Round-up: Reactions to the mHealth Summit

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 18, 2010        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsThe mHealth Summit 2010, which took place in Washington DC last week, found coverage in a number of trade and business publications and blogs. Here’s a round-up of some of the more interesting commentary to come out of the event where more than 2,400 attendees convened:

Wireless health care: M-powered – The Economist: “No doubt a dose of scepticism is warranted about m-health. But given the growing evidence of its usefulness and the new business models from emerging markets, there is reason for hope too. As Mr Gates pointed out this week, ‘Middle-income countries are where most innovation in health care is going to come from.’” The Economist

Mobile phones become tools of health promotion – The Washington Post: “But the optimism was tempered by the acknowledgment that there are hurdles to be overcome. The wide variety of mobile devices, operating systems and network speeds creates complexity. The business models have yet to fully take shape as to who pays for services and who profits. And with a field as regulated as health and human services, a need to establish standards still exists.” WashPo

Cell Phone Science – Bill Gates – The Gates Notes: “Peter Lillehoj and Chih-Ming Ho of the University of California, Los Angeles, received a grant to develop a disposable malaria biosensor based on a SIM card platform. The SIM card-biosensor will allow malaria detection to be performed using a cell-phone, which will make diagnostic testing more widely available in rural and remote areas. Terry Ferrari of World Vision will be field testing the use of two cell phone modules that will help community health workers in Mozambique caring for pregnant women and newborns to assess, to take action, and to refer cases with complications and emergencies. Another mobile-phone based tool being developed by Marc Mitchell of D-Tree International uses clinical algorithms to quickly identify women at risk during labor and delivery and assist with emergency transfer to a hospital. If these tools are successful, they could significantly reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.” The Gates Notes Keep reading>>


Quick hits: CMS Innovation Center; New medical MVNO

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 17, 2010        

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WiThings WiFi ScaleA proving ground for mHealth reimbursement: No news here really, but it’s now official: CMS has launched The New Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. CMMI Website

Health smartphones for newly announced medical MVNO? Cytta says it is now a medical mobile virtual network operator that will offer “health smartphones” on its network. Release

Stroke prediction: St. Jude study shows effectiveness of telemonitoring for predicting stroke. MedGadget

Employers are ready to raise the stakes for health incentives. LA Times

What if your doctor could monitor your weight at a distance? WiThings adds “share” function to the web portal connected to its WiFi-enabled scales. WiThings

In case you missed it: STD diagnostic testing via a mobile phone. WIRED

Survey: Healthcare is a top market for iPad

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 17, 2010        

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iPad in HealthcareAccording to enterprise mobility vendor Good Technology, healthcare is among the top three industries adopting Apple’s iPad for business use. Good’s estimate is based simply on its own user base, which includes some 4,000 enterprise customers. Good’s customers have deployed iPads at a varying rate from one iPad to more than 1,000.

“We took a close look at our customers who have deployed iPad devices so far,” John Herrema, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Good Technology, stated in a press release. “We found that the financial services sector dominated, accounting for 36 percent of Good’s iPad activations to date. The technology sector came in second at 11 percent, followed closely by healthcare at 10 percent. We believe these industries are embracing the iPad because its unique design makes it easier to perform time-sensitive, mission-critical tasks.”

While the iPad has certainly enjoyed a lot of attention from the healthcare sector, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion has been courting the industry with its new, long-awaited tablet, PlayBook. Earlier this year on-stage at the launch event for PlayBook, TouMetis CEO and President Mark Willnerd showed off a medical app that displayed patient data for orthopedic surgeons who could use the app to design new knee replacements and more. In the PlayBook press release RIM also gave EMR access as a potential use case: “For example, a medical records application can attach image files to a patient’s medical record, with the option to open or preview the record, or view the list of available images before it is downloaded to the BlackBerry smartphone.” Finally, at a recent Adobe MAX event, RIM co-CEO and Founder Mike Laziridis took the stage following the first live demo of the BlackBerry PlayBook. The demo, of course, was of a medical app: Client Outlook’s eUnity imaging application.

While Good’s Herrema suggestion that the iPad’s design is enough to win over the healthcare sector, the story is much more nuanced. For more on the iPad and other tablets vying for a stake of the healthcare market, be sure to read our report: iPad vs. the Tablets in Healthcare.

