5 digital health startups you need to watch in 2019

(Image from Unsplash)

Funding for digital health companies continues to rise, with 2018 the biggest year so far this decade, according to healthcare investment firm StartUp Health. Investors took a greater interest in machine learning, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

Digital health funding was 14 times greater than it was eight years ago, when New York-based StartUp Health began tracking these investments. From 2017 to 2018, the average deal size grew by $6 million. Machine learning companies cut 66 deals to raise $940 million, an 80% increase in funding compared to 2017. Patient empowerment received the most funding of any function in 2018, $3 billion across 193 deals.

Here are five of the up-and-coming digital health companies to watch in 2019:

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

J&J and its surgical orthopedic robot: What you need to know

Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes Orthotaxi surgical orthopedic robotJohnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) isn’t known for tooting its horn prematurely. The public won’t hear much about a new J&J device until the company’s good and ready.

So it should come as no surprise that J&J’s DePuy Synthes business has kept relatively mum about the robotically assisted knee surgery device it’s been developing. J&J entered the competitive surgical orthopedic robot world when DePuy Synthes bought Paris-based Orthotaxy and its orthopedic-surgery robot prototype in 2018.

DePuy Synthes gave attendees at the recent American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons conference a peek at the latest prototype of the Orthotaxy device. It’s is the size of a shoebox, attaches to an operating table and includes a saw, but does not do the sawing for the surgeon. Instead, the Orthotaxy platform will design the surgery plan and lock the saw into a plane, allowing the surgeon to do the cutting, according to Liam Rowley, VP of R&D for knees at DePuy.

“There are no blocks required. There’s no pinning required,” Rowley said. “We saw this as what the world actually needs. This is bed-mounted. It’s not a huge device that sits on the floor.”

Get the full story on our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing. 

Medigate spreads into healthcare IOT

MediGateMedical device security firm Medigate said today that it is expanding into clinical IoT and general IoT devices.

The company developed and supports a medical device security and asset management platform designed to identify, tag and fingerprint individual medical devices beyond their IP address. Tags for devices are based on type, vendor and model, and allow for better visibility into types, vendors, protocols and operations systems, Medigate said. Now it says it can enable accurate and comprehensive device discovery, contextual and behavioral anomaly detection as well as clinical policy enforcement for health delivery organizations’ (HDO) entire clinical networks.

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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Artificial intelligence and medicine: Is it overhyped?

Artificial intelligence raises exciting possibilities for healthcare, but are companies promising more than they can deliver?

artificial intelligence ai medicine medtech medical devices hype

[Original image from iStock]

AI could possibly fuel the future of medtech, enabling such thrilling innovations as implanted devices that instantly react to minute changes, software that can identify the best treatment options for individuals facing life-threatening conditions and fully-functioning autonomous surgical systems.

But artificial intelligence’s potential also comes with an incredible level of hype.

“AI has the most transformative potential of anything I’ve seen in my life, and I graduated medical school 40 years ago. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever seen by far,” prominent cardiologist and author Dr. Eric Topol told our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing. “But it’s more in promise than it is in reality.”

Get the full story on MDO. 

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Medical device cybersecurity: It’s time to get real

Medical device makers, regulators and healthcare delivery organizations are increasingly working together to strengthen cybersecurity. But are they doing enough?

[Original image courtesy of istockphoto.com]

[Original image courtesy of istockphoto.com]

Almost no one in the medtech industry disputes the vulnerability posed by cyberattacks. How to go about boosting security is another matter – one on which those stakeholders have recently stepped up their collaboration.

One group, the Healthcare & Public Sector Coordinating Council, thinks it has a solution: Health providers and other customers buying a connected medical device should be able to remotely access a cybersecurity bill of materials (CBOM) that would list all commercial, open-source and custom-code software. Available via remote access for customers, the CBOM would also include commercial hardware such as processers, network cards, sound cards, graphic cards and memory.

The council’s recently issued joint security plan calls for more vulnerability disclosures, notices of breaches, software and hardware upgrades and security patch availability. Companies would also need to notify customers before they end technical support for older devices.

“It’s this voluntary framework that establishes best practice for cybersecurity at a medical technology company,” council member Rob Suarez, director of product security at Becton Dickinson, told Medical Design & Outsourcing. “This joint security plan establishes the common ground which many medical device manufacturers, health IT vendors and healthcare providers agreed on.”

Some manufacturers have grumbled about providing hardware information in a CBOM, but an increasing number have pledged to publicly share vulnerability information should hackers breach one of their devices, including industry giants BD, Abbott, Siemens, Philips, Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific and Stryker.

Get the full story on our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing. 

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GE Healthcare adds Adventist Health to hospital collaborator list

GE Healthcare has signed an agreement to provide advanced analytics and reduce process variation for the 21-hospital Adventist Health system in California, Oregon and Hawaii, the health system announced.

