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| Vol. 14 No. 1, January  11, 2017 | 


The Investments We’re Making—And Not Making—In Digital Health
More digital health deals—296—were done last year in the U.S. than ever, though the average deal size ($13.8 million) was smaller than it was in either 2015 or 2014. Startups devoted to genomics and sequencing got the lion’s share of the investment ($410 million), followed by analytics and “big data” companies ($341 million). And of the 17 digital health concerns that have gone public since 2012, 10 are trading at above their IPO price and seven below. 
These numbers are found in 2016 Year End Funding Report: A reality check for digital health, compiled by Rock Health founder and industry veteran Halle Tecco (with help from colleagues). 
According to coverage in Fortune magazine, data grazers will find plenty to chew on here. And whether you come away feeling as if this has been a standout year in venture funding or a disappointment is likely to reflect whether you’re more excited about dollars (the $4.2 billion invested in 2016 is down about $400 million from the previous year’s tally) or participation: “Four hundred and fifty-one unique investors made bets in digital health this year,” the Rock Health team reveals, of whom 237 investors put down their first stakes in the field. 
But one set of statistics in the report was particularly sobering—and that’s the number of women CEOs in this burgeoning space. Just 9% of digital health companies had a female boss compared with 11% the year before. (Rock Health counts only U.S. deals and those that are worth more than $2 million, so that limits the universe a bit.)
That 9% share is better than that for the corporate giants—the Fortune 500 has but 25 women CEOs (5%)—but not much better.


The Future of Digital Health
According to Electronic Design, over the next 15 years, global healthcare will transform due to perfect storm of clinical imperative, financial burden, and increasingly informed and empowered patients. A growing population, steadily decreasing healthcare budgets, and the rise of chronic diseases are putting pressure on doctors, healthcare providers, and governments to look to technology to provide the solution to these challenges.
As a result, global healthcare and wellness is ideally placed to drive the adoption and maturity of the Internet of Things (IoT). The smart technologies commonly found on a person such as the smartphone, smartwatch, and new emerging technologies like smart plasters, will be at the heart of this revolution, providing insights that will deliver benefits to the physical, emotional, and mental self.

Eight Digital Health Predictions for 2017
January 2017 isn't just the beginning of a new year, it's also the beginning of a new presidential administration, one which will represent a radical shift from the last eight years. Here are some predictions from industry experts:

  1. Trump’s presidency will slow down some IT adoption
  2. We could see a boom in M&A and IPOs
  3. Pharma’s investment in digital health will grow slowly and steadily
  4. No big moves from payers, but hospital price transparency may increase
  5. As video visits become table stakes, connected health and telemedicine will converge
  6. The licensure and regulatory barriers to telemedicine will continue to soften
  7. Wearables will turn a new corner — or die trying
  8. Apple will ramp up its healthcare ambitions, Verily may not
See more on each point at the link below


A New 3D-Printed Cannabis Inhaler Lets Doctors Administer Medical Marijuana Remotely
While marijuana is increasingly recognized for its medicinal and therapeutic effects, prescribing the drug—”take two hits and call me in the morning”—has long been a tricky proposition for doctors.
Syqe Medical—a startup out of Tel-Aviv, Israel—has created a cannabis inhaler that allows doctors to prescribe a precise dose of marijuana and even administer it remotely. The inhaler was green-lighted by the Israel Health Ministry, and has been in use for a year at Rambam hospital in Haifa, which the Times of Israel describes as the world’s first such institution to prescribe weed as “standard medical treatment.”
Made with 3D-printing technology, the inhaler comes in two variations—one for individuals and for medical institutions. The hospital version includes a care-giver interface and allows for remote dosing; it was created for use in pain clinics, cancer centers, intensive care units, and other medical institutions.

Wearable Device Offers Drug-Free Relief from Nausea and Vomiting
The Reliefband Neurowave employs FDA-cleared and patented technology that delivers electric pulses of a specific waveform, frequency, and intensity to the median nerve on the underside of the user’s wrist. Through stimulating the median nerve, the Reliefband Neurowave utilizes the process of neuromodulation to alter the neural activity of the emetic center in the brain stem and effectively block incoming signals from the stomach that can lead to nausea and vomiting. Users can adjust the intensity of the electric pulses to whatever level most optimally relieves their symptoms, and many users report relief within a matter of minutes. The Reliefband Neurowave can be worn all day and is free of the safety concerns possible with antiemetic medications.

