Deepak Chopra leads Fitbit's new premium wellness offering; Microsoft, UCB team up on drug discovery; and other digital health deals

Also: MGH and MIT create new tool for organizations to calculate benefits of onsite COVID-19 testing and Scanwell teams up with BD for a home coronavirus test.
By MobiHealthNews
02:37 pm
Two people in business attire chat at a table holding a laptop

Fitbit has tapped alternative medicine advocate Dr. Deepak Chopra to headline a collection of wellness content for Fitbit Premium members.

Called "Deepak Chopra's Mindful Method for Fitbit," the offering launches with 10 sessions focused on topics such as mindfulness, breathing, stress management and sleep, with additional sessions coming every couple of weeks up to the beginning of June, Fitbit said. The audio and video sessions run no longer than 20 minutes each.

"My Premium content will offer guided meditation and techniques that focus on the four pillars of wellbeing: mind, body, emotions, and spirit,” Chopra said in a statement. “My content draws inspiration from my own mindfulness techniques, which will help encourage you to evaluate and analyze your own state by answering the same questions and following the same thought process that I ask myself daily: Who am I? What do I want? What’s my purpose? What am I grateful for?” 

Microsoft and Brussels-based biopharma UCB have announced a multi-year collaboration that will leverage each company's strengths toward the end goal of new drug discovery and development. Specifically, Microsoft will be lending its artificial intelligence, computational services and cloud capabilities, while UCB will provide its backgrounds in medicine, data science and other drug discovery subject matter expertise.

"We are delighted to be collaborating with Microsoft to uncover new insights to better understand a patient's condition, as well as the science, and to enable an enhanced patient experience," Jean-Christophe Tellier, CEO of UCB, said in a statement.

"By amplifying the power of scientific innovation through digital transformation, we hope to have a better understanding of what makes a patient's journey unique, so that we can provide personalized and differentiated medicine in a sustainable way." 

The two companies noted that this agreement builds on a prior partnership that informed the development of an orally bioavailable antiviral for COVID-19.

Teams from Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT have joined forces to build a digital tool that can calculate the hosts and benefits of various COVID-19 testing and mitigation strategies for businesses and schools.

The tool, which is part of the National Institute of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Tech program, can create different models to test a variety of strategies and factors. Users are able to evaluate the cost of testing their workforce or student population, as well as the cost of an onsite outbreak.

“One of the reasons the website is effective is that we don’t dictate what to do,” Anette “Peko” Hosoi, associate dean of engineering at MIT, said in a statement. “Instead, we give you a tool you can use to balance different mitigation strategies against whatever constraints you have in your organization.”

Digital health company Scanwell Health is teaming up with med tech company BD to pair the former’s health app with BD’s at-home rapid test for its COVID-19 antigen test.

As part of the plan, Scanwell Health’s app will help guide users through at-home COVID-19 sample collection. Users can then employ their smartphone camera to analyze and interpret the test results. Patients will get results on the app screen.

“Testing at home before going out into the public is a critical safeguard to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Dave Hickey, president of Life Sciences for BD. “BD and Scanwell Health are bringing the best of our innovations together to develop a reliable test with a convenient and simple user experience. We see the development of an at-home lateral flow rapid antigen test as a complementary solution to our best-in-class BD Veritor system.”

Sharecare is collaborating with Florida Medicare Advantage plan CarePlus Health. This deal will bring Sharecare access to all CarePlus MA plans, where members can take an in-app health risk-assessment test and then receive a personalized action plan. The digital platform will also support CarePlus's rewards program.

“We’re thrilled to team with Sharecare to inspire our members to live their healthiest lives possible, no matter where they are on their health journey,” Bruno Piquin, president of CarePlus Health Plans, said in a statement. “Access to Sharecare will help our members more easily manage their health and well-being in one place, track their progress, and get rewarded along the way.”

In addition, Sharecare formed a partnership with investment firm Digital Alpha to focus on health economics. As part of the deal Digital Alpha is pledging $100 million in outcome-based financing in order to create digital infrastructure for communities. During this partnership Sharecare will work on tech that can scale.

"Over the last decade, we've had the privilege to work with 56 communities across the U.S. to improve and measure the well-being of their residents through our Blue Zones Project by Sharecare solution and the Community Well-Being Index; and now more than ever, people also need access to on-demand digital tools that can help them build resilience and ensure their health security," said Jeff Arnold, founder, chairman, and CEO of Sharecare.

"We believe this collaboration with Digital Alpha will accelerate our ability to address barriers to access and health inequities through digital connectivity and is in strong alignment with our commitment to invest in the people, places, and policies that make the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone."



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