Healthcare

This Social Medicine App Helps Doctors Find Cures Together

Medical professionals are increasingly embracing mobile apps. They enable patients to track and share their metrics with doctors, and let caregivers monitor treatments and guide patients following surgery or other procedures. Now an app released earlier this year targets the core function of doctors—helping them diagnose and treat diseases.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Our Era of Preventive Genetic Screening: Brought to You in Part by Mary-Claire King

Two decades ago, Mary-Claire King made one of the most important contributions to modern healthcare when she discovered the first gene linked to breast cancer. Now, she’s trying to one-up herself. King, a genetics pioneer who won a major scientific award this week from the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, has issued a call to change how we think about gene testing in an approach she believes will prevent cancer, not just catch it early. (And if you’ve never met King, the fact that she’s using her award to shed light on a serious public health need rather than to celebrate her own career tells you a little something about her character.)   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Scripps Bio-Chemist Romesberg: Proteins and Enzymes Could Transform Industry and Medicine

How can a better understanding of evolution help us improve human health? Renowned bio-chemist Floyd Romesberg of the Scripps Research Institute can think of a few ways. For one, cancer cells evolve and grow by “out-competing” neighboring cells, a process Romesberg calls “evolution just run faster than we’re used to.” We spoke to Romesberg at our recent Techonomy Bio event in Mountain View, Calif. He says understanding how our genomes have evolved will give us insights into the genetic diseases we get, and help us treat them. But to fully comprehend the evolutionary process, we have to look at proteins. “Understanding how proteins function is absolutely essential to our understanding of life,” said Romesberg.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Could Reprogrammed Cells Fight “Untreatable” Diseases?

Jeanne Loring and her Scripps Research Institute colleagues transplanted a set of cells into the spinal cords of mice that had lost use of their hind limbs to multiple sclerosis. As the experimentalists expected, within a week, the mice rejected the cells. But after another week, the mice began to walk. "We thought that they wouldn't do anything," says Loring, who directs the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Scripps. But as her lab has since shown numerous times, something that these particular so-called "neural precursor cells" do before the immune system kicks them out seems to make the mouse better.   More

Healthcare

B-School Buddies Want to Battle Cancer with Big Data

Wharton graduates Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg are only 28, but they already know enough about building a business to warrant a profile in Fortune Magazine. They sold an advertising and exchange bidding startup to Google for $80 million four years ago. And Google Ventures has backed their current venture, the oncology platform Flatiron Health, with $100 million.   More

Analytics & Data Healthcare

Why Quantified Self Gear Will Go to Your Head

With your FitBit on your waistband and your smartwatch on your wrist, you might be wondering where else you can attach your quantified-self tools. Your ear is being considered as a worthy candidate. Steven LeBoeuf, president of Valencell, a wearable biometrics company, tells Technology Review that the ear is the next frontier for tracking heart rate, temperature, respiration rate, energy expenditure, oxygen consumption, calories burned, and other biological and physiological signals.   More

Healthcare

Palo Alto Startup Aims to Curb Childhood Obesity

Can technology help kids shed pounds? Palo Alto-based startup Kurbo Health is betting it can, with an app that incorporates the best practices from adult weight loss programs. The company, which also offers in-person coaching programs, has raised $5.8 million to push a virtual coaching program that bundles tracking and feedback in a mobile app.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Diagnosing the First Patient: Genomics to the Rescue

Nic Volker. Beatrice Rienhoff. Alexis and Noah Beery. If you happen to be a scientist or clinician in the genomics field, you already know the topic of this article just from those four names. Each is a child who suffered from a mysterious or even one-of-a-kind disease. Collectively, they endured years in hospitals, met dozens of doctors, took countless tests to achieve that precious objective: a diagnosis. And for each of these kids, DNA sequencing was critical to providing that answer.   More

Healthcare

Smartphones Could Help Mitigate Bipolar Disorder

People who suffer from bipolar disorder may soon be equipped with another line of defense in their battle against manic and depressive episodes. Not with more psychologists or prescriptions, but, surprisingly enough, with their smartphones. A new app from the University of Michigan is experimenting with using voice analysis to detect impending mood swings and alert doctors before an episode becomes a crisis, or worse, an attempted suicide. The app works by listening to a patient's' phone calls, and automatically recording, encrypting, and analyzing them to produce data sets.   More

Healthcare

The Convergence of Medical and Consumer Health Apps

Consumer healthcare apps linked to smartphones or wearable devices are growing in popularity, and forthcoming offerings from Apple and Google are likely to draw more attention to the field. These systems allow users to monitor a range of information—heart rate, calories burned, distance walked—but they don’t guarantee a change in behavior, much less an improvement in health.   More

Healthcare

Dutch Surgeon Successfully Implants 3D-Printed Skull

3D printing has gained popularity as the cool do-it-yourself way to manufacture your own art pieces, knickknacks, and playthings. But the technology is capable of so much more—printing everything from food to housing to combat supplies—and it's recently been making big strides in the world of medicine, too. This past spring, Dutch brain surgeon Dr. Bon Verweij achieved a medical breakthrough when he performed the first operation using a 3D-printed skull.   More

