HEALTH

Wahl launches wearable massage device

BY Michael Johnsen

STERLING, Ill. — Wahl on Wednesday introduced the new Wahl Pulsing Massage Patch. According to Wahl, it's the first and only wearable massage device that adheres to the body and uses massaging pulses to ease pain.
 
“There's a growing demand for natural, safe and convenient pain relief options,” Jenny McLaughlin, product manager for Wahl Therapeutic Massagers, said. “Whether your pain is chronic or once in a while, the wearable design of our new massaging patch is the perfect solution for people looking to feel like themselves again – quickly and easily.”
 
The lightweight and flexible patch design has reusable adhesive gel pads that conform to the body, while four vibrating motors massage separate areas. These massaging pulses increase blood circulation to relieve tension and soreness while promoting the healing of sore muscles. Great for lower and upper back pain, the patch covers a large surface area but can also be used for pinpointed problem areas.
 
The patch also offers customizable pain relief as the motors can be programmed at six different intensity levels ranging from gentle to intense, and six varying pulsing sequences offer different patterns of massage.
 
The Wahl Pulsing Massage Patch has a suggested retail price of $34.99, and is currently available at Walgreens, the company reported. 
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J.D. Power ranks top blood glucose meters

BY Michael Johnsen

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Two-thirds of all diabetes patients who report being satisfied with their blood glucose meter recommend that meter to a friend, according to the J.D. Power's 2015 U.S. Blood Glucose Meter Satisfaction study, released Thursday.
 
Knowing which meter is delivering on that patient satisfaction is important, as a growing number of diabetes patients are buying their meters and strips within the retail pharmacy setting, as opposed to their doctor's offices, J.D. Power reported. The most common location to obtain a meter continues to shift toward chain drug stores (22% in 2015 vs. 16% in 2013) and mass merchandisers (16% in 2015 vs. 12% in 2013), and away from doctor’s offices (19% in 2015 vs. 24% in 2013). 
 
The J.D. Power survey measured customer satisfaction with blood glucose meters based on six factors (in order of importance): performance (26%); ease of use (24%); design (20%); features (19%); cost of test strips (6%); and training (5%). Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale. 
 
Roche Diagnostics ranks highest in satisfaction with a score of 839, up 16 points from 2014, performing particularly well in the six satisfaction factors measured by J.D. Power. Abbott Laboratories (827) ranks second. No other brand ranks above industry average, J.D. Power reported.
 
Training materials that are accessible and easy to understand contribute to an overall increase in satisfaction, and satisfaction is significantly higher when patients understand how to use their meter. Satisfaction with training is 823, up a significant 14 points from 2014 and 25 points from 2013. When users receive written training materials, overall satisfaction is 20 points higher than the industry average; 19 points higher when users receive online information; and 16 points higher when users view a demonstration video online. 
 
In contrast, when users do not receive any training materials, satisfaction declines by 17 points. Ensuring that users completely understand the written training materials is a key performance indicator, providing an 88-point lift in overall satisfaction when it is met.
 
While written materials remain the most common training support provided, just 38% of meter users receive written materials, down from 43% in 2014. However, the use of training information online has increased to 16% from 11% year over year, and the use of demo videos online has increased to 14% from 9%.  
 
“In an era of instant information where consumers readily search the Internet for information or ‘how-to’ videos on healthcare topics of interest, blood glucose meter training is no exception,” Rick Johnson, director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power, said. “Rather than having consumers view a random YouTube video about meter usage, blood glucose meter manufacturers need to meet the needs of their customers for easier access to information. This can be accomplished by providing training materials—such as instructional videos—that are easy to access, watch and understand, regardless of whether customers are doing so from home or using a mobile device on the go.” 
 
According to Johnson, manufacturers need to ensure users understand any changes to a new model and clearly show where users can view instructional videos. Knowing how to use the meter builds confidence in the accuracy of the test results, ultimately leading to satisfaction and loyalty.
 
