Feds to spend $6.5B on health IT in 2016

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 2, 2012        

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iPad 3The US federal government’s healthcare IT spending is set to increase by $2 billion between 2011 and 2016, according to a recent report by the research arm of Deltek. The firm found that 2011 spending hit about $4.5 billion and it will grow to $6.5 billion by 2016, marking an increasing of 7.5 percent CAGR. The report also found that overall federal healthcare expenditures will almost double from $766 billion in 2011 to $1.4 trillion in 2020. Health IT investments are seen as one way to help curb those costs.

Deltek’s senior principal analyst Angie Petty told InformationWeek that the demand for mobile access to medical records has also increased along with a growing demand for mobile health applications.

The increased spending on health IT will largely focus on electronic health records systems, IT infrastructure modernization, new payment systems, and IT related to population health management. Much of the spend will go toward modernizing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) systems in a move toward new payment models as well as to reduce fraud.

“It is Deltek’s belief that implementation of health IT will ultimately lower healthcare costs and expenditures while at the same time, improving population health,” Petty told InformationWeek. “The federal government will continue to push health IT within its own agencies and to states, localities, and commercial providers.”

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Berg: 2.2M patients remotely monitored globally

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 2, 2012        

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Qualcomm's 2net Hub

Qualcomm's 2net Hub

Approximately 2.2 million patients globally used a home-based remote monitoring device as of the end of 2011, according to a recent report from Berg Insight. The metric only accounts for devices that use fixed wireless, cellular, and fixed line connections. Devices that connected via smartphones or PCs were not included in the statistic. In addition, the number of home health monitoring devices in use with embedded cellular connectivity increased from 420,000 in 2010 to about 570,000 in 2011, and is expected to hit 2.47 million in 2016.

Berg also predicts that the number of remote home monitoring systems will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18 percent between 2010 and 2016, reaching 4.9 million by 2016. Devices that leverage cellular connectivity will grow 34.6 percent to reach the 2.47 million expected in 2016.

The most common chronic diseases being monitored include cardiac arrhythmia, sleep apnea, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with momentum gaining in devices for glucose monitoring and medication adherence. More than 200 million people in the US and Europe suffer from one or several chronic diseases where home monitoring is a treatment option.

In 2010, Berg found the the worldwide market for home health monitoring of “welfare diseases” to be worth about € 7.6 billion ($10 billion). It did not release a monetary figure for this year’s market.

“Home monitoring solutions that can communicate over a cellular network, landline connection or the Internet have already reached significant volumes within cardiac rhythm management, integrated telehealth solutions, sleep therapy and cardiac event monitoring,” stated Lars Kurkinen, Telecom Analyst at Berg Insight, in a press release.

Read the press release below. Keep reading>>

Does webOS have a future in healthcare?

By: Chris Gullo | Jan 2, 2012        

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mri1HP’s webOS platform may find new life as an open source operating system for healthcare applications. Researchers at Stanford University have developed applications for the HP TouchPad tablet, a discontinued webOS device, to operate an interventional MRI scanner and view patient respiration data and images gathered from the device.

Andrew B. Holbrook, a research associate at Stanford’s Department of Radiology, developed an application for the TouchPad to control the MRI’s operations by interfacing with a PC server located outside the MRI room. Computers currently used to control MRI machines are cumbersome, requiring special construction to reduce their amount of metallic components which pose a safety risk.

The TouchPad has multiple features useful for healthcare applications: its mostly plastic construction is ideal for being used near the MRI’s magnetized chamber (any metal components found within the tablet, such as a vibration motor and speakers, can be removed while keeping the device functional), and webOS’s multitasking support allows users to quickly switch between multiple applications. Keep reading>>

MobiHealthNews 2011 Year-End Reader Survey

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 22, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsIn a few days time MobiHealthNews will post its 2,000th article. We couldn’t have done it without your support.

Each and every day since late 2008 we have been covering the mobile health sector with news reports, commentaries, round-ups and analyses. In some ways mobile health has come a long way. In others, not much has changed.

For example, the second article MobiHealthNews ever published was about the new CPT code for mobile cardiac outpatient telemetry (MCOT) services like those provided by CardioNet. As regular readers may have noticed, we haven’t had the opportunity to post too many news reports about progress on the reimbursement since. I think that will begin to change at the end of next year, and it will be a big topic two years from now.

