Weekly MaxWellness - 6/27

The absolute latest in wellness, from #wearables to #mhealth.

What you need to know this week in the world of wellness, compiled by our in-house mobile wellness geek extraordinaire, Taylor Pechacek. If you want this automatically delivered to your email address once a week, go ahead and subscribe here.

The race to dominate digital health heats up

  • Each is a play to become the consumer platform for health, a one-stop hub for a person’s own biometric data as well as personalized insights and health content. It’s the latest in a long line of fierce wars for the mobile customer, which have ranged across phone specs, developer loyalty, navigation services, music, media and more.

Understanding health insurance is like learning a foreign language for new enrollees

  • She couldn’t figure out what was covered and what wasn’t. Why weren’t her anti-depressant medications included? Why did she have to pay $60 to see a doctor? The insurance jargon - deductible, co-pay, premium, co-insurance - was like a foreign language. What did it mean?

Batch of recent Apple patents describe system of interconnected sensors for health

  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published three Apple patent applications covering a method in which an iPhone, along with one or more remote wearable sensors, gathers and processes raw data to track a user's activity level, as well as control certain scheduling functions like alarms.

Fitness app usage is growing 87% faster than overall app market

  • A new report from Flurry Analytics shows that health and fitness apps are growing at a faster rate than the overall app market so far in 2014. The analytics firm looked at data from more than 6,800 apps in the category on the iPhone and iPad and found that usage (measured in sessions) is up 62% in the last six months compared to 33% growth for the entire market, an 87% faster pace.

Google Ventures' Bill Maris on moving medicine out of the Dark Ages

  • The focus on the space at least in part reflects the background of Google Ventures’Managing Partner Bill Maris. He studied neuroscience at Middlebury College and neurobiology at Duke University. In his early career, he was the health care portfolio manager at Swedish investment firm Investor AB.

Withings unveils a slick new fitness tracker disguised as an analog watch

  • Up until now, the marketplace for wrist wearables has been largely comprised of sporty-looking bracelets with a silicone finish. But today Withings, a French product company and early player in the connected health space, is releasing a fitness tracker worth coveting. It’s at once a sartorial throwback, and a step forward for wearables.

Misfit embeds its tracking algorithms into Pebble smartwatches

  • Misfit, formerly Misfit Wearables, the maker of the jewelry-like Shine activity tracker, has partnered with smartwatch-maker Pebble to integrate its algorithms into that company’s device. According to a Misfit spokesperson, the deal marks the deepest integration to date for Misfit, which also plans to make an open API available to partners in the future.

Google unveils Google Fit, fitness platform for developers

  • Google announced Google Fit just a few weeks after Apple announced its HealthKit platform for iOS 8. While Apple’s Health app could potentially integrate with — not only activity trackers — but also connected medical devices like glucometers and medication adherence apps, as the name implies, Google Fit seems to be focused squarely on fitness. Apple’s HealthKit was also developed with input from the Mayo Clinic and is set to be integrated with Epic Systems’ EHR.