Motorola rugged devices; HIMSS iPad survey

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 8, 2010        

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Motorolo MC55a0 rugged mobile computersHow many to buy iPads? Attendees of a webinar called ”Secure and Manage Enterprise iPads at the Point of Care” were interested in using iPads at the point of care, survey finds: “More than 25 percent of the HIMSS respondents plan to deploy the iPad and other iOS devices immediately and nearly 70 percent plan to deploy the devices within the next year.” Release

The iPad can even mitigate malpractice claim risks! Capson Physicians Insurance Company, a medical malpractice insurance provider, announced the launch of CapsonCare, a patient satisfaction program designed to facilitate stronger physician-patient relationships. By gathering feedback from patients via electronic surveys on iPads and other mobile devices immediately following a patient’s visit, CapsonCare aims to proactively mitigate the risk of potential claims and help providers address operational inefficiencies and patient concerns. Release

Reaching the remote: Voice of America reports that mobile health technology can reach the remotest areas of the earth. Voice of America

New ruggedized series of mobile computers: Motorola has unveiled a new series of ruggedized enterprise mobile computers, called The MC55A0 series of mobile devices. Targeted industries include retail, hospitality and healthcare. Release Keep reading>>

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Medicity’s mobile moves pre-Aetna

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 7, 2010        

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Health insurer Aetna has agreed to acquire Medicity in a $500 million deal. Salt Lake City-based Medicity develops systems for physicians and hospital groups to coordinate care and exchange medical information. Medicity’s health information exchange (HIE) technology reaches more than 760 hospitals and 125,000 doctors.

Medicity’s HIE platform, of course, extends information to physician’s mobile devices, too. In the past, Medicity has noted that physicians can use mobile devices to access the data exchanged via its HIE. The company also opened its HIE platform up to third party developers to create apps last year. Another interesting look into Medicity’s mobile strategy can be found on its corporate site, where the company points to a future initiative where Bluetooth-enabled devices are used by physicians for order entry. Here’s more on these three mobile health-related newsbits from Medicity over past two years:

In December 2009, Medicity made its health information exchange (HIE) platform, called iNexx, available to third party developers to create applications using the platform’s application programming interface (API): “Although not a mobile phone platform itself, the iNexx model is perhaps best understood using the analogy of the iPhone platform. In both models, end users can choose and download unique applications that run on the platform architecture to create a composite solution customized to their needs,” Dr. James Lassetter Chairman and CEO of Medicity stated in a press release at the time.

In August 2009, Medicity inked a deal with El Camino Hospital to roll out an HIE initiative among care providers in the Silicon Valley area. Interestingly, the data exchanged would be sent to physicians EHRs — if they didn’t have an EHR installed it would be accessible via any Web-enabled device: “Data including ADT, insurance, laboratory results, radiology reports, pathology reports and transcribed documents will be sent directly to the physicians’ electronic health records (EHRs) and practice management systems. For those providers without EHRs, the same information is accessible via any Web-enabled device, whether that is a personal computer or mobile platform, such as a smartphone.”

On Medicity’s frequently asked questions page, the company explains it’s vision of the future, which includes Bluetooth-enabled order entry: “What are Medicity’s plans for the future? At Medicity we believe in making technology work for healthcare. We’re pursuing technologies that hold the most potential benefit for improving the way that care is delivered. We are currently beta testing a handheld version of Medicity that incorporates a wireless order-entry module. We have an initiative to incorporate Bluetooth wireless technology in a way that would further improve the mobility and usefulness of the Medicity platform.”

For more on Aetna’s acquisition of Medicity, read the official announcement
Or read the Wall Street Journal’s write-up

NaviNet acquires smartphone e-prescribing startup

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 6, 2010        

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Electronic OrganizerUS-based real-time healthcare communications network,NaviNet announced that it had acquired mobile care management vendor Prematics for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition will extend NaviNet unified patient information management offerings to physicians using handheld devices. Specifically, Prematics’ mobile clinical messaging and e-prescribing offerings will be integrated with NaviNet’s Insurer Connect, NaviNet EMR (electronic medical record) and NaviNet PM (practice management). Just this past September, the two firms announced plans to work together on mobile health offerings.

Some 70 percent of US physicians plus hundreds of thousands of clinicians and other healthcare professionals in the US use NaviNet to access real-time clinical information from health plans, according to the company. The deal illustrate NaviNet’s recognition that e-prescribing and clinical messaging has gone mobile.

Here’s how the companies describe the end result of the acquisition: “As a result, when physicians are in the exam room prescribing medications via handheld device, they can also use the device to receive information about generic or alternative drugs; submit real-time authorizations; and view benefits information in real time to determine patient financial responsibility,” according to the NaviNet press release.

“[Prematics is] one of the early adopters actually of bringing their product down both to the iPad as well as the smartphone,” NaviNet President and CEO Brad Waugh said in a video press release. “This enables doctors to be able to do e-prescriptions directly from the handheld device as well as receive clinical information on their patients.”

For more on the deal watch the video message from Waugh below or read the press release here Keep reading>>

100K patients: Wireless-enabled ICDs halve mortality rate

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 2, 2010        

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Dr. Leslie SaxonThe University of Southern California’s Chief of Cardiology and Executive Director of USC’s Center for Body Computing, Dr. Leslie Saxon authored a study published in the medical journal, Circulation. The study followed more than 100,000 patients across the US. who have implanted cardiac devices — cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) devices. The study examined survival rates among those patients with wireless-enabled devices and those with no wireless-enabled tracking.

The study concluded that those patients whose ICD included wireless-enabled tracking faced half (50 percent) the mortality rate than those who only received follow-up care at device clinics. MobiHealthNews had a chance to interview Dr. Saxon about the study results.

