Pager replacement; iPad in HC; Designing with patients

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 6, 2010        

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Amcom Mobile ConnectPagers to smartphones — a long road: CIO.com has a lengthy report on the trials and tribulations of hospitals replacing pagers system-wide with smartphones and paging apps. The article chronicles Emory’s slow switch to an all mobile phone solution from Amcom. “There’s lots of underlying issues that have to be worked out,” says Jay Flanagan, senior manager of the messaging team at Atlanta-based Emory University. Flanagan has 850 users in the pilot — 6,000 pagers to wean the facility off. CIO

iPad changing healthcare? While I take issue with this article’s headline: “How the iPad is Changing Mobile Healthcare” (Is it, really?) Enterprise Mobile Today’s thorough review of the iPad’s various opportunities in the healthcare industry is well-worth a read. Choice quote from the review’s conclusion: “It has been the first tablet to be widely adopted by health care professionals (by hospitals, medical groups, and individuals). While no other tablet has seen this level of success in or out of health care, many of these advantage will apply to Android tablets when they hit the market in large numbers. Many will also apply to Windows 7 tablets (though the health care professionals that I’ve spoken with seem much less enthusiastic about a Windows-based tablet) as well as webOS tablets that HP is expected to launch next year or beyond.” Enterprise Mobile Today

McKinsey mHealth podcast: Just discovered this — it’s not new, but new to me. 30 Minute mHealth Podcast

Short video from Body Computing: Designing to bridge the gap between patient and provider: Worrell Design presented this 7-minute video at the Body Computing conference that took place in Los Angeles, California last week. Worrell has designed for a number of medical device companies, including a handful of wireless health device makers. The video features interviews with both a patient and a physician and urges those working in the industry to engage with both groups to understand the needs apparent — and implementing accordingly. Well worth a look: Keep reading>>

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Epocrates co-founder launches Doximity mHealth startup

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 6, 2010        

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DoximityThis week Jeff Tangney, co-founder of one of the (if not the) most popular smartphone medical apps, Epocrates, launched a new mobile-centric service for physicians called Doximity. The service is a physician’s private network (like Sermo?) and iPhone app designed to help physicians save time. (Always a good pitch for that group.)

Doxmity aims to be the gold standard national directory of physicians, health professionals, hospitals, nursing homes, imaging groups and labs. It also offers search functions for finding medical school classmates or other colleagues for consultations: Doximity provided “psychiatrist in Tampa who speaks Spanish” as an example.

Doximity looks to distinguish itself from Sermo, perhaps the best known online social network for physicians, by being a real-time professional network and not an anonymous networking site. Of course, Doximity also views its mobile-centered design as key, too.

Since Epocrates recently filed its initial public offering plans, the subsequent startups coming from Epocrates alums like Tangney is an important space to watch. Tangney was former President & COO of Epocrates, and Doximity’s founding team also includes: Dr. Elise Singer, Dr. Marc Lawrence, Shari Buck, Mark Pagura, and Al Fontes. Dr. Richard Fiedotin and Dr. Tom Lee, who co-founded Epocrates with Tangney, are advisors and contributors to Doximity, according to the company.

And, oh yeah: “Doximity”? It’s a play on “proximity for doctors”.

For more, check out the video demo of the app, below: Keep reading>>

Survey: Physicians and smartphones, Europe vs. USA

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 6, 2010        

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allscriptsAccording to a recent online survey conducted by EPG Media, physicians in the United States are almost twice as likely to own a smartphone as European physicians. The EPG survey of more than 300 physicians found that around 81 percent of US physicians currently own a smartphone, only 44 percent of European doctors do. In a blog post on the research company’s site, the researchers point out that their figure of 81 percent is where Manhattan Research predicted smartphone adoption would be among US physicians in 2012. The most recent data from Manahattan (which polls significantly more MDs for its survey: 2,000+) pegs the current smartphone adoption rate at just north of 72 percent of US doctors.

Interestingly, EPG’s survey predicts that European physicians are eager to switch over to smartphones: While the current adoption is around 44 percent, the firm predicts that will jump to 65 percent adoption within the next six months.

According to EPG’s blog post:

There are currently over 250,000 apps available for download from the Apple store and according to MobiHealthNews, in the first quarter of 2010 over 7,000 of these were health and fitness apps, with 30% designed for use by healthcare professionals and the remainder for patients or health consumers. Despite this, EPG Health Media’s research indicates that demand outstrips supply for content for HCPs via smartphone, especially in Europe.

I find it hard to believe that demand could outstrip supple of smartphone medical apps when it comes to medical reference apps and the like, but I do agree that operational applications — like those that provide remote access to electronic medical records (what physicians seem to really want to do with their smartphones) is still a wide open opportunity.

For more, be sure to visit EPG’s site here

Allscripts launches home care EHR smartphone app

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 6, 2010        

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Allscripts Homecare EHRElectronic Medical Records developer Allscripts announced a new mobile medical application at the National Association for Home Care’s (NAHC) event this week: Allscripts Mobile Homecare, a smartphone application intended for use by physical therapists, nurse assistants and other home care health clinicians. Allscripts Mobile Homecare is a point-of-care, remote access app for Allscripts EHR for homecare agencies.

