises, top fitness technology partners, and community insights. We’ve become the leading resource for achieving and maintaining health goals.

    IS: With the explosion of device and platform announcements from the tech giants, how do you see MyFitnessPal playing within this ecosystem, as clearly you already have a massive platform with valuable data.

    MFP: I get excited about all the different devices that are being introduced to help people lead healthier lives — we currently integrate with 80% of the wearables on the market, meaning we have such a wealth of ways to help our users get more data about their health. A rule of thumb is that health is generally achieved via 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. No one offers the breadth and depth we have in the nutrition space.

    IS: Your platform collects incredible amounts of data from its users, what do you plan to do analytically with this data? Do you have plans for population health level analyses? What insights has it given you already?

    MFP: With a user base constantly inputting their health goals, foods eaten, fitness and calorie-burning activities performed and weight data, among other things, MyFitnessPal has become the largest-ever longitudinal study of health behaviors in human history.

    Right now, the way we use our data is aligned with what we call the true North of MyFitnessPal: user success.

    We have created a virtuous cycle with our data: users add to and improve our health data and expand our food database, we use that data to improve the product to drive more user success, and more success leads to more users, which leads to even more data.

    We are always looking at the possibility of partnering with academics or health professionals to do more in-depth studies — for right now, our top priority is user success and trust.

    IS: Can you tell us about a personal insight that MyFitnessPal has given you?

    MFP: One of the first things I did was log a sandwich, and I had no idea that mayo had so many calories — 90 calories per tablespoon vs. only 5 per tablespoon for mustard. Basically, since that day, I haven’t eaten mayo. There have been tons of insights, but that one is the first and it’s really stuck with me. I just don’t eat mayo anymore, and it’s saved me literally thousands of calories over the years.

    IS: MyFitnessPal has such a large and dedicated following, what makes users so loyal to MFP? How will you keep them interested long-term?

    MFP: We solve what we call the “Healthy Living Dilemma.” Living a healthy life is hard. It’s often easier to live an unhealthy life than it is to make healthier choices. We have to eat to live, so it’s almost inevitable that we end up on food autopilot, eating unconsciously. Sugar, fried foods, salty snacks, processed foods – all the unhealthy things – just taste good. Good-for-you choices are less available than unhealthy foods – and healthy foods tend to cost more. Finally, there’s a vast ocean of health information that the average consumer finds overwhelming and unintelligible.

    Basically, the system is broken. MyFitnessPal aims to fix it by making it crystal clear what every individual user needs to do to live a healthier life and making it easier for them to actually do it. We help people create and maintain healthy habits. That’s powerful.

    We will continue to grow our offering with user success in mind. As long as we’re helping them be successful, I believe we will maintain this loyalty and interest.

    IS: What is one big trend or change that you predict in personal tracking?​

    MFP: Well, obviously we’re all watching Apple’s watch — but, even before that, there is a device that’s with you 24/7: your smartphone. It has a tremendous capacity for capturing relevant data. MyFitnessPal is poised to harness the power of the smartphone to create a round-the-clock tool for healthy living.

    What’s exciting to me about devices like the watch, is that they are so feature-rich, which means that more people will have them and have access to health data almost inadvertently. People will get more engaged in their health, because it’s there. It will inspire people to start thinking about it.

    Your phone or watch becomes your gateway drug to health. It’s not the primary reason people will have this device, but they’ll get fitness tracking with their communications capabilities and perhaps develop new habits because of it.

    Welltok Survey Finds Consumers Struggle to Achieve Optimal Health on Their Own

    Consumers struggle to achieve health goals on their own, according to a survey conducted by Welltok, Inc., creator of the CaféWell Health Optimization Platform. Welltok’s Health Optimization Index provides insights from more than 1,000 consumers about the journey to optimizing their health and related roadblocks encountered along the way – from mounting work responsibilities to lack of motivation. Additionally, the results showcase the need for a more personalized approach to supporting consumers’ health across all demographics. “When consumers are sick, we don’t expect them to get well on their own. The same logic applies to optimizing one’s health – it shouldn’t be an isolated, self-guided journey,” said Scott Rotermund, co-founder and chief growth officer for Welltok. “What consumers need to truly change behaviors and improve overall health status is access to personalized guidance, resources and programs aligned with incentives that will empower them to be as healthy as they can be at every point in their life.” Notable highlights from the Health Optimization Index include:

