VA taps DSHI to develop triage app for tablets

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 30, 2012        

Tags: | | | | | | |  |

Veterans Affairs Innovation InitiativeThe Veterans Health Administration (VA) has tapped DSHI Systems to create a tablet-based mobile triage system for the emergency room that determines how urgently a patients needs to be seen by a physician. The application, called ER Mobile, will help emergency room nurses better identify the sickest patients so that they can be cared for first. The app also aims to improve workflow efficiency for care providers since it automates some documentations and speeds up the process of determining which patients need cardiac monitors, CT scans, x-rays, blood tests, or other diagnostic tests.

The idea for ER Mobile came out of the VA Employee Innovation Competition, which generated 6,500 ideas, but only about two dozen were chose for further investigation.

DSHI plans to complete its first prototype of the ER Mobile app by August of this year.

DSHI is working with Document Storage Systems (DSS) to create the offering. DSS is the primary contractor for the process and it will provide an interface between ER Mobile and the VA’s VistA EMR system. DSS will also pass vital signs information and other biometric data through the ER Mobile app. Because of this integration, the app will also create a record of the interactions it facilitates between providers and patients right in the VA’s EMR.

Last year the VA announced plans to deploy as many as 100,000 tablet devices — many of which would find their way into the hands of VA care providers.

More on the ER Mobile prototype in the press release below: Keep reading>>


iPad EHR startup DrChrono raises $2.8 million

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 27, 2012        

Tags: | | | |  |

drChronoDrChrono, which offers one of the first electronic health records (EHR) apps built specifically for the iPad, raised $2.8 million this week led by return-backer Yuri Milner, founder of DST Global, with participation from one of Google’s search quality leaders, Matt Cutts. The investment builds on the $650,000 Milner contributed to last summer. A month before that, DrChrono announced its first funding, $675,000, which came from a variety of venture firms as well as Google’s Cutts.

In its most recent announcement DrChrono stated that it has signed up 50,000 physicians to date and records for 400,000 patients now.

The DrChrono app offers an ONC-certified (meets stage 1 meaningful use criteria) EHR that enables users to track visits, monitor prescriptions, schedule visits, review and markup medical images. iPad 2 users can take images or videos that can be added to patient records for comparisons during later visits. DrChrono also offers a patient check-in app, called OnPatient, that aims to replace traditional paper-based check-in processes in the doctor’s office waiting room.

While most of the EHR app’s features are free, DrChrono makes money on its premium features, like ePrescribing, speech-to-text, and medical billing services. DrChrono has a partnership with M*Modal for the speech-to-text functionality. In late 2010 DrChrono said that it had tapped Remedy Systems to bundle in its ePrescribing application.

Total funding for DrChrono now tops $4 million. Its complete list of investors includes Yuri Milner, founder of DST Global, venture capital firms General Catalyst, Charles River Ventures, 500 Startups, Gmail creator and FriendFeed cofounder Paul Buchheit, Google’s Principal Engineer Matt Cutts, and the Start Fund.

DrChrono was founded by CTO Daniel Kivatinos and CEO Michael Nusimow. Kivatinos graduated with a Masters in Computer Science in 2003 and held various developer positions before founding DrChrono in 2008. Before DrChrono Kivatinos was a senior applications developer at online events company CommPartners, where he worked for three years. Before founding DrChrono Nusimow was a software engineer at Bloomberg LP for seven years. Both Kivatinos and Nusimow studied at The State University of New York at Stony Brook.

DrChono announced it had joined Yuri Milner’s Y Combinator incubator program in late February 2011.

Leveraging the frugal innovations of mobile health

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 26, 2012        

Tags: | | | | | | | |  |

Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsIn our recent video report, Mobile Health Challenges in 2012, Dr. Eric Topol, the Vice Chairman of the West Wireless Health Institute, had this insight:

“Right now healthcare is incredibly expensive, but a lot of these new innovative technologies are frugal innovations. For the first time they not only fulfill unmet needs, but at lower costs,” Topol said. “We’ve never seen that before.”

In addition to fulfilling unmet needs and improving health outcomes, lowering the costs associated with healthcare has long been a goal for many working in mobile health. Given Topol’s quote above, it’s not surprising that lowering the costs of healthcare is part of the core mission of the West Wireless Health Institute.

This week Gary and Mary West, the billionaire philanthropists who founded the WWHI, created a new institute called the West Health Policy Center, based in Washington D.C. The new center will conduct research on better reimbursement models, improved price transparency, and smarter technologies like those championed by its sister institute, the West Wireless Health Institute.

“You can’t move people out of the expensive places of care if you don’t set up a system that allows data and biometrics to be gathered conveniently and pushed through algorithms to a health provider so that he or she knows when someone is moving to a danger zone,” Don Casey, the CEO of the WWHI and chairman of the new West Health Policy Center told the Washington Post this week in an interview.

