New app connects clinicians, patients

Verizon showed off a new product last week that lets clinicians hold video chats with patients, as part of an effort to make health-care delivery more efficient.

The software is intended for evaluating simple conditions such as colds and flus, the company said. Patients can use the Verizon Virtual Visits app on their smartphones or tablets. After answering health-related questions, patients are connected to a clinician in a video chat. Clinicians can use the app to send a prescription to the patient’s pharmacy.

Any data shared between the clinician and patient is encrypted, Verizon said, and it is stored in an Internet cloud that complies with federal privacy requirements. Clinicians use two-step authentication — a user name and password in addition to a code sent to their cellphones — before they can see patients.

— Mohana Ravindranath

Internet of Things
Microsoft looks for automation start-ups

Microsoft is opening a business accelerator in Seattle for start-ups focused on home automation, a field including appliances that learn a user’s preferences and software that might help a user control objects from a smartphone, for instance.

In partnership with American Family Insurance, Microsoft plans to select a handful of start-ups and provide them with mentoring, temporary work spaces and access to software, among other services. The insurance company is also offering an optional $25,000 equity investment to each start-up entering the program.

Microsoft currently operates start-up accelerators — intended to help small companies grow — in Bangalore, India; Beijing; Berlin; London; Paris and Tel Aviv. The new accelerator will run from September through December, and interested start-ups can apply now.

— Mohana Ravindranath