    • Lack of self-motivation is holding consumers back. The majority of respondents (nearly 80 percent) rely on themselves to manage their health and report personal goals as a key motivator. However, lack of motivation and absence of personalized guidance were cited as top barriers to achieving optimal health. “This indicates that consumers may be overwhelmed by their goals, such as reducing BMI or quitting smoking, especially if they don’t have a clear path to follow or the appropriate support,” said Rotermund.
    • Work is a major detour to healthy living. More than 50 percent of those surveyed cited work as the number one barrier to optimizing health. Additionally, less than 10 percent consider their employer as a resource to help improve their health. Furthermore, work was reported as the second highest time commitment, and consumers 35 and under report dedicating the least amount of time to their health. 
    • Digital health tools are starting to muscle out the gym. When it comes to the resources consumers are using to support health goals, nearly 50 percent cited digital health apps – a close second to the gym.
    • Health reward programs in high demand. More than 85 percent of individuals believe healthcare companies should offer consumers reward programs for being healthy. The top three preferred reward types are: cash (nearly 50 percent), reduced insurance premiums (nearly 30 percent) and gift cards (nearly 20 percent). The desire to lower health coverage costs is nearly double among respondents over the age of 35 compared to younger generations.

    Continue reading →

    News & Updates

    Glen Tullman, former CEO of Allscripts, is back in the driving seat with Livongo Health, a digital health platform that provides real-time information, personalized tools and a connected support network to help improves lives of people living with chronic illnesses. Its flagship product, InTouch is an FDA approved, two-way, interactive glucometer that comes with unlimited supplies for monitoring, is paired with cloud-based analytics, and real-time monitoring and support. Initially funded by 7wire Ventures, it recently raised $10M in Series A from General Catalyst Partners.

    Wellcentive, provider of population health management solutions, was named a “Standout” vendor in both product and market ratings in the Chilmark Research’s 2014 Analytics for Population Health Management Market Trends Report. Its Advance Outcomes Manager provides point of care tools, care gap analysis, automated patient outreach, outcomes reporting, predictive modeling and risk assessment, care management and coordination, and cost and utilization analysis. Wellcentive has raised $15.2M in funding to date, the latest round being sponsored by Summit Partners.

    Craneware, a provider of automated revenue integrity solutions for health care organizations, launched Reference Plus, a tool specifically designed for critical access and independent community hospitals. It simplifies chargemaster management and provides comprehensive clinical, financial and regulatory coding information. Craneware’s flagship product, Chargemaster Toolkit, earned top ranking in the 2013 KLAS “Revenue Cycle – Chargemaster Management” market category (for eighth consecutive year), and its Bill Analyzer software ranked first in the “Revenue Cycle – Charge Capture” for the third year running.

    Smashon, a health and wellness platform founded in 2013, launched an online social community for healthy living and wellness content. Focusing on Northern California for the moment, the platform will have user-driven communities interested in health, wellness and fitness, complete with expertly written, local content as well as local companies offering great deals on products and services. Smashon has partnered with more than 60 health and wellness experts and over 250 health and wellness merchants in the Northern California area.

    Haymarket Media, a global publication and communications company, launched EndocrinologyAdvisor.com, a new digital resource for health care professionals in the field of endocrinology. It will host daily endocrinology news, drug monographs, full-length clinical features, unique case studies, clinical charts, continuing medical education (CME) courses, and coverage from major endocrinology conferences. The website is mobile-optimized and will also be released as a native app for iOS and Android devices in the coming days.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to launch several new mobile apps this fall. Some of the apps were part of the VA’s Family Caregiver Pilot from the past year. Others apps are converted desktop applications from its health portal. This news comes shortly after the announcement that the VA will begin reimbursing its doctors for specific uses of activity trackers. It’s exciting to see an organization like the VA embrace digital health, and we hope the trend continues.

    IBM’s Watson is teaming up with the Mayo Clinic to help match active clinical trials with eligible participants. According to IBM, there are about 170,000 clinical trials being carried out at any given time worldwide. Matching eligible patients with trials is often a matter of luck and guesswork. Watson will use data from patients’ records to scour clinical trial databases from Mayo and public sources like clinicaltrials.gov, and return matches.

    Health gaming corporate wellness platform Keas raised $7.4 million. This brings the company’s total funding to date to at least $32.9 million. We’ve seen Keas on stage at Health 2.0 several times, and have to admire their continued startup gumption following a 2010 pivot.

