Californians gets their first statewide mobile Amber Alert

By: Aditi Pai | Aug 7, 2013        

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wireless-emergency-alerts-capableBetween late Monday and early Tuesday this week, California residents received an Amber alert on their phones about two missing children in San Diego. This was the first time California officials notified the public of a statewide Amber Alert through mobile phones. While this system used to be opt-in, as of this year, people must opt-out if they do not wish receive the alerts.

Last year, the major mobile operators in the US, which cover about 97 percent of the population, began supporting wireless emergency alerts from federal, state, and local government agencies. The messages, formerly called the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) and Personalized Localized Alerting Network (PLAN), are now referred to as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).

Public officials use WEA to notify the public about alerts issued by the President, alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life and Amber Alerts. The messages are not disseminated through phone numbers and are instead sent through cell towers.

Another mobile-based alert system Ping4alerts! is an app that notifies users of nuclear reactor breakdowns, Amber Alerts for missing children, and disaster relief. The company sells its system to emergency services, who then reach the public by the means of a free app on their smartphones.


Qualcomm, Asthmapolis, Zephyr team up for childrens’ asthma trial

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 7, 2013        

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AsthmapolisQualcomm, through its Wireless Reach initiative, is embarking on a 50-patient research project which will use mobile health technology to help show asthmatic children and teenagers where and how their worst asthma attacks occur. Zephyr Technology, maker of wearable vitals monitoring system BioHarness, is providing technology for the program, as is Asthmapolis, a startup that makes GPS-enabled sensors for asthma inhalers.

Fifty patients, aged seven to 17, will be selected from the pulmonary and asthma/allergy clinics at Rady Children’s Hospital, a teaching and research hospital in San Diego. Each patient will get a remote monitoring kit including a Zephyr BioPatch for continuous monitoring of heart rate, respiratory rate, and activity; two Asthmapolis sensor-laden inhalers, and a Qualcomm Life 2net Hub, which will receive data from the sensors and send it to care providers over 3G.

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CareInSync lands Samsung investment, plans to add Android

By: Aditi Pai | Aug 7, 2013        

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Carebook iPadSanta Clara, California-based CareInSync raised an undisclosed amount from the Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. CareInSync will use the money to improve its care coordination solution with secure mobile communications technology and expand its mobile offering to the Android platform.

Last year, CareInSync raised $1.6 million in funding from HealthTech Capital, a group of angel investors, venture capital, and nonprofit foundations. HealthTech members that invested in CareinSync at the time included the California HealthCare Foundation through its Health Innovation Fund and First Databank through Hearst Business Media’s Healthcare IT Venture Fund.

Samsung Venture is part of Samsung Corporation and has invested in biotechnology and software companies in the past.

CareInSync’s product Carebook offers physicians, nurses and other care providers a patient-centered mobile platform on which to communicate. The platform allows different care teams, including attending, consult, and bedside nurse, to communicate with each other and also allows direct messaging between specific users. Carebook tracks patients’ transitions from admission to discharge and then provides a report from the messaging data during care transitions. This way care teams can identify the gaps in care and design processes to improve care transitions.

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FDA clears Verizon Wireless home health app as Class II medical device

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 7, 2013        

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Ideal Life BP Manager

Ideal Life’s Blood Pressure Cuff

Verizon Wireless’ plans for an FDA-cleared mobile health platform focused on chronic disease management and other health conditions has been in the works for some time. The software platform, officially called The Verizon Wireless Converged Health Management (CHM) Device has just secured Class II 510(k) clearance from the FDA this month. Once it commercially launches, it will be available via prescription only. Verizon submitted the device for clearance in August 2012.

Based on the FDA decision summary documents, the CHM device appears to be similar in function to other telehealth platform plays in the market today. The company cited platforms from both Vignet and Alcatel Lucent as predicate devices.

“The CHM Device is a remote monitoring software solution intended to collect and store biomnetric data from physiological measurement devices intended for use in the home,” the company writes in its FDA submission. The CHM device is not intended for use in clinical settings. “It is not interpretive, nor is it intended for diagnosis or as a replacement for the oversight of healthcare professionals. It does not provide real-time or emergency monitoring.”

Verizon Wireless is only working with Ideal Life initially to connect personal health devices to its just cleared remote monitoring platform. The FDA documents point to a handful of Ideal Life devices specifically: the company’s blood pressure cuff, glucose monitor, pulse oximeter, weight scale, and its communication gateway, the Ideal Life Pod.

The company describes the CHM device automatically transmits the medical data it collects to remote secure server via embedded cellular where both patients and providers can review the data. Verizon Wireless tells MobiHealthNews that while patients will have a mobile app and an online portal to review the data from, clinicians initially will only have an online portal. Notably, Verizon’s platform doesn’t only transmit the data, it also offers educational and motivational functions. For example, it enables “clinicians to send tasks, recommendations, surveys, educational, and motivational messages to patients” to their phones or via the online portal, a company spokesperson tells MobiHealthNews.

As former Verizon Wireless executive Arthur Lane explained to MobiHealthNews for our Mobile Operators report last year, the company does not plan to market health services directly to consumers via the Verizon Wireless brand. Verizon Wireless’ overall strategy is to develop a suite of tools and services that build a home-based care and healthcare monitoring system that emphasizes “touch and tune” via “short chirps” and move beyond a pure face-to-face form of healthcare delivery, which has become less efficient now that chronic diseases are the main source of health expenditures nationally.

Just-in-time health information is here, report says

By: Neil Versel | Aug 7, 2013        

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The convergence of mobile devices, wearable health monitors, social media and advanced analytics is starting to shift healthcare consumers away from Google and other Internet search engines toward automated, more personalized methods of finding relevant health information, according to a newly published report.

Google health search

“Today, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, most people begin searching for health content via a search engine like Google. Tomorrow, health information may be delivered to most passively, sometimes even before they become aware it is needed,” reads the report, from New York-based digital health consulting firm Enspektos.

These “just-in-time health information systems,” as Enspektos calls them, will produce highly customized content, delivered passively or only as necessary, such as when a biometric sensor or analytics engine picks up subtle changes that may indicate an emerging health issue. “In addition to representing a radical shift in digital health content consumption patterns, just-in-time health information systems could greatly improve the reach and impact of content designed to educate and persuade,” the report says.  Keep reading>>

More details emerge on Scripps Wired for Health trial

By: Jonah Comstock | Aug 7, 2013        

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AliveCor Heart MonitorThe Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) has announced the official launch of its Wired for Health mobile trial, which had begun recruiting last month, when the Institute brought on Dr. Steven Steinhubl as director of digital medicine.

“We are excited to embark on one of the first robust, cross-industry studies using multiple mobile medical sensors to determine whether we can lower health care costs and resource consumption through wireless health technology,” STSI director Dr. Eric Topol said in a statement.

As previously reported, the trial will include patients with three conditions: diabetes, hypertension, and heart arrhythmia. The trial will include 200 participants, recruited from Scripps Health employees and their families by health care services administrator HealthComp. Participants will be chosen partially for having generated high health care costs in the past year.

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