Why health tech may be NY’s most important new industry (Crain’s NY)

From Crain’s NY: Earlier this month, as Crain’s reported, a Google prodigy called CityBlock landed its first big contract with EmblemHealth. Manhattan-based CityBlock is pioneering the use of technology to provide better and more cost-effective treatment for people on Medicare and Medicaid, especially in poor neighborhoods.

Earlier this year, the pharmaceutical giant Roche paid just under $2 billion for Flatiron Health, a New York company which may just completely change the way cancer care is delivered. Like CityBlock it is applying sophisticated technology to a major medical issue.

Last year, 79 New York health tech companies raised an amazing $703 million in venture capital.

The way the tech sector is changing New York is one of the most underreported stories in New York as Cara Eisenpress and I detailed in our February story “Tech City” and in related follow-ups. Health tech may be the area that has the biggest impact on lives.

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Health Apps Not Doing the Trick According to Researcher

“Doctors reviewed 137 of the most highly rated or commonly recommended apps available for Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android software that target people with high health costs or substantial medical needs. Often, though, the doctors gave these popular apps poor marks.  “I think that the lack of correlation between consumer app store and doctors’ ratings is likely due to competing priorities between the two groups,” said lead study author Dr. Karandeep Singh of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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Bootstrapping Is Much More Fun Than Investors ( AlleyWatch.com via blog.startupprofessionals.com/)

From: blog.startupprofessionals.com

If you really want to start a business your way without a boss or professional investor hovering over you, then just fund it yourself or through friends and family, and grow it organically. It is more possible to bootstrap today than a few years ago, as the cost of entry continues to go down. According to many experts, over 90 percent of successful businesses currently start this way.

  1. Start your business in your own home. 
  2. Barter services for access to required resources. 
  3. Learn to be a generalist rather than a specialist. 
  4. Operate small, but show a big-company image. 
  5. Practice living on a shoestring budget. 
  6. Favor profitability over revenue and user growth. 
  7. Use your equity for key executives and business partners. 
  8. Don’t assume you must plan for exponential growth. 

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Mobile health surveillance technology has proven essential in the fight against rabies (From Scientist Live)

From Scientist Live’s Paul Boughton — “Since 2011, the researchers have been monitoring a cross-sector mobile phone-based (mHealth) system that they developed and implemented for rabies surveillance across southern Tanzania. Without this kind of surveillance, there would be no effective way to detect and coordinate responses to rabies outbreaks.

The system was used to report real-time instances of rabid animal bites on humans, as well as human and animal rabies vaccination use. It is currently used by more than 300 frontline health and veterinary workers in a 150k square km area with more than 10 million inhabitants.”

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PBS Newshour: Will real-time health data for consumers add up to healthier living?

Wearable health and fitness gadgets have broken into a sprint at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And no wonder: An estimated 500 million people worldwide now diligently record their steps and leaps. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien examines how a perfect storm of tech advances have driven a boom in real-time health data for consumers, and how it may affect medicine.

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FDA Ally For Health Tech?  Medical–Grade Wearables- Reuters Reports

“Long criticized by some health-tech entrepreneurs as a barrier to innovation, the FDA is now seen as an important ally by companies eager to show that their devices can improve peoples’ health—and eager to get heath insurers to cover them.
“Consumers, doctors, payers all want to know if a product provides a clinical benefit,” said Julie Papanek of the venture capital firm Canaan Partners, who invests in wearables startups. “Working with the FDA is the one way to get the ability to market that benefit.”
Many would-be vendors of medical wearables are small startup companies, such as Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Empatica, which is developing a wristband designed to alert epilepsy patients and their caregivers of seizures in the hope of averting a dangerous post-seizure condition that can cause sudden, unexpected death.”

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Better Health By Design | TechCrunch

“The interplay of health and design isn’t new. In 1857, Nurse (and Data Scientist) Florence Nightingale used design principles to illustrate the casualties of soldiers in the Crimean War and changed national policy. Nightingale showed that soldiers weren’t dying mainly on the battlefield, but instead they were dying in the hospitals due to the poor sanitary conditions there. Nightingale used this now famous diagram to influence hygiene practices in military hospitals, which resulted in lower mortality rates. The kind of design that Nightingale used can be thought of as, “Design to improve understandability.”

