FDA approves Mobisante’s smartphone ultrasound

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 4, 2011        

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Mobisante MobiUS smartphone ultrasoundA steady procession of mobile health devices continues to march through the FDA’s regulatory process.

The US Food and Drug Administration has granted Redmond, Washington-based mobile health start-up Mobisante 510(k) clearance for its smartphone-based ultrasound system, MobiUS.

Dr. Sailesh Chutani, CEO and co-Founder of Mobisante, was previously an executive at Microsoft. Before founding Mobisante in 2007, Chutani created Microsoft’s mHealth initiative in 2006, but the group was not called that because the term was not yet widely used. As part of his responsibilities at Microsoft, Chutani managed $100 million of investments in emerging markets for the company.

The mobile ultrasound imaging system will cost between $7,000 and $8,000 in full, which includes a Toshiba Windows Mobile-powered smartphone, an ultrasound probe and the company’s software. Mobisante hopes to halve the cost of the system over time, but the pricetag is still much lower than the tens of thousands or in some cases more than $100,000 other ultrasound systems cost today.

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. Keep reading>>

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Mobile health IPOs, acquisitions, and investments

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 3, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsThree important stories broke on the same day this week: Epocrates went public and raised $86.4 million; Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong acquired GlowCap-maker Vitality for some unnamed tens of millions of dollars; A stealthy mobile-focused startup named Massive Health launched.

Which of these will prove to be the most important longterm?

Obviously the Epocrates IPO is a massive boon to mobile health, but it has been a long time coming. Epocrates filed its first offering in 2007. The company joins a very small club of public companies focused on mobile health. CardioNet is one of Epocrates few public company compatriots, though the two sit on near opposite sides of the wireless health spectrum: Mobile content for physicians and wireless-enabled monitoring of patients. Just as CardioNet founder Jim Sweeney has continued to innovate in mobile health, I expect the founders and executives of Epocrates to make their exits over time and lead new startups in the space. Epocrates co-founder Jeff Tangney is a good example: He launched Doximity last year. Epocrates’ listing on NASDAQ won’t be all that transformative for mobile health, however. Few wireless health companies are in a position to follow Epocrates anytime soon, either.

The acquisition of Vitality may be another story. Thanks to a consumer focus (no FDA clearance required), a grade A efficacy report from Partners (98 percent adherence!), and the backing of one of the largest telecom companies around (AT&T), Vitality’s GlowCaps were likely to drive it to early acquisition. Billionaire and UCLA Wireless Health Institute director Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is an ideal buyer. You can bet the good doctor is just getting started, too. More acquisitions are likely. A mobile health roll-up could very well be underway.

In the span of just six weeks Aza Raskin and Sutha Kamal managed to convince a stable of investors including Andresseen Horowitz, Mohr Davidow Ventures and others to seed their newly formed startup, Massive Health, with $2.25 million. Massive Health’s founders have promised to bring a “design Renaissance” to healthcare starting with smartphone apps for chronic disease management. Raskin was most recently the creative lead at Mozilla, which developed the Firefox web browser. The launch of Massive Health received unusual attention from the big tech blogs, because of the founders’ Silicon Valley credentials, the size of the seed round, and the high profile group of investors. Xconomy learned that self-insured employers are a likely direction for Massive’s business model. GigaOM closes with a prediction that mobile health is going “to get even more crowded” as more venture capitalists will begin to take a look. Did Massive Health’s launch wake up investors?

So, which is it: The IPO, the acquisition, the investment or none of the above? Which will have the most impact on mobile health in the longterm?

US digital health hits $1.7 billion in 2010

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 3, 2011        

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Revenues from the digital health market in the US topped $1.7 billion last year, according to a new report from Parks Associates. The research firm believes that the market will generate revenues of more than $5.7 billion in 2015. The growth will be fueled by chronic care management services, aging in place applications and wellness and fitness apps, Parks believes.

“The digital health industry has many subsectors, and near-term growth will be uneven across these segments,” Harry Wang, director of Parks Associates’ health research team stated in a company release. “Adoption of chronic-care monitoring will grow slowly, and medication management and senior fall-detection programs will expand at above-average rates. The real engines of growth will be mobile care solutions and tracking applications.”

Last April Parks Associates released a report that found the wireless home health market was about $304 million in 2009. The report predicted that the market would top $4.4 billion by 2013.

There are a number of different ways to slice the market — remote monitoring, consumer health, digital health — or by technology, specifically WiFi vs. cellular. Last year we noted that various estimates for mobile health related revenues could top anywhere from $1.9 billion to $6 billion depending on how the market was defined.

Mobile and future meaningful use requirements

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 3, 2011        

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LygeiaWordleChilmark Research analyst Cora Sharma recently penned a thoughtful post on how mobiles might impact future meaningful use requirements — and vice versa. Sharma sees future opportunities for mobile in data capture, advanced clinical processes, data sharing and patient engagement. Each of these have ties back to next stage meaningful use requirements.

