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#NowTrending: This Week’s MedTech News

We bring you this week’s medtech news, from Boston and beyond:

Image courtesy of MedStar Health.

Image courtesy of MedStar Health.

  1. MedStar Health Joins AARP’s Project Catalyst

This week, AARP’s Project Catalyst | The Power of We announced that MedStar Health would be joining Pfizer and UnitedHealthcare as another one of its founding partners. MedStar Health plans to support independent research and the testing of new products in order to share these findings and insights with product developers and businesses involved with Project Catalyst. This information aims to help address the needs of older consumers, ultimately improving their quality of lives as they age.

One of the specific goals of the program is to identify ways to improve devices for users aged 50-plus without sacrificing innovation and new digital technologies.

MedStar President and CEO Kenneth A. Samet said in a recent press release, “MedStar is deeply committed to advancing health in order for the members of our communities to live well as they age and have resources that add value to their lives.”

Currently, Project Catalyst’s first study is focused on sleep and activity trackers, with results expected to be released in the near future. Later studies will likely focus on AARP’s “Nine Areas of Opportunity,” which include diet and nutrition, physical fitness, care navigation and medical management.

2. UnderArmour Acquires Gritness

Photo courtesy of Gritness.

Photo courtesy of Gritness.

Under Armour has added Gritness to its growing list of mobile health app acquisitions on Wednesday. The sports clothing company already owns the widely popular MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and Endomondo. A member of the StartUp Health accelerator program, Gritness has a smaller user base and is less well known than the others; however, Under Armour might have big plans for the group-fitness company.

The purpose of Gritness is to help people find and join workouts. Through the app, users searh for workouts or find friends that have similar fitness interests. Businesses can also publicize their available fitness programs through Gritness.

“It always started with an email chain, that quickly got off topic, followed by text messages, phone calls and messenger pigeons,” said Jason Whitson, Director of Engineering and Consumer Engagement to MobiHealthNews. “What if we could bring it all together? What if we could make it easy to find people that want to ride as fast as you, run as far as you, and life as heavy as you? That’s what we built Gritness for.”

Currently, 1.5 million activities are available for users all over the world, and the app supports 21 sports, including cycling, running, and yoga.

3. SmartSpot raises $1.8 million for interactive, instructional videos in gyms

Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch.

Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch.

Khosla Ventures and Signalfire have helped SmartSpot raise $1.85 million for its technological exercise initiatives. SmartSpot uses 3D cameras to analyze the way a person exercises and provides them with real-time feedback on how to optimize the workouts.

The money raised will likely fund plans to develop smartphone apps.

Installed in gyms, the mirror-like device features a large body-sized screen. The entire system costs $4,999 per work station and can be installed near a squat rack, free weights section or in a personal training room. Currently, SmartSpot is able to assist with bicep, curls, seated shoulder press, lunges, front squat, bent over row, and hammer curl. The technology is able to track the user’s number of reps and sets as well as provide feedback when the session is over. Users can compare their performance to past performances and also look at the bigger picture and see what muscles they have worked that week.

4. Quest Diagnostics and HealthTap to add Lab Tests to Video Visits

Doctors on HealthTap’s mobile app platform can now order diagnostic tests for their patients, who can then go to the nearest Quest lab for their appointment and have the tests done. The results will be then become available to doctors via HealthTap and the patients with Quest’s MyQuestApp.

Quest Diagnostics has 2,200 patient service centers and plans to integrate 1,600 of them with HealthTap.

“This collation enables HealthTap and Quest Diagnostics to address barriers that have historically produced major gaps in care in the United States in a cost-effective way,” Dr. Jay Wohlgemuth, Senior Vice President and Chief Healthcare Officer at HealthTap said in a statement.

Photo courtesy of HealthTap blog.

Photo courtesy of HealthTap blog.

Nicole Yang

Nicole Yang

    Nicole Yang is an editorial intern at MedTech Boston. She is currently a rising senior at Amherst College, where she studies Neuroscience. During the academic year, Nicole is the Managing Editor of The Amherst Student and has also worked as a Chemistry laboratory teaching assistant. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys playing squash and practicing yoga. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Yang12.

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