Care Innovations harmonizes and validates

In what seems to be a repackaging and repositioning of their remote care management/telehealth services, Intel-GE Care Innovations is now orchestrating Health Harmony. It appears on their promotional web page to be a bundling into that latest rave, the care continuum, but also a refreshing of separate systems developed since 2011: for the patient, an in-home tablet hub/portal for monitors and PC-based content portal once known as Connect; and for the clinician or caregiver, what was formerly called the Intel-GE Care Innovations Guide (which succeeded the Intel Health Guide). According to the CI website and press release from earlier this month, Health Harmony is an ‘optimized experience” that promotes collaboration among the patient, family, friends and care professionals and will “organize caregiving tasks, coordinate schedules, track medications, monitor vital signs and crucial health information, and quickly share information.” The release gives the impression of a launch but no information on cutting over current clients to the new system.

Another interesting development in Roseville, California is the expansion of the CI Validation Institute, announced in June, (more…)

CES Unveiled New York

11 November, New York

The annual event that is CES Unveiled in New York City is meant to be a nanoparticle-scale preview of International CES in Las Vegas, 6-9 January.  It’s a smörgåsbord of what used to be called ‘consumer electronics’ and now is all about innovation–a taste of everything from ever-smarter video and audio to sensors, smarter homes with IoT (the cutely named Internet of Things), Big Data, robotics and (drum roll) Digital Health and the Quantified Self (QS). This Editor regrettably missed the opening briefing by Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s Chief Economist and Senior Director of Research which would likely touch on his areas of the innovation economy and disruption along with the other four 2015 trends to watch: big data analytics, immersive entertainment content, robotics and digital health. (CEA helpfully provides the 30-page white paper here.)

The exhibitors at the Metropolitan Pavilion did not fully represent the trends, however. (more…)

Wearables blog – update

Since this editors’ piece on wearables four days ago there has been a stream of news about interoperability of various apps, resulting in frequent updates to the original blog, to the point where it was beginning no longer to resemble the original.

Chris Bergstrom of WellDoc has now kindly pointed me to the Mobihealthnews item on Samsung’s digital health partners announcement, and to his company’s specific interoperability announcement with Samsung, enabling activity and other data to be obtained from other Android apps to help those with diabetes to manage their condition better.

WellDoc of course developed the first prescription app – this item from mHealthWatch in turn based on a Telegraph article that suggests that GPs in the UK will shortly be prescribing apps for patients in large quantities. The source of the Telegraph’s intelligence is none other than Personalised Health and Care 2020, the recently published NHS document that we covered extensively yesterday, which was perhaps a tad less optimistic about medical app take-up.

Personalised health & care 2020 – required reading! (UK)

The NHS’s National Information Board (NIB) this week published its long awaited document on its plans for personalising health and social care activities, with a strong England focus. It breaks new ground for such a document in many ways (not least that when you put ‘apps’ or ‘telehealth’ or a myriad of other terms into the search engine, you get many hits!).

Before describing at some length why this editor considers the document to be so important, it is of course important to recognise that there will be an election in six months’ time so both the funding and the priorities of the NHS may well change before it has even got beyond the very first set of commitments. A further point is that, were the NHS to meet all the commitments it has made, even in recent years, it would be a very different organisation to that that it is: commitment do not necessary result in delivery.

The document is subtitled “A framework for action” which is a good description. it contains many individual commitments. However few are are sufficiently (more…)

Friday fun spot (UK)

In case any UK reader is unaware of the NHS Networks Editor’s Blog, we just thought we’d draw your attention to this Friday’s excellent example. Every week Julian Patterson comes up with a wonderfully amusing take on some aspect of the NHS; this week’s is particularly good. Sadly the intricacies and absurdities of the UK’s NHS are so great as perhaps to make many of the references incomprehensible to those from overseas (for this week, a working knowledge of the BBC’s internationally-viewed Dr Who series helps as well).

