Jitterbug-maker GreatCall launches iPhone app MedCoach

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 28, 2011        

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GreatCall Jitterbug iPhone app MedCoachGreatCall, creators of the Jitterbug cell phone for seniors, announced its first iOS application for iPhone and iPad, called MedCoach. The free application marks a strategic departure for the company, which has been built on the premise that a faction of users were more interested in easy-to-use phones. The iOS app looks to help GreatCall reach a different customer base — one that uses smartphones and tablets.

The MedCoach app features similar features to the services offered in GreatCall’s Jitterbug Service Store — at its launch the company stressed the idea of “service” over “app”. MedCoach’s offerings include medication management, a contact list of doctors and pharmacies, as well as 24/7 email access to the company’s HIPAA compliant personal assistance service.

The app also includes a “Shake for Help” feature that leverages the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer: Users shake the phone and a help “bubble” specific to the content onscreen will appear. When it’s time to refill medications, the user’s pharmacy can be contacted directly from the app, too.

At the beginning of last year GreatCall’s Jitterbug service began offering its first health services: Wellness calls and health tips. In November 2009 the company had acquired a mobile personal emergency response service provider, MobiWatch, which led to the launch of GreatCall’s 5Star PERS offering earlier this year. By August 2010 the Jitterbug service offered medication reminders, medication refills and check-in calls and Live Nurse. In early 2009 we wrote about Jitterbug’s pilot with WellDoc and Meridian Health for a mobile-enabled diabetes management service, but GreatCall has yet to launch the service commercially to its users.

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Can a smartphone’s camera detect melanoma?

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 28, 2011        

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skinscanmapA new iPhone medical app, Skin Scan, claims to detect melanoma on your skin using only the iPhone’s camera. The app also includes geolocation features which map trends in skin cancer rates across the globe. The startup has secured €50,000 Euro in seed funding from Seedmoney, according to a report over at TechCrunch.

Skin Scan works by first taking a picture of a mole using the iPhone camera; the app then uses a proprietary algorithm to analyze the fractal-like shapes which exist in human skin. The algorithm then decides if the shape of the mole is developing normally, or abnormally into a potentially cancerous melanoma. Abnormal growth is noted to the user, and there is a feature to search for nearby doctors within the app.

The developer team, based in Romania, includes two dermatology doctors, as well as two mathematicians working on the algorithm. Mapping the severity and locations of user self-diagnoses is a great publicity move, but if the app’s user base swells to a large enough group, the geo-specific data could also help public health officials map problem areas for skin cancer.

Check out the coverage from TechCrunch for more

Medtronic launches first app for implantable devices

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 28, 2011        

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Medtronic CareLink Mobile Application

Medtronic CareLink Mobile Application

Medtronic announced today the launch of CareLink Mobile Application, which the company calls the first mobile application that pairs with implantable cardiac devices. The app is available for the iPhone and iPad. CareLink Mobile Application enables clinicians to access cardiac device diagnostic information and patient data directly from their mobile devices. Medtronic makes clear that this app is simply a new access point for the CareLink Network. The app also allows physicians to review Medtronic CareAlert transmissions and a patient’s last transmission and then triage and take action as needed.

“As a physician, the convenient mobile application gives me a new way to access the important patient data that I have come to rely on from the CareLink Network,” Dr. Suneet Mittal, director of electrophysiology, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center stated in the release. “Using this new application I can more easily view CareLink information on an iPhone or on my iPad. Being able to view CareLink’s CareAlert transmissions helps me respond to clinical events in a timely manner and provide more proactive patient care, which, as a health care provider, is my ultimate goal.”

Medtronic’s CareLink Network aims to provide clinicians with the same level of information that they gather during an in-person visit with patients who have Pacemakers, Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (ICDs) and Implantable Cardiac Monitors (ICMs).

For more screenshots of Medtronic’s CareLink Mobile Application, check out the images to follow: Keep reading>>

Text4Baby inspires ADA diabetes pilots

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 27, 2011        

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New Orleans Beacon Community

Beacon Community: New Orleans

The American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a collaboration this week with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) on a nationwide program that leverages mobile health to help individuals better prevent and manage diabetes and its complications in urban areas. The announcement was made at a press conference at the American Diabetes Association’s 71st Scientific Sessions.

The model for the campaign is Text4Baby, a free, SMS-based health information service for new and expectant mothers. Voxiva, which powers the Text4Baby service, recently launched Text2Quit, a similar service for smoking cessation. Voxiva will also play a key role in the diabetes initiatives.

ONC, CDC and the diabetes association will work with two Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement members, Crescent City Beacon Community in New Orleans and Southeast Michigan Beacon Community in Detroit, in the next two months to create tools to help patients manage their diabetes. (The Beacon project provides funding to 17 diverse communities throughout the United States with a focus on health IT.) Both cities are partnering with Voxiva to develop and provide these services. The campaign also aims to open up more communication between patients and physicians in an attempt to reduce the onset of Type II diabetes through healthy lifestyles.

“These communities are looking for unique ways to further reduce the burden of diabetes – reducing both the morbidity of diabetes-related complications and the excess mortality attributable to diabetes,” stated David Kendall, MD, chief medical officer, American Diabetes Association in a press release. “The public health campaigns in Detroit and New Orleans will reflect a collaborative effort to find all possible means to achieve this, in particular using mobile health technologies.”

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

10 Reasons why Google Health failed

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 27, 2011        

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Google Health Shuts DownSince Google’s announcement on Friday, pundits have discussed the many possible reasons that Google Health failed. The best analyses of the demise of Google Health include this timeline by John Moore of Chilmark Research, this roundup from ReadWriteWeb, and some of the comments in these two TechCrunch articles.

This morning we parsed through the many comments, commentaries and pundit quotes found in these and other posts around the web to create this list of ten reasons why Google Health failed. This is not intended to serve as a definitive list, but it includes commentaries from a handful of current and former Microsoft healthcare executives, as well as other notable industry onlookers.

Why did Google Health Fail? Keep reading>>

Sprint targets healthcare with M2M Command Center

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 27, 2011        

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sprint-logoSprint recently launched its M2M Command Center, a secure web portal that allows health agency enterprises to remotely manage thousands of wireless devices used for chronic health condition management.

While healthcare is expected to be the primary industry for the Command Center, transportation and energy management customers are also expected to use the platform, according to the mobile operator. Companies will retain flexibility on the types of wireless devices the platform will manage. Devices can be added, removed, suspended or unsuspended. In addition, a “shoulder-tap” feature lets users awaken a powered-down device.

“Caregivers use wireless devices in home health kits to manage chronic conditions such as asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and obesity,” Wayne Ward, vice president of the Sprint Emerging Solutions Group told eWEEK. Agencies can also track people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, or help people manage devices for fitness and weight management. Users can schedule wireless devices to operate at specific times of the day (or at a certain location), as well as monitor tasks like a patient’s blood sugar, according to Ward.

Ward believes that the M2M Command Center will speed time to market for connected health devices: “Health care companies will be able to activate and manage connected devices quickly, getting them into the patient’s hands sooner,” Ward said.

Read the eWeek post for more