Interview: iPhoneECG ready for Android, too

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 17, 2011        

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AliveCor's iPhone ECG is not an FDA-approved medical device

Dr. David Albert is one of wireless medicine’s old guards. As he puts it: “I did what AirStrip is doing 15 years ago with the first Nokia smartphone. I also have a patent that is probably the seminal patent for handheld ECGs, but GE owns that now since they acquired my company. I’m an old pro in this business.”

If you hadn’t heard about Albert’s mobile health pedigree from 15 years ago, you might know him as the inventor of iPhone ECG, which was the headline grabbing story from the CES event in Las Vegas last week — not just for health-related news, but one of the most popular stories coming out of the year’s biggest technology show overall, too. Albert’s device was featured in reports from NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN and more.

In an expansive interview with MobiHealthNews, Albert explained the many uses cases for his single lead ECG device; why he thinks there are too many complaints about FDA regulation of mHealth; next steps for the iPhone ECG device; and more.

Albert also let it slip that his ECG case for the iPhone is already working with at least one other smartphone.

The Android version is already done: “We have it working on the least expensive Huawei Android device,” Albert said. “We will make a credit card sized device that will allow this to work with any tablet, any smartphone, any laptop in the future.” Keep reading>>


Mobile Health Trends in 2011

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 13, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsNext month will mark another milestone for MobiHealthNews — our very first online event. MobiHealthNews is excited to join analyst firm Chilmark Research and mobile health pioneer Diversinet to discuss mHealth trends set to develop over the coming year. We’ll also discuss potential mobile health news and trends likely to emerge at the upcoming HIMSS* event in Orlando next month. (Sign up today!)

Two years ago the mobile-related buzz at HIMSS was that an electronic medical records (EMR) vendor (Allscripts) had developed a smartphone app — a first for the major EMR vendors. Last year at HIMSS, consumer-grade tablets (iPad) threatened the market opportunity for incumbent healthcare-specific devices.

This year the mobile health conversation has matured, so what should you expect in Orlando?

Join me, Chilmark Research Principal John Moore and Diversinet EVP Mark Trigsted for a series of presentations followed by a lively question and answer period.

The discussion begins on February 10 at 2PM EST/ 11AM PST. Don’t be late!

Sign up for the free webinar today and, of course, feel free to pass this along to any colleagues who may be interested. Not heading out to Orlando for the event? Well, our presentations will also serve as a review and look ahead for mobile health trends in 2011 — if you’re a MobiHealthNews reader, this event is not to be missed.

*This webinar is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Mobile Health Report: Fourth Quarter Review

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 13, 2011        

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Q4_10 Report CoverAt the end of each calendar year quarter, MobiHealthNews pieces together the most important news, commentary, deals and analysis into a “state of the industry” report available in our premium content section (here). What follows are excerpts from the Payors chapter of MobiHealthNews’ Fourth Quarter: Mobile Health State of the Industry Report.

During the fourth quarter of 2010 health plans and other payors pushed the mobile health industry forward with a number of key move. Perhaps most importantly, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Don Berwick appointed Dr. Richard Gilfillan “Acting” Director of the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMI), which is tasked with developing “innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures… while preserving or enhancing quality of care.” In its National Broadband Plan the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pointed to the CMI as a test bed of innovation for mobile health that could help expedite reimbursement for mHealth services.

As CMS began to set up its new innovation center, private payers began to take mobile health more seriously. Dr. Richard Migliori, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, told MobiHealthNews that mobile health can help improve access to care and help the increasingly overburdened physician base better meet the needs of patients. Migliori explained the role of mobile apps backed by employer incentives in bringing about the payer’s vision for mobile health. Interestingly, United, itself, is among those employers that is using mobile health apps to help employees achieve wellness benchmarks. Above all else, however, Miglori said that mobile health can help payers establish a more personal relationship with its members:

“Health is built on intimacy,” Migliori said. “Whether we are sharing this information with a patient or physician, we think that mobile technology will allow us to become a greater part of their lifestyle, because we are joining their lifestyle not trying to redirect it. For physicians we are trying to become more deeply embedded in their workflow rather than distracting them. We knew we had built robust and precise tools that people could use to improve their health status. What we needed to do was step up the game in terms of getting people to take advantage of it. To do that it wasn’t a matter of doing something more sophisticated, it was a matter of becoming a bigger part of their lives.”

Humana is another payor that began to court the mobile health industry during the fourth quarter: “Mobile devices – from cell phones to iPads, eReaders to Nintendo DS – are becoming essential tools for monitoring our health and wellbeing, thanks to their ability to access and share information anywhere,” Raja Rajamannar, senior vice president and chief innovation and marketing officer at Humana, told MobiHealthNews in an interview this past November. “Many of today’s five billion cell phone users, for instance, can use global-positioning satellite, or GPS, to locate health clinics, download medical information and even find healthy restaurant options in their area. Mobile applications also can monitor health progress, helping to shift consumer behaviors toward managing wellness and away from treating sickness.”

A couple of health insurers also launched their own apps and mobile websites: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina recently launched an iPhone, iPad and iPod touch app called HealthNAV, which helps users find the closest urgent care center to them. The app also provides a place for notes about prescriptions, reminders and questions for their next appointment, and a medication’s price guide. CIGNA launched a mobile website for its 11 million members that enables them to get answers about what their health plans cover. Importantly, the site provides answers in both English and Spanish.