More from Good’s press release here

Study: Telemonitoring of CHF did not improve outcomes

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 17, 2010        

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A recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that telemonitoring of patients with chronic heart disease did not improve outcomes. The study included 1,653 patients who had recently been hospitalized for heart failure. About half the group underwent telemonitoring, while the remainder had usual care. The “telemonitoring” solution used was a telephone-based interactive voice response system that collected daily information about symptoms and weight and was then reviewed by clinicians.

The study examined readmissions, death, hospitalizations for heart failure, number of days in hospital and number of hospitalizations. According to the study: ”Among patients recently hospitalized for heart failure, telemonitoring did not improve outcomes. The results indicate the importance of a thorough, independent evaluation of disease-management strategies before their adoption.”

The results are in sharp contrast to a review of 25 studies that included more than 9,500 heart failure patients published earlier this year.

This past August, a group of researchers that reviewed 25 studies concluded that remote monitoring of patients with chronic heart disease cuts healthcare costs, improves quality of life and reduces the number of hospital admissions. The review included results from some 9,500 patients. It compared telephone and remote monitoring to standard care.

The group that used telephone support were patients who provided health data like heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure and weight to a care provider over the phone, while telemonitoring users had their data transmitted via a wired or wireless transmission to their care provider. Within the telemonitored group, 102 patients died per 1,000 compared with 154 deaths per 1,000 under standard care. Telephone support and standard care had similar mortality rates: 112 deaths per 1,000 for telephone support vs. 127 deaths per 1,000 for standard care.

More on the new study over at NEJM

Medtronic inks deal with AirStrip

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 17, 2010        

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AirStrip Physio-ControlMedtronic subsidiary Physio-Control has inked a deal with AirStrip Technologies to integrate AirStrip’s remote patient monitoring applications with Physio-Control’s patient data transmission network, LifeNet.

Here’s how the system will be integrated: “AirStrip CARDIOLOGY, deployed as a native application on smartphones and tablet devices, will receive 12-lead ECG waveforms, vital signs and other data transmitted wirelessly from EMS crews’ LIFEPAK 12 defibrillator/monitors and 15 monitor/defibrillators in the field via the LIFENET System. Clinicians can then access the data from anywhere in the hospital and review and respond to it on their iPhone with LIFENET Consult, a new mobile application available in the newly-released LIFENET System 5.0. In addition, clinicians who are AirStrip users will have advanced viewing capabilities, with high fidelity waveform analysis, displaying 12-lead ECG reports with sharp resolution and providing dynamic review tools such as calipers, 12-lead ECG scrolling, cine loop views of each lead, and other features and functionalities not yet seen in the EMS environment for 12-lead ECG review and patient management,” according to the companies’ press release.

AirStrip Cardiology received FDA clearance just a few months ago, as part of the company’s clearance of its AirStrip Remote Patient Monitoring solution (RPM), which includes AirStrip RPM Critical Care as well as AirStrip Cardiology. At the time, AirStrip’s only other offering, AirStripOB had already secured more than 200 installations in hospitals across the US.

It’s been a busy past year for AirStrip, which received an undisclosed investment from heavy-hitter investment firm Sequoia Capital; inked a partnership with Alere; formed a distribution deal with the Premier Health Alliance; partnered up with Sprint; and finally offered its AirStripOB service for Android devices.

For more on the Physio-Control deal with AirStrip, read the release here

Humana: Mobile games can reduce ER visits

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 17, 2010        

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Raja Rajamannar, HumanaBy Raja Rajamannar, SVP and Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at Humana

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. 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.

Nearly 70 percent of consumers say they’re interested in home or remote monitoring devices that enable self-monitoring of their condition and electronic reporting of results to their physicians, according to a recent survey by Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Seniors and consumers with chronic conditions expressed the highest level of interest, at 78 and 75 percent, respectively.

As a result, researchers and developers from corporations to academia are introducing innovative, health-related mobile devices and systems. For instance, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle and Intel have developed two promising mobile systems, dubbed Houston and UbiFit. These encourage users to increase daily step counts and to vary physical activity. Data show these systems substantially influence how a user engages in healthy behaviors.

Still, achieving wellness, or wellbeing, is difficult. It often requires discipline and major behavioral changes before results emerge. As the prevalence and costs of chronic diseases rise, lifestyle changes are an essential means of prevention and wellbeing. While difficult for some, health-centric changes may prove easy for others. Consider lazy hobbyists, such as video “gamers.” Some video game manufacturers, such as Nintendo, are developing new platforms, like Nintendo DS, for on-the-go lifestyles. Keep reading>>