Joslin Diabetes Center launches “Joslin Everywhere” mobile health initiative

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 28, 2012        

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Joslin Diabetes Center

Joslin Diabetes Center

Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center is launching a mobile diabetes management initiative called “Joslin Everywhere” that connects physicians and patients via an online platform and equips patients with connected blood glucose meters to track glucose readings. According to a report in the Boston Globe, Joslin is mulling a partnership with American Well to use the company’s virtual care platform. Joslin aims to launch an early version of the program with a group of doctors in the Beth Israel Deaconess Physician Organization in about six months time.

The Center’s VP of planning and advocacy Catherine Carver is leading the hospital’s initiative, which launched thanks to a $900,000 donation from a patient: “We need to move into remote care,” she said. “To be able to reach this tidal wave of people with diabetes coming at us, we need to use technology,” Carver told the Globe.

The Joslin program offers patients with type 2 diabetes support groups, remote weight management programs, and mobile tools that transmit glucose readings directly to their physicians. Participating physicians will receive access to new research, CME courses, and tips for how to use their EHRs to detect problems in their patient population.

The Globe report also mentioned a pilot program underway at Massachusetts General Hospital under the direction of Dr. Nancy Wei. The pilot outfits diabetes patients with glucometers that automatically send patients’ blood sugar readings by satellite to an online portal that Wei checks in on each morning. When she notices problems, Wei typically calls or sends the patient a message. Most issues are resolved over the phone.

More over the Boston Globe here (sub. req.).

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More on ONC’s consumer privacy in mobile health study

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 28, 2012        

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ONC's Dr. Farzad MostashariLast week the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) published a proposal to add more resources to its planned two-year study of consumer attitudes toward the privacy of their personal health information.

The ONC stated in the report published in the Federal Register that the request for more resources was “due to the growing use of mobile devices in exchanging personal health information electronically.” Because of that trend, “ONC is proposing a revision of the currently approved collection to increase focus group burden hours and explore consumer attitudes and preferences regarding the communication of personal health information electronically using mobile devices,” according to the Federal Register.

According to the HITECH Act, ONC must educate consumers on personal health information privacy. The ONC said it would work with the HHS Office of Civil Rights to “oversee the education and communication activities to build approval for HIT adoption and meaningful use, educate the public about privacy and security and increase participation in health information exchange,” in the Federal Register posting.

According to a report over at Government Health IT, ONC plans to gather information about different segments of the public to create the informational materials and websites it will use to educate people through the campaign.

The ONC has opened a 30-day comment period on the proposal and has invited comments on a number of aspects of the proposed campaign, including: the overall necessity and usefulness of the collection of information; the accuracy of the estimated amount work likely necessary to complete the campaign; strategies for enhancing the quality, efficacy and clarity of the information planned to be collected; use of automated collection techniques to streamline data collection.

More details over at Government Health IT and over at the Federal Register.

Tiny medical devices that swim through the blood stream

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 27, 2012        

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Tiny medical deviceTiny medical devices that swim through the blood stream are closer to reality, thanks to research coming out of Stanford University last week.

Electrical engineer and Stanford assistant professor Ada Poon demonstrated a tiny, wireless powered, self propelled medical device capable of controlled motion through blood, which the school believes could lead to the era of “swallow the surgeon” medical care. Poon showed off the device during a demo at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference.

Stanford predicts that the devices “could travel through the bloodstream to deliver drugs, perform analyses, and perhaps even zap blood clots or remove plaque from sclerotic arteries.” Poon said that the applications of the technology “include everything from diagnostics to minimally invasive surgeries.”

PCWorld points out that “energy was always the biggest stumbling block for miniature devices–batteries always take up most of the mass of the device, and they need to be replaced, charged, and so forth. Poon’s devices get their power via radio waves, which is the breakthrough researchers needed in order to pierce the human body in this fashion.”

