AliveCor iPhone ECG to secure CE Mark soon

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 27, 2012        

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AliveCor's iPhone ECGAliveCor’s iPhoneECG device, which was the talk of CES in 2011, is close to securing a CE Mark, paving the way for the device to roll out commercially in Europe. At least one speaker at the HIMSS event last week and at least one report coming out of the Burrill Digital Health Meeting earlier this month, claimed that the iPhone ECG’s CE Mark was already secured. AliveCor founder Dr. David Albert told MobiHealthNews this week that the company is in the final steps of the process, but that it is not yet secured.

The company is also pursuing FDA clearances for its iPhone ECG case and iCard device, which works with both iOS and Android devices. FDA clearance is expected soon, too. AliveCor has stated in the past that it expects its device to retail for $99 and that it will find a user base among heart patients, general practitioners, emergency room technicians and more.

“I thought that this was a device for general practitioners to use as an ‘ECG stethoscope’ with which they could immediately assess a cardiac rhythm,” AliveCor founder Dr. David Albert told MobiHealthNews in an interview last year. “Today you can listen with a stethoscope or take a pulse, but you really have no idea what rhythm somebody is in. I also thought it would be of interest to patients: Patients today are given single channel cardiac event recorders and they have been given those for the past 25 years.” Albert said patients could use his device to sample their rhythm and provide it to an eCardio, Lifewatch, CardioNet in between their mobile cardiac telemetry sessions, which payers generally only reimburse for once or twice a year, he said.

Albert had made clear in the past that the iPhone ECG is not a device for diagnosing acute MI (myocardial infarction) or detecting long QT, since both of those require a 12 lead electrocardiogram. AliveCor’s devices are single lead rhythm script devices. Albert says that they are “clinical quality” though.

The AliveCor devices also send GPS data with the ECG along with accelerometer and gyroscope readings from the user’s device. That way those reviewing the information know whether the user was laying down. AliveCor expects to offer a free iPhone app for patients, with a paid version for physicians.

Last year AliveCor announced $3 million in its first round of funding, with participation from Burrill & Company, Qualcomm Ventures and the Oklahoma Life Sciences Fund. At the time the company said it planned to use the investment to expand its team, gain regulatory approval and market the device worldwide. In August 2011, at the time of the funding announcement, the company stated that it expected to commercially launch its iPhone ECG case and possibly its wireless iCard late in 2011. Keep reading>>


AirStrip diversifies: Hospital, home, military, and abroad

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 23, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsFew companies working in mobile health have made more news in recent days than AirStrip Technologies. Two weeks ago the remote monitoring app company announced an investment from Qualcomm Life Fund. A week later it announced an investment from HCA and plans to expand its deployment of AirStrip Cardiology throughout that health system’s hospitals. This week AirStrip announced an anticipated deal with Diversinet (AirStrip’s CEO Alan Portela sits on Diversinet’s board), and it also expanded its partnership with GE Healthcare by rolling out a new iPhone and iPad offering, called AirStrip Patient Monitoring.

A few years ago only about 70,000 hospital beds were being monitored, AirStrip’s EVP and Chief Strategy Officer Bruce Brandes said during an interview at HIMSS. Today it’s closer to 300,000, he said. In a few years time nearly all hospital beds will be monitored. Apps that enable care providers to keep tabs on all those monitors will be increasingly crucial, especially in the face of the other macro trend — the care provider shortage.

AirStrip Patient Monitoring provides clinicians with near real-time data and historical patient information up to 24 hours ago. The mobile health app works with any GE patient monitors and is connected via GE’s Carescape Gateway, which integrates biomedical devices with hospital information systems. The entire offering enables physicians to access patient waveforms, vital signs and other critical clinical measurements on their iPad and iPhone. While AirStrip inked an exclusive deal with GE to distribute its AirStrip Cardiology offering last year, the deal with GE to distribute AirStrip Patient Monitoring is not exclusive. Update: Brandes said that since not every hospital has a relationship with GE, those can work directly with AirStrip’s sales team and set the apps up to pull data from most any monitor.

Brandes showed me a beta version of an AirStrip app that had about a dozen patient vital signs streaming in near real-time on his iPad. Given the trend toward more monitored beds, an app like that will become increasingly useful. It’d already be of use to nurses or anesthesiologists.