    In the UK, breast cancer screening vans are upgraded with satellite links to allow employees to enter and access patient information and to send images directly to hospitals. These screenings are a boon to residents in far-flung areas, who may have a hard time accessing care otherwise, especially for procedures like cancer screenings, which can seem less than urgent much of the time. It’s a little higher tech than emailing your doctor, but amazing how much we still stand to benefit from that relatively simple concept.

    Google acquired Lift Labs, which developed a smart spoon for individuals with Parkinson’s that senses the movement of a hand tremor and triggers a tiny motor to move the head of the spoon in the opposite direction, keeping it relatively stable while the user eats. For a company that said it didn’t want to get too deep into health care, these little moves certainly are piling up.

    Health 2.0 Announces Launch! & Traction: 20 Must-See Digital Health Companies

    Health 2.0 Announces 8th Annual Fall Conference Launch! and Traction Finalists: The Must-See Digital Health Startups of 2014

    Ten new digital health companies will demo their products for the first time in the Launch! session during the Health 2.0 8th Annual Fall Conference being held in Santa Clara, CA on September 21-24. Launch! is a contest held at 12:00 p.m PDT on Wednesday, September 24th, where the technology is demoed in three and a half minutes. At the end, the audience votes for their favorites. Previous Launch! winners have included Castlight Health, Basis, and OM*Signal. This year’s finalists:

    • Symptify helps the user navigate a series of questions to narrow down the cause of their symptoms while also helping them find a nearby medical facility.
    • Open Source Health MyAVA, uses Open Source health IT for a collaborative patient – physician educational and informational sharing platform for women. Advocating everything from female health, fertility, to healthy aging.
    • Intake.Me is a communication and patient engagement product that allows patients to check-in for their doctor’s visit from anywhere and attach medical records stored in their own virtual private health cloud.
    • Livongo Health introduces the brand new InTouch, which is a diabetes monitor, advisory and coaching service, community, and communications tool—all rolled into one. The concept is so exciting that it’s got Glen Tullman out of his post Allscripts “retirement” and back into the startup game.
    • DaVinci.io builds apps with a mission – introducing a PHR that consolidates existing health records onto the user’s mobile device.
    • Hale Health’s founder Anna Larsonn left Apple to develop a new communication platform where patients can digitally connect, talk, and message directly with their doctors.
    • Curve Tomorrow is in partnership with the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, launching Sonny. It uses the XBOX Kinect to more accurately track the progress of physical rehab treatment.
    • InpharmD helps physicians make more informed decisions by digitizing the literature search experience. Supervised pharmacy students respond to their inquiries and help them practice according to the latest evidence.
    • ChatrHealth’s Cascadia is set of iPad-based modules that adapt the checklist functionality used by airline pilots to improve safety in clinical situations, starting with anesthesia and surgery, and moving to other medical procedures.
    • ThriveOn uses a series of personality-based steps to help people take the small steps towards more balanced mental health. Interventions like “cooking dinner for friends” or “going for a healthy walk” are accompanied by the support of a live mental health professional.

    While Launch! is in its 7th year of showing brand new technologies, Traction is a brand new competition focusing on the business plans of already successful companies, which are on the verge of raising Series A rounds of $2-$15M. The companies are mentored by experts and judged by a hard nosed panel of venture capitalists who will determine which can scale most quickly.

    Provider Facing Track

    • Tute Genomics allows researchers to analyze & interpret entire human genomes and discover genes and biomarkers faster than current practices.
    • Frame Health uses big data to predict which patients will be non-compliant using psychology that’s been extensively tested in many non-health settings and then generates precise instructions for providers on how to improve compliance for each individual patient.
    • SharePractice is a community that lets physicians search for and review medical treatments. Doctors can enter any diagnosis to see how their colleagues around the world rank the best treatments.
    • ChatrHealth’s Cascadia is set of iPad-based modules that adapt the checklist functionality used by airline pilots to improve safety in clinical situations, starting with anesthesia and surgery, and moving to other medical procedures.
    • Connexient’sMediNav provides a digital wayfinding and patient communication system for hospitals.

