HIMSS13 Roundup: Nuance, AT&T, AirStrip, Philips

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 9, 2013        

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Vidyo Healthcare PhilipsNuance’s MD survey on voice-enabled, virtual assistants

Ahead of the big event in New Orleans, Nuance Communications surveyed 10,000 doctors in the US about how virtual assistants, think Apple’s iPhone voice query tool Siri, might affect healthcare. Based on the survey, 80 percent of US physicians believe that they will “drastically change” how they interact with and use EHRs and other healthcare apps within five years. Of course, that is Nuance’s flagship product for healthcare — voice input.

The survey found that about 65 percent of physicians believe a virtual assistant would provide them with more accurate, timely information to support care or alert them to missing information in records and 80 percent believe virtual assistants will help patients by engaging them in the care process and helping them develop healthier behaviors. Read More

AT&T to power cellular-connectivity in Numera’s Libris mPERS offering

AT&T announced at HIMSS that it would provide M2M cellular connectivity for a mobile personal emergency response system (mPERS) it is developing with Valued Relationships Inc. and Numera Libris. Like other wireless-enabled mPERS systems, AT&T’s would automatically send for help when a fall is detected. Read More

TigerText offers up secure messaging API to mobile health developers

At HIMSS secure messaging vendor TigerText announced that it has begun offering an API that enables developers to add its secure messaging to their mobile health apps. TigerConnect is an “open API that lets any organization use the power of secure messaging to reach any colleague, customer or partner in real-time,” according to the company. TigerText already has API integrations with Dropbox and SpotMD. Read More

AirStrip One launches for cross-platform, mobile-enabled EHR, HIS interoperability

Ahead of the HIMSS13 event, AirStrip Technologies announced the launch of its AirStrip One offering, which is first being implemented at Dignity Health. AirStrip describes the offering as an “enterprise-wide, data- and vendor-agnostic mobility solution to securely deliver patient data from medical devices, electronic medical records (EMRs) and patient monitors to clinicians anywhere across the care continuum.” AirStrip describes it as a key to mobile healthcare interoperability. Read More

Meritus Medical Center taps PatientSafe Solutions for mobile health rollout

PatientSafe Solutions, which offers iPod touch-based point-of-care platform called PatientTouch, announced that Meritus Medical Center in Maryland had tapped it to implement PatientTouch throughout the 272-bed hospital. Read More

Philips and Vidyo expand partnership for video-enabled remote patient monitoring

At HIMSS13 Philips announced that its IntelliSpace eCareManager 3.9 will incorporate Vidyo’s VidyoRouter technology to better enable remote video monitoring of patients who are in the hospitals or at home. Read More

MobiHealthNews coverage of the HIMSS13 event in New Orleans is sponsored by AirStrip Technologies.


HIMSS-backed health accelerator Avia to launch soon

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 9, 2013        

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approach-1Chicago-based health accelerator Avia announced that it had partnered with HIMSS to help connect health startups to hospital systems, according to a report in MedCity News. The accelerator plans to announce its first hospital partner by the summer. Avia plans to work with its hospital partners to first understand their needs and then seek out promising startups that might fill them. The obvious benefit to startups is the customer match-making, and providing capital is a secondary concern.

Avia’s team includes CEO Eric Langshur, co-founder Ted Meisel, COO Eric Jensen, and Chief Strategy Officer Leslie Wainwright. Langshur is also a co-founder of Abundant Venture Partners, social networking site CarePages, and Rise Health. Meisel is a partner at venture capital firm Elevation Partners, which was co-founded by U2’s Bono. Prior to Avia Jensen was with McKinsey and Wainwright was with Sg2.

Avia told MedCity News that they see their team acting like a business development group for its hospital clients. Avia is initially focused on startups working on patient engagement (including mobile health), analytics, clinical decision support, and telemedicine. Ideal startups would have a little more traction than those currently participating in one of the health incubators, but graduates of those programs might be a fit.

According to Avia’s website, the team will help hospitals not just identify promising startup partners, but also “evaluate, select, and implement” the best ones that “align with their innovation priorities”.

