In brief: Big names partner for sleep, Etac reorganizes

Friday, March 4, 2016

WASHINGTON – The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) and IBM have partnered on a SleepHealth app for the iPhone and Apple Watch and a SleepHealth Research Study to help identify connections between sleep habits and health outcomes.

The project uses the open source ResearchKit framework designed by Apple to allow participants to complete tasks and submit surveys from the SleepHealth app. That data will be stored on the Watson Health Cloud, where researchers will be able to conduct extensive analysis to uncover patterns and connections.

"This study marks the association's commitment to patient-led research and data-driven discovery,” said Carl Stepnowsky, the principal investigator for the study, associate professor at University of California at San Diego and ASAA's chief science officer, in a release. “With ResearchKit and Watson Health Cloud, this new app will help us build the world's largest longitudinal study to collect data on both healthy and unhealthy sleepers that can be published as an open study and shared with other researchers."

In the future, researchers hope to develop personalized and public health interventions for a variety of sleep-related health issues, such as helping athletes optimize training before a big event, mitigating fatigue in the workplace, and detecting early symptoms of Alzheimer's and mental health disorders.

The SleepHealth app is available to anyone in the U.S. as a free download from the App Store.

Etac reorganizes leadership

TORRANCE, Calif. – The Etac Group, which recently acquired Convaid, has appointed Chris Braun president for North America and has reorganized its sales team. Braun, who has served as Convaid’s president since 2008, will take on an expanded role, providing leadership for all of Etac’s brands in North America, including R82, Etac, Molift, Immedia and Convaid. He will also remain Convaid’s president. Braun’s first order of business as president of Etac NA was forming a new sales organization and appointing three sales managers to run it. Sales for the expanded pediatric channel, comprised of both Convaid and R82, will be jointly managed by Derek Fletcher, formerly R82’s East Coast sales manager, and Charles Larose, formerly Convaid’s North American business development manager. Fletcher will manage the East Coast, while Larose the West Coast. Scott Crosswhite, formerly vice president of R82, has been appointed manager of the adult distribution channel, handling products from Etac, Molift and Immedia. Additionally, Nanneke Dinklo, formerly Convaid’s director, global marketing and business development, takes on an expanded role in marketing and channel strategy for all Etac brands in North America.

Respironics connects care with software

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. – Philips Respironics has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Care Orchestrator, its cloud-based clinical management software application. Care Orchestrator offers a full view of sleep and respiratory care patients and makes it easier for healthcare providers to share and exchange information, addressing critical needs like treatment adherence, patient and provider engagement, and billing and reimbursement. Care Orchestrator builds on Encore Anywhere, a patient compliance management system that has supported more than 7 million patients, and DreamMapper, an app and web-based software that helps patients remain compliant with their therapies. The application will interact with Philips’ sleep and respiratory devices, electronic medical records, insurance claims and billing systems, as well as other Philips and third-party applications on the HealthSuite digital platform, an open and cloud-based platform of services, capabilities and tools.

PromptCare buys Boston Home Infusion

CLARK, N.J. – PromptCare has bought Stoughton, Mass.-based Boston Home Infusion. The deal will help PromptCare, whose presence spans the mid-Atlantic to the Northeastern U.S., expand respiratory services to the greater Boston area. “This acquisition offers us an ideal platform for launching our disease focused infusion programs as a complement to their current range of therapy offerings,” CEO and President Tom Voorhes said in a prepared statement. “It is also a natural extension of our strong presence in complex respiratory and nutritional support already in this area.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Oxford Finance closes $50M credit facility for home infusion provider

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Oxford Finance has served as a co-lender and documentation agent for the closing of a $35 million term loan and a $15 million revolving line of credit for Superior Biologics, a home infusion and specialty pharmacy provider. Hawthorne, N.Y.-based Superior Biologics will use the funds to support a recapitalization and refinancing of existing debt. The provider services the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Oxford Finance is a specialty finance firm that provides senior debt to life sciences and healthcare services companies.

eSolutions buys healthcare clearinghouse

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – eSolutions has acquired ClaimRemedi, a provider of billing system and clearinghouse services for the healthcare industry, it announced this week. The deal will allow eSolutions to better serve the needs of its existing customers and create new opportunities for growth in the markets they serve. “Combining ClaimRemedi with eSolutions provides the scale and product depth we need to serve the evolving challenges our customers have,” said Peter Bowhall, founder and CEO of ClaimRemedi, in a release. Founded in 1999, eSolutions provides revenue cycle management analytics and cloud-based workflow solutions to a customer base of more than 2,800 organizations, including more than 15,000 hospitals, home health and hospice agencies, skilled nursing facilities, DME companies and other provider types.

