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Announcement to 18,000+ member Digital Health Group – June 19, 2013

June 20, 2013

I sent the following announcement to 18,336 Digital Health group members on June 20, 2013:

Dear Digital Health group members,

It’s been a very big week for digital health, which continues to push into the mainstream of healthcare and the public discourse.

First, a huge milestone was achieved by WellDoc, which launched BlueStar, a first-ever reimbursable prescription digital health solution for diabetes management. Several self-insured companies plan to use the tool as part of their pharmacy benefit plans, including Ford, Rite Aid, and DexCom.

Second, the designation of obesity as a disease by the American Medical Association (AMA) is quite significant for digital health as it creates a framework for consumer solutions within which to operate and overcome a common misperception that they are simply a type of “truthiness” that doesn’t deliver medical benefit, as David Shaywitz, MD, recently asked.

In looking at the combination of these two noteworthy events, my colleague Caroline Popper, MD, had this to say during a conversation we had today: “With so many digital devices and apps targeting obesity…directly and indirectly (weight, meal planning, exercise, BP/HR etc) …this fascinating juxtaposition of WellDoc’s reimbursement and the AMA announcement opens the door wide for those tools to be treated as foundation elements of disease management as well as wellness. Consumers (patients) will play an increasing role in disease (management and prevention) and in health.”

In other noteworthy news, I was delighted to see Scanadu—a Friend of the Digital Health Group—surpass the $1,000,000 mark on Indiegogo, which makes them the third-most funded project ever on the crowdfunding platform. This is validation that consumers are desperate for digital health solutions that empower them to better manage, monitor, and improve the health of themselves and their families. Creative disruption of health and healthcare is happening and it’s imperative that our healthcare and regulatory systems adapt and evolve to facilitate and foster the new digital health paradigm.

There was also exciting news on the genomics front, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that genes occurring in nature cannot be patented. This came out of a long-awaited decision on the validity of patents for the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. Mary-Claire King, the geneticist who discovered these genes, states that “I am delighted. This is a fabulous result for patients, physicians, scientists, and common sense.” Her work inspired the forthcoming film “Decoding Annie Parker”.

On the subject of the critical importance of Open Access to research journals, it was exciting to see this 4-min video of Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (and noted for his discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project) interviewing Jack Andraka, the teenage inventor of a breakthrough cancer diagnostic and winner of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Jack overcame the cost of access to research by using Google and the NIH’s PubMed.


Keep charging!

Best regards,
Paul Sonnier

Founder, 18,000+ member Digital Health group on LinkedIn:
Head of Digital Health Strategy, Popper and Company:
Judge, XPRIZE’s Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE:
Mentor, Blueprint Health:

Global event list:


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