Jawbone definitely ‘up’ with BodyMedia acquisition

BodyMedia, mentioned earlier today in context with wireless expansion into telehealth M2M (in this case, T-Mobile) is being acquired by Jawbone (of the UP bracelet).  BodyMedia’s wearable (on the upper arm), wireless syncing body monitors, developed over 14 years and with FDA Class II approval, have primarily targeted the ‘serious’ dieter with chronic weight problems and/or a diabetes prevention need, not the occasional exerciser.  Their partnerships with Jenny Craig, Apex Gyms and a trial with Cigna employees have been tailored to this objective.  In contrast, Jawbone has consistently targeted the more casual user with fashionable wrist-worn bracelets plus a wider variety of  features such as mood, sleep, activity and food tracking. It appears the two products will be kept separate for now. The bonuses: BodyMedia’s deep technical expertise (indicated by the unusual announcement of BodyMedia’s employees joining Jawbone, badly needed by the latter in light of their product development stumbles), 87 (!) patents, a massive database of human sensor data and the Vue Patch disposable sensor developed in conjunction with Avery Dennison announced at CES. Jawbone release, Mobihealthnews article.

Related: Jawbone UP’s iOS version now can incorporate data from other devices and platforms via partnerships with IFTTT, LoseIt!, Maxwell Health, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, Notch, RunKeeper, Sleepio, Wello and Withings. Wired

Previously in TTA re Jawbone: Is it Hope? Hype? Or just the Same Old Struggle?Quantified Self fail: nighty-night for ZeoQuantified Selfing as…Show & Tell?

In-car health monitoring: a Quantum of Dismay

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The simple pleasure of a drive, with the cheerful sound of a quiet engine purring and the pleasures of early Spring, are rapidly becoming as obsolete as no cell phone zones. Eye realized it this Sunday whilst driving in Big Blue (left, Cadillac,1955) with Waldo Lydecker to a scenic overlook on the New Jersey Palisades, where other like-minded vintage Cadillac owners unusually take pleasure in parking, eyeballing paint, chrome and upholstery, telling Cadillac tales and generally not doing very much for a few Sunday hours. But it was the drive to and from the garage that gave one pause. Blue must share the road [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/04281312541.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]with fellow vehicles of all sorts, piloted by–to be kind–distracted drivers minding their GPS, smartphones and MP3 players. Now Blue, being a mature lady, has rather a leisurely pace in gliding her 4,500 lbs both forward and to a stop, so she will mind you if you mind her with a little more room and consideration than a nippy Mercedes hussy coupe.

Thus yesterday’s article from the Telegraph (UK) adds to the Quantum of Dismay. The Gimlet Eye has already turned a very dim eye on the phenomenon of the Automotive Dashboard as mHealthy Monitor. Ford’s SYNC apps alerting you to pollen, pollution and your chances of having an asthma attack at the wheel–useful when used before travel, but blinking and beeping at 70 mph in four-lane traffic? A driver’s seat for hypochondriacs that measures blood pressure, pulse, stress and…blood glucose? (don’t ask)…may work well in the lab, but any New York, Washington, LA or London Metropolitan Area Rush Hour will produce a sound arrangement straight from the Raymond Scott book. A BMW steering wheel that measures perspiration? Ah, the Eye thought that driving your Beemer was supposed to make you glow with excitement. Is it TMBD (too much busy dashboard)? Is it TMI (information), especially if the signs are recorded? Would you then would be ‘asked’ to ‘volunteer’ said information to your insurance company and state DOT due to medical causes? Privacy concerns abound. Cars that can monitor your health–are in-car health monitors the way of the future or a step too far? (Telegraph)

Previously in TTA: Eye’s earlier dismay in More cars that will monitor your BP…and brain wavesFord SYNCs up with Allergy Alert; Editor Donna not much more pleased in Ford’s ‘car that cares’ visits CES, Syncs up HealthrageouslyYour car as mHealth platform.

Senior housing behind the times in tech–and more (US)

A short and extremely pointed take on how senior living communities in the US are just plain not up to speed in their management. Technology adoption is the focus, and reasons cited are:

  • Seniors and caregivers are stereotyped as the technophobes–but so are the senior care managers and staff
  • Tech is expensive, the market is small
  • New tech=early adopters, but they are few and must be the brave ones

Senior housing is also behind the times in marketing (invariably meaning sales), web presence, building design and activity programs. You’ll be wondering how they stay in business. Is this your community, or one you are selling to?  Perpetually behind the times…(Senior Housing Forum)

Healthcare data breaches show 25% fraud risk: study

For healthcare institutions, that data breach can really cost. Javelin Strategy & Research has been tracking the cost of data breaches, including healthcare, for the past ten years. Using its data across all their industries tracked (data here), the threat of identity fraud as of 2012 is up to 1 in 4, from 1 in 9  in 2010. In commenting on the big breach last year at the Utah Department of Health (780,000 records, TTA 22 Dec), a Javelin spokesperson has made some news by estimating the additional fraud cost at $406 million–and that is in addition to the estimated $9 million that the state has spent on security audits, upgrades and credit monitoring for victims.  Hackers seem to be more targeted than ever, but often even simple precautions are not taken–in Utah, the factory password to the server was never changed. A cautionary note–no, symphony–to developers and to HIT departments. Healthcare IT News, Salt Lake Tribune, Javelin release

Could iris scans be a solution? Biometrics makers, such as Safran, Fujitsu, AOptix Technologies and M2Sys Technology, are finding new customers in hospitals and large providers. HCA Holdings, the largest US for-profit hospital chain, is testing Eye Controls’ system at their private clinics in London. Medical ID theft is also a problem in the UK, with ‘shame-based theft’ (to conceal an illness) and private billing the given reasons. Iris scanning units cost about $200-300–a moderate cost. According to the World Privacy Forum, iris scanning will rule out hacking, but not ‘inside jobs’–progress of a sort. But an open question is how this integrates into current EHRs. Iris Scans Seen Shrinking $7 Billion Medical Data Breach (Bloomberg)  Editor’s note: The Gimlet Eye is…envious.

Telehealth gives patients the chance to take more control over their care

More often than not Professor Stanton Newman has been the bearer of bad tidings…the Whole Systems Demonstrator Program (WSD) hasn’t delivered the hoped-for, definitive, glowing results and he has had to see them used for telehealth-bashing by some doctors and the GP press. In an article in the GP online magazine Pulse Today, he gets the chance to bust a few myths and to reaffirm his belief that there are good reasons why GPs should consider telehealth positively. Telehealth gives patients the chance to take more control over their care. (Requires free sign up to view if you have not done previously. