Bernard J. Tyson, Chairma...
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Health 2.0 8th Annual Fal...
  • Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente to Keynote Health 2.0 8th Annual Fall Conference

    Health 2.0 announces Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, as a keynote alongside visionary physicians Eric Topol, Patrick Soon-Shiong, and Samsung’s President Young Sohn at the Health 2.0 8th Annual Fall Conference this coming Sept. 21-24 in Santa Clara, CA. This year, Health 2.0 is set to host the very first Wearable Tech Fashion Runway as a part of the larger session on Consumer Tech & Wearables: Powering Healthy Lifestyles. The panel will also showcase data utility layer platforms from tech giants such as Intel, Qualcomm, WebMD, and Walgreens, which are working with these trackers to provide a complete consumer health solution. Once again,Health 2.0 leads the industry with never before seen technologies, panels, and discussions based on industry classifications of patient-provider communication, consumer facing products, professional facing products, and data analytics.

    Health 2.0 8th Annual Fall Conference highlights include:

    • Consumer Tech & Wearables: The newest addition to the Health 2.0 agenda is The Wearable Tech Fashion Runway which features a multitude of wearable health tech in addition to data utility layer platforms from giants such as Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm, WebMD and Walgreens.
    • Big Names, Big Issues, Big Solutions: Notable Industry leaders and companies bring their solutions and knowledge to tackle some of the most pressing issues within health care. Newly added to the agenda are Ryan Howard (Practice Fusion), Mike & Albert Lee (myfitnesspal), Kent Bradley (Safeway), Jonathan Bush (athenahealth), Girish Navani (eClinicalWorks), Andy Krackov (California Healthcare Foundation), Jacob Reider (ONC), Rajni Aneja (Humana), andDena Bravata, (Castlight Health). A special bonus feature includes ademo of the latest Samsung Electronics platform and product–SAMI and the SIMBand–with President Young Sohn interviewed by Indu Subaiya (Health 2.0).
    • Health care Data Analytics: This topic covers the volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and value of health care data and analytics. Highlights include genomics, non-invasive diagnosis tools, and integrated data collection to uncover new discoveries, personalize medicine, and develop new care protocols with speakers from IBM Watson, Merck, Predilytics, and many more.
    • Start-Ups, Entrepreneurship & Investors: This year, Health 2.0 is poised to offer new opportunities for start-ups and entrepreneurs during the fall conference. Traction: Health 2.0’s Start-Up Championship is the inaugural pitch contest enabling series A-ready start-ups to showcase their business plan in front of a judging panel of renowned venture capitalists. The Bootstrapped Basecamp will put the most innovative seed stage start-ups inside the Health 2.0 Exhibit Hall to be found by potential partners, investors and customers.

    The 8th Annual Health 2.0 Conference showcases over 200 LIVE demos, 150+ speakers, and 50+ sessions across four full days with an extensive audience of 2,100+ health care professionals, health care and health tech executives, thought leaders, policy makers, and entrepreneurs. A multitude of never before seen technologies will be presented on stage,while the conference offers ground-breaking insights into the policy, tools, and solutions of new health care technology.

    Registration information is available here. Prices for the conference are set to increase on Wed. 30th, July.  The full agenda of speakers and companies can be found on the main conference website here.

    5 Ways to Engage Patients in Digital Health: Part II

    On a cold January afternoon, we stood shoulder to shoulder in the square like interlocking pieces of a puzzle, leaving no space for attacking police forces to infiltrate between us, as we chanted for the ousting of Egypt’s standing President of 30 years. I heard a sudden “Thump!” and felt the negative pressure of the grey-haired man standing beside me as he fell to the ground, losing his breath to asphyxiation by the ghastly tear gas.

    I saw then what would be my most vivid memory of the revolution: As if it were the action of a magical wand, the crowd swiftly split creating a human tunnel that allowed a paramedic on a motorbike to penetrate the endless crowds, pick up the fallen rebel, and rush him back into the medical tent on the other side of the historic Tahrir Square.

