Tag Archives: chronic condition

Health 2.0: How to Use Data Around You to Lead a Healthier Life

Health 2.0 once again exceeded my expectations with their 7th Annual Fall Conference, this year in Santa Clara. Needless to say, I have too much to share in just one post. Today I’ll focus on Tuesday’s morning hot topic, Big Data. In rapid fire, leaders in health data aggregation and comprehension spoke and presented demos.

Here is a snapshot of a few companies that presented in Big Data: Tools and Applications for Individuals.

Ben Wolin, Co-Founder and CEO, Everyday Health

  • Everyday Health has self-learning data algorithms that personalized your healthcare exploration. Using over 6.9 billion data points, 4.5 billion newsletter opens and many fancy data algorithms, they are able to tailor healthcare information for you
  • Essentially, they are the Pandora for health, but with much more data
  • They have proved $2.3 billion in healthcare savings so far

Gideon Mantel, Executive Chairman, Treato

  • Treato lets patients comment on their prescription drug use and then shows how those drugs fare alongside their comparable medications
  • Using crowdsourced patient data, you can easily see which medications cause which types of problems for patients
  • Below, Tecfidera (BG-12) has worse feedback then Copaxone and Tysabri for MS treatments. You can dig in deeper on the website to see exactly why, and what patients have listed as top concerns for the drug

Philippe Schwartz, President, Withings

  • This year Withings, maker of the smart body analyzer scale and blood pressure monitor, has come out with an activity tracker, the Withings Pulse
  • The device can differentiate between walking and running automatically as well as measure your heart beat
  • A more detailed post on the Pulse to come!

John De Souza, President and CEO, MedHelp

  • MedHelp has created apps to track a variety of health events, such as women’s health, diet and mental health
  • They are releasing an app that lets you get instant feedback on your lab results, and grants you access to health coaches who can give you advice when something doesn’t look right (such as cutting back on salt if your lab tests show high cholesterol)
  • The app also allows for involvement from your friends and family into helping you keep a healthy lifestyle. As Peter Tippett, CMO & VP of Verizon said, “Social is what drives change in individuals – it’s the little nudge that helps you quit smoking, it’s not you, it is your surround sound.”

Marvin Ammori, Co-Founder and CEO, Silica Labs

  • Marvin showed us how Google Glass can be used in healthcare, from recording a doctor-patient interaction so that the patient can rewatch the interaction later, or by recording a surgery so that a specialist far away can help, or by creating a surgery checklist for a surgeon in the operating room
  • Glass can even be used in the battlefield to tap into the activity monitors of soldiers to tell a medic which injured fighter needs the most immediate help

Bill Davenhall, Global Manager, Health and Human Services, ESRI

  • I’ve posted on ESRI before – I think it is an excellent tool to see geographic health information
  • The ESRI Geomedicine application lets you see the heart attack rate as well as the toxic release inventory of an area
  • Every triangle is something that is bad for your health in your neighborhood
  • The dashboard also gives a walk score (San Francisco at 97, is excellent)

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Emotiv Insight: Track and Use Your Cognitive Strength

The Emotiv Insight is a multi-channel, wireless headset that monitors brain activity, tracking your brain’s fitness and performance in real time. While many fitness apps and devices focus on physical health, the Emotiv Insight focuses on cognitive health and wellbeing.

The Emotiv Insight can interpret basic commands such as push, pull, and rotate, as well as measure attention, focus, excitement and more. Just think (no pun intended), now you can command a helicopter to levitate, and the Emotiv Insight will interpret your mental command and raise the helicopter.

The Company exceeded its $100,000 Kickstarter goal by raising a record $1.6 million through over four thousand backers. I asked Emotiv Insight to tell us a little more about their product. Special thanks to Kim Du and the Emotiv Insight team.

What does the Emotiv Insight improve upon in the human mind and how long does it take to see results?

