Zocdoc proposes controversial pricing changes, Facebook vets addiction ads, and other digital health briefs

By MobiHealthNews
01:55 pm

Bankrupting docs? Patient booking platform Zocdoc is putting providers in a sticky situation, CNBC reports. The platform, which lets patients book and cancel appointments, is changing its business model. Now instead of charging providers a flat annual rate per doctor, it proposes to charge a lower annual rate as well as a booking fee for each new customer.

Not only would this dramatically increase rates for doctors, CNBC explained, it could also violate New York State law, which prohibits providers from paying for referrals. Some doctors are fighting back with petitions and Facebook campaigns. Since the emergence of these groups, Zocdoc announced that it would be putting the changes on hold until it listened to customers. 


OTC inhaler sensors launch in US. Smart inhaler company Adherium has launched its Hailie line of attachable inhaler sensors in the US. Built for patients with asthma and COPD, the sensors connect to a smartphone app that assists with adherence, dose tracking, and preventing misuse. The company announced plans for their US launch earlier this year after the devices received over-the-counter clearance from the FDA.

“We’re extremely excited to announce the availability of the full Hailie solution in the US,” Adherium CEO Arik Anderson said in a statement. “Individuals and families with asthma and COPD can now access a solution that encompasses the world’s most clinically proven asthma and COPD medication adherence platform, cleverly packaged into the simplest interface. Hailie is the culmination of 15 years of accelerating research and development and is focused on the premise that if we are to turn the corner on treating chronic conditions, we have to make managing them second nature.


Facebook barrier. On Friday, Facebook announced that only pre-certified addiction treatment centers will be able to advertise on its site. 

“People facing addiction or who have loved ones in need should be able to find support without encountering scams or predatory behavior,” Facebook wrote when announcing the change. 

Now any center that plans to advertise on Facebook in the US will have to show a certification from LegitScripts. This certification will ensure that the facility’s have a background check, and meet state legal and regulatory licensing requirements and privacy practices. 

In a new study published by the British Medical Journal a new food tracking app called myfood24 was shown to be just as effective and more efficient than traditional tools used by healthcare practitioners. 

"Our findings show myfood24's results are comparable to the more time-consuming and costly interviewer-based approach across a range of measures,”Dr Darren Greenwood, Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics at the University of Leeds. “Ultimately, myfood24 was compared to gold standard measures of nutrients in the blood and it passed the test: We have a valid, reliable tool for measuring diet.”


Show me the evidence. While IBM Watson has made waves with its artificial intelligence recently, new reports have revealed that that when it comes to oncology the results are coming up short. According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, the technology has had “limited impact” on cancer patients. The shortcomings include a lack of data and little research that the technology is influencing patient outcomes. The report explained that it can be difficult to make patient care recommendations because of how many different factors are involved.


What's for dinner? Check the app.University of Leeds spin out Dietary Assessment Limited has developed a new app that allows user to track their food and drink intake. In the study conducted to gauge the app's effectiveness, users were compared to participants that had the traditional interviewer-administered dietary assessment. 


Behind the health app. Researchers from the University of Essex in the UK are teaming up with Provide CIC in an attempt to better understand how digital health platforms are used. The deal is sponsored by the Knowledge Transfer Partnership, a UK-funded program. As part of the program psychologist from the University of Essex will look at the barriers blocking people from adopting new technology. The first trial will look at Provide’s musculoskeletal platforms. 

“Our analysis shows that accurate classification and grouping of people enables more effective interventions, this can be achieved via non-face-to-face appointments such as Skype and online self-assessment and other self-assessment approaches,” John Niland, Chief Executive of Provide, said in a statement. “We’re excited to have this opportunity to use AI to determine the right approach for patients, deliver high levels of service and provide value for money.”


I can hear clearly now. On September 1, ReSound LiNX Quattro will launch a new connected hearing aid. The device will be connected to an app that will let healthcare professionals adjust the users hearing aid remotely. 

“ReSound LiNX Quattro is the perfect choice for people who want to upgrade to a new class of hearing aids that deliver unprecedented layers of sounds and the longest battery life available in stylish, discreet designs,” Laurel Christensen, Chief Audiology Officer, GN Hearing, said in a statement. “Most importantly, the richer sound quality helps people hear better and be more present in their daily lives. Whether at a loud dinner party or business meeting in a quiet café, people can hear a fuller, clearer range of sounds, allowing them to focus on the conversation while still hearing the sounds around them.”

In addition to its connected feature, the device also includes a lithium-ion battery, which lasts for 24 hours when it is streaming at 50 percent. 


Free telehealth for wildfire victims. Doctor On Demand announced last week that it will be offering free video telehealth visits to those affected by the ongoing California wildfires. In a statement, the company said that is offering the service to keep residents from entering potentially unsafe areas to receive care for respiratory conditions, skin and eye irritation, medication prescriptions and refills, or other telehealth-capable needs. Those affected can access the free service until Aug. 19 by downloading the app and entering the code “HELP08”.

Digital eyecare suit progresses. The legal battle between Chicago-based digital health company Opternative and online glasses retailer Warby Parker saw a new development as the US District Court for the Souther District of New York has denied Warby’s motion to dismiss Opternative’s claims that the former breached numerous non-disclosure agreements, according to a statement released by Opternative. The suit, which kicked off last year, was based on a dispute concerning proprietary information and technology Opternative said was obtained under these agreements.

“We are confident that our litigation against Warby will lead to success for Opternative,” Opternative CEO Brent Rasmussen said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing discovery and achieving a positive outcome.”

European study explores artificial pancreases in T2 patients. A new study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found the use of a closed-loop insulin-delivery system led to significantly improved glycemic control when compared to “conventional” injection insulin treatments.

“There is increasing evidence that a closed-loop delivery system (artificial pancreas) can improve glucose control in patients with Type 1 diabetes. We wanted to investigate whether a closed-loop system could also improve glycemic control in patients with Type 2 diabetes who were receiving noncritical care,” the researchers wrote.

Conducted in the UK and Switzerland, the investigation included 136 adults with Type 2 diabetes, and also noted no increased risk in hypoglycemia stemming from use of the technology.


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