Digital health news briefs: STD testing at home, VR distraction therapy

By Laura Lovett
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Finding time to get tested. Patients may now be able to address sexual healthcare issues through video conferencing. KnowNow Health has just launched a new website called App:KnowNOWSTD.com. The platform offers online lab testing for STDs including HIV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. The platform will also be able to offer care for women health conditions including urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. After the test results patients can followed up with an online provider visit who can prescribe necessary medications. Visits will cost $65, with a free follow-up if positive. 

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Risky business. Risk and compliance software company ComplyAssistant recently announced that it launched a new mobile app to support risk management and healthcare compliance. The app is designed for auditing teams to become more efficient with managing, reporting and mitigating audit exceptions, according to a statement. 

"We're thrilled to offer this new option that works in tandem with our healthcare compliance software. The mobile application enables audit teams to be truly mobile, saving time during often complex and rigorous audits," Gerry Blass, president and CEO of ComplyAssistant, said in a statement. "Early testing showed that our team was able to save several steps during privacy and security walkthrough audits, making the process and reporting more efficient.”

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Distraction. A study conducted by researchers at Florida Atlantic University found that distraction therapy using VR systems decreased 94 percent of pediatric patients’ fear of needles and pain. Study participants were between the ages of 6 and 17. All participants measured their pain before and after the technique was used. During the study participants were given a 3D VR headset and an accompanying smartphone app while being given the immunization. 

"I hope this distraction technique catches on in other pediatric offices, because any method that increases the percentage of children vaccinated on-time and on schedule is critical in primary care pediatrics," Dr. Chad Rudnick, one of the authors of the study. "With many children crying, kicking and fighting in the exam room to avoid getting an injection, it is well worth pursuing further studies on the benefits of using virtual reality headsets. Moreover, this method could potentially reduce mortality and morbidity from vaccine preventable illnesses because children will receive their scheduled vaccinations."

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What's new in the land down under. A new Australian company, called HealthMatch, has been making waves with its platform that connects patients to clinical trials, according to . The publication reports that recently the startup landed $1.3 million in funding from Australian and American investors, including executives from WhatsApp and Google. The company has found its way onto the public map recently after it won the version of TechCrunch's Startup Battlefield last November.