Some of the other key findings include: 
 
  • Satisfaction with meter features continues to increase, up by 21 points from 2013 to 805 this year, with the most often used feature being the large print on display screen option. When meter users regularly use the large print option, overall satisfaction increases by 55 points. Nearly half (47%) of users indicate they regularly use this feature, and 21% say it is the most important feature on their meter;
  • Test strips are critically important to the customer experience. Satisfaction with the cost of test strips factor improves significantly to 767, which is an improvement of 26 points from 2014. Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) users indicate they have no limit on the number of strips that will be reimbursed or paid for each month. Users want them to be easy to use, affordable and interchangeable; and
  • Among customers using a free meter, satisfaction increases to 847 when they have a choice of four or more meters, compared with 818 when they have no choices. More than two-thirds (68%) of meter users obtain their meter free of charge.
The 2015 U.S. Blood Glucose Meter Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 2,026 adults or parents of children with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The study was fielded from July 27, 2015, through Aug. 7, 2015. Overall satisfaction with blood glucose meters has increased to 826 this year, up 3 points from 2014.
 
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Beddit Smart partners with Apple Watch to help users sleep easy

BY Michael Johnsen

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Beddit on Tuesday released its first Apple Watch app that integrates with its sensor device, Beddit Smart, to provide around-the-clock sleep tracking, personalized coaching and convenient glances with information on sleep quality. 
 
"A great day starts with a good night's sleep. Anyone who wants to achieve more recognizes that poor sleep saps their energy and concentration," stated Lasse Leppäkorpi, CEO of Beddit. "And now, with Apple Watch, we provide around-the-clock, accurate sleep tracking, to encourage better sleep patterns for a more rewarding day. It's an important and effortless tool for developing a deeper understanding of personal sleep patterns."
 
"Looking forward to the holiday season, people are seeking new ways their devices can improve their health, fitness and quality of life. Beddit addresses a great untapped path to self-improvement – better sleep – with a proven product that couldn't be easier to use," added Sami Inkinen, founder of Trulia, top triathlete, and Beddit board member. "The Apple Store provides a perfect setting for people to find and buy Beddit Smart, getting more out of their Apple devices, their sleep and ultimately, their lives."
 
"Health and fitness technology has progressed exponentially in recent years, thanks in large part to the wide deployment of sensors and ubiquity of smartphones – and the advancement of sleep technology is no different," said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research, Consumer Electronics Association. "Joint research from CEA and the National Sleep Foundation shows sleep technology in its various forms is having a positive impact on users' sleep with almost half of owners that say they feel healthier since using the technology."
 
Beddit makes any bed a smart bed by combining an ultra-thin sensor placed under the bed sheet with the Apple Watch and an iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod touch). There is nothing to wear and nothing to do but go to sleep. Sleep tracking begins automatically at bedtime, tracking heart rate, respiration, movement, snoring and sleep cycles. In the morning, a personalized SleepScore indicates overall sleep quality and delivers tailored coaching for better sleep in the future.
 
Tightly integrated with Apple's HealthKit, iOS 9 and watchOS 2, the new Beddit Apple Watch app extends Beddit Smart's night time tracking with daytime alerts and information. The new Nap feature helps people address their sleep deficit, improving overall health and wellness. The Beddit Watch app uses new features in watchOS 2 to create an enhanced sleep and nap experience using the Digital Crown and Accelerometer on Apple Watch.
 
With Beddit Smart, sleep tracking begins automatically at bedtime. The sensor rests between the mattress and bed sheet, sending data on movement, breathing and heart rate to an iOS device via Bluetooth. Beddit automatically collects and analyzes sleep related data with clinical accuracy. A patented design and proprietary manufacturing process results in an ultra-thin piezo sensor film technology that automatically detects when a person is in the bed, creating a completely ambient experience. Beddit's data is shared with Apple's Health App and Beddit Family, the companion web app for families, groups or teams, with in-depth historical data results.
 
Beddit Smart is $149.95. The required iOS app is available in the App Store at no charge.
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