    What baffled me was comparing that smooth maneuver to the countless ambulance vehicles that get stuck for hours in Cairo’s traffic. Why did the crowd cooperate so smoothly in this instance? And how could a physician with basic training and simple medical tools in a tent, be more effective than the doctors of our prestigious University Hospital?

    Back in the medical tent, operations ran like clockwork: Patients were brought in, received treatment, and either left on their feet or were transferred to a public hospital. Volunteers rushed to provide the man with CPR and quickly administered Aminophylline, but we stood and watched as the man’s rapid shallow breathing gradually slowed down and faded out.  While death was considered a daily routine in the hospital, it was a peak of emotional intensity in the medical tent.

    It struck me then, that the patient here was simply one of us – we were beyond scrubs and gowns. Empathy, as it turns out, was what transformed us from cold hospital scientists to passionate revolutionary activists. It’s no surprise that it is the key element behind the most inspired, disruptive and viable designs.

    3 years later, disgruntled with the health care system and fascinated by innovation, I moved to San Francisco to get involved in a different kind of movement: The Digital Health Revolution. Are people really willing to engage with new health solutions? I was determined to find out.

    As soon as I landed, I bought iHealth’s new Bluetooth blood pressure monitor, so I could test a population’s engagement in a place beyond premiums, hospitals and disease. I set out to the only exciting place where money doesn’t exist: Burning Man.

    My neighboring camper, a Yoga and meditation instructor, was looking to start a session but couldn’t figure out how to get more people to join him. I quickly offered my services “What if I told you that I have a device that can help you show people their heart rate before and after your sessions?”  He was sold. We went on measuring the participants before and after the session, word spread and more people joined in the next day. Some were so excited they asked me to email them the graphs when we got back.

    In a resource-based economy, with a digital monitor as my only resource, I had won a lot of friends and been lavished with numerous sustained resources in return (some healthier than others, it was Burning Man after all).

    As I celebrated what to me was proof that digital health works, the Yogi explained in his fascinating Australian accent, what I did not understand yet: “ It was the feedback that got ‘em hooked, they’ve earned something through the exercise and you showed them exactly what that was in return”. A positive feedback loop – that was the secret sauce.

    Beyond the exciting world of flamethrowers, art cars and overt nudity, positive feedback loops play an important role in almost anything we engage in. We post to Facebook for likes, tweet for mentions, and anxiously wait for exam grades.

    In Part I of this blog post, I interviewed Lori Scanlon, VP of Marketing for PatientsLikeMe and Jacob Sattelmair, CEO of Wellframe. The only way I could learn about what they described as key elements in their design was by reflecting on my own life experiences from the moment where the crowd magically separated in Tahrir Square to the wondrous people of Burning Man and the patients I dealt with in the hospital. As it turns out, inspiration for engaging your patients in the digital health world won’t come from any number of articles, but from your own stories.

    Tim Cook, CEO of IDEO, describes in his book Change by Design how the power of story telling is replacing the conventional ‘30 second spot’ TV ads. Lori’s story for instance, about how a patient’s life radically improved after he found out about drug dosage from the Patients Like Me forum, leaves the patient himself with an experience worth telling and sharing.

    So close this device, leave the office, go on a field trip and start creating your own patient engagement stories.

    Omar Shaker completed medical school in Egypt, followed by internships in the US. He soon left primary care for the world of digital health, moving to San Francisco to work on his own projects. These posts represent his reflections on a series of interviews he conducted with some of the more exciting entrepreneurs working in digital health today. Omar can be reached at  shaker118@gmail.com

    Microsoft: Transform The Way Healthcare is Delivered

    Written By: Paul Ehrlich, M.D., Dr. Scott Boyle, and Hanan Lavy (Microsoft Ventures)

    In the past century, medicine has gone from a largely unscientific trade where noxious drugs were given to patients to purge them of unknown toxins to a science where we have the technology to decode the human genome and peer into the deepest recesses of our anatomy non-invasively.  We have learned so much and generated massive amounts of data relevant to the understanding and care of the human body.

