Survey: Most providers investing in remote patient monitoring for post-discharge

By: admin | Nov 24, 2015        

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By Jessica Davis, Associate Editor, Healthcare IT News

ipad-reworkedAs they look to population health management, nearly two-thirds of hospitals and healthcare systems have adopted remote patient monitoring and analytics into their care processes, but there’s a long journey ahead before many get their strategies down.

“The initiatives have yet to be defined, as it’s a departure on how physicians and care teams have been trained in the past,” Gregg Malkary, managing director of the Spyglass Consulting Group, tells Healthcare IT News.

As they look to population health management, nearly two-thirds of hospitals and healthcare systems and have adopted remote patient monitoring and analytics into their care processes, but there’s a long journey ahead before many get their strategies down.  Keep reading>>


Fitbit adds auto-detection of biking, running, elliptical, and more

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 23, 2015        

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Fitbit Surge

Fitbit Surge

Fitbit has added a new functionality to its Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge trackers that will enable the device to readily distinguish between different kinds of movement, and has also upgraded the heart rate sensors in the trackers.

The automatic exercise recognition feature, called SmartTrack, will be automatically pushed out to current users of the two devices in an update. With the update, the user’s Fitbit will be able to automatically identify when users are on the elliptical, biking outdoors, running, or walking. It can also pick up the general categories of sports and aerobic activities. Users can decide which activities they want to count as exercise and how long they need to participate in an activity before the Fitbit starts tracking it.

“Our users find exercise in all parts of their day, including activities like short walks with the dog or a bike commute to work,” Tim Roberts, VP of Interactive at Fitbit, said in a statement. “These new features allow them to focus on their exercise, giving them credit for their most active moments and letting the technology do the work to automatically track progress toward their fitness goals.” Keep reading>>

PatientPop raises $10M to help providers market, grow their practices

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 23, 2015        

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PatientPopPatientPop, which offers a marketing service that doctors can use to grow their practice, raised $10 million from Toba Capital. This brings the company’s funding to $13.3 million.

“Providers today recognize the front door of their practice has moved online; they realize the importance of having a professional web presence, good reputation, and a technology strategy that helps acquire and retain patients,” PatientPop Founder and Co-CEO Travis Schneider said in a statement. “With PatientPop, physicians no longer have to spend countless hours and an exorbitant budget to cobble together this solution in piecemeal.”

The company’s service aims to help practices acquire more patients, get better reviews online, drive repeat visits, and track marketing analytics. PatientPop also offers appointment booking features so that patients will be able to schedule appointments. The service also sends patients a followup appointment reminder via text when the appointment is approaching. Keep reading>>

Philips launches FDA-cleared smartphone-connected ultrasound device

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 23, 2015        

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Philips LumifyPhilips has launched its smartphone- and tablet-connected ultrasound system for physicians, called Lumify, in the United States, just a few weeks after it was cleared by the FDA for prescription use. The system is available for a month-to-month subscription starting at $199.

The system consists of the Lumify transducer, which connects to the app via USB connection; the companion app, available on Android devices; and access to an online support portal that provides users with training resources as well as account management tools. The online support portal has not yet launched, but Philips said it is coming soon.

“In an increasingly connected world where the power of technology is at our fingertips, it’s no longer enough to create an ultrasound product or service,” Philips Vice President and Business Segment Leader for Ultra Mobile Randy Hamlin said in a statement. “At Philips, we create solutions holistically with the patient at the center. Lumify leverages advanced digital health technology to provide critical information to the right people at the right time, transforming how we approach care delivery and connecting the various touch points along the health continuum.” Keep reading>>

Patient-centered healthcare is broadly supported, but has many meanings

By: Jonah Comstock | Nov 23, 2015        

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Michael Millenson

There appears to be a broad consensus that patient-centeredness is important to the future of healthcare, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. But peeking under the surface of that apparent consensus reveals that the term means many things to many people, and that not all patient-centric initiatives are complementary.

“While the umbrella term ‘patient-centered care’ attracts near-universal acclaim, it encompasses three separate concepts that can overlap, be synergistic or even conflict with each other,” co-authors Michael Millenson, president of Health Quality Advisors, and Robert Berenson, an Institute fellow, write. “The ethical aspect of patient autonomy relies heavily on notions of individual rights and free choice founded on more than a century of legal decisions establishing every person’s right to be fully informed about a proposed treatment. The economic aspect of patient-centeredness, on the other hand, puts the patient in the position of a customer. … Meanwhile, the clinical partnership domain focuses on communication and collaboration as a means of achieving the goal of better outcomes.”


Robert Berenson

The Urban report argues that while it’s possible to pursue all these different versions of patient-centeredness, they won’t always line up.

“Patients may choose a provider in part based on price, but the successful shopper expects a clinical partnership rather than the caveat emptor relationship of seller-buyer once inside the exam room,” the authors write. “On the other side of the stethoscope, physicians worry what happens to their ethical obligations if a ‘patient’ becomes the ‘customer.'”

Other challenges to patient-centeredness have to do with the many government groups working to emphasize the notion. Millenson and Berenson suggest that requirements and associated efforts from the Affordable Care Act, the HITECH Act, and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and others, while admirable in and of themselves, aren’t well coordinated.

“These efforts in HHS and elsewhere in the federal government should be comprehensively catalogued and subjected to the same strategic scrutiny as other care improvement activities,” they write. “That hasn’t yet happened, yet is particularly important at a time of rapid innovation in patient-generated health data.” Keep reading>>

Circle Medical raises $2.9M for primary care house call app

By: Aditi Pai | Nov 23, 2015        

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Circle MedicalSan Francisco-based Circle Medical, which has developed a doctor house call app, raised $2.9 million in a round led by Collaborative Fund with participation from Tencent, Real Ventures, Kima Ventures, Paul Buchheit, a partner at Y Combinator, and YouTube cofounder Jawed Karim, according to Venture Beat.

There are a number of other app-based house call services on the market, but Circle Medical’s offering is slightly different. Instead of focusing exclusively on urgent care, Circle Medical also aims to provide patients with a primary care physician. Types of visits that Circle Medical offers include annual wellness exams, vaccinations and flu shots, chronic condition management, and treatment if the user is sick or injured. If the patient ends up needing a blood test, the physician will order the exam and the lab technician will come to the patient.

The app first asks users to scan their insurance card so that Circle Medical can verify patients’ insurance and provide a price for the visit based on their benefits. From there, patients can pick a date, time, and location, and the app will notify patients when a doctor is on their way. Circle Medical accepts Anthem Blue Cross, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Health Net, and Cigna. If users do not have insurance, the visit costs $200.

While patients will have a primary physician who is responsible for their annual wellness exams and overall care, if patients want a same-day visit, Circle Medical matches users with an available physician. The company said that although it does not offer gynecology or pediatrics at the moment, it plans to add those services eventually. Keep reading>>