Virginia Hospital taps Spok, UMMC works with SnapMD, and more digital health deals

By Jonah Comstock
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Virginia Hospital Center, a 394-bed nonprofit hospital in the Washington, DC area, is implementing the Spok Care Connect platform for hospital communication. The organization is planning a hospital-wide rollout of the smartphone-based secure messaging platform.

“Two years ago, we decided to invest in a new EHR and now, interoperability is a top priority for us,” Michael Mistretta, vice president and chief information officer at Virginia Hospital Center, said in a statement. “We started looking for an integrated communication solution to complement the benefits of our EHR and after comparing Spok to other options on the market, we realized no one offered the breadth of capabilities. Without Spok we’d be required to work with several vendors and multiple systems, with no guarantee of achieving the same results.”

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The University of Mississippi Medical Center's National Center for Telehealth will partner with SnapMD, deploying the latter's Virtual Care Management software to power UMMC's telehealth platform.

“SnapMD is honored to partner with UMMC’s Center for Telehealth. As one of two designated Telehealth Centers of Excellence by HRSA in the country, UMMC brings especially deep experience and knowledge to the table in the broader discipline of digital health and focused expertise in remote care,” Dave Skibinski, CEO of SnapMD, said in a statement. “SnapMD designed the VCM full-stack platform with the functionality and scalability needed to deliver virtual care and connect across the care continuum. It is organizations like UMMC that can leverage our VCM platform to its fullest potential. In addition, UMMC’s Center for Telehealth team has become a close and trusted advisory group to our product team helping to ensure that our technology strategy remains on a clinically focused path.”

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Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina is launching a new hospital wayfinding system powered by mobile wayfinding specialist Connexient. The Valley Way app is now available for download on iOS and Android. It uses Bluetooth beacons placed around the hospital to offer patients and visitors step-by-step directions just like a GPS would out in the world.

"We are honored Cape Fear Valley Health turned to Connexient for this truly integrated wayfinding solution," Mark Green, Connexient CEO and cofounder, said in a statement.

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Japanese app developer Welby has teamed up with pharma company Takeda to co-develop an app for blood pressure monitoring. The app, "Raku Raku Koketsuatsu Diary", is being released in Japan. It allows users to record their blood pressure in an in-app journal, either manually, using a Bluetooth-connected blood pressure monitor, or by using the smartphone's camera to take a picture of the screen on a home monitoring device and automatically log that data. Users can then display trend data in a visually-appealing graph. Welby has previously worked with a number of other pharmaceutical companies on apps.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield has expanded its existing partnership with Lyft, Walgreens, and CVS around medical transportation. A new business unit of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, called the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute, will address the social determinants of health, and providing access to care transportation will be a part of that mission.

"Lyft is proud to partner with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association to address the social determinants of health through the launch of their new Institute," said John Zimmer, Lyft cofounder and president, said in a statement. "The work we're doing with BCBSA is critical to our goal of reducing the transportation health care gap by 50 percent in the next two years — and a key part of our mission to improve people's lives with the world's best transportation."

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