Avia’s board of advisors includes HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Innovation for Northwestern Memorial Hospital Dr. Lyle Berkowitz, and the Founder and Former President of hospital alliance Premier Alan Weinstein, among others.

Beyond Lieber’s role as an advisor, the specifics around how HIMSS and Avia will work together have yet to be announced.

MobiHealthNews coverage of the HIMSS13 event in New Orleans is sponsored by AirStrip Technologies.

Mobile slowly becomes a path to health information exchange

By: Neil Versel | Mar 9, 2013        

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commonwellInteroperability clearly was one the main themes at the just-concluded Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference in New Orleans.

Probably the biggest vendor-related news to come out of HIMSS13 was the launch of CommonWell Health Alliance, a partnership between Cerner, McKesson – including McKesson health information exchange subsidiary RelayHealth – Allscripts, athenahealth and Greenway Medical Technologies to promote interoperability based on open standards.

While the participants did not give specifics of how their collaboration will work, they apparently are taking mobile technology into consideration. “Allowing data to flow more freely fits the needs of a mobile society just as providers are taking on more financial risk in coordinating care,” Greenway President and CEO Tee Green said in a press release.

Still, mobile is just starting to make its way into HIE. As MobiHealthNews reported earlier from HIMSS13, Dr. Kate Christensen, medical director of Kaiser Permanente’s Internet Services Group, said that 22 percent of traffic to Kaiser’s patient portal comes from mobile devices. “The use of smartphones is also skyrocketing among older people, and I don’t really think it’s a barrier until about [age] 85,” Christensen added.

Kaiser, of course, tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to all sorts of health IT, connectivity and interoperability – and it has an advantage over other healthcare providers because it is a tightly integrated organization that also includes a payer side. But others will have to catch up soon because the “meaningful use” electronic health records (EHR) incentive program requires them to in order to earn Medicare and Medicaid bonus payments. Keep reading>>

Ford: Health sensors in car won’t alert impending heart attacks

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 9, 2013        

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Ford Allergy Alert AppAt the HIMSS13 event this week, an executive from the automaker Ford recapped the company’s now well-documented vision for how to transform the car into a next generation platform for mobile health apps, devices, and services. For the first time, however, Gary Strumolo, Ford’s global manager for health and wellness, interiors and infotainment research and innovation, drew a line between his company and similar moves made by the competition.

“To an extent we have pioneered this area of mobile health,” Strumolo said in New Orleans this past week. “Others are starting in on infotainment [services in the car now]… but Toyota, for example, has a research project for a steering wheel that will do heart rate monitoring… they might have a galvanic skin response sensor for stress… and they are interested in doing this as well.”

Strumolo said that Toyota “may do more in terms of alerting driver to their physical condition,” and that Ford is “reluctant to do that” because it doesn’t “think the sensors are necessarily good enough for that,” he said. “We do want to use data but don’t want to say ‘Pull over now because you are about to have a heart attack’.” Strumolo said he doesn’t believe the data collected would be able to determine that “with any level of certainty.”

Ford now has 5 million cars on the road with its Sync technology embedded. This allows drivers and passengers to connect their smartphones to the car via Bluetooth and control apps via the car’s built-in touchscreen or from the buttons on the car’s steering wheel. Developers can tweak their apps to work for Sync by using Ford’s AppLink API.

MobiHealthNews first reported on Ford’s mobile health vision in May 2011 when we visited Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan along with a few dozen automotive trade industry press. At the time Strumolo explained — as he did again at HIMSS this week — that Ford has architected three ways for mobile health services to interact with its cars: Bluetooth connectivity between the car’s computer and personal medical devices, remote access to cloud services via the car’s computer, and syncing up to the health apps users already have on their smartphones. At HIMSS Strumolo shortened this to mobile health services can be “built-in, beamed in, or brought in”.

Strumolo also discussed Ford’s partnerships with Medtronic, WellDoc and IMS Health. Medtronic is working with Ford to show how a continuous glucose meter (CGM) that connected to the car via Bluetooth allows users to hear alerts about their blood glucose readings instead of having to fumble with their monitor’s screen while driving. Strumolo stressed how this could help ease the minds of drivers who have children with diabetes napping in the backseat. Ford is also working with WellDoc to connect its cloud-based DiabetesManager service, which could encourage drivers to double check their blood sugar right when they get behind the wheel if they had a low reading earlier that day. SDI or IMS Health has already launched its Pollen.com-powered Allergy Alert app for the iPhone that syncs up to Ford cars to keep drivers aware of allergy, flu and asthma alerts in the areas they are driving through.