AirStrip’s apps and GE Healthcare’s monitors track patients throughout the continuum of care: from the time they get into the ambulance until they are discharged, GE Healthcare’s General Manager of IT/Wireless Sales and Marketing for Patient Care Solutions, Rudy Watkins said during an interview. That could change, however. Given the Qualcomm Life Fund recent investment in the company and AirStrip’s plans to integrate with the Qualcomm 2net platform, in the not too distant future AirStrip could be following patients after discharge, too.

The company has other more immediate plans first, however. AirStrip and GE plan to begin offering their patient monitoring tools in Europe soon thanks to the CE Mark AirStrip acquired last year. For all of its current offerings, AirStrip has tapped GE as its exclusive distributor outside the US.

Stateside, AirStrip is also planning to enter a new market thanks to its recently announced deal with mobile security specialist Diversinet. By leveraging Diversinet’s Mobisecure authentication and encryption, AirStrip will be able to offer its wares to the US government for use in military hospitals or for use in the field.

To sum up, thanks to its deals with GE, AirStrip is increasingly at the patient’s bedside. The Qualcomm deal could enable it to remote monitor patients at home. Diversinet’s FIPS level security is bringing it to the military. With a CE Mark secured, it’s also set its sights on Europe alongside GE.

Big moves this month for the company widely credited for offering the very first FDA-cleared mobile medical app.

MobiHealthNews’ coverage of HIMSS12 is brought to you by IQMax.

Sneak peek: athenahealth’s iPhone app, iPad plans

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 23, 2012        

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Athenahealth iPhone appThese days most every EHR vendor has a smartphone app. Athenahealth has been one notable hold out, but that is set to change in the coming months.

At the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas, a demo at the athenahealth booth showed off the company’s plans for an iPhone and iPod Touch app that will gives its EHR users access to certain features of its athenaClinicals cloud-based platform. The company said it began developing the app late last year. The app is currently in “alpha,” but athena expects to release a beta version of the app in April and plans to invite more customers to test the software out then. A full launch of the athenahealth web-based mobile app is set for some time around June.

An Apple iPad version of the web-based athenahealth EHR app is also currently under development and set to launch in 2013. The iPad app will likely offer the full functionalities of the EHR, according to the company. The iPad version is intended for physicians who bring the device into the exam room with them.

Both mobile offerings will be freely accessible to existing athenahealth clinicals users and will not require any additional fees.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given athenahealth’s cloud-based offerings, neither app will be native to the iOS devices. Users will log in to access them through their iOS device browsers, just like they do from their desktops. The mobile apps offer the same security standards as athena net clients, according to the company. The app will also automatically log users out if they remain in active for a certain amount of time to prevent lost or stolen devices from leading to security breaches.

Company officials working at the athena booth at HIMSS said that the iPhone app is not meant to be a replacement for the desktop version. It’s just meant to help physicians have easier access for out of work activities.

The app includes access to patient cases, labs and images, urgent tasks, patient encounters, orders and e-prescribing, and more. When accessed via the mobile app, patient cases only show active allergies and current medications, users have to go to athena net to see a full history. Athena said its alpha testers find the ability to access their clinical inbox, which includes phone messages, lab results, and other documents physicians need to sign off on, as one of the most useful features.

One of the apps most recent additions enables users to refill patients’ medications and add new medication prescriptions. The app includes drug-to-drug alerts, drug-to-allergy alerts, and drug-to-problem alerts, too. Athena typically updates its software every four to six weeks so it expects the mobile app’s features to evolve quickly based on its users feedback.

So, why is athenahealth only now coming out with mobile versions of its cloud-based offerings? The company took its time to make sure the user interface worked for its users. iPad users will have to wait until 2013 for an athena user interface designed specifically for that platform, but until then there’s always Citrix.

MobiHealthNews’ coverage of the mHealth Summit is brought to you by IQMax.

Epocrates unveils beta version of native iPad EHR app

By: Neil Versel | Feb 23, 2012        

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HIMSS EHR iPad infographic_EpocratesEpocrates is taking the occasion of HIMSS12, which has brought upwards of 35,000 people to Las Vegas this week, to debut a native iPad version of its ambulatory electronic health record.

“You just can’t take a desktop mentality and apply it to mobile,” Epocrates chief medical information officer Dr. Thomas Giannulli told MobiHealthNews in explaining why the San Mateo, Calif.-based vendor is doing more than just extending its Web-based or even iPhone software to meet the growing demand for iPad software from physicians.

Giannulli said he was aware of the failed experiment running a desktop EHR on iPads at Seattle Children’s Hospital last year. In that case, the hospital used the iPad’s Chrome browser essentially as a Citrix emulator, and the Cerner software was not optimized to display information on a 9.7-inch screen. (Cerner, like other enterprise systems vendors, is said to have a native iPad app in the works itself.) “You’ve got to get the software right,” he said.