Fingertip Sensors Developed for Breast Cancer Exams
For women regular check-ups for unusual lumps in their breasts is important and it has saved countless lives. To make this process more accurate, scientists have developed special gloves with built-in sensors.
The gloves will aid experienced doctors but their main purpose is to assist new doctors and doctors who are in training and who may not be as experienced of the necessary signs. This is an important aspects of medical training, given that the breast exam is the foremost way to detect breast cancer.
The sensors have been devised by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists and engineers. Talking to Controlled Environments magazine, lead researcher Professor Hongrui Jiang explains: “this whole project is about facilitating the training of residents.”
The development has involved the creation of tiny sensors designed to measure pressure on breast tissue, where variations can be indicative of a lump. For trainees the results can be verified against a computer and by a senior doctor.


Health App to be Tested Out by the UK Health Service
The British National Health Service is to test out an new health app. The app is designed to provide reputable health advice and acts as an alternative to people making medical calls.
The digital service is a health app of a "chatbot" design. It uses artificial intelligence, using a computer to question users about their medical matter and symptoms. The device then suggest the most appropriate course of action. The app has been developed with Babylon Health, a company who are specializing in digital health services. Babylon run their own paid-for app, upon which the free-to-use NHS model will be based.

Philips Highlights Cloud-Based Innovations at the Forefront of Digital Health during CES
Philips is showcasing innovative connected health products and solutions that empower consumers to become ever-more engaged in their health. Leveraging Philips’ expertise in the consumer and professional healthcare domains, and the advanced analytics and computing power of the company’s secure HealthSuite cloud platform, these new connected digital health products and services further illustrate Philips’ commitment to delivering meaningful innovations for every stage of life – from birth to healthy living and healthy aging.
“The personal and professional healthcare worlds are converging, with traditional models of care being challenged at every turn, and connected digital technology is now the key to empowering consumers to take care of their health and that of their loved ones,” said Pieter Nota, CEO Personal Health Businesses and Chief Marketing Officer, Royal Philips. “In areas such as oral health, mother and child care, sleep and respiratory care, heart health and home monitoring, Philips is showcasing its ecosystem of connected products and services at CES, once again demonstrating its leadership in the world of digital health.”


This Surgery has been Taught for Decades using Styrofoam Cups. 3-D Technology is Changing That.
Cleft lip and palate repair is a delicate procedure, and the outcome is sometimes hard to predict. One wrong move inside the tiny mouth of a 1-year-old could mean a child with speech defects, problems eating, or lifelong problems breathing. Training for the surgery takes years of practice — surgeons are still improving 10 years after they graduate, said Dr. Christopher Forrest, chair of plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery at the University of Toronto. For years, no other model existed. But in Toronto, a plastic surgery resident at SickKids Hospital has fused his engineering and medical skills to build 3-D printed models that resemble children’s mouths. They’ve been a welcome innovation.
Dr. Dale Podolsky invented the model. Reducing trainee stress was part of his motivation, along with improving patient outcomes. Since he started the project in 2014, he has worked with a biomedical incubator in Toronto to spin off a company called Simulare Medical.


The Association between Health Information Technology Adoption and Family Physicians’ Practice Patterns in Canada: Evidence from 2007 and 2010 National Physician Surveys         
Sisira Sarma, Mohammad Hajizadeh, Amardeep Thind and Rick Chan
Use of HIT is found to be associated with fewer patient visits and longer visit length among family physicians in Canada relative to NO users, but this association weakened in the multivariable analysis of 2010.

Implementing and Maintaining a Researchable Database from Electronic Medical Records: A Perspective from an Academic Family Medicine Department         
Moira Stewart, Amardeep Thind, Amanda L. Terry, Vijaya Chevendra and J. Neil Marshall
There is currently keen interest in electronic medical records ( EMRs ) as a tool for improving practice policy and research in family medicine and interdisciplinary primary healthcare.


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