AT&T adds cellular connectivity to Zephyr BioHarness

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 23, 2011        

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Zephyr BioHarnessAT&T has inked a deal with Zephyr Technology to embed cellular connectivity in the company’s next generation Zephyr BioHarness, which measures critical vital signs including ECG, heart rate, breathing rate, and skin temperature. Notably, disaster relief crews used the current iteration of the BioHarness in the rescue of the trapped Chilean miners last year. The information gathered by the harness is aggregated along with the wearer’s physical activity data, which is tracked via a built-in accelerometer. The data is then viewed through the Zephyr online portal or sent to electronic health records and mobile applications.

How did the Zephyr BioHarness wireless transmit before the AT&T cellular connectivity? Zephyr’s website explains that “the BioHarness communicates to built in Bluetooth (e.g. Sepura TETRA) or to Zephyr’s proprietary Radio Interface devices, RID,using Zephyr’s secure Bluetooth.” The embedded cellular will do away with the need for a hub device or companion smartphone.

“With the BioHarness, connected by AT&T, cardiologists will be equipped to remotely monitor ECGs, athletes will have the ability to share live performance data, and medics will have on-demand visibility into the condition of military personnel – all occurring seamlessly over the AT&T network,” Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, resale and partnerships at AT&T, stated in the press release. “Today, smartphones capture Zephyr’s BioData and send it to the cloud for analysis, presentation and health record purposes. By embedding wireless into the BioHarness, we’re arming healthcare professionals with the technology needed to access timely data in ways not previously possible.”

“Zephyr has created a comprehensive approach that delivers useful physiological data in an understandable way,” said Brian Russell, Zephyr’s CEO.  “Our unique approach makes it easy for an individual to keep an eye on their health and to share that information with health providers, friends and family. AT&T has the right infrastructure and the necessary flexibility to meet the evolving requirements of connected health,” Russell said.

The FDA granted Zephyr clearance for its BioHarnesss back in December 2010. In 2009 Motorola Ventures made an undisclosed investment in Zephyr.


AT&T offers cloud-based mobile access to medical images

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 23, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsLast month I wrote about how handheld point of care diagnostic imaging devices will cannibalize existing, less mobile technologies. GE’s Vscan and Mobisante’s MobiUS were the prime examples.

The other big trend in mobile imaging is remote access. Diagnostic imaging app MIM Mobile finally received clearance from the FDA at the beginning of the year after an usually long (two year) review period. It also recently announced a companion app that enables physicians to share images with patients.

Calgary Scientific has also made some waves with its ResolutionMD offering, which powered by the company’s PureWeb technology, so that doesn’t require image data or confidential patient information to be transferred to the hand-held device. Sounds like cloud. Sprint has highlighted its partnership with Calgary Scientific.

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion chose Client Outlook’s eUnity app, which enables health care professionals to access, manipulate and collaborate real-time over full quality medical images using any web-browser, as the very first app publicly demonstrated on the device maker’s tablet offering: the PlayBook.

Last night, AT&T, which has already announced partnerships with a number of mobile health companies, including WellDoc, Vitality, and MedApps, entered the imaging space with a new cloud-based service offering: AT&T Medical Imaging and Information Management service. The telecom operator has already signed up two healthcare facilities as pilot customers: Baptist Health System and Henry Ford Health System.

Alabama-based Baptist Health System has more than 2 million images and creates about 30,000 new ones each month. That’s 350,000 annually. In the release announcing the new service, AT&T cites Frost & Sullivan’s prediction that the number of medical imaging procedures will cross the 1 billion mark in 2012.

“The solution helps providers to store, access, view and share patient medical images and information inside hospital systems and outside with referring physicians and other authorized facilities over a highly secure infrastructure,” the company explains. “AT&T’s cloud solution offers pay-as-you-go pricing that helps reduce costs by allowing healthcare providers to pay per gigabyte, per month. This pricing model can help providers to store medical images easily and avoid costly capital investment in storage infrastructure.”

