Mayo Clinic teams up with virtual medical assistant company Sensely and 9 more digital health deals

By Heather Mack
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Virtual medical assistant company Sensely is collaborating with the Mayo Clinic to ascertain how to leverage patient engagement and chronic disease monitoring technology. The partnership will blend the Mayo Clinic’s triage algorithms and clinical expertise with Sensely’s patient engagement platform in hopes of assessing and predicting which resources can be best used at the right time to help patients without requiring them to leave their homes. More

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Senseonics, a Germantown, Maryland company working on a pill-sized, implantable continuous glucose monitor that can last 90 days without needing replacement, will work with digital, personalized medicine company TypeZero Technologies on a project to integrate readings from Senseonics devices into TypeZero’s inControl software platform, which can either be used for decision support for manual insulin dosing or automatically adjust and regulate insulin delivery via an insulin pump. The two have signed an R&D licensing agreement.

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Virtual urgent care platform provider Carena announced a partnership with Aegis Health Group, which uses data analytics to help hospitals grow their patient and client basis. Through the collaboration, Carena’s hospital partners can connect with Aegis to guide them on best practices to grow, and Aegis will have the ability to educate employers about virtual care. More

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Apple acquired sleep-tracking company Beddit for an undisclosed amount. It’s an interesting acquisition for Apple, which has largely eschewed the sleep tracking space even as it's become commoditized for the rest of the wearable tracker space. Beddit's website suggests that its offerings and customer experience will remain unchanged at least for the moment. Beddit was already iPhone compatible, synced with the Health app, and its latest model, Beddit 3 Sleep Tracker, was already available in Apple retail stores. Beddit added an Apple Watch app in 2014 and relaunched it for WatchOS 2 in 2015. MobiHealthNews noted when the Apple Watch launched in 2014 that sleep was a notable omission from the Watch's tracking suite, likely due to the fact that the Watch needs to be charged nightly.

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Microsoft HealthVault Insights, a research-based project using big data to generate deeper patient health insights to improve care, is bringing Validic’s data connectivity platform into the mix to better understand the engagement part of the equation. Validic’s platform will serve as a key backend component by enabling Microsoft to connect to some 400 clinical and consumer devices. By creating added visibility and contextualizing health data – including trends and correlations from everyday activities and behaviors – HealthVault Insight’s mission is twofold: improve clinicians’ delivery of care on a continuum and foster a sense of personal responsibility in patients.

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Crystal Lake, Illinois-based Aptar Pharma is teaming up with digital health startup Kali Care to develop a new way of measuring adherence to eye drops in clinical trials. Because they are somewhat onerous to use, eye drops have even lower rates of adherence than other medications. Kali Care, based in Silicon Valley, makes a small sensor that can be installed in a container for eye drop medications. The sensors can detect when the bottle is opened and closed, when drops leave the container, and how many. The software can even pick up on the particular way each person applies eye drops, and after five or six days of use it can detect when someone else is using it.

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Bangor, Maine-based Spectrum Generations, a nonprofit that helps older and disabled adults, partnered with AI-focused digital health company Senscio Systems. The two organizations will work to offer personalized healthcare services to Maine residents with complex healthcare needs.

"What is missing in today's healthcare ecosystem is the ability to detect when an individual's health has deteriorated to the point where help is needed," Senscio Systems CEO Piali De said in a statement. "Ibis, our artificially intelligent (AI) digital therapeutics platform is ideal for proactively recognizing loss of control over health and initiating the process to regain control. Spectrum's caregiving expertise combined with Senscio's technology provides the perfect combination of technology and touch required for complex chronic care." More

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In effort to reduce the number of missed or delayed doctor’s appointments that are attributed to a lack of dependable transportation options, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is teaming up with ride-sharing company Lyft in a nationwide partnership to provide patients with reliable rides. 

"Many Americans live in areas where medical care is beyond the reach of walking, biking or public transportation. As a result, they struggle to access critical health care services, even when they have health insurance," Dr. Trent Haywood, BCBSA chief medical officer and president of the BCBS Institute said in a statement. "We are committed to addressing issues like transportation that are inextricably linked to health outcomes, yet can't be tackled through health care resources alone."

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International medical organization Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières, or MSF) is looking to evaluate the use of an app to diagnose and manage respiratory disease in rural, low-income settings. An unofficial collaboration is already in the works with Australian digital health company ResApp, whom MSF has indicated they are interested in working with in a clinical study.

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Researchers at the University of California Davis have initiated a five-year agreement with Healbe, makers of the GoBe 2 Smart Life Band fitness tracker, to evaluate the feasibility of tracking caloric intake with a wearable. The band, which retails at $179, uses the company’s Flow technology, which claims to automatically track a range of metrics including human caloric intake, hydration and emotional state. Dr. Sara Schaefer said she was intrigued by the potential.