Philadelphia hospital pilot reduces CHF readmissions 10 percent with mobile messaging

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 16, 2015        

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text message hahnemannIn a pilot that included more than 350 chronic heart failure patients, a Philadelphia hospital was able to reduce its 30-day readmissions by 10 percent — a 40 percent improvement over baseline — by using email and text message reminders to get patients into follow-up appointments. Dr. Thompson Boyd, physician liaison at Hahnemann Hospital and Richard Imbimbo, the hospital’s CFO, spoke at HIMSS 2015 in Chicago about their 10-month pilot, which was expanded from an initial six-month pilot, with congestive heart failure patients.

“We really want to show you that mobile technology has a role to play in readmission reduction and that patients that are more engaged tend to be readmitted less often,” Boyd said. “They keep their appointments more often at higher rates, and cancel less, and also, for those folks, percentage of readmissions was down.”

The pilot involved a total of 368 congestive heart failure patients and a total of 784 discharges. Patients were given the option of text message, phone, or email reminders to show up for scheduled follow-up appointments after they were discharged. Baseline readmissions prior to the pilot were at 26.7 percent.

At the end of the 10 months, 30-day readmissions for those who received messages dropped to 16 percent. Even those that didn’t receive the messages saw a drop to 21.3 percent. They also tracked the average number of days until the patients attended a follow-up appointment. The messaged patients were back in 9 days on average, whereas the non-messaged were back in 14 days. Likewise, the time between discharge and readmission was longer for the patients who received messages (16 days compared to 14). Keep reading>>

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Boston Children’s Hospital shows off four new internally developed digital health tools

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 16, 2015        

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RNSAFEAt Boston Children’s Hospital’s second annual Innovator’s Showcase this week, researchers and clinicians presented a number of new technology-focused offerings that are currently in use or being tested at the hospital. Here are four digital health tools that were on display at the showcase.

RNSafe — Boston Children’s FastTrack Innovation in Technology (FIT) team is testing a new app, called RNSafe, which stands for Remote Nurse witness Supporting Medication Administration For Efficient Care. The app, created by nurses in the hospital, aims to help increase patient safety when administering medications. Boston Children’s Registered Nurse and Business Analyst Jennifer Taylor told MobiHealthNews that complex medications need to be verified by two nurses before they are administered, so she and a few of her colleagues decided there should be a way for two nurses to collaborate on that remotely, over video chat. Using RNSAFE, a bedside nurse will request a verification via an iOS device — Taylor said they chose iOS for bedside nurses because the photo quality is better — and then a “bunker nurse” will get an alert that a medication needs to be administered. Bunker nurses will then use a Microsoft Surface Pro device to video chat with the bedside nurse to verify the order and do the requisite ten rights of medication giving. After this process has been completed, they sign off on it in the medical record.  Keep reading>>

meQuilibrium raises $9M for employee stress management app

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 16, 2015        

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meQuilibriumBoston-based meQuilibrium, which has developed a mobile stress management program, raised $9 million in a funding round led by Safeguard Scientifics with participation from Chrysalis Ventures.

“Stress is the number one threat to employee well-being today — contributing to chronic health conditions, absence, lost productivity, and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors,” meQuilibrium CEO Jan Bruce said in a statement. “Resilience is the antidote and the unsung hero in the wellness and health continuum. It can impact business in a way that wellness solutions don’t even begin to address… meQuilibrium is bringing the power of resilience to employers to impact hard core business processes and achieve measurable results, while boosting every employee’s personal sense of well-being.”

Employers can provide this service to their employees so that employees can manage stress and boost positivity in the workplace. First, employees take the meQ Stress Assessment on a mobile device or desktop. The assessment includes 140 questions that evaluate the user’s personality type, thinking patterns, habits, and lifestyle. It then identifies which areas create the most stress in their lives.  Keep reading>>

PatientsLikeMe inks AstraZeneca deal, studies Fitbit use for MS patients with Biogen

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 15, 2015        

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Fitbit-Zip-Fitbit-OneBoston-based patient network PatientsLikeMe announced two pieces of pharma news this week: a five-year research collaboration deal with AstraZeneca and the results of a multiple sclerosis wearable study conducted in collaboration with Biogen.

The PatientsLikeMe-AstraZeneca deal is similar to one the company struck with Genentech last Spring. AstraZeneca will have full access to PatientsLikeMe’s global network, and the company will use the data to shape future medicine development and work to improve outcomes in different therapeutic areas, with an initial focus on respiratory disease, lupus, diabetes and oncology.

“Understanding what patients are experiencing every day and how they define the value of their treatments are fundamental to our ability to push the boundaries of science in developing the next-generation of medicines,” Briggs Morrison, EVP Global Medicines Development at AstraZeneca said in a statement. “Our partnership with PatientsLikeMe will help us to harness the important perspectives of patients through their advanced technology and real-world, real-time evidence to support our research and development programs.” Keep reading>>

MDLive moves to Skype for its patient-physician video visits service

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 15, 2015        

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MDLiveSunrise, Florida-based MDLive, which offers patient-to-physician remote visits via mobile devices, has partnered with Microsoft to deliver telehealth services through Microsoft’s Skype for Business offering.

Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011 and just this week announced a new product, called Skype for Business, which will replace Microsoft’s legacy video conferencing offering, Lync. Skype for Business is integrated into Microsoft’s Office Suite and offers enterprise-level security.

“We are excited to work with Microsoft to marry one of the best known and most secure video and voice call platforms with a world class network of physicians ready to deliver exceptional care to patients anywhere,” MDLive CEO Randy Parker said in a statement. “This collaboration makes MDLive’s highly secure service even stronger.”

MDLive sells its telehealth service to employers, health plans, and providers which, in turn, offer it to their employees, members, and patients. The company also markets video visits services directly to consumers via a smartphone app. The app has a symptom checker that consumers can use to learn more about what condition they might have and from there they can make an appointment to speak with a physician. Symptoms MDLive doctors commonly treat include allergies, asthma, bronchitis, cold and flu, ear infections, UTIs, and sinus infections.  Keep reading>>

Partners HealthCare and Samsung to co-develop mobile health offerings

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 15, 2015        

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Samsung S Health apps

Samsung S Health apps

Partners HealthCare has announced a partnership with Samsung Electronics to co-develop mobile health solutions. Initially, the Boston-based integrated health system will work with the electronics giant to create chronic condition management software.

Partners will launch a clinical trial of the new software in June. A press release from Partners indicates a focus on remote monitoring health factors like blood pressure, blood glucose, and weight, as well as mobile interventions in the areas of patient engagement, medication adherence, and wellness self-management.

“We are excited to have access to the vast capabilities of Samsung Electronics to help improve the way we deliver care to our patients. This joint development program has the potential to significantly propel mHealth and personal connected health forward,” Kamal Jethwani, Senior Director of Connected Health Innovation atPartners HealthCare, said in a statement. “This project represents the start of how smart technology, intelligent algorithms and world class clinical expertise can be combined to change the paradigm of care delivery.” Keep reading>>