Misfit launches Flash, a less expensive, plastic activity and sleep tracker | mobihealthnews

Burlingame, California-based Misfit, formerly Misft Wearables, today launched Misfit Flash, its second wearable device that tracks various activities and sleep. The sub-$50 Flash’s pricepoint isn’t the only difference between it and Misfit’s original device, Shine. Flash is made out of “soft-touch” plastic instead of the Shine’s stainless steel body. Flash comes in a variety of colors including “lemon-lime Zest, funky Fuschia, and minimalist Frost,” according to the company.

Similar to its predecessor, Flash operates on a coin cell battery and does not require charging. It automatically tracks steps, calories burned, distance, sleep quality and duration, cycling, and swimming. To enable swim tracking, the new device, like the Shine, is also waterproof. It also can be worn in a number of ways: around the wrist or clipped to pants, a shirt, shoes, a lapel, or attached to a keychain. 

The Flash’s user interface appears similar to Shine with a ring of LED lights, but the lights are red in the new device. The entire face of the Flash is also a single button. It syncs wirelessly to the Misfit App on iOS and Android devices.

In the US, Flash will go on sale for $49.99 at Best Buy, Target, Amazon, Walmart and other stores in October. The company is also taking preorders at its site. Shine, which commercially launched late last year, is now available in tens of thousands of stores in more than 40 countries, according to the company.

Earlier this month Misfit offered up its Misfit Developer Toolkit to enable other health apps and devices to integrate Misfit’s data into their products. So far, more than 30 companies have partnered with Misfit to use the developer kit. Misfit went further than most with its developer toolkit, the company’s offers Misfit’s cloud API, the device’s SDK, and the company’s scientific library, which includes Misfit’s sensor algorithms and software analytics. Beddit was one of the first companies to take advantage of the tools with a co-branded sleep tracking device.

While Flash is the only other wearable device from Shine, the company has introduced a steady stream of accessories and new colors for the Shine, including shirts with a pocket for the shine, socks with Shine pouches, and an ornate Shine case that takes the form of a necklace called Bloom.

Two of Misfits co-founders Sonny Vu and Sridhar Iyengar also co-founded medical device company AgaMatrix, which, with its partner Sanofi, launched the first iPhone-connected glucose meter iBGStarSince founding Misfit, Vu has hinted that the company would move beyond activity and sleep trackers and into the world of medical devices.

Source: mobihealthnews.com

See on Scoop.itE-mental health: digital, mobile and tele tech for the brain!


Viverae acquires mobile-enabled, behavioral health company OneHealth | mobihealthnews

Dallas, Texas-based employee wellness company Viverae has acquired behavioral health company OneHealth for an undisclosed sum. Viverae counts 300 clients in various industries throughout the US that use its health management programs. OneHealth’s offerings will bolster Viverae’s by allowing users to anonymously support each others’ emotional and physical health.

OneHealth offers members 24/7 structured peer support, education and tools to aide in the recovery from substance abuse and other behavioral health issues. The program uses social media and real-time tracking to monitor emotional states and to provide anonymous peer supports to help the member or their dependents stay sober.

“Viverae and OneHealth are well matched, because we share a passion for helping people get healthier,” Michael Nadeau, founder and CEO of Viverae said in a statement. “We’re emotionally invested in this business because we see the impact every day, and we know we’re making a difference. Our combined resources will help individuals navigate through a maze of health concerns while increasing productivity and preventing or mitigating the risks associated with chronic disease.”

Just a few weeks ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced that it had added mobile and online tools from OneHealth to its members.

Last summer Boston Medical Center, a safety-net hospital and affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine, began using the OneHealth system – which was originally designed to treat substance abuse, depression and other behavioral issues — to its patient-centered medical home initiative. Boston Medical Center offers low-income patients access to the OneHealth online and mobile platform to promote self-management of chronic diseases, offer peer support and engage them in between office visits. 

In April 2013 OneHealth announced a $9 million second round of funding from existing investor Lemhi Ventures to expand its services and help support its growing list of customers, which at that time included deals with Cenpatico, healthcare management organization Magellan, insurer Amerigroup, and food and drug retailer Safeway.

OneHealth was founded in 2008 as OneRecovery, and initially focused on working with addiction treatment centers to use social and gamification methods to help people dealing with addiction. Once it proved out the model it began applying its program to other mental health and behavioral conditions.

