mHealth Summit: The opposite of global is not domestic

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 8, 2010        

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Dr Francis Collins, Director, NIHThe National Institutes of Health’s commitment to mobile health is “wide and deep” Dr Francis Collins, the 16th director of the NIH explained during the keynote session that kicked off the mHealth Summit in Washington D.C. this morning. Collins pointed to the NIH’s increasing number of research grants related to mobile health, a handful of sample mHealth applications and a new summer program that aims to train researchers interested in mHealth.

Of the more than 20 institutes in the NIH, a majority of them have awarded grants for mobile-enabled research. Some 150 mHealth awards were granted by the NIH in 2010 alone, which doubles the number awarded just two years ago in 2008, according to Collins’ presentation. Collins found that more than $36 million in research grants were awarded this year related to mobile health.

Collins highlighted a number of NIH-funded mHealth applications and devices including a lens-less microscope that attaches to a cell phone; a personal sensor network that detects hydrocarbons and other contaminants in the air and alerts wearers via a mobile phone interface; as well as a wellness monitoring system that includes a camera and accelerometer to record physical activity and dietary choices. Collins called the wellness monitor a “particularly ambitious effort”. (He’s being diplomatic, but we’d have to agree. A camera, really?) Collins said this more automated process will help root out self-reports where patients share information with care providers that is closer to what they “wished they had done as opposed to what they actually did.” Keep reading>>

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mHealth Alliance receives $3M in grants this week

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 8, 2010        

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mHealth Alliance

Source: UN Foundation/David Isaak

This morning at the mHealth Summit in Washington DC, the mHealth Alliance announced a two-year $1 million aggregate donation from HP to help further the Alliance’s mission enable innovations that deliver quality health at the furthest reaches of wireless networks and mobile devices. The investment also makes HP a Founding Partner in the mHealth Alliance.

UPDATE: On Tuesday The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Norad, announced its own $1 million grant to the mHealth Alliance to help support its Maternal mHealth Initiative. On Wednesday, The Rockefeller Foundation announced its $1 million grant to the mHealth Alliance to support the organizations activities around leveraging mobile technologies to improve health in low and middle income countries. That marks three days in a row of $1 million grant announcements for the mHealth Alliance at the 3-day mHealth Summit it co-produced in Washington DC this week.

“HP’s financial, technical and project support to mHealth Alliance initiatives significantly expands our ability to catalyze the partnerships, solutions, and sustainable deployments of mobile technology that can enable healthier lives for all, especially in the developing world,” David Aylward, Executive Director of the mHealth Alliance stated in a press release.

HP’s funding will support the Alliance’s core initiatives including the recently launched Health UnBound (HUB) online community, which aims to facilitate global knowledge sharing and collaboration among global health and mHealth workers. The funding will also support the mHealth Alliance’s Maternal mHealth Initiative.

“We feel a strong obligation to global health from both a business and social impact perspective and are committed to helping to improve lives and change the healthcare equation for people around the world,” Gabi Zedlmayer, vice president of Global Social Innovation, HP, stated in the release.

While HP is now a founding member of the mHealth Alliance, the organization has existed for nearly two years. In February 2009 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, The UN Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation co-founded the mHealth Alliance. PEPFAR and the GSM Association were announced as founding partners since then.

“We wanted to get together [to form the mHealth Alliance] because we felt that mHealth was really on the tipping point” Claire Thwaites, head of the Vodafone Foundation and United Nations Foundation partnership told MobiHealthNews in February 2009. “There is a huge amount of programs going on around the world in pilot phases. We wanted to be able to share what we were doing and see what synergies there were. We made a commitment then to form a global mHealth Alliance.”

“Getting a rational eHealth system with a sophisticated mHealth system extending it into the community, is certainly where we are trying to go,” David Aylward, Executive Director of the mHealth Alliance told MobiHealthNews September 2009 when he took the helm of the organization. ”We certainly don’t have either in this country. Even if we do find a good model, it’s not clear to me that we would import it back into this country. What could happen though is a whole bunch of consumer-based health services that were one step removed from the core health system in the developed market could be a result of success in the developing markets. The industrial barriers to interoperability in the U.S. — and I don’t know about Europe but I suspect the same thing — are so powerful that even a whole bunch of good examples from Africa and Asia is not going to overcome the vested economic interests in the United States.”

