VA to deploy up to 100,000 tablets

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 26, 2011        

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veteransaffairsipadThe Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week plans to acquires as many as 100,000 tablets, primarily for use by their medical clinicians staff, marking one of the largest such deployments by a civilian agency, according to a bulletin on the government’s Federal Business Opportunities website. The VA is also seeking vendors to help them secure the devices.

The VA plans to deploy a number of different kinds of tablets, including the iPad, as well as tablets running Android and Windows operating systems. Interestingly, since Apple iOS and Android do not currently support the federal FIPS 140-2 security encryption, the VA is also now soliciting mobile device management (MDM) vendors to control security for the devices via a cloud computing solution.

The notice on the Federal Business Opportunities site reads: “The purpose of this Request for Information is to search for qualified vendors capable of meeting the Department of Veterans Affairs requirement to provide a National Mobile Device Management (MDM) Solution.” The response date deadline of the solicitation, which was just posted last week, is on the 28th.

This news comes after the VA announced in July that it would add iPhone and Android smartphone support to the agency starting October 1st. VA CIO Roger Baker spoke on similar security issues at that time, saying: “We will be highly confident that anything that is storing information on the device has encryption, and in all of the cases we’ll be satisfied that the authenticated user is able to view information but not download it on to the device.”

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For more on the planned deployment, read the NextGov.com report here.

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Remote patient monitors post fastest growing revenues

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 25, 2011        

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AirStrip CardiologyRemote patient monitoring devices have the fastest growing yearly revenue of any medical device sector, according to market research firm Kalorama Information’s new report, “Remote and Wireless Patient Monitoring Markets.” From 2008 to 2010, the growth rate was an impressive 23 percent, and according to the report, revenue is expected to double in the next four years.

“It is unusual to see over twenty percent growth in the tight, volume-buy medical device market,” stated Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information, in a press release. “The new wireless patient monitoring systems aren’t facing these obstacles because they appeal both to the need of payors to cut hospital stays and to the need of providers to deal with reduced staff.”

According to the report, reasons for the accelerated growth include the increasing percentage of the aging population in the U.S. and worldwide, which was 13 percent in 2010 and it is expected to reach 20.7 percent by 2050 (a top market for chronic condition monitoring); successful cost-cutting as a result of implementing remote monitoring systems; and the benefits found through using remote device data with EMRs.

While the top manufacturers in the market include AbbottPhilips Healthcare, Draeger, MedtronicGE Healthcare, and Honeywell, Carlson states that “This is a very scattered market with large players but also scores of companies with a small amount of market share, and some of that forecasted growth is going to come from innovators whose names we may not have heard yet.” One such upstart is AirStrip Technologies (its Cardiology RPM iPad app is pictured above).

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Read the press release after the jump.

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Garmin launches its first smartphone fitness app

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 25, 2011        

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garminThe past year has seen the arrival of a number of new fitness gadgets including Jawbone’s Up, Wellcore’s NewYu, Fitbit’s Ultra, and Basis’ Band. It’s about time that one of the fitness gadget industry’s incumbents answered back. This week Garmin did. It made its first move into the world of mobile fitness apps.

Garmin unveiled its first mobile fitness app, Garmin Fit, for iPhone and Android this week. The $0.99 app works in conjuction with a $49.99 ANT+ wireless adapter to track running, cycling, and heart rate metrics collected via Garmin wearable sensors.

According to Garmin’s website, compatible accessories include its Foot Pod, both the regular and premium heart rate monitor, and speed/cadence bike sensor. Garmin currently only offers the ANT+ adapter for the iPhone, but the Android version of the app will allow users to track time, distance, speed, and calories burned.

The ANT+ adapter plugs into the iPhone and transmits data from wearable sensors via short range wireless. Last June, ABI reported that by 2016 there would be 80 million wearable wireless fitness sensors on the market. In the report, analysts cited the establishment of short-range wireless standards, including ANT+ and Bluetooth, as a key reason for spurred growth.

