HIMSS put mobile in the basement

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 28, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsWhen it comes to IT, healthcare providers are currently focused on achieving meaningful use. No surprise there. That was one of the key findings of the 23rd Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, which was published at the association’s massive health IT tradeshow in Las Vegas last week.

Last year’s survey also found that fewer than 1 percent of those providers surveyed planned to make providing patient-centric solutions like web-based self services, personal health records and mobile devices a top IT priority. This year’s survey found that, despite the consistent buzz around smartphone and tablet adoption among physicians, only 18 percent of respondents to the HIMSS survey said that supporting mobile devices was a top infrastructure priority.

Considering that tepid response, it seems fitting that HIMSS corralled the mobile health companies, startups, and pavilions into an echoing, low-cielinged exhibition space in the basement of the main event.

Upstairs those HIT vendors offering up technology platforms that aim to help providers achieve meaningful use, had plenty of iPads, iPhones and other mobile devices on display. Stripped down and streamlined versions of their HIS platforms, often squeezed into a handheld form factor, were a part of almost all of the big vendor demos. One long time hold out, athena health, also finally showed off its initial mobile plans at the event.

Providing physicians more efficient access to HIS systems is certainly a key opportunity for mobile in healthcare. Pulling information out of the healthcare system so that providers can view and analyze it on tablets right at their fingertips, however, is just one side of the coin.

In the basement of the Venetian’s Sands Expo Center were many of those mobile health startups that have created apps, services, and wireless health devices that — in the words of the West Wireless Health Institute’s Dr. Eric Topol — help to “digitize humans”. This is the other side of the coin. Some of these companies are developing easy to use, engaging consumer health tools that collect and transmit personal health data that was too cumbersome to collect in the past.

The opportunity for HIMSS13 and the opportunity at the mHealth Summit this December, which HIMSS recently acquired from the FNIH, is to bring together those hospital information system vendors along with those working in mobile health. For the past three years the FNIH’s mHealth Summit has been the destination mobile health event for the emerging sector.

HIMSS can help bridge the gap between HIS and mHealth. It is one of just a few organizations that is in a position to catalyze that integration. This is the association’s next opportunity, but first, it has to invite mobile out of the basement.

MobiHealthNews’ coverage of HIMSS12 is brought to you by IQMax.


Survey: Few hear about remote health monitors from providers

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 28, 2012        

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Nike+ Fuel BandAccording to a findings of a small consumer survey conducted by HIMSS and sponsored by Qualcomm Life, a majority of consumers are familiar with the term remote monitoring device, only a quarter of those surveyed reported using one before, and only 16 percent had heard about such devices from their healthcare provider. The survey’s results were fairly consistent with past surveys — few of the consumers surveyed had ever used mobile apps to manage their health or remotely monitor a health condition.

The consumer side of the survey included telephone surveys with 125 American adults in January 2012. About 62 percent of those surveyed said they were familiar with the term remote monitoring device, often (44 percent) because a friend of family member used or had used such a device.  About 22 percent said they had used such a device themselves in the past. Interestingly, only 16 percent of respondents said that healthcare providers had told them about such devices. Only 8 percent of those surveyed said they currently used such devices as part of a fitness program — and that group had a median age of 28 years old. About 5 percent said they were using such a device provided by a physicians.

Those surveyed seemed to be more likely to use remote monitoring devices if their physicians provided them. Also, about 25 percent of those surveyed said they would “absolutely” use this kind of device in the future. Those under 35 years old were much more likely to feel this way than between 35 and 60 or 60 and older.

Perhaps not surprisingly, about 50 percent of those surveyed reported concerns about the privacy and security of their personal health data. About 25 percent worried they would not be able to remember to track their data. Connectivity issues were among the least of the concerns of those surveyed.

MobiHealthNews’ coverage of HIMSS12 is brought to you by IQMax.

For more on the report, read the press release below: Keep reading>>

Joslin Diabetes Center launches “Joslin Everywhere” mobile health initiative

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 28, 2012        

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Joslin Diabetes Center

Joslin Diabetes Center

Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center is launching a mobile diabetes management initiative called “Joslin Everywhere” that connects physicians and patients via an online platform and equips patients with connected blood glucose meters to track glucose readings. According to a report in the Boston Globe, Joslin is mulling a partnership with American Well to use the company’s virtual care platform. Joslin aims to launch an early version of the program with a group of doctors in the Beth Israel Deaconess Physician Organization in about six months time.

The Center’s VP of planning and advocacy Catherine Carver is leading the hospital’s initiative, which launched thanks to a $900,000 donation from a patient: “We need to move into remote care,” she said. “To be able to reach this tidal wave of people with diabetes coming at us, we need to use technology,” Carver told the Globe.

The Joslin program offers patients with type 2 diabetes support groups, remote weight management programs, and mobile tools that transmit glucose readings directly to their physicians. Participating physicians will receive access to new research, CME courses, and tips for how to use their EHRs to detect problems in their patient population.

