Former Apple exec invests in Misfit Wearables

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 2, 2012        

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Sonny VuToward the end of last year the Boston Globe’s technology columnist Scott Kirsner reported that former Apple CEO John Sculley had invested in Misfit Wearables, a new startup from the co-founder of AgaMatrix, Sonny Vu. Kirsner reported that Misfit Wearables’ first product would ship by the end of 2012 and that it had raised some $750,000 in funding so far. Investors include Sridhar Iyengar, Vu’s co-founder at AgaMatrix; John Sculley, former head of Apple from 1983 to 1993; and Vu.

As we noted in September, Sculley is already involved as an advisor at a handful of other medtech startups. He’s on the board of directors of Watermark Medical, developer of an in-home sleep apnea diagnostic device, and on the board of advisors at Audax Health Solutions, a consumer health startup which uses gamification and social networking for health management.

MobiHealthNews discussed the prospect of Vu’s next venture during an interview with him last summer, just after he announced his departure from AgaMatrix. Here’s more about Vu’s plans and perspectives from our interview: Keep reading>>


Less than 1 percent of hospitals fully use tablets

By: Chris Gullo | Jan 2, 2012        

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Female Doctor with TabletLess than one percent of US hospitals have fully functional tablet systems, according to Jonathan Mack, director of clinical research and development at the West Wireless Health Institute. Despite financial incentives from the government, US hospitals are still slow to adopt EMRs, Mack told Kaiser Health News in a recent interview. Those that do might not have access to a native tablet application from the EMR developer, and even then, the app might include only read-only functionality. To circumvent this, virtualization programs such as Citrix are used on EMRs designed for keyboard input, making for a slow and frustrating usage experience.

In September, MobiHealthnews spoke to Michael Catrini, Director of Information Systems and Infrastructure at Rutland Medical, a 188-bed hospital located in Vermont, about tablet adoption. Catrini said that this “topic is a hot [one]. Physicians are coming in and saying, ‘We want iPads!’ The real challenge with an iPad isn’t a physical challenge; it’s the applications,” he said. “If an application isn’t designed to interact with that screen size or [multitouch] technology, then it raises all kinds of issues.” Catrini believed at the time that mobile EMR apps still have a ways to go: “I think we’re six months or a year from a really good native [iPad EMR app].” (March is fast approaching.)

While other CIO types have also predicted better native EMR apps are in the works at the big name EMR vendors like Cerner and Epic, smaller design-focused shops that have concentrated on the tablet form factor, including DrChrono and Clear Practice’s Nimble, have received a number of lauds over the past year.

The article also noted the potential distraction tablets provide as an issue worth watching closely. Dr John Halamka, CIO of CareGroup Healthcare System in Boston, recently wrote on the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality’s Web M&M online journal about the potential of mobile devices to improve care, but cautioned that healthcare organizations had better understand and act to mitigate the risks mobility can introduce.  “Some studies conclude that such communication improves the quality of the work environment, patient safety, and care without increasing bedside interruptions. Others, however, note a significant increase in interruptions and disruption of workflow because of the lowered barrier to instant communication,” Halamka wrote.

Read more from the Kaiser Health News report here.

Feds to spend $6.5B on health IT in 2016

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 2, 2012        

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iPad 3The US federal government’s healthcare IT spending is set to increase by $2 billion between 2011 and 2016, according to a recent report by the research arm of Deltek. The firm found that 2011 spending hit about $4.5 billion and it will grow to $6.5 billion by 2016, marking an increasing of 7.5 percent CAGR. The report also found that overall federal healthcare expenditures will almost double from $766 billion in 2011 to $1.4 trillion in 2020. Health IT investments are seen as one way to help curb those costs.

Deltek’s senior principal analyst Angie Petty told InformationWeek that the demand for mobile access to medical records has also increased along with a growing demand for mobile health applications.

The increased spending on health IT will largely focus on electronic health records systems, IT infrastructure modernization, new payment systems, and IT related to population health management. Much of the spend will go toward modernizing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) systems in a move toward new payment models as well as to reduce fraud.

