Digital health news briefs for 9/22/2017

By Dave Muoio
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Early adopters left behind on Apple Watch. The upcoming Apple watchOS 4 may be overhauling the wearable’s heart rate detection capabilities, but those who picked up the smartwatch when it first launched in 2015 will have to make due without the added health and fitness features. The Verge attributes this divide to the faster hardware and larger batteries of the Series 1, 2, and 3 watches, which all received the update on Sept. 19. Early reviews of Apple’s newest watch also noted a bug with the Series 3’s LTE capabilities, which Apple said it is currently investigating and plans to fix.

Pain relief through an app. Denver- and Chicago-based chronic pain management company Curable has launched a web and mobile app offering guided pain relief therapy. The app employs meditation, patient education, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other non-pharmacological and non-surgical strategies that have been clinically proven to reduce pain. The company says that 75 percent of its early users reported some degree of relief from physical pain, and 34 percent said they felt “much better.”

Personalized diabetes company joins Dutch accelerator. DarioHealth Corp, developer of cloud-based diabetes platforms that include native mobile interfaces, has joined HighTechXL, an accelerator basted in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. According to a statement, DarioHealth was selected for the program due to the strength of its business model, management team, and diabetes management products. DarioHealth is currently cleared by the FDA, CE, TGA, and Health Canada for products on iOS and certain Android devices.

Glucose-detecting patch. Researchers from the State University of New York-Binghamton recently developed a paper-based, self-powered patch capable of detecting blood sugar levels from the wearer’s sweat. The single-use sensor patch fits onto a standard Band-Aid adhesive, and according to the team could assist with prevention and management of exercise-induced hypoglycemia.

Corporate health app launch. Rideau Recognition has launched their corporate wellness and health education app, Distance Wellness. The platform allows employees to view and comment on their coworkers progress, thereby providing motivation to continue healthy behavior. To promote the new platform, which is available on iOS and Android, the company has organized a 30-day health challenge that will award the participating company with the highest total score a $2,500 donation to the charity of its choice.

Lung cancer detection wearable. University of Buffalo researchers have received $1 million from the NIH to develop their novel approach to lung cancer detection. The three-part system would include an implantable sensor placed just under the skin, a wearable that interacts with the implant, and a smartphone or computer that then receives and interprets the data. The researchers will test the sensor’s performance in blood samples, and hope to move on to cadavers within three years.

TelaCare expands to new specialties. TelaCare announced that will now offer unlimited access to a slew of experts in new medical specialties. Patients receiving care through the telemedicine company’s platform may now receive consultations from board-certified pharmacists, dentists, optometrists, dietitians, sports medicine, and alternative medicine professionals at no additional cost. The move, the company said in a statement, “will continue to remove barriers, drive engagement, and enable consumers to take charge of their own health decisions.”

Physician on demand service launches in 2018. Concierge Key Health — a mobile app that expedites connections with physician specialists and other providers — is set to launch in 2018. Although not a reimbursed healthcare provider, Concierge Key looks to offer a “first-class upgrade to the US healthcare experience” by reducing advanced-notice appointment and in-office wait times through a monthly subscription service. For participating physicians, the company says that their service will offer a new alternative to third-part insurance reimbursement and referrals.