Therapeutic Talk: The First Prescription Video Game Is for Kids Battling ADHD

The FDA approved the first-ever prescription video game. Akili Interactive’s EndeavorRx is an obstacle dodging, item collecting game that is designed to force a child’s attention on multiple tasks at a time, and can be played on an iPhone or iPad. After six years of clinical trials, one study finds that a third of attentive or combination type ADHD children who played the game 25 minutes a day, five days a week, for four consecutive weeks “no longer had a measurable attention deficit on at least one measure of objective attention.” This potential treatment cannot replace traditional medicine, however.

TeleMed Texts: Outcome Health Improves Virtual Waiting Rooms

With the shift to telehealth during the pandemic, Outcome Health realized that point of care also shifted from doctor’s offices to digital devices. The OH Virtual Waiting Room provides original content curated to a physician’s specialty to patients’ screens as they wait for their telehealth appointments. Rather than watching a load screen, patients of Outcome Health providers see friendly, engaging content that reduces their perceived wait time and keeps appointment abandonment low—a problem that occurs with some telemedicine solutions.

“The growing adoption of telemedicine over the past few months means the point of care space is shifting beyond the physical four walls of a physician’s office—it’s also your living room, your car, your computer screen, and your phone screen,” Matt McNally, CEO of Outcome Health, said in a statement. “In many ways, healthcare is more personal and more about choice than ever.”

The first OH Virtual Waiting Room to be launched features personalized content for a dermatology practice, addressing skin conditions, diseases, and care while proactively answering specialty-specific “frequently asked questions” to save time during the consultation. As the compatibility of the service with virtual devices improves, Outcome Health expects they will integrate content from nonprofits and health advocacy groups as well as sponsored content from pharma partners.

Med Device: New Face Mask Disinfected with Phone Charger

Israeli inventors created a reusable face mask that disinfects itself using heat powered from a phone charger. The mask has a USB port for any standard charger that then heats the fibers of the mask to 70° Celsius, high enough to kill viruses, including coronavirus. Professor Yair Ein-Eli, who led the research team at Technion University in Haifa says these masks can be exposed to dozens of disinfection cycles without damage and will prove to be much more economically and environmentally friendly than N95 disposable masks. The researchers already submitted for a patent in the U.S. and are discussing commercializing the product.

DC Dispatch: Value-Based Drug Price Proposal in the Works

Drug pricing has been veering towards a value-based approach for some time now, and a recent proposal from the Trump administration seeks to make this transition easier by outlining multiple options for drugmakers to report prices to Medicaid. This should make it simpler for producers and insurers to enter contracts that make drug price determinant on patient outcomes.

Traditionally, pharma companies are required to report their best prices to Medicaid, matching that price or providing a 23.1% rebate. This reporting becomes a problem when prices are based on patients’ response to drugs. The proposal outlines how pharma and biotech companies may report these new prices, one way being to average all prices based on different outcomes, which allows the company to balance instances where a drug underperformed and higher rebates were paid with times when the drug was successful and rebates were lower. Another method: Report all best prices for each possible outcome.

Pharma companies, such as Novartis, are calling this an important first step. It is becoming more important to iron out issues with the value-based approach as expensive cell and gene therapies hit the market with potential to have huge impacts on previously incurable diseases.

Discoveries/Innovations: Klick Health Revamps the Traditional Checkup

Klick Health redesigned the yearly checkup by creating a model that analyzes the body’s homeostasis system. While doctors currently check our temperature, blood pressure, and glucose levels at one specific time in office checkups, this design takes continuous data readings from vitals and puts them in a mathematical model to get a more comprehensive view of patients’ health and even helps predict chronic disease early by assessing the interdependence of health indicators.

The study, published in Nature Digital Medicine by Klick Labs in collaboration with Ontario Tech University, uses homeostasis values. These values are single metrics just like traditional biometrics taken at a doctor’s office, but they could give physicians a greater overview of patients’ health and more insight into their future health outcomes, with the ability to flag potential chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

Lennarert van Veen, PhD, Professor of Applied Mathematics at Ontario Tech University and a co-author of the study, stated, “We suspect that early warning signals for various chronic diseases are hidden in data we can easily measure, like body temperature or, in this study, blood glucose levels. To tease those signals out, we compared the test subject’s data to glucose levels predicted by a simple mathematical model. This approach seems to give us more insight than purely data-driven techniques.”

The research focused on diabetes flagging, which required gathering and evaluating data from the continuous glycemia of healthy, non-diabetic subjects to use in comparison with potential diabetic patients in a proportional-integral control system approach. The team believes this could also be used for diseases such as hypertension, depression, and other chronic illnesses.

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