“Hospitals worried about the compliance of their non-employed physicians would do well to look into the mHealth ecosystem for tools that will encourage these physicians to comply — even though deploying HIS-integrated Apps will entail the usual governance, implementation and security costs,” Sharma writes. Sharma sees early adopters performing eRx and formulary checks today, but CPOE, CDS and mission critical clinical processes are not yet wide spread.

One side of meaningful use requirements that should be of particular interest to mobile health: The Patient and Family Engagement goal. This requirement includes “patient reminders, patient preferences for communication channel, online secure patient-physician messaging, timely electronic access to clinical data, bidirectional electronic self-management tools, and more,” according to Sharma.

Mobile could help physicians meet this goal by providing patients with reminders via text message or communications through a secure mobile messaging app. And, of course, some patients might find access to their own clinical data and other resources via their mobiles helpful.

Many more details and worthwhile analysis in Sharma’s post on future MU requirements and mobile
The image above (known as a “Wordle”) was created by Lygeia Ricciardi and posted on Ted Eytan’s blog in August. It’s a graphical representation of the meaningful use document — More about the Wordle in the original post that contained it here.

Five mobile security tips for hospitals

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 3, 2011        

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Mobile SecurityDuring a recent interview with Becker’s Hospital Review, Dr. Barry Chaiken, the former chair of HIMSS and now chief medical officer for Imprivata, shared five tips for hospitals still trying to formulate a security strategy for the mobile devices their physicians, nurses and other staff are increasingly using. If you’re not familiar, Imprivata is a security solutions provider. While these are very high-level strategies, Chaiken’s list should be heeded. Security issues are more often than not an under-discussed issue in mobile health, especially for healthcare professional users.

1. Keep all data in the cloud: “Hospitals should really be working so none of the data can be saved on actual devices,” Chaiken said.

2. Use creative passwords. OK, enough said.

3. Limit how devices are utilized. “A hospital may want to set up access in such a way where physicians can only use a mobile application through a cloud so that the hospital can control what information is being seen,” Chaiken said. Fair enough, however, stripping these devices down to core functionalities may dampen their appeal. I wonder to what extent hospitals are already limiting the uses of mobile devices among their physician population.

4. The ultimate goal should be zero breaches. Agreed.

5. Keep up with trends in technology. “Hospital CIOs should keep abreast of the latest updates in technological advances, mobile devices and applications…” Chaiken said. Implication? Read MobiHealthNews.

Mark Trigsted, who is an executive vice president at another security-centered company focused on mobile health, Diversinet, summed up how many feel about mobile security in a recent panel discussion: “There are two schools of thought out there: One group believes, ‘Yes, we can do anything and it’s automatically secure.’ The other is of the opinion that ‘No, we can’t do anything because it’s impossible to secure [mobile].’ So, at Diversinet, we’re trying to mitigate that.”

Be sure to visit Becker’s Hospital Review for the full post with more quotes from Chaiken and discussion on his key considerations for mobile device security.

Epocrates goes public, raises $86.4 million

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 2, 2011        

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wall-streetMedical app publisher Epocrates went public this morning. Along with its selling stockholders, Epocrates raised more than expected: $86.4 million before costs. This is Epocrates third IPO attempt: In 2008 it filed for a $75 million IPO, but withdrew it because of the economic downturn. Last summer Epocrates filed for another $75 million IPO.

Apparently, being patient paid off.

The newest publicly traded mobile health country offers one of the most popular medical applications for healthcare professionals. Epocrates says some 45 percent of physicians in the US use its app, which helps them look up drug data on Apple, BlackBerry and Android devices, phones and tablets. Epocrates makes money through deals with pharma companies that send “clinical alerts” through its platform. It also has a premium version of its app.

Epocrates offerings took a new direction at last year’s HIMSS event where the company announced plans to create an electronic health record (EHR) for small physician practices. Last year’s IPO filing revealed that Epocrates had acquired Caretools, the makers of the iChart EHR iPhone application, for $400,000 in 2009. Caretools founder Thomas Giannulli joined Epocrates in August 2009 as the company’s Chief Medical Information Officer. MobiHealthNews interviewed Epocrates’ executives at HIMSS last March to learn more about the EHR offering (read the interview here).

Epocrates EHR offering is still forthcoming.

While it has been working toward its IPO, Epocrates has stayed busy. Last July around the time of its second IPO filing, the company announced a deal with Pfizer that enabled physicians to contact the pharmaceutical company directly from the Epocrates app. In November 2010 the company bought medical apps developer Modality for $13.8 million in cash. Epocrates partnered with Walgreens in October 2010 for drug reference. In December the company also announced that it was no longer going to support the Palm webOS platform.

Given its pioneer status in mobile health, it’s no surprise that the some of the original founders of Epocrates have already left to found their own startups. One launched mobile-centered Doximity. Another was recently featured in the New York Times for starting a concierge medical practice business.

Epocrates is now trading on NASDAQ as EPOC.