As 2011 comes to a close, MobiHealthNews is working up a series of year end reports. We’d like to hear from you.

What were the biggest news stories of 2011? What were the trends that mattered most to your mobile health deployments? Please take three to five minutes to fill out this quick 5 question survey about year-end trends and how we at MobiHealthNews might be able to make 2012 your most productive year yet.

Next week we will not be publishing our newsletter in honor of the upcoming holidays, but we’ll be posting some of your year-end thoughts along with some of our own in the weeks ahead.

Thank you for a very eventful 2011! And Happy Holidays from everyone here at MobiHealthNews!

MIM Software: App is a backup to fixed workstations

By: Neil Versel | Dec 22, 2011        

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Mobile MIM 3.0 iPadAs you learned from MobiHealthNews this week, MIM Software received a second FDA 510(k) clearance for its MobileMIM radiology app. In this case, the Food and Drug Administration approved MobileMIM radiology app for viewing x-rays and ultrasound images for diagnostic purposes. The federal agency also cleared the iPhone and iPad app for reviewing and approving of radiation therapy plans.

“Adding the additional modalities frees this up as a general radiology tool,” MIM Software CTO Mark Cain says in an interview with MobiHealthNews. “We’re finally seeing a general acceptance of mobile tools,” Cain reports. “It’s been a slow process.”

Mobile devices can be “sub-optimal” for viewing detailed images, Cain says. This is particularly true for the iPhone’s screen, which is tiny when compared with a fixed radiology workstation. “It’s more time-consuming to read an image on one of these devices.”

For this reason, the Cleveland-based company is marketing Mobile MIM as a convenience, not as a substitute for a traditional radiology setup. “It’s like a police officer having a gun,” Cain explains. “You would hope you wouldn’t have to use this, but what do you do when you can’t get to a workstation?”

Cain continues, “You can get that second opinion when it used to be very difficult to get.”

The app also can come in handy for low-resource hospitals that can’t afford to keep a radiologists on site around the clock and that don’t want to contract for teleradiology services. “There are many interesting use cases that can come out of this,” Cain says. Keep reading>>

Halamka to test ways to reduce mobile device distraction

By: Neil Versel | Dec 22, 2011        

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John HalamkaPerhaps the best-known hospital CIO in the country loves the potential of mobile devices to improve care, but he cautions that healthcare organizations had better understand and act to mitigate the risks mobility can introduce.

Writing on the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality’s Web M&M online journal, Dr. John Halamka, CIO of CareGroup Healthcare System in Boston, discusses his experience with mobile devices at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Halamka suggests hospitals need to develop best practices for employing mobile devices in clinical settings.

“At present, our mobile device policies [at BIDMC] include requirements to encrypt all data, to comply with specific password complexity settings and to follow infection control best practices,” the CIO writes. “We are investigating technologies to segregate personal and patient functions in a given device. We are also investigating the possibility of providing mobile devices to healthcare workers that can be checked out for a shift. To try to reduce security and distraction risks, we will pilot test several new policies such as restricting access to personal e-mail and social networking sites.”

According to Halamka, physicians and nurses at the hospital together have purchased more than 1,000 iPads and 1,600 iPhones with their own money—and that doesn’t even include other brands of smartphones clinicians might have. “Nearly 100 percent of our hospitalists and most of our emergency physicians use iPads for entering orders into the system, viewing test results and documenting in the medical record,” he writes.

He says that the multiple capabilities of smartphones—voice, text, video chat, photo sharing—make the devices powerful tools for coordinating care. But there are drawbacks, too. “Some studies conclude that such communication improves the quality of the work environment, patient safety, and care without increasing bedside interruptions. Others, however, note a significant increase in interruptions and disruption of workflow because of the lowered barrier to instant communication,” Halamka notes.

He cites a study at the hospital, published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine earlier this year, showing that physicians using iPads in the emergency department spent 39 fewer minutes at computer workstations per 8-hour shift than those who did not carry wireless tablets. “Presumably this time was spent performing their information-related tasks (order entry, results viewing and clinical documentation) at the bedside,” Halamka says. Keep reading>>