Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers tap Asthmapolis for asthma management

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 25, 2013        

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AsthmapolisMadison, Wisconsin-based Asthmapolis, which offers an FDA-cleared inhaler sensor and companion app, announced a deal with San Diego-based Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers. The hospital will offer the Asthmapolis platform as part of its asthma respiratory health management program.

Asthmapolis’ device is a sensor that attaches to most inhalers for patients who have asthma or COPD. The sensor transmits data to an app every time the inhaler is used and the system records the time and location. The resulting report is available to physicians and patients. Asthmapolis also provides email or text reminders are sent to patients to help them remember to take their medication.

In recent year Asthmapolis has inked deals with a variety of healthcare organizations including Dignity Health in CaliforniaAmerigroup in Florida, and the City of Louisville.

“Until now we have been really focused on building the product and demonstrating efficacy, which we have done,” Asthmapolis CEO and co-founder David Van Sickle told MobiHealthNews in an interview this past April. “We are in the market, as you know, and now it is time to scale up and meet these populations wherever they are. Asthma isn’t a disease of just a certain demographic or geography — it is a part of every population.”

Earlier this year, Asthmapolis raised $5 million from Social + Capital Partnership in order to fund plans to secure regulatory clearances in countries outside the US like Canada and the UK.


AMC Health helps Humana manage CHF in Medicare population

By: Neil Versel | Jul 25, 2013        

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and medicalHealth insurer Humana is turning to telehealth systems provider AMC Health in an effort to keep patients with congestive heart failure out of hospitals, saving money for the payer and improving the quality of life for a high-risk population.

In a pilot launched last month, 450 Humana Medicare Advantage members in Ohio with CHF are receiving A&D Medical Products weight scales and blood-pressure monitors with Bluetooth connections to a custom-developed cellular modem, as well as telephone access to interactive voice response system. The pilot will run about nine months, then Humana will evaluate progress, according to Denise Streible, project manager at Humana Cares, the insurance company’s care management arm.

The goal from the payer’s perspective is to educate members about the importance of daily measurements of weight and blood pressure. “We ultimately want to prevent readmissions and ER visits,” said Streible, a registered nurse, “and maintain quality of life.”

Similarly, AMC Health hopes to help patients modify behaviors based on what the devices show, according to Nawaz Jadavji, the Vice President of AMC Health. “If the patient is taking readings at home, they feel more a part of care,” Jadavji said.

“The pilot is really a supplement,” according to Streible. “It’s another tool in the toolbox.”

Humana ran a query among its Medicare Advantage population in Ohio to identify high-risk patients and contacted potential participants by telephone. From there, New York-based AMC Health takes over, helping patients set up the devices at home, handles the logistics of the program and provides care coordination services. “It goes beyond technology,” Jadavji told MobiHealthNews.

AMC Health clinicians actually do the monitoring. If a patient has a health need other than CHF, AMC Health turns the case over to a Humana care manager.

Jadavji acknowledged that care coordination is a “challenge” in healthcare. “Our goal is to get the data from the patient’s home,” he said. If the patient is not taking readings, AMC Health can have the IVR system call. In the case of an abnormal value, a nurse gets an alert, who then can have the IVR system call and perform triage by phone.

AMC Health collects data from the home devices and can send the information directly to physicians’ electronic health records, thanks to links already built with several major EHR vendors. “We will interface with the patient and the physician’s office,” Jadavji said.

Boston safety-net hospital adapting OneHealth behavioral platform to medical home

By: Neil Versel | Jul 25, 2013        

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OneHealthOnTheGoEmoticonCheckinOneHealth Solutions, a company that largely has focused on employer groups, is for the first time applying its mobile and Web platform for patient behavior change to primary care, courtesy of a partnership with Boston Medical Center.

