We bring you this week’s healthcare and medtech trends, from Boston and beyond:
1. Telehealth + Seamless Reimbursement = Doctor on Demand
Doctor on Demand, the Uber of telehealth, has announced an alliance with PokitDok, streamlining reimbursements for visits. Doctor on Demand currently integrates with insurance manually, but this new partnership will allow them to onboard employers and health plans more quickly, according to CEO Adam Jackson in an interview with MedCity News. While we love telehealth, the barrier to effective care is usually insurance. If Doctor on Demand can move past that, we’re all ears on their future endeavors.
2. Uninsured Rates Hit a New Low
Whether you’re an Obamacare lover or hater, you’ll be happy about this news: Obama’s healthcare law has steadily reduced the number of uninsured Americans, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. In 2014, the number of adults without health insurance dropped to the lowest level in seven years, according to The New York Times. And the trend appears likely to continue, with 55% of uninsured Americans planning to nab coverage this year (they’ll face tax penalties if they don’t).
3. Don’t Bank on Fancy Flourishes
A new study from the Journal of Hospital Medicine is making us rethink the effectiveness of expansive renovations and hospital redesigns. Baltimore’s Dr. Zishan Siddiqui found that patient’s satisfaction scores about the care they received in new buildings vs. old buildings were the same. “Despite the widespread belief among health care leadership that facility renovation or expansion is a vital strategy for improving patient satisfaction, our study shows that this may not be a dominant factor,” Siddiqui and his fellow authors wrote.
4. Fitbits for MS
Biogen Idec is at it again, and this time they’re using fitbits to gather data from people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, Bloomberg Business reports. Biogen Idec distributed 250 Fitbit bands to patients in the U.S. last spring, hoping to track their levels of activity and sleep patterns. According to Bloomberg, collecting data on a daily basis could yield information about the progression of the disease, leading to better treatments.
5. Another Google Investment
Google Glass has gone back into hiding, but re/code reported this week that the technology giant is considering a strategic investment in Jawbone, the maker of wireless and wearable devices like the Up fitness tracker. Talks for this potential power couple (which might pose some viable competition for the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch) are still preliminary – stay tuned.
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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