HEALTH

Reuters: Alibaba Group Holding preparing online pharmacy powerhouse in China

BY Michael Johnsen

SHANGHAI — Shares of Alibaba Health Information Technology nearly doubled last week after Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding consolidated its online pharmacy operations into the company in a deal valued at $2.5 billion, according to a Reuters report
 
According to the report, Alibaba Health will buy 100% of the online pharmacy operations from a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alibaba Group and another investor.
 
"We expect that this integration will enable Alibaba Group to build a healthcare ecosystem that can utilize e-commerce, big data and other technologies to improve the healthcare supply chain," said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group COO.
 
Reuters reported that while online pharmacies in China are currently restricted to the sale of OTC medicines, China is preparing to open its $161 billion prescription market to online pharmacy operators including Alibaba Health, JD.com and Walmart Stores. 
 
The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter this year, Reuters reported.
 

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Chronic disease, cost of care expected to drive use of home-health technology

BY Michael Johnsen

BOULDER, Colo. — Consumers utilizing home-health technologies will increase from 14.3 million worldwide in 2014 to 78.5 million by 2020, according to a new report from Tractica released Monday. The market intelligence firm anticipates that medical monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment will be the largest application market during that timeframe, and will drive the deployment of a wide variety of connected health devices and software applications. Other key segments of this market are remote consultations, eldercare and health-and-wellness.
 
Home-health technologies are emerging as a distinct segment within the larger mobile and digital health market. The ability to remotely monitor patients with chronic conditions, utilize technology for improved eldercare, and conduct virtual physician consultations (eVisits) is being seen as a way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall healthcare system, as well as to improve patient outcomes. Meanwhile, home health devices and applications are leveraging the ubiquity of residential broadband networking and smartphones to help consumers manage health and wellness on an ongoing basis.
 
“Key factors driving interest in home healthcare technologies include rising healthcare costs, aging populations and a rise in the number of people living with chronic diseases,” said principal analyst Charul Vyas. “However, significant challenges remain for the industry to solve, including regulatory issues, data security and privacy and technology interoperability and integration issues.”
 

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IMS Health to introduce a consumer version of its health app ratings app

BY Michael Johnsen

 
 
CLEVELAND – IMS Health is getting ready to launch a consumer version of its professionally-geared AppScript app in May, MedCityNews reported earlier this week
 
Currently, AppScript enables doctors to rate and “prescribe” mobile apps for their patients, MedCityNews noted. "Very early research suggests about half of the patients who get prescribed apps through AppScript will use them beyond the first month," MedCityNews reported citing IMS Health. 
 
But now AppScript will be available "without a prescription," so to speak, allowing consumers to identify and download appropriate health apps to help them manage their conditions based on those doctor's ratings. 
 

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