    Globally, we spend enormous sums on healthcare, but we are not necessarily getting any healthier.  In 2012, U.S. healthcare spending was $2.8 trillion, or roughly 18% of GDP[1].  Compare this with the global average of 10.2%, the EU at 10.1% or The Netherlands, the developed country with the second highest per capita spending of 12.4%. Despite the scientific advances and extraordinary spending, access to the best, most effective care is far from ubiquitous.

    Healthcare, like any other industry, is driven by motivators. While government and regulatory pressures drive many behaviors in medicine, financial considerations are also important drivers  When healthcare reimbursement works on a fee-for-service system in which providers are compensated for each service they provide, the incentives do not necessarily  promote the most efficient and cost-effective options. Rather, the incentives encourage the delivery of “more” healthcare. But we don’t necessarily need “more” – we need “smarter.” More adds costs. Smarter solves problems.

    Continue reading →

    Vertex Pharmaceuticals Launches New Developer Challenge!

    vertexlogoR_colorPMS-small-1859 (1)

    We’re happy to announce our newest challenge: Technology for CF Life Transitions Challenge

    Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a progressive disease, which causes the buildup of mucus in vital organs. Unfortunately, there is no cure and patients are faced with increasingly complex treatment regimens that can take several hours daily.

    For the first time in history, the majority of people with CF are over the age of 18. The complexity of CF care can add a layer of difficulty to the existing challenges people face as they go through life transitions – everything from going away to school, to being married to starting a career.

    The goal of the Technology for CF Life Transitions Challenge isn’t to create an “adherence” app, but to find an elegant and seamless solution that will help CF patients manage successfully through different life transitions.

    This challenge is sponsored by Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

    Pre-register your interest now!

    News & Updates

    EarlySense, a provider of contact free monitoring solutions, received market clearance by the FDA for its Chair Sensor Solution. It is a contact free sensor that continuously monitors a patient’s heart rate, respiratory rate, and movement, and enables clinical staff to proactively respond to early signs of patient deterioration, as well as prevent patient falls.

    According to the updated Physician Fee Schedule for 2015, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid proposed adding annual wellness visits, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and prolonged evaluation and management services to the telehealth services reimbursed by CMS.

    Beast is the latest mobile based activity tracker in the fitness market. It is a magnetic sensor that attaches to various gym equipment’s or worn on the body itself, to help users monitor their performance in real time while working out. Beast is currently seeking backers on Indigogo.

    The Android Wear has entered the health and wellness market with MediSafe and Runtastic, both of which are now available for download at the Google Play store. Android Wear is Google’s platform for smartwatches, available with watches made by LG, Motorola, and Samsung.

    SwimOutlet.com, a web-based swimming retailer, launched Swim.com, a swim tracking platform that allows swimmers to track, share, and compare the workouts they monitor with waterproof activity trackers. The platform can currently integrate data from Garmin, Finis, and Swimovate activity trackers.

    In a global survey, FICO, a predictive analytics and decision management software company, found that 80% of consumers want to use their smartphones to interact with health care providers. These organizations include government and private insurers, hospitals, pharmacies, mail-order drug companies, third party administrators and clinics.

    According to a new research by Lux Research, the mobile health market will grow from $5.1B in 2013 to $41.8B in 2023. Clinical vital signs monitoring devices will grow from $372M in 2013 to $16B in 2023, a 46% CAGR, while consumer applications will grow from $2.5 billion to $7 billion, an 11% CAGR.

    Michigan Health Connect and Great Lakes Health Information Exchange merged to form the Great Lakes Health Connect. It will cover more than 80% of the hospital beds in the state, and include more than 20,000 independent and employed providers serving more than 5M people.

