We bring you this week’s healthcare and medtech trends, from Boston and beyond:
1. UnitedHealth Upgrades Health4Me App
UnitedHealth announced this week that they’ll be adding mobile payments and integration with wearables to their Health4Me app. The app is famous for its foray into the healthcare pricing landscape, but the new additions will take the teaching tool even further into education and data integration. We at MedTech Boston are all for this, as most apps these days struggle to integrate with wearables and big data. According to UnitedHealthcare’s VP of Consumer Engagement Products, Craig Hankins, in a conversation with MedCityNews, the Health4Me app has already been downloaded 1.2 million times.
2. White House Names First U.S. Chief Data Scientist
The big news in D.C. this week was DJ Patil’s appointment as the White House’s master of data science. Officially, he’s the first ever “Chief Data Scientist and Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy,” which means that he’ll work to push new applications of big data across all areas of government. According to an interview with Wired, President Obama personally recruited Patil, who has worked with LinkedIn, eBay, Skype and other big companies. He’ll be devoting time to the new Precision Medicine Initiative in particular and will be working to maximize government investment in big data.
3. Massachusetts Health Connector Extends Deadline
In yet another chapter of the Health Connector saga, the deadline for completing health insurance applications has been extended to next Monday, February 23, 2015. If you haven’t applied yet, head over to 133 Portland Street to complete an application and pick a health plan – the state is increasing hours and adding workers until Monday. Coverage starts on March 1, 2015.
4. BIDMC’s athenahealth Partnership, Explained
John Halamka, MD, Chief Information Officer of BIDMC, took to hitechanswers.net to explain the hospital’s new collaboration with athenahealth. The hospital was an early experimenter in the EHR world, but Halamka says that they decided to partner with athenahealth because as a commercial vendor, athenahealth will be able to “leverage their knowledge and capabilities to build future platforms at larger scale.” To read more about his decision, head over to hitechanswers.net.
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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