The brain is made up of approximately 100 billion nerve cells, which are called neurons. These active neurons cause electrical activity, which can be observed using non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG).

Emotiv Insight brainwear™ technology measures electrical activity from 5 regions of the brain. The location and distribution of particular kinds of activity are characteristic of specific functional activities or response patterns. For example, we measure the amount of activity in different frequency bands which have long been known to be characteristic of different kinds of functions – Beta and Gamma waves are very high frequency activities which indicate a high degree of intellectual processing, Alpha waves indicate a level of relaxed alertness, Theta waves indicate a dreamy state or paradoxically a high degree of memory recall and focus when occurring in conjunction with Beta and Gamma waves, and so on. The relative amounts of activity in these different bands across different functional locations provides a measure of the different states of the brain, including emotional states, functional processing and so on. Our system uses algorithms based on a combination of accepted measures (for example, frontal asymmetry is linked to feelings of attraction or repulsion, positive or negative feelings) and learned patterns based on data collected from volunteers in controlled experiments who are experiencing the specific emotional states we classify.

Who is your target audience for the Emotiv Insight?

Citizen Scientists, Quantified Selfers, and basically everyone interested in their own brain and improving their performance.

What should customers expect to do or change with the Emotiv Insight?

Emotiv Insight provides metrics for desirable and undesirable characteristics which are familiar to the users, and the recorded levels of these metrics during different sessions of similar activity can be used to reveal details about how the user can improve their performance or mental attitudes based on the differences between specific sessions. For example, does playing classical music allow you to focus more or less when you are studying? Do you study better late at night or early in the morning? With the feedback provided by Emotiv Insight detections you will be able to assess and improve your performance.

The Emotiv Insight brainwear™ can also understand and decipher basic mental commands. It can detect commands such as push, pull, levitate, rotate and even commands that are harder to visualize such as disappear. It also detects facial expressions such as blinks, winks, frown, surprise, clench and smile.

The Insight seems to be targeted for consumer use – will it also be sold to researchers? What other applications does the device have?

At launch, consumers can download a free mobile app (Android/iOS) that measures, tracks and helps them improve their Attention, Focus, Engagement, Interest, Excitement, Affinity, Relaxation and reduce Stress levels. You will get a much better idea of your productivity profile. When you’re paying attention, the time of day and how long you can pay attention for, your interest levels, your bursts of focus. How well you can relax, your stress levels.

The app will allow you to specify the kinds of activities you are undertaking and the surrounding context. After a brief calibration where you relax and provide the system with your background mental state, the application will collect information about your chosen activities and combine it with other contextual information. Your mental activities are monitored and the many different metrics are calculated and may be displayed in real time.

The data is uploaded to our cloud server where it can be analyzed further and compared with your other sessions, and also with those of your friends, the population norms for your own demographic group and the entire population, depending on the kinds of reports you wish to generate. This allows you to put your performance in context, strive to score better or improve faster than your social group, or simply improve your own performance against your own prior sessions. The level of interaction with your social group and the general population can be selected and changed at any time and your data is always kept private until you choose to share it.

Research has shown that when you are made aware of all of these indicators, people are better informed and empowered to make decisions to optimize and improve their cognitive fitness and performance.

Emotiv offers a platform to conduct research and/or develop applications for the EMOTIV INSIGHT. This includes the necessary drivers, a fully specified API for application development and analysis tools for EEG research applications.

Will the Emotiv Insight be partnering with other companies in terms of collaborating in gaming/software, white labeling or product compatibility?

Yes, We’ve already made announcements partnering with fellow Kickstarter projects for Wig Wag and Burnstar.  We’re looking forward to partnering with other companies to build out more integrations and apply Emotiv Insight in many uses.

When is the expected launch of the product? Will there be any changes to the product not described on the original Kickstarter campaign?

We’re looking forward to producing Insight to hit general release next April 2014.