The item is nothing directly to do with telecare or telehealth (where there’s been enough excitement elsewhere this week), although occasionally, if you sign up for the NHS Networks weekly letter, you will catch a useful item on some aspect of digital health…as well as not missing next week’s Editor’s Blog.

Are wearables starting to deliver?

If you caught the recent Wired article entitled Wearables Are Totally Failing the People Who Need Them Most, you may have felt a sense of deep depression that a sector growing as strongly as it is is apparently delivering so little real health benefit (you may also be depressed to see the world of apps developers described as “From Silicon Valley and San Francisco to Austin and MIT…” although remember the North American-based Major League Baseball is called the World Series). The thrust of the article is that young people are developing wearables for people like them, who are then stopping using them within a few months, whereas those with long term conditions (LTCs) who are not the target customers are actually the ones using wearables consistently. As they say: (more…)

New TSA Chief Executive appointed shortly before their conference begins (UK)

The TSA has provided us with the following announcement this morning:


Telecare Services Association is excited to announce that Alyson Bell will be taking over leadership of the industry body, as part of radical changes to lead, represent and promote the evolving sector.

After 4 and a half years of leading TSA, its current Chief Executive Trevor Single, will be leaving to pursue other opportunities. Trevor commented: “The organisation (more…)

Reforms, restructuring at Veterans Affairs announced (US)

A new Secretary, but the same old process? New Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert McDonald is quickly finding out that cleaning house at a government agency is not quite as straightforward as at Procter & Gamble, where he had been CEO. Since being confirmed by the Senate in late July, he has had to fight the fires of multiple scandals, beginning with the Phoenix VA ‘secret’ veterans care wait list leading to uncovering disastrous delays in care at VA regions across the nation. As of this week, and convincingly timed around Veterans Day, McDonald announced a reorganization of the VA to the Washington Post–a restructuring of the VA around the creation of:

  • A new customer service organization across the entire VA, headed by a “chief customer service officer” reporting to McDonald
  • A standardized regional framework meant to streamline partnering and coordination
  • Realignment of internal business processes into a shared services models to improve efficiency, reduce cost and increase productivity
  • Collaboration with partners to create a national network of Community Veteran Advisory Councils

Heads are rolling, but slowly. There are pending disciplinary actions affecting at least 35 employees and perhaps as many as 1,000 employees upcoming. (more…)

Short-shorts for an autumn Friday

As we in the US get our first, much too early blast of Polar Vortex this season with New York area temperatures dipping into the 30s F with a snow alert tonight, we should reminisce about what seems only a few weeks ago when the keyword was ‘short’….

Coming up short in the data breach this past Monday was Anthem Blue Cross of California with their TMI emailer–containing in the subject line specific targeting/sorting patient information that direct marketers love, but don’t want you to know they see, such as “Don’t miss out — call your doctor today; PlanState: CA; Segment: Individual; Age: Female Older; Language: EN; CervCancer3yr: N; CervCancer5yr: Y; Mammogram: N; Colonoscopy: N”. Ooops!…Another day, not quite another breakthrough for Mount Sinai Hospital here in NY, which had your typical laptop theft compromising over 10,000 records but fortunately not SSI or insurance information….More alarming were the malware/hacker attacks. In North Carolina, Central Dermatology of Chapel Hill was compromised by malware in a key server. And further south, Jessie Trice Community Health Center of Miami, Florida was hacked by a criminal identity theft operation accessing personal data of almost 8,000  patients.  iHealthBeat, also Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, NY Times (Anthem)

A short opinion piece in HealthWorks Collective promisingly leads with:

What if we paid for patient recovery rather than just patient services? What if we paid to treat patients rather than just conditions? What if we paid to personalize care rather just population health quality measures? [more…]