    The World of Health 2.0 in 2014

    With so much money coming into the space, there has been talk of a bubble, but for the past year or so, bubble has meant something different here at Health 2.0. Last year at the Fall Conference and more recently when Physicians Interactive acquired MedHelp, we used a series of shape shifting bubbles to illustrate the changing landscape of Health 2.0. Especially now, when so much money (yes – more!) is going to so many different types of company, these bubbles can provide the context to make sense of the funding deals. But no one wants to stare at a bubble chart for too long. Trust us, we know.

    Throughout the month of June, as we mapped the US’s (valiant though now complete) World Cup journey across Brazil, we figured we’d do the same for digital health. We dug into the archives, pulled out a map of digital health we initially debuted in 2011, and revamped it for the present day.

    Health2.0Map2014

    If you’ve been to the conference, read the blog, or follow the tweet stream, you know that the way we define Health 2.0 drives our whole worldview (get it?). For us, the cloud-based, user-friendly, data-driven tools that make up Health 2.0 fall into four main categories: consumer facing, professional facing, patient-provider communication, and data, analytics, and exchange. From there, we further define Health 2.0 with nineteen distinct sub-segments. These categories and segments are the driving force behind our map, and are the key to understanding how this world works and what all the money means.

    Each and every detail you see on the map – the land masses, region placement, sizes, colors, relative locations, borders, clouds – was deliberately chosen to exemplify trends we see in digital health today.

    Our world is not a static one, and we’ve tried to build motion and movement into the map as the tectonic plates of digital health shift before our eyes.  For example, the layout of the rather Aleutian-like Islands of Population Health is meant to demonstrate how various clinical workflow pieces, like imaging/labs or results, are now being fed to patients through a variety of channels that often look like population health tools, can be broadly described as patient care management, and all the while are subject to a layer of value-add data analytics.

    This type of connection between consumer and provider worlds is the original concept highlighted in a bubble chart back at the Seventh Annual Fall Conference. It is also the trend we see coming to life in what, to us, is one of the biggest deals of the year thus far – Physicians Interactive’s acquisition of MedHelp. Financed by Merck GHI, this deal speaks more about digital health in 2014 than any funding raises. PI is building a land bridge, so to speak, over into the world of consumers and patients, and that is a far more complete picture of digital health than any dollar signs and bar graphs we could produce.

    News & Updates

    Breezie, a UK-based personalized web system designed for people who are less familiar with digital technology, easily exceeded their £1,008,000 fundraising goal on CrowdBnk.

    Apple periodically lists apps for particular people, and even with their new Health app, Apple recently added a new list: “Apple’s Apps for Diabetics.” The apps aren’t all from the US, and they don’t all target diabetes specifically; most are consumer-facing apps, but there is one app for doctors, one for kids, and one for pregnant women with diabetes.

    French provider search startup KelDoc is raising $1.4 million (€1 million) from Alven Capital and business angels. Managing doctor appointments is a very regulated market across the pond, and KelDoc has a deep understanding on how this kind of service needs to be adapted to the French and European markets.

    General Mills, the makers of Wheaties, teamed up with MapMyFitness (now a subsidiary of Under Armour) to allow customers to choose the next Wheaties athlete for the first time. Customers will vote with their feet: each workout logged with MapMyFitness will count as votes toward their athlete of choice.

    Aetna will soon offer a new service called NeoCare to members who are new parents with infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). NeoCare Solutions, a startup in Aetna’s Healthagen’s unit, offers a tablet-based app that keeps parents connected to a NeoCoach (a registered nurse or social worker) who supports them throughout their child’s NICU journey.

    eRelevance Corporation, a health IT services company, raised another round of seed funding. This brings the company’s total funding to $1.3M. The new funding will be used to support the company’s go-to-market strategy.

    Equinox, a gym franchise, launched a new iOS mobile app that combines data from wearable devices and workout sessions, and gives users a fully personalized fitness experience.

    Second Wind Dreams, a non-profit organization catered towards aging, re-launched its Family Edition of the Virtual Dementia Tour. VDT is a scientifically proven system that builds sensitivity and awareness in individuals by temporarily altering participants’ physical and sensory abilities with props and circumstances, which simulate changes associated with the physical and cognitive impairments of aging.