MobiHealthNews: With efficacy studies today it seems like the press pans the entire connected health industry when there’s a failure and celebrates the entire industry when a study proves to be a success. How would you contextualize the results of this study? Who do these results effect?

Saxon: This study’s results effect hundreds of thousands of people today. The type of implantable device we looked at is going into upwards of 15,000 to 20,000 patients a month. These are patients that have incurred very high costs within the medical care system. That’s because they have a very expensive piece of hardware inside them — either a defibrillator or re-synchronization device — because means they have heart failure. Heart failure is the number one diagnosis for patients admitted and discharged from hospitals today. It is extremely expensive to treat this type of advanced heart failure because the re-hospitalization rate is upwards of 40 percent.

In this study we followed these patients who have $20,000 to $30,000 devices implanted in them. We looked at survival rates of these 100,000 patients and the survivals are really good, which is gratifying because there is a lot of upfront costs to putting one of these devices in somebody. A lot of naysayers have said they don’t want to use US healthcare dollars on these high tech devices in sick patients. Guess what? Over time it turns out to be very cost effective. It’s a good bet. That is important for patients with heart failure, because the incidence is rising. This is the first study to show this is a worthwhile and durable therapy from an economic standpoint. We are in the process of doing some economic modeling on it, but it looks very good.

The second thing and the most profound is that for those patients who were followed remotely and actually engaged in a system that they would go and answer questions every week about their disease severity symptoms. For those patients that were transmitting their symptom data weekly and blood pressure data and everything stored in their implanted device had half the mortality of the patients who didn’t do that. If you treat patients like this in a partnership model versus a traditional paternalistic “I’ll tell you what to do, I’m a doctor” model, then you will get a continuous flow of information about patient symptoms that you can act on. So, if something changes on Sunday you are going to be able to see it and react to it quicker. I think that partnership and that continuous ability to react to change is what makes the remote monitoring work.

That is really profound, because right now half of the doctors putting in these devices are not offering the networked follow-up to their patients, which blows my mind, personally. Keep reading>>

The first Continua-certified phone is water-proof

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 2, 2010        

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Fujitsu F-01CIn case you haven’t heard the mobile phones available in Japan are very different from what’s common in the US. That’s true for one of the newest phones unveiled by Fujitsu — the F-01C, which happens to be the very first mobile phone to receive certification from the Continua Health Alliance. The F-01C is waterproof, touch screen phone featuring a HD video camera, a 13.2 megapixel camera, an “augmented reality-enabled location radar”, a built-in humidity and temperature sensor and more. The Continua certification, in fact, is one of the last things listed on the phone’s product page.

Continua is a connected health industry organization with 236 member companies that are working together to create guidelines that ensure connected health devices are interoperable. Fujitsu also announced that the F-02C phone is Continua certified, calling it “one of the first mobile phones to ever receive certification from the Continua Health Alliance.”

Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait for phones with built-in humidity sensors to become the norm before the first Continua-certified phones hit the US market.

Fujitsu’s product page for the F-02C explains that the phone “can also connect to medical devices manufactured by TANITA.” Users of the phone can use a mobile app called i-appli to manage their blood pressure and body composition, according to the phonemaker. Both phones are only available to subscribers to Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo. The phones hit store shelves in Japan on November 19.

The F-01C phone also includes a walking and running app that features tips from former marathon runner and Olympic gold medalist, Naoko Takahashi. Keep reading>>

FCC proposes to speed up mHealth device testing

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 1, 2010        

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FCC BadgeThis week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a proposal to create a new medical program experimental radio license that would help create “cutting-edge test-bed facilities, where manufacturers and developers could try out new wireless medical technologies and assess operational readiness.”

The FCC said that the idea for such a program arose during its meeting with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this past summer.

“Researchers, educators and practitioners could partner with Veterans Affairs facilities and leading research and teaching hospitals, for example, to speed the development of new ideas and innovations,” the FCC wrote in its proposal. “A medical experimental authorization would allow for the testing and operation of new medical devices that use wireless telecommunications technology for therapeutic, monitoring, or diagnostic purposes that have not yet been submitted for equipment certification, or for devices that use RF for ablation, so long as the equipment is designed to meet the FCC’s technical rules.”

The FCC said it would work with the FDA to implement such a program, especially when researchers seek to test new devices with patient participation. On that note, the FCC noted that “this program is not intended to replace the FDA’s existing oversight and review programs.”

“The proposals herein are intended to shorten the time it takes manufacturers to develop devices and systems by streamlining the approval process – in particular, the process by which medical equipment must be approved under the [FCC's] equipment authorization procedures,” the proposal reads. “Consequently, this arrangement could lead to quicker development of medical breakthroughs that will help all Americans, including the brave men and women who were wounded in defense of our Nation and who deserve our best efforts to facilitate the creation of tools and services that could ease their transition to civilian life.”

The FCC specifically describes two types of medical devices that the proposal focuses on: “Radio-frequency (RF) wireless medical devices which are medical devices that include at least one function that is implemented using RF wireless communications; examples of functions that may be implemented wirelessly include data transfer, device control, programming, power transmission, remote sensing and monitoring, and identification…. and 2) Medical devices that use RF for ablation (i.e., removal of a part of biological tissue usually by surgery. RF ablation can very precisely deliver RF energy to kill specific cells, such as cancer cells, without causing damage to nearby healthy cells).”

This proposal from the FCC calls to mind the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently launched Innovation Center, which will “act as testing grounds for new practices, yielding innovative ideas and lessons” that will (hopefully) lead to reimbursement for some wireless health services.

Read the FCC’s proposal in its entirety here (PDF)