…and then slides into ACOs churning and leaking (patients) but still saving money (maybe–13 of the 32 systems in Medicare’s Pioneer ACO program have jumped off the wagon train), bundled payment models (still finding their way), palliative care other than hospice (bravo) and then swerves alarmingly off into “sequenc(ing) the DNA of our estimated 500 to 1,000 bacteria species that live within us” as a key to personalized care. Pass the aspirin….which some wag opined would not pass today’s FDA pharma tests.

click to enlargeAnd mobile feeds are short reminders to do something. Omri ‘Bob’ Shor’s team over at MediSafe just developed one not for news, but so that you adhere to your meds. Tap ‘The FEED’ button in the app (see left, lower left menu) and view contextualized items for you, such as a prompt to take your meds and some health ed lite. The app, still free, is available on Google Play and the Apple Store and has passed its millionth download since late 2012. According to their website, 2015 will bring a non-smartphone version using SMS and touchpad service. MediSafe is also integrating into Apple’s HealthKit. HealthWorks Collective

Tunstall adopts new Tactio in patient management

Tunstall Healthcare is partnering with Canadian mHealth developer Tactio Health Group in what is a distinct first for them: creating a mobile care management system that is 1) smartphone-based for the patient and 2) prominently integrates non-Tunstall apps and devices. The patient uses the smartphone and the Tactio-developed mTrax app to collect a wide spectrum of data–everything from activity, sleep, pregnancy, body fat and mood tracking to the traditional constellation of vital signs. This uploads to the care provider’s tablet mPro Clinical App which overviews, details and reports the data for each patient and patient groups in care. The data comes from well-known mHealth apps outside the Tunstall world: BodyMedia, Fitbit, Fitbug, Garmin, Jawbone UP, Medisana and Wahoo Fitness, as well as connected (presumably Bluetooth) medical devices from A&D Medical, Mio, iHealth, Telcare, Withings and Nonin. Tunstall has also added two-way patient coaching and  health journal features.

Tunstall’s positioning for what they call Active Health Management or AHM is “supported self-management” and “shift(ing) from reactive care to cost-effective active care.” [more…]Start date will be next month in the UK with eventual rollout to 10 other “main markets” (no indication on whether that will include the US or any part of Tunstall Americas).

Can this be a big winner for Tunstall? To this Editor, this represents a move for Tunstall away from its traditional ‘telehealthcare’ long-term, higher-acuity patient care model to include less acute (but still) patients, for example in care transition (e.g. from hospitals or rehabilitation) or managed care. But a system like this requires, at least in the beginning, existing strong market presence (as in the UK) and a payment model to support not only the device and care management costs, but also the app subscription costs which can be considerable. How this moves the Tunstall business in a high-potential home care but insurer-dominated market like the US, where the Tunstall core business is still PERS and there are other competitive systems, is unclear.

Tunstall Healthcare release. Brochure (PDF). Previously: Tunstall Americas finds a Mountain Home, Tunstall Healthcare asks lenders for covenant extension

(Some free advice to Tunstall: ‘ActiveHealth Management’ is the population health management subsidiary of insurer Aetna in the US, often referred to as AHM. Though the context differs, this Editor suspects that this represents an infringement on Aetna’s trade name, because this system applies to healthcare and managing patient populations. And no, the fact that Aetna merges together the first two words makes no difference in this Editor’s experience in marketing and trademark protection.)

Follow up: Xerox invests in HealthSpot Station kiosks (US)

