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Digital Ten: Digital health news you need to know (20 January 2020)

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FirstWord MedTech's Digital Ten is a fortnightly round-up of the 10 most read and noteworthy headlines related to digital health, including industry deals, alliances, collaborations, innovations and R&D news. The biggest M&A deal inked this year so far comes from the telemedicine field with Teladoc Health agreeing to fork out $600 million to acquire InTouch Health, a provider of cloud-based telemedicine software and physician services for hospitals and health systems. Teladoc's existing telehealth service platform targets consumers and with this deal, it will gain a complementary business that is expected to generate revenue of $80 million in 2019, representing 35% year-over year growth, and a new facility-based virtual care platform. Mojo Vision's smart contact lens receives FDA breakthrough device designation In yet another first for 2020, Mojo Vision's Mojo smart contact lens is the first ophthalmic product to get FDA breakthrough device designation this year. The lens incorporates what the company describes as the "smallest and densest dynamic display ever made," along with a power-efficient image sensor optimised for computer vision, a custom wireless radio, and motion sensors for eye-tracking and image stabilisation.


The Therapist Is In--and It's a Chatbot App

WIRED

A deadly new virus circling the globe makes many people more anxious. The pandemic's psychological toll can be particularly weighty for people with an existing mental health condition. One 25-year-old on the US East Coast seeing a therapist for help with anxiety found additional support from an unexpected source: a chatbot. "Therapy twice a month was fine before, it's just now sometimes I have days where I feel like I need something extra," says the person, who identifies as gender nonbinary, and asked to remain anonymous. Their budget didn't allow more frequent therapy sessions, making them receptive when a friend mentioned Woebot, a chatbot built on Stanford research that delivers a digital version of cognitive behavioral therapy.


7 predictions for how technology will shape healthcare in 2021

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COVID-19 accomplished what entrepreneurs, doctors, and activists couldn't: Designing a healthcare system that works for patients instead of providers and health insurance companies. The industry promised to be "patient-centered" for the last decade but only the harsh demands of COVID-19 have made this a reality. As Ian McCrae, CEO of Orion Health, described it, COVID-19 is ushering in the long-overdue transformation of the healthcare system and, finally, a move to "patient-centric" health. "There will be a dramatic shift in health IT spend away from large, monolithic hospital upgrades, towards digital front doors into healthcare," McCrae said. This means better data sharing, a universal rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, operationalized machine learning, and more options for mental healthcare.


Healthcare Market Predictions for 2022 and Beyond

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The past two years have seen some of the biggest market disruptions for healthcare providers and organizations in living memory, which means every medical provider has a lot more information to sift through these days when it comes to picking out the best tech to invest in for their practices and patients. When you consider the surfeit of tech innovations, plus the massive additional workloads healthcare workers are dealing with due to the pandemic, it's easy to see how decision-makers in healthcare organizations can become overwhelmed. But independent practices and hospitals have to stay on the cutting edge if they want to provide the best possible care to their patients while ensuring their business also thrives. The pandemic reminded us that it's a dangerous game to try and predict with certainty what the future holds, but we can look to current healthcare trends to see what technologies may become the most widely adopted, beneficial, and necessary tools of the coming years. To that end, Gartner ran a global survey of 93 healthcare organizations with no more than 500 employees to understand their strategic planning around tech adoption (methodology below).


Google's new Pixel Watch is also the next-generation Fitbit

PCWorld

Android fans have been waiting an entire year to see more options for the new and improved Wear OS 3 watches, since the only one that came out last year was Samsung's exclusive Galaxy Watch4. At Google I/O 2022, the company announced the much-anticipated (and much-leaked) Pixel Watch, technically Google's first smartwatch developed entirely in-house. And thanks to the company's acquisition of Fitbit last year, it's also going to be the first major update of Fitbit hardware since the original Fitbit Versa. Details on the Pixel Watch are still scarce, as it's planned to launch in the fall next to a new generation of Pixel phones. But we know it uses a big, circular, all-glass face, proprietary wrist bands, and "deep integration" with Fitbit's fitness tracking systems. That's a huge draw for Fitbit users, many of whom have been tracking their workouts, sleep patterns, and other essential health info for years and years.