Mobile health at HIMSS 2011

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 10, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsLater today MobiHealthNews will host its very first webinar: mHealth Trends 2011 (HIMSS11 Preview), which takes place at 2PM EST/ 11AM PST. If you are not already one of the 850 people who have signed up, please do — it’s complimentary but you need to register to attend. Many thanks to Diversinet for sponsoring our first foray into live online events. The discussion will focus on mobile health trends in 2011 and include a preview of what we expect to see in the way of mobile health trends and news at the HIMSS event in Orlando later this month. We’re very excited to hear from Chilmark Research Principal John Moore, who will present along with me and Diversinet EVP Mark Trigsted.

John will provide some data from Chilmark’s recent mHealth report along with a look at mHealth at HIMSS. I’ll focus on some trends I expect to see in 2011 and may even make a few predictions (those will likely draw some criticism). Mark is going to share his take on mHealth trends as well as Diversinet’s strategy for HIMSS, which should prove instructive for other mobile health companies heading to Orlando. Be sure to bring questions to the webinar later today. We’ll try to answer all questions submitted during the session or later by email if need be.

I’ll also be presenting live and in-person at the HIMSS event itself. There’s a new HIT X.0 portion of the event and I’ll be kicking that off Monday morning with a discussion of mobile health by the numbers. Sometimes it seems like there are more numbers floating around about mobile health, than there are mobile health companies. My goal is to whittle down the list to a core set of need-to-know numbers. Here are the details on my session.

If you’d like to meet up in person, be sure to drop me a line — I’ve got a few spots left and I’ll plan to schedule these by the end of the week. If you’d like to learn more about MobiHealthNews’ services, be sure to send MobiHealthNews co-founder Joe Maillie an email — he’ll be at the event also and happy to discuss non-editorial topics. MobiHealthNews Contributing Editor Neil Versel will also be in attendance and covering some of the mobile health related happenings for us, but he’ll be writing more extensively about HIMSS here.

See you in Orlando!

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Interview with Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Government Affairs, Robert Jarrin

By: Neil Versel | Feb 10, 2011        

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Robert Jarrin Qualcomm HealthRobert Jarrin, senior director of government affairs for Qualcomm, wasn’t thrilled by the fact that the federal stimulus for health IT was so heavily slanted toward electronic health records, with little direct focus on wireless and mobile technology.

“The issue that we’ve had from a mobile perspective with that entire process is that when they talk about health information technology, they really have limited themselves to talking about the exchange of electronic health records,” Jarrin said Wednesday in Washington, D.C. “HIT is much broader than that. Mobile health is a part of that ecosystem, and, quite frankly, it’s almost the most important part.”

Qualcomm, through its Wireless Reach initiative, funded a pilot by George Washington University Medical Center and not-for-profit technology advocate One Economy to study how the Pill Phone mobile app might improve medication compliance among chronically ill Medicaid patients. The company brought several journalists to Washington this week to see the results of the pilot and meet with some of the organizers.

“When a human being is wearing a sensor, a medical device, and has an application like the Pill Phone, which is taking readings directly from a human being, that’s an important aspect that hasn’t really been taken into consideration,” Jarrin explained. “There’s no emphasis on the side that really touches the patient, so in essence we’re just creating this continuation of this culture of walking around with a manila folder, where people write stuff down and then have to go and transmit it somehow, manually input.”

Still, he calls the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act a “game changer” for wireless health because the stimulus legislation is pumping billions into health IT, mostly via the $27 billion “meaningful use” EHR incentive program. For one thing, it will be hard to achieve true interoperability of health information until more health IT infrastructure is in place. Keep reading>>

Healthagen acquisition adds appointment booking to iTriage smartphone app

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 9, 2011        

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AppointmentCityThis week Healthagen, which offers the popular iTriage mobile health app, announced the acquisition of AppointmentCity, a mobile-enabled service that helps consumers more easily book appointments at hospitals, urgent care facilities, physicians’ offices and more. The functionality is a natural add-on to iTriage’s current offering, which includes a patient self-assessment guide, laction-based facility locator information and wait times at participating care facilities. No financial details about the deal were disclosed.

“Healthagen, with its Web and mobile platform, has proven itself to be a top-tier healthcare technology solutions provider with tens of thousands of provider clients, and well over one million users,” explained Sherwin Krug, founder and Chief Executive Officer of AppointmentCity.com. “The acquisition of AppointmentCity.com takes iTriage to the next step – allowing this network to interact by booking appointments directly from the phone or Web through the iTriage platform. AppointmentCity.com was developed to provide an enterprise solution for appointment setting and has booked many appointments over the past year with our thousands of providers. We are excited to see this grow further within the iTriage platform.”

Krug told MobiHealthNews in an email he will not be joining Healthagen, however. Krug has already launched his next startup: The Doc Clock, a crowd-source ER and physician offices wait time service. “With patient empowerment a driving focus, TheDocClock was created as a way for patients to report wait times rather than rely on the busy staff at doctor’s offices or Hospital ERs to report their current wait times,” the company explains on its website. Apple approved the iPhone app just last week.

While wait times are not the only thing Healthagen’s iTriage app offers, it is one of the company’s core offerings for its premium healthcare provider partners.

