Eko's ECG analysis algorithm gains Breakthrough Device status, Cigna to offer virtual behavioral health services via MDLive and more digital health news briefs

Also: AWS' natural language processing service for medical text adds new a capability; NHS Trust to deploy Tyto Care's platform for home pediatric care.
By Dave Muoio
01:40 pm
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ECG algorithm picks up Breakthrough Device status. Eko, the maker of tools for monitoring heart function, announced yesterday that a novel ECG-based algorithm for detecting lowered left ventricular ejection fraction has received Breakthrough Device designation from the FDA. By analyzing a 15-second clip of ECG data collected via the company’s other products, the algorithm aims to assist with earlier detection of potential heart failure.

“The Breakthrough Device designation recognizes the vast unmet clinical needs in identifying heart failure early in patients, whether it be due to cost, inaccessibility or misdiagnosis,” Connor Landgraf, CEO and cofounder of Eko, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the FDA to bring this algorithm to patients and to give clinicians a new tool to screen for low ejection fraction.”


MDLive coming soon to Cigna plans. Virtual behavioral health care is coming to Cigna members by way of a new expanded collaboration between the insurer and MDLive. Starting in January, Cigna’s roughly 14 million employer plan members can access licensed counselors and therapists through their myCigna.com user page. These visits will be covered similarly to in-office visits.

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"Expanding our relationship with Cigna will help provide their customers with even greater and more convenient access to high quality behavioral health care in addition to the medical care we currently provide," Rich Berner, CEO at MDLive, said in a statement. "Through this collaboration we can break down the traditional barriers that often prevent people from getting the behavioral health care they need, starting with making it easy for a user to find a provider and schedule an appointment.”


A bit more info. Amazon Comprehend Medical, AWS’ HIPAA-eligible natural language processing service for unstructured medical text, has picked up a new capability that allows the service to link extracted information to a medical ontology. The updated API is available now across all regions in which Amazon Comprehend Medical was already being offered, and so far supports ICD-10-CM codes, for medical condition identification, and RxNorm, for medication identification.

“The new ontology linking APIs make it easy to detect medications and medical conditions in unstructured clinical text and link them to RxNorm and ICD-10-CM codes respectively,” the company wrote in its announcement. “This new feature can help you reduce the cost, time and effort of processing large amounts of unstructured medical text with high accuracy.”


Tyto Care in the UK. Tyto Care’s telehealth platform, which combines video visits with a connected stethoscope-like device handled by the patient, is pushing into the UK thanks to a newly announced partnership with the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust, which would be the first UK provider to offer Tyto’s platform, is seeking to avoid costly admissions be providing remote care to its pediatric population.

“This partnership between Tyto Care and ACE brings together two healthcare leaders,” said Cindy Fedell, the Trust’s chief digital and information officer. “This ‘digital-first’ approach to care, where we put health in the hands and homes of patients, is a lynchpin of the NHS’s long-term telehealth plan.”

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