Care Innovations CEO Burns pushes ‘coopetition’ in remote monitoring

By: Neil Versel | Sep 29, 2011        

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Louis BurnsLouis Burns, CEO of Intel-GE Care Innovations, doesn’t much mind that telehealth technology vendor Robert Bosch Healthcare, a major competitor, has been getting a lot of press lately. In an industry with plenty of room to grow, a rising tide will raise all boats.

“I’ve always pushed this issue of ‘coopetition,'” Burns told MobiHealthNews at this week’s Health 2.0 Fall Conference in San Francisco. In fact, Burns was more than happy to cite a 2009 study at the Department of Veterans Affairs that found clear reductions in hospitalizations among patients monitored with the Health Buddy system that Bosch now owns. That showed that the concept of home-based remote patient monitoring works, even if it wasn’t Intel Health Guide.

Care Innovations, which launched in January, represents the combination of the Digital Health Group of Intel and the Home Health Division of GE Healthcare. Burns headed the Intel group.

Still, this is a very immature industry segment. Burns said that he would like for the various players in wireless patient monitoring to come together to standardize technology for the purpose of interoperability. If he were the head of some major healthcare purchaser like the VA or Britain’s National Health Service, he would demand greater adoption of standards, Burns added. Keep reading>>


Mobile represents realistic side of Health 2.0 conference

By: Neil Versel | Sep 29, 2011        

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GE's Centricity

Health 2.0 ostensibly is about interactive technologies and user-generated content for health and healthcare (yes, they are two different things). The Internet is the primary enabler for these types of innovations, but as the Internet has become more mobile, so has the idea of health 2.0.

Many of the sessions featured demos and even introductions of mobile apps, some more interesting than others. A look at the tweetstream is instructive; Microsoft’s Sean Nolan offered this: “At odds with myself after a long day at #health2con. So much great stuff, but so much shiny hyped iVapor too. Let’s make it REAL folks!”

Plenty of 1,500 people in attendance at the just-concluded Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco were happy to drink the Kool-Aid and act like the event was a pep rally for their cause. In many cases, people seemed to confuse “health 2.0″ with “fitness 2.0.” But there certainly were a whole lot of intriguing technologies and ideas on display that the healthcare industry could get behind.

Happtique, featured elsewhere in MobiHealthNews this week, seemed to win some plaudits for curated app store for healthcare professionals. “You can deploy the apps the way you want, when you want. Apple doesn’t have to see it,” Paul Nerger, Happtique’s Chief Technology Officer, said. Nerger added that the company is looking at how to include apps for non-Apple mobile platforms like Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

Ringful Health, a producer of mobile clinical decision support and communications technologies, demonstrated an iPad app that delivers educational content and videos to walk patients through the hospital discharge process. CEO Dr. Michael Yuan said the app also includes a self-guided process for post-discharge assessments, an important consideration as Medicare gets ready to cut reimbursements for some preventable readmissions.

Nephosity, a company with the motto, “mobilize your cloud,” showed consumer and professional versions of an iPad app that lets people in different locations manipulate radiologic images. It’s not yet FDA-approved for diagnostic purposes, but Nephosity founder and CEO Michael Pan, a former DreamWorks Animation image-rendering pro, said the image quality is suitable for consultations.

Aetna Chairman, CEO and President Mark Bertolini announced that the health insurer would introduce an app next spring to allow members to make physician appointments on their smartphones. He was part of a high-powered session on health 2.0 for employers and payers that included Louis Burns of GE-Intel Care Innovations (interviewed in MobiHealthNews this week) and Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson.

Numera, the telehealth firm formerly called iMetrikus, launched Numera Social, a white-labeled platform for care coordination that is embedded within Facebook or delivered as an iPhone app. “Our philosophy is, go where the people are,” CEO Tim Smokoff said. The system can pull data from various wireless devices and health databases and deliver alerts as necessary. Users can create challenges among their friends, too. “We think there’s an opportunity through this interface to drive clinical recruitment, too,” Smokoff added.

Other highlights included GE Healthcare’s Richard Peters showing off the new Centricity EHR iPad interface, as well as a demo by Adam Odessky, a U.S.-based product manager for France Telecom subsidiary Orange, of a prototype triage device that combines voice recognition, avatars and Microsoft’s Kinect motion-capture technology.

Revation pushes unified communications on consumer-grade devices

By: Neil Versel | Sep 29, 2011        

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“Unified communications” was a buzzword of sorts in mobile health a couple of years ago, but today it mostly remains an unrealized goal.