According to Stanford, the devices “consist of a radio transmitter outside the body sending signals inside the body to an independent device that picks up the signal with an antenna of coiled wire. The transmitter and the antennae are magnetically coupled such that any change in current flow in the transmitter produces a voltage in the other wire – or, more accurately, it induces a voltage. The power is transferred wirelessly. It can be used to run electronics on the device and propel it through the bloodstream.”

Poon’s research was supported by the C2S2 Focus Center, Olympus Corporation and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

Check out an animated video that explains the devices over at MedGadget.

‘If you don’t have mobility in your strategy, then you don’t have a strategy’

By: Neil Versel | Feb 27, 2012        

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Neil_Versel_LargeHospital CIOs, or at least some of the best hospital CIOs, seem to get it. The others need to get on the ball, fast.

“If you don’t have mobility in your strategy, then you don’t have a strategy,” Susan Heichert, senior VP and CIO at Allina Health System, a 10-hospital system based in Minneapolis, said at the 2012 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Las Vegas last week.

“I will tell you that mobile technology is where it’s at,” added Kay Hix, CIO and VP at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va. Hix said her department is “gearing up from a privacy and security standpoint to support mobile technology.”

That’s great news for mobility, except that Heichert and Hix represent organizations far ahead of the national average in terms of IT adoption. Four Allina hospitals have achieved Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model, as have four Carilion hospitals.

Heichert and Hix made their comments during a HIMSS press conference, where the trade group released the first set of results from its 23rd annual survey of senior health IT executives, namely CIOs and IS directors. Let’s just say the two CIOs would not have been invited if they had been stragglers in terms of IT adoption.

Still, mobility seems to be on the minds of more than just the most advanced health IT shops. According to the survey, mobility and mobile devices moved up to the No. 2 spot this year among the primary IT infrastructure focus of the 302 IT leaders queried, named by 18 percent of respondents. Only servers and virtual servers polled higher, at 19 percent. Notably, mobile devices jumped from 12 percent a year ago, passing both desktops/virtual desktops and security systems to take second place. Keep reading>>

AliveCor iPhone ECG to secure CE Mark soon

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 27, 2012        

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AliveCor's iPhone ECGAliveCor’s iPhoneECG device, which was the talk of CES in 2011, is close to securing a CE Mark, paving the way for the device to roll out commercially in Europe. At least one speaker at the HIMSS event last week and at least one report coming out of the Burrill Digital Health Meeting earlier this month, claimed that the iPhone ECG’s CE Mark was already secured. AliveCor founder Dr. David Albert told MobiHealthNews this week that the company is in the final steps of the process, but that it is not yet secured.

The company is also pursuing FDA clearances for its iPhone ECG case and iCard device, which works with both iOS and Android devices. FDA clearance is expected soon, too. AliveCor has stated in the past that it expects its device to retail for $99 and that it will find a user base among heart patients, general practitioners, emergency room technicians and more.

“I thought that this was a device for general practitioners to use as an ‘ECG stethoscope’ with which they could immediately assess a cardiac rhythm,” AliveCor founder Dr. David Albert told MobiHealthNews in an interview last year. “Today you can listen with a stethoscope or take a pulse, but you really have no idea what rhythm somebody is in. I also thought it would be of interest to patients: Patients today are given single channel cardiac event recorders and they have been given those for the past 25 years.” Albert said patients could use his device to sample their rhythm and provide it to an eCardio, Lifewatch, CardioNet in between their mobile cardiac telemetry sessions, which payers generally only reimburse for once or twice a year, he said.

Albert had made clear in the past that the iPhone ECG is not a device for diagnosing acute MI (myocardial infarction) or detecting long QT, since both of those require a 12 lead electrocardiogram. AliveCor’s devices are single lead rhythm script devices. Albert says that they are “clinical quality” though.