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Japan: Healthy Eating Makes an Impact

During these past three weeks spent in Asia, I’ve noticed that the citizens of Japan are generally, as a whole, very healthy. In fact, for the past 20 years, Japan has been ranked number one in the world in both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy rates. Experts contribute this mainly to diet – traditional Japanese food is low in fat and cholesterol, which are main contributors to heart disease.

Now I’m not suggesting that you incorporate tofu, seaweed, fish, rice and miso into your daily diet, but in terms of looking at the health of Japan versus the health of the United States these past few decades as a longitudinal study, cutting down on saturated fats and complex sugars becomes obvious to maintaining good health.

To be transparent, as I ate the aforementioned five ingredients three times a day for a week in Japan, I noticed that the Japanese do like their salt. Heavy salt intake can lead to other issues including high blood pressure, which coincidentally is one of the major risk factors for death among adults in Japan. Nonetheless, this trip has made it exceptionally clear to me what cutting down on saturated fats and sugar can do for my health long term.

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion, Kyoto); Even the train food is healthy and well proportioned (Shinkansen Bullet Train); Typical breakfast in Tokyo

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Glassomics: Newly Launched Medical Glassware Incubator

Glassomics is a newly launched medical glassware incubator, exploring and creating new ways to use glasses-like wearables in healthcare. With Google Glass growing in hype, it’s not surprising that Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life created Glassomics to innovate uses for glasswear and start discussions regarding security and liability concerns for such technologies.

Sparseware, a San Diego based software engineering firm, will be leading the development of the initial glasswear prototypes and will test the technology at the new $1B Palomar Health, deemed the “Hospital of the Future.”

Glassware abilities (for hospitals) that I find most interesting are:

  • facial, voice, vital signs recognition
  • image detection – cross checking prescriptions, allergy tags
  • instant access to patient records/medical dictionary
  • built-in camera during surgery/instructional videos
  • easy note annotation
  • decision support
  • sending information/photos from one place to another (i.e. ambulance to surgery room)
  • alerts, reminders, scheduling

I look forward to the first round of healthcare applications for glasswear and will be following this closely.

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OMsignal: Making body monitoring clothing a reality

OMsignal is entering the wearables space by creating a form flattering compression shirt that uses sensors embedded into the shirt to measure vital signals and daily physical activity. The data is transmitted to a smartphone app where users can track anything from their activity, heart rate, respiratory rate, breathing balance, calories burned, emotive state and more. Users can link together to monitor each other and set alerts. Prototypes of the shirt are now being distributed to interested third-party developers who are looking for ways to use the data collected to create apps on the OMsignal platform. When the shirts are finally rolled out, I suspect a string of interesting apps will also be released.

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Omada Health: Preventative Medicine, Starting with Diabetes

Omada Health is changing the way people reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes. Through their Prevent program, built on research in behavior change and disease prevention, members use personalized coaching, community support and tracking tools to create and continue healthy behaviors. From weight loss to lifestyle changes, Prevent hopes to stop the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. The Prevent website mentions that “on average, our participants lose 6% of their body weight in just 16 weeks, exceeding clinical results and putting them on the path toward lifelong health.” Additionally, these preventative measures decrease the financial burden of chronic diseases for participants as well as for the overall healthcare system. Omada partners with employers, providers and health plans to deliver the Prevent experience and the company is actively working on other solutions to prevent additional chronic diseases.

You can sign up for the Prevent 16-week program online.