Casey said that the center will focus on “churning out” research that convinces policymakers to include mobile health technologies into bundled payments for insurers: Better outcomes at a lower cost, he said.

Across the pond, Medtronic’s CEO Omar Ishrak reportedly plans to use this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos to brainstorm how to bring cost-effective implantable devices to patients in emerging markets, like Asia, Latin America, and Africa. One headline for an article describing Ishrak’s plans read: “After $35 tablet computer, pacemakers may be next.”

And here in Boston Children’s Hospital announced an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to become the first pediatric-only hospital to sign the Alternative Quality Contract (AQC), which includes a zero percent rate increase for 2012. The payment model is designed “to slow the growth in health care spending and improve patient care by helping physicians and hospitals redesign their care to emphasize quality and value over volume,” according to the announcement.

The frugal innovations in development at mobile health startups across the globe could help the hospital, and others making similar moves, to meet their goal.

12 tips for mobile health randomized controlled trials

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 26, 2012        

Tags: | | | | |  |
To date, WellDoc's DiabetesManager is one of the few mobile health apps to have gone through an RCT.

To date, WellDoc's DiabetesManager is one of the few mobile health apps to have gone through an RCT.

At the end of last year the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) recently published an editorial that argues standards are sorely needed to help edify the growing number of mobile health and eHealth efficacy studies. The editorial is a must-read for anyone looking to conduct randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of mobile health apps and services.

Here’s our quick summary of 12 of the essential or highly recommended best practices for mHealth RCTs:

1. Be sure to include the names, credentials, and affiliations of the developers, sponsors, and owners of the software, and disclose whether those evaluating the service own or developed it, too.

2. Be sure to detail the development process of the mobile health app and any previous focus groups or usability tests that led to its development. Those will help others to interpret the results.

3. Be sure to mention any revisions or updates that the app underwent during the evaluation period or whether development was frozen during the RCT.

4. Be sure to include information on quality assurance (QA) methods to ensure accuracy of the information provided.

5. This is likely a difficult one: Be sure to include a source code (open source) or provide screen shots of the app that can help other researchers to replicate the study.

6. Be sure to archive the intervention and provide the URL of the app or demo pages that are not hidden behind login screens.

7. Be sure to describe how participants in your study accessed your application, whether they were paid or not, or had to be a member of a particular group. Keep reading>>

Utah hospital system taps Kony for mobile apps

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 25, 2012        

Tags: | | | | |  |

konyUtah-based Intermountain Healthcare, a system of 22 nonprofit hospitals, 185 clinics, a medical group, a health plans division called SelectHealth, and other health services, announced that it had inked a deal with Kony Solutions to enable it to make its mobile health apps available to patients, members, and providers regardless of which operating system their mobile devices run. As we reported a few weeks ago, Kony struck a similar deal with Independence Blue Cross.

Kony claims that its Write Once, Run Everywhere technology enables mobile deployment across more than 9,000 mobile smartphones, tablets, kiosks, and operating systems.

Intermountain Healthcare plans to create apps for clinical care, physicians, nurses, patients and health plan members using the platform.

“With Kony, we can easily support both mobile web and native apps. Kony also helps us future-proof our mobile strategy, so we don’t have to constantly worry about OS upgrades or new devices on the market,” Frederick Holston, CTO at Intermountain Healthcare stated in a press release.

Kony’s platform will help Intermountain develop both native applications and mobile web (HTML5 and non‐HTML5) across devices. The platform enables native support for seven operating systems: iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, Java ME, Symbian, webOS.

More in the press release below: Keep reading>>

Smartphones becoming essential tool at nursing schools

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 25, 2012        

Tags: | | | | |  |

voalte-one-iphoneLast week we noted that Massachusetts General Hospital had tapped Voalte to distribute iPhones to its nurses. This week the New York Times also published a feature on how smartphones have become increasingly essential tools for students at nursing schools. The Times discussed the trend with a handful of professors and students at nursing schools across the country.

This crucial quote from the Times report sums up the trend best: “But the most profound recent change is a move away from the profession’s dependence on committing vast amounts of information to memory. It is not that nurses need to know less, educators say, but that the amount of essential data has exploded,” Time reporter Richard Perez-Pena wrote.

Joann Eland, an associate professor at University of Iowa’s nursing school told the Times that there are too many drugs, interactions, and tests for students to commit to memory and that’s what has driven the uptick in adoption of smartphones among nurses and nursing school programs.

“We have a certain set of apps that we want nursing students to have on their handheld devices — a book of lab tests, a database of drugs, even nursing textbooks,” Helen Connors, executive director of the Kansas University Center for Health Informatics told the NYTimes.

Read more in the New York Times here.