Rock Health News

 

Apple watch and activity trackers’ day of reckoning

Jonathan Palley, Co-founder and CEO, Spire Activity trackers died and were reborn on Tuesday. With the Apple Watch as well as Jawbone’s announcement that its apps will work with anyone’s hardware (which follows a similar announcement from Misfit), wearable activity tracking is no longer a product—its a feature. What’s a wearable activity tracking company to do? Jawbone and Misfit’s answer has been: platform! Wearable-donned people can use their app anywhere while the companies bring all of the user data onto their server. History is not on their side. All the great platforms in technology—from Windows, to iOS to Facebook and even to Google’s ad network—started out with a core technology/business that no one else could replicate. Then came the platform. While we can argue over which activity tracking app is best, the difference and the technology is minimal.

Apple watch and activity trackers’ day of reckoning

Jonathan Palley, Co-founder and CEO, Spire Activity trackers died and were reborn on Tuesday. With the Apple Watch as well as Jawbone’s announcement that its apps will work with anyone’s hardware (which follows a similar announcement from Misfit), wearable activity tracking is no longer a product—its a feature. What’s a wearable activity tracking company to do? Jawbone and Misfit’s answer has been: platform! Wearable-donned people can use their app anywhere while the companies bring all of the user data onto their server. History is not on their side. All the great platforms in technology—from Windows, to iOS to Facebook and even to Google’s ad network—started out with a core technology/business that no one else could replicate. Then came the platform. While we can argue over which activity tracking app is best, the difference and the technology is minimal.

A digital health entrepreneur’s thoughts on HealthKit

This morning, Apple made its much-anticipated move into healthcare with HealthKit (aka, the formerly rumored HealthBook.) With a typically dissonant and ever-growing ecosystem of health apps, devices and data, digital health needs a major player to enter to integrate these products and tools. We’re excited about what the largest company in the world is capable of doing for digital health. Here’s some perspective on what a seasoned digital health entrepreneur had to say about today. Aaron Rowe HealthKit is really exciting. Putting all of this information in one place, in a gorgeous app that will reach a ton of people, could do wonders for public health. But it won’t do much good if the on-screen content is designed without input from people who deeply understand health metrics. It looks like Apple or one of its partners made some technical mistakes on a slide that was shown during the big reveal of their new health app.

A digital health entrepreneur’s thoughts on HealthKit

This morning, Apple made its much-anticipated move into healthcare with HealthKit (aka, the formerly rumored HealthBook.) With a typically dissonant and ever-growing ecosystem of health apps, devices and data, digital health needs a major player to enter to integrate these products and tools. We’re excited about what the largest company in the world is capable of doing for digital health. Here’s some perspective on what a seasoned digital health entrepreneur had to say about today. Aaron Rowe HealthKit is really exciting. Putting all of this information in one place, in a gorgeous app that will reach a ton of people, could do wonders for public health. But it won’t do much good if the on-screen content is designed without input from people who deeply understand health metrics. It looks like Apple or one of its partners made some technical mistakes on a slide that was shown during the big reveal of their new health app.

Fixing the background technologies on which health apps depend

Developers are flocking to health IT with the laudable goals of making a difference in people’s health (and earning some money in the process). The complex and balkanized field presents numerous barriers to entrepreneurs breaking into the space,   Here are a few of the dilemmas that health reformers face, and that bedevil efforts to provide useful apps and medical devices:   A lot of developers are offering apps or fitness devices. But without rigorous testing (double-blinded experiments) the FDA probably won’t let apps or devices be used for medical purposes, and insurers won’t cover them. Although people obsessed with good health are buying fitness devices and reporting that self-tracking is changing their lives, the people who need intervention the most (such as obese smokers with diabetes) aren’t widely using digital health products. A full-press clinical research effort on every app or device would be absurd and would shut down innovation. But it’s not right for device manufacturers to bypass the FDA entirely, either. The FDA’s current position is reasonable, if vendors can understand it, but perhaps we can find a more modern approach to testing apps and devices. Crowdsourcing and data sharing may be the key to trusting apps…

Fixing the background technologies on which health apps depend

Developers are flocking to health IT with the laudable goals of making a difference in people’s health (and earning some money in the process). The complex and balkanized field presents numerous barriers to entrepreneurs breaking into the space,   Here are a few of the dilemmas that health reformers face, and that bedevil efforts to provide useful apps and medical devices:   A lot of developers are offering apps or fitness devices. But without rigorous testing (double-blinded experiments) the FDA probably won’t let apps or devices be used for medical purposes, and insurers won’t cover them. Although people obsessed with good health are buying fitness devices and reporting that self-tracking is changing their lives, the people who need intervention the most (such as obese smokers with diabetes) aren’t widely using digital health products. A full-press clinical research effort on every app or device would be absurd and would shut down innovation. But it’s not right for device manufacturers to bypass the FDA entirely, either. The FDA’s current position is reasonable, if vendors can understand it, but perhaps we can find a more modern approach to testing apps and devices. Crowdsourcing and data sharing may be the key to trusting apps…

Rock Weekly: The failure of Google Flu Trends

March 17, 2014 Last week, Castlight’s stock soared 149% in its first day of trading while co-founder and US CTO Todd Park continued working on HealthCare.gov. POTUS did his part too by appearing on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis and generating record referral traffic to the ACA’s website. Worried about the open enrollment deadline? We’ve got you covered — literally. We’re excited to announce that Rock Health portfolio company Stride Health just launched to make health insurance more human. Visit and find coverage tuned and tailored just for you.

