23andMe considers premium test, Mira at-home fertility test launches, and more digital health news briefs

Also: Two telemedicine companies expand their reach, a new sensor for preventing pressure ulcers.
By Jonah Comstock
02:53 pm

The Cadillac of gene tests? 23andMe is considering a $749 premium gene test offering, considerably more expensive than the $99 to $199 products the company has offered thus far, CNBC reports. Some users received email notifications about a premium service at that price, but clicking the link did nothing. According to 23andMe, it’s only testing user interest and has no plans for a roll out.

In other 23andMe news, CEO Anne Wojcicki spoke at Tech Crunch Disrupt last week where data privacy was the topic du jour. Wojcicki may have rankled customers when she emphasized that the company’s data sharing deal with GlaxoSmithKline is opt out, not opt in. She also told the crowd that the company has taken a hard stance against granting law enforcement access to its data for crime-solving purposes.

Home fertility testing tech. Also at TechCrunch disrupt, digital health company Quanovate officially launched Mira, an at-home fertility tracking product for women that created a stir at CES 2018. The product includes a small home analyzer, urine test strips, and a companion mobile app, all at a $199 price point. The device currently tests for luteinizing hormone, an indicator of ovulation. But those tests could be expanded in the future.

Leaf it to technology. Leaf Healthcare Technologies has launched a new, enhanced version of its wireless, adhesive sensor, which is designed to prevent pressure ulcers by alerting nurses when patients need to be turned. The main substance of the update is that the sensor will now display the status of the patient directly on the patch, rather than only transmitting that information to the nursing station.

“Leaf's new sensor increases patient safety and enhances nursing productivity by conveniently providing important information at the point of care, saving nurses the time and steps required to check nursing station monitors," Dr. Barrett Larson, CEO of Leaf Healthcare, said in a statement. "The sensor's onboard display provides a bedside notification whenever a patient needs to be turned and immediate visual confirmation that a patient has been turned with sufficient frequency and quality.”

Babylon comes to Canada. Telus Health, the healthcare arm of Canadian mobile operator Telus, has signed a deal with UK healthcare chatbot company Babylon, which has a deal with the NHS in England. Babylon will develop a mobile app specifically for the Canadian health system, first in English, then in French starting in 2019.

“At TELUS Health, we leverage the power of technology to deliver better health outcomes, empowering Canadians with the right tools, information and support they need to live healthier and happier lives. Our partnership with Babylon, through a globally-leading  virtual care solution, will enable consumers to get access to healthcare anywhere and anytime they need it,” Juggy Sihota, vice president of TELUS Health, said in a statement. “Together, we are not only helping to improve the options Canadians have for accessing healthcare, but also providing them with a digital tool that makes communicating with healthcare professionals more efficient.”

KRY heads to France. Stockholm, Sweden-based telemedicine app company KRY announced last week that it will launch in France under the name LIVI. The company currently offers its app-based telemedicine services to customers in Sweden, Norway, and Spain. It raised $66 million in June to expand into the French and English markets.

"I am very excited about bringing our service to French patients,” KRY CEO Johannes Schildt, said in a statement. “Our vision is great healthcare for everyone, regardless of who you are or where you live. Using digitalization we will fast forward the future of healthcare, making it patient focused, proactive and economically sustainable. The fact that France is opening up for digital healthcare on a national level should be an inspiration to the rest of Europe."

New app for wellness platform. CoreHealth Technologies, a Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada-based employee wellness platform provider, has launched a new iOS and Android app called MyWellApp. The app replaces the company’s CoreHealth Mobile app and includes health assessments, challenges, events, health content, video coaching, videos, and social features.

"Our team at CoreHealth Technologies has worked hard to continually evolve our corporate wellness technology to readily respond to customer demands. MyWellApp is a powerful tool that can help keep employees informed, inspired and engaged. With the MyWellApp, our customers now have an additional tool to boost wellness program participation by utilizing the convenience of mobile devices," Anne Marie Kirby, founder and CEO of CoreHealth Technologies, said in a statement.


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