One company trying to move the healthcare system closer to true unified communications is Revation Systems. The Bloomington, Minn.-based vendor unifies many forms of communications on a computer desktop and is helping to lower the cost of entry to telemedicine, though it hasn’t yet delivered it all to a single mobile device.

A recent InMedica report predicted that the global market for telehealth services would reach $6.28 billion by 2020. “Please, let’s hope that’s not the case,” Revation CEO David Hemler told MobiHealthNews this week at the fifth annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference in San Francisco.

It’s not that Hemler is against growth in remote healthcare services, it’s that he believes telehealth technology costs too much. Historically, telehealth has been limited to fixed, point-to-point connections and specialized videoconferencing equipment, with store-and-forward content delivery a notable exception. Either way, technology dissemination has been limited.

Revation believes it can deliver “medical-quality” service on consumer-grade devices such as standard PCs, tablets and smartphones over normal broadband Internet connections and mobile networks instead of requiring multiple, specialized devices and dedicated communications infrastructure. The lower cost creates a lower barrier to entry and thus a wider potential market, according to Hemler.

Revation’s roots are in the financial services and banking industries, but the company entered healthcare about a year ago with a product called LinkLive Healthcare.

The system facilitates videoconferencing with consumer-grade webcams, secure file transfers such as a PDF of a patient record, VoIP telephony, secure e-mail that meets HIPAA privacy standards, secure screen sharing—including the ability to share some telemetry data—instant messaging and text messaging.

Healthcare organizations install the LiveLink software on their computers, providing a control panel resembling a typical IM window. Users can drag and drop people from their contact lists and groups into a conference, dial calls with a single click or send text messages to cell phones. Hemler said that a conference can handle perhaps six to 10 simultaneous video streams over a typical home or small-business broadband connection. Large health systems with heavy bandwidth can have greater capacity.

All communications are time stamped and logged. Keep reading>>

How AirStrip overcame its “nice to have” label

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 29, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsAt the end of November last year Apple aired a new commercial for the iPad called “iPad is Amazing.” Within the first few seconds the commercial showed a brief clip of AirStripOB, a vital sign monitoring app from AirStrip Technologies, and the first iOS app to secure clearance from the FDA.

“When I first joined AirStrip, I realized that everyone was talking about us. Apple had just aired a commercial that featured one of our apps and all the healthcare organizations were suddenly inviting us to present, even though we had been in business for five years and already had 200 customers,” AirStrip CEO Alan Portela told attendees last week at Informa’s Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit in Brussels. “After presenting to many of these organizations it was clear to us that for most of them we were a ‘nice to have’ not a ‘must have.'”

Portela said that problem is one that many other companies working in mobile health today are experiencing. The publicity from Apple helped AirStrip become more acutely aware of it though.

“I decided to treat this problem as if it were a patient. I began by looking at the chief complaint: Sure, there were a lot of issues that led to the ‘nice to have’ problem, a lot of co-morbidities, but what was the chief complaint?” Portela asked.

Portela said his sales team told him it was all about money. The customer feedback was that the technology was great but they didn’t have the money to spend on AirStrip because they were focused on working toward Meaningful Use (MU) and becoming an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). While the focus in healthcare today is on clinical operations, Portela said, the focus of tomorrow is quality of care.

“By tomorrow I mean this is happening already. It’s happening Thursday. It’s happening now,” Portela said. “The model is changing from a transactions-based model to an outcomes-based model.”

Once AirStrip decided to change its pitch and focus on chronic disease — Portela was vague on the specifics — it saw a dramatic response from its customers: “We added 200 hospitals in the past year,” Portela said. “That’s more than we added in the first 5 years of the company.” Keep reading>>

Eleven hospitals pilot app store for doctors

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 28, 2011        

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HapptiqueHapptique, a spin out from Greater New York Hospital Association Ventures, announced this week that 11 healthcare organizations will beta test its app store for healthcare professionals. The trial will last eight weeks, after which more organizations can sign up for the service, according to the group.

Happtique curates medical and healthcare applications for healthcare enterprises and breaks them down for specific user groups: physician, nurse, pharmacist, etc. It also organizes them by focus, like heart/cardiovascular, for example.

Happtique’s curation team includes a medical librarian, a physician, and a registered nurse.