RESNA tweaks ATP exam

ARLINGTON, Va. – RESNA will begin administering a new, updated ATP exam in July 2016 to better reflect current practice. “We’re grateful to all of the AT professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds who participated in the exam update,“ said Daniel Cochrane, chair of RESNA’s Professional Standards Board, in a release. “Hundreds of AT practitioners participated in the job validation survey alone.” While the new exam will remain the same length and scope, it will no longer include U.S.-centric funding questions. Candidates can choose whether to apply for the old exam or the new exam until March 15. Those who take the new exam between July 1 and Oct. 31, 2016, will receive a $100 discount off of the regular $500 exam fee. The last time the exam was updated was in 2009.

Study bolsters use of telemedicine for sleep therapy

DARIEN, Ill. – A new study suggests that telemedicine-based management for obstructive sleep apnea is as effective as in-person care. Results of the study, published in the March 1 issue of the journal Sleep, show that there was no significant difference in functional outcomes changes, dropout rates, or objectively measured positive airway pressure adherence between patients having a clinical video telehealth-based visit or an in-person physician visit at the initial evaluation. Additionally, participants in the study reported high satisfaction with telemedicine, citing the advantages of decreased travel and greater convenience. The study involved 60 veterans at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and two affiliated community based outpatient clinics located 33 and 46 miles away. Participants were randomized to the telemedicine or standard care pathway. Those in the telemedicine pathway used a platform launched by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in January. A core component of the platform is a secure, web-based video platform that facilitates live, interactive consultations and follow-up visits between patients and sleep medicine clinicians.

Stock movement: Invacare, ResMed, Inogen

Invacare CEO Matthew Monaghan bought 8,000 company shares at an average price of $12.31 per share in a transaction on Feb. 29. He now owns 82,327 shares worth about $1 million. CFO Robert Gudbranson bought 4,200 company shares at an average price of $12.01 per share in a transaction on Feb. 29 worth $50,442. He now owns 101,821 shares worth about $1.2 million. Additionally, Invacare Vice President Anthony Laplaca bought 1,000 company shares at an average price of $12.38 per share in a transaction on Feb. 29 worth about $12,400. Invacare announced in February that it is preparing to submit a final report to lift its consent decree with the Food and Drug Administration…ResMed CFO Brett Sandercock sold 30,000 company shares for an average of $57.61 per share in a transaction on Feb. 26 worth about $1.7 million. He now has 132,136 shares worth about $7.6 million. Janus Capital Management increased its number of shares in ResMed by 345,234 in the third quarter for a total of 494,328 shares. It now has a $25.2 million stake in the company. ResMed has made headlines recently by buying Brightree and Inova Technologies. Anne Reiser, president of ResMed’s EMEA-APAC region, sold 1,946 shares at an average price of $57.06 per share in a transaction on Feb. 29 valued at about $111,038…Rockefeller Financial Services cut its stake in Inogen by 1.2% during the fourth quarter. The institutional investor now owns 232,525 shares after selling 2,743 shares. Rockefeller owned 1.18% of Inogen, worth $9.32 million at the end of the most recent quarter.

Short take: Medela

Medela has appointed Melissa Gonzales managing director of the Medela USA business unit. In this role, she will manage the largest market within the Medela group, overseeing both the human milk and healthcare businesses. Gonzales will focus on providing the most technologically advanced breast pumps and break milk feeding accessories to hospitals and nursing mothers, as well as advancing the company’s negative pressure wound therapy portfolio. Previously, she was vice president of sales and channel management for human milk.