Interview: Is Happtique the appstore healthcare needs?

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 20, 2010        

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HapptiqueLast spring the Greater New York Hospital Association’s for-profit subsidiary, GNYHA Ventures, started looking into the mobile health space to determine just how it could help hospitals leverage mobile technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. To gain a better understanding, GNYHA Ventures purchased a large number of Apple iPads, Corey Ackerman, the VP and associate general counsel of GYNHA Ventures told MobiHealthNews in a recent interview.

“We formed user groups and began looking at Apple’s iTunes AppStore and the other app stores out there. We realized very quickly that there wasn’t yet a niche place for healthcare apps. Sure, some of the stores have healthcare or medical categories but that’s not enough categorization to be very helpful for locating apps for healthcare providers.”

GNYHA Ventures announced this week the imminent launch of their own appstore, Happtique, which will provide apps specifically intended for use by healthcare providers.

Happtique aims to bring down the costs of purchasing apps in bulk for hospital groups by negotiating bulk rates with app developers. In an effort to make app purchasing and distribution easier for hospital groups, Happtique also plans to create “substores” for hospital customers that can act as a warehouse for apps the hospital has purchased. As a result, new employees can access the “substore” to retrieve apps their new employer has already purchased for them. Keep reading>>

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Interview: PatientKeeper helps HCPs meet Stage 1

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 20, 2010        

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PatientKeeper CEO Paul BrientMobiHealthNews recently had a chance to catch up with PatientKeeper’s CEO Paul Brient to discuss how his company’s mobile software can help healthcare organizations meet certain requirements under Stage 1 of Meaningful Use; the opportunity for Windows Phone 7 devices in healthcare; the growth of Android devices among US physicians; and why PatientKeeper is toying with the idea of opening up its API to create a new ecosystem for medical app developers.

MobiHealthNews: I read recently that PatientKeeper’s software can help a care facility move toward Meaningful Use. How?

Paul Brient, PatientKeeper: Maybe surprisingly, meaningful use requirements do dovetail into the mobile space. Look at meaningful use on the in-patient side: There are a series of things hospitals have to do to meet Stage 1 to qualify for HITECH money, and that will get you to about 40 percent of the overall funding. That’s about $6 million for a 200-bed hospital, so we’re talking about a reasonable amount of money.

The basic idea behind this legislation is for the government to help the healthcare industry get the stuff implemented that they have had trouble getting implemented in the past. Certain things have gone well and sort of happened on their own: PACS, lab and pharmacy automation are examples of things that really happened on their own.

Getting doctors to put in their orders and documentation electronically has been a particular problem. It has not happened. The penetration rate is in the low single digits. That’s why the stimulus and meaningful use are largely focused on those pieces. Interestingly, for Stage 1 requirements, the government backed off a lot on their requirements. Originally it required hospitals to have 10 percent of orders to go in electronically. Now the requirement is that one third of a facility’s patients have to have one medication order put in electronically. That’s a huge step back. At PatientKeeper, we have a strategy for helping a hospital get to full-blown adoption of CPOE and electronic documentation, which we believe will be required in later stages, but right now just getting to Stage 1 is a lot easier.

You don’t really have to do anything with documentation, you just have to do a small piece of CPOE for Stage 1.

As a result we are featuring the mobile offering of CPOE quite a bit because it was designed to help physicians put in orders that are one-off orders from the bedside or for when they’re not in the hospital. This mobile offering is designed to get around verbal orders. In fact, in many cases, with the volume of verbal orders alone it’s enough to help providers meet Stage 1 requirements for CPOE. And by the way, doctors love this. Verbal orders are a huge pain for them. It’s an interesting time and opportunity to be [PatientKeeper] and be able to offer all physician facing components to meet Stage 1 and ultimately Stage 2 and 3 requirements.

Are PatientKeeper’s customers doing this today?

