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From a new auto-injector for allergies to the patient engagement divide: 5 must-read stories from MedCity News this week

Check out Friday’s MedHeads and catch up on the top stories of the week.

On Friday’s MedHeads, healthcare technology reporter Neil Versel and Digital Health Editor Stephanie Baum joined Chris Seper to review insights from the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C. this week.

Watch the broadcast above, but also review five important topics we looked at this week.

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1. Watch out, EpiPen: A better auto-injector for severe allergies is in the works

Boston-area startup Windgap Medical is going right up against the ubiquitous EpiPen: It’s working on a more streamlined version of the epinephrine auto-injector.

As allergies rise, so does the need for on-the-spot epinephrine treatment. Windgap wants to win a chunk of this fast-growing, $1.3 billion market.

2. Seven things we learned from the Teladoc IPO registration

Teladoc estimates that as much as one-third of all ambulatory care visits in the U.S. — including those at physician offices, outpatient clinics and hospital emergency departments — could be handled remotely with telehealth technology. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are about 1.25 billion ambulatory care visits a year, so based on Teladoc’s estimate, the annual market potential for telehealth is 417 million visits or $17 billion.

3. Teva Pharmaceuticals invests “tens of millions” in telemedicine startup American Well

Israeli generics giant Teva Pharmaceuticals is investing “tens of millions” of dollars into telemedicine startup American Well, Globes reports.

It’s an unconventional move that marks big pharma’s budding interest in telemedicine. The investment will help Teva “expand its solutions beyond medication,” CEO Erez Vigodman told Globes.

4. CMS opens claims database to private innovators

Entrepreneurs and other private-sector innovators will soon, for the first time, have access to voluminous federal healthcare data stores, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Tuesday. This reverses a longstanding rule that researchers could not use CMS data for commercial purposes.

5. These tweets perfectly sum up the divide on patient engagement

Why have providers fought even the modest requirement in Stage 2 Meaningful Use that 5 percent of patients view, download or transmit health data through a portal or personal health record?

There clearly is a divide between what healthcare providers believe is feasible right now and what patient advocates see as reasonable and possible, as evidenced by the backlash to a proposed change in Stage 2 rules to reduce the minimum from 5 percent to a single patient.

Photo: American Well