New mobile advertising network targets doctors

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 11, 2011        

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Tomorrow NetworksA new mobile advertising network that serves ads specifically targeted to healthcare providers launched this week. Physicians Interactive Holdings, which offers the popular Skyscape app, and stealthy Remedy Systems partnered to launch the mobile ad network, called Tomorrow Networks. The network launched with some 54 different smartphone medical applications having already signed on. Remedy Systems is providing developer relations and the technology behind the platform, while PI is contributing its sales channels, ad operations management, relationships with ad agencies, and a testbed in the form of its popular Skyscape app.

Tomorrow Networks is intended to be a revenue channel for those medical apps that haven’t monetized yet or those looking for an additional incremental revenue stream. According to the launch press release, Tomorrow Networks already claims to have an app user base of 275,000 healthcare professionals.

“If you are a healthcare marketer trying to reach healthcare professionals on mobile [devices], there has not been a scalable way to do that with display advertising thus far,” Physicians Interactive President Sanjay Pingle told MobiHealthNews in a recent interview. “Sure, there have been messaging opportunities and sponsorship opportunities in medical apps, but you have not been able to target cardiologists in Texas, for example. That has not been available historically, but Tomorrow Networks makes that possible.”

Of course, there are a number of mobile ad networks already available. Two high profile ones include: Apple’s mobile ad network called iAd and Google’s ad network, Admob.

“The only way that Admob or iAd can target healthcare professionals is based on other apps that the user is using,” Pingle said. “They guess you are a medical professional if you are using a medical dictionary app, for example. So, they serve you an ad intended for a medical professional.”

Tomorrow Networks, however, knows if the users of apps on its network are medical professionals. It’s beginning to learn much more than that, too.

“We have launched a number of initiatives to increase the amount of profile data we require from users before we provide them with free content,” Pingle said. “We know their profession, their specialty, and like most everybody else — we know their location.”

Pingle said with the granularity of user data that Tomorrow Networks has, the network can, for example, target ads to nurses who treat multiple sclerosis. Thanks to that precise targeting, PI and Remedy expect medical app developers to leverage Tomorrow Networks because it will enable them to charge advertisers higher premiums. Keep reading>>


Sprint, Ideal Life offer wireless biometric kiosks

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 11, 2011        

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Ideal LifeSprint and Ideal Life extended their partnership this week with the launch of Ideal Life’s remote monitoring kiosks for high-volume settings (schools, living centers, physician offices and health clinics) using Sprint’s wireless network.

Ideal Life’s M2M kiosk measures blood pressure, weight, blood glucose levels and other biometric readings. Last November, the company launched a similar program for community hospitals in China through a partnership with Novatech.

According to Ideal Life, a two-year study by the Health Research Institute revealed that annual savings using remote healthcare monitoring could amount to approximately $21 billion, 88 percent of physicians would like their patients to be able to monitor their health on their own, and e-visits were able to replace in-office visits in 40 percent of the study’s 2,531 cases.

“Wireless M2M solutions present an opportunity to streamline health care and provide greater access to critical patient information at significantly less cost and effort,” stated Wayne Ward, VP of Emerging Solutions Group at Sprint, in a press release. “Sprint is proud to collaborate with IDEAL LIFE to facilitate real-time dialog and data exchange between individuals and medical professionals. The potential to impact patient wellness and physician efficiency in an on-demand setting is just one example of how connected devices are fundamentally changing every aspect of the way we work and live.”

“IDEAL LIFE already has a strong track record of health care cost reduction,” stated Jason Goldberg, President of IDEAL LIFE, in a press release. “Our collaboration with Sprint will allow seamless integration into the marketplace with the IDEAL LIFE kiosk, enabling our company to quickly deploy more solutions providing greater access to care and creating additional health care savings.”

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Read the press release below. Keep reading>>

Facebook mobile chief: I’ll help Epocrates with mobile development, connectivity

By: Neil Versel | Oct 11, 2011        

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Erick Tseng Epocrates FacebookEpocrates made an interesting move over the summer, naming Facebook’s mobile chief, Erick Tseng, to its board of directors. Tseng is a hot commodity in IT, having jumped to Facebook last year from Google, where he served as senior product manager for the booming Android smartphone operating system.

Tseng has worked for plenty of heavy hitters in the high-tech industry, including Microsoft, Yahoo and the MIT Media Lab. He also did a stint as a consultant for McKinsey & Co.

On the side, Tseng serves an advisor—and is an investor in—HealthTap, a recently launched, interactive site and platform that crowdsources health information from a network of 5,000 physicians.

Facebook’s mobile strategy has been a bit of an enigma, though this week brought some clarity, with the release of a long-awaited, native Facebook app for the iPad. Keep reading>>

Smartphone ultrasound device launches commercially

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 10, 2011        

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Mobisante MobiUS smartphone ultrasoundIn February Mobisante announced that the FDA had cleared its handheld, smartphone-enabled ultrasound offering, and while the company hoped to launch “a long time ago,” MobiUS only just became commercially available in recent days, Mobisante co-founder and CTO David Zar told MobiHealthNews.

