We bring you this week’s medtech news, from Boston and beyond:
1. FDA Launches App to Monitor Drug Shortages
The FDA has released an app that will enable physicians to monitor drug shortages and discontinuations. The app, which will also display when shortages have been resolved, is now one of only a few apps released by the FDA itself. “The FDA understands that health care professionals and pharmacists need real-time information about drug shortages to make treatment decisions,” said Valerie Jensen associate director of the Drug Shortage Staff in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in a recent statement. “The new mobile app is an innovative tool that will offer easier and faster access to important drug shortage information.”
2. Apple Releases Smart Watch & Research Platform
On Monday, Apple officially announced the release of its first smartwatch. The highly anticipated Apple Watch has many apps that could make a large impact on healthcare. Of particular interest (and controversy) is the Apple ResearchKit, a platform that will allow people to sign up for medical studies from anywhere. Apple’s HealthKit also has apps geared toward diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer research. As you know, we love wearable technology, so we’re excited to see how these apps could potentially disrupt healthcare.
3. CDC Embraces Digital Health Programs
This week, the CDC recognized digital health programs for their ability to help patients manage chronic diseases. Omada Health, Noom Health, and DPS Health were among the recognized programs, focusing on a wide range of diseases from diabetes to obesity and heart disease. The CEO of Omada Health, Sean Duffy, expressed excitement at his company’s recognition, saying in a recent statement that it “will expand dearly needed programs to a much wider audience, and signal that 2015 is the year that digital therapeutics are embraced by the diabetes prevention community.” Given that the CDC estimates that one third of Americans have pre-diabetes, the formal recognition and expansion of these kinds of digital health programs could have a large impact on public health.
4. Analytics Partnership Could Improve Cost and Quality of Care
On Tuesday, Geneia announced that they will be partnering with Physicians’ Alliance Ltd to introduce their advanced analytics platform, Theon, into 22 medical practices. This partnership will give physicians easy access to data from their practices, such as cost breakdowns and lists of discharged patients. Why is this information so important? The ultimate goal of advanced analytics is to allow physicians to focus on improving cost and quality of care, both of which are easier to measure under the program. “As a practicing family physician, I know firsthand that the demands on physicians are unending,” says Dr. Michael W. Warren, President of Physicians’ Alliance Ltd, in a press release. “With Geneia, we’re giving our physicians a tool that easily fits into their existing workflow and easily yields information and insights to help us meet the needs of patient populations while personalizing the time and care offered to higher need patients.”
Brendan Pease was MedTech Boston's first ever editorial and events intern. He is now a junior at Harvard University where he studies Molecular and Cellular Biology. He’s also the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Science Review. Previously, he worked as a Market Intelligence intern at athenahealth and as a research assistant in the Goldberg Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.
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