Source: mobihealthnews.com

See on Scoop.itE-mental health: digital, mobile and tele tech for the brain!

ChartSpan gets $1M to find out if the PHR’s time has come | mobihealthnews

Greenville, South Carolina-based ChartSpan has raised $1 million in seed funding in a round led by Byrne Medical’s Don Byrne. The Iron Yard, a digital health accelerator that incubated ChartSpan, also contributed.

ChartSpan just recently launched a patient-facing personal health record tool, which, as well as importing records in various electronic formats, can convert paper records into structured data using machine learning and optical character recognition. Using the iOS app (and, in the future, Android, Google Glass, and desktop versions), patients can request records from providers and send records to others, according to the company.

Co-founder and CEO Jon-Michial Carter told MobiHealthNews that ChartSpan arose out of frustration with the speed of interoperability requirements under ONC’s Meaningful Use guidelines, especially considering recent delays.

“Other than Blue Button Plus, you don’t have anything out there that’s pervasive that’s creating electronic health records for patients,” he said. “We think we’ve made a start in that direction by giving patients access to portals, but the truth is that’s a joke. With most patient portals, you’re left with a PDF that you have to print out that becomes a piece of paper. And the tethered PHRs from the EHR companies, it’s proprietary. It only works with their unique file systems. So we’ve done very little in regards to getting patients access to electronic health records.”

Carter stressed that ChartSpan is 100 percent a tool for patients, not for doctors, which allows for a more comprehensive electronic health record than a single provider can maintain. 

“When we go to your doctor, that doctor will capture all the information from that healthcare encounter, and he’ll put it into the EHR and he’ll create the structured data,” he said. “But that only represents 15 percent of your total healthcare encounters. Because when you go to the urgent care facility two days from now, your doctor won’t have that information. When you go to the dentist a month from now, your doctor won’t have that information. When you go to the chiropractor, the eye doctor, to get a prescription filled. When you get your genome mapped for $100 from 23andMe, your doctor won’t have that data. The only person who has access to your health data is you.”

One criticism that’s often leveled at PHRs is that they rely on getting patients to take stewardship of maintaining their own health record, a pretty big cultural shift from where we are today. But Carter says ChartSpan is focused on the two groups that already maintain personal records: Parents (mostly mothers) and engaged patients with one or more chronic conditions.

“Those two groups, for the most part, have manilla folders with pieces of paper in them,” he said. “And it’s those groups we paid attention to. We spent a great deal of time focused on how healthcare works for them and, in excess of 90 percent of time, they’re stuck with pieces of paper, that’s how they manage healthcare records.”

Carter thinks the rest of the population will come around though. In the near future, ChartSpan plans to integrate with Apple HealthKit so patients can combine their traditional healthcare system data from ChartSpan with self-tracking data from apps and connected devices, and potentially start to deliver new health insights.

“I guarantee you, over the next few years, the number of people who care about their healthcare information is going to grow, thanks to Apple, thanks to Google, and thanks to all the other vendors that are building tools that make people care,” he said. “We think ChartSpan fills an interesting niche here. While everyone’s capturing the biohealth data and a lot of people are simply waiting for interoperability to happen to capture conditional data, we’re coming up with technology and tools that will allow patients to capture conditional data and make it easy to do so.”

Source: mobihealthnews.com

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Vivametrica launches health data aggregation platform for fitness trackers, Apple Watch, Google Fit

Imagine a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, Up, or Misfit Shine on every person on the planet. Imagine all that data flowing up into an anonymized cloud-based platform. Imagine connecting that with health data from medical sensors. With location and altitude data from smartphones. With health information such as diseases we catch, conditions we develop, and accidents we encounter.

Imagine what you could learn about health and how to prevent disease.

“This would be the biggest imaginable pool of people for researchers to study,” Dr. Richard Hu told me last week. “It’s an opportunity to create native information that is out in the wild that doesn’t get biased or influenced by study parameters.”

Hu’s company, Vivametrica, is building a cloud-based platform for aggregating data from any kind of bio-sensor, from popular fitness trackers to medical-grade health sensors. Vivametrica plans to store that data for you so you can see all the data from all your devices in one place, compare it to others who are like you, and eventually feed that into medical applications that doctors and HMOs could use to help prevent illness, diagnose conditions, track health, and discover unprecedented insights into what truly constitutes healthy living.

