5 digital health startups you need to watch in 2019

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Funding for digital health companies continues to rise, with 2018 the biggest year so far this decade, according to healthcare investment firm StartUp Health. Investors took a greater interest in machine learning, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

Digital health funding was 14 times greater than it was eight years ago, when New York-based StartUp Health began tracking these investments. From 2017 to 2018, the average deal size grew by $6 million. Machine learning companies cut 66 deals to raise $940 million, an 80% increase in funding compared to 2017. Patient empowerment received the most funding of any function in 2018, $3 billion across 193 deals.

Here are five of the up-and-coming digital health companies to watch in 2019:

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

Morgan Stanley: Apple’s mHealth play could triple entire mobile market

Apple Watch

Though Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) has only begun to step into the healthcare market, a group of Morgan Stanley analysts estimate the company’s opportunity in the U.S. healthcare market to be three times larger than the global smartphone market, according to a Bloomberg report.

The analysts estimated that Apple’s healthcare market opportunities could be worth between $15 billion up to a massive $313 billion by 2027, according to the report.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant’s massive ecosystem built around the iPad and iPhone, other iOS devices and its App Store could allow Apple to disrupt “various processes in the healthcare industry,” according to Bloomberg.

While other companies, including Google and Amazon, may have an edge on artificial intelligence capabilities, the massive number of users of Apple devices “is a clear advantage that cannot be underestimated,” analysts said.

“Healthcare is a market where Apple has the potential to lead digital disruption – much like what iTunes did for music or the App Store for mobile services. Based on what it has done over the last five years, we see Apple creating the building blocks of another ecosystem,” analysts wrote, according to the Bloomberg report.

Analysts speculated that new medical-grade devices, including wearables or hearing aids, and integration of medical data into devices like the Apple Watch could “grab investors’ attention,” according to the report. Other opportunities include acquiring a healthcare company to accelerate its entrance into the market.

Last year, Apple reported total sales of $265.5 billion, with its iPhone device accounting for 60% of revenue, according to Bloomberg.

Last month, Apple released data from its 419,297-patient Apple Heart Study, showing that the device is capable of aiding in the detection of atrial fibrillation using its light-sensor based technology.

Apple touts results from massive AF-detection Apple Watch study

Apple Watch Series 4

Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) today released data from its 419,297-patient Apple Heart Study, showing that the device is capable of aiding in the detection of atrial fibrillation using its light-sensor based technology.

Results from the study were released today at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session in New Orleans.

The study was designed to test how well Apple’s Watch could identify and prompt clinical evaluations for atrial fibrillation, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said.

In the study, data was collected from a mobile application using Apple Watch’s photoplethysmography technology to intermittently measure blood flow activity and detect changes that could indicate an irregular contraction or heartbeat. That data, in the form of a tachogram, was then analyzed by an algorithm designed to detect irregular heart rhythms.

If the algorithm detected an irregularity, the Watch and its associated application then sent a notification to the study participant.

Researchers compared the notifications to subsequent results from a seven-day worn ECG patch, analyzing how well the algorithm on the watch matched the ECG findings, as well as the percentage of notified patients who  sought medical help through the application.

“The app continuously gathers data in the background without the wearer of the device doing anything, so it’s very opportunistic in this way. [Overall], this study improves our understanding of how this wearable technology and app works in the real-world setting and how well the technology can detect long periods of AFib,” co-principal investigator Dr. Mintu Turakhia of the Stanford School of Medicine said in a press release.

Only 0.5%, or approximately 2,100 individuals, received an irregular pulse notification. In total, 658 patients were sent a patch, of which 450 returned the patch and were included in the analysis.

Data indicates that 34% of the trial participants who were both sent a notification and had data collected via ECG patch were diagnosed as having atrial fibrillation.

“AFib can come and go, particularly early on in the course of the disease. It’s not surprising for it to go undetected in subsequent ECG patch monitoring. So while only 34 percent of people who were still having [signs of] AFib on the ambulatory ECG, that doesn’t mean that 66 percent didn’t have AFib. It just means that AFib may not have been there at the time,” Turakhia said in a prepared release.

Of the patients who received irregular pulse notifications, approximately half ended up contacting the study doctors, though others were assumed to have sought help elsewhere. Post-study surveys indicated that approximately 57% of individuals who received alerts said they sought medical attention outside the study.

Data from the trial also indicated a low rate of notifications for individuals under 40 years of age, at 0.16%, compared to just over 3% in patients over 65.

“Notifications of heart rhythm irregularities were low, an important finding given concerns about over notification, and we were able to see what happened downstream after participants received a notification,” Turakhia said in a prepared statement.

Limitations of the study included a reliance on self-reported data from participants and the failure to reach target enrollment of 500,000 participants, with a hoped for population of 75,000 individuals age 65 and over, researchers said.

Researchers said they are hopeful that the trial will serve as groundwork for future studies that look to leverage wearable technologies, and added that the next step for the study will be to explore how the monitoring tech can be used alongside other technologies, including real-time ECG, to manage heart rhythm problems.

“It really represents a paradigm shift for how clinical studies can be conducted. We don’t have to bring people into a brick and mortar clinic and give the study intervention,” Turakhia said in a prepared release.