Since it received its 510(k) clearance eight months ago, Mobisante has been working to put its quality systems in place along with a number of other FDA mandated controls related to product tracking, potential recalls, software updates and more. Zar said that the process took a lot long than expected. The extra time and additional protocols have helped the company further refine its product, Zar said, so ultimately it’s been a good thing.

The initial FDA clearance process cost Mobisante in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars, Zar told attendees at the West Wireless Health Institute’s HCI-DC event earlier this year.

The mobile ultrasound imaging system includes a Toshiba Windows Mobile-powered smartphone, an ultrasound probe and the company’s software. Mobisante’s device is intended for ultrasound imaging, analysis and measurement in fetal/OB, abdominal, cardiac, pelvic, pediatric, mucoskeletal, and peripheral vessel imaging. The smartphone-based ultrasound system can leverage both cellular and WiFi to send images for diagnosis, second opinion, or to a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) for storage.

MobiUS only works on the Windows Mobile 6.5-based Toshiba TG01 smartphone and requires a USB 2.0 port for the probe. Because they lack support for USB 2.0, popular devices like Apple’s iPhone and devices running on Google’s Android OS cannot support MobiUS.

Zar said that some of Mobisante’s potential clients have asked about support for healthcare specific tablets like those offered by Panasonic’s ToughBook division as well as those offered by Motion Computing, so Mobisante is looking into a tablet-based solution for that group.

“These are tablets healthcare professionals have had at the bedside for years,” Zar said. “[MobiUS] would be an added benefit for the platform they already have in place. For many, this is not a replacement system. We can also offer the full imaging solution, though, and that might appeal to smaller clinics. Our work has just begun, really.”

Zar is frustrated with smartphone and tablet makers as well as US mobile operators who are not bringing devices to the US market with USB host support. Some phones available in Europe, for example, have full USB support but once the model launches in the US the feature is removed or stripped down.

“I’ve heard it’s because of security concerns or that some user will take down the carrier’s network,” Zar said. “Sounds like an attorney is making that decision, not an engineer.”

Mobisante’s MobiUS offering is available now with a starting pricepoint of $7,495, which is comparable to its next closest competitor, GE’s Vscan — a mobile, but not wirelessly connected handheld, ultrasound device.

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Apple’s top 50 iPad apps for doctors

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 8, 2011        

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By Brian Dolan & Chris Gullo

iPhone Apps

In September, Apple added a new section to its AppStore for healthcare professionals.

It has been an ongoing challenge for healthcare professionals to find useful apps for care settings. While a handful of blogs exist with recommendations from individual medical students or physicians, Happtique has emerged as a filtered medical app store of sorts that intends to make it easier for healthcare facilities to distribute apps. Happtique recently announced 11 hospital partners will pilot its offering.

Around the same time, Apple launched a new healthcare app section for professionals. In its first iteration this “iTunes healthcare room” is a small space that highlights slightly more than 50 of the 3,662 medical apps found in the app store that are intended for use by medical professionals. (For more on those, be sure to check out our report on Professional Medical apps.) You could assume then, that these 50 apps are the top 1.3 percent of medical apps in Apple’s opinion.

Unfortunately, this iTunes room, this special healthcare apps section for medical professionals is not very easy to find. While there may be others, the only apparent link to it is on’s iPhone enterprise section. It’s buried. The AppStore sometimes features an ad for the section but not always. How does that really help medical professionals find apps then?

Finally, the original intent of Apple’s medical category was for it to be a section of apps for healthcare professionals. A medical student suggested Apple create it, and they did. The curation of the section was poor, however, and today it offers thousands of apps intended for use by consumers — many of which aren’t even health-related.

So, what appear to be Apple’s top 1.3 percent of medical apps for healthcare professionals? We have compiled a slideshow of the apps below and broken them into the categories that Apple uses in its healthcare professionals section. Curiously, almost all of the apps in this section also have made for iPad versions, too. Read on for a brief description of each and some screenshots of the apps’ iPad versions: Keep reading>>

Report: Future of health is mobile, but outcomes count

By: Neil Versel | Oct 6, 2011        

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Jody RanckThe potential of mobile healthcare has been well documented, but the growth may be coming from some unexpected quarters.

It’s not only highly industrialized countries that are feeling the effects of aging populations and chronic diseases and it’s not just sick people who are looking to mobility to improve health conditions, according to a newly published GigaOM Pro report, “Future of Mobile Health 2011-2016.”

McKinsey & Co. said in 2010 that the global market for mobile health was worth about $50 billion, with $20 billion of that in the U.S. alone. ABI Research estimated that sales of wearable wireless devices would top 100 million units per year by 2016. GigaOM cites those findings, but attempts to explain why.

As a recent United Nations meeting on non-communicable diseases demonstrated, diabetes, heart disease and cancer are cropping up all over the world. “The fastest-growing middle class in the world is in Africa,” the GigaOM Pro report’s author, Jody Ranck, tells MobiHealthNews. Similarly, upward mobility is leading to unhealthy lifestyle changes in India, the Middle East and Latin America, Ranck says, and that is putting strain on limited health resources.

Mobile and wireless technology can help, particularly as the cost of wearable and implantable sensors declines. “The creative use of sensors, mapping and mobiles could change the way we think about the very nature of health itself,” according to the report. Keep reading>>