Issue 67, October 2015
bulletE-Health
bulletBehavioral Analysis & Personalized Feedback by Sharecare, Inc.
bulletInnovation: Tinnitracks - Treating Tinnitus with Your Favorite Tunes
bulletevivecare - Accelerating Speech Recovery After Stroke
bulletCaterna Vision Online Therapy for Lazy Eye Patients
bulletInterview with E-Health Analytics Expert Dr. Philipp Daumke
E-Health 
We're entering a new era of personalized healthcare and intelligent enterprise systems. From electronic health records (EHRs) and predictive analytics to remote monitoring tools and machine diagnosis, information and communication technologies are fundamentally changing the field of healthcare as we know it today.

Technology is having an impact across the entire health ecosystem - from how we treat patients, conduct research, and educate consumers to the ways we track diseases and monitor public health trends. EHRs are facilitating the ease of communicating patient data between GP's, specialists, and care teams. Telehealth, likewise, is enabling physicians to remotely monitor patients, saving them a trip to the doctor's office. In the long-term, generations of data on family history and genomics will aid in providing more personalized treatments. Similarly, the aggregation of individual electronic medical records will contribute immensely to longitudinal studies on disease patterns and demographic shifts in populations.

Greater adoption and integration of e-health technologies will help reduce healthcare expenditures, transform patient engagement, and improve health outcomes. Such adoption in the medical arena, however, is slower than in other industries due to concerns about information privacy and security as well as qualms about data ownership and use. Despite significant investments made by key industry players, patient engagement remains a challenge.  




Whom do you turn to for advice on a bad day? Do you wish you had a virtual friend like Samantha from the movie "Her"?

Feingold Technologies, founded in 2010 by Erik A. Feingold, specializes in developing technologies that analyze and understand human behavior, mindsets, and emotional states. The proprietary voice and text analysis technologies are based on extensive research, prototyping, and user feedback.

Feingold's voice technology looks at recurring fractal patterns in the spectral data of the human voice to analyze the user's mindset based off of these patterns. The mindset data is then correlated to data coming from other smart phone sensors and input sources to uncover deeper insights. These can be applied in any number of ways - from providing an individual more self-awareness of his or her mindset to helping to reduce stress - generating better sales performance in business settings and improving an individual's success in personal relationships.

"One of the greatest benefits for the user is the ability to get to know himself better - socially, emotionally, and physically - in an effortless manner," Feingold said. "We help the user discover invisible patterns in his life that influence his happiness and health. We also provide evidence-based interventions and personalized content to help the user perform and feel better."

Feingold's products, like the interactive simulator iCoach, have been adopted by a number of global corporations, such as Merck (MSD), Boehringer Ingelheim, and DHL. The Stress Manager app for iOS, for example, was utilized by Deutsche Telekom's consumer engagement healthcare initiative.

Feingold Technologies has garnered national and international recognition, including the German Silicon Valley Accelerator's 2013 "Public Choice Award," as National Champion in the 2014 European Business Awards, and as "Company of the Year - Health Products & Services" in the 2015 International Business Awards (Stevie®).

In February 2015, Feingold Technologies was acquired by the U.S.-based digital health and wellness engagement company Sharecare, Inc. After being the first digital health start-up in Germany to be part of a large international M&A deal, Feingold Technologies has now expanded to become a global leader in the digital health space. As part of Sharecare, Feingold's technologies are now utilized in the Sharecare Beta app, which provides insights into users' mindsets during phone calls and helps them to develop self-awareness about their stress levels and relationships.

Source & Image: © Sharecare, Inc.



A ringing, buzzing noise inside one's head that simply does not stop - more than 400 million people around the world are familiar with this enervating condition called tinnitus. While the symptoms are well-known and the effects often devastating - ranging from sleep disorders to severe depression - treatment options available are limited and mainly focus on addressing the symptoms as opposed to the causes. Over-reactive nerve cells in the auditory cortex, the part of the brain that processes sound, are responsible for tinnitus but have been difficult to target. This is where the young German medical engineering company, Sonormed, from Hamburg saw a market opportunity.
 
Sonormed had been closely examining promising academic research regarding the so-called Tailor-Made Notched Music Training (TMNMT), a neuro-acoustic approach that suggested that frequency-filtered music has the potential to reduce the loudness of the tinnitus tone.

Sonormed's challenge was to develop a solution that would translate academic research into an easily accessible, yet highly accurate treatment option - a task of which the team proved itself worthy. Within two and a half years, Sonormed developed Tinnitracks - a certified medical product and fully digital treatment option that filters patients' individual tinnitus frequency from their favorite songs. Listening to this filtered music via a web or mobile app helps ease the severity of the nagging sound.

Tinnitracks successfully went to market in Germany in 2013 and has since received numerous awards, among them the EU-sponsored EIT Digital Idea Challenge Award in 2014 and the renowned South by Southwest (SXSW) Accelerator "Digital Health & Life Science" Award in 2015. Another major breakthrough was achieved just last month: Techniker Krankenkasse, the largest statutory health insurance company in Germany, will assume the costs for Tinnitracks as a digital therapy app. Jörg Land, CEO and founder of Sonormed, expressed that "this backing is an essential step towards the general acceptance of individualized digital health solutions and will provide the ground for an international roll-out of Tinnitracks." The digital treatment is currently available in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.