In January, Johnson & Johnsons (NYSE:JNJJanssen and Apple said that they inked a deal to study if a mobile application from J&J, in combination with the Apple Watch’s ECG app and irregular rhythm notifications, can improve outcomes for people living with atrial fibrillation.

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5 wearable medtech companies at the Wearable Technology Show

wearable-technology-show-2019Digital health and wearable medtech companies are showcasing some of their latest innovations in mHealth at the sixth annual Wearable Technology Show, March 12–13 at the Business Design Center in London.

Over 6,000 delegates and 200 speakers are expected to attend the show to tout some of the wearable technology, smart device and IoT innovations.

From elder care to rehabilitation, here are five wearable medtech companies touting their technologies at this year’s show.

Next >>

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Pops! Diabetes Care launches blood glucose monitoring system

Pops Diabetes Care updated logoPops! Diabetes Care announced today the commercial launch of its blood glucose monitoring system.

The Minneapolis-based company’s device won FDA clearance in December last year.

Get the full story at our sister site, Drug Delivery Business News.

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Sotera Wireless adds tools to patient monitoring system

Sotera Wireless said it has upgraded its ViSi Mobile patient monitoring system to detect atrial fibrillation, ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, and to provide asystole analysis.

Often asymptomatic, atrial fibrillation may remain undiagnosed until or even after the development of complications, such as stroke. Post-operative atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia that occurs after both cardiac and noncardiac surgery and is associated with increased morbidity, longer hospital stays and higher hospital costs.

ViSi Mobile was previously FDA-cleared to monitor continuous noninvasive blood pressure (cNIBP), functional oxygen saturation of arterial hemoglobin (SpO2), heart rate, pulse rate, ECG activity, respiration rate and skin temperature in hospital-based facilities.

The upgrade, ViSi Mobile 1.5G, was also cleared to track and alert medical personnel to undesirable patient positions, patient immobility, and patient falls as well as display patient movement and posture (stationary, reclined, lying-down or walking), the company said.

San Diego-based Sotera Wireless emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2017 with nearly $32 million in hand, after a lawsuit brought by rival Masimo (NSDQ:MASI) drained its coffers.

Sotera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2016, saying it owed its main creditors roughly $13.1 million. Sotera reported raising about $20.7 million back in April 2014 and acquired sensor developer Reflectance Medical for an undisclosed amount the next year.

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Senseonics inks CGM data deal with Glooko

SenseonicsSenseonics (NYSE:SENS) said today that data from its Eversense continuous glucose monitoring system can be integrated into Glooko‘s diabetes data management tech.

Thanks to the new partnership, Eversense users will be able to view historical glucose trends in Glooko’s mobile and web apps as well as real-time data from the Eversense mobile app, according to Senseonics.

Get the full story at our sister site, Drug Delivery Business News.

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At-home digital health: Here’s what you need to know

ResMed AirMini app at-home digital health

ResMed’s AirMini CPAP device includes an app for smart devices that provides insights including a 30-day therapy history and daily therapy score. [Image courtesy of ResMed]

Demand is increasing for at-home digital health systems, where sensors follow people’s health data and automatically turn them into real-time insights for themselves and their health providers.

From ResMed and its connected CPAP technology to Clarify Medical getting user feedback for its light therapy system for skin conditions, medical device companies have started to score successes in at-home digital health, according to Scott Thielman, CTO of Product Creation Studio (Seattle).

“We really need to focus on cultivating user experience — a great user experience that will be sticky, that will overcome the downsides of having to live with whatever this technology is in their lives. There’s design work there to be done that we really need to lean in to and focus on to keep these innovations successful,” Thielman said during the latest podcast at our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing.

Go to MDO and listen to Thielman provide some solutions to common challenges medical device creators face in the at-home digital health world.

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How NeuroMetrix seeks to better relieve pain with AI

NeuroMetrix Quell 2.0 AI artificial intelligence pain relief

NeuroMetrix’s Quell 2.0 [Image courtesy of NeuroMetrix]

NeuroMetrix plans to add artificial intelligence to the latest iteration of its Quell transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device.

AI will allow Quell 2.0 to tailor treatment to each individual user, according to the Waltham, Mass.–based based company.

Launched in September 2018 Quell 2.0 is 50% smaller and 20% more powerful than the original Quell, which debuted in 2015. Quell is worn on the leg regardless of the site of pain and is designed to send neural pulses to the brain that trigger a natural pain relief response in the central nervous system. Patients control the device and track their pain using a smartphone app. Quell 2.0 is available over-the-counter for about $300.

So how could AI help patients who use the device? NeuroMetrix chief commercial officer Frank McGillin recently discussed the decision to use AI and the future of Quell with our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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Abbott touts real-world data for FreeStyle Libre glucose monitor

Abbott's FreeStyle LibreAbbott (NYSE:ABT) presented real-world data this week showing that use of its FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system reduced prolonged hypoglycemia and helped users achieve better glucose control.

At the 12th Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes meeting in Berlin, the company showcased a real-world evidence data set that included roughly 500,000 FreeStyle Libre system users.

Get the full story at our sister site, Drug Delivery Business News.

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