How AirStrip overcame its “nice to have” label

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 29, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsAt the end of November last year Apple aired a new commercial for the iPad called “iPad is Amazing.” Within the first few seconds the commercial showed a brief clip of AirStripOB, a vital sign monitoring app from AirStrip Technologies, and the first iOS app to secure clearance from the FDA.

“When I first joined AirStrip, I realized that everyone was talking about us. Apple had just aired a commercial that featured one of our apps and all the healthcare organizations were suddenly inviting us to present, even though we had been in business for five years and already had 200 customers,” AirStrip CEO Alan Portela told attendees last week at Informa’s Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit in Brussels. “After presenting to many of these organizations it was clear to us that for most of them we were a ‘nice to have’ not a ‘must have.’”

Portela said that problem is one that many other companies working in mobile health today are experiencing. The publicity from Apple helped AirStrip become more acutely aware of it though.

“I decided to treat this problem as if it were a patient. I began by looking at the chief complaint: Sure, there were a lot of issues that led to the ‘nice to have’ problem, a lot of co-morbidities, but what was the chief complaint?” Portela asked.

Portela said his sales team told him it was all about money. The customer feedback was that the technology was great but they didn’t have the money to spend on AirStrip because they were focused on working toward Meaningful Use (MU) and becoming an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). While the focus in healthcare today is on clinical operations, Portela said, the focus of tomorrow is quality of care.

“By tomorrow I mean this is happening already. It’s happening Thursday. It’s happening now,” Portela said. “The model is changing from a transactions-based model to an outcomes-based model.”

Once AirStrip decided to change its pitch and focus on chronic disease — Portela was vague on the specifics — it saw a dramatic response from its customers: “We added 200 hospitals in the past year,” Portela said. “That’s more than we added in the first 5 years of the company.” Keep reading>>

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Eleven hospitals pilot app store for doctors

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 28, 2011        

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HapptiqueHapptique, a spin out from Greater New York Hospital Association Ventures, announced this week that 11 healthcare organizations will beta test its app store for healthcare professionals. The trial will last eight weeks, after which more organizations can sign up for the service, according to the group.

Happtique curates medical and healthcare applications for healthcare enterprises and breaks them down for specific user groups: physician, nurse, pharmacist, etc. It also organizes them by focus, like heart/cardiovascular, for example.

Happtique’s curation team includes a medical librarian, a physician, and a registered nurse.

“Innovative technologies such as this are important to help ensure that providers have the most effective mobile tools to aid in the quick delivery of accurate medical applications,” stated Nader Mherabi, Senior Vice President, Vice Dean and Chief Information Officer of NYU Langone Medical Center in a press release. “We are pleased to join our peers as part of this beta program.”

All of the participating medical organizations except one reside in the New York area: They include Mount Sinai Hospital (New York, NY), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Maimonides Medical Center (Brooklyn, NY), NYU Langone Medical Center (New York, NY), NYU School of Medicine, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation (New Hyde Park, NY), Beth Israel Medical Center (New York, NY), St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center (New York, NY), Wyckoff Heights Medical Center (Brooklyn, NY), The HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley (Kingston, NY), and d4 (United Kingdom).

Interestingly, according to the press release, each institution involved has developed or will develop their own custom mobile applications, which will be distributed to hospital staff via its Happtique custom app store. Apps will be available on Apple and Android platforms, with support for Blackberry planned.

“We are very excited to address the need for secure and customizable healthcare app platforms by providing these hospitals, medical schools and nursing homes with their own app store,” stated Happtique President, Corey Ackerman in a press release. “We will use this short beta period to gain valuable feedback and better understand their specific mHealth needs.”

MobiHealthNews spoke to Ackerman last year about the company: “We formed user groups and began looking at Apple’s iTunes AppStore and the other app stores out there. We realized very quickly that there wasn’t yet a niche place for healthcare apps,” Ackerman said then. “Sure, some of the stores have healthcare or medical categories but that’s not enough categorization to be very helpful for locating apps for healthcare providers.”