More on the mHealth Alliance – HP deal below: Keep reading>>

Number of smartphone health apps up 78 percent

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 4, 2010        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsAdoption of smartphones in the US only hovers around 20 percent. Most people today do not have smartphones. In turn, most people do not have access to health related apps created for smartphones.

Few, however, would disagree that smartphones will likely prove to be a key platform for mobile health innovation. We are tracking these platforms closely.

MobiHealthNews has written extensively about Pew’s recent survey on the adoption rate of mobile health apps. A full 9 percent of American mobile phone users said they have a mobile health app on their phone that enables them to “track” or “manage” their health.

As our new research report – “The Fastest Growing and Most Successful Health & Medical Apps” – explains, most mobile health apps available today do not help you track or manage your health. Most only provide reference information about health issues.

Smartphone Health AppsOur report examines the current state of health and medical related apps available through Apple’s AppStore and BlackBerry’s App World plus the apps available for Google’s Android platform. This report builds on our inaugural health apps study: “The World of Health and Medical Apps”, which we published in February 2010. Since then, how has the world of health and medical apps changed? Which types of apps have seen the most growth between February and September of 2010? According to Apple’s ranking system of Top 1000 apps – which apps in particular have proven to be most successful to date? Which types of apps dominate the Top 1000?

This MobiHealthNews report, “Fastest Growing and Most Successful Health and Medical Apps” will answer these questions and more.

As the table above shows, between February and September the fastest growing platform for health related apps was Google’s Android. While the number of Android health related apps more than doubled, the total number of health related apps for the platform still pales in comparison to Apple’s AppStore. The AppStore now boasts more than 7,000 health related apps. These figures do not include apps that were miscategorized and placed into the health categories — just the relevant health-related ones.

So how have health related apps grown in number overall? Since February health apps available for devices using the three major platforms of Apple iOS, BlackBerry, and Android, grew in number by 78 percent.

Head over to MobiHealthNews research page for more on our new report, its table of contents and selected titles from the more than 100 charts and graphs.

Where to find us at mHealth Summit next week

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 4, 2010        

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mHealth Alliance

Image via UN Foundation/DataDyne.org

Next week at the mHealth Summit in Washington D.C., MobiHealthNews is producing one of the event’s concurrent afternoon sessions: mHealth Innovations. Today, we’re excited to announce our lineup of speakers and session topics. Be sure to join us in Room 101 of the convention center next week! Here’s the agenda:

mHealth’s Move to End-to-End Solutions (Monday 2:15PM-3:45PM): While deployments and pilots of mHealth point-solutions are on the rise, the need for end-to-end solutions is now. Are mobile-enabled systems that bridge handsets, electronic health records, decision support, supply chain management, administrative tasks and remote diagnostics, mHealth’s next step? This session will include thought leaders working in each of these areas to further the discussion of end-to-end mobile-enabled healthcare system deployments. Where are the challenges? Who is working to make best-in-class mobile health applications interoperable and integrated? Speakers from Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Orange, Sana Mobile, Continua Health Alliance, CTIS and the Regenstrief Institute. (More)

mHealth Devices Extend the HCP’s Reach (Tuesday 11:30AM-1:00PM): For the forthcoming chronic disease management epidemic, remote monitoring of patients will extend and enhance the reach of care providers, whose numbers are decreasing at the same time. Other point-of-care medical peripheral devices that attach to smartphones are creating what amounts to “handheld hospitals” to enable remote diagnostics in the field. This panel will examine the key devices that can help patients and healthcare workers better manage chronic diseases as well as the devices that enable remote diagnostics in the field. Wireless peel-and-stick sensors, Bluetooth-enabled stethoscopes, connected glucose meters and more. What are these handheld hospital devices capable of today? What does a deployment of them entail in resource-constrained markets? To what extent do these devices require a health provider to operate them? Speakers from National Institute of Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering, Microskia, Biorasis, Vitality, and Philometron. (More)