The Globe report also mentioned a pilot program underway at Massachusetts General Hospital under the direction of Dr. Nancy Wei. The pilot outfits diabetes patients with glucometers that automatically send patients’ blood sugar readings by satellite to an online portal that Wei checks in on each morning. When she notices problems, Wei typically calls or sends the patient a message. Most issues are resolved over the phone.

More over the Boston Globe here (sub. req.).

More on ONC’s consumer privacy in mobile health study

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 28, 2012        

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ONC's Dr. Farzad MostashariLast week the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) published a proposal to add more resources to its planned two-year study of consumer attitudes toward the privacy of their personal health information.

The ONC stated in the report published in the Federal Register that the request for more resources was “due to the growing use of mobile devices in exchanging personal health information electronically.” Because of that trend, “ONC is proposing a revision of the currently approved collection to increase focus group burden hours and explore consumer attitudes and preferences regarding the communication of personal health information electronically using mobile devices,” according to the Federal Register.

According to the HITECH Act, ONC must educate consumers on personal health information privacy. The ONC said it would work with the HHS Office of Civil Rights to “oversee the education and communication activities to build approval for HIT adoption and meaningful use, educate the public about privacy and security and increase participation in health information exchange,” in the Federal Register posting.

According to a report over at Government Health IT, ONC plans to gather information about different segments of the public to create the informational materials and websites it will use to educate people through the campaign.

The ONC has opened a 30-day comment period on the proposal and has invited comments on a number of aspects of the proposed campaign, including: the overall necessity and usefulness of the collection of information; the accuracy of the estimated amount work likely necessary to complete the campaign; strategies for enhancing the quality, efficacy and clarity of the information planned to be collected; use of automated collection techniques to streamline data collection.

More details over at Government Health IT and over at the Federal Register.

Tiny medical devices that swim through the blood stream

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 27, 2012        

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Tiny medical deviceTiny medical devices that swim through the blood stream are closer to reality, thanks to research coming out of Stanford University last week.

Electrical engineer and Stanford assistant professor Ada Poon demonstrated a tiny, wireless powered, self propelled medical device capable of controlled motion through blood, which the school believes could lead to the era of “swallow the surgeon” medical care. Poon showed off the device during a demo at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference.

Stanford predicts that the devices “could travel through the bloodstream to deliver drugs, perform analyses, and perhaps even zap blood clots or remove plaque from sclerotic arteries.” Poon said that the applications of the technology “include everything from diagnostics to minimally invasive surgeries.”

PCWorld points out that “energy was always the biggest stumbling block for miniature devices–batteries always take up most of the mass of the device, and they need to be replaced, charged, and so forth. Poon’s devices get their power via radio waves, which is the breakthrough researchers needed in order to pierce the human body in this fashion.”

According to Stanford, the devices “consist of a radio transmitter outside the body sending signals inside the body to an independent device that picks up the signal with an antenna of coiled wire. The transmitter and the antennae are magnetically coupled such that any change in current flow in the transmitter produces a voltage in the other wire – or, more accurately, it induces a voltage. The power is transferred wirelessly. It can be used to run electronics on the device and propel it through the bloodstream.”

Poon’s research was supported by the C2S2 Focus Center, Olympus Corporation and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

Check out an animated video that explains the devices over at MedGadget.

‘If you don’t have mobility in your strategy, then you don’t have a strategy’

By: Neil Versel | Feb 27, 2012        

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Neil_Versel_LargeHospital CIOs, or at least some of the best hospital CIOs, seem to get it. The others need to get on the ball, fast.

“If you don’t have mobility in your strategy, then you don’t have a strategy,” Susan Heichert, senior VP and CIO at Allina Health System, a 10-hospital system based in Minneapolis, said at the 2012 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Las Vegas last week.

“I will tell you that mobile technology is where it’s at,” added Kay Hix, CIO and VP at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va. Hix said her department is “gearing up from a privacy and security standpoint to support mobile technology.”

That’s great news for mobility, except that Heichert and Hix represent organizations far ahead of the national average in terms of IT adoption. Four Allina hospitals have achieved Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model, as have four Carilion hospitals.

Heichert and Hix made their comments during a HIMSS press conference, where the trade group released the first set of results from its 23rd annual survey of senior health IT executives, namely CIOs and IS directors. Let’s just say the two CIOs would not have been invited if they had been stragglers in terms of IT adoption.

Still, mobility seems to be on the minds of more than just the most advanced health IT shops. According to the survey, mobility and mobile devices moved up to the No. 2 spot this year among the primary IT infrastructure focus of the 302 IT leaders queried, named by 18 percent of respondents. Only servers and virtual servers polled higher, at 19 percent. Notably, mobile devices jumped from 12 percent a year ago, passing both desktops/virtual desktops and security systems to take second place. Keep reading>>