While that was true last year, earlier this month Apple created a new section of apps specifically for healthcare professionals. The “iTunes room” had about 50 apps in it divided into a half dozen subcategories at launch.

Ackerman said that Happtique will not be in the business of curating content:“We are not in the business of opining whether an app is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ though. That’s not our role,” Ackerman said. “If the FDA indicates that an app is a medical device and needs to be regulated, well, that’s a different situation and we can take it out of the store…We want [Happtique] to be as full as possible. We don’t have plans to delve into whether an app is ‘good or bad’ at this point, since there are thousands of apps out there.”

Read the press release below.

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Basis advisors hail from Facebook, Guitar Hero

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 28, 2011        

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b1-perspective_col_SM1Wrist-worn wellness device maker Basis announced this week that its advisory board includes an executive at Facebook as well as the co-founders of RedOctane, co-creators of the Guitar Hero series.

The advisory team includes Kevin Colleran, long-time executive at Facebook and one of its first ten employees; Kai and Charles Huang, co-founders of RedOctane and creators of Guitar Hero; Patrick McGill, global corporate development, media and entertainment specialist; Daniel Kraft, MD, a Stanford and Harvard trained physician and innovator who chairs the Medicine track for Singularity University and its FutureMed Program; and Jeff Rosenthal along with his co-founders of entrepreneur organization Summit Series.

For six years Basis was known as PulseTracer, but the company changed names recently in anticipation of a commercial rollout. Its B1 Basis Band is a wrist worn device that measures the wearer’s heart rate and other vital signs. The company plans to allow third party developers to build apps that work with the device. The B1 Basis Band is expected to be released later this year for $199. Basis closed $9 million in a first round of funding in March led by Norwest Venture Partners and Doll Capital Management.

“The emergence of smart, integrated devices, like the Basis band, that are easy for individuals to use on a daily basis, are game-changing for both wellness and healthcare,” stated Daniel Kraft, MD in a press release. “What Basis is doing represents a significant step forward. By giving people the opportunity to see, gain insight, interact with, and share their own health metrics, it becomes easier to make and maintain behavior changes that can improve health and wellness.” (Check out Kraft’s TED talk on mobile health here.)

“We believe the key to encouraging consumers to play a more active role in their wellness lies in combining comprehensive information about their body, easy-to-understand insights, and a motivating experience,” stated Basis CEO Jef Holove in a press release. “This approach, combined with our technical advantages, is attracting high-caliber health, technology and entertainment talent, who not only have great experience but are committed to our mission.”

Holove spoke to MobiHealthNews this summer about Basis becoming a symbol for wellness: “I really think we are not at the beginning — but at a threshold — and this trend is exploding and is becoming sustainable,” he told us. “Just like driving a Prius or having a recycling bin outside your house are symbols that you are doing your part for the environment, there will be certain symbols that show you are doing your part for wellness. Devices like ours could become that symbol.”

Read the press release below.

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Kennedy-backed Health eVillages program to deliver mobile reference to health professionals

By: Neil Versel | Sep 27, 2011        

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Neil VerselI normally prefer to remain independent, lest I compromise my journalistic objectivity, but I have decided to make an exception.

Monday at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Marlborough, Mass.-based Physician’s Interactive Holdings, which owns mobile medical reference software vendor Skyscape, and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, announced that they are jointly launching Health eVillages, a program that will provide smartphones and other mobile devices, loaded with medical texts, drug guides, and other reference tools, to health professionals in low-income regions of the world.

