MyHeritage, BGI forming COVID-19 testing lab in Israel, AstraZeneca taps BrightInsight to support its digital ecosystem and more digital health deals

Also: Providence supporting COVID-19 patients at home with Xealth and Twistle; Lief Therapeutics incorporates DrChrono's Open API.
By Dave Muoio
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MyHeritage, a genealogy and health DNA testing company, has teamed up with the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) to establish a COVID-19 testing lab in its home country of Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported on Saturday. The facility is aiming to open its doors by April 9 with a 10,000-tests-per-day capacity, and hopes to scale up to 20,000 per day shortly after.

“BGI will ship to Israel in the coming days an aerial train of equipment, including dozens of advanced [quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)] corona testing machines – the type of equipment used to detect RNA viruses, which allows the detection of even minimal amounts of the virus. The equipment also includes RNA extraction robots and large quantities of relevant equipment.”


BrightInsight, which has developed a platform that securely manages and analyzes data from medical devices and software, announced last week an agreement with AstraZeneca. This arrangement will see the global biopharma adopt the BrightInsight medical IoT platform to support a collection of apps, algorithms, connected devices and other software that AstraZeneca is developing.

“We quickly dismissed the concept of building our own custom platform so we could focus instead on developing transformational digital health solutions that bring to the forefront our deep-rooted history in science and focus on driving patient outcomes,” Karan Arora, chief commercial digital officer and global VP at AstraZeneca, said in a statement. “We selected BrightInsight because its pre-built, compliant platform accelerates our time to market while allowing us to focus on digital health innovation and leveraging our clinical know-how to improve patient outcomes instead of the underlying infrastructure.”

To start, the companies will be tackling digital health offerings for chronic disease management.


Thanks to a new partnership between mobile EHR maker DrChrono and ECG patch and telehealth company Lief Therapeutics, providers can now more easily implement the latter's platform for their patients. By incorporating DrChrono's Open API, clinicians can review the biomarker data and self-reports collected through Lief's remote behavioral health offering.

“With the COVID-19 crisis, we see a dramatic reduction in face-to-face mental health services, as well as an increase in patient symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Lief’s virtual behavioral health coaches and wearable smart patch empower patients to improve their mental health without coming into the clinic,” Rohan Dixit, CEO and founder of Lief Therapeutics, said in a statement. “Teaming up with DrChrono allows important biomarker data to become part of the patient’s electronic health record, and gives physicians an innovative tool to add to their telemedicine arsenal so they can improve patients’ mental health remotely.”


Digital health-prescription tool Xealth and remote-patient-monitoring platform Twistle have both been deployed by notional not-for-profit health system Providence to help remotely manage patients with COVID-19 symptoms, according to an announcement released today. The platforms have already reached more than 700 positive or presumptive COVID-19 patients, and are providing a home monitoring approach that cuts down demand for hospital facilities.

"In the current environment, we have a large population of patients who are concerned and experiencing symptoms that may or may not be indicative of COVID-19," Dr. Todd Czartoski, chief medical technology officer for Providence, said in a statement. "Incorporating Xealth and Twistle into our clinical operations extends the reach of our front-line caregivers – enabling us to give them leverage to monitor patients effectively and efficiently – while keeping patients safely at home."


Health-benefits-navigation platform Accolade has joined up with telemedicine service PlushCare to offer a virtual primary care that specifically focuses on COVID-19 questions, care support, assessment and connection to local testing. The service option is available to Accolade members, and focuses on providing care directly to the patient in their home.

“Working families around the country are anxious and overwhelmed by the coronavirus epidemic, and it is our role as advocates and care navigators to provide professional guidance, flexibility and compassion,” Accolade Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shantanu Nundy said in a statement. “We’re a strategic health and benefits partner for employers, and our partnership with PlushCare gives their families primary care consults at home while reducing crowding and over-burdening our clinics and hospitals. It’s the right service at the right time.”