Ford in ‘SYNC’ with IMS on bringing allergy app to cars
While SoloHealth is placing advanced healthcare technology in stores, Ford Motor Co. recently announced that it is introducing healthcare technology into cars with IMS Health’s Allergy Alert app, now compatible with Ford SYNC AppLink. The in-dash access to the Allergy Alert app gives drivers a safe way to check the potential for scratchy eyes, sore throats and runny noses while on the go.
“Mobile health apps are changing the way consumers manage their own wellness, and Ford SYNC provides the platform to extend this growing trend to the driving experience,” stated Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Services. “The SYNC AppLink-enabled Allergy Alert app allows drivers to quickly check current and upcoming pollen and other health risk conditions with simple voice commands, while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
“Pollen affects everyone differently, and the IMS app was developed to specifically help people on the move improve their quality of life,” said Dan Barton, U.S. head of product development for IMS Health. “Our experience with allergy sufferers suggests a strong demand for real-time information. The technology we’ve applied in the Ford SYNC AppLink-equipped car helps drivers better prepare for the allergens they may encounter on the road by delivering reliable, timely and relevant information related to their destination. The app gives users the ability to more consistently manage their symptoms.”
With SYNC AppLink, drivers can connect smartphones or tablets to their cars, and by using simple voice commands are able to quickly access information from Allergy Alert — while not having to take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.
Through the app’s pollen index rating, drivers can request to hear the types of allergen conditions they are likely to encounter that may cause a flare-up in personal allergy symptoms. The app also provides a risk index for asthma, flu/cough/cold and ultraviolet rays.
In spring of last year, Ford kicked off a series of research projects for in-car health-and-wellness-connected services, such as medical device connectivity, cloud-based health management services and mobile app integration. In just more than a year, Ford now is delivering on the initial research with Allergy Alert as one of the first steps toward helping drivers to take care of themselves and their passengers.
“We are attempting to create the car that cares,” noted Gary Strumolo, global manager of Ford Research and Innovation. “We want to change the paradigm that in-car connectivity systems, such as SYNC, can only be used for information and entertainment purposes. Health and wellness are key issues for our customers outside of the car; therefore, we want to leverage our connectivity platform to improve their time behind the wheel. The trend in mobile health is all about knowing potential health concerns before they happen so that they don’t surprise a person, even while driving.”
SoloHealth, WellPoint provide convenience
SoloHealth recently announced a new relationship with WellPoint to help provide consumers with convenient access to information about their health and wellness through the next- generation SoloHealth Station consumer kiosks.
The news comes on the heels of SoloHealth Station’s recent Food and Drug Administration approval in June, as well as its announcement of an aggressive rollout to retail locations nationwide to begin this fall.
The SoloHealth Station is an interactive, comprehensive health-and-wellness screening kiosk for consumers that is placed in high-traffic retail locations or high-volume places like corporate campuses or hospitals. “We’re really taking health care to where the people are,” Bart Foster, SoloHealth CEO, told Drug Store News. The SoloHealth Station provides health screenings for vision, blood pressure, weight and body mass index, a symptom checker and an overall health assessment free of charge. SoloHealth also helps connect consumers to local professionals through their databases, helping people enter the most appropriate and accurate point in the healthcare system.
With this kiosk in mind, SoloHealth was one of the companies invited to testify before the FDA’s public meeting on ways to expand the Rx-to-OTC switch paradigm. The kiosk can help to drive awareness around a particular condition or remedy, can help educate the consumer and spark action, Foster said. “It’s precisely in the sweet spot of what the FDA is trying to do,” he said.
“We have a long-standing commitment to help people get healthy and stay healthy by leveraging consumer-friendly products and services to improve their health and wellness,” stated Brett Moraski, VP transformation for WellPoint. “SoloHealth’s consumer kiosk … is a truly innovative product that leverages technology to provide an enhanced, convenient and engaging consumer health experience. By investing in SoloHealth, we are excited to help millions of Americans better manage their own health and well-being.”
Carma Labs fetes its 75th anniversary
Carma Labs last month celebrated its 75th year of distributing its lip balm to a rabid fan base, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker joining in on the company’s anniversary celebrations. Carma Labs was founded by Alfred Woelbing in 1937 — who sold the lip balm from the trunk of his car in the Chicago area. Today the company is a third-generation, family-owned-and-operated business that currently is run by grandsons Paul and Eric Woelbing.
The company’s flagship SKU, Carmex, generated more than $23.7 million in sales, up 3.3%, for the 52 weeks ended July 8 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), according to SymphonyIRI Group data.