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5 must-read stories this week: McKesson-Change Healthcare deal, digital health lessons from Disney

Plus, a sound-based smartphone app may be an alternative to X-rays for detecting fractures, a health IT CEO loses it on social media and eClinicalHealth tackles remote monitoring for clinical trials.

McKesson HQ

Every week, we compile the most popular and thoughtful stories on MedCity News. Among this week’s highlights, McKesson is moving its IT division — a tiny part of its overall business — into a new company that also will include technology from Change Healthcare, while a wearable technology in use at Disney theme parks offers a lesson for digital health innovators.

1. McKesson, Change Healthcare combining IT businesses into new, $3.4B company

The new venture will serve payers, providers and consumers with financial and administrative technology to improve the increasingly complex tasks of medical billing and reimbursements, McKesson and Change Healthcare said. Both companies spoke of capitalizing on the movement in healthcare to a value-based purchasing and delivery system.

2. What does Disney’s MagicBand have to do with implementing digital health?

Digital health is a critical part of the conversation at the DIA conference in Philadelphia this week, particularly as to how it is playing a role in the design of clinical studies. In a session on strategies enable digital health approaches to scale from pilots to platforms, John Reites of Quintiles took a moment to talk about a wearable platform that he thinks offers some important lessons for how the healthcare industry should be thinking about using wearables. Perhaps surprisingly, it comes from the land of Disney.

3. Can a sound-based smartphone app replace X-rays to identify bone fractures?

Having already invented a commercially available electronic tuning fork to diagnose diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the Orono, Maine-based podiatrist adapted the technique for the smartphone with the aim of identifying fractures. FractureDx is an early-stage device that consists of a smartphone attached to a high-sensitivity microphone and stethoscope for picking up the resulting sound. A smartphone app interprets the soundwaves and automatically returns a diagnosis of fracture or no fracture.

4. How a health IT CEO shouldn’t behave on social media

Spats on social media happen all the time. Just read the comments on any random YouTube video or Google “celebrity Twitter fights.”

But have you ever heard of a longtime, accomplished health IT entrepreneur and executive launching a personal attack on business-focused networking site LinkedIn?

5. eClinicalHealth co-founders on challenge of making remote monitoring for clinical trials manageable

The pharma industry has been experimenting with remote patient monitoring for clinical trials for some time, but barriers remain. Chief among them: too much technology for drug companies, trial sites, and participants to manage, according to the co-founders of eClinicalHealth.

Photo: Flickr user thespanishpeach