“Innovative technologies such as this are important to help ensure that providers have the most effective mobile tools to aid in the quick delivery of accurate medical applications,” stated Nader Mherabi, Senior Vice President, Vice Dean and Chief Information Officer of NYU Langone Medical Center in a press release. “We are pleased to join our peers as part of this beta program.”

All of the participating medical organizations except one reside in the New York area: They include Mount Sinai Hospital (New York, NY), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Maimonides Medical Center (Brooklyn, NY), NYU Langone Medical Center (New York, NY), NYU School of Medicine, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation (New Hyde Park, NY), Beth Israel Medical Center (New York, NY), St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center (New York, NY), Wyckoff Heights Medical Center (Brooklyn, NY), The HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley (Kingston, NY), and d4 (United Kingdom).

Interestingly, according to the press release, each institution involved has developed or will develop their own custom mobile applications, which will be distributed to hospital staff via its Happtique custom app store. Apps will be available on Apple and Android platforms, with support for Blackberry planned.

“We are very excited to address the need for secure and customizable healthcare app platforms by providing these hospitals, medical schools and nursing homes with their own app store,” stated Happtique President, Corey Ackerman in a press release. “We will use this short beta period to gain valuable feedback and better understand their specific mHealth needs.”

MobiHealthNews spoke to Ackerman last year about the company: “We formed user groups and began looking at Apple’s iTunes AppStore and the other app stores out there. We realized very quickly that there wasn’t yet a niche place for healthcare apps,” Ackerman said then. “Sure, some of the stores have healthcare or medical categories but that’s not enough categorization to be very helpful for locating apps for healthcare providers.”

While that was true last year, earlier this month Apple created a new section of apps specifically for healthcare professionals. The “iTunes room” had about 50 apps in it divided into a half dozen subcategories at launch.

Ackerman said that Happtique will not be in the business of curating content:“We are not in the business of opining whether an app is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ though. That’s not our role,” Ackerman said. “If the FDA indicates that an app is a medical device and needs to be regulated, well, that’s a different situation and we can take it out of the store…We want [Happtique] to be as full as possible. We don’t have plans to delve into whether an app is ‘good or bad’ at this point, since there are thousands of apps out there.”

Read the press release below.

Keep reading>>

Basis advisors hail from Facebook, Guitar Hero

By: Chris Gullo | Sep 28, 2011        

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b1-perspective_col_SM1Wrist-worn wellness device maker Basis announced this week that its advisory board includes an executive at Facebook as well as the co-founders of RedOctane, co-creators of the Guitar Hero series.

The advisory team includes Kevin Colleran, long-time executive at Facebook and one of its first ten employees; Kai and Charles Huang, co-founders of RedOctane and creators of Guitar Hero; Patrick McGill, global corporate development, media and entertainment specialist; Daniel Kraft, MD, a Stanford and Harvard trained physician and innovator who chairs the Medicine track for Singularity University and its FutureMed Program; and Jeff Rosenthal along with his co-founders of entrepreneur organization Summit Series.

For six years Basis was known as PulseTracer, but the company changed names recently in anticipation of a commercial rollout. Its B1 Basis Band is a wrist worn device that measures the wearer’s heart rate and other vital signs. The company plans to allow third party developers to build apps that work with the device. The B1 Basis Band is expected to be released later this year for $199. Basis closed $9 million in a first round of funding in March led by Norwest Venture Partners and Doll Capital Management.

“The emergence of smart, integrated devices, like the Basis band, that are easy for individuals to use on a daily basis, are game-changing for both wellness and healthcare,” stated Daniel Kraft, MD in a press release. “What Basis is doing represents a significant step forward. By giving people the opportunity to see, gain insight, interact with, and share their own health metrics, it becomes easier to make and maintain behavior changes that can improve health and wellness.” (Check out Kraft’s TED talk on mobile health here.)

“We believe the key to encouraging consumers to play a more active role in their wellness lies in combining comprehensive information about their body, easy-to-understand insights, and a motivating experience,” stated Basis CEO Jef Holove in a press release. “This approach, combined with our technical advantages, is attracting high-caliber health, technology and entertainment talent, who not only have great experience but are committed to our mission.”

Holove spoke to MobiHealthNews this summer about Basis becoming a symbol for wellness: “I really think we are not at the beginning — but at a threshold — and this trend is exploding and is becoming sustainable,” he told us. “Just like driving a Prius or having a recycling bin outside your house are symbols that you are doing your part for the environment, there will be certain symbols that show you are doing your part for wellness. Devices like ours could become that symbol.”

Read the press release below.

Keep reading>>