Digital health news briefs for 5/9/2017

By Jonah Comstock
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Digital stethoscopes found useful in neonatal care. A new study in the British Medical Journals shows that a digital stethoscope (specifically, CliniCloud’s digital stethoscope) showed promise for assessing newborn babies’ heart rates. The device proved reasonably accurate compared to a 3-lead ECG, particularly when babies weren’t crying, the circumstance in which heart rate would normally need to be collected. The researchers said the device could be especially useful in low-resource settings.

Patient experience AI company raises funding. Austin, Texas-based NarrativeDx raised an undisclosed Series A round, led by LiveOak Venture Partners, Cultivation Capital and HealthX Ventures. The company uses AI and natural language processing to analyze patient feedback and return suggestions on how a healthcare organization can improve the patient experience.

"We are using AI to improve healthcare experiences in a way that has never been done before," Founder and CEO Kyle Robertson said in a statement. "Our partners have been eager to leverage our technology to better understand their patients' experiences. The demand we are seeing is phenomenal, and we are on track to increase our client base 10x in 2017.”

DreaMed, Harvard partner for research and development. Israeli diabetes management company DreaMed is working with researchers from Schneider Children’s Medical Center and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) to study insulin management in children with Type 1 diabetes who don’t use CGMs or insulin pumps. The goal is to understand the behavior patterns of these patients and to design a dosing support system that will help them better manage their condition.

“A large fraction of people with Type 1 diabetes do not use an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor for various reasons, but rather rely on glucometers and insulin injections,” DreaMed CEO Eran Atlas said in a statement. “Currently, there is no available data on the insulin injection habits of this type 1 population. In the age of ‘smart’, connected devices, in which insulin injections will be registered on the patient’s smartphone and data will be gathered in cloud-based platforms, we see an opportunity to collect accurate data on the majority of Type 1 patients and to develop a product that will help them better control their disease.”

One less paper form in clinical trials. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Clinical Research IO has taken another step toward making clinical trials completely paperless with the launch of its Lab Routing module. It allows CRIO’s web and tablet-based system to convert documents such as lab reports, which are received as PDFs and faxes, into electronic forms that can be signed and annotated right in the system.

“Having all the source data in one place for the PI to see without having to be in the office flipping through pages is a huge step forward for the industry,” Dr. James Greenwald, president of Medex Healthcare Research, said in a statement.

Doro reaches beyond seniors. London-based Doro, a longtime maker of smartphones for the elderly, has released its first product outside of the aging market. The Doro 8020X smartphone is instead built for “lone workers”: those working abnormal hours, working in isolation, or working alone without supervision. Lone workers, the company reasons, can benefit from some of the same services that seniors appreciate in terms of safety monitoring and emergency assistance.