    Consumer Facing Track

    • Zest Health sells a care concierge and benefits selection service to employers. Employees get symptom checking, key benefits information, and the ability to book, receive, and pay for care online. Or as they say, it’s like Teladoc meets Zocdoc, Mint meets Castlight, & Groupon meets Priceline. All in one.
    • Health Recovery Solutions prevents hospital readmissions by giving patients a tablet with instructions, information, detailed easy to understand treatment plans, and easy communication back to the providers.
    • Tiatros’ Healthcare Relationship Management solution connects a patient, their family members, and their caregivers– and all of their data, medical records, assessments and appointments. It also enables them to communicate in real time with their doctors and entire medical team.
    • Sense.ly is a virtual clinical assistant that interacts directly with chronically ill patients. The interactive, speech-driven avatar can quickly assess a patient’s condition and provide caregivers with relevant insights for meaningful follow-up.
    • The Medisafe Project is a very intuitive medication reminder system (and a lot more) that helps patients and their families take their pills correctly. It’s had nearly a million organic downloads with no marketing. On the back end it’s a powerful data platform helping create better patient engagement and raise medication adherence.

    Find more information on the companies, speakers, panels, and sessions on the agenda website. The Health 2.0 8th Annual Fall Conference will take place at the Santa Clara Convention Center on September 21-24. Join an audience of over 1,800 professionals, innovators, venture capitalists, and thought-leaders within the industry all in one place. Registration is available on the main website here.

    About Health 2.0

    Health 2.0 promotes, showcases, and catalyzes new technologies in health care through a worldwide series of conferences, code-a-thons, prize challenges, and leading market intelligence. Visit www.health2con.com for more info.

    Countdown to Health 2.0 2014: Exclusive Interview with Adam Pellegrini Walgreens, VP of Digital Health

    In less than one week, the Health 2.0 8th Annual Fall Conference will feature over 200 LIVE demos, 150 speakers, on over 60 panels and sessions focused on innovative solutions within health care technology. Indu Subaiya, CEO & Co-Founder of Health 2.0 interviewed Adam Pellegrini, VP of Digital HeAdamPellegrinialth of Walgreens ahead of his appearance at the 8th Annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference. Adam will be participating in the Monday main stage panel “Consumer Tech and Wearables: Powering Healthy Lifestyles.” In this interview, Adam gives insight into Walgreens innovative API creating the seamless user experience.

    Indu Subaiya: So you are leading up a number of very exciting initiatives at Walgreens in terms of digital health. Let’s begin by talking a bit about the API program and the developer ecosystem that you’ve built.

    Adam Pellegrini: Absolutely. So Walgreens has been offering a very robust API program for quite some time – this idea that our stores in the online space should be really an omni-channel user experience.  If you think about our stores, our stores actually have a lot of partners that actually have products in the stores.

    So really, our API program is really about partners. It’s about bringing and facilitating the digital ecosystem together via API.  So for us in the Health API space, it’s about how do we help all of these different apps leverage the ingredient technologies that Walgreens has created to create a seamless friction as user experience. Continue reading →

    mHealth – Beyond “There’s an app for that”

    “There’s an app for that” popularizes the fact that over 1 million apps for smartphones and tablets have been developed to address anything, from small to complex, that people may want to do. In the world of mobile health, or mHealth, we’re prone to agree.

    According to IMS Health, there are over 23,000 healthcare-related apps covering numerous clinical areas (from primary care to surgery), care sites (from home to acute care), users (from patients, to caregivers, to clinicians) and parts of the patient journey (from wellness to complex chronic disease). And, a recent study we conducted found that 70 percent of people use mobile apps on a daily basis to track calorie intake and monitor physical activities.

    But the view of the mHealth world as just a proliferation of apps, while exciting and important, is flawed in several ways:

    1. It ignores the fact that while apps may be primary user touch points in a mobile-connected world, they are not the only ones.
    2. It leaves people with the idea that all you have to do to solve a problem is build an app.  Often, the solution is much broader.

    Healthcare is evolving beyond “there’s an app for that.” Here’s what’s happening… Continue reading →

    The #1 Reason Why Mobile is Critical to the Evolution of Healthcare

    When you realize that 40% of premature deaths are driven by poor behavior like smoking, alcohol abuse, poor diet and exercise, you have to start asking some hard questions about how to promote better care:

    • How can we make sure people are listening to their doctor’s advice once they leave the office?
    • How do we get people to take their life-saving medications after they’ve been discharged from the hospital?
    • How do we get insight into whether patients’ conditions are deteriorating so that we can make adjustments before they have to make a trip to the ER?

    The optimal solutions for these kinds of healthcare challenges encourage patient engagement and incorporate insights. The ultimate tool for this is mobile technology. Why is that? Continue reading →

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