Owkin launches its AI medical research network, Companion Mx releases its first product, and more digital health news briefs

Also: Doximity updates its physician social network app; Apple announces $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas.
By Dave Muoio and Laura Lovett
04:05 pm

Owkin, the predictive analytics startup backed by Alphabet’s GV, has announced the launch of its AI-powered medical research network. Comprised of 30 US and EU hospitals and research institutions, the Owkin Loop Network looks to help researchers train their predictive health models on a greater scale of real-world data, as well as share any insights gained between participating researchers and organizations.

“Access to patient data is critical for improving medical research,” Dr. Thomas Clozel co-founder and CEO of Owkin, said in a statement. “But researchers can’t share sensitive patient data, relegating knowledge to a tiny group of researchers at each hospital. We founded Owkin to change this, to efficiently and intelligently transform hospital-level clinical data into predictive models to advance medical research all over the world. If we can transform the world’s clinical data into broadly accessible research knowledge, we believe we can fundamentally advance medical research and have an incredibly powerful impact in solving the most important medical challenges.”

Doximity, a self-described social network for doctors, is releasing an updated version of its app. Key features of the new version highlighted by the company include a smoother and faster newsfeed, easier access to embedded tools like Doximity Dialer and Dox Fax, “quick search” icons and other tools that allow clinicians to use their mobile devices to contact patients without sacrificing their privacy.

This morning Cogito-spinout Companion Mx announced a new mobile monitoring system, marking the company’s first product launch. The system, called Companion, will be able to capture a patient’s behavioral data from their phone and analyze it to create a measure of mental health. According to the startup, patients will be able to talk into their phone and capture aspects of their daily life.

“We have been fortunate to mature under an established leader in using artificial intelligence and voice features, developed with some of the brightest minds in healthcare and technology,” Sub Datta, CEO of CompanionMx, said in a statement. “As we continue to build this digital vital sign for mental health, we are committed to improving the lives of patients through data-driven insights and proactive care plans.”

Apple has announced that it plans to invest $1 billion in building a new campus in Austin, Texas. It will also expand into Seattle, San Diego and Culver City; as well as grow in cities where it already has sites including Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado.

While the announcement didn’t mention health initiatives specifically, Apple has been steadily increasing its foothold in the space. Its moves have included the launch of the Apple Health records and two FDA clearances—one for an atrial fibrillation-detecting algorithm and a second for an ECG that will be built into the company's Series 4 Apple Watch.

A low-cost smartphone-based device developed by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital was able to predict ovulation with 99 percent accuracy, according to a small study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Lab on a Chip. The study included six healthy women from ages 20 to 22 who had a history of normal menstrual cycles, did not consume tobacco and alcohol and did not use hormonal contraceptions during the study period. The technology employs artificial intelligence and requires a small sample of saliva from the user. The device can detect fern patterns from saliva that is dried on a micro fluid device.


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