HEALTH

Updated Fitbit provides seamless integration

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — Fitbit in May released the Fitbit Flex, an activity-tracking wristband that syncs wirelessly on-the-go via Bluetooth 4.0 to select iOS and Android devices. Users can seamlessly make fitness and wellness a part of their everyday lifestyle and check their stats from anywhere.

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HEALTH

OraQuick delivers speedy diagnosis

BY Michael Johnsen

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — With more than $7.2 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 8, the landmark launch of Orasure Technologies’ OraQuick In-Home HIV test last year was a key driver behind the 11.7% growth in the home-test kit across U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test detects antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 with an oral swab, providing a confidential in-home testing option with results in as little as 20 minutes.

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Sales of self-diagnostic devices inch higher

BY Michael Johnsen

Today, sales of all self-diagnostic devices — including blood pressure monitors and glucose meters, as well as home-test kits and pregnancy test kits — stand at about $1 billion across food, drug and mass outlets, up slightly with a little more than 2% growth.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

But tomorrow that growth trajectory may ramp up by tying products in with retail pharmacy service offerings. “It all comes back to who’s going to pay for it,” said Ranndy Kellogg, COO of Omron Healthcare. “The [healthcare] systems in the United States … are still oriented toward paying for treatment vs. paying for preventive.”

But everything is coming together. Doctors in the United States increased their “routine” use of health IT, such as e-prescribing and entering data in electronic health records, by 32%, according to Accenture’s report, titled “The Digital Doctor Is In.” That suggests the underlying infrastructure to support a national telemedicine model is being created. And then there is the outcomes-based medicine part of healthcare reform that has many hospital systems in search of partners who can help reduce repeat hospital visits through disease-state management programs, such as those that could be supported by self-diagnostic devices telelinked to a retail pharmacist.

A new merchandising display showcased within the Philadelphia Walgreens flagship store may serve as a first glimpse into the aspiration of the category. Titled “Wireless ways to wellness,” the set features app-friendly, wireless fitness devices. “Fitness devices will be [adopted] the fastest because they have the most active, computer-savvy [technicians] working with them,” Kellogg said. “Other devices like glucose [and] blood pressure monitors are heading there, but nowhere near as fast as the fitness products.”

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