The workout data collected by Garmin’s app can then be uploaded to the free Garmin Connect online fitness community. The data is aggregated as charts, graphs, reports, and map representations of the route traveled during a workout, gathered via GPS.

“Garmin Fit is the ideal solution for users who are new to the fitness tracking landscape and for those looking to stay totally connected,” stated Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales, in a press release. “To be able to utilize Garmin’s powerful fitness accessories with the same device that plays music, makes calls and uploads workouts automatically to share and analyze, makes Garmin Fit a must have app.”

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Read the press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

Survey: 18 percent of consumers have PHR apps

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 25, 2011        

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Usage Health Tech DevicesAs previous studies have shown, a new survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on the big Consumer Electronics Show (CES) each year, has found that 36 percent of consumers are interested in using wireless health technologies to better communicate with their physicians.

The CEA told MobiHealthNews in an email that the study included responses from 1,679 US adults who participated in an online poll. The qualitative portion of the survey included responses from 60 in-depth interviews conducted by the CEA research team.

The CEA included a few other sample metrics in its press release that it gleaned from the study, called The New Role of Technology in Consumer Health and Wellness, more charts and graphs from the report’s executive summary to follow:

  • 33 percent are interested in managing their health records online
  • 32 percent would be willing to consult with a doctor via online video
  • 44 percent of consumers are interested in connected weight scales
  • 40 percent are interested in vital sign monitors
  • 37 percent are interested in devices that track fitness metrics
  • 51 percent have downloaded a nutrition tracker mobile app
  • 36 percent have downloaded a fitness-related workout app
  • 32 percent have downloaded customized music apps for exercise

Next, which type of consumer was most likely to use a health monitoring device? Keep reading>>

Numera offers iOS app for medical device data collection

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 25, 2011        

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numeranetNumera announced this week the launch of a free iOS app, NumeraNET, for uploading health data collected from connected devices to an online portal. The app supports data collected from consumer weight scales, pedometers and blood pressure monitors via an ANT+ gateway, with more device support expected in the future.

Numera recently launched Numera Social, a white-labeled platform for care coordination that is embedded within Facebook or delivered as an iPhone app.

“Mobile devices are a primary way patients communicate everyday, so it’s a natural progression that they’ll use their smartphones as a primary tool in managing their care and wellness on a daily basis,” stated Tim Smokoff, CEO of Numera, in a press release. “We want to eliminate the barriers between consumers and their ‘coaches’ — family, friends, colleagues, and caregivers — to ensure that real-time, accurate health information can be accessed by the broadest population of consumers to enhance overall health and wellness.”

Next year the Palo Alto Medical Foundation plans to work with Numera to test the NumeraNET app with hypertensive patients. Patients in the study will upload data from a weight scale, blood pressure cuff, and monitor activity cuff, and activity monitor to iPhones.

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Read the press release below. Keep reading>>

Wireless vital sign monitoring startup goes to India

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 25, 2011        

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961 Isansys LifeTouchReal-time patient monitoring startup Isansys Lifecare, a UK-based company founded by a former CEO of Toumaz, announced this week the opening of Isansys Lifecare Systems, an India-based venture that aims to capitalize on that country’s emerging healthcare industry. The Bangalore-based company officially formed this past July.

Isansys offers the Lifecare Platform, a web-based vital sign monitoring platform, as well as a peel-and-stick, chest-worn cardiac monitoring device, the LifeTouch HRV011. The company was formed by the ex-CEO of Toumaz and another executive, and launched this January.

In a press release, Isansys CEO Keith Errey stated that “India is a country of great interest and strategic importance to us. With a year-on-year GDP growth of 7 per cent or more, a rapidly growing and increasingly wealthy middle class, and a vastly underserved healthcare market, we see huge opportunities for delivering next-generation healthcare services, and we believe that Isansys is ideally placed to bring the valuable benefits of our unique services to the people of India, both in urban and rural communities.”

Isansys Lifecare Systems appointed Bala Kumar as managing director, whose previous experience includes executive director at Omya Healthcare and regional managing director for a division of Covidien.

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Read the press release below.

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