Digital health briefs for 3/14/2017

By Jonah Comstock
03:53 pm

Google Fit, the company’s health and fitness platform that launched in 2014 as an Apple Health competitor, is headed in the same direction as the rest of the tracking app industry: collecting more data on users and serving it back to them as personalized insights. Head of health and fitness apps for Google Play Mary Liz McCurdy spoke on a panel at SXSW this week about that trend. 

"Now everyone can work out with a personalized coach, whether it be a real coach or in most cases a robo coach,” McCurdy told Engadget. "People are willing to pay and they're willing to spend a lot of time working out, so these [apps] are all just different pocket-sized personal trainers that continue to improve and get more adaptive and smart with time.”

As Popular Science reports, a new study in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface shows off sensor technology that can be embedded into textiles. These heart rate sensors aren’t just flexible, they’re also 100 percent machine washable, a big game for the future of clothing-embedded sensors.

For the study, the intended use case was the hospital, as a more comfortable heart rate sensor for paraplegic patients. But PopSci points out that the technology could see applications in the consumer sphere as well. 

Halyard Health announced the launch of a new mobile patient engagement program aimed at post-operative patients. In the program, called ON-Q TRAC, patients are enrolled before surgery and then are prompted either online or on a mobile app to fill out a regular survey on their pain levels and treatment satisfaction. The data helps doctors track their recovery.

“ON-Q TRAC makes it easier for busy physicians and hospital staff to keep the lines of communication open with patients, enabling treatment decisions that are based on real-time information for better clinical success and improved patient outcomes," said Roger Massengale, general manager, acute pain, Halyard Health. "Halyard is focused on speeding recovery for healthcare providers and patients by reducing the need for opioids, and ON-Q TRAC is another important tool in our suite of products focused on improving post-operative recovery.”

Nashville, Tennessee-based Entrada announced new upgrades to its suite of tools that provide doctors and nurses with mobile access to EHR systems and patient records. The new upgrades allow users to customize their workflow to increase the convenience of the offering.

“Entrada holds the privileged position of being actively in the palm of our providers each and every clinic day,” Mike Cardwell, ViP of Product Management at Entrada, said in a statement. “With this release, we’ve transformed our mobile app from a complementary engagement tool to a true mobile extension of the EHR and done so without sacrificing our commitment to ensuring a simple, streamlined experience for the physician.”


North Carolina may soon become the latest state to pass a telemedicine parity law. House Bill 283 requires private payers to cover any service via telemedicine that they would cover in-person. The law covers phone visits, video visits, and text messages. According to the American Telemedicine Association, 31 states and the District of Columbia currently have full or partial parity laws on the books, while nine more, including North Carolina, have pending or proposed legislation.


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