An AT&T spokesperson told me that the cloud-based imaging service will enable “referring physicians and specialists” to access images via smartphones and tablets. AT&T said they would have more to share on the mobile angle as its pilot customers roll out the service.

Mobile Health Expo to launch Mobile Health Association

By: Neil Versel | Jun 23, 2011        

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Neil VerselIn 2007, then-Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen got on stage at the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C. and expressed his frustration with the slow pace of progress in health IT. “Enough with the grants, enough with the conferences, enough with the pilot programs,” he told the audience.

I caught up with him a couple of months ago at the Microsoft Connected Health Conference in Chicago. “There’s still a lot of talking going on,” he said, for a story that ran in InformationWeek.

Why do I bring this up? I’m in New York City right now for the second Mobile Health Expo, a sparsely attended gathering that seems even smaller in the confines of the Javits Center, Manhattan’s major convention center. The first one was held about eight months ago in Las Vegas. In March, I covered the mHealth Initiative’s third mHealth Networking Conference (another rather small meeting in a hotel near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport), six months after the second one and thirteen months after the first.

Yes, there are lots of conferences on mobile healthcare, possibly too many. Already this year we’ve seen the Mobile Health Summit in Canada; Mobile & Wireless Healthcare 2011 in the U.K.; the Wireless Health Conference in Australia; the Mobile Healthcare Conference in Germany; Mobile Health 2011 in the U.S;, the GSMA-mHA Mobile Health Summit in South Africa, and the Symposium on mHealth Strategy for Latin America in Peru. There are plenty more to come in the second half of 2011. (David Doherty of 3G Doctor in Ireland has probably the definitive list on his mHealth Insight blog.)

One can’t possibly expect to get to all of them, or even all of those in the U.S.—though I sometimes think MobiHealthNews Editor Brian Dolan tries. (He’s not here in New York this week.) At least the content seems to be different. The Mobile Health Expo is vendor-heavy, while the mHealth Networking Conferences have been more provider-centric. The mHealth Summit, put on in the late fall by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, has a high-level, more global focus, as evidenced by the presence of keynote speakers like Bill Gates and Ted Turner.

The difference between what Bredesen said about the health IT industry in general and the mobile health industry is that people in m-health tend to be more about action than talk. Until Wednesday afternoon, though, I was wondering if there would be any action at the Mobile Health Expo. Keep reading>>

How to schedule nurses via text, phone, email

By: Neil Versel | Jun 23, 2011        

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Matthew Browning

Matthew Browning

Need evidence that mobile communications are changing healthcare for the better? Ask Matthew Browning, a registered nurse from New Haven, Conn.

Browning was a nursing supervisor for 12 years. “My standard line is, I spent three of those years on the phone,” he says. There had to be a better way to schedule nursing shifts and fill last-minute vacancies.

While earning a master’s degree at Yale School of Nursing, Browning created a bidirectional communications platform called Intelliblast that contacts groups of people, in real time, on any device or medium they specify. He applied for a patent—still pending—and in 2007 founded a company called Your Nurse Is On that automates nurse scheduling on the IntelliBlast platform that sends out alerts by text, phone, e-mail or any other electronic medium when there’s a shift to fill. (The product debuted in 2009.)

“You can’t handle 300 calls yourself,” Browning explains. “You can make 30 calls an hour at best.” Or with blast communications, “you can call 30 people and have an answer in 3 minutes.”

At HIMSS11 in February, Browning took part in the “Geeks Got Talent?” demonstration at the X.0 subconference the annual HIMSS conference in February, and filled a shift in 90 seconds while live on stage.

Your Nurse Is On is a Web-based, software-as-a-service app, but Browning had mobility in mind from the start. “I think it started out mobile,” he says.

“It’s really easy if I get a call out in the field,” according to Browning. “I could fill a shift at the beach and not have to go racing to go fill a shift.”

