New government how-to guide hopes to prevent mobile EHR data breaches

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 27, 2015        

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The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), a division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has penned a five-part draft guidance on cybersecurity for mobile devices that connect to electronic health records. The guidance includes a step-by-step how-to guide for improving data security that uses commercially available and open source tools and technologies, as well as sections on standards and control mapping and risk assessment.

“The NCCoE was established specifically to help organizations solve real-world challenges, and this was one of particular concern to the health care community,” NCCoE Director Donna Dodson said in a statement. “This guide can help providers protect critical patient information without getting in the way of delivering quality care.”

NIST guidelinesThe guidance reflects the tightrope that hospitals have to walk in implementing mobile EHR access. Protecting patient data is important, but the interface can’t require too much of doctors or it won’t be adopted — doctors already complain that EHRs aren’t easy to use and don’t fit into their workflow. So, for instance, NCCoE proposes a five-step login process to mobile EHR tools, but only the first and last step require the user to enter a password: logging into the mobile device and logging into the EHR. The rest of the authentication happens automatically using certificates and media access controls. Keep reading>>

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Diabetes app uses Apple HealthKit data in realtime to alert caregivers

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 27, 2015        

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HelpAroundAlertHelpAround, the Israel-based startup that raised $550,000 last year to bring the sharing economy to diabetes care, has launched a new app, Alert, which uses HealthKit data in realtime to provide support to patients.

The app imports glucose data from HealthKit and, when it detects a reading outside of a predetermined range, a popup gives the user a one-touch option to contact a predetermined list of friends and family. The user can send text message alerts to their contacts for free, or they can sign up for a paid premium option that allows the app to initiate a conference call.

“When we talked to our users, they talked about moments of distress,” HelpAround CEO Yishai Knobel said in a statement. “They talked about hyperglycemia, being confused, having panic attacks. And it was just about the time Apple came out with HealthKit. So we were already completely tuned to ‘What do I do when I’m in trouble?’ and then it became very clear that the best way to remove friction was to suggest to them a way to notify their support system. Instead of just sitting there and waiting for them, if we can already tell that something is going wrong than we can offer it to them.”

The app is also compatible with HelpAround’s existing app, Diabetes Helper. After the app initiates a conference call with the users’ support network, it can also automatically send out an alert to other Diabetes Helper users in the area.  Keep reading>>

Almost one third of physicians use smartphones to manage patient care

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 27, 2015        

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iPad 2Just over half of ambulatory practice physicians (52 percent) use a mobile device to access patient records or reference data according to a new survey of more than 6,000 physicians from Black Book Market Research. Black Book Rankings, which publishes customer satisfaction survey results for a wide range of industries, does a mobile and EHR-focused survey each year.

While 52 percent of surveyed physicians say they use these mobile tools now, 70 percent intend to look to their mobiles for these use cases by the end of 2015.  Keep reading>>

AstraZeneca, Adherium to create smart inhaler adherence program for patients

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 27, 2015        

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AdheriumAstraZenecaAstraZeneca has partnered with New Zealand-based Adherium Limited, which offers a mobile-enabled inhaler, to incorporate digital health offerings into AstraZeneca’s patient support programs for people with COPD and asthma.

Adherium’s Smartinhaler sends data on when medication was taken to mobile devices and desktop computers via Bluetooth. The platform is designed to help patients, caregivers, and physicians remotely monitor and manage patients’ adherence to their medication.

The program that AstraZeneca has created for patients with COPD and asthma will use smart inhalers to monitor patients’ adherence and then provide patients with personalized advice based on their condition and medication use. In the future, the company said the program will also likely incorporate additional sensors designed to monitor a patient’s condition and potentially assess a patient’s personalized risk factors.  Keep reading>>

Under Armour’s connected fitness apps now have 140 million users

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 27, 2015        

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Under Armour RecordIn the company’s second quarter earnings call, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank told investors that Under Armour is the ideal company to create a connected health dashboard for consumers.

“The fact that consumers have no barometer for their health today is a mistake and frankly that’s where we see this massive opportunity and we feel we’re the best ones to take advantage of it,” Plank said. “Really because of the acquisitions that we’ve made over the last two years…The sheer size and scale of the community that we’ve made — it marks us as a clear leader by a factor of as much as four, three, or at least two times.”

Plank shared several stats about the fitness community Under Armour has built through the development of its app, UA Record, and acquisition of Endomondo, MapMyFitness, and MyFitnessPal.

“We remain in the early stages of uncovering the potential of what the world’s largest digital health and fitness community — with now over 140 million athletes — can do to help us build consumer engagement and drive healthier lifestyles,” Plank said. “We are growing our community at more than 30 percent year over year and so far in 2015 these users have voluntarily logged over 1 billion workouts and more than 5 billion foods.”

Since the beginning of the year, Plank added that more than 1 billion workouts were logged into one of Under Armour’s four apps. He also said that the company continues to add more than 100K unique registered users to the platform every day. Plank explained that the expansion of the connected fitness platform is critical to the company’s continued growth.  Keep reading>>

Physicians Interactive acquires maker of doctor social network QuantiaMD

By: Jonah Comstock | Jul 26, 2015        

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QuantiaMDPhysicians Interactive (PI), the digital health marketing company that offers medical reference apps and resources like Omnio to physicians, has acquired Waltham, Massachusetts-based Quantia Communications, parent company of physician social network QuantiaMD.

The acquisition, the terms of which were undisclosed, adds the first peer-to-peer network to PI’s platform, which already includes a number of different resources for physicians and, as of last year’s acquisition, patient-facing health company MedHelp.

“This is our sixth acquisition,” Physicians Interactive CEO Donato Tramuto told MobiHealthNews. “We’ve been building out a platform and we now have 3.5 million physicians on that platform. The important thing now is not just how do we add more physicians, but how do we engage those physicians? There’s a lot of consolidation going on, not just to get value but to get traction. I like that they have the peer to peer engagement; I think that whole model fits very well into Physicians Interactive’s model.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Skyscape was still a Physicians Interactive offering, but that mobile medical app business quietly spun out of PI in 2013 and is now its own entity, called Skyscape Medpresso.

Quantia has raised $40 million since it was founded in 2004, but the company hadn’t taken on any funding since 2013. Some 34 percent of US physicians are registered on the Quantia’s online network, called QuantiaMD. Physicians can use QuantiaMD to ask other physicians questions, test their knowledge by competing with peers on interactive cases, and earn points for using the network, which are redeemable for Amazon gift cards.

In May, Quantia partnered with IMS Health to give all the physicians on its platform access to IMS’s app curation platform, AppScript.  Keep reading>>