Survey: 40 percent of docs want mobile interactions with pharma

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 26, 2011        

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Pfizer Oncology RCCAccording to a new survey from Manhattan Research, 45 percent of “ePharma” physicians would like to access pharma product information on their smartphone or iPad, according to firm’s ePharma Physician v11.0 study. The study sampled the 87 percent of US physicians whom the firm calls ePharma Physicians, or those who use digital channels for communication with pharma reps and resources. That means about 40 percent of all physicians in the US would like to communicate with pharma reps via mobile devices.

Other statistics from the study include: Physicians use online sources 66 percent of the time to access pharma product information, and 52 percent of ePharma Physicians say that it is important for them to be able to access the same source of pharma product information across PCs, smartphones and tablets.

“Physicians want access to online details and presentations about products on their smartphones and iPads – including experiences which include live elements like live video or voice,” stated Monique Levy, VP of Research at Manhattan Research in a press release. “Getting service and learning on the go seems to come naturally for busy docs.”

Read the full press release below. Keep reading>>

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Toyota demos ECG sensing steering wheel

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 26, 2011        

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ToyotaIt appears that more than one carmaker believes the automobile to be the next “platform” for health services: Toyota is developing an ECG embedded within a car’s steering wheel, reports MedGadget.

The feature is part of many in-development safety technologies the company showed during a demonstration in Japan last week. Contact sensors within the steering wheel, featuring a single-lead ECG signal, will detect abnormal heart rhythm through the driver’s hands. Toyota showed off a Prius model that showed the driver’s heart rate and ECG on the in-car navigation system display.

In May Paul Mascarenas, the Chief Technology Officer at Ford Research and Innovation, predicted that health services would become increasingly important at Ford: “We see health and wellness as a core area for us moving forward,” he said.

Thanks to research projects with Medtronic, WellDoc, SDI and others, Ford has architected three ways for mobile health services to interact with its cars: Bluetooth connectivity between the car’s computer and personal medical devices, remote access to cloud services via the car’s computer, and synching up health apps users already have on their smartphones.

Ford is also developing a heart rate sensor system embedded in the car seat that doesn’t require skin contact.

The demo from Toyota makes clear that Ford is not the only car maker eyeing healthcare. While the Toyota system is intended to alert drivers to serious heart conditions, Toyota also envisions using it as a daily health check.

Read the MedGadget article here.

Kaiser Permanente launches first iPhone app

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 26, 2011        

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KP LocatorKaiser Permanente announced this morning the launch of its first mobile application, a free iPhone app that helps people locate Kaiser Permanente care facilities nationwide. The app, KP Locator, is one part of Kaiser Permanente’s upcoming mobile strategy, which also involves a new mobile optimized version of their PHR software, My Health Manager.

KP Locator combines the Facility Directory service on Kaiser Permanente’s website with the iPhone’s GPS capabilities to search for nearby KP facilities using Google Maps, display their contact info, and list the health services offered at that location.

“Mobile solutions, like KP Locator and the upcoming mobile-optimized version of My Health Manager, mobile.kp.org, are a natural progression in delivering a high-quality care experience,” stated Phil Fasano, executive vice president and chief information officer of Kaiser Permanente in a press release. “Mobile solutions also address the rising costs of health care by giving members access to routine information and services without staff intervention, making interactions more convenient, personal and effective.”

Kaiser has been rolling out mobile-based services for awhile now. They had one the earliest high profile launches of text message appointment reminders, which they piloted in 2008. The service launched in 2009.

“What I am working on is symphony of apps that brings to bear the behavioral models, incentive models and information therapies into one single construct,” Kaiser CMIO John Mattison told MobiHealthNews last year. “[Kaiser Permanente] has always been founded on wellness and disease prevention: Recently our EHR helped us to make strides in wellness, but I believe that mobile is going to be the biggest accelerator for wellness that has ever come along, because of the basic presence of cell phones. People are mobile and phones are mobile — it’s convenient.”

Read the full press release below. Keep reading>>

Qualcomm employees compete via health devices

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 25, 2011        

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Qualcomm's Fitness Challenge Members

Source: Qualcomm

Telecom giant Qualcomm has been one of the drivers of the wireless health trend these past few years, but this month the company has demonstrated its commitment by organizing a fitness challenge for a couple dozen Qualcomm employees.

