Last Month In Digital Health (May 2019)

An action packed last month, with some interesting developments in Digital Mental Health, and across a host of other therapy areas. Enjoy the short summary with links to original articles.

Digital Mental Health

Virtual Reality> A pilot for mental wellbeing, using immersive VR as part of a validated clinical trial, is launched as a Hong Kong & UK partnership. Another company HypnoVR claim ‘promising’ clinical trial results in pain and anxiety. Researchers at UCLA are exploring if VR can boost positive feelings in patients with depression.

Artificial Intelligence> A number of Startups are attempting to use AI to treat depression. And an Israeli – UK tie up, is claiming AI can successfully find the best antidepressant for a patient.

Voice> Has significant potential in mental health. Things are accelerating in this area, Amazon Alexa is now compliant with US healthcare data privacy rules. Sonde health are using biomarkers to detect depression and other conditions.

Other> Ulster University is pioneering research into chatbot technology to support people living with mental illness health & the UK is rolling is out mental health trials in schools, including mindfulness training.

Other Digital Health News 

Dementia> The worlds first AI trial measuring pain in dementia patients using facial recognition has been launched. Imperial College opens £20m centre to develop dementia-friendly homes.

ADHD> FDA approves digital health treatment for children living with ADHD, The mHealth device delivers directed doses of energy to the brain through a wearable patch while the child is sleeping

COPD> New wearables trial allows patients’ to be monitored at home

Parkinsons> Pilot program will provide motion tracking wearables to UK patients. And european researchers & pharma team up on gait detecting sensor (potentially useful in other neurological conditions)

Wearables> The value of these devices are often questioned. It is true they are often not integrated into the care pathway. But encouraging results; a new study finds link between mHealth wearables and medication adherence. Wearables also improve post-op recovery. Those who took > 1000 daily steps had a 63% reduced chance of a prolonged hospital stay.

Genes> CRISPR Research moves out of labs and into clinics around the world. Gene therapy cures infant suffering from ‘bubble boy’ immune disease.

The NHS> Is continuing to focus on tech solutions, such as expanding use of robot technology for medicine dispensing, rolling out a digital portal for care home vacancies to cut delays, and expanding their ‘digital health hubs’ across England. But questions remain if this is really joined up and centered around the patient or just lots of shiny tech stuff. Alarm has been raised over tripling in cancelled NHS appointments and a report warns the NHS needs to do more to inform public on AI benefits.

NICE> launches online resource to help development and adoption of new health technologies in the UK ‘Health Tech Connect

WHO> World Health Organization releases 10 guidelines for digital health adoption to improve patient care.

Out-There Innovations

Scientists pull speech directly from the brain.

Israeli researchers print 3D heart using patient’s own cells.

Doctors use electrical implant to aid brain-damaged woman 

How artificial intelligence is helping to prevent blindness

Funding News

Ro, the direct-to-consumer online pharmacy, reaches $500M valuation with an $85M Series B round

Brooklyn health startup Cityblock, raises $65M for tech-driven community care

Sonde Health nabs $16M to commercialize Vocal Biomarker Device to diagnose diseases

Finnish Digital Mental Health Startup Meru Health raises $4.1M in seed funding 

Sword Health gets $8M from Khosla for digital physical therapy

London-based Medbelle raises €6M to build the world’s first digital hospital 

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