It’s since been expanded to include other healthcare professionals. “Your Nurse is On is really a misnomer,” Browning says.

The system can be used for in-house staffing management or for filling shifts with temps. It can be populated with union guidelines for shift scheduling. On the back end are paperless billing and performance tracking systems. Individual healthcare professionals can track work history and specify their

Right now, nursing managers can only import Excel spreadsheets into Your Nurse Is On, but the company is working to integrate the product with electronic scheduling systems. Browning mentioned that he’s in discussions with a major scheduling systems vendor about a communications partnership.

Your Nurse Is On is also useful to communicate with staff during an emergency or to take quick polls, according to Browning. As this feature suggests, one area that intrigues Browning is social media. “Social media is just another communications tool,” Browning said in an interview, a line he repeated Tuesday at the Mobile Health Expo in New York City.

But he apparently has used it better than most. In March, Browning was named co-winner of Nurse of the Year by the Shorty Awards, honoring excellence in short-form social media (read “Twitter”) content. Actor Stephen Wallem of “Nurse Jackie” presented him with the award.

Browning, naturally, tweeted his acceptance speech in less than 140 characters: “I THANK my Family, Team, Tweeps, the ‘Academy’ & for allowing me to serve #Nurses & #Healthcare providers around the World!”

Want to engage mobile users? Think social and simple

By: Neil Versel | Jun 23, 2011        

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CardioTrainer App

CardioTrainer app developed by WorkSmartLabs

Want to engage mobile users in healthy behaviors? Think social.

“We know that smokers hang out with smokers, and when they stop smoking, they stop hanging out with smokers,” Shawn Moore, senior director for product management at consumer health information management firm OptumHealth, said Wednesday morning at the second Mobile Health Expo in New York. “Couch potatoes hang out with couch potatoes. Runners hang out with runners.”

Moore cited data showing that 91 percent of mobile Internet access is to socialize, compared to 79 percent on desktop computers.

And, of course, a rapidly increasing amount of data access is coming from mobile devices. On Tuesday, Artem Petakov, CTO and co-founder of consumer health app developer WorkSmart Labs, told conference attendees to circle June 8, 2012, on their calendars. That’s the day 50 percent of Americans will own a smartphone, he said, meaning that mobile Internet will be mainstream and not just the realm of the “data heads.”

Enter “Big Mike.” Big Mike is the name WorkSmart Labs gave to a large man shown in a photo biting into a ridiculously oversized cheeseburger. It’s an image WorkSmart found online several years ago, and Big Mike has become the motivator the company’s consumer-centric technology development ever since.

Big Mike clearly is not a data head. He’s not among what Petakov called the “type A solution seekers.” Rather, Big Mike is “beyond the chasm,” part of a “silent majority” of people who want to improve their health through lifestyle changes. This group, according to Petakov, would pay for an app but not take time to fill out a survey. Keep reading>>

Timeline: Medical milestones for the iPhone

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 22, 2011        

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Two years ago we created the first timeline that tracked the milestones and newsworthy events surrounding the adoption of the iPhone by healthcare professionals. A little more than a year ago we updated that timeline so it spanned 18 months of health-related iPhone news. Today, our medical iPhone timeline stretches across 30 months of news events — for two and a half years medical professionals have used the device in clinical settings.

It’s clear that in 2011 the amount of health-related iPhone news has surged and what was once newsy in 2008 and 2009 is no longer novel. What is perhaps more clear is that while the iPhone has steadily built its healthcare user base,

The timeline that follows serves as a reminder of some of these notable events. We know this list, while extensive, is not exhaustive. I’m sure we missed a number of important events.

Be sure to let us know what’s missing in the comments section, and we’ll update accordingly.

So, which milestones led to the success of the iPhone and iPad in healthcare? Check out our iPhone as a medical tool timeline below. Each page documents the events that took place during a particular month — or in some cases, over the course of a couple of months if the newscycle was slow:
April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 – July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 – March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 Keep reading>>