Ex-Geisinger CEO to head CMS Innovation Center; Adherence apps unpleasant; More

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 4, 2010        

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Dr. Richard GilfillanAdherence apps “unpleasant” to use: The New York Times has reviewed a handful of medication adherence apps (seemingly picked at random), choice quote: “I tried some apps that remind users to take their medications, including MedsLog, Medsy, MotionPHR Health Record Manager and others. Appropriately enough, the experience was like ingesting medicine — an unpleasant chore, but good for you.” NYTimes

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation gets director: CMS Administrator Don Berwick appointed Dr. Richard Gilfillan “Acting” Director of the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Appropriately enough, Gilfillan was director of the CMS performance-based payment policy staff. The CMI holds great promise for mobile health as its mission is to “innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures… while preserving or enhancing quality of care.” Hopefully the center will help new services gain reimbursement more expediently. Health Affairs (Background on hopes for the center and mHealth here)

RIM PlayBook booster: Dr. John Halamka named BlackBerry’s PlayBook as his cool technology of the week: “I predict that the iPad and the plethora of new similar devices are going to be the emerging clinical platform of choice for healthcare in 2011. The latest announcement from RIM, the Playbook, seems to address my requirements list very well – it’s small, lightweight, and advertised as stable/reliable/secure/enterprise ready.” Life as a Healthcare CIO (Also: Check out our paid report on the iPad and other tablets eyeing the healthcare market.)

Wellness programs is where job creation is? ZDNet

India’s 3G mHealth? As 3G gets off the ground in India, operators believe 3G entertainment services will pave the way before mCommerce and mHealth services leveraging 3G will hit the market. Hindu Business Line

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ePatients Connections: Most important source for engagement is?

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 30, 2010        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsThis week I presented as part of the Mobile Health track at the ePatients Connections conference in Philadelphia. The track’s chair was the inimitable Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, a noted health economist and commentator. Sarasohn-Kahn kicked off the afternoon with a sweeping presentation that covered a number of important aspects of the mobile health landscape. Below are a few excerpts from her presentation:

On Who pays, Reimbursement, and Self-pay

“When we talk about markets as economists, we always think about demand, which is need through the lens of ability or willingness to pay. That’s why I’m always bringing up reimbursement payment. That has been the real barrier for a lot of healthcare, not just health technology and IT adoption. It’s a particular barrier for mobile health.

“Again as an economist, I think about how people are incented or nudged to take good care of themselves. People know what the right thing to do is, but still we’re seeing people delaying care. They delay a visit to the doctor and it’s not just for a mammogram. We’re talking about people who feel sick, who aren’t getting necessary tests and treatments. And it’s because of what probably seems silly to you and me — because we make plenty of money in this room — it’s because of a $20 or $30 co-pay.  ‘Hey, it’s my husband’s birthday — gotta buy the Norelco razor — that $30 is going to the birthday gift.’ This is real life, and between the two coasts lots of people make these decisions. They are not pretty some of the time. I’ve been known to say, people think they make what are smart, short-term fiscal decisions, which lead to bad long-term physical outcomes, and that is particularly true in this recession.”

On the Chronic Care Model Vs. Participatory Health

“If you know of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, then this is a model some of you know: The chronic care model. This was put together back in 1998. That means we have been trying to skin this cat for a long, long time. The chronic care model talks about the patient at the bottom left of the model as an informed and activated patient. Can you imagine that in 1998 the conceivers of this talked about an “informed” and “activated” patient? And again, how many years later are we still wrestling with it?

“In the new model, now that we have an underpinning thanks to the Internet, cloud computing and the increasingly adopted EHR, we can start to see lots of arrows going back and forth between different stakeholders in the health ecosystem. This will move us to what many people, including ePatient Dave and [Pew Internet Research's] Susannah Fox and myself, are always talking about: The participarotry health model. Patients informed and activated? Yes, but also connected back to the health system!

“A lot of apps that you can download on your iPhone — and I’ve got plenty of them on my beloved iPhone — don’t connect to my doctor, because I’m a shoemaker’s child with no shoes. My doctor here at suburban Philadelphia… does not have an EHR yet. Even my doctor doesn’t have it and I get this stuff! But I love him and he’s a great doctor and he will have his EHR next year. So my apps don’t connect back to him, but I can’t wait until they do. He’s a little concerned about that, but he’ll get used to it.

“This is the paradigm that I’m thinking about when we talk about mobile health. In the best possible sense this would be nirvana. Mobile health is not just about being mobile within the home, with my husband, my kid, a friend, my clinician, my health coach, my clinician, my diabetes educator. It includes whoever I choose to include in my ecosystem.”

On the disempowered, dazed and confused

“According to an Edelman study from two years ago, one in five people are t0o disempowered, dazed and confused when it comes to their own health. Another one in five is reactionist and don’t engage until they have a more serious problem, but they aren’t going to be proactive. At best, then, about three in five might do something proactive. Might!” Keep reading>>

BlackBerry PlayBook: A better tablet for healthcare?

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 29, 2010        

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BlackBerry PlayBookIt’s not called the BlackPad (as the rumor mill has affectionately called it for the past few months), but BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion has indeed unveiled a new tablet, called PlayBook. During the BlackBerry event where the PlayBook launched last week, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis billed the company’s new device as the first “professional” tablet. The tablet won’t hit the market until early 2011.

Health organizations that have already equipped staff with BlackBerry devices may find it easy to add PlayBooks since the new device is already compatible with the BlackBerry enterprise server. It’s an amplified view of what’s already on your users’ BlackBerry devices and requires no new software, security or data plan, Lazaridis said. The first iteration of the PlayBook will be WiFi only, but the company plans 3G-enabled and 4G-enabled versions in the future, of course.

So, does RIM believe PlayBook will appeal to medical professionals? Yep.

On-stage at the BlackBerry launch event for PlayBook, CEO and President Mark Willnerd of TouMetis showed off a medical app that displays patient data for orthopedic surgeons where they can design, for example, new knee replacements for patients right from a BlackBerry or from the PlayBook.

In a press release, RIM even pointed to remote EMR access as a potential use case for PlayBooks in the medical field: “For example, a medical records application can attach image files to a patient’s medical record, with the option to open or preview the record, or view the list of available images before it is downloaded to the BlackBerry smartphone.”

Watch the PlayBook introductory video below for more on BlackBerry’s new device: Keep reading>>

Microsoft finally joins Continua; RPM study; More

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 29, 2010        

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healthsenseMicrosoft (finally?) joins Continue Health Alliance: According to a report in the EE Times, the Continua Health Alliance added new design guidelines for home health systems and also added a big name to its growing membership of more than 230 companies: Microsoft. I’m amazed Microsoft is just now joining Continua! I wouldn’t rank them 230th on the list of companies interested in connected health interoperability… EE Times

Medical school issues iPhones for online textbooks: According to a report from the BBC, more than 500  fourth and fifth year medical students at the University of Leeds will be issued iPhones to access online text books. Seems medical schools only offer iPhones, iPod touchs or iPads — rarely otherwise. BBC

Number crunching for aging in place tech: A new study on the cost effectiveness of remote patient monitoring for aging in place found that in one case, “the combined annual cost for technology and staff support at the home was $11,100, compared to $82,125 for nursing home care – a savings of $71,025. The annual cost of the technology alone was $1,500.” Technology company behind the study was Healthsense. Read more about the white paper, penned by Aging In Place Technology Watch analyst Laurie Orlov here: Release

SMS diabetes management: KeyVive, which aims to use social media and self-management tools to help individuals with chronic illnesses, has released a “HIPAA-compliant mHealth technology for people not only affected by diabetes, but also with other diseases.” The application is SMS (text message) based. Release

Native Americans and medical professionals who serve them receive free satellite phones: American billionaire Phil Falcone is donating “very expensive satellite phones and service to Indian reservations and the medical professionals that service them,” according to a recent report. Services will be free until 2020. Forbes

Seven hospitals tap Amcom for smartphone messaging

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 29, 2010        

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Amcom Mobile ConnectAmcom Software, makers of Amcom Mobile Connect — a smartphone-based pager replacement offering for hospitals, announced seven healthcare organizations have begun using Mobile Connect since its launch. Emory University, Park Nicollet Health Services, St. John’s Hospital, Inova Health System, University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, NorthBay Healthcare, and Mary Washington Healthcare have each begun using Amcom’s pager replacement.

Amcom Mobile Connect is for hospital workers with iPhone, BlackBerry or Android devices. Amcom bills the service as complementary to or as a substitute for pagers and other communications devices for code calls, consult requests, and other types of messaging. Amcom says the service maintains an audit trail for all communications and also logs read receipts.

“We have begun executing on an aggressive investment plan that includes adding many new resources to further develop this solution. With new functionality enhancements, including smartphone-to-smartphone messaging, we expect to see even higher levels of adoption,” Chris Heim, CEO, Amcom Software stated in a company release.

Amcom’s product sits in a crowded sandbox: Competitors for pager-replacement, smartphone-enabled messaging products abound. Sample competitors might include Voalte, Vocera, WICPager and others.

For more on Amcom’s customer update, read the release here

Survey: 24% medical students to switch to Android

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 29, 2010        

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Medical Students SmartphonesMedical reference software developer Epocrates released the results from its fifth annual “Future Physicians of America” survey, which polled 700 medical students about their technology habits, expectations and preferences. About 80 percent of those medical students surveyed are set to be practicing physicians within the next two years.

Of those surveyed, nearly 70 percent owned either an Apple iPhone or iPod touch which marked a 39 percent increase over the findings from Epocrates’ 2009 survey. BlackBerry and Android devices make up the second and third most popular devices for medical students, the study found.

Interestingly, more than 40 percent of future physicians plan to upgrade to a newer smartphone during the next 12 months and more than 60 percent plan to buy an iPhone, while almost 25 percent will buy an Android device.

Some 70 percent of the students surveyed also said that EHRs will be a very important deciding factor in where they practice medicine. Students have high expectations for EHRs. Students believe that benefits to medical practices will drive EHR implementation and not government initiatives. Keep reading>>