The day after this Editor posted on telehealth/virtual consult kiosk HealthSpot Station‘s new partnerships with Mayo Clinic and major drug retailer Rite Aid, Xerox announced their investment in the company. Xerox is not a business services organization one immediately associates with healthcare technology, but perhaps not anymore, based on this quote from Connie Harvey, Xerox’ chief operating officer of Commercial Healthcare: “HealthSpot is at the center of healthcare’s shift to a patient-centered model of care, and our investment in the company demonstrates Xerox’s commitment to transforming traditional healthcare into a high-value delivery system for patients, providers and payers.” Xerox will also be supplying BPO–business process outsourcing–services for cloud hosting, system integration, claims eligibility and claims submissions. But there’s more….[more…]The funding (not disclosed, but a HealthSpot Station spokesperson confirmed that the investment is separate from this spring’s $18.3 million raise) will be used to scale HealthSpot Station’s deployment and “access Xerox’s relationships across the healthcare industry.” The release also discloses HealthSpot’s targets over the next five years: retail pharmacies, large employers, long-term care centers and emergency departments in the US. Observation: it seems like HealthSpot is a near-textbook case of a health tech startup doing most everything right from design, software, reasonable but not excessive early-stage funding, regional pilots to test scale and operations to high-profile, highly credible partnerships. Previously in TTA: Telehealth kiosk HealthSpot gains trials with Rite Aid, Mayo Clinic

Telehealth kiosk HealthSpot gains trials with Rite Aid, Mayo Clinic

click to enlarge HealthSpot Station, which was one of the higher points of this past May’s ATA, in the past month has announced two significant pilots. The retail pilot is with Rite Aid, the US’ third largest drug store chain (4,600 stores), with telehealth/telemedicine kiosks located in select Rite Aid locations in Ohio–Akron/Canton, Cleveland and Dayton/Springfield areas. The usage of the kiosks will be limited to common health conditions, such as cold, earaches, sore throat, sinus infections, upper respiratory infections, rashes, skin and eye conditions. HealthSpot Station kiosks are enclosed, free-standing units which use both video consults and real-time interaction with telehealth devices for remote diagnosis. They connect to a network of board-certified medical professionals at Cleveland Clinic and other major health systems across Ohio. Start date and duration were not disclosed.

This follows the October announcement with Mayo Clinic of an in-house pilot in Austin and Albert Lea, Minnesota with approximately 2,000 Mayo Clinic Health System employees [more…]using one, expanding to four, with plans to expand to local, Mayo-covered employers. HealthSpot has built several partnerships in the past year, most centering around their base in the Midwest such as CareSource, an Ohio nonprofit managed care company in August and in May the previously mentioned Cleveland Clinic and behavioral health EHR/practice/clinical case management software provider Netsmart.

While the HealthSpot kiosks are large and require a staff person for maintenance and cleaning, what is interesting is that they essentially fill a gap in the market by replicating a doctor’s or clinic office for typical minor complaints, whether at an office complex or upgrading a ‘minute clinic’ at a retail provider. They are also growing in a selective way with primarily high-profile partners. Private investors have given the company solid funding with an $18.3 million round this spring (CrunchBase).

Rite Aid: MDDIOnline, DrugStoreNews, MedCityNews, eWeekrelease. Mayo Clinic: release

NYeC Digital Health Conference is one week off

A reminder for those in the US that the two-day NYeC Digital Health Conference at New York City’s Chelsea Piers starts next Monday. Spaces are still available, and for Telehealth & Telecare Aware readers, there’s a bonus of 10 percent off registration using code TTA. Agenda for Monday and Tuesday 17-18 November is here including the Patient Shark Tank on Tuesday afternoon. TTA is a media partner of the 2014 Digital Health Conference.

Touch Surgery – the video

“How can you start doing anything with healthcare apps when there are over 40,000 of them out there?” I was asked at least ten times at EHI Live this week. My answer was that there are only some 0.5% of those that are what I call “medical apps”, that really deserve attention, now. These are apps that for example might either meet, or be close to meeting, the definition of a medical device in the Medical Devices Directive 93/42EC: that have the power to do great harm if in error, and great good if properly constructed and maintained. Or they might be apps that transform the way training is delivered.

And then beyond that small number, there are just one or two that really stand out as signposts as to how digital health will completely transform the way healthcare is taught and delivered.

One such is [more…]Touch Surgery…and there is no better way of appreciating the power of the app and the vision of the founders who created it than to watch the video they have recently released. Of course they are now integrating with Google Glass, which makes the app even more compelling.