For more on the AppointmentCity acquisition, read the full press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

Mixed but encouraging results for Medicaid patients using Pill Phone app

By: Neil Versel | Feb 9, 2011        

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pillphoneResults of a pilot study of a mobile app meant to improve medication compliance among chronically ill, low-income patients are mixed but encouraging, the pilot’s facilitators announced at an event MobiHealthNews attended in Washington, DC this week.

The study, funded by a grant from Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative and conducted at the George Washington University Medical Center, found that a small group of Medicaid patients with chronic hypertension were quite willing to receive and act on medication reminders sent to their cell phones. But actual adherence to prescribed medication regimens was harder to attribute to the technology.

In a seven-month study that ended in August, average user satisfaction was 4.3 of a possible 5 for the Pill Phone, an FDA-cleared medication management app from Del Mar, Calif.-based Vocel. Researchers report similarly high scores to questions about whether the Pill Phone has helped patients keep better track of their meds and whether they would use a similar app in the future.

The Pill Phone provides alerts to Web-enabled mobile phones—not necessarily smartphones—with text and images. Patients must indicate whether they’ve taken the drug or skipped a dose, or they can choose a “snooze” function that delays the reminder. Content comes from The Pill Book, a guide with information and FDA-approved pictures of 1,800 commonly prescribed medications.

The GWU internal medicine, renal and cardiology clinics identified 350 District of Columbia Medicaid patients with hypertension by mining the Allscripts EHR used by the faculty practice, and eventually got 50 participants for the study. Patients, all of whom had been prescribed at least two drugs for their condition, had four clinic visits, first to establish a baseline, then to measure progress with and without the Pill Phone app.

Wireless Reach teamed with low-cost wireless carrier Cricket Communications to supply 3G-enabled “feature phones” to program participants at no charge. More than half of the study subjects, with a median age of 53, had diabetes in addition to hypertension, and 42 percent were smokers at the time the study began. Participants were on an average of 8.1 medications. Half had blood-pressure monitors at home, but 37 percent of those used their monitors less than once a month.

Of the more than 15,000 scheduled dosages, just 94 came back as skipped and patients hit “snooze” 134 times. Researchers didn’t see a single instance of a patient initiating Pill Phone changes. Keep reading>>

Diabetes mobile health company snags $48 million from investors

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 7, 2011        

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CellNovo PumpLast week London-based mobile diabetes management company, Cellnovo announced a whopping $48 million second round of funding. While the company has been long known as the developer of a wireless-enabled insulin pump, in recent years it has stressed its software competency, and even made analagous comments between its offerings and Apple’s iTunes Store.

This week Medcity News pointed its readers to a quote from Cellnovo’s CEO Bill Mckeon from an issue of Invivo last year:

“If people understand Cellnovo as a device that sends data to a website, they are missing the point. If you had asked Steve Jobs at Apple about his new MP3 player called the iPod, and how it compares to other MP3 players, he might have said, ‘I am not making an MP3 player. I’m bringing entertainment into your life in a number of ways,’” Mckeon said at the time.

Cellnovo’s recent round of financing included the backing of a number investors: Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners (EdRIP), Forbion Capital Partners; Auriga Partners, NBGI Ventures, and Credit Agricole Private Equity. Return backers from the company’s first round of funding include Advent Venture Partners, HealthCare Ventures, and NESTA.

Cellnovo said it would use the funds to expand to markets in other parts of the world. Read this article from Medcity News for more or read more from the Cellnovo press release after the cut. Keep reading>>

WellDoc adds oncology expertise with acquisition

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 7, 2011        

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WellDoc Oncology ManagerWellDoc continues to make moves. This morning the Baltimore-based company acquired home health consulting company Oncology Care Home Health Specialists for an undisclosed sum. The move will help WellDoc more quickly develop its oncology solution, which it expects will be a complement to its already FDA-approved DiabetesManager.

WellDoc has integrated Oncology Care’s proprietary intellectual property and care algorithms into its own WellDoc Automated Expert Analytics System, which better positions WellDoc to offer coaching and clinical support to cancer patients and their providers over the Internet and through mobile phones.

WellDoc has repositioned the oncology company as a subsidiary and has shortened its name to Oncology Care Home Health, which it now describes as a “comprehensive education and consulting company dedicated to helping home health providers implement specialized oncology programs.”

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology there are only 12,500 oncologists projected to be available to provide care by 2020, which marks about 4,080 oncologists fewer than needed.

“The only way to close this gap in care is through the use of technologies such as those from WellDoc,” Georgia M. Decker, APRN, ANP-BC, AOCN, past president, Oncology Nursing Society, stated. ”We need solutions that support evidence based clinical decisions and also virtually extend the clinicians’ care plan to the patients’ mobile phone.”

WellDoc expects to market the oncology service through its AT&T channel and other undisclosed pharmaceutical sales channels. With this announcement WellDoc has kept up its momentum. In recent months it secured FDA approval for DiabetesManager, inked a deal with AT&T and integrated with a leading electronic health records (EHR) system.

For more on the acquisition, read the press release after the cut. Keep reading>>