The five-year collaboration is designed to maximize the capacity of Adventist’s clinical assets and improve patient care delivery.  Adventist said it expects the collaboration to spur growth and reduce costs by more than $100 million over five years.

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.


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Sotera Wireless adds tools to patient monitoring system

Sotera Wireless said it has upgraded its ViSi Mobile patient monitoring system to detect atrial fibrillation, ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, and to provide asystole analysis.

Often asymptomatic, atrial fibrillation may remain undiagnosed until or even after the development of complications, such as stroke. Post-operative atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia that occurs after both cardiac and noncardiac surgery and is associated with increased morbidity, longer hospital stays and higher hospital costs.

ViSi Mobile was previously FDA-cleared to monitor continuous noninvasive blood pressure (cNIBP), functional oxygen saturation of arterial hemoglobin (SpO2), heart rate, pulse rate, ECG activity, respiration rate and skin temperature in hospital-based facilities.

The upgrade, ViSi Mobile 1.5G, was also cleared to track and alert medical personnel to undesirable patient positions, patient immobility, and patient falls as well as display patient movement and posture (stationary, reclined, lying-down or walking), the company said.

San Diego-based Sotera Wireless emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2017 with nearly $32 million in hand, after a lawsuit brought by rival Masimo (NSDQ:MASI) drained its coffers.

Sotera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2016, saying it owed its main creditors roughly $13.1 million. Sotera reported raising about $20.7 million back in April 2014 and acquired sensor developer Reflectance Medical for an undisclosed amount the next year.

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How NeuroMetrix seeks to better relieve pain with AI

NeuroMetrix Quell 2.0 AI artificial intelligence pain relief

NeuroMetrix’s Quell 2.0 [Image courtesy of NeuroMetrix]

NeuroMetrix plans to add artificial intelligence to the latest iteration of its Quell transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device.

AI will allow Quell 2.0 to tailor treatment to each individual user, according to the Waltham, Mass.–based based company.

Launched in September 2018 Quell 2.0 is 50% smaller and 20% more powerful than the original Quell, which debuted in 2015. Quell is worn on the leg regardless of the site of pain and is designed to send neural pulses to the brain that trigger a natural pain relief response in the central nervous system. Patients control the device and track their pain using a smartphone app. Quell 2.0 is available over-the-counter for about $300.

So how could AI help patients who use the device? NeuroMetrix chief commercial officer Frank McGillin recently discussed the decision to use AI and the future of Quell with our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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Sen. Warner enlists healthcare industry help on cybersecurity


[Image courtesy of Blogtrepreneur on Flickr, per Creative Commons 2.0 license]

U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) is wrote a letter to several healthcare organizations yesterday, asking their help in improving cybersecurity in the industry.

A member of the Senate Finance Committee and chair of the Senate cybersecurity caucus, Warner pointed to apparent gaps in oversight, expressed concern about the impact of cyberattacks on the health care sector, and said he wants to help develop strategies that strengthen information security.

Ransomeware and other cyberattacks have stunned the healthcare industry. The 2017 WannaCry attack affected hospitals in the U.S. and U.K., including medical devices made by Bayer, Siemens and others, according to the Health Information Trust Alliance. A 2017 report by internet security software company Trend Micro found that more than 100,000 medical devices and systems were exposed directly to the public internet. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an alert in 2018 indicating that several GE Healthcare imaging devices were vulnerable to cyberattack.

Healthcare hacking incidents accounted for 44% of all tracked data breaches in 2018,  the most of any type of breach, according to a report published in HIPAA Journal.  FDA published an updated draft of its cybersecurity premarket guidance for medical device makers in October 2018.

Warner’s office sent the letters to medtech trade group AdvaMed, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the American Hospital Association, and several other organizations.

“I would like to work with you and other industry stakeholders to develop a short and long term strategy for reducing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the health care sector,” Warner said in the letter. “It is my hope that with thoughtful and carefully considered feedback we can develop a national strategy that improves the safety, resilience, and security of our health care industry.”





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IEEE publishes safety standards draft for medtech interoperability

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Association said it has published a draft set of standards intended to provide safe and secure medical device interoperability.

IEEE 11073-20701-2018, also known as IEEE Approved Draft Standard for Service-Oriented Medical Device Exchange Architecture & Protocol Binding, completes the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/IEEE 11073 family of standards for point-of-care (PoC) medical device communication and defines an architecture for service-oriented, distributed PoC medical devices and medical IT systems. The standard defines a binding of the participant and communication model defined in IEEE 11073-10207 to the profile for transport over Web services defined in IEEE 11073-20702. IEEE 11073-20701 also defines a binding to network time protocol (NTP) and five differentiated services for time synchronization and to meet transport quality-of-service requirements.

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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