It’s certainly been a long time since I met a surgeon who was not aware of Touch Surgery, and probably as long since I met a surgeon under the age of 50 who didn’t have the app on his Android or Apple tablet.

“Events, dear boy, events” (UK)

Harold Macmillan probably never said that in response to the question “What is most likely to blow a government off course?”, however we thought we’d use the quote to highlight a few cracking events coming up.

The Wearable Technology event, is being hosted by the Digital Catapult Centre, on 18th November, in London. On the topic of wearables, the BBC’s “the Bottom Line” had a great programme on 30th October on the subject. In the UK (at least) you can download a podcast or listen on iPlayer. There’s also an update on new Jawbone releases which seem now to be going for different form factors to the original UP, whose unreliability resulted in this editor being on his fourth such device in some 15 months. Info on Microsoft’s Band is here. The recent PWC report on Wearables is here.

At the same place starting on Monday 8th December there is a whole week of incredibly valuable assistance in the Digital Health Pit Stop, which is free! Events include a design day (8th), a business day (9th), a health day (10th), a data day (11th) and on 12th December [more…]you could be one of a group of 15 innovators and startups that will be pitching their new products and services. Apart from the SMEs and university and Catapult folks they plan to have larger healthcare, mobile and technology players too.  Looks to be a simply brilliant opportunity for companies to make a giant leap forward.

The Medicity Innovators’ Week will be held in MediCity’s ‘extraordinary site’ on the Boots Campus in Nottingham – particularly the key days November 18th-20th. There will be entrepreneurs and innovators, investors, NHS, government and key Walgreens Alliance Boots innovation leads. A full schedule will apparently combine keynote presentations, interactive workshops, a Dragons Den-style competition, a wearable technologies fashion show, fitness demonstrations and themed exhibits. MediCity Innovators’ Week is free to attend for anyone from across the UK interested in proactive health and wellbeing, as well as entrepreneurs keen to find the next generation of products or services that will tackle society’s growing healthcare issues such as diabetes, heart health, dementia, cystic fibrosis, narcolepsy and obesity.

Finally, UKtelehealthcare is running an workshop on the absolutely key topic of Fire Risk to Vulnerable People on Friday 14th November at St Matthews Conference Centre, Westminster. Sadly there is no weblink given in the email announcing the event nor can I see anything on their website, so perhaps best to email Doug Miles ( if you want to attend.

Hat tip to Prof Mike Short and Mike Clark.



Integrated care – how can technology help? (+ earn 12 CPD points)

There has been a recent rush to book for the Royal Society of Medicine’s two day conference entitled “Integrated Care- how can technology help” on 24th & 25th November, so we are featuring it one more time, especially as it looks to be only one of two health & care technology events this autumn that also offers CPD points (the other is the TSA conference next week).

With a wide range of speakers from across the world, including Adam Darkins (ex VHA, now Medtronics), Robert Wah (President, American Medical Association) as well the UK’s very own Cathy Hassell and Tim Kelsey,  this conference will explore the many ways in which technology can assist in the effective delivery of integrated care to improve patient outcomes, at reduced cost.

The event will cover all the principal care disciplines which so often end up failing to work together to deliver holistic care: primary care, secondary care, mental health, social care and third sector engagement. Even within each of these areas, coordinating care can be challenging when people have to rely on paper and word of mouth to communicate. Technology offers a way of [more…]vastly improving that coordination between care-givers, especially when they are in different organisations. It also enables care to be provided in a different way, with the patient as the focus, rather than the system. A key element of this now is the ability through the internet and mHealth to engage directly with patients and their carers too, to provide a seamless support environment.

The conference is now kindly being sponsored by the TBS Group, Inhealthcare and Medvivo.

You can book here – being a charity dedicated to medical education, the RSM’s charges are particularly appealing.