Rock Weekly: The failure of Google Flu Trends

March 17, 2014 Last week, Castlight’s stock soared 149% in its first day of trading while co-founder and US CTO Todd Park continued working on HealthCare.gov. POTUS did his part too by appearing on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis and generating record referral traffic to the ACA’s website. Worried about the open enrollment deadline? We’ve got you covered — literally. We’re excited to announce that Rock Health portfolio company Stride Health just launched to make health insurance more human. Visit and find coverage tuned and tailored just for you.

Other 2/10/14

Rock Weekly: The plot at Apple thickens

  February 10, 2014 Over the course of last week, the plot over Apple’s entrée into digital health thickened as job postings for sleep and physiology experts went live. Hailing from the future, ‘digital prophet’ Shingy decreed, “Devices in 2014 will be about quantification, not quantified self.” Hey students, want to spend this summer getting hands-on experience at a leading digital health startup? Learn about Summer in Digital Health in San Francisco.

Other 2/10/14

Rock Weekly: The plot at Apple thickens

  February 10, 2014 Over the course of last week, the plot over Apple’s entrée into digital health thickened as job postings for sleep and physiology experts went live. Hailing from the future, ‘digital prophet’ Shingy decreed, “Devices in 2014 will be about quantification, not quantified self.” Hey students, want to spend this summer getting hands-on experience at a leading digital health startup? Learn about Summer in Digital Health in San Francisco.

Rock Weekly: 5 signs Apple is making a health product

February 3, 2014 Funding in January smashed records and the second digital health IPO of the year is already knocking at the door as Castlight Health secretly files to go public at a $2B valuation. We’re now convinced that Apple is setting its sights on digital health — here arefive signs Apple is making a health product. Want to take the plunge in angel investing? Join Rock Health Angels for Syndicates and General Solicitation 101 on February 19th. Calling all wearable companies. Submit your wearable to be showcased at our SXSWearables Broozy Bunch at SXSW 2014.

Rock Weekly: 5 signs Apple is making a health product

February 3, 2014 Funding in January smashed records and the second digital health IPO of the year is already knocking at the door as Castlight Health secretly files to go public at a $2B valuation. We’re now convinced that Apple is setting its sights on digital health — here arefive signs Apple is making a health product. Want to take the plunge in angel investing? Join Rock Health Angels for Syndicates and General Solicitation 101 on February 19th. Calling all wearable companies. Submit your wearable to be showcased at our SXSWearables Broozy Bunch at SXSW 2014.

Other 2/3/14

Five signs that Apple is creating a health product

Last week, Apple announced record quarterly revenue and earnings and was subsequently rewarded with almost 10% of its stock value being wiped out. Analysts cited anemic growth for the tech giant, and apparent saturation in the high-end smartphone market. Not surprisingly, many investors are wondering whether the category invented by the iPhone was a once in a lifetime opportunity. In fact, smartphones represent an era of computing that has far exceeded the previous era of personal computers in both install base and usage. Apple seems less concerned, perhaps because their eyes are set on the next era of computing—wearables. Over the past year, Apple has been quietly building up the resources necessary to release a health product of their own. If the past continues to repeat itself, the digital health landscape could see a huge shift as the standard setter works to create a product that consumers love and use. Culminating in a meeting late last year between senior Apple execs and the FDA, here are five signs that a potentially game-changing digital health product is on the horizon. 1. “The whole sensor field is going to explode.” -Apple CEO Tim Cook Tim Cook has indicated that wearables are an…

Other 2/3/14

Five signs that Apple is creating a health product

Last week, Apple announced record quarterly revenue and earnings and was subsequently rewarded with almost 10% of its stock value being wiped out. Analysts cited anemic growth for the tech giant, and apparent saturation in the high-end smartphone market. Not surprisingly, many investors are wondering whether the category invented by the iPhone was a once in a lifetime opportunity. In fact, smartphones represent an era of computing that has far exceeded the previous era of personal computers in both install base and usage. Apple seems less concerned, perhaps because their eyes are set on the next era of computing—wearables. Over the past year, Apple has been quietly building up the resources necessary to release a health product of their own. If the past continues to repeat itself, the digital health landscape could see a huge shift as the standard setter works to create a product that consumers love and use. Culminating in a meeting late last year between senior Apple execs and the FDA, here are five signs that a potentially game-changing digital health product is on the horizon. 1. “The whole sensor field is going to explode.” -Apple CEO Tim Cook Tim Cook has indicated that wearables are an…

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