No one is doing it yet because regulations were just finalized two months ago. We are engaged with a variety of customers who are doing this, though. They have to be live and doing it for 90 days before they can get any stimulus money. That probably won’t happen until Q2 of next year, but this is certainly real from a ‘people are buying it and deploying it’ standpoint.

When I think of PatientKeeper, I see the company as one of the first to embrace mobility in healthcare and make that a focus. Is that a fair characterization?

Well, we are unique in a lot of ways. We are particularly unique in the way we come at physician workflow, especially the way it relate to physicians who cross between outpatient and inpatient worlds. Traditional HIS companies automate a place: A physician practice or a part of a hospital. At PatientKeeper, we automate doctors. That causes us to cross traditional lines of categories. We are not an ambulatory EMR, but we do have all the ambulatory data. We are not an HIS system that runs your hospital, but we do have all of the data that a doctor needs. What we are about is getting that physician’s workflow automated and getting the data they put in to the right place. So, yes, that also requires mobile technology because physicians are not physically present in front of computers. The mobile piece is so fundamentally critical to what we do. A lot of people look at us and say, ‘Ah, you are a mobile company.’ We say: ‘Not really, but as a company that automates physicians, we darn well better have a mobile strategy!’ Keep reading>>

AirStrip, Sprint offer apps and coverage bundle

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 20, 2010        

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AirStripAirStrip Technologies has partnered with Sprint to offer hospitals a bundled solution comprising of Sprint’s “clinical grade” in-building coverage enhancement along with AirStrip’s remote monitoring applications. AirStrip’s AirStripOB and other applications will also be available for use on two new Sprint Android handsets running on the operator’s 3G and 4G networks.

“We… understand the financial challenges many hospitals face. This partnership enables hospitals to accelerate their adoption of AirStrip in a cost-effective manner, while also ensuring the robust in-building coverage to meet the growing data mobility demands of hospital staff and medical practitioners,” Dr. Cameron Powell, President and Chief Medical Officer, AirStrip, stated in the press release.

It’s been a busy month for mobile operators’ health groups. The AirStrip-Sprint deal follows news that AT&T had partnered with WellDoc for its mobile phone-based DiabetesManager service. This week Verizon Wireless also hosted its developer event to create home health applications for its partner, BL Healthcare’s home health platform.

AirStrip Technologies remote patient monitoring applications offer real-time vital waveform and other critical patient data directly from hospital monitoring systems to healthcare providers’ mobile devices. Sprint Android smartphones HTC EVO 4G and (soon) Samsung Epic 4G can run AirStrip’s apps.

AirStrip said that hospital administrators will not have to require physicians to switch to certain handsets or Sprint’s network if they sign up for the Sprint-AirStrip bundle. The FDA and HIPAA compliant AirStrip applications do not require devices to store data natively, all data remains in the cloud so lost devices do not compromise patient health information, according to the company.

AirStrip’s Dr. Cameron Powell noted in his statement that the increased bandwidth provided by Sprint’s 4G network will allow AirStrip to add features to its remote patient monitoring solutions, but did not provide specifics. Keep reading>>

Medical app roundup: DonateLives, iTraycer, more

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 20, 2010        

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ER wait times apps — good for hospital revenue but may discourage patients from seeking care? American Medical News

Track inventory with an app: Medical Tracking Solutions released an iPhone/iPad app that helps hospitals and clinics track their medical devices. iTraycer, which is also in development for BlackBerry and Android devices, includes FDA product recalls and expiration dates and can alert staff to remove devices in the event of a recall or expiration. Inventory data can be entered manually or with the help of a barcode or RFID reader and the phone’s GPS technology can even enable the system to mark deliveries with location and time stamps. MedGadget Video Below:

iPad vs. the dedicated speech devices: The Wall Street Journal published a must-read feature story for anyone interested in assistive technologies: “Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in an interview that he hopes the easy-to-use design of the iPad has helped children with special needs take to the device more quickly, but that its use in therapy wasn’t something Apple engineers could have foreseen. ‘We take no credit for this, and that’s not our intention,’ Mr. Jobs said, adding that the emails he gets from parents resonate with him. ‘Our intention is to say something is going on here,’ and researchers should ‘take a look at this.’” It’s worth noting that Proloquo2Go was the only health or medical related app that made it into Apple’s best of the AppStore year-end review in 2009. Also, revisit the controversy over expensive, dedicated speech devices that payers are willing to reimburse for vs. devices like the iPhone or iPad that users prefer to use but for which they receive no reimbursement. Interestingly, DynaVox, maker of some of the more popular dedicated speech devices, recently launched a smaller handheld device called Maestro. WSJ

Advocate Health Care in Illinois has created a GPS-enabled physician finder app for the iPhone. Release

When good apps get lost in the sea that is the AppStore: In a recent column The New York Times highlighted an app that helps people more easily register as an organ donor: “DonateLives, which is free, was promptly lost in the sea of entertainment, sports and utility offerings that dominate Apple’s App Store. It has been downloaded fewer than 1,000 times — which is a shame for those who are interested in public health issues and those who are inclined to donate.” New York Times

Orthopaedic manipulative therapy how-to: Clinically Relevant Solutions has created an app for iPhone and iPad called The Mobile OMT that provides instructions for almost 150 different orthopaedic manipulative therapy techniques. According to the company, the techniques included were ones that have been “used in clinical trials and reported in the peer-reviewed medical literature.” The how-to material includes written instructions, high-quality video demonstration with audio overlay. The company’s press release also points to interesting future plans: “The high quality videos highly support the use of this app as a teaching tool, especially on the iPad, which will soon support video out capabilities to use with an overhead projector.” Press Release

Another reminder that mobile devices carry germs: PC World

Epocrates, Walgreens partner for drug reference

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 20, 2010        

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Epocrates iPhone medical appSmall deal but between two big companies: Walgreens has teamed up with Epocrates to help the physicians who use Epocrates mobile applications to find lower cost medications for their patients. Epocrates has integrated the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club (PSC) formulary list of more than 8,000 medications into its mobile and online drug reference applications, which more than 300,000 physicians reportedly use. More than 2 million patients are enrolled in Walgreens PSC discount club, which covers commonly prescribed medications as well as lifestyle drugs for weight management, smoking cessation and family planning.

The partnership will likely lead to some physicians recommend that their patients join Walgreens PSC to save on medications, but it will also help care providers help patients stay adherent to medication regimens, according to the companies’ press release:

“When I prescribe a medication for a patient, I’m not always confident they will get it filled. By identifying the best option for them before they even leave the exam room, I feel I’m doing everything I can to help ensure compliance. Now with access to the Walgreens PSC formulary, I can give them an affordable option and definitive location to pick up the prescription,” Dr. Robert Dudley, a family practice physician, stated in the press release. “I’m hopeful this will make it easier for patients to comply with their drug regimen and be easier on their wallets.”

Epocrates apps are available on a number of mobile device platforms including iPhone’s iOS, BlackBerry, Android and Palm.

For more, read the press release here

New hand hygiene startup spins out of CIMIT

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 20, 2010        

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HanGenixCIMIT, a consortium of hospitals and engineering schools in the Boston area, has spun out its first startup: Hand hygiene monitoring company HanGenix. The startup’s technology automatically detects when a care provider uses a soap or alcohol gel dispenser and if they approach a patient’s bed without washing or sanitizing their hands. If a care provider fails to wash their hands before a patient interaction, the system emits an audible beep as a reminder.

The system was developed and built at Mass General Hospital in Boston.

The CIMIT consortium includes participation from Mass General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, MIT, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston University, Boston University Medical Campus, Childrens Hospital Boston, Newton Wellesley Hospital, Northeastern University, Partners HealthCare, and VA Boston Healthcare System — many of which could make use of HanGenix’s system.

CIMIT and HanGenix have already begun two “large scale” trials of the system and have verbal commitments from two other facilities. Keep reading>>