mHealth Apps Enhance Quality of Care (Tuesday 3:00PM-4:30PM): While the overwhelming majority of mobile health-related apps are medical reference offerings, more helpful and disruptive mobile applications that enable public health research, patient information data entry, remote diagnosis and medical education, are beginning to swell into a new class of mHealth apps that help patients self-manage and healthcare workers provide more efficient care. Speakers from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Speech Technology and Applied Research, Verizon Wireless, mDhil, Healthagen, and Remedy Systems. (More)

I will also be covering the event in full so be sure to drop me a line if you have any scoops.

AT&T launches new health practice: AT&T ForHealth

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 4, 2010        

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AT&T's Smart SlippersAT&T launched a new practice area called AT&T ForHealth which aims to accelerate the delivery of innovative wireless, networked, and cloud-based solutions for the healthcare industry. This practice area is made up of many of the mHealth partnerships AT&T has inked over the years with various companies, including WellDoc’s DiabetesManager, Vitality’s GlowCaps, eCardio’s remote patient monitoring and the Wound Technology Network’s video-enabled wound treatment services.

Last year AT&T generated about $4 billion in revenue from the healthcare industry including hospital, insurer, pharmaceutical, supplier, and physician customers.

“Today’s announcements signal an exciting new era where our technology and smart networks can help improve the quality of care, reduce costs, and contribute to a healthier world,” Dan Walsh, who was appointed to lead AT&T’s ForHealth practice area, stated in a company press release. Walsh is a senior vice president at AT&T.

Walsh states that the two key groups of services and solutions are currently under development at AT&T ForHealth: mHealth Services, which “combine mobility technologies, devices, connectivity, and applications to help drive down medical costs and deliver improved patient outcomes.” These services aim to help healthcare providers and patients manage disease, stay adherence, age in place, manage weight loss, and monitor wellness.

The other key group: Cloud-based Services, which include new medical image archive applications and security services that permit healthcare providers to share data including live video, images and EMRs in a secure way.

AT&T ForHealth is also piloting various technologies and services including smart slippers, employee diabetes management, healthcare community online cloud-based service, automated pill bottle caps, wireless pager applications, and real-time remote monitoring of cardiac patients.

More from the AT&T ForHealth release here

Text4Baby San Diego splits $1.2 million grant

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 3, 2010        

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text4babyThe San Diego-based Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF) announced late last month that the winners of its 2010 Innovation Initiative grant competition of more than $1.2 million were Social Interest Solutions (SIS) and the San Diego Text4Baby Coalition. Both groups worked to improve access to health and social services for San Diego’s medically underserved population.

AHF granted SIS $800,000 to expand its service, One-e-App, which searches a database of all available social services to help low income clients figure out which programs are available to them. Text4Baby’s San Diego group received nearly $242,000 from the grant. Text4Baby is a nationwide SMS powered health tips service for new or expectant mothers and fathers. The program is free and includes the White House, Johnson & Johnson, Voxiva, all of the major US mobile operators and many others as its partners. In San Diego Text4Baby is administered by the San Diego Medical Society Foundation.

With the AHF’s Innovation Initiative (i2) grant, the San Diego Text4baby Coalition will create a San Diego version of the national text4baby service offering customized prenatal and maternal text messages to 18,000 pregnant women and new moms per year for two years, with the aim of decreasing San Diego’s infant mortality rate, according to the AHF’s press release.

“AHF is proud to support SIS and Text4baby in our joint fight to dissolve silos in the health care sector,” said Robert B. McCray, chairman of the AHF board of directors.

McCray is also the CEO and President of the Wireless Life-Sciences Alliance in San Diego. Qualcomm’s VP of business development for health and life sciences Don Jones is also on the AHF board. Since 1989, AHF has awarded more than $45 million in grants in the San Diego area.

For more on the grant, read the release here (PDF)