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Nike+ Accelerator: 10 Companies Bringing Health and Fitness to a New Level

NIKE announced this week that they’ve chosen 10 companies to participate in its Nike+ Accelerator program, co-facilitated with startup accelerator, TechStars. Nike filtered through hundreds of applications to create the following list:

  • FitDeck: Digital decks of exercise playing cards that deliver ever-changing workouts for fitness and sports.
  • GoRecess: Helps users find, book and review fitness activities.
  • Chroma.io: An indie game studio that creates virtual worlds tied to real-world activity.
  • CoachBase: Provides a digital sports coaching platform.
  • FitCause: Leverages fitness data as a means of raising money for charities.
  • HighFive: Ad network for health and fitness apps that helps people achieve their goals by rewarding them along their journey.
  • Sprout At Work: Provider of corporate wellness solutions leveraging social and gamification tools to inspire employees and empower employers.
  • GeoPalz: An interactive gaming and rewards platform for kids and families.
  • Incomparable Things: Creates activity-driven fantasy sports leagues.
  • RecBob: Offers a platform that makes recreational sports easy by organizing play.

These companies will present their businesses at two investor Demo Days in June (one at the Nike World Headquarters and one in Silicon Valley) and I look forward to seeing their progress these next three months.

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Interview: Jack Challis, CEO & Co-Founder of CliniCast

With all these new health monitoring devices and apps appearing in the past five years, it is becoming easier to track your own health with increased awareness of your daily activity levels and eating history. But behind the scenes, there are companies that are trying to predict your future health needs and help providers identify patients that could benefit from early interventions to prevent future hospitalizations.

As Jack Challis, CEO & Co-Founder of CliniCast, describes his company’s vision, “It is about how to find patients that are going to get sick before they get sick so providers can intervene and get them better preventative care, which lowers their future health costs and costs to the healthcare system.”

Jack was always very interested in cost management, “I wanted to know why healthcare was so expensive – why we get such low outcomes for such a tremendous expenditure of resources. I wanted to attack and mitigate overutilization, inadequate care delivered in inappropriate settings and patients being managed poorly.”

CliniCast sells its ARTO analytical system to at-risk providers. The online platform uses demographics, claims data, lab results, pharmacy usage and text notes to find patterns that might lead to high risk patients. These patients can then be matched to available preventative care (i.e. educational programs, peer mentoring and medication management).

So why healthcare and why now? Jack explains, “Traditionally one of the least utilized resources in patient management has been data, and we see an opportunity to use that data to make people healthier.” The most important thing for him and CliniCast is to prove that the model can allocate resources more efficiently.

As a patient, you can also help the system by keeping a detailed record of your health data on one electronic medical record and staying educated and informed on which interventions really matter to your health (i.e. changing your lifestyle if you are a diabetic to better manage your condition). We can all work to improve the healthcare system and as you are doing your part, know that there are companies like CliniCast in the background also helping.

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Omnio: Medical Knowledge at your Fingertips

Physicians Interactive is a leader in healthcare information and mobile decision support tools, and through their acquisition of Skyscape.com, they have recently launched the app Omnio. Omnio for the iPad creates a medical information and news dashboard and lets users customize it through an impressive drug and news offering. There is a comprehensive drug guide (including a drug interaction analyzer), over 200 essential medical calculators, clinical text references and articles if you want to dig a little deeper into diseases and medications and a continuous, curated news stream focused on your interests. The app is especially useful for healthcare professionals who need specific information daily, but I found it just as engaging – especially the medical calculators.

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Diagnostics For All: Simple and Low-Cost Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostics For All (DFA) is a nonprofit organization working on bringing healthcare to places with limited access to precise and affordable care. One of their main projects is to create cheap and convenient diagnostic tests using their patterned paper technology that only needs a drop of blood to give a result. This technology is essentially a piece of paper grooved with wells that are filled with assay reagents. As a drop of blood is placed on the paper, the assays change color to reflect the result of the test. About the size of a quarter and much cheaper than traditional tests, these point of care indicators are also lightweight and durable, easy to use, reliable and simple to manufacture.

Currently they are focused on making a test for liver damage, which is a known side effect from taking drugs given to tuberculosis and HIV patients. In poorer countries, these paper tests could replace having to use traditional labs and all the equipment, electricity and turnaround time that goes along with them. DFA is working on using their paper based tech to test for other diseases and has garnered support from large foundations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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