Digital health deals: Virgin Pulse, Fitbit partner for employee wellness program and more

By Heather Mack
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Fitbit has partnered with Virgin Pulse, a mobile-first employee wellness and engagement company, to offer Fitbit trackers at a lower cost and develop personalized wellbeing programs around Fitbit’s Group Health offerings. The collaboration will reach some 2,200 Virgin Pulse employer customers worldwide, and will work to address the challenge of implementing and managing corporate wellness programs.

“By combining Fitbit’s superior tracking technology and brand awareness with Virgin Pulse’s modern technology platform, proven outcomes and high engagement rates, we can help organizations drive sustained participation in their programs, and ultimately expedite the business outcomes that matter most to them,” Virgin Pulse President and COO David Osborne said in a statement. More

IBM Watson Health has collaborated with pharmaceutical company Celgene to develop a monitoring tool for adverse effects of medical drugs. The cloud-based Watson for Patient Safety tool will act as an automated drug safety service designed for fast collection and collations of large amounts of patient data from a number of sources including EHRs, medical claims databases and other information sources. Ultimately, the Watson for Patient Safety tool will enable pharmaceutical companies to quickly flag safety issues as soon as they occur.  More

Digital health company Welkin Health has partnered with Virginia-based medical weight loss program Seratonin-Plus to deliver Serofit: an app-based coaching program that the two companies are billing as a “coach in your pocket” technology. The program expands the existing mobile offerings of Seratonin-Plus through the implementation of Welkin’s configurable software program. Serofit coaches will be able to build relationships with patients and devise personalized weight loss pathways at the convenience of the patient. More

The Medical University of South Carolina and healthcare provider Roper St. Francis have joined forces to create the Lowcountry Stroke Collaborative, a project that aims to improve quality and speed of stroke treatment by leveraging the Reach Health telemedincine platform. The platform connects patient consultants with remote specialists, documenting each interaction and then analyzing the effect of the program. The primary goal is reduce the time it takes for a patient to be seen, replacing a process wherein patients would arrive at the emergency room and then be evaluated by an ER physician while a neurologist was contacted. Now, the health systems can use the Reach telestroke cart, enabling neurologists to sign on to the system and start examining the patient within minutes of their arrival to the ER. More

Utah health plan Imagine Health has partnered with mobile concierge service Zest Health to bring a range of services to plan members. Through the alliance, Imagine Health plan members will be able to make appointments and access other healthcare services, tracking their expenses on their smartphone, receive telemedicine support from nurses, store and manage their personal health information within the app, and receive assistance from benefits experts for help with claims and billing-related questions. More

The Canadian Space Agency has tapped Montreal-based Hexoskin (Carre Technologies) for advancement of the company’s bio-monitoring clothing system called Astroskin. The clothing, which is being designed for use aboard the International Space Station, consists of a smart shirt and remote health monitoring software to collect data on astronauts’ vital signs, sleep quality and activity levels during their missions. Astroskin is slated for testing on a six-month mission in 2018  More

Raleigh, North Carolina-based BeeWell, which makes customized apps, has launched an app in collaboration with Bariatric Specialists of North Carolina to help patients gain better understanding of their medical intervention through interactive, step-by-step guides. The app features provider content and guidelines established by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.