Michelle Kim, lead designer at Mango Health, thinks designers should be gamifying healthcare apps so they are fun to play. Kim posits that the same person who enjoys playing Candy Crush Saga, should also have as much ease managing their chronic illness.

The difficult design problem sits within the fact that each user is different depending on the patient’s diagnostic history – so one size can’t fit all, as would be the case of a videogame design.

Kim enhances understandability by leveraging a patient’s familiarity with something they already know. Designers tend to have a broad vocabulary of objects and experiences in the world that they use to help a user “rhyme” something new with what is already old to them. In doing so, they create a context for a new user to be more apt to feel they can understand something new.”


Health Tech Tackles Mental Health Issues / Australia – International Business Times

“The Mental Health Blueprint recognises the power of technology to help people’s mental health and reduce the treatment gap for people accessing help,” said Healthshare CEO, Rami Weiss, in a statement. The company has recently launched an app, called Connect, to allow people communicate with a qualified Australian therapist through a messaging platform. Weiss noted that the app does not replace traditional counselling, but it could help new technologies promote more accessible mental health support to people.

A recent survey, released in November, indicates that technology is leading rapid shifts in social norms. Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2015 shows that instant messaging has been widely used than phone calls by 18- to 24-year-olds.”


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NYU Health Survey Looks at App Usage

Like the treadmills and stationary bikes that become rec room coatracks, fitness and other health-related smartphone apps are acquired in large numbers by Americans, but over time, many are left unused by those who download them.

According to results of an online national survey analyzed by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center, 58 percent of 1,604 adult smartphone users had downloaded one of the estimated 40,000 available health-related mobile applications, and 42 percent had downloaded five or more. The average age of respondents was 40, and a majority had annual incomes of less than $50,000.

Some 65 percent of those surveyed said the apps had improved their health, and a majority also had a strong degree of faith in health apps’ accuracy and effectiveness.

But there were downsides, as well. Forty-six percent reported having downloaded an app they no longer used. In addition, concerns about cost, disinterest over time, and privacy were apparent barriers to wider and more effective use of the apps.

The study, to be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research mHealth and uHealth online Nov. 3, is believed to be the most in-depth analysis to date of health-related app use in the United States, according to its authors.

“Smartphone applications have tremendous potential to help market healthy lifestyle habits to people who may be harder to reach in other ways, especially minorities, and those with lower incomes and serious health problems,” says study senior investigator and NYU Langone epidemiologist Dustin Duncan, ScD. Duncan, an assistant professor at NYU Langone, points out that more research is needed into applying health apps’ and their special ability to reach medically underserviced groups to maximize the impact of their app use on their overall health.

Study lead investigator and clinical psychologist Paul Krebs, PhD, says that far more must also be done to test and validate the health benefits of apps. Krebs, an assistant professor at NYU Langone, adds that app developers also need to address consumer concerns about privacy, keeping purchase costs low, and reducing the burden of data entry.

In their report, Krebs and Duncan point out that most downloaded and used health apps are related to personal fitness and nutrition: to track physical activity (53 percent), food consumption (48 percent), weight loss (47 percent), and exercise instruction (34 percent). Some 65 percent of respondents, equally split among men and women, reported using their apps daily.

As part of the survey, conducted in June 2015 by a survey management company, participants from all regions of the country volunteered to answer 36 online questions about their app use, health status, and personal information. All were over the age of 18, spoke English, and owned a smartphone.

Among survey respondents, some 41 percent said they would never pay anything for a health app, 20 percent would pay only up to $1.99, while 23 percent said they pay at most between $2 and $5.99.

According to Krebs, the most common reasons for people not downloading apps were lack of interest, cost, high volume of information that needed to be entered on a daily basis, and concern about apps collecting their personal data.

In the survey population, those most likely to use health apps were overall younger, more educated, of higher income, of Hispanic ethnicity, or obese (with a body mass index of 30 or more).

“Our study suggests that while many Americans have embraced health apps along with their smartphones, there are challenges to keeping users engaged, and many Americans who might benefit are not using them at all,” says Krebs. “There is still much more to be learned about how we can broaden the appeal and make best use of the wide variety of health apps now available — not just for fitness and nutrition, but for other purposes, such as monitoring sleep and scheduling medical appointments.”

Duncan also notes the limitations of the study, including the fact that the data were self-reported and a one-time “snapshot” of use, not a long-term analysis of use over weeks, months, or years. Funding support for the survey was provided by a grant from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications.