Medtronic launches first app for implantable devices

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 28, 2011        

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Medtronic CareLink Mobile Application

Medtronic CareLink Mobile Application

Medtronic announced today the launch of CareLink Mobile Application, which the company calls the first mobile application that pairs with implantable cardiac devices. The app is available for the iPhone and iPad. CareLink Mobile Application enables clinicians to access cardiac device diagnostic information and patient data directly from their mobile devices. Medtronic makes clear that this app is simply a new access point for the CareLink Network. The app also allows physicians to review Medtronic CareAlert transmissions and a patient’s last transmission and then triage and take action as needed.

“As a physician, the convenient mobile application gives me a new way to access the important patient data that I have come to rely on from the CareLink Network,” Dr. Suneet Mittal, director of electrophysiology, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center stated in the release. “Using this new application I can more easily view CareLink information on an iPhone or on my iPad. Being able to view CareLink’s CareAlert transmissions helps me respond to clinical events in a timely manner and provide more proactive patient care, which, as a health care provider, is my ultimate goal.”

Medtronic’s CareLink Network aims to provide clinicians with the same level of information that they gather during an in-person visit with patients who have Pacemakers, Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (ICDs) and Implantable Cardiac Monitors (ICMs).

For more screenshots of Medtronic’s CareLink Mobile Application, check out the images to follow: Keep reading>>

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Text4Baby inspires ADA diabetes pilots

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 27, 2011        

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New Orleans Beacon Community

Beacon Community: New Orleans

The American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a collaboration this week with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) on a nationwide program that leverages mobile health to help individuals better prevent and manage diabetes and its complications in urban areas. The announcement was made at a press conference at the American Diabetes Association’s 71st Scientific Sessions.

The model for the campaign is Text4Baby, a free, SMS-based health information service for new and expectant mothers. Voxiva, which powers the Text4Baby service, recently launched Text2Quit, a similar service for smoking cessation. Voxiva will also play a key role in the diabetes initiatives.

ONC, CDC and the diabetes association will work with two Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement members, Crescent City Beacon Community in New Orleans and Southeast Michigan Beacon Community in Detroit, in the next two months to create tools to help patients manage their diabetes. (The Beacon project provides funding to 17 diverse communities throughout the United States with a focus on health IT.) Both cities are partnering with Voxiva to develop and provide these services. The campaign also aims to open up more communication between patients and physicians in an attempt to reduce the onset of Type II diabetes through healthy lifestyles.

“These communities are looking for unique ways to further reduce the burden of diabetes – reducing both the morbidity of diabetes-related complications and the excess mortality attributable to diabetes,” stated David Kendall, MD, chief medical officer, American Diabetes Association in a press release. “The public health campaigns in Detroit and New Orleans will reflect a collaborative effort to find all possible means to achieve this, in particular using mobile health technologies.”

Check out the press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

10 Reasons why Google Health failed

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 27, 2011        

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Google Health Shuts DownSince Google’s announcement on Friday, pundits have discussed the many possible reasons that Google Health failed. The best analyses of the demise of Google Health include this timeline by John Moore of Chilmark Research, this roundup from ReadWriteWeb, and some of the comments in these two TechCrunch articles.

This morning we parsed through the many comments, commentaries and pundit quotes found in these and other posts around the web to create this list of ten reasons why Google Health failed. This is not intended to serve as a definitive list, but it includes commentaries from a handful of current and former Microsoft healthcare executives, as well as other notable industry onlookers.

Why did Google Health Fail? Keep reading>>

Sprint targets healthcare with M2M Command Center

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 27, 2011        

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sprint-logoSprint recently launched its M2M Command Center, a secure web portal that allows health agency enterprises to remotely manage thousands of wireless devices used for chronic health condition management.

While healthcare is expected to be the primary industry for the Command Center, transportation and energy management customers are also expected to use the platform, according to the mobile operator. Companies will retain flexibility on the types of wireless devices the platform will manage. Devices can be added, removed, suspended or unsuspended. In addition, a “shoulder-tap” feature lets users awaken a powered-down device.

“Caregivers use wireless devices in home health kits to manage chronic conditions such as asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and obesity,” Wayne Ward, vice president of the Sprint Emerging Solutions Group told eWEEK. Agencies can also track people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, or help people manage devices for fitness and weight management. Users can schedule wireless devices to operate at specific times of the day (or at a certain location), as well as monitor tasks like a patient’s blood sugar, according to Ward.

Ward believes that the M2M Command Center will speed time to market for connected health devices: “Health care companies will be able to activate and manage connected devices quickly, getting them into the patient’s hands sooner,” Ward said.

Read the eWeek post for more

PatientPad nabs $7.5 million in funding

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 27, 2011        

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PatientPadDigital Assent announced a $7.5 million second round of funding for their tablet-based, patient check-in service. Sanan Private Equity, the BIP Opportunities Fund and Buckhead Investment Partners (BIP) led the round. Return backers include Imlay Investments and BLH Venture Partners, which led the first round of funding for the company earlier this year. According to SEC documents, the company brought in a total of $2 million in February.

Digital Assent describes its PatientPad device as “a wireless touch-screen solution that automates the patient check-in process and delivers targeted health information and advertising to interested patients while they sit in their healthcare provider’s waiting room, exam room or treatment room.”

The PatientPad appears to be a very similar offering to the tablet-based patient check-in service offered by Phreesia, which has secured tens of millions of funding over the past few years. Both PatientPad and Phreesia make use of proprietary tablet devices instead of off-the-shelf consumer devices.

“We are pleased to receive this investment and validation from Sanan Private Equity and BIP, along with our existing investors, who clearly recognize the rapidly growing market opportunity we are addressing,” Andrew Ibbotson, president and CEO of Digital Assent stated in a press release. “Since launching PatientPad, the demand has been tremendous. It’s now available in doctor’s offices across half of the nation and this funding will help us realize our potential even faster.”

The company plans to use the funds to expand product development and sales. The company claims it has sold almost 1,500 PatientPads to 175 practices in 25 states in this year along. Digital Assent plans to expand the product into major metropolitan markets nationwide including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

“Digital Assent’s rapid growth — supported by an adoption rate north of 90 percent — is very impressive considering the company secured its Series A funding just a few months ago. Clearly this solution is one that is fulfilling a growing marketplace need,” said Chemain Sanan, managing director at Sanan Private Equity in a press release.

Official: Google Health shuts down because it couldn’t scale adoption

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 24, 2011        

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Google Health Shuts DownGoogle has officially announced plans to shutter Google Health, its personal health record platform, come January 1, 2012. Data stored in Google Health will continue to be available for download until January 1, 2013. Google plans to add a direct transfer option to Google Health in the coming weeks that will enable users to transfer their health data to any other system that makes use of the Direct Project protocol. After that date any remaining data in Google Health will be deleted.

“In the end, while we weren’t able to create the impact we wanted with Google Health, we hope it has raised the visibility of the role of the empowered consumer in their own care,” Google Health’s senior product manager Aaron Brown wrote in the company’s blog. “We continue to be strong believers in the role information plays in healthcare and in improving the way people manage their health, and we’re always working to improve our search quality for the millions of users who come to Google every day to get answers to their health and wellness queries.”

Brown wrote that while Google Health did not meet the company’s user adoption expectations, Google believes the service “did highlight the importance of access to information in areas where it’s traditionally been difficult.” ePatient Dave’s story is a clear testament to the complexities embedded in that point.

“There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts,” Brown wrote, “but we haven’t found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people.”

The shutdown of Google Health should come as no surprise to those following the connected health conversation. Personal health records and similar platforms have largely failed to gain adoption among consumers — this is especially true for those systems that are not tethered to a patient’s healthcare provider. While Google Health announced a facelift late last year which brought a new wellness and fitness focus to the service, the future would have seen Google Health moving more to the mobile platform, a Google Health rep told MobiHealthNews in a past interview.

In May, Chilmark Research analyst John Moore wrote that Google Health was being put into “stasis” mode and would be “frozen” for five years until the consumer health market picked up: “There is now no doubt in our mind that the Google Health development team has been dis-banded and Google Health has been placed in a cryogenic state until the moribund consumer adoption of such tools comes to life. It would be far to big a PR nightmare for Google to completely pull the plug on Google Health as they have done in the past with other less then stellar launches. No, they’ll put an engineer or two on Google Health to keep it up and running but don’t expect anything new out of Google Health for at least the next 5 years.”

Given Moore’s comments, it is surprising that Google has announced a full-stop for the Google Health service come 2013. The executive shuffle at Mountain View headquarters where Google co-founder Larry Page has taken over as CEO from Eric Schmidt was said to bring with it a re-focusing on products and services that had demonstrated adoption or strong potential for adoption. It was clear at the time that Google Health would not be on that list. Still many believed along with Moore that Google wouldn’t fully shutdown the health service. The one year data transfer grace period appears to be the compromise.

Moore noted in May that Missy Krasner, a founding member of the Google Health team, announced her departure. Previously, Google Health engineering program manager Julie Wilner had departed to join fitness device startup Basis.

While it wasn’t a large team, I am curious to see where other Google Health alums end up. Also, how will the lessons that follow from Google Health’s demise instruct the rest of the market?