Strumolo spent some time discussing the future of cars intelligently routing around areas with poor air quality, especially if the driver or a passenger has a health issue that makes them more sensitive to air pollutants.

“Smaller side streets have far less [air pollution],” Strumolo said. “You often don’t have to go too far to avoid it. Going through certain areas might be a better way to get around. Gary Indiana really smells and if you have breathing problems it might be a problem for you. It’s not a big detour, but there is a simple way to get around it.”

Strumolo also recapped Ford’s joint partnership with Healthrageous and Microsoft to pull in coaching services from the wellness company’s programs into the car. Microsoft is contributing access to its HealthVault PHR, help translating the data from the car-based sensors into the platform, and integration with its cloud offering Windows Azure.

Most mobile health app developers are creating apps for “0 miles per hour”, Strumolo said. Developers need to always keep in mind the HMI, the human modified interface, and what “is relevant at 0 miles per hour” might not be “at 70 miles per hour”, Strumolo said. “You can’t have them lose focus on their primary task, which is driving safely.”

Ford believes that this eventual push into mobile health in the car will help to redefine auto-safety. Today the automotive industry often thinks of auto-safety as crash-worthiness, Strumolo said. How well a car holds us in a serious crash. While that’s important, he said that most people will never get into a serious car accident. Auto-safety should be about keeping the driver and passengers safer and healthier on a day-t0-day basis.

Citing Department of Transportation data, Strumolo said that Americans spend 500 million hours in their cars for their daily commutes each year. Within those many hours might be a window for a health check-up, according to Strumolo. Services like those offered by WellDoc, IMS Health, Medtronic, and Healthrageous might make that possible soon.

MobiHealthNews coverage of the HIMSS13 event in New Orleans is sponsored by AirStrip Technologies.

For ACOs it’s not all about the technology, but sometimes it is

By: Jonah Comstock | Mar 8, 2013        

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Emmi Solutions' patient engagement software.

Emmi Solutions' patient engagement software.

Whether intentional or coincidental, the timing of Clay Christensen’s controversial Wall Street Journal editorial on “The Coming Failure of ACOs” was interesting, putting Christensen’s well-rooted skepticism at the forefront of the conversation going into HIMSS 2013, where ACOs were a dominant topic of discussion. Christensen contends that ACOs will fail because they depend on an unrealistic change in attitude on the part of doctors and patients, though he sees technology, especially telemedicine, as one ray of hope.

Dr. Joseph Kvedar, director of the Center for Connected Health, responded to the WSJ piece, asserting, among other things, that Christensen underestimated both the effect of ACOs being provider-led and the game-changing potential of connected health — certainly something that’s viewed differently by peoplelike Kvedar who are immersed in digital health.

Likewise, the voices at HIMSS speaking about ACOs were not pundits speculating, but vendors and, more importantly, providers who are in the trenches of accountable care implementation. Their accounts did not tell a tale of failure — although they did prove Christensen right about the need for a change in attitudes on the part of providers.

“Implementing technologies is the easier part,” said Edward Martinez, Senior VP and CIO of Miami Children’s Hospital. “Changing the way people think, and behaviors, that’s what’s very difficult for the organization.”

“You cannot do this without physicians driving it. We had physicians leading all our teams,” said Meryl Moss, Chief Operating Officer at Coastal Medical, Inc. “[You need to] focus on clinical rather than technical leadership. Our super-users were not IT folks, they were PharmDs and nurses.”

Coastal Medical, a provider and ACO, won a Davies Award from HIMSS this year. The system is moving away from fee-for-service, with their doctors currently being paid 90 percent fee-for-service and 10 percent based on individual performance measures.

“Ninety-ten is not good enough, but it’s the best we can do right now,” said Coastal Medicine President G. Alan Kurose. “I’d like to see it be 13, then 17, then 21. If 90 percent of a doctor’s compensation is still fee-for-service, he’s not going to be that motivated by that.”

