Nokia’s healthcare repositioning confirmed with Withings $191 million acquisition (updated)

“We’re paying for the company, but in reality it’s Withings that’s going to be running the entire digital health business at Nokia.” –Nokia President Ramzi Haidamus

One of the more unusual corporate pivots has taken place over the past few years with Finnish former mobile phone leader Nokia. and has completed a circle with the seemingly friendly acquisition of digital health device and wearables developer Withings.

With the sale of its phone brand to Microsoft in 2013 and the majority acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent last year (finalized in January), Nokia seemed to reposition itself firmly in telecom networking. It retained an impressive brace of IP and international patents in the field managed by Nokia Technologies, plus licensing of its name. Nokia also introduced a successful iPad Mini clone in China, the N1 Android tablet, a virtual reality camera rig built for film studios and sold the HERE map app for $3 bn. But the company retained an interest in health tech over those years. In 2012, it started the annual Nokia Sensing XChallenge, a $2.25 million competition that is part of XPRIZE. Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) invests in the digital health sector.

We noted their below-the-radar health moves last October, and this confirms that true to the reports, Nokia had been been developing a digital health strategy called WellCare, centered on data and insights collected from wearables. WellCare will now apparently be integrated into Withings. The combination will also be competitive with Apple HealthKit and ResearchKit, which has had extensive takeup by both developers and clinical researchers–but there is plenty of room in the field. Withings retains a strong and uniquely quality design-driven identity, though perhaps not the most well known brand especially in the US, and has a small share in covetable, pricey fitness wearables. But it’s the integration and developments which will be of great interest after the expected closing in 3rd quarter this year. Two articles in Engadget (here, here) and The Verge

Updated: Mobihealthnews publishes an interview with Nokia’s president Mr Haidamus on why Withings, calling it a ‘reverse takeover’ where Withings will be in charge of expanding their health tech presence with no layoffs on either side. However, he’s a little disingenuous in implying that Nokia had no interest in digital health prior to selling their handset business to Microsoft in 2014–see the XChallenge above.

 

IBM Watson Health adds 5 partners, 2 solutions

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/pillar.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Breaking News  IBM Watson Health not only cut the ribbon on their new global HQ on Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts (and on their new General Manager Deborah DeSanzo), they also announced two more data crunching power platforms and five new partners.

  • The IBM Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences is designed to help life science companies fast track the deployment of a GxP compliant infrastructure and applications while adhering to stringent requirements for hosting, accessing and sharing regulated data.
  • The IBM Watson Care Manager is a population health solution that integrates Watson Health, Apple ResearchKit and Apple HealthKit into a personalized patient engagement program to improve individual health outcomes.

The five new partners are Boston Children’s Hospital (pediatrics), Columbia University (Pathology & Cell Biology and Systems Biology), ICON plc (pharma clinical trial matching–Ireland), Sage Bionetworks (Open Biomedical Research Platform) and Teva Pharmaceuticals (treatments for chronic conditions–Israel). They join CVS Health, Medtronic and Yale University. On opening day, the new headquarters also hosted demonstrations by health ecosystem partners Best Doctors, Modernizing Medicine, Pathway Genomics, Socrates and Welltok. Release (PDF)

Previously in TTA on IBM Watson Health: their big announcement at HIMSS 15 and we do wonder about their work with the VA on clinical reasoning and mental health.

COPD Navigator app in pilot with Mount Sinai Hospital (NYC)

An app to help make life easier for a reported 24 million COPD patients in the US has been developed jointly by Mount Sinai Hospital, the affiliated National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute in New York and LifeMap Solutions. The COPD Navigator app encourages patient self-management through visualizing patient data and patterns, including symptoms, medication, treatment adherence, and quality of life, coupled with alerts about local air quality and weather which can dramatically influence risk. Patient data is transmitted to their physician, with an emphasis on fitting into office workflows. LifeMap is also tracking when the patient uses an inhaler through their self-designed Bluetooth LE device, though it uses any Apple HealthKit enabled inhaler. (more…)

TMD–too much data–going nowhere

Here is a tech-savvy person lamenting (ranting?) in Venture Beat that there’s no one place to put all of his health data that he needs–weight, PHR (personal health record), his spin class and aerobic training data. AppleHealth/Apple HealthKit? Only the weight via a Withings scale maps to it, and you have to scroll past oodles of data categories, such as your molybdenum levels, to get to more vital things like weight and heart rate. FitBit lasted three months in his life before being tossed in a drawer. What took center stage at International CES were more devices dumping more data that doesn’t map into a central database. He acidly notes that Apple HealthKit is free because it is is worthless. Is there something broken here that we in telehealth need to deal with, quickly? My health data is killing me (figuratively) Hat tip to Tom Greene posting in The King’s Fund LinkedIn group Digital Health and Care Congress, this year 16-17 June. A reminder–call for papers closes 13 Feb!

Health apps presently of little use, says Australian telehealth expert

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Margelis.jpg” thumb_width=”120″ /]”Immature” and “focused on low-lying fruit such as fitness tracking and not focused on the big issues of management of disease” are also two of the compliments that Dr George Margelis of the University of Western Sydney’s TeleHealth Research & Innovation Laboratory (THRIL) has bestowed on the current state of health apps. Until the collected data ‘plugs into other digital platforms’–he mentions the Australian government’s PHR, eHealth–apps will not help those who need it the most. “Unfortunately, managing these diseases, in particular the chronic diseases that are a major part of the current burden, requires more than just tracking a few physical parameters which is what the app world is up to.” Dr Margelis called for collaboration between app developers and healthcare professionals; while he scores Apple’s HealthKit, that may be the means to make his vision come true. It should be noted that Dr Margelis (more…)

‘Hackermania running wild,’ part 2

Apple flying around the iCloud for Apple HealthKit. Making headlines this week was a few overly personal celebrity photos (foolishly) stored on iCloud accounts going public online. According to Apple, the accounts were hacked probably by ‘brute force’ password attack and not through an iCloud flaw. TechRepublic  But more of concern to digital health developers eager to get all that health and fitness data integrated via the Apple HealthKit API is that Apple is saying ‘nein’ to anyone using the iCloud to store data. Why the concern? Mobihealthnews lays down Apple’s eight ground rules.

Is CyberRX 2.0 a prescription for HIT? HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance), with participation from (US) HHS, will be hosting an October cyber attack simulation exercise with over 750 healthcare organizations participating. Exercises are at three levels depending on organization size and will include targeting information systems, medical devices and other technology resources of government and healthcare organizations. Press release. Website.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ESD-America.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]And the weakest point may be ‘over the air’. ‘Interceptor’ fake cell towers can defeat smartphone encryption to ‘over the air’ eavesdrop on calls, read texts and possibly push spyware onto Android phones. According to the CEO of ESD America, they have detected at least 17 powerful towers, likely more, scattered around the US–many near military bases. (more…)