Digital health news briefs for 5/25/17

By Heather Mack

Temporary doctor staffing platform wanders west. Nomad Health, which offers an online platform to connect doctors with freelance clinical work, has expanded its footprint into California and Texas. Founded in 2015 (and serving all of the east coast), the company works to offset doctor staffing shortages using a cloud-based virtual marketplace rather than the often time-consuming paper, phone and fax methods of finding, hiring and mobilizing temporary healthcare workers.

OurCrowd hits $80M mark of investments in healthcare tech companies. Israeli equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd has invested $2.5 million in digital microscopy and diagnostics company Scopio Labs, which is the 23rd health technology company to receive funding from investor.

Online insurance marketplace raises $30M, looks to expand. PolicyGenius, which makes a virtual insurance marketplace platform, raised $30 million in Series C funding in a round led by Norwest Venture Partners, bringing the company’s total funding to $52 million. The company, which worked with payers to establish a quoting engine that allows shoppers to do side-by-side comparisons of policies, started its business looking at life (insurance) itself, then expanded to health, renter’s, disability and pet insurance. 

Polar launches new wearable. Activity-tracking wearable company Polar has introduced a new product called the Polar A370, which offers continuous heart rate measurement as well as sleep tracking. The $179 waterproof, wrist-worn device aims to give users a “balanced approach” to exercise and rest, and features 24/7 sleep and activity tracking, GPS, a color touchscreen and interchangeable wristbands available in six colors,

Non-invasive, connected device to assess neurological conditions shows promise. BrainScope, a Bethesda-Maryland neurotechnology company that has an FDA-cleared device called BrainScope One, has shared results of a study suggesting their proprietary, EEG-based Brain Function Index can be used to assess sports-related concussions.

IBM provides computing, storage backbone for genomic data in Qatar. Sidra Medical and Research Center, an all-digital medical center in Qatar, has chosen IBM to manage and store clinical sequencing data as Sidra builds up its biomedical informatics technology infrastructure that will serve as the country’s resource. Among the first of IBM's projects at Sidra was faciliating the Qatar Genome Programme, which is working to develop personalized medical solutions for patients in the region. 

"The Sidra and IBM work effort is unique – it was a joint collaboration between our bioinformatics experts who led the complex analysis component and built the pipelines while IBM customised the system to ensure best performance and ease of use," Dr. Mohamed-Ramzi Temanni, manager of Sidra’s Bioinformatics Technical Group, said in a statement.