Apple files patent for poisonous gas detection, EBSCO Health acquires HealthDecision and more digital health news briefs

Also: 23andMe gets FDA nod for direct-to-consumer test for hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome and Mobile Heartbeat announced integration with Imprivata.
By Laura Lovett
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Apple versus posionous gas. Patently Apple has spotted a newly published patent application that seems to suggest that miniature sensors for poisonous gas may be a feature of future Apple devices.

Filled in March of 2018, the application’s diagrams include examples of the sensors housed within an enclosure such as an Apple Watch and describe detection capabilities for “at least one of ozone (O.sub.3), nitrogen dioxide (NO.sub.2), nitrogen monoxide (NO), sulfur dioxide (SO.sub.2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH.sub.4), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and wherein the components of a gas mixture other than the target gas comprises poisoning species including siloxanes, sulfates, phosphates and chlorides, and/or interfering species such as water vapor.”

It’s a deal. This morning clinical information tool EBSCO Health announced the acquisition of HealthDecision, a clinical decision support and shared decision making tool for clinicians and patients. As part of the deal EBSCO Health will get HealthDecision’s educational resources, which includes a visual representation of medical outcomes. The tools were designed to help facilitate provider-patient conversations around treatment plans. 

“This relationship takes us one step further in our journey to offering a breadth of content with an evidence-based foundation, combined with user experience, EHR interoperability and a tailored, personalized solution for providers and their patients. HealthDecision is an important decision support tool that will integrate well into our suite of clinical offerings,” Betsy Jones, EBSCO Health SVP of product management, said in a statement. 

23andMe enjoys another clearance. On Tuesday 23andMe announced that it landed FDA clearance for its direct-to-consumer test for hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome. The service isn’t on the market just yet, but the company said that when it is available it will be offered to new and existing Health + Ancestry Service customers. 

“We are committed to giving people affordable and direct access to important health information that can impact their lives,” Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe CEO and cofounder, said in a statement. “We believe improved access to genetic testing and health information will help people engage in their own health.”

Last year the genomics heavyweight also landed FDA clearance for its selected variants genetic health risk report. 

Another one gone. MedCityNews reports that GE's investment arm, GE Ventures, is going to be spun into its own separate entity. The scoop details how big names within the GE subsidiary — including investors Lisa Suennen, Noah Lewis and former director of the venture arm Jessica Zeaske — have recently jumped ship. GE has been in the midst of selling off many of its departments across numerous industries, including its subsidiary GE Healthcare. 

Is this legit? A recent assessment published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare examines online platforms’ birth control prescribing practices.

Researchers zeroed in on nine platforms that prescribed birth control to women across the US. They then compared these platforms' prescribing process to the recommendations of the US medical eligibility criteria for contraceptions. The researchers found that while each of these platforms has a different prescribing process, range of methods offered and fees for service, overall the services adequately screened for contraindications. 

“Despite differences in policies and procedures, these online platforms reduce barriers to hormonal contraceptives, such as inconvenient clinic hours and the inability to take time off from work or school to travel to see a doctor,” researchers wrote. 

Security integration. This morning medical communication provider Mobile Heartbeat announced a new integration with health IT security company Imprivata. As part of the deal, the Imprivata Mobile Device Access authentication technology will be integrated with MH-CURE, a medical messaging platform. 

“It’s imperative that healthcare organizations take security measures with mobile devices to protect PHI and other sensitive data,” Wes Wright, CTO at Imprivata, said in a statement. “By using MH-CURE integrating Imprivata Mobile Device Access, healthcare organizations improve the security of their mobile devices and applications while clinicians are able to lock or access them without disrupting their workflows.”

Augmented exercise. Yesterday Physitrack announced a new augmented reality component to its platform. The new technology uses a smartphone or tablet's camera to generate a digital "hologram" of exercises being performed that are overlaid onto a physical space for users to see. The AR program is intended for rehabilitation and occupational health, and is available to Physitrack's enterprise customers.

(Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Physitrack platform's new AR feature could be adusted based on a user's personalized exercise needs. The above has been updated to more accurately describe the program.)

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