The Qualcomm Wireless Fitness Challenge (QWFC), which started earlier this month, features 32 Qualcomm employees divided into four teams. Interestingly, the teams are spread out over four countries and three continents. The groups will compete over eight weeks to increase activity and weight loss.

Each participant will use a Withings weight scale and/or a BodyMedia FIT armband to track their weight loss, calories burned, sleep and activity levels. The aggregated data will be sent to an online information platform that Qualcomm has built specifically for the challenge.

“First the wireless health team, then all 16,000 Qualcomm employees and then we’ll broaden it to corporations in several geographical regions and industry sectors. We’re on a mission to show how feedback loops and incentives can foster adoption of wireless health and fitness solutions,” wrote Rick Valencia, VP Wireless Health, Global Business Lead, Qualcomm, on LinkedIn.

Considering the many, many wellness platforms already available on the market, it is surprising that Qualcomm felt the need to build their own. Based on Valencia’s remark, however, it could be that Qualcomm plans to add yet another wellness platform to this crowded market — if the program at Qualcomm goes well, that is.

Check out this company blog post penned by Qualcomm VP of Business Development in Health & Life Sciences Don Jones.

DrChrono taps M*Modal for text-to-speech

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 25, 2011        

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dr chronoDrChrono announced this week that it had partnered with M*Modal to integrate medical speech-to-text functionality into its iPad EHR app.

Epocrates, which announced plans to develop its own EHR last year, said it was working with Nuance to integrate speech-to-text technology into its offering.

DrChrono, a free download from the App store, is one of the first EHR apps built specifically for the iPad. DrChrono also offers iPhone and Android apps (a version for Android tablets is in development), and announced they had secured $675k in funding earlier this month. (At HIMSS 2011 they also announced their acceptance into Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator incubator, which provides some funding for its startups.) With the M*Modal software integration, physicians can now dictate their notes into a Bluetooth headset, which the software will then translate into text — all from within the app.

DrChrono CEO and Co-Founder Michael Nusimow stated in a press release that the company’s “mission is to deliver an EHR that physicians will actually use. M*Modal’s ability to work on the iPad and its respect for doctors’ preferences and productivity needs made the company our choice for pioneering iPad-based speech-to-text.”

Read the full press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

10 mobile health acquisitions in 2011 so far

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 23, 2011        

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While the year is little more than halfway through, 2011 has already seen at least ten acquisitions for mobile health companies. Here’s a roundup of memorable ones:

Vitality's GlowCapsSoon-Shiong Buys Vitality-GlowCaps: In February pharma entrepreneur and billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong acquired Vitality, the company that developed GlowCaps. Vitality CEO David Rose stated in the company press release that while the financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, Vitality’s investors achieved a ten-fold return on their investments. In 2009 InformationWeek reported that the company had raised about $4 million, including investments from Dr. Soon-Shiong. The Boston Globe reports that Dr. Soon-Shiong negotiated the deal with Vitality’s co-founders courtside at an LA Lakers game. Dr. Soon-Shiong is partial owner of the team. Vitality’s flagship product, GlowCaps “illuminate, play a melody, and even ring a home phone so patients don’t forget to take their medication,” according to the company’s description. “GlowCaps send weekly emails to remote caregivers, create accountability with physicians through adherence reports, and automatically refill prescriptions.” More

WellDoc Oncology ManagerWellDoc buys Oncology Care Home Health Specialists: Baltimore-based WellDoc acquired home health consulting company Oncology Care Home Health Specialists for an undisclosed sum. The move will help WellDoc more quickly develop its oncology solution, which it expects will be a complement to its already FDA-approved DiabetesManager. WellDoc has integrated Oncology Care’s proprietary intellectual property and care algorithms into its own WellDoc Automated Expert Analytics System, which better positions WellDoc to offer coaching and clinical support to cancer patients and their providers over the Internet and through mobile phones. More

