HIMSS: Tablet makers talk wireless, iPad

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 4, 2010        

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Panasonic launches Toughbook C1 for healthcare industry

Panasonic Toughbook C1At the HIMSS event in Atlanta this week, Panasonic debuted its new 12.1-inch Toughbook C1 convertible tablet, which can withstand a 30-inch drop. The 3.2 pound device runs for five hours on one battery, but can double battery life by adding an additional battery that brings the weight up to 3.5 pounds. The C1 offers a multi-touch screen for fingers and stylus pen data input. The design also includes a new triple hinge design that makes use of two for opening and closing the notebook and a third, separate on enables the device’s screen to swivel around from the center. Panasonic says the three hinges will improve that part of the device’s durability.

Wireless and mobility in general is becoming a bigger and bigger theme at HIMSS every year, according to Panasonic’s Senior Developer Manager Greg Davidson.

“WiFi is a given for our devices,” Davidson said, “but everyone is carrying around cellular data cards, which are easy to lose or liable to break. Our customers are asking for cellular built-in to their devices more and more. They are beginning to see the value of it. Of all our customer groups, though, healthcare is the one with more workers using Toughbooks inside buildings. All the mobility but it’s mostly being used indoors. Overall, customers are getting savvier in terms of mobility options. The iPad and other things are getting the industry to talk more about mobility and helping them to understand the benefits of having their data with them no matter where they go — the patient’s bedside, a regional clinic, their car, at home or at the grocery store. The more places they can access the data, the more productive they will be and the better decisions they will make.” Keep reading>>

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Report: Physicians to use patient care, admin apps

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 3, 2010        

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Manhattan Research’s metrics around physician uptake of smartphones have become industry standard: According to their last report, more than two-thirds of physicians are using smartphones today and by 2012 some 81 percent will be using smartphones devices. Manhattan compiled a new report, largely pulling from the data from last year’s to analyze how physicians are using their mobile phones — to access clinical content and perform quick tasks.

Judging by MobiHealthNews own separate research into the types of apps available for healthcare professionals within various smartphones’ application stores, medical reference and medical calculator apps are among the most numerous apps available on the market today. (For more from MobiHealthNews paid research report, The World of Health and Medical Apps, visit our research site here.)

Manhattan believes that by 2012 and once smartphone penetration among physicians has reached 81 percent, about half of those physicians will use their smartphones for administrative functions, learning, and patient care.

Within the medical reference app category that MobiHealthNews’ research pulled together from various app stores, one of the largest subcategories was medical reference materials for medical students. Administrative function applications are not nearly as popular as medical reference apps and if Manhattan’s prediction is true, then there is still a big opportunity to provide admin related apps to healthcare professionals through app stores. Keep reading>>

HIMSS Goes Mobile: Nuvon, Verizon, VeriWave

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 3, 2010        

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Verizon Wireless looks to enable point of care apps for mobile: “To give patients the best care possible, healthcare organizations must run efficiently, and real-time wireless communication is a powerful tool for meeting that challenge,” John Maschenic, director of healthcare enterprise solutions for Verizon Wireless stated in a company release. “Mobile technology puts health information – whether it’s lab results, X-rays, patient medical history or prescription drug information – in the hands of clinicians when it’s needed, and Verizon Wireless proudly provides the nation’s most reliable 3G network to support access to this critical data.” More

Nuvon looks to biomedical data collection and access from anywhere: Nuvon is touting a “mobile” offering at HIMSS called the IDM-MG 1000, which aims “to collect and present critical biomedical device data anywhere.” More

Ensuring WiFi for connected medical devices: VeriWave, a company that ensures WiFi performance, announced a new testing offering: Mobile Healthcare Test Suite for healthcare professionals and developers of WiFi-enabled medical devices to ensure user satisfaction, network reliability and overall readiness for mobility. VeriWave notes that care facilities are increasingly using WiFi to connect laptops, smartphones, patient monitors, infusion pumps, video cameras and asset tracking devices. More

FDA device chief steps down for Microsoft gig

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 3, 2010        

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For the past two years, Microsoft’s HealthVault group has been busily assembling a suite of personal medical devices that connect to its personal health information platform. Just this week the FDA’s top medical device reviewer, Donna-Bea Tillman, announced her plans to step down in order to take a position with Microsoft’s regulatory and policy group, according to a report from the Associated Press. Tillman’s official position was director of the Office of Device Evaluation. She plans to leave the FDA this month to join Microsoft’s Washington D.C. office.

Tillman has worked at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health for more than 15 years.

The FDA has been paying close attention to the emerging wireless health and more generally connected health market. Tillman’s insights will serve Microsoft with key regulatory insights for their US market.

For more, read the AP report.

Express Scripts inks pilot deal for GlowCap

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 3, 2010        

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Vitality's GlowCapsAccording to a report in the Wall Street Journal, St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts is set to launch a national pilot for Vitality’s GlowCap pill reminder device. We have written about GlowCap before, but the WSJ has a concise description of the medication adherence offering:

“The container—actually a high-tech top for a standard pill bottle called a “GlowCap”—is equipped with a wireless transmitter that plugs into the wall. When it is time for a dose of medicine, the GlowCap emits a pulsing orange light; after an hour, the gadget starts beeping every five minutes, in arpeggios that become more complicated and insistent. After that, the device can set off an automated telephone or text message reminder to patients who fail to take their pills. It also can generate email or letters reporting to a family member or doctor how often the medication is taken,” according to the report.

Express Scripts plans to begin a small version of the pilot in about a month’s time and will launch a larger trial focused on drugs related to cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure during the summer months. Express Scripts notes that while the trial’s purpose is to determine the efficacy of GlowCap’s reminder service, the companies are also eager to learn more about how patients take medication and why they fail to take it at times.

For more on the program, read this WSJ article

Sprint offers healthcare wireless time machine

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 3, 2010        

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Sprint CEO Dan Hesse“HIMSS has been working for decades to get the healthcare industry out of the 1970s and into the 21st century,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse pointed out during his keynote at the HIMSS event in Atlanta this week. “That’s why I’m here,” Hesse said, “to help facilitate that change.”

We have a historic opportunity in healthcare right now to use wireless technologies to boost efficiencies, reduce costs all while improving the quality of care, Hesse continued. The wireless industry needs to hear from the healthcare industry: What are the needs? What works best in the field? What tools work best for patients at home? We want to help provide you with those tools, Hesse said.

Just how out of date is the healthcare industry?

“If I had to pick the one industry facing the biggest gap between need for change and use of wireless to facilitate that change, it would be healthcare,” Hesse said. Most industries spend between 6 percent and 8 percent of their revenues on telecom, but healthcare only spends 2 percent or 3 percent on it, he said. Darwin said that survival of the fittest is not about the strongest or the most intelligent — it’s about the most responsive to change, Hesse explained, and consumers are beginning to drive a lot of the change in healthcare. Healthcare spending on telecom will jump from $8.6 billion to $12.4 billion in the next few years, Hesse predicted, and two-thirds of that increase in spending will be from wireless apps and services.

What if we had asked the healthcare industry to partner with the wireless industry back in 1986, Hesse asked as he held up a massive mobile phone from that year. What if I said we could monitor patients and look at EKGs on one of these? The timing couldn’t be better for healthcare and wireless to work together, Hesse said as he took out a smartphone from his pocket. Today two-thirds of physicians use a smartphone like this one and soon more than 80 percent of them will.

What use cases does Hesse see for the wireless tools his industry offers? Keep reading>>