Digital health news briefs for 3/21/2017

By Jonah Comstock
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MDLive launches new mobile app. Telemedicine vendor MDLive has completely revamped its mobile app. The update includes streamlined onboarding, a new personalized dashboard, and a design that encourages users to use the “find a provider” feature and to update their health records. The app is also customizable for provider partners and MDLive is offering a full SDK to integrate parts of MDLive’s app into their own.

“We believe telemedicine is the future of healthcare delivery, but complex platforms with inefficient design and interfaces are inhibiting the potential of virtual care to drive real transformation,” Scott Decker, chief executive officer at MDLIVE, said in a statement. “At MDLIVE, we’ve made a commitment to provide the most user-centric platform for health plans and health systems nationwide to serve our more than 20 million patients and a large, national network of over 1,800 board-certified doctors and therapists with a seamless, intuitive virtual consultation user experience.”

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French study looks at connected health in the wild. French digital health think tank Le Lab e-Santé is working with Virtual Care, InAdvans, Tactio Health Group, and Claranet to launch a large connected device field study called UPDOCS. The study will look at how connected health devices are used in the real world, including obstacles to and drivers of adoption of connected health devices in the workplace, what sorts of healthcare professionals use the technologies, how they use them, and whether multidisciplinary health facilities are a good setting to use connected devices for health. The ten month study will include six multidisciplinary health facilities, two pharmacies and one healthcare center, representing 40 healthcare professionals in total.

Patients in the study are either overweight, have high blood pressure, or have a high-risk pregnancy. They use iOS or Android smartphones or tablets. The first results of the study are expected in June, with final results in the fall.

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Three digital health companies in Merck’s international accelerator. Merck announced its accelerator classes in Darmstadt, Germany and Nairobi, Kenya and the classes include three digital health companies. 

In Darmstadt, TOMMI is a therapeutic game for children in cancer care and their caregivers. The game uses virtual reality technology to create a constructive outlet for feelings of loneliness, stress, and rage that children can feel in the hospital. The game fosters collaboration between patients and caregivers by requiring a caregiver’s assistance.

In Nairobi, a company called Peach has developed a mobile, cloud-based electronic medical records system for hospitals and healthcare providers in developing countries, where medical records can be easily lost and hard to transport.

RxAll, a New Haven, Connecticut-based company in the Nairobi accelerator, is using artificial intelligence to tackle the problem of counterfeit drugs. Pharmacies will be able to authenticate medicines through the platform, which uses deep learning to improve spectrometer readings in the field.

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Omron provides more details on AliveCor partnership. Omron’s strategic investment in AliveCor, announced last week, is part of a more in-depth partnership then the companies initially announced, according to a release last week from Omron. In the partnership Omron’s remote blood pressure monitoring service will be incorporated into AliveCor’s Kardia Mobile app, and Omron will distribute AliveCor’s device through its sales channels. In addition, the two companies will work together on the development of new algorithms and new devices that will incorporate Omron’s blood pressure monitoring and AliveCor’s EKG monitoring. 

In fact, some of these collaborations have been happening for some time. The two companies partnered for a distribution deal back in December 2014. And they started integrating their software together last fall.

"With Omron there are tremendous possibilities for a closer collaboration between the two companies, given hypertension, ECGs, and heart arrhythmias are so related and most doctors want their patients to have both," AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra told MobiHealthNews last week. "So there’s potential for us to do exciting things."