The safety-net hospital, an affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine, is adopting the OneHealth system, originally to treat substance abuse, depression and other behavioral issues, to its patient-centered medical home initiative. Boston Medical Center will offer low-income patients access to the OneHealth online and mobile platform to promote self-management of chronic diseases, offer peer support and engage them in between office visits.

“It will be an integral part of the medical home,” said psychologist Dr. Robert L. Sokolove, who is championing the rollout at the 496-bed hospital in Boston’s South End.

“BMC partnering with OneHealth was done to mitigate a very longstanding issue in disease management,” Sokolove told MobiHealthNews. Counseling patients on smoking cessation, obesity, stress reduction and depression is about teaching skills that lead to lifestyle changes. “After the skill sessions have stopped, maintaining the skills, especially a year out, becomes very, very difficult,” Sokolove said.

OneHealth, available through Android or Apple iOS apps or through the Web, is meant to provide patients with information and social support that leads to the maintenance of newly acquired skills, Sokolove explained. He said that upper-middle-class patients tend to have the social support they need, especially as they are treated for depression and diabetes, but the lower-income populations, including immigrants, that frequent BMC tend to lack such networks.

“This can be one small way for removing those barriers to access,” Sokolove said.

He called the social aspect of the mobile platform a “sort of Facebook for patients” that helps them self-manage chronic diseases and reduce anxiety that can lead to poor choices such as smoking or eating unhealthy foods. “Anxiety is reduced by two factors: attachment and mastery,” explained Sokolove. “We feel less anxious when things are predictable.”

What BMC patients do have are mobile phones, and many are starting to acquire smartphones as well, which makes a mobile platform a great means of outreach. “Many of our patients can’t use a desktop because they don’t have a desk, but they do have smartphones,” Sokolove reported.

Solana Beach, Calif.-based OneHealth, launched its OnTheGo native mobile apps, optimized for tablets, in February. “Our mobile has overtaken the Web experience,” according to CEO Bruce Springer.

The company, which was known as OneRecovery until a little more than a year ago, has its roots in treating substance abuse, but has since integrated medical resources with behavioral tools. Springer said that those with chronic medical issues such as diabetes are 50 percent more likely than others to have behavioral comorbidities like depression, and that can lead to poor lifestyle choices that exacerbate chronic conditions.

Springer said he is excited about working with an academic safety-net provider because he believes the OneHealth system works well with Medicaid and uninisured populations and because Boston University offers research opportunities to help validate the technology.

“It’s hard to reach them,” Springer said of patients BMC is trying to bring into medical homes. “It’s hard to get them activated in programs to improve their health.” With providers increasingly taking on financial risk, they have to manage patients outside the hospital or clinic, and mobile technology is an ideal way to do so, Springer added.

Sokolove said there will be a research element “eventually,” but for now, he wants to get the program launched by September for smoking cessation. “What I hope to do is build it out slowly,” Sokolove said, tailoring the language to the right health literacy levels and tweaking the interface so the OneHealth platform is easy to use.

CMS offers physicians apps for tracking financial ties to industry

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 24, 2013        

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CMS Open Payments AppLast week Dr. Peter Budetti, Deputy Administrator for Program Integrity of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced the official launch of two new smartphone apps from CMS — the agency’s very first app offerings — that aim to help physicians and others track payments and other information they receive from the industry as part of the transparency program called the Sunshine provision in the Affordable Care Act.

The apps, which are available for iOS and Android users, are for tracking and storage only — not for reporting or sending data to CMS. The agency created an app for physicians and one for companies that work with them.

“The Open Payments law is designed to improve transparency to sustain patient care and trust as the highest priority by allowing the public to be informed about financial relationships that could influence the drugs, devices, biological, or medical supplies used in health care delivery,” Budetti explained in a CMS blog post. “To facilitate transparency and to keep patient care and trust as the highest priority, CMS has developed these apps to help physicians and others managed their oversight of information about their financial relationships that companies will report to Open Payments. We developed these apps to reduce the reporting burden by providing tools to simplify the tracking process and help improve data accuracy reporting for the industry (manufacturers and GPOs).”

