|UK-based Inhealthcare tapped for NHS remote back pain management program
Back pain may be one of the most common human afflictions, but treatment for the condition is often unsuccessful due to a number of reasons including backlogs in the healthcare system because of physician shortages or antiquated IT systems, patients who don’t fully understand their condition or how to manage it, and inadequate treatment plans that don’t lend themselves to interventions when they aren’t working.
All of those issues together form gaps in understanding on what does and doesn’t work for back pain rehabilitation, according to doctors at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, United Kingdom. In an effort to shed some light on what’s going on, the hospital tapped the services of UK-based digital health company Inhealthcare, which offers a remote monitoring platform used by many National Health Services agencies.
It’s part of the hospital’s North England Regional Back Pain Programme – an initiative funded by healthcare charity Health Foundation that is investing over $4.5 million in innovative healthcare projects that can be delivered at scale. Inhealthcare is providing the tools to monitor 3,600 patients who are being treated for back pain in the North East region by sending clinical questionnaires via the web to the patients after they have been referred for treatment by their doctors. All patients voluntarily signed up to receive the questions periodically, and their answers are integrated into existing NHS clinical systems such as SystemOne and EMIS Web.
The project was selected as the NHS reports poor rehabilitation and variable outcomes for lower back pain management, especially in the North East region.
“Back pain is one of the highest volume activities in the NHS. It absolutely lends itself to digital health,” Inhealthcare Product Director Richard Quine said in a statement. “With real-time feedback from thousands of people suffering from this debilitating condition, the NHS can identify interventions that are working locally and then deliver care at scale across the country.”
Additionally, Inhealthcare’s platform allows for data collection about the nuances of back pain treatment on a scale and speed otherwise unattainable by physicians, and the platform analyzes the data to quickly identify and refer any serious issues to facilitate interventions.
“We believe this service has the potential to dramatically improve the wellbeing of patients with back pain across the UK and help the NHS to target its resources in a much smarter way,” Quine said. “After all, you can’t improve what you can’t measure.”
Inhealthcare has been part of a number of NHS contracts. The company, which was founded in 2012, is on a mission to digitize services throughout the entire NHS system, and offers many different remote monitoring, telehealth and data capture and aggregation platform options to healthcare organizations including diabetes management, in-home care, and many chronic conditions. Inhealthcare’s core digital platform complements several NHS initiatives and supports some 25,000 patients across hundreds of primary care practices, nursing homes and hospitals. They also work with many different devices and technology methods, such as glucose monitors that transmit data to their primary care physician via text, or a patient with chronic pain communicating via an app. In March, the company started working with Medway Community Healthcare to provide remote monitoring services to people self-managing their cardiac health.
|Summit Partners’ investment in Sharecare brings the wellness company’s total to $300M
Atlanta, Georgia-based Sharecare, a wellness and patient engagement company known for its serial acquisitions, has received an investment from Summit Partners that brings the company’s total funding to $300 million. The company said a third of that figure was raised in 2017 alone, and Sharecare will use the latest capital to expand their workforce and invest in new strategies to continue growing.
Growing is what the company has been aggressive pursuing since its inception seven years ago. That has mainly come in the form of acquiring other companies to fill Sharecare’s mission of building out the most comprehensive suite of patient engagement tools. The company made its 11th acquisition in September 2016 with the purchase of virtual reality company BioLucid for an undisclosed amount. Just a few months before, Sharecare gained another 1,700 employees when it acquired Healthways’ population health business.
“With 11 acquisitions in six years, we have been thoughtful and opportunistic in scaling our rapid growth while adapting to changing market dynamics and needs – and we couldn’t have done that without the support of our incredible investors,” Sharecare president Justin Ferrero said in a statement. “With this latest investment, we are ideally positioned to pursue the opportunities and acquisitions that will fuel the next phase of Sharecare’s growth.”
Founded in 2010 by WebMD founder Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz, Sharecare has been working to become the go-to health engagement platform. Along with near-constant acquisitions, Sharecare also formed a joint venture in July 2016 with Guidewell, the parent company to several large Florida health plans. The company has also snatched up reputable talent: in March of this year, Sharecare hired John Solomon, the former vice president of enterprise and government at Apple, to serve in a strategic advisory role. Additionally, Sharecare brought former Towers Watson and Zipongo veteran Dale Rayman onboard to serve as SVP of actuarial consulting and business development.
