Say hello to Welloh. It’s a new mobile app that will make it easier for consumers to access many different health care services, including Convenient Care facilities, hospitals, pharmacies and more. The new app is offered as a free download for both iOS and Android mobile devices. It can be found on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
The mysteries of the brain do not easily become solved. That is what many manufacturers of virtual reality devices and medical and care providers are finding out as they test virtual reality (VR) for seniors in communities for the aged around the country.
It didn’t take long for Apple to shake up the wearables market. It has just introduced a new feature that will allow Apple watch users to download parts of their medical records to their iPhones.
Employers and insurers are looking to wearable technology to gauge the progress of wellness programs on their workforce.
Firms are turning to wearables not just for participation and engagement data but also to ensure that their plans are more effective in improving outcomes and reducing risks to health, according to a Springbuk Report, “Employer Guide to Wearables 2.0” cited in ProBen.
Second MedTech Impact Expo & Conference reinforced critical connection between technology and healthcare
The second MedTech Impact Expo and Conference took place from December 15-16, co-located with the A4M/MMI 25th Annual World Congress. The event focused on assisting healthcare practitioners and professionals to better serve their patients through the use of medical technology and devices, while understanding the transformative effects of newly developed products and equipment. Speakers and sessions educated attendees on groundbreaking scientific research and education, supplemented by the most progressive equipment and medical technology.
The conference agenda included keynote speakers who discussed the multitude of ways to leverage data, manage patient privacy and security, understand legal implications, and gain insight into care collaboration software and collaborative health teams. Pablos Holman, self-described ‘futurist and inventor’ discussed “Inventing the Future of Food,” describing the revolutionary shift in the way food is prepared through the advent of 3-D printing. Holman has consulted worldwide on invention and design projects that assimilate the newest technological advancements. Entrepreneur, innovator, professional speaker, and author Robin Farmanfarmaian explained how to utilize and apply technology in order to empower patients and consumers. Chief Medical Officer and Head of Healthcare and Fitness for Samsung Electronics of America Dr. David Rhew focused on the applications of technology to improve and expand the landscape of healthcare.
Other lecturers included Reenita Das, Partner and SVP of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Frost & Sullivan, and Dr. Michael Nova, Chief Innovation Officer of Pathways Genomics, discussed the ways in which health technology wearables and machine learning can be integrated into modern medicine and healthcare. Bryan Boda, Head of Business Development at Fitbit Health Solutions, described his work regarding population health and consumer activation, while Dr. Arlen Meyers held an interactive workshop session that focused on how to become a medical advisor to companies, at all levels of product development.
About MedTech Impact:
The goal of MedTech Impact is to help healthcare practitioners and professionals better serve their patients through the use of technology, by utilizing devices and products that help track progress, assist with diagnoses, and ultimately support injury and disease prevention. By connecting attendees with the most recent and innovative scientific research and education, MedTech Impact envisions helping clinics, hospitals, and private practitioners protect and build the infrastructure of their practices by utilizing the most recently developed and cutting-edge devices, equipment, and technology. For more information, visit www.medtechimpact.com.
U.S. regulators recently approved what is being termed the ‘world’s first digital medicine’: a pill with an inbuilt sensor that can be tracked inside the stomach, and communicates data surrounding whether—and when—patients have taken critical medication. The Food and Drug Administration are permitting the device to be used in an antipsychotic medication, with the overall goal of increased medication adherence, and the hope that the data can be used to help both doctors and patients better manage treatment.
The issue of medication non-compliance has been an ongoing challenge for pharmaceutical companies, healthcare systems, providers, and patients alike. This technology, which was developed over the past decade by Silicon Valley-based Proteus Digital Health, will be incorporated into the antipsychotic medication Abilify—which has been taken by approximately 7 million people in the United States since its inception 15 years ago.
Chief executive of Proteus Andrew Thompson asserts that the technology would allow people “to engage with their care team about their treatment plan in a new way,” supplemented by the ability to use a mobile phone to track and manage medication regimens. When patients swallow the tablet, which contains the sensor, a signal is sent to a patch worn on the body, which subsequently connects to an app on the patient’s phone: showing that he/she has taken the necessary dose. The prescribing physician will automatically receive the data; patients can also choose for family members and other providers to get the notifications. Moreover, the wearable patch has the capacity to track levels of physical activity—considered a key indicator of overall health and wellness—and allow patients to self-report mood and sleep quality.
This landmark regulatory clearance highlights the burgeoning high-tech evolution in the ways drugs are delivered, which can ultimately assist in curbing the estimated $300 billion in wasted medical spending caused by patient non-adherence. One of the bedrock pillars of the digital health revolution is making it easier for patients to comply with drug regimens, while simultaneously tracking their habits. Yet digital tracking is one of several outlined approaches to increase patient compliance; companies like Intarcia and Braeburn Pharmaceuticlas are pursuing other tactics, including the creation of implantable devices that contain up to one year’s worth of treatments for people with chronic medical needs.
New research indicates that digital health has the potential to save up to $46 billion in annual healthcare spending, according to a new report from IQVIA (Quintiles/IMS Health). Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, describes a new landscape of healthcare, in which a model that looks across five different patient population groups has seen a proven reduction in acute care utilization–typically hospitalization–when consumer mobile apps are used.
“Diabetes prevention, diabetes care, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation, and pulmonary rehabilitation: in each of those five areas we took the results from published research and modeled that to estimate that if these available apps today were used by all patients who could benefit from them, the US healthcare system could save $7 billion per year. So that’s just for five areas. If that level of savings was achievable across all disease areas, we’re looking at annual savings of something like $46 billion.”
While there is an incontrovertible increase in terms of innovation, and increased evidence surrounding the impact that digital health can have on outcomes in addition to cost, there is also an uptick in adoption of mobile health apps. Aitken and his team report that there are now more than 318,500 health-related consumer apps available for download: nearly twice the amount from two years ago. Around 200 new apps are added to the marketplace each day.
The majority of health apps are comprised of general wellness apps, yet recent advancements in chronic condition management apps have made them increasingly popular and relevant. In addition to the apps themselves, there is a growing amount of efficacy data available surrounding the apps, based on searches on ClinicalTrials.gov. As of February, there were 869 active trials utilizing digital health technology worldwide; 540 were in the United States.
Moreover, several of the barriers to adoption that were previously restrictive are changing; as there are more publications regarding privacy and security guidelines, app formularies are being officially established, and there is a continued shift to value-based care. “We still have a long way to go,” says Aitken. “We don’t want to overstate the extent to which mobile health apps have become mainstream, but relative to four years ago, there is a lot of progress that has been made.”
MedTech Impact is excited to announce a new partnership with the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit that functions as a community-based platform for biomedical and healthcare entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate. The partnership brings SoPE and its president Alren Meyers, MD, MBA into an advisory board position, designed to assist with development of the 2017 conference program focused on innovation in medical technology. SoPE will also host a breakout session during the two-day conference that highlights innovative ways in which to advance and further develop the ever-changing field of healthcare. For more information about the 2017 conference agenda, visit www.medtechimpact.com