We bring you this week’s healthcare and medtech trends, in Boston and beyond:
1. PillPack Raised $8.75 Million in Funding
You may have heard about the Somerville-based startup PillPack – we’ve written about them before. Their founder, TJ Parker, was a founding organizer of MIT’s Hacking Medicine, where he met his future co-founder Elliot Cohen. Eventually, they started PillPack, a direct-to-consumer mail order pharmacy that solves a big problem: 30 million patients in the U.S. have trouble juggling five or more over-the-counter medications and vitamins each day. PillPack sends daily dosages in two-week sets through the mail.
Even though they’ve been live since February 2014, this week’s big news is the $8.75 million PillPack raised in funding from Atlas Venture, High Line Venture Partners, QueensBridge Venture Partners and several individual investors. The service will now serve consumers in 40 states for free, other than the users’ copays.
2. The 2020 MedTech Scene Looks Pretty Good
The biggest world-wide medtech news this week came from market intelligence firm Evaluate Ltd., which announced in it’s 2014 MedTech World Preview that global medtech sales are expected to reach $514 billion by 2020 – guess we picked the right industry? The report showed that completed medtech M&A deals jumped 363 percent during the first half of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013.
“2014 marks a year of rapid change for the global medical device market, particularly within the cardiology and orthopedic spaces, which have been dominated by megamergers,” Ian Strickland, report author and EvaluateMedTech Product Manager, said in a press release. He’s referring to major upcoming mergers between Medtronic and Covidien, and between orthopedic powerhouses Zimmer and Biomet.
3. Apple’s Health Kit Takes All… Maybe
If you updated your phone’s operating system this week, you may see Apple’s new Health Kit offering on your screen. The app will pull together all of your health tracking platforms, aggregating data to give you a full picture of health. Great idea, right? Ultimately, analysts think that Apple will eventually bring this technology into the medical community, too. But Health Kit has also caused some drama regarding data, security and the way we use healthcare apps. Apple will have access to most of your health data which could be good for research – but could also mean that your private health data isn’t so private anymore.
Further complicating the Health Kit news this week, popular fitness tracking company Fitbit raised some eyebrows when they opted out of using Health Kit – even though Apple assumed they’d want in. “We do not currently have plans to integrate with HealthKit,” Fitbit posted on its customer feedback forum a few days ago. “It is an interesting new platform and we will watch as it matures, looking for opportunities to improve the Fitbit experience. At the moment, we’re working on other exciting projects that we think will be valuable to users.”
4. Mental Health = Room for Growth
Want to create the next big thing in healthcare applications? Listen up. We reported on the challenges of creating EHRs for behavioral health care this week. According to a survey of 401 mental health professionals conducted by Sigma Research Group, 73% of mental health clinicians agree with us. They want to find a mobile app that they could easily use in their practice. Specifically, those clinicians asked for an app that collects and aggregates data between visits, which would be helpful for treatment planning and tracking client progress. Currently, they say there’s not much out there. Better get moving on that idea.
Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston’s Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.
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