I am honored to be serving on the advisory board to Health eVillages, along with co-founding partners Kerry Kennedy—president of the RFK Center, and daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy—and Physician’s Interactive CEO and Vice Chairman Donato Tramuto.  Other board members include: John Boyer, chairman of government consulting firm Maximus Federal Services; Glen Tullman, CEO of EHR vendor Allscripts; Steve Andrzejewski, former CEO of pharmaceutical company NycoMed, Alexander Baker, chief operating officer of Partners Community Healthcare, which provides management services for physicians affiliated with Partners HealthCare System in Boston; and Dr. Mary Jane England, former president of Regis College, Weston, Mass.

Many of the other board members have committed large sums of money to this project, either through their companies or out of their own pockets. As a humble journalist who’s used to slumming in style (I once flew business class to Europe using frequent-flier miles, then stayed in a hostel), I’m not in position to give a lot of cash, or even provide expertise on technology or healthcare. But I have ideas and contacts from my nearly 11 years covering this industry, and I know of other projects and organizations in the U.S. and abroad that could benefit from working with Health eVillages. Keep reading>>

Practice Fusion unveils native smartphone apps

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 27, 2011        

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practiceFusionIOSEMR developer Practice Fusion announced native iOS and Android versions of its web-based platform at the Health 2.0 conference held San Francisco this week. The app is currently in private beta and is expected to launch early next year.

With the new apps providers will be able to view patient charts, review lab results, respond to prescription refill requests, and send HIPAA-compliant messages to patients. The apps, like the currently available web version, will be free to physicians.

While Practice Fusion hasn’t previously announced any native smartphone apps, it did launch a version of its EMR for the iPad last February. However, it was not a native iPad application — users had to download the $30 LogMeIn Ignition virtualization app to access the service. The company also stated that Practice Fusion users could access their EMR on Android tablets and smartphones through LogMeIn’s software.

“Doctors love mobile technology,” Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard stated in this week’s press release. “An estimated 80 percent of physicians have smartphones. This prototype is the next step we promised our mobile-hungry medical community. Soon, our doctors will access their free EMR accounts anytime, anywhere securely with a free iPhone app.”

At the time of the LogMeIn announcement last February, a press release stated that Practice Fusion had 70,000 users. According to the company’s latest press release, the service currently counts 100,000 medical professionals as users.

Read the full press release below.

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FDA OKs Calgary Scientific diagnostic imaging app

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 26, 2011        

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Calgary Scientific ResolutionMD MobileWhile MIM beat them to it by about seven months, Calgary Scientific just announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted it clearance to market its medical imaging application, ResolutionMD Mobile, as a mobile diagnostic app in the US. MIM spent close to two years working with the FDA to secure clearance for its diagnostic mobile imaging app, Mobile MIM, after it was featured on-stage at the original Apple event that launched the iPhone’s AppStore in 2008. MIM received FDA clearance only this past February.

The ResolutionMD mobile app is cleared to run on iPhone and iPad devices. It already has the greenlight from Canada’s regulatory body, Health Canada and has a CE Mark for distribution in Europe.

ResolutionMD Mobile had other “non-diagnostic” versions, which were previously distributed through original equipment manufacture agreements with other companies. (This may be a reference to Sprint, which has said it had a partnership with Calgary Scientific.)

Last September Calgary Scientific announced plans to offer ResolutionMD Mobile through Sprint to provide the app to physicians who own HTC EVO 4G devices — assumedly this was the non-diagnostic version of the offering. The HTC EVO 4G, which launched in June 2010, was the first phone Sprint has offered for its new 4G network. Calgary Scientific has also partnered with Siemens, Viatronix and Sentinelle Medical to distribute ResolutionMD.

Here’s what Calgary Scientific says makes its solution different:

“The mobile app offers unparalleled performance, advanced capabilities and complete security, utilizes minimal bandwidth and offers strong performance even on 3/4G wireless, and ensures that no highly sensitive or confidential patient information is ever retained on the mobile device. The patient image data cannot be lost or stolen, as in the case of traditional mobile-device rendered software, which requires that data to be sent to the mobile device.”

More in the press release below:

Keep reading>>