How mobile health can abide by HIPAA

By: Neil Versel | Apr 20, 2011        

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Diversinet MobiSecure HealthLest anyone forget, the HITECH Act not only provides some $27 billion in financial incentives for healthcare providers to switch to electronic health records, it strengthens HIPAA privacy and security provisions and increases the penalties for violating HIPAA. This, according to one vendor, partially explains why some organizations have been slow to provide patients with mobile access to health data.

“Many healthcare providers and insurers still are on the sidelines when it comes to transmitting sensitive health information to patients’ mobile phones for a number of reasons,” says a new white paper from Diversinet, producer of a secure platform for developing mobile healthcare applications.

“There’s a lot of confusion in the marketplace about security and privacy,” Hussam Mahgoub, senior vice president for corporate development and research (and resident security specialist) at Diversinet, explains to MobiHealthNews. Mostly, providers are a bit scared after recent news that the Department of Health and Human Services fined Maryland’s Cignet Health $4.3 million for denying 41 patients access to their medical records and reached a $1 million settlement with Massachusetts General Hospital after a hospital employee left protected health information about 192 patients on a subway train.

While neither of these incidents involved mobile technologies—unless paper counts as a technology—the penalties should provide a wake-up call to any healthcare organizations looking to push data to mobile devices, according to Diversinet.

“The problem begins when the data starts leaving the server,” Mahgoub says. The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol for protecting data transmitted through Web browsers doesn’t necessarily provide end-to-end security, according to Mahgoub. “There could be an exposure in between [a server and a mobile browser].” Plus, mobile devices tend to get lost.

“In evaluating the security risks of accessing and storing PHI on a mobile device, healthcare providers and payers should assume that the security built into today’s mobile devices is not sufficient, regardless of operating systems, messaging capabilities or applications,” the Diversinet paper reads.

“I think the problem right now is at the device itself,” adds Mahgoub. Keep reading>>

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Top five medical apps at Harvard Medical School

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 19, 2011        

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Halamka 3Harvard Medical School encourages its students to take advantage of the growing number of mobile medical apps. While the school does not distribute devices to its students, they are instructed to bring their favorite devices to campus and HMS maintains licenses for apps that might be useful to its students.

So which apps are most popular with HMS students? The school’s CIO just conducted a survey to find out.

The MyCourse Learning Management System where med students can access their course materials online also sports a tab for mobile applications students can download–many now for the iPad. Here are the top five mobile apps for Harvard Medical School students according to Chief Information Officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as well as CIO and Dean for Technology at Harvard Medical School, Dr John Halamka: Keep reading>>

Survey: 13 percent of health devices are connected

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 18, 2011        

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FitbitA recent IDC survey confirms that there is still a lot of growth potential for adoption of personal health monitoring services among consumers.

IDC Health Insight’s latest study based on an online survey of 1,200 people explores consumer’s health technology use and purchase behavior of personal health and fitness monitoring, mobile health applications, medical care in non-traditional settings, personal health records and aging in place technologies.

Only 15.3 percent of the respondents said they used some kind of health or fitness monitoring device. About 6.2 percent used devices for monitoring fitness, while 9.1 percent used devices to monitor health conditions. Some 7.6 percent of those surveyed said they used a health or fitness device in the past but not anymore. Not surprisingly, the most widely used devices were glucometers and blood pressure monitors—together making up over 60 percent of devices used by respondents. Additionally, only 13.4 percent of survey takers who said they used devices currently use wired or wireless devices. More than 10 percent did not know whether the device they used had those capabilities.

Consumers satisfied with their personal monitoring device reported that ease of use, peace of mind and the feeling of more control over their health condition were the top reasons they were happy with their device. Over 30 percent of dissatisfied consumers reported price as the main issue with their device. The market is primarily a self-pay market, according to IDC, with nearly 60 percent paying 100 percent out of pocket for a device. On average the maximum price consumers said they would pay for a device is $97 and the average maximum monthly subscription fee would be $28. Keep reading>>

The 9 wireless health investments so far this year

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 14, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsIn the short three months since 2011 began already investors have announced or disclosed to the SEC nine investments in various mobile and wireless health startups. More than a year ago we tallied up the 15 venture capital deals announced during all of 2009. Clearly investment in mobile health and interest has come a long way since then — this year also saw the planned launch of Rock Health Fund, an incubator for medical app startups.