Healthcare

This Diagnostic Device Could Save You a Trip to the Doctor

Want to take an influenza test without visiting the doctor’s office? San Diego-based startup Cue aims to provide consumers with an innovative solution to track fertility, testosterone, and vitamin levels and detect inflammation and influenza. The $199 Cue device is small and portable, weighs just under a pound, and is only three inches tall. The Cue can perform standard lab tests from a sample of saliva, nasal fluid, or blood. Using the mobile app, users can have access to a wealth of important information about their health wherever they are.   More

Healthcare

A Health Insurance Company That Looks Like a Tech Startup

Imagine a future in which people are as loyal to the brand that provides their health insurance as they are to the one that makes their favorite tech gadget, search engine, or social media platform. If $30 million from Peter Thiel's Founders Fund and a team of ex-Facebook, Google, Spotify, and Tumblr engineers succeed, the old guard of health insurance companies will have to step up the innovation and tech quotient to compete. New York Magazine this week describes Oscar, the year-old Soho-based "tech-driven” health insurance company founded by three Harvard Business School buddies, as a serious threat to the status quo, with a "faster and more efficient infrastructure" than any of the big insurers offer.   More

Healthcare

Wisconsin Software Company Wants to Revolutionize Healthcare Payments

Aver Informatics has raised $6.5 million from venture capital firms Drive Capital and GE Ventures to put an end to confusing healthcare payments, which for many patients deliver a dose of sticker shock in the form of a bewildering bundle of bills. As reported by TechCrunch, these billing procedures are even confusing to providers, and exacerbate the waste and inefficiency of the healthcare sector. Healthcare spending in the U.S. is expected to make up an astounding 25 percent of the economy by 2022.   More

Analytics & Data Healthcare

Self-Tracked Consumers Can Steer Health Decisions with Data

Most people want to control certain kinds of data. Consider banking information: you may share account access with a spouse, but beyond that, you won’t hand those reins to anybody. It’s not just high-security data, either. Who doesn’t know married couples who insist on separate Netflix accounts, so one person’s movie choices don’t mess up the other’s queue? But when it comes to our health information, it’s a different story. Why is it that with this data—the closest we are likely to come to having life-or-death information—we throw our hands in the air and hope medical professionals make the right choices?   More

Government Healthcare

How Technology Can Transform Our Healthcare Labyrinth

Why has our rat-maze approach to coordinating care continued largely unchanged for more than 60 years? For all but the simplest of healthcare needs, we all find ourselves at some point trying to navigate a maze of health care facilities, doctors, pharmacies, insurance companies, and government programs, with all the associated conversations, paperwork, forms, bills, and files they all require. According to the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. healthcare system wastes more than $765 billion each year—about 30 percent of our healthcare spending. If we eliminated this waste, over 10 years we could reduce nearly 50 percent of our national debt.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

63 Companies Bent on Transforming Healthcare

When serial entrepreneurs Unity Stoakes and Steven Krein set out to build a digital health company, they quickly discovered that entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector face a unique set of challenges: daunting regulations, privacy issues, long sales cycles, and industry-wide resistance to change. So they shifted their attention to creating a platform that lets healthcare entrepreneurs innovate more easily. With support from former Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin and other high-powered investors including Esther Dyson and Mark Cuban, in partnership with Steve Case’s Startup America, and with applause from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Stoakes and Krein established StartUp Health in 2011. Stoakes describes the company as part community, part knowledge base, and part academy offering a structured curriculum to help CEOs and founders, calling his audience “Healthcare Transformers.”   More

Healthcare Mobile

Can Mobile Apps Heal American Healthcare?

What do smartphones have to do with medical care? Ask any doctor who has called in pharmacy prescriptions from a golf course, reviewed brain-imaging results in a taxi, or video-chatted with emergency room physicians in another city. Or ask PointClear Solutions, an Atlanta-headquartered custom healthcare software development company that recently acquired NYC-based app developer, Worry Free Labs (profiled here last summer). We did, when we spoke with PointClear CEO David Karabinos about the acquisition and the future of mobile apps for patient care.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

FDA Approves Medical Device for Reversing Opioid Overdose

When mobster wife Mrs. Mia Wallace overdoses on heroin, hit man Vincent Vega brings her screaming out of a comatose state by jabbing an adrenaline-filled syringe into her heart. Had the talking medical device that the FDA gave fast-track approval to last week existed 20 years ago, that Pulp Fiction scene between Uma Thurman and John Travolta might not have been so dramatic. The new pocket-sized naloxone hydrochloride auto-injector, called Evzio, coaches a user through the procedure of administering the opioid-O.D.-reversing drug into a victim's muscle.   More

Healthcare Internet of Things

Quantifying Yourself? Your Doctor May Finally Notice

Now that so many of us wear Fitbits, Nike Fuelbands, Jawbone Ups, and other devices that track our steps, sleep, calories, and more stuff every day, it's about time that we did more with the information than just compete with each other. Wired explains that Practice Fusion, a major electronic medical records company, is partnering with companies that make heart-rate and diabetes monitors so doctors can start getting data from our devices methodically. It's a baby step but an important one. Practice Fusion expects to include other devices as well.   More