American College of Cardiology app touts 14,000 users

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 13, 2011        

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Skyscape CardioSource iPhone appSkyscape’s CardioSource mobile app, which features the latest research in the cardiology field, has been downloaded more than 14,000 times since it became available in the iTunes AppStore in early April. The app is a collaboration with the American College of Cardiology (ACC). It’s free to download for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and also available for BlackBerry and Android.

CardioSource includes on-demand access to a fully indexed set of all ACC and American Heart Association guideline recommendations, as well as new content from CardioSource.org.

The number of downloads is impressive when you consider that there are fewer than 30,000 practicing cardiologists in the US. Assuming most of the 14,000 CardioSource users are cardiologists, and it appears this app has a strong following in that specialty.

In a press release, Dr. Jordan Safirstein, Interventional Cardiologist, said that “to have evidence-based medicine available in a convenient and navigable format is a boon to doctors and patients alike. It fosters a higher quality of medical management consistent with ACC guidelines.”

“The fact that CardioSource was downloaded by so many healthcare professionals specializing in cardiology is indicative of the need for intuitive mobile healthcare apps that cater to specific specialties,” stated Sanjay Pingle, president of Physicians Interactive Holdings in a press release. “Our hope is that mobile apps like CardioSource will allow time-strapped healthcare professionals to maintain a level of personalized, reliable patient care.”

In 2009, Physicians Interactive acquired Skyscape for an undisclosed sum. Earlier this year, MobiHealthNews spoke to Physicians Interactive President Brett Miller who described Skyscape as having “evolved [into] kind of an Amazon of medical resources.”

Read the full press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

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Cracking the mobile health consumer market

By: Neil Versel | Jul 13, 2011        

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iFitness iPhone AppThe eighth annual Healthcare Unbound conference revealed a tension in the m-health marketplace between cutting-edge technology and ease of use.

According to Yan Chow, director of innovation and advanced technology for Kaiser Permanente, there are more than 9,000 health-related smartphone apps on the market right now, most segmented by phone operating system. But, noted AT&T Mobility’s executive director for mobile health and pharma, Eleanor Chye, smartphone penetration in the U.S. won’t top 45 percent even by 2015, so any app needs work with feature phones and across platforms and networks.

Companies keep coming up with direct-to-consumer mobile apps and wireless devices, but, as the recent demise of Google Health shows, the DTC approach doesn’t always work.

For one, managed care strategist Henry Osowski believes the consumer market is still limited in healthcare. “Where’s the ‘Consumer Reports’ for e-health devices or m-health devices,” he asked during a conference session on Tuesday. “This is a real challenge in the market.”

Osowski said that individual physicians will not buy many wireless monitoring devices, though group practices and hospitals might. Still, the biggest opportunity lies with healthcare payers, particularly the largest, Medicare, according to Osowski. “Go where the money is,” he advised. “Form an alliance to get in the room with CMS. And get there now.”

Why haven’t payers picked up the cost of wireless monitoring on a large scale yet? Lack of scientific evidence that such devices can save money and improve outcomes, said Barbara Santry, senior consultant with Quorum Consulting, San Francisco. “A successful company will spend as much money developing evidence as they spend developing technology,” she said.

Santry said the “ticket to entry” to meet with a medical director at a payer or large health system is at least one peer-reviewed study. Otherwise, don’t bother. Keep reading>>

Panasonic offers up Toughbook H2 for clinicians

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 12, 2011        

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h2 toughbookPanasonic announced today the Toughbook H2, the second version of its Windows-based mobile clinical assistant (MCA) tablet. The H2 improves upon its predecessor (the H1) in multiple ways: It features a a 10.1-inch touchscreen LCD display, stylus support, enhanced screen viewability, improved CPU, more storage capacity, 6.5 hour battery life, and USB ports — all in a relatively compact 3.5 pound device.

The H2 was created with healthcare environments in mind, and various features reflect that consideration. The device makes use of a fanless design, sealed buttons, and no exposed ports. Panasonic says this reduces pathogen transmission and allows for easy disinfection. (A Cleaning Reminder Tool application can be set to remind users to wipe down the unit at defined intervals.)

An ergonomically molded hand strap enables workers to stand or carry the device for an entire shift. The device’s display features a new TransflectivePlus technology which aims to increase legibility in direct sunlight or fluorescent hospital lighting. Other medical features include barcode medication administration (BCMA), vitals capture, and electronic medical records (EMR) capture and review. Security features for such sensitive data include a fingerprint reader and a contactless or insertable SmartCard reader for government common access cards (CACs).

Technical specs include an Intel Core i5-2557M vPro processor (1.7GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz), 4GB RAM expandable to 8GB, and a 320GB 7200rpm hard drive (an optional 128GB solid state drive is also available). Two hot-swappable batteries feature a three hour recharge time, and the device also has barcode and RFID readers, camera and a GPS receiver. The magnesium alloy chassis can withstand six foot drops. all Wireless support includes WiFi, Bluetooth, and optional Gobi2000 3G mobile broadband technology from Qualcomm, Sprint and Verizon Wireless 3G networks and embedded support for 4G networks is expected to arrive later.

