Apple highlights health in glowing investor call, Withings launches B2B health device offerings and more digital health news briefs

Also: Medtronic and Samsung's digital health partnership yields more devices; New handheld ultrasounds available.
By Dave Muoio
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Apple's high on health. Apple CEO Tim Cook was pleased as punch with his company’s latest quarterly and yearly report, which he said on an investor’s call yesterday was Apple’s “highest revenue in a September quarter ever” at $64 billion. Thirty-three million dollars of this was in iPhone revenue — a 9% decline over last year that he felt was a significant step up from the 15% decline seen earlier this year — while its wearables segment was up 54% year over year.

Within that wearables segment, Cook took the time to highlight the company’s Apple Watch-based health efforts, with kudos ranging from expanded access to the ECG feature (now available in 32 markets including India) to women’s health and hearing health tracking to the kickoff of three high-profile medical studies.

“And in terms of other health-related things that we have going, we will be continuing to build out our health records connection into the health app, really democratiz[ing] the information about people's health so they can easily go from doctor to doctor,” Cook said in response to an investor question on whether health features were a primary driver of wearable sales. “We've got the research going that I had mentioned earlier. There will be more of those through time, and obviously we've got things that we're not going to talk about just yet that we're working on. But as I've said before, my view is there will be a day in the future that we look back, and Apple's greatest contribution will be to people's health.”


Withings expands beyond consumer devices. French consumer health wearables brand Withings has announced a new B2B business division called Withings Med Pro, which is kicking off with two offerings initial offerings.

The first, Withings Med Pro Data, is a data collection management and analysis hub designed for customers such as researchers, behavior change programs, wellness programs or other similar organizations. The platform includes an SDK for customized platform integration, and allows customers to use Withings devices when monitoring the behaviors of their users.

The second is Withings Med Pro Care, a provider-facing platform that’s more directly focused on remote patient monitoring. The tool includes partner-tailored dashboards for real-time patient data monitoring, and supports the patient-friendly Withings Health Mate app alongside the company’s other devices.

“Data is the key to improving nearly every aspect of our healthcare system, from better patient outcomes to improved efficiencies and reduced costs,” Eric Carreel, founder of Withings, said in a statement. “With our decade of experience and work to create connected health devices that people can easily use daily to monitor and improve their health levels, we are in a unique position to be able to help the medical and health community better serve and understand their patients and customers. Withings MED PRO allows us to serve these individuals and organizations in a saleable, flexible way to bring the benefits of the health tech revolution to a broader spectrum of patients.”


Medtronic, Samsung's latest device collaboration. Yesterday Medtronic kicked off the US launch of its mobile-connected deep brain stimulation implantable device at the Samsung Developers Conference. Cleared by the FDA earlier this year, the Patient Programmer device employs Samsung smartphones with a customized UI to simplify the patients’ self-management experience, as well as the consumer tech company’s Knox security platform to keep communications between the system’s components secure.

“For the Medtronic Activa Patient Programmer, it’s natural to continue our partnership with Samsung, a leader in consumer devices,” Earl Slee, VP of technology at Medtronic, told MobiHealthNews in an email statement. “Their state-of-the-art technology is available in a format that’s very familiar to patients and doctors. Using the Medtronic programming apps on the Samsung tablets or handsets, patients and physicians can view data and adjust their therapy accordingly, within prescribed limits.”


More device-friends ultrasounds. Clarius Mobile Health has launched the revised version of its wireless, portable ultrasound scanner product line, the company announced to day. The devices connect to smartphones or tablets to display and record their readings, and come in multipurpose or specialty use variants.

"Handheld ultrasound is revolutionizing the delivery of patient care," Clarius CEO Laurent Pelissier said in a statement. “"We are taking the high performance only found in expensive, high-end machines and making it available to the mainstream medical community to use anytime, anywhere.”