We take a look at this week’s biggest developments, research and investment news from the world of Health Tech.
Tresorit, a security firm whose security technology is called ZeroKit, are offering app developers a chance to reach HIPAA compliance. The tech will offer authentication for users including both patients and healthcare workers, “zero knowledge” sharing of health data and end-to-end encryption of health data. “Our mission is to give the ability to developers to give privacy to you,” Tresorit SVP David Szabo told Mashable “Developers don’t want to see patients’ passwords.” The higher security option will be made available on CareKit, an open-source platform that allows developers and healthcare professionals alike to create patient-focused apps.
“PeraHealth is a clinical decision support company. We’re providing patient surveillance tools and systems to hospitals to really monitor patients to catch very severe types of things that can happen to a patient,” CEO Stephanie Alexander told MobiHealthNews. “Early warning systems for things like sepsis. We’re using it to monitor all patients throughout the hospital. The tools themselves are embedded in the EHR software for all the health systems. So physicians, nurses, other clinicians can be warned so they can intervene early.”
The highlights include a number of announcements and updates from wearable giant Fitbit including a partnership with UnitedHealthcare, whose wellness programme Motion will soon offer participants the ability to use their Fitbits to track daily goals and even earn financial incentives applied to their healthcare plan. They also include Samsung NEXT’s new $150m fund to support early startups pursuing advanced software and services innovation; the fund is not health-specific but it has already invested in digital health company BioBeats.
“I believe this will be a tipping point year for telemedicine,” CEI Dave Skibinski said. “The number of RFPs has grown significantly. The nature of requirements has become far more well defined. Health systems and outpatient care have seen what early iterations of telemedicine have been and are now prepared to offer it themselves.” One milestone SnapMD achieved in 2016 was it documented more than 40 different use cases for its platform.
Perhaps one of the most surprising consumer tech additions at CES this year was the new cycling technology exhibited. Highlights include a bone conducting musical bike helmet that uses bone conduction technology to bypass the eardrum and stream via tiny vibrations on the cheekbones. This means you will hear the music clearly but you will be able to hear traffic sound much more clearly. The kit also includes a remote for your handlebars allowing you to flick through songs wirelessly.
Whilst CES has been showing the best in new tech for years, this year saw an increased focus on health and beauty. Highlights include a “smart hairbrush” that warns you if you brush your hair too hard and a wearable sleep monitor that delivers breathing exercises to help you drift off and monitors how well you are following to transform your breathing in real time.
A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research this week found that after weeks of using apps designed to help reduce anxiety and depression, all of the participants reported significant improvements in their mental health. “Using digital tools for mental health is emerging as an important part of our future,” lead study author David Mohr, a professor of preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement. The apps “are designed to help the millions of people who want to get [mental health] support but can’t get to a therapist’s office,” Mohr said.
The company partners with primary care physicians to create tech-enabled accountable care organisations. “In the last six months alone, we have gone from zero to 100,000 commercially insured patients in our network,” Dr. Farzad Mostashari, CEO and co-founder of Aledade, said in a statement. “With this new funding, we will push ahead to bring the Aledade model of care to all patient and payer populations across the health care system, including Medicare Advantage.”
The app which has more than 200 training programmes on its platform is announcing a new partnership with DAQRI and HoloLens that will support a new type of deeply immersive training. “We believe in working with surgeons to optimize and scale best in class surgical procedures to enable training and delivery of safer surgery for patients globally,” Touch Surgery’s CEO Dr Jean Nehme told TechCrunch. “To date our output has been through mobile devices, primarily for training. For 2017 we have enabled our pipeline to deliver to augmented reality platforms.”
Whilst millions of patients worldwide rely on assistive hearing aid devices to aid damaged hair cells, there has yet to be a pharmacological intervention in the world of hearing. But now, two emerging biotechs, Frequency Therapeutics and Decibel Therapeutics, are developing drugs to aid hearing loss. “It’s noise pollution,” said David Lucchino, president and CEO at Frequency, said in a phone interview. “There was a great study about people who were born and spent their lives on Easter Island and people who left. The people who stayed had great hearing well into their 60s. The people exposed to noise pollution had the same kinds of hearing loss we see every day.”