Private payors are finally engaging with mobile health tools as they seek to engage their patient populations with preventive tools and services. Meanwhile, CMS is poised to investigate new payment models for innovative care delivery models, including those mobile health services highlighted by the FCC in its National Broadband Plan.

Get your copy of our newest paid research report here: Fourth Quarter: Mobile Health State of the Industry Report
Interested in a 2011 subscription to receive all of our research reports? Send us a note here

Health Apps Roundup: GE; Spectrum; Pfizer

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 12, 2011        

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MedHelp MoodyMe iPhone AppThree pharma companies retire nine apps from Apple’s iTunes AppStore: According to a report over at InPharm, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Merck have withdrawn nine apps between them, but all continue to support other apps they have developed for the iPhone platform. InPharm

Dental pain emergency app: A Northbridge, California-based dentist has created an app that helps patients alert his office about a dental emergency. “The interactive dental diagram in the Pain Management Center allows patients to select a tooth or teeth in need of attention,” the app’s release states. “Once selected, the patient is prompted to pick a description of the problem and rate their level of discomfort. Dependent on the information entered, the Touch-Screen Pain Management Center will automatically advise the patient regarding their concern and ask if they would like the dental office to be notified.” Release

MoodyMe: MedHelp, the world’s largest health social network, has partnered with GE to create and introduce a new mobile mood diary app, Moody Me, that helps users keep tabs on their mood to better understand their mental well-being and improve their overall health. The app is available as a free download on iTunes for the iPhone and iPod touch. Site

Spectrum Health: Michigan-based Spectrum Health has launched a new smartphone app for its patients that was developed by InterSystems Corporation. The app provides patients with access to personal health information via the healthcare provider’s MySpectrum Web-based patient portal. Available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices. Site

Fooducate: A new, free iPhone app seeks to help shoppers scan the barcodes of over 200,000 unique food products and find out how nutritious they really are. The app providers users with recommendations for healthier choices, too. SFGate

WellComm: San Diego-based WellComm recently launched with the goal of creating an open mHealth framework that provides connectivity for app-to-app communication with medical records systems, including OpenMRS and Google Health. “The mission of our organization is to advance and improve the health and wellness of the individual, to cultivate innovation in medical research, and to provide the open mHealth infrastructure that will foster innovative health and wellness SmartPhone apps, devices and sensors,” WellComm’s launch release states. Release

Intel-GE: Success doesn’t hinge on reimbursement

By: Neil Versel | Jan 12, 2011        

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GE QuietCareBy Neil Versel

Last week, Intel and GE Healthcare formally launched Care Innovations, their joint venture to promote the telehealth technologies of both companies and develop new products intended to help the elderly and chronically ill live independently.

Leading Care Innovations as CEO is Louis Burns, formerly the general manager of Intel’s Digital Health Group. In an interview with MobiHealthNews, Burns discusses the genesis of the Folsom, Calif.-based venture, the new company’s plans and the challenges ahead.

As previously reported, Care Innovations brings together Intel’s Digital Health Group and the Home Health Division of GE Healthcare. The two companies formed a strategic alliance last April and announced the joint venture in August, drawing on talent from both organizations.

According to Burns, Care Innovations can trace its roots to a 2008 phone conversation between Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini and General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, shortly after the launch of the Intel Health Guide home monitoring system. From that call, the two companies started exploring a partnership.

“We found a common view of the market,” Burns says, and found “almost zero overlap” between what GE and Intel were doing in mobile and wireless health. “It just started to make a whole hell of a lot of sense, to put it bluntly.” Keep reading>>

Boomers to create an explosion of health data

By: Neil Versel | Jan 12, 2011        

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By Neil Versel

The aging of tech-savvy baby boomers who want to retain control over their own lives will lead to greater adoption of wireless and mobile health products, helping to reposition healthcare around patients, a new report says. But advances may not be sustainable without a fundamental shift in the way healthcare is paid for and unless there is a greater social foundation to encourage wellness and prevention efforts, according to the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest (MITEF NW).

The group, one of 27 chapters of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology organization supporting technology entrepreneurs worldwide, released the report this week as a precursor to its Jan. 19 event in Seattle, called “Boomers, Technology & Health: Consumers Taking Charge!” MITEF NW also seeks to position Washington and Oregon as leaders in “personal connected health.”

“The boomers have every reason to be one of the primary drivers of connected health,” lead report author Michael Gallelli told MobiHealthNews. Compared to previous generations that have made it to midlife, the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964—the first of whom turn 65 this year—are more affluent, independent and innovative. “They don’t want to give up control of their lives,” he said.

Plus, nearly 60 percent of boomers have been caring for aging relatives for at least the last three years, the report says, citing a Humana estimate.

A “significant piece” of connected health is online and mobile social networking to encourage people to live healthier lives and provide much-needed emotional support, according to Gallelli. “The best way changes are made are usually peer-driven,” he said.

This growth in connected health thanks to the aging population and soaring healthcare costs coupled with rapid adoption of mobile technologies will create what Gallelli called an “explosion of personal data,” creating numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs. “For entrepreneurs, the opportunities lie between the edges of the established healthcare industry and consumer and web mobile technology,” the report states. Keep reading>>