The apps can also help physicians and the companies they have financial ties with to compare notes and ensure they are both reporting the same information. Budetti laid out an example use case for the app in his blog post:

“The physician can use the ‘Read Quick Response (QR) Code’ functionality that allows the manufacturer to create a record of the interaction and transfer it to the physician for her review. Additionally, to help ensure the drug manufacturer correctly attributes the consulting fee to her, she can share her profile information with the drug company using the “Create QR Code” function. Months later, when she is reviewing the data the drug manufacturer reported to CMS, and before the data is made public, she can retrieve her original record from her mobile device and do a comparison to confirm that the information is correct. If she believes the information that the manufacturer submitted to CMS about a particular interaction is not accurate, she can work with the manufacturer on correcting the information prior to publication.”

Early last year CMS announced plans to leverage the White House-backed Text4Baby program to increase enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP.

More from Budetti on the new apps here.


1 in 5 broadband households want live chats with health experts

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 24, 2013        

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Apple FacetimeAround 17 million US broadband households are interested in live chat services with healthcare experts, according to a recent survey conducted by Parks Associates.

The study found that 50 percent of US broadband households with access to online services such as prescription refills, real-time video calls with a doctor, or appointments use these services and nearly 20 percent of US broadband households, over 17 million households, are interested in a live chat service with health experts. In addition, 13 percent of households are interested in virtual tools to manage medications, and 15 percent are interested in post-surgery virtual monitoring.

Still, 56 percent of U.S. broadband households are without or unaware of online healthcare services available to them, according to Senior Digital Health Analyst Jennifer Kent.

Earlier this year, Parks released a report that found 5 percent of households with broadband internet have at least one digital fitness device — like a Fitbit, Jawbone UP, or BodyMedia FIT Armband.

The older report also predicted that more than 32 million US consumers will actively track their health and fitness online or via mobile devices by 2016, up from about 15 million in 2011. Online and mobile wellness service adoption will also increase from 14 million users in 2011 to 29 million by 2016, according to Parks.

Spending on clinical mobility to hit $5.4B in 2016

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 24, 2013        

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Cerner Physician Express

In the US clinical mobility spending is expected to grow from $2.9 billion in 2011 to $5.4 billion in 2016, marking a compound annual growth rate of 12.7 percent, according to IDC Health Insights.

IDC Health Insights makes the distinction between mobile health and clinical mobility or mobile point of care. The research firm distinguishes mHealth as consumer focused and clinical mobility or mobile point of care as clinician focused. For the purposes of this report, IDC Health Insights uses the terms clinical mobility and mobile point of care synonymously.

In 2011, MobiHealthNews wrote about a similar IDC report in which mobile point-of-care spending was expected to hit $4.4B by 2015, up from almost $2.8 billion in 2010, representing an annual growth rate of 9.9 percent. The 2011 report predicted that by 2015 clinical mobility should represent about 10 percent of the worldwide health IT market.

This report provides an updated spending prediction for clinical mobility including hardware, IT services and software related to clinical mobility. Program Director of Connected Health IT Strategies at IDC Health Insights Lynne Dunbrack authored the report.

While Dunbrack finds demands on IT and the need to respond to health reform initiatives as hindering growth in clinical mobility spending, the report also identified meaningful use-driven technologies such as EHRs, eRx, CPOE and HIE as methods to accelerate the use of mobile point of care solutions.

IDC determined that the trends that will have the greatest impact on the market include the consumeriziation of technology, increased availability of electronic health information and resulting clinicians’ desire for mobile access to patient data, infrastructure demands of pervasive computing, and security to comply with increasingly more stringent HIPAA requirements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

MobiHealthNews rounded up Apple’s top 118 apps for healthcare professionals, which included a number of apps in the clinical mobility category. See the full list of Apple’s picks here.