    IHRSA’s Global Report 2014 surveyed fitness club members in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, and found that 30% of them use a mobile app to track their health and fitness. The survey also found that roughly 5% use a paid mobile app for this purpose.

    Pilot Health Tech NYC 2014 Winners Announced!

    Health 2.0 congratulates the winners of Pilot Health Tech NYC 2014 announced at today’s Pilot Day in New York City. We had a competitive pool of 65 applicants and have chosen 11 winners to receive a total of $1,000,000 in funding for their pilot proposals.

    Pilot Health Tech NYC, which is now in its second year, is an initiative of NYCEDC to match early-stage health care technology companies with key NYC health care service organizations, including hospitals, physician clinics, payors, pharma companies, nursing associations, major employers and retailers.

    The 11 winners are:

    Smart Vision Labs / SUNY College of Optometry
    Smart Vision Labs and the SUNY College of Optometry in New York City are conducting a pilot to validate the portable wavefront aberrometer, optimize the product design, and improve user experience. The outcome of the study will be used to evaluate the accuracy and repeatability of low order refractive error (myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism) measurements.

    GeriJoy / Pace University
    GeriJoy and Pace University are leveraging the relationship between older adult patients and the GeriJoy Companion to provide health coaching and clinical insight for the top 3 preventable readmission risks for hospitals. The Pilot will evaluate the efficacy of the GeriJoy Companion in reducing hospital readmissions as well as usability for patients who suffer from co-morbid cognitive and behavioral issues, a particularly high-risk population.

    QoL Devices, Inc. / Montefiore Medical Center
    QoL Devices and Montefiore will pilot Alv.io, an advanced, mobile-connected respiratory training and monitoring device, which uses interactive games to increase lung function testing in children to improve asthma management. The device will be piloted in 100 children with asthma who seek care in a Bronx Federally Qualified Health Center to improve the quality of their asthma care and reduce costs.

    Hindsait, Inc. / NY Blood Center
    The NY Blood Center will work with Hindsait to pilot the innovator’s predictive analytics software to predict and classify the behavioral traits of prospective donors. Hindsait’s pattern recognition algorithms and predictive analytics will compute and assign a unique ‘donation probability’ score for each potential donor that will trigger automated ‘score-sensitive’ personalized motivational messaging to the prospective donor.

    Nonnatech / ElderServe
    The pilot will focus on the early detection and intervention of physiological changes that may prevent hospitalizations. By using Nonnatech’s system of smart sensor technologies the pilot will generate data that shows changes in behavior or lack of behaviors that would signal physiological changes.

    Fit4DHealthFirst
    The Fit4D solution delivers patient-specific preferred modalities (e.g. phone, email, text, web etc.), addresses patient-specific issues and shares content in patient-specific preferred formats (e.g. articles, videos, webinars, support groups). Through this pilot with HealthFirst, Fit4D will be able to measure the effect of these interventions on diabetes patients in the HealthFirst network by comparing patients with poorly managed diabetes with a control group.

    AllazoHealth / Accountable Care Coalition of Greater New York
    ACCGNY will implement a medication adherence program powered by AllazoEngine’s predictive analytics. This pilot will focus on ACCGNY’s 6,353 attributed beneficiaries, 63% of whom are intellectually/developmentally disabled (IDD). The pilot will evaluate the accuracy of the predictions, the impact of interventions and the savings associated with adherence.

    Canopy Apps / Visiting Nurse Service of New York
    The pilot will examine the impact of the Canopy Medical Translator app to improve patient-provider communication, improve workflow and satisfaction for providers, and reduce staffing inefficiencies for VNSNY. The Canopy Medical Translator application, which enables providers to access a library of pre-translated medical phrases in 15 languages, will be deployed to VNSNY nurses and physical therapists to help them communicate with non-English speaking patients.

