Consumer tech companies launch AI health initiative, Fitbit features Snapchat's Bitmoji and more digital health deals

Also: Nvidia collaborates with the American College of Radiology; Welkin Health launching support program for Axonics Modulation Technologies' device.
By Dave Muoio
02:09 pm

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced more than 30 organizations collaborating in a newly launched initiative focused on AI in healthcare. Comprised of Google, Fitbit, IBM, Livongo, Samsung, Verizon and others, the effort seeks to develop common terminology and a set of best practices regarding data use with the new technology.

“AI will boost our wellness and health care by improving outcomes, expanding treatment options and providing cost-cutting efficiencies,” Gary Shapiro, CEO and president of the CTA, said in a statement. “We must seize the opportunity to realize the potential of AI ethically, strategically and with clear goals.”

This morning Nvidia announced a new collaboration with the American College of Radiology that is set to give radiologists nationwide an open AI architecture. That technology will become available to radiologists around the country via the ACR Data Science Institute.

“Nvidia builds platforms that democratize the use of AI and we purpose built the Clara platform to give every radiologist the opportunity to develop AI tools that are customized to their patients and their clinical practice,” Kimberly Powell, VP of healthcare at Nvidia, said in a statement. “We’re working with the American College of Radiology to make building and deploying AI easy and accessible to the entire field of radiology.”

This deal comes on the heels of Nvidia’s announcement of Clara AI, a toolkit for radiologists, which includes 13 classification and segmentation artificial intelligences and software tools.

Snapchat’s cartoony “Bitmoji” user avatars are coming to Fitbit’s Ionic and Versa smartwatches in the form of a new fitness-focused clock face, the companies announced Friday. Now available for free download, the characters will dynamically update to reflect the activities of the wearer. This includes running on a treadmill when detecting activity, tossing confetti after achieving a daily activity goal and holding an umbrella when rain is forecasted.

“Giving our users experiences that are personalized, engaging, and delightful is at the core of what we do at Fitbit,” Tim Rosa, CMO of Fitbit, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with Snap to give our millions of users around the globe a creative, shareable depiction of their health and fitness progress through this imaginative concept. The Fitbit x Bitmoji dynamic clock face is the collective result from both Fitbit and Snap teams, to create a new way to help motivate people to be healthier and have lots of fun doing it.”

Welkin Health, maker of patient relationship management and messaging software, has partnered with sacral neuromodulation company Axonics Modulation Technologies. The collaboration is focused on the launch of a support program for providers and patients using Axonics’ rechargeable neurostimulator.

“The program we’re building with Axonics prioritizes the patient experience,” Chase Hensel, CEO of Welkin Health, said in a statement. “‘This means the Axonics teams will have the pieces in place to easily manage complex data and guide workflows. We believe that having this tool in place will allow many more patients to benefit from SNM therapy and Axonics’ innovative long-lived technology.”

A partnership between healthcare IT security firm Imprivata and patient identity matching company Verato will link the two companies’ platforms together into a single authentication and record matching platform.

“We’re delighted to be working with Verato, a partner that’s mastered the process of linking a patient to all of their records within and across healthcare organizations,” Dr. Sean Kelly, CMO at Imprivata, said in a statement. “We can then attach a biometric identifier using Imprivata PatientSecure. Together, we’re solving an interoperability challenge that’s vexed healthcare organizations for decades. We’re delivering an unprecedented combination of accuracy and consistency in patient matching, which is critical for clinicians to treat patients safely based on their complete medical histories.”

New York-based nonprofit provider Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall has enlisted Artifact Health’s mobile platform in an effort to speed up patient record coding and improve clinician workflows. The tool allows physicians to respond to queries with just a few taps through Artifact’s app. The partners noted that Artifact was able to set up the system and go live within four weeks.

“Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall is committed to quality improvement and Artifact’s technology gives us the opportunity to grow and scale our clinical documentation improvement efforts reaching all of our providers, employed and non-employed, with an easier and more efficient way of handling documentation clarification requests,” Tom Gibney, the hospital’s CFO, said in a statement.


McKesson Corporation announced this afternoon that it has chosen Google as its preferred provider of cloud services, and that it will be implementing the Google Cloud Platform across its business. Along with expected cost savings, McKesson noted in a release that the move will facilitate its development of AI, machine learning and enhanced analytics.

“We are accelerating our migration and development process, which means we will be able to deploy new products and features for our customers faster, decreasing our time to value,” McKesson Technology SVP and CTO Andy Zitney said in a statement. “This collaboration will help us more effectively capture, process and convert data into actionable business insights — as well as focus on automation freeing our engineers’ and developers’ time.”

The Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK has been integrated with Epic’s Rover app for Android devices, bringing new functionality to the health record management service, according to a release. By scanning the barcode printed on a patient’s wristband, users are quickly authorized to view that individual’s health records through a mobile device.

“Healthcare professionals need to be 100 percent confident that they’re getting accurate patient information,” Samuel Mueller, CEO of Scandit, said in a statement. “Scandit is excited to help healthcare customers trust their scans.”

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