The AliveCor devices also send GPS data with the ECG along with accelerometer and gyroscope readings from the user’s device. That way those reviewing the information know whether the user was laying down. AliveCor expects to offer a free iPhone app for patients, with a paid version for physicians.

Last year AliveCor announced $3 million in its first round of funding, with participation from Burrill & Company, Qualcomm Ventures and the Oklahoma Life Sciences Fund. At the time the company said it planned to use the investment to expand its team, gain regulatory approval and market the device worldwide. In August 2011, at the time of the funding announcement, the company stated that it expected to commercially launch its iPhone ECG case and possibly its wireless iCard late in 2011. Keep reading>>

AirStrip diversifies: Hospital, home, military, and abroad

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 23, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsFew companies working in mobile health have made more news in recent days than AirStrip Technologies. Two weeks ago the remote monitoring app company announced an investment from Qualcomm Life Fund. A week later it announced an investment from HCA and plans to expand its deployment of AirStrip Cardiology throughout that health system’s hospitals. This week AirStrip announced an anticipated deal with Diversinet (AirStrip’s CEO Alan Portela sits on Diversinet’s board), and it also expanded its partnership with GE Healthcare by rolling out a new iPhone and iPad offering, called AirStrip Patient Monitoring.

A few years ago only about 70,000 hospital beds were being monitored, AirStrip’s EVP and Chief Strategy Officer Bruce Brandes said during an interview at HIMSS. Today it’s closer to 300,000, he said. In a few years time nearly all hospital beds will be monitored. Apps that enable care providers to keep tabs on all those monitors will be increasingly crucial, especially in the face of the other macro trend — the care provider shortage.

AirStrip Patient Monitoring provides clinicians with near real-time data and historical patient information up to 24 hours ago. The mobile health app works with any GE patient monitors and is connected via GE’s Carescape Gateway, which integrates biomedical devices with hospital information systems. The entire offering enables physicians to access patient waveforms, vital signs and other critical clinical measurements on their iPad and iPhone. While AirStrip inked an exclusive deal with GE to distribute its AirStrip Cardiology offering last year, the deal with GE to distribute AirStrip Patient Monitoring is not exclusive. Update: Brandes said that since not every hospital has a relationship with GE, those can work directly with AirStrip’s sales team and set the apps up to pull data from most any monitor.

Brandes showed me a beta version of an AirStrip app that had about a dozen patient vital signs streaming in near real-time on his iPad. Given the trend toward more monitored beds, an app like that will become increasingly useful. It’d already be of use to nurses or anesthesiologists.

AirStrip’s apps and GE Healthcare’s monitors track patients throughout the continuum of care: from the time they get into the ambulance until they are discharged, GE Healthcare’s General Manager of IT/Wireless Sales and Marketing for Patient Care Solutions, Rudy Watkins said during an interview. That could change, however. Given the Qualcomm Life Fund recent investment in the company and AirStrip’s plans to integrate with the Qualcomm 2net platform, in the not too distant future AirStrip could be following patients after discharge, too.

The company has other more immediate plans first, however. AirStrip and GE plan to begin offering their patient monitoring tools in Europe soon thanks to the CE Mark AirStrip acquired last year. For all of its current offerings, AirStrip has tapped GE as its exclusive distributor outside the US.

Stateside, AirStrip is also planning to enter a new market thanks to its recently announced deal with mobile security specialist Diversinet. By leveraging Diversinet’s Mobisecure authentication and encryption, AirStrip will be able to offer its wares to the US government for use in military hospitals or for use in the field.

To sum up, thanks to its deals with GE, AirStrip is increasingly at the patient’s bedside. The Qualcomm deal could enable it to remote monitor patients at home. Diversinet’s FIPS level security is bringing it to the military. With a CE Mark secured, it’s also set its sights on Europe alongside GE.

Big moves this month for the company widely credited for offering the very first FDA-cleared mobile medical app.

MobiHealthNews’ coverage of HIMSS12 is brought to you by IQMax.