Many of the ACOs and ACO-focused vendors at HIMSS were demoing remote monitoring and telemedicine technologies, but others suggested remote monitoring and reduced readmissions alone weren’t enough to make a difference. The real key is what’s called “care management” –gathering data and analyzing it to find the famed 5 percent of patients with multiple chronic diseases that represent 50 percent of the cost to the healthcare system — and then enticing those patients to be engaged with preventative care. Keep reading>>

Surveys look at digital health adoption, reasons for hesitance

By: Jonah Comstock | Mar 8, 2013        

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Source: Ruder Finn mHealth Report

Source: Ruder Finn mHealth Report

Several surveys were released this past week at — or coinciding with — HIMSS, focusing on different areas of consumer engagement in digital health. The Atlantic surveyed 1,000 US residents, finding that only 12 percent had emailed or texted their doctors. A Ruder Finn survey of more than 1,000 US adults found that 16 percent of smartphone and tablet users access health apps regularly. Finally, an online study by IEEE of 1,200 Facebook members (mostly engineers and technologists) explored attitudes about connected health devices, finding that only 9 percent listed health as a way in which they’re most interested in using connected devices.

The Atlantic study, conducted in conjunction with GlaxoSmithKline, found 64 percent of people taking health into their own hands, looking up some kind of health information online. Of those, 59 percent used WebMD, 22 percent used Google, 17 percent used the Mayo Clinic website, and 12 percent used their health insurance website. The top reason for using these sites (64 percent) was seeking general health information, but 40 percent cited self-diagnosis and 38 percent said they were evaluating whether to see a doctor.

On the subject of emailing with doctors, the study found that hypothetical attitudes about online physician engagement dwarfed actual practice — 31 percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay for online consultations with their doctor, and 20 percent said they would be willing to communicate with their doctor online.

Similarly, the IEEE respondents‘ hypothetical interest in using connected medical devices was high, despite being more excited about the internet of things in the context of work. The survey found that 68 percent of respondents would be comfortable using a connected device that monitors health information, and 72 percent believe such a device would improve their wellness.

Ruder Finn’s study of mobile engagement found that by far the most popular health apps were fitness and wellness apps, not an unexpected finding. Forty-nine percent of respondents who used health apps said they used healthy eating apps, and 48 percent named similar categories: fitness training apps and calorie counter apps. For nutrition apps, the figure was 46 percent. Similar to the Atlantic study, only 12 percent said they would use an app to videoconference with their doctor.

Patients were also asked which mobile capabilities they most wanted to see their doctors use. Forty-two percent said they wanted their doctor to have an app to see their test results, 33 percent cited remote monitoring devices, and 30 percent wanted doctors to have access to patient health records via a mobile device. A surprising 13 percent said they didn’t think apps would help improve patient care at all.

While Ruder Finn asked patients about physician mobile health tools, a survey from Accenture, conducted by Harris Interactive, asked physicians about patient engagement. The survey of 3,700 doctors across eight countries found that 82 percent of doctors believe patients should actively participate in their health by updating their own electronic health record. Only 31 percent believed patients should have full access to their record, though, with 65 percent saying they should have only limited access and 4 percent saying they should have no access at all.

Most interestingly, although the three studies that looked at adoption found relatively low adoption of mobile health engagement, two of them also looked at the reasons consumers don’t engage. Ruder Finn asked those who did not use health apps why they didn’t. Twenty-seven percent said they didn’t have any need to access health-related apps, 26 percent said they preferred to talk to a doctor in person about health issues, 11 percent were concerned about sharing information with an app, 9 percent didn’t find apps helpful, and 7 percent didn’t know they were available.

The IEEE study asked respondents to name the biggest challenge to the adoption of connected health devices, in their opinion. Of those surveyed, 39 percent were concerned about the security of data and 46 percent cited privacy concerns. It’s clear that regulators and developers will have to continue to emphasize privacy and security to get to a point where consumers are widely comfortable with mobile health services.

MobiHealthNews coverage of the HIMSS13 event in New Orleans is sponsored by AirStrip Technologies.