“It is Deltek’s belief that implementation of health IT will ultimately lower healthcare costs and expenditures while at the same time, improving population health,” Petty told InformationWeek. “The federal government will continue to push health IT within its own agencies and to states, localities, and commercial providers.”

Berg: 2.2M patients remotely monitored globally

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 2, 2012        

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Qualcomm's 2net Hub

Qualcomm's 2net Hub

Approximately 2.2 million patients globally used a home-based remote monitoring device as of the end of 2011, according to a recent report from Berg Insight. The metric only accounts for devices that use fixed wireless, cellular, and fixed line connections. Devices that connected via smartphones or PCs were not included in the statistic. In addition, the number of home health monitoring devices in use with embedded cellular connectivity increased from 420,000 in 2010 to about 570,000 in 2011, and is expected to hit 2.47 million in 2016.

Berg also predicts that the number of remote home monitoring systems will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18 percent between 2010 and 2016, reaching 4.9 million by 2016. Devices that leverage cellular connectivity will grow 34.6 percent to reach the 2.47 million expected in 2016.

The most common chronic diseases being monitored include cardiac arrhythmia, sleep apnea, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with momentum gaining in devices for glucose monitoring and medication adherence. More than 200 million people in the US and Europe suffer from one or several chronic diseases where home monitoring is a treatment option.

In 2010, Berg found the the worldwide market for home health monitoring of “welfare diseases” to be worth about € 7.6 billion ($10 billion). It did not release a monetary figure for this year’s market.

“Home monitoring solutions that can communicate over a cellular network, landline connection or the Internet have already reached significant volumes within cardiac rhythm management, integrated telehealth solutions, sleep therapy and cardiac event monitoring,” stated Lars Kurkinen, Telecom Analyst at Berg Insight, in a press release.

Read the press release below. Keep reading>>

Does webOS have a future in healthcare?

By: Chris Gullo | Jan 2, 2012        

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mri1HP’s webOS platform may find new life as an open source operating system for healthcare applications. Researchers at Stanford University have developed applications for the HP TouchPad tablet, a discontinued webOS device, to operate an interventional MRI scanner and view patient respiration data and images gathered from the device.

Andrew B. Holbrook, a research associate at Stanford’s Department of Radiology, developed an application for the TouchPad to control the MRI’s operations by interfacing with a PC server located outside the MRI room. Computers currently used to control MRI machines are cumbersome, requiring special construction to reduce their amount of metallic components which pose a safety risk.

The TouchPad has multiple features useful for healthcare applications: its mostly plastic construction is ideal for being used near the MRI’s magnetized chamber (any metal components found within the tablet, such as a vibration motor and speakers, can be removed while keeping the device functional), and webOS’s multitasking support allows users to quickly switch between multiple applications. Keep reading>>

MobiHealthNews 2011 Year-End Reader Survey

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 22, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsIn a few days time MobiHealthNews will post its 2,000th article. We couldn’t have done it without your support.

Each and every day since late 2008 we have been covering the mobile health sector with news reports, commentaries, round-ups and analyses. In some ways mobile health has come a long way. In others, not much has changed.

For example, the second article MobiHealthNews ever published was about the new CPT code for mobile cardiac outpatient telemetry (MCOT) services like those provided by CardioNet. As regular readers may have noticed, we haven’t had the opportunity to post too many news reports about progress on the reimbursement since. I think that will begin to change at the end of next year, and it will be a big topic two years from now.

As 2011 comes to a close, MobiHealthNews is working up a series of year end reports. We’d like to hear from you.

What were the biggest news stories of 2011? What were the trends that mattered most to your mobile health deployments? Please take three to five minutes to fill out this quick 5 question survey about year-end trends and how we at MobiHealthNews might be able to make 2012 your most productive year yet.

Next week we will not be publishing our newsletter in honor of the upcoming holidays, but we’ll be posting some of your year-end thoughts along with some of our own in the weeks ahead.

Thank you for a very eventful 2011! And Happy Holidays from everyone here at MobiHealthNews!