Source & Image: © Sonormed GmbH

 



Only a fraction of the 15 million people annually who have a stroke recover completely. Millions suffer from severe speech impairments afterwards, which push many of these individuals into complete isolation.

Studies confirm what therapists have long recognized: The typical speech therapy regimen of only 1-2 hours/week is ineffective for most people. To achieve significant results, a minimum of 5-10 hours/week is required. Due to the high cost of such therapy and a limited number of therapists, this treatment has not been a viable option. As a result, many patients are not getting better and instead remain permanently disabled.

The German company evivecare aims to help stroke victims regain their natural speech so that they can communicate again with the people around them and participate in everyday life. evivecare is working on a state-of-the-art digital therapy system that will offer speech and facial recognition for instant evaluation and detailed feedback. It will also have a video connect feature for the patient's speech language pathologist. The digital therapy will help patients to continuously train their ability to articulate words by analyzing the patients' pronunciation and by providing challenge-specific video guides to improve their speech.

By connecting patients through the cloud with their caregivers, therapists, physicians, and health insurance providers for real-time patient management and data analysis, an unparalleled level of care, efficiency, and transparency is available to help improve patient recovery time and rehabilitation costs.

The result: access to unlimited, intensive home therapy sessions that will help patients to regain their speech as quickly as possible and save the healthcare system considerable long-term expenses.

Evivecare is a Berlin-based start-up. Its founding team draws upon years of experience in the IT, speech technology, and healthcare systems arenas. It works closely with caregivers, patients, and experts in the areas of speech therapy, educational psychology, behavioral science, and neurology from leading institutions like Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

After receiving a Grants4Apps® Bayer Healthcare innovation grant to build the initial prototype and continued recognition including "best eHealth solution" at HIMSS Europe and first prize in Telekom's "Lange Nacht der Startups" competition, evivecare is now seeking a strategic investor to develop this comprehensive therapy solution for the future.

Source & Image: © evivecare   

Five percent of all children suffer from "lazy eye" (amblyopia), a condition in which vision in one eye is reduced with the brain favoring the other eye. Until now, the most common treatment method has been patching the dominant eye to allow the weaker eye to get stronger. Unfortunately, many children are teased at school as a result of this slow practice.

The German start-up Caterna is helping to overcome this brain development deficiency with an innovative web-based therapy. Based on scientific research dating back to the 1970s, the therapy uses a special digital grid pattern that stimulates the patient's brain. Engaging computer games in the foreground of the computer screen hold the child's attention while the child's brain is stimulated by moving patterns in the background. While an ophthalmologist needs to prescribe the 90-day therapy, the actual treatment regimen can then be carried out from a computer at home. Children must train 30 to 45 minutes each day, choosing between nine different video games that were developed for various levels of visual acuity and age ranges. An accompanying occlusion diary app helps the patients keep up the habit of patching of the dominant eye. The doctor is able to monitor the treatment remotely through log files on the Caterna server.

The therapy is targeted towards children ages 4 to 12. In Germany, the first public health insurance companies have started to reimburse the cost of the innovative therapy. The e-health innovation leader Barmer GEK has supported the first "prescribed app," and several other companies are following suit. After concentrating on the German-speaking markets, Caterna is in the process of expanding internationally.
 
"With the backing of Peppermint Venture Partners from Berlin, we are well-prepared to bring our therapy to children outside of Germany," Caterna CEO Michael Scherrer said. Caterna is currently presenting its solution to German ophthalmologists. More than 200 doctors' practices and hospitals have already treated over 500 lazy eye patients with the 90-day online therapy regimen.

Caterna is a spin-off of the Technische Universität Dresden. To watch German media coverage about the therapy, click here for a Deutsche Welle video report and here for a NDR Hamburg Journal clip.
 
Source & Image: © Caterna Vision GmbH

Dr. Philipp Daumke is the CEO of Averbis GmbH, a specialist provider of text analytics solutions. His company's offerings comprise healthcare analytics, trend monitoring, patent analytics, sentiment analysis, and enterprise information discovery. 

In his interview with GCRI, Dr. Daumke discusses some of the latest trends in e-health as well as the untapped potential that unstructured data offers to healthcare. He elaborates on Averbis's role in developing smart data technologies and text analytics software for the healthcare market. He also addresses what makes his company's data mining capabilities so unique and what some of the main challenges are facing e-health efforts in Germany and the U.S today. To read the full interview, click here

Dr. Daumke completed his undergraduate studies in information technology at Fernuniversität in Hagen and his M.D. at the University of Freiburg, Germany. During his medical studies, he spent one year abroad for internships in hospitals in Sydney, Brisbane, and Hobart, Australia. In addition to a biomedical and computer science background, Dr. Daumke's other areas of expertise include enterprise search, machine learning, semantic web, data mining, healthcare IT, informatics, and software development.

His company is involved in a variety of international IT research projects, such as SEMCARE "Semantic Data Platform for Healthcare," which is subsidized by the European Union. The project aims to develop a software platform that facilitates the diagnosis of rare diseases for clinics and aids in the automated selection of appropriate patients for clinical studies.

To learn more about Averbis (in German), click here for a Deutscher Gründerpreis video.

Source: Averbis GmbH 
 
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