The Epocrates iPad EHR, released in beta this week, is built to replicate the “rich data entry” of EHR drop-down menus that create documentation based on user clicks, Giannulli said, except that the iPad version uses screen touches instead of mouse clicks. The app takes advantage of the finger-swipe capabilities to “stack” elements of a patient’s record or a list of multiple patients for easier viewing.

This new product can link to the Epocrates software-as-a-service cloud in real time, or cache data locally. For the sake of security, users can only store EHR information on the iPad for a maximum of 449 patients, and any local data are encrypted and “extinguishes” after a set period of time if not uploaded to the Epocrates Web host, Giannulli explained. It saves and syncs automatically to the Web-based Epocrates EHR Web product, so doctors can edit entries on a computer with a real keyboard if they so choose.

Electronic prescribing and lab integration are built in. “We’re obviously going to leverage our Epocrates database when it comes to drugs,” Giannulli said. However, the beta release does not incorporate the Epocrates visual Pill ID feature yet. “We leverage the stuff that docs use most, which is the drug monographs,” he explained.

Though the iPad EHR can function as a standalone system, “It is probably an adjunct to the Web-based product,” according to Giannulli, primarily for use at the point of care.

For all the work Epocrates has done in mobility over the years, this actually is the first app the company has specifically designed for the iPad. An iPad app for the core Epocrates reference system is still in the works, Giannulli said.

MobiHealthNews’ coverage of HIMSS12 is brought to you by IQMax. Keep reading>>

Survey: 8 percent of hospitals fully support BYOD

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 23, 2012        

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israel ipadAbout 85 percent of healthcare information technology professionals said their hospitals have at least partially embraced the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend and supported the personal smartphones and tablets that their physicians and staff bring in from home, according to a survey recently conducted by Aruba Networks. The company surveyed more than 130 HIT professionals for its survey.

Among those that do support BYOD initiatives, Aruba found that 53 percent only support these devices by allowing them to access the Internet. Far fewer, just 24 percent, said they provided limited access to hospital applications. Just 8 percent said they currently enable full access to their hospital network for user-owned devices.

Aruba’s survey found that 83 percent of respondents support Apple iPads on their network, 65 percent support iPhones and iPod touches, 52 percent support BlackBerry devices, and 46 percent support Android tablets and phones. Also 58 percent either plan to or already use virtualization software like Citrix to give iPad users remote access to hospital applications.

“The responses in this year’s healthcare mobility survey align well with what we are seeing in the field,” Gerard Festa, director of healthcare solutions at Aruba, stated in a press release. “While there is a lot of interest in BYOD and enabling mobility for applications hospital- or group-wide, most have just begun taking the first steps. We are confident that the percentage of hospitals fully embracing mobility will increase over the next year, with mobile application and device use becoming the norm within the next five years.”

MobiHealthNews’ coverage of HIMSS12 is brought to you by IQMax.

For more on the Aruba survey, read the press release below: Keep reading>>

By 2017: 170M wearable wireless health and fitness devices

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 23, 2012        

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Nike+ Fuel BandIn five years the number of wearable wireless health and fitness devices will hit 169.5 million, according to a report from ABI Research. That’s up from almost 21 million such devices last year. By 2017 the number of sports and fitness focused wearable wireless devices will still outnumber more health-focused ones, but not by much. ABI expects about 90 million wearable fitness devices to be in the market five years from now, which leaves about 80 million health-focused ones.

The research firm partially attributes the predicted rise in the number of wearable fitness devices to the increasing number of mobile handset vendors, consumer electronics companies, and online service providers who have joined the market in recent months. ABI points to Nike, Adidas, and Motorola as some of the more high-profile examples. For many years the market has been dominated by “specialist, high-end vendors” like Polar and Garmin.

ABI also expects strong growth for home monitoring devices intended for assisted living applications as well as wearable devices that help people better manage their chronic conditions. The health wearables will also become more prevalent within hospitals and clinics, according to ABI.

“Leveraging mobile handsets to provide automated online data access opens up the wearable wireless market to real-time online connectivity. Although not the only option, standardization around Bluetooth Smart will be the bedrock of this market growth. A whole host of companies in the sports and medical device market, as well as online services companies, are going to have to add or extend their offerings and services to support a new wave of wearable sensor connectivity,” ABI principal analyst Jonathan Collins stated in the press release.

For more details, read the press release below: Keep reading>>