We just put the finishing touches on our newest paid research report: Mobile Health Q1 2011 State of the Industry, which includes a round-up of the most important news and announcements from healthcare providers, payors, mobile operators, pharma companies, regulators, investors, research firms and more. Here’s a look at the round-up of investment deals we covered during the first quarter of 2011 in order of deal size:

1. Cellnovo – $48 million – Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners (EdRIP), Forbion Capital Partners; Auriga Partners, NBGI Ventures, and Credit Agricole Private Equity and others – The company is known for its wireless-enabled insulin pump and is now touting its “iTunes-like” software platform.

2. Doximity – $10.8 million – Emergence Capital Partners and InterWest Partners – Doximity is a medical communications platform that uses social networking technologies to enable doctors to communicate securely with one another.

3. Basis – $9 million – Norwest Venture Partners and Doll Capital Management – The company’s device called Basis Band measures the wearer’s heart rate and other vital signs.

4. HealthTap – $2.35 million – Mohr Davidow Ventures and Esther Dyson, Mark Leslie, Aaron Patzer – Healthtap plans to create an “expert health companion” that improves interactivity between physicians and patients.

5. Massive Health – $2.25 million – Felicis VC, Greylock Discovery Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, Mohr Davidow Ventures and Charles River Ventures – Massive Health is still in stealth (which it calls ninja) mode, but it says it will create smartphone apps for chronic disease management.

6. BL Healthcare – $2 million – Verizon Ventures, n/a – BL offers a touchscreen home health monitoring hub among other devices and services.

7. Toumaz – $2 million – Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong – Toumaz’s CE-marked Life Pebble device includes a single lead ECG, skin thermometer, and an accelerometer, which enables it to track physical activity.

8. Sproxil – $1.8 million – Acumen Fund – Sproxil uses text messages to authenticate pharmaceutical products in Africa with a scratch-off code.

9. Endomondo – $800,000 – SEED Capital of Denmark – Endomondo provides GPS tracking of any distance sport.

For more of our Q1 report visit the MobiHealthNews research store here.

Hospitals won’t ever go completely wireless

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 14, 2011        

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iPad medicalLast month Aruba Networks, one of the big enterprise wireless networking vendors, added device access control specifically for Apple iOS devices to help hospital IT departments and other CIOs to better manage the growing number of Apple devices finding their way into hospitals and the enterprise.

Aruba customer Boston Medical Center plans to institute a “bring your own device” (BYOD) to work policy because of the high interest among its healthcare workers in using their personal iPads on-site.

“We are about to open up our BYOD to work and the iPad is the driver of that,” Boston Medical Center’s manager of data, voice, and security networks Lee Cullivan wrote in an email. ”[The iPad] will be our first non-hospital supported mobile device officially allowed on the network.”

Cullivan said his center uses Citrix to enable iPad users to access parts of the center’s electronic medical records system.

“[The BYOD initiative will] save IT a ton of time and money but also help hospital personnel to feel like IT is an enabler. In the past IT has always said no to personal devices but with device fingerprinting, and the ability to place personal machines into specific roles that deny access at the controller level, IT looks good again,” Cullivan said.

Aruba Networks Director of Healthcare Solutions Gerry Festa told MobiHealthNews that the role of wireless networks is changing dramatically. What was once a network primarily used to service clinicians at their workstations or on laptops is now being used for many more devices.

“Overall we are seeing an onslaught of devices,” Festa said. “That includes hospital provided devices, employee brought devices, patient devices, guest devices. Of course, these devices are running different types of applications that require different levels of service engagements.” Keep reading>>

QxMD updates app at same time supporting medical research is published

By: Neil Versel | Apr 13, 2011        

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QxMD iPad CalculateIn hopes of rapidly pushing new knowledge into clinical practice, mobile medical calculator developer QxMD has collaborated with a major journal and a research team to introduce an app based on new research at the same time the study lead presented the evidence at a conference.

Monday at the annual World Congress of Nephrology, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dr. Navdeep Tangri of Boston-based Tufts Medical Center presented a paper in which he discussed an equation he and colleagues developed to calculate the risk of renal failure and the need for dialysis in patients with chronic kidney disease. Right about the time Tangri was speaking, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the paper online and QxMD unveiled an update to its Calculate by QxMD medical calculator for the iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry platforms based on Tangri’s predictive model.

Knowing a patient’s age, gender and test results for estimated kidney function, urine protein, blood calcium, phosphorus, bicarbonate and albumin levels, the model helps determine the probability of kidney failure two and five years down the line for someone with Stage 3 to 5 chronic kidney disease, according to Tangri’s paper.

Dr. Daniel Schwartz, founder of Vancouver-based QxMD, said this was the first time a mobile medical app had been released simultaneously with the presentation of new medical research. Schwartz tells MobiHealthNews that he and Tangri wanted to speed the acceptance of this new model into the practice of nephrology. Keep reading>>