“Our vision is we want to be the only health app on your phone. The same way you don’t have 12 apps to manage your money, you’re not going to have 12 apps to manage your health,” Arnold told MobiHealthNews at the time of the Healthways acquisition. “We have made 10 acquisitions over the last several years putting together what we think the key pieces are that are going to enable you to manage all your health and wellness in one place.”
|Gixo launches personal training app with $3.7M from Greylock
Backed by $3.7 million in funding led by Greylock Partners, San Francisco-based fitness app company Gixo has officially launched its subscription-based live workout app to Android and iOS. Cowboy Ventures and xSeed Capital also contributed funding to the round.
It’s hardly the only fitness app out there, but Gixo is trying to set itself apart by being one of the most approachable and easy to fit into a busy lifestyle. Unlike some fitness apps that are designed for use in the gym (or a home workout space stocked with ample equipment) Gixo requires no accessories other than the smartphone and headphones.
Founders Selina Tobaccowala and Al Lieb were inspired to create Gixo when they realized their health and fitness were slipping due to increasing demands from work and family life. All of that was compounded when Tobaccowala’s boss, friend and mentor died suddenly from a heart condition at the age of 47, so the two knew they wanted to create a company that would put health and wellness back into everyday life.
“With Gixo, we’ve taken all of the usual fitness excuses out of the equation,” the founders wrote in a post on Medium. “All you need to take a Gixo class is a smart phone. That means you can access classes whether you are in your house, across the world for business travel, or on your lunch break.”
The price point is also relatively low, compared to classes at a gym or a hiring a trainer. The app costs $24 per month (or $19 per month if a user buys a full year upfront) and operates on an “experience-oriented” mindset to working out, featuring over 150 workouts per week led by coaches who work specifically for Gixo. Workouts range from 15 to 40 minutes long, and employ a blend of walking, running and strength training using ones’ own body weight. There is also a social network aspect to the app, where users can connect with friends in real time to work out together, and Gixo hired a DJ to create custom tracks for their classes.
Gixo’s CEOs also have a long and successful history with Greylock Partners. Tobaccowala and Lieb founded Evite in 1998, and both went on to similarly high-profile ventures: Tobaccowala became president and CTO of SurveyMonkey and Lieb cofounded ClearSlide. All three companies (Evite, SurveyMonkey, and Lieb) had backing from Greylock.
“Cofounders Selina Tobaccowala (CEO) and Al Lieb are world class entrepreneurs with deep understanding of building consumer products for mass markets and proven success in scaling technology companies,” Greylock investor Reid Hoffman (who founded LinkedIn and will now serve on the board at Gixo), said in a blog post.
In addition to their business sensibilities, Hoffman noted Tobaccowala and Lieb’s understanding of what does and doesn’t work in exercise.
“Hiring a personal trainer is the most effective method of working out because it results in a high level of accountability, both in showing up and in the productivity of the workout itself, but it’s prohibitively expensive for most people,” Hoffman wrote. “Because Gixo doesn’t have the cost structure of a high-end studio or gym — and uses technology to create a highly personalized experience for their users — Gixo offers a great user experience at a mass-market price point. “
|Report finds many security vulnerabilities in connected, implantable medical devices
A recent report from security firm WhiteScope describes more than 8,600 flaws in pacemaker systems and the third-party libraries that power various components of the devices.
|Vitality Glowcap founder joins Warby Parker and more digital health hires
In addition to recently entering the digital health world with a prescription-checking app, online glasses retailer Warby Parker has also hired a new vice president of computer vision with a digital health background. Serial entrepreneur David Rose, who joined Warby Parker in March, was the founder and CEO of Vitality, maker of connected pill bottle cap brand GlowCap. Vitality was one of the earliest digital health companies to venture into the medication adherence space. It was acquired in 2011 by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and later rolled into NantHealth.
|In-Depth: What Texas’s landmark telemedicine legislation means for the industry and the nation
In the State of Texas, a major piece of telemedicine legislation is sitting on Governor Greg Abbott’s desk. Known as Senate Bill 1107 and House Bill 2697, the bill abolishes the requirement that patient-physician relationships be established with an in-person visit before telemedicine can be used.