“Allscripts Mobile Homecare comes at just the right moment, making it easier for our physical therapists to take care of more patients in their home,” said Beau Sorensen, Chief Financial Officer of First Choice Home Health & Hospice, whose 170 clinicians provide home-based and hospice care for patients across Utah. “We expect that Allscripts Mobile Homecare will increase both the speed and quality of our therapist’s supporting documentation, increasing our compliance with government regulations, while improving our clinicians’ work-life balance.”

According to Allscripts, “traditional laptop point-of-care platforms are not well suited to the mobility, flexibility and ease of use requirements demanded in the variety of post-acute care environments,” while existing PDA apps focus largely on admin or scheduling. Allscripts believes its app is distinct because it focuses on remote access to clinical information for home care workers.

Allscripts Mobile Homecare aims to extend “the benefits of the EHR into the home.”

“Homecare agencies and hospices are, for the first time, being understood as a critical component in the continuum of care,” said Glen Tullman, Chief Executive Officer of Allscripts. “We need to leverage technology to provide clinicians, nurses and other caregivers in this space with better clinical information so when they receive patients from hospitals and other care environments, they can deliver optimal care and spend less time on administrative tasks. Allscripts Mobile Homecare connects to real-time information and new capabilities that not only make it easier for clinicians to make informed decisions but also save them valuable time.”

For more on Allscripts Mobile Homecare, read this press relase

Stimulus: $9.9M to reduce heart failure hospital readmissions via wireless health

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 5, 2010        

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CardioNet patient monitorThe HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded Cedars-Sinai Medical Center LA plus a consortium of five University of California medical schools $9.9 million to determine the efficacy of using wireless and telephone care management to reduce hospital readmissions for heart failure patients.

UCLA is leading the consortium in the three-year grant for the study called, “Variations in Care: Comparing Heart Failure Care Transition Intervention Effects.” The funding comes from the HHS program: Clinical and Health Outcomes Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness (CHOICE).

The study will determine how standard practice compares to transitioning patients from inpatient to outpatient care via telephone or via wireless remote monitors and telephone. The researchers aim to improve quality while reducing costs.

“Heart failure patients have high rates of hospital readmissions, and a critical window for preventing readmissions is as the patient transitions from the inpatient to outpatient setting,” Dr. Michael Ong, assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the grant’s principal investigator stated in a press release.

“This funding is critical if we’re to learn how to reinvent health care in the United States,” Dr. Tom Rosenthal, chief medical officer for Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center stated in the release. “Our goal is to improve quality and reduce cost of care and, most importantly, to identify approaches that are applicable in every community, not only large academic centers.”

“UC is committed to developing innovations and a new paradigm of health care delivery that creates a culture of deliberate improvement.” Dr. John Stobo, UC senior vice president for health sciences and services.

More from the press release here

Fujitsu unveils first Continua-certified phone

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 5, 2010        

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Fujitsu ContinuaAccording to reports coming out of the CEATEC conference in Japan, Fujitsu has unveiled a concept phone that the Continua Health Alliance has certified for meeting its guidelines of interoperability with personal health devices. While the concept phone’s name has yet to be released, the phone at the CEATEC Fujitsu booth getting the most attention is a dual-screen, touch screen device reminiscent of the handheld gaming device Nintendo DS.

UPDATE 2: Fujitsu’s phone secured Continua certification at the end of September and will only be available for subscribers of Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo, Fujitsu spokesperson Adam Blankenship told eWEEK. The medical data is transmitted from the device to the phone via Bluetooth, and can then be sent to doctors and ported into an electronic health record. Fujitsu also stressed that the phone is not a concept — it’s ready to be commercialized and more details will emerge in the next few months, according to eWeek.

Whatever the phone might look like, it is the very first phone that the Continua Health Alliance has certified as interoperable with personal health devices like Bluetooth-enabled pulse oximeters, blood glucose meters, blood pressure cuffs and the like.

The Fujitsu phone is likely only to be available in the Japanese market and is rumored to hit store shelves there within the year.

UPDATE: Continua issued a press release but it offered no new details about the phone:  “The world’s first Continua Certified mobile phone, created using Continua’s design guidelines, will also be unveiled this week at CEATEC. The new mobile phone will manage and transfer health data collected by healthcare equipment that is also Continua Certified,” the statement read. “Japan has a strong interest in the health of its residents,” Rick Cnossen, president and chair, Continua Health Alliance stated in the release. “Allowing consumers the opportunity to manage their own health helps to reduce healthcare costs, allows greater independence for seniors, and can help manage—and sometimes prevent—chronic illnesses.”

Earlier: A representative from Continua indicated to MobiHealthNews that an announcement was forthcoming. Stay tuned for more.

Meanwhile check out this “hands-on” with the dual-screen Fujitsu phone on display at CEATEC — (still unclear if this is the Continua certified one, but I’d be surprised if it’s turns out to be as high end as this one.) Video below: Keep reading>>