And not just just to derive averages. Hu expects to be able to provide specific, actionable health advice for you, based on others who are similar in age, sex, health status, fitness level, geographical location, and more.

“There’s a cloak of digital data around all of us. We want to take advantage of that and give people tools to better manage their lives and activities,” he said.

That’s the first step: a personal fitness platform that derives value by virtue of, essentially, a new kind of streaming-data wisdom of the crowd.

To feed it data, Vivametrica is building an analytics platform that receives data from dozens of incompatible fitness trackers and health monitors, as well as smartphone data like location or even altitude. Apple’s recent health initiative, HealthKit, “makes our job exceptionally easier,” Hu said,” adding that the company is “able to bring anything that goes through an Apple device into our system.” Vivametrica is working on similar aggregation technology for the Android universe, using the Google Fit and Google Wear frameworks. The company will support any phone using KitKat or above, which will be 75 percent or more of Android phones by the end of next year.

As the platform grows, however, the possibilities get even more interesting.

As much as the fitness-tracking industry is diverse, it’s a model of a consolidated industry compared to the medical devices industry, where there’s much more fragmentation in terms of both operating system and proprietary data architecture. This is already a significant challenge in the use of these devices in medical settings, Hu says. So Vivametrica will start to onboard those on the platform as well, starting with the most widely used blood pressure monitors.

The vision is that with hundreds of thousand or millions of consumers on board, Vivametrica would provide better, more accurate, and higher-fidelity data of what people actually do and what health conditions result than almost any prior health-focused scientific study — most of which are lucky to have participants numbering in the hundreds.

With an ever-growing data pool like that, the algorithms should just get better and better. And the integrations into medical data systems would become ever more attractive.

“There is a space out there for good quality information that health care providers will welcome and [that will] add value to patients,” Hu said. “The ultimate plan is an SDK for the platform so independent developers can design apps to use the data and perform analysis, keeping in mind privacy and security. If we provide the primary tools and platform … those people who find this to be useful will start to design and use this in appropriate applications.”

The challenge bedeviling non-medical-grade health devices, of course, has always been whether doctors can trust the inputs. I know from personal experience that FitBit, BodyMedia, Up, and the Misfit Shine can differ significantly in terms of how many steps they think I’ve taken, for instance, and how hard I’ve worked out.

But Vivametrica has a plan for this: data normalization painstakingly developed via testing all the most popular devices, and cross-referencing them to the gold standard in the medical industry for activity tracking, the ActiveGraph. The ActiveGraph has been used in scientific studies, has very defined and calibrated accuracy, and has very structured software, Hu said.

“We found the Nike FuelBand correlation coefficient is .89 [to the ActiveGraph], which implies there is a 10 percent error,” he told me. “However, the Misfit, the Jawbone Up, and the Fitbit are at .94, .96,  and .97, so they are in fact relatively accurate and reproducible in terms of step count.”

So the company has simply developed a constant variable for each major device, mapping it to what the ActiveGraph would have read … essentially, cleansing the data in a way that’s retroactively changeable as the comparisons get more and more accurate.

Ultimately, this kind of platform could be useful for a wide range of applications in personal and regional health. It could also be used to calculate life insurance premiums, track compliance with “doctor’s orders,” or provide national data on health and mortality.

That is, of course, if Vivametrica achieves its goals.

The company has been bootstrapped until recently, when it started raising a seed round. Clinical trials begin in a few months, company president Scott Valentine said, and a private beta will begin shortly.

The question is whether giants like Apple or Google, both of which have health initiatives, will help or hinder. In Valentine’s opinion, pretty much everything they do around health, like the recently-unveiled Apple Watch, can only help.

“I look at it and I see millions of devices that can help drive our platform,” he said.

Source: venturebeat.com

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Urban Communities Prefer Text Messages for Survey

Results from a pilot study published last week by the researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School demonstrated that among low-income urban African-Americans in Detroit, “text messaging is not only acceptable and feasible but is the preferred method of collecting real-time survey data” over other methods of survey including paper, phone, internet, and in-person.

Source: mhealthwatch.com

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