Doro's mobile phones for seniorsDoro buys Android developer: Doro, a Swedish telecom company that creates easy to use mobile devices for seniors, has acquired Prylo SAS, a France-based Android developer, reports InvestInEU. The purchase price for the company was 1.35 million EUR. The news comes shortly after Doro competitor GreatCall, which offers the senior-focused Jitterbug mobile phone service, announced its first smartphone app: MedCoach for the iPhone. Doro’s upcoming products will run on the Android OS. Prylos SAS has an impressive history, which lead to it being acquired: It previously developed mobile applications for French telecom operators including SFR, Ten and mobile health applications for INRA and Mobile Health. In 2010, it began focusing on applications for seniors, and were selected to participate in a program financed by the French government, called Proxima mobile, by developing a mobile application (called Tel & Age) that provides seniors with services related to comfort, assistance and health. 

The app will be available soon in France. More

PeaksawarePeaksware acquires app from Scottish developer: US health and fitness company Peaksware announced that it had acquired a fitness app from Scotland-based Screenmedia. Peaksaware, develops software systems to help individuals and professionals achieve health, fitness and peak performance, but had not yet offered mobile solutions. The app, previously called Sprint GPS Fitness Tracking is designed to help walkers, runners and cyclists track their activities and monitor their fitness levels. It measures distance, time, speed, pace, calories and altitude in real-time. Other features: ghost running, detailed in-app statistics, and sharing tools. The app is now rebranded as four different apps: ‘Run Tracker Pro’ for runners, ‘Cycle Tracker Pro’ for cyclists, ‘Walk Tracker Pro’ and ‘Walk Tracker Free’ for walkers. More

Humana acquires stake in Vitality: Humana has acquired a stake in South Africa-based Discovery Holdings to launch a joint venture with the company called HumanaVitality, which will provide Humana members with wellness tools and rewards. Humana will own 25 percent of The Vitality Group, Discovery’s US subsidiary, which will also offer wellness solution to US employers that are not necessarily Humana customers. More

AppointmentCityHealthagen acquires AppointmentCity: Healthagen, which offers the popular iTriage mobile health app, announced the acquisition of AppointmentCity, a mobile-enabled service that helps consumers more easily book appointments at hospitals, urgent care facilities, physicians’ offices and more. The functionality is a natural add-on to iTriage’s current offering, which includes a patient self-assessment guide, laction-based facility locator information and wait times at participating care facilities. No financial details about the deal were disclosed. More

USA Mobility buys Amcom: Wireless paging giant USA Mobility bought Amcom Software for $163.3 million in cash. USA Mobility used $110.8 million of cash on hand and $52.5 million through a credit facility from Wells Fargo Capital Finance. The acquisition helps modernize USA Mobility’s messaging services beyond legacy paging services and into messaging and unified communications. More

Wallace Wireless WIC PagerVocera buys Wallace Wireless: Vocera has acquired Toronto-based Wallace Wireless, a competitor that enables healthcare professionals to send pages, text messages, and alerts through their smartphones. Wallace says its system is “secure, reliable, and traceable” and works over both WiFi and cellular networks. Vocera did not disclose the acquisition sum. Healthcare has proven to be a core vertical for Wallace Wireless, but its offering has found a home in any industry that is weaning off its use of pagers. Wallace counts 200 customer sites across North America in healthcare, finance, public safety and more. More

Wolters Kluwer buys Lexi-Comp: Wolters Kluwer Health, a clinical reference information provider that among other things offers the UpToDate series of Web and mobile apps, has announced plans to acquire another big name in mobile medical reference: Lexi-Comp. Wolters Kluwer described the deal as “the latest in a series of strategic acquisitions” for its clinical solutions business, which focuses on point of care services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company stated that the acquisition would “enable pharmacist, physician and nurse customers to use an extended suite of mobile capabilities and online platforms, making access to critical medical information more convenient than ever before.” More

Augme buys JagTag: Mobile marketing company Augme Technologies, which has a core focus on health-related mobile marketing, recently acquired Jagtag, which develops bar codes and QR codes, for about $5.5 million in (mostly) stock. The startup had previously raised $3.6 million. Augme said the technology will be leveraged by its pharmaceutical company customers. “Augme expects that its combined resources with Jagtag will create a premier mobile marketing provider for brands, agencies, pharmaceutical/health and media companies.” More

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