Digital health news briefs for 2/6/18

By Laura Lovett

Your Uber is here? A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that patients who were offered a complimentary lift from ridesharing apps were just as likely to miss a doctor’s appointment as those who were were not. A total of 786 patients participated in the program, and each received up to three additional appointment reminder phone calls from research staff two days before their appointment. Patients that were offered the free ride missed their appointments at a rate of 36.5 percent, while those who were not offered a free ride missed their appointments at a similar rate of 36.7 percent. 

A walk a day keeps the doctor away. A white paper published by Munich Re found that physical activity level is a strong predictor of patient mortality. The paper looked at data collected from participants carrying wearable sensors, which counted the number of steps and the minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day. The authors found that steps per day could effectively measure mortality risk. 

“Steps per day provides additional segmentation of mortality even after considering traditional underwriting factors such as smoking status, BMI, blood pressure and other health indicators,”Sandra Chefitz, second vice president, integrated analytics at Munich Re, said in a statement. As insurance companies look to incorporate activity data into risk selection, Munich Re’s analytic staff will advise on underwriting guidelines and actuarial assumptions.”

EHR on demand. Health Endeavors recently released the One Touch Health “Smart Record,” an app that lets patients patients see their health record and applies data-driven intelligence to the consumer’s health data. The users can also request or send their EHRs to providers using direct messaging. The app includes a daily journal of goals, a provider directory, screenings that generate referrals, chat and video calling with health coach or clinical staff and care plans for people once they have been released from the hospital. 

Just [update] it. Earlier this week Techcrunch reported that Nike is updating its membership apps to include partnerships with apps like ClassPass, a fitness class app, and Headspace, a meditation app. The partnerships will also give Nike subscribers four free months of iTunes downloads. 

Behind closed doors. Last week VentureBeat reported that is allowing patients to perform clinical grade urinalysis at home using their smartphone camera. After urinating and photographing a dipstick, the company uses a specially created computer vision algorithm that it claims will offer more accurate testing. The product can send the results to the patient’s EMR or to a clinician for follow up.