    Urgent Software, LLC / Mount Sinai Health System
    Urgent Software will work with Mt. Sinai Health System’s Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) cardiologists and their out-of-network referring physicians. The platform will be used to allow local physicians to search for a nearby CVI physician who accepts the patient’s insurance, schedule an appointment that’s most convenient for the patient, share medical information independent of EMRs and register the patient, collecting demographic and insurance information.

    Healthify / VillageCare
    VillageCare’s Health Home will utilize the Healthify platform to screen patients for their needs, connect them to the appropriate resources for treatment and engage them through text messages. In addition, the case managers will utilize the Healthify resource database to rate and review different community and government resources so service quality can be considered.

    Tactonic Technologies / NYU Langone, Rusk Rehab Center
    Tactonic pressure imaging sensors and software enables objective gait and balance measurements that can enhance the sensitivity and specificity of the Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT), which measures a patient’s ability to walk and balance. By partnering with NYU’s Rusk Rehab Center, Tactonic will be able to improve the TUGT diagnostic yield by making it more objective and, improving the sensitivity and specificity of the tool by obtaining additional rich data.

    Health 2.0 is excited to see the results of this year’s Pilot Health Tech initiative and we’re looking forward to the success of the winners’ pilots!

    News & Updates

    Verizon launched Verizon Virtual Visits, which connects patients remotely to a clinician for colds, flus, sore throats or other simple, acute conditions. Users complete and send intake forms to providers and can then “see” a doctor via video on their smartphone, tablet or computer.

    Adidas may be launching a new activity tracker to its product line, a wristworn wearable called the miCoach Fit Smart. In a trademark filing Adidas posted, the company explains the Fit Smart will track “heart rates, calories burned, time, duration, stride rate, pace, speed, distance and steps taken”.

    A slew of funding deals were announced this week with Truveris netting $13 million, CoPatient raising $3.6 million, CareCloud raising a $25.5 million venture debt round, and new continuous heart rate monitoring wrist band Whoop closing $6 million in funding.

    Philips will deploy clinical applications in a Salesforce.com-powered cloud environment that’s centered around patient relationship management. Two care collaboration platforms for monitoring chronic condition patients at home will be launched this summer, and Philips says future offerings will incorporate information from EMRs, medical devices, home monitoring, and wearables.

    Microsoft will launch a new Israel-based accelerator in partnership with medical technology company Becton Dickinson (BD) that will be focused entirely on health startups. Microsoft expects this to be a one-off, health-focused class of startups and it doesn’t plan to host another health-focused accelerator program again.

    NeedMe is a new health care social network for patients. It connects newly diagnosed patients to successful past patients who have had the same conditions, tests, treatments, and procedures at the same locations. All information is provided anonymously.

    InvisAlert Solutions developed a HIPAA compliant digital clipboard that uses audio and visual cues to help medical staff monitor psychiatric inpatients every 15 minutes. These checks will not be recorded unless the staff observer and consumer are within close, line-of-sight proximity which is adjustable from 1-20 feet.

    PointClickCare, a provider of cloud-based software for the senior care industry, implemented VASCO Data Security‘s DIGIPASS GO 6 one-button authenticators to enable health care practitioners to conduct secure, HIPAA-compliant mobile conversations, and approve and sign patient orders.

    A study by Aetna and GNS Healthcare (published in the American Journal of Managed Care), found that analysis of patient records using analytics can predict future risk of metabolic syndrome. The accuracy and short speed to insight of this study allowed Aetna to develop targeted cost-effective care management programs for individuals with or at risk for metabolic syndrome.

    Google launched GoogleFit, an open platform for digital health app and device developers that will allow users to control their fitness data more effectively. Google Fit provides developers with a single set of APIs so that different apps and devices can talk to each other freely and give users more context around their various fitness metrics.

    5 Ways to Engage Patients in Digital Health: Part I

    I packed my bags leaving my family, a medical career and a health startup behind in Egypt and headed out to San Francisco to learn more about health innovation. As the plane took off, a flurry of questions raced through my mind regarding digital health’s future (and mine!). Can patients truly be empowered to engage in their own health decisions? Would entrepreneurs be able to make a living by providing those tools? Will highly institutionalized US health care systems allow for such a change to happen?