“Panasonic is committed to providing our customers the ultimate in performance, mobility and connectivity,” stated Kyp Walls, director of product management, Panasonic Solutions Company in a press release. “The Toughbook H2’s enhancements are designed to provide mission-critical workers with additional functionality and computing capabilities. The H2 maintains the same level of durability as the previous models and continues the H1’s industry-leading reliability of less than one percent annualized failure rate.”

All those features will cost you — the Toughbook is priced starting at $3,449. Although maybe the cost is worth it: Last year a care facility in the UK claimed that using Panasonic Toughbooks saved it $900,000 annually.

Two years ago MobiHealthNews caught up with Panasonic to discuss MCAs and the iPad, which was very new at the time.

Check out the full H2 press release below. Keep reading>>

Sleep device company scoops up $35 million

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 12, 2011        

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man_novasomNovaSom, an Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) management company, announced recently that it has closed $35 million in equity financing. The investment was led by Safeguard Scientifics, as well as previous investors including TPG Biotechnology II Fund and Quaker BioVentures.

In a press release, the company stated their intent to use the funding for growth, expansion in payer and provider markets, and development of of their NovaSom diagnostic medical device and cloud-based MediTrack Patient Management Portals. The Novasom device allows for testing of OSA at home, as opposed to polysomnography (PSG) tests at clinical facilities. NovaSom tracks user patterns over multiple nights, allowing for an analysis of typical sleep conditions. The collected data is then uploaded to the cloud thought the user’s computer via the MediTrack software, where physicians can then assess whether the patient has OSA.

Roger Richardson, Novasom’s vice president of operations, recently told the Baltimore Sun‘s technology columnist that the company is currently developing the next generation of the NovaSom device, which will send sleep data to the cloud via a wireless data connection.

“Safeguard’s capital, coupled with the continued financial and operational support of existing financial partners are compelling endorsements of NovaSom and its demonstrated ability to deliver innovative solutions to sleep apnea patients, providers and payers,” stated Gerald Stone, CFO of NovaSom in a press release. “In addition, this financing enables us to accelerate growth to meet the needs of our rapidly growing physician and payer customer base. Our model empowers the primary care physician and consumer to achieve better cost and quality outcomes, consistent with the move to Accountable Care Organizations and the patient-centered medical home.”

“Across the healthcare spectrum, the migration to personalized, at-home, technology-enabled services that reduce costs and improve quality outcomes is undeniable,” stated James A. Datin, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Life Sciences Group at Safeguard.

Read the full press release after the jump.

Keep reading>>

Vodafone UK launches mHealth Professional package

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 12, 2011        

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vodafoneVodafone UK launched mHealth Professional this week, a mobile-focused healthcare package aimed at increasing efficiency in the UK healthcare system. The package includes Advanced Health and Care’s iNurse patient management application, Ubisys’s digital pens, and SitexOrbis’s lone worker protection software.

mHealth Professional allows workers to access patient records from smartphones, securely access hospital networks remotely, monitor an employee’s location and respond to threats to their safety when they are away from the office or hospital and the innovative digital pen to electronically record and store handwritten information.

“The question is not whether governments should use mobile health… it is how” they should use it, Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao declared during a keynote presentation in London in late 2009. “I personally believe that the mobile phone has a very siginifcant role to play in the provision of healthcare,” Colao said at the time. Colao explained that key use cases for mobile in healthcare include: the simplification of clinical work flows, statistical analysis of record keeping, supporting the chronically ill at home as well as reaching under resourced and geographically dispersed communities. Many of those are now part of the recent mHealth Professional launch.

“The drive towards delivering care to patients within their homes means innovative mobile technologies that allow healthcare professionals to work easily and effectively in local communities are vital,” Vodafone UK Enterprise Director Peter Kelly stated in the mHealth Professional launch press release.

Check out the full press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

Pew: 35 percent of US adults use smartphones

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 11, 2011        

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Android, iPhone, BlackBerry AllOne MobileA new study by the Pew Research Center’s Pew Internet Project reports that 35 percent of American adults now own smartphones. Of those owners, some 35 percent use an Android device, while 24 percent use an iPhone and another 24 percent use BlackBerry. In addition, 25 percent of smartphone owners do most of their internet browsing on the device.

Neilsen reported smartphone adoption in the US at 31 percent earlier this year, which square well with Pew’s new numbers. Last fall, Pew reported that 9 percent of adults have downloaded a health and fitness app.

Other statistics from the report focus on groups with high percentages of smartphone owners, those include: adults living in a household earning an income of over $75,000 (59 percent); those possessing a college degree (48 percent); those between the ages of 25 and 34 (58 percent); those between the ages of 35 and 44 (44 percent); African-americans and Latinos (44 percent).

A majority of higher income earners own smartphones now. A majority of those between the ages of 25 and 34 are now smartphone users. The numbers make clear that soon a majority of all mobile phone users will be using smarphones.

You can read the full Pew report here. (PDF)