Beth Israel launches pilot that lets patients read therapists’ notes

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 8, 2014        

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Open Notes Tom DelbancoBoston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has launched a pilot in which 700 mental health patients receive access to their therapists’ notes on their laptop or smartphone, according to a must-read report in the New York Times.

“Nationally, the momentum is shifting in favor of transparency in the medical record, but understandable caution and controversy remain when it comes to mental health notes,” lead author and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr Michael Kahn, wrote in a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article on the pilot.

This pilot is an extension of a rather famous trial that Beth Israel participated in a few years ago, called OpenNotes. In the OpenNotes program, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, more than 13,500 primary care patients were given access to their physicians’ notes via an online portal and electronic messaging. More than 100 physicians participated in that trial. In the end, close to 11,800 patients opened at least one note during the study, which took place at two other healthcare facilities as well: Geisinger Health System (GHS) in Pennsylvania and Harborview Medical Center (HMC) in Washington.  Keep reading>>


Mt. Sinai offers iPads to patients to track their stay

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 8, 2014        

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Mount Sinai- Patient iPads - Home ScreenNew York City-based Mt. Sinai Medical Center has begun offering iPads to patients to keep track of their hospital stay. The central feature of the app, Patient Itinerary, allows patients to stay informed about when they are scheduled for surgeries, lab tests, and consultations.

“If you have a patient that’s here for five or six days, they really don’t know what’s going to be happen during the course of their day,” Michael DeCarlo, director of health IT at Mt. Sinai, told MobiHealthNews. “So that was really the driver behind creating the patient itinerary.”

The Mayo Clinic implemented a similar pilot in an outpatient context for patients recovering from heart surgery. That app included an assessment component, but also equipped users with a schedule and to-do list for the day. DeCarlo said that pilot was an inspiration for Mt. Sinai, but that they’re applying the same ideas to an inpatient context. Currently, about 50 iPads are deployed across six units in the hospital.

“There are certain units this isn’t really appropriate for,” DeCarlo said. “If we have a surgical unit where the patients are incapacitated and still recovering from anesthesia, they’re really not going to check an iPad. Somebody who’s more alert and conscious, those are the units we’re targeting.” Keep reading>>

Eight more digital health crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 8, 2014        

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Since MobiHealthNews’ most recent roundup in June, at least eight more digital health and fitness crowdfunding campaigns have launched on Kickstarter. This time, many of the devices and apps focused on specializing in a specific fitness category. One campaign offered a platform specifically for triathletes to train for events, while another created a tool that is designed to track the movements that tennis players make on the court.

Although Kickstarter recently altered its requirements to further explain, among other things, which health-related campaigns were not allowed on the site, the ones that have launched since have shown which could make it past the new filters. They include a smartphone breathalyzer, headphones that measure heart rate and blood oxygen saturation, and an app that aims to support family caregivers.

Below are eight crowdfunding campaigns that have recently launched on Kickstarter.

2nd Circle

2nd Circle Facebook app

According to the Kickstarter page, this Facebook app aims to help family caregivers receive the support they need to avoid stress and fatigue, which might lead to hospitalization. The description explains that the first circle of care includes the primary care physician, specialist, paid caregiver, and family caregiver. The second circle includes the family caregiver’s spouse, siblings, and close friends.

Facebook is where people go when they want to be distracted, according to 2nd Circle, so it decided to use the platform to reach the family caregiver and allow them to communicate with a close circle of friends when they are feeling isolated. The app also allows caregivers to add times for doctor’s appointments with contact information so that family caregivers’ friends and families can help them with their daily tasks.

The app has currently raised $885 of its $30,000 goal.

Keep reading>>

Utah health system Intermountain launches patient app

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 8, 2014        

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IntermontainSalt Lake City, Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare has released its second patient-facing app, called Intermountain Health Hub. The app, available from both the iOS AppStore and the Google Play store, contains a number of different features and functions for Intermountain patients including medical reference information, information for locating care, and access to health records.

The app has three different features for locating care. “Instacare” helps users locate an urgent care center within the Intermountain system. It also allows them to compare wait times at different locations and to hold a spot in line before they arrive. Two other search features let users search for doctors — by location, specialty, or name — and facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. Another feature is specifically dedicated to pharmacies, allowing users to refill prescriptions and check the status of prescriptions.

For users who are experiencing an actual illness or disease event, the app contains a symptom checker, in which users can enter their symptoms or their child’s symptoms and the app will tell them whether they need to see a doctor or treat themselves with some form of self-care. The app also has a first aid guide for common injuries.

Another particularly interesting feature is called GermWatch, which uses location data to let the user see “how active various germs are in your area and around the state, and see how their activity level is trending,” according to the app store description. The app gives information about symptoms, how germs are spread, treatments, vaccinations, and when to call a doctor as well. GermWatch was previously released as its own separate app.

Finally, the app allows users to both access the patient portal to their EHR and to pay medical bills through the app. In the My Health patient portal, users can securely message their doctor, access lab results, and review claims and benefits. One more feature lets users send personalized cards to patients in the hospital via the app.  Keep reading>>

Iron Yard launches second class of 9 digital health startups

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 7, 2014        

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PillFill, from Apothesource

PillFill, from Apothesource

The Iron Yard, a digital health accelerator based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has announced its second class of nine companies, according to a report from the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

The accelerator launched last year with an eye toward promoting startups in the southeastern US that are working on big medical problems. Startups receive $20,000 in seed funding and a number of perks in exchange for 6 percent equity in their company. Perks include legal and financial advice, office space, and living space on-site for companies who relocate from out of town.

The Southeast in general is a different market,” Peter Barth, managing director at the Iron Yard told MobiHealthNews at the time. “We’re not Silicon Valley, we’re not trying to be Silicon Valley.” He explained that the accelerator is looking for startups who are solving a particular problem in the healthcare space and who want to build a long-lasting company, not startups that are just looking to be acquired.

Here are the nine startups that will be joining the accelerator:  Keep reading>>

OMsignal raises $10M for health-sensing clothing line

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 7, 2014        

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OMsignal fitness shirtMontreal, Canada-based smart clothing maker OMsignal raised $10 million in a round led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP). Existing investors also participated in the round including Real Ventures, Mistral Venture Partners, Golden Venture Partners, David Cohen (managing partner at Techstars), Flextronics, and Primera Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to at least $11 million.

OMsignal CEO and cofounder Stéphane Marceau told MobiHealthNews in an email that the company will use some of the funds to explore partnerships with fitness and sportswear apparel companies.

OMsignal manufactures clothing embedded with various health sensors. The shirt captures ECG, activity, breathing patterns and “emotive” states on a continuous basis. A small device that the user must clip on to the shirt sends data from the shirt’s sensors to a companion smartphone app via Bluetooth. Users can then view all of their metrics from the smartphone app. The shirts come in long sleeve, short sleeve, and sleeveless options. While OMsignal shirts are still only available for pre-order, Marceau said they plan to begin shipments this summer.

Keep reading>>