    Being the Marketing Director for KryptonWorx, a digital health company located between Cairo and Charleston, I was forced out of my fact-based physician mindset and into a right-brained designer mentality. It is obvious that design can radically change human beings and their behavior, but what makes us want to interact with digital solutions? How do successful companies keep their patients engaged? I was determined to find out.

    I interviewed two insightful and inspirational innovators in the digital health space to get answers to my questions:

    1. Lori Scanlon, the sharp VP of Marketing for PatientsLikeMe, an online solution that focuses on building game-changing bridges between patients with similar diseases, while empowering researchers with open data.
    2. Jacob Sattelmair, the highly spirited Co-Founder and CEO of Wellframe, which is revolutionizing the interactions between patients and their care managers in a very human-oriented mobile approach.

    Even though the two companies focus on different aspects of the health care system, there were certain design elements that both speakers emphasized, which make their solutions disrupt the system in a meaningful way, while engaging their users.

    After listening to their stories, I extracted 5 golden nuggets of wisdom essential to anyone looking to reinvent the health care experience in an engaging way.

    1) Empathy: Know thy patient.

    Understanding your users lies at the heart of smart design, as any design thinker would tell you. Engagement starts with what people already know and then takes them through the journey of behavioral change, not vice-versa.

    As Lori eloquently puts it: “We try to understand what our patients need, where they want it and try to meet them where they are at”. PatientsLikeMe was inspired when the co-founders’ brother was diagnosed with ALS and built their first community about something they actually cared about.

    In Wellframe’s case, Jacob and his team recognized that those who they could really help were high risk patients tracking specific triggers. With that problem in mind, Wellframe only reached their final product after spending months with these patients in clinical trials.

    2) Positive Feedback Loops: Always have a give and take.

    Defining the patients’ interactions, and identifying what they care for makes all the difference. As Dan Saffer mentions in his new book, the details within Microinteractions are what make for good digital products.

    The PatientsLikeMe website prompts users to answer questions about their disease, and in return, instantly shows them how they compare to others through open and public reports. As opposed to clinical trials, where the participants rarely get any feedback, Lori stressed how PatientsLikeMe provides their users with “At least the topline results within weeks”.

    Wellframe, on the other hand, focuses on collecting data from patients about their medications, activities and mental state. Wellframe then relays that information to the care manager who provides users with recommendations and personalized treatment, completing the feedback loop. “The patients understand that they could get the best care, the more you put in, the more you get out of it,” Jacob noted, “We give them that with a feedback loop that is human rather than an algorithm”.

    3) Education: Humans seek knowledge and mastery.

    One reason why WebMD got so popular is that it gave people the knowledge they wanted about their specific disease that was otherwise locked up in medical books. With the advancing power of medical A.I, companies are taking education a notch further, and providing patients a very personalized education.

    PatientsLikeMe provides customized communities where more personalized knowledge can be found, and that knowledge is a big reason why the patients keep coming back. “I remember that one patient who was diagnosed with MS and was on Baclofen for a while, but had the problem of spasms and stiffness and he couldn’t walk too well,” Lori recounted, “ Then he found out through our charts that most patients were taking a higher dose, and once he convinced his doctor to change the dosage, his problems were solved. He could walk normally again.”

    Wellframe converts the tedious educational regimen outlined by physicians to “Little pearls of information via text or personalized videos,” Jacob explained as he showed me how Wellframe breaks down the videos that are recorded by the actual Care Manager in charge of the patient. The patients are then asked a set of follow up questions to verify their learning. This gives the patient not just an engaging, but also a very personalized learning experience.

    4) Social Connectivity: Finding those who understand us.

    In a world where we stare at our devices more than we talk to the people around us, solutions that engage us must build on human connections that would enrich our lives – especially when it comes to health.

    This is where the PatientsLikeMe forum comes into play strongly in recreating the health care experience. You can connect with, talk and compare yourself to people going through the exact same thing you are. That is very powerful.

    When I asked the charismatic and energetic CEO of Wellframe about that topic, he replied: “Our whole mobile solution is based on that human interaction which solves a basic emotional need for the patient who wants to interact with the care manager on a personal basis.” Perhaps what is even more interesting is that patients have a sense of accountability because of the fact that someone is paying attention to them.

    5) Canoes of data between isolated islands.

    As outlined by Jonathan Bush in his recent book Where Does it Hurt?, one of the major opportunities for entrepreneurs in the digital health space is the fact that health care is like a sea of islands, where different elements are isolated and do not communicate.

    PatientsLikeMe maintains its viability as the data link between patients with similar diseases, and between patients and researchers. This allows it to build a business model around pharmaceutical companies that wish to conduct customized studies, while providing the research community with a vast open sourced pool of data.

    The basic premise of Wellframe lies in its ability to enable the patients to share their data with care managers and receive personalized feedback in return.

    Despite the clichés that claim that “there is no formula” for designing an engaging solution, there are unquestionably certain elements that hold true regardless of company size or domain.  Developing a patient-centered solution that connects, informs and provides feedback will always capture the patients’ hearts if the creator looks through their lens first.

    In fact, after reflecting upon the power of these 5 nuggets, I found that these elements of design applied generally across a wide range of life experiences. As I will illustrate in Part II of this series, these nuggets still hold value whether it’s in a medical tent in the Egyptian Revolution or in a Yoga session at Burning Man.

    Omar Shaker completed medical school in Egypt, followed by internships in the US. He soon left primary care for the world of digital health, moving to San Francisco to work on his own projects. These posts represent his reflections on a series of interviews he conducted with some of the more exciting entrepreneurs working in digital health today. Omar can be reached at  shaker118@gmail.com.  

    News & Updates

    Grand Rounds raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Greylock Partners. Grand Rounds is building a consulting network for companies to provide their employees with access to health care advice and treatment from physicians and specialists across the U.S.

    Meet You, a Chinese app for period tracking and female community, closed US$35 million in Series C funding. Meet You started the business as a menstruation period tracing app and gradually shifted its focus to constructing a female community, where users can discuss and share tips on various topics, like parenting, fashion, keeping fit, relationships, etc.

    FreeWavz, a new set of smart, wireless earphones with built-in fitness monitoring, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $300,000. The earphones were designed by an ENT doctor, and provide a complete heads up solution for fitness aficionados who don’t want to look down at an app for information during a workout.

    OMsignal, Health 2.0’s 7th Annual Launch! Winner and makers of smart clothing (seriously, go look), raised a $10 million Series A investment led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP).

    ZocDoc is raising a $152 million round at a $1.6 billion valuation, according to a Delaware Certificate of Corporation filing. In February, the company said it surpassed 5 million users and was available in 2,000 cities (40 percent of the U.S. market), with plans to be available everywhere in the country by the end of 2014.

    Physicians Interactive, a provider of web and mobile based clinical resources health care professionals, acquired MedHelp, an online health community and health application platform. The acquisition was financed by Merck Global Health Innovation. Terms of the deal were not released.

    Online health and wellness resource, Vertical Wellness launched the “Peel the Hate” campaign to bring awareness to racist behavior during sporting events. The campaign is asking people to take a unique photo of themselves with a banana, write or hashtag “Peel the Hate” on it, and post it on their social media pages.

    According to a new study by MarketsandMarkets, the global health care/medical simulation market is estimated to be worth $1.9B by 2017. The key driving factors are increasing health care costs, rising demand for minimally invasive treatment, and increasing consolidation of manufacturers.

    Sprint will launch Samsung Galaxy S® 5 Sport, a Spark enabled device with both the hardware and software targeted towards the growing health and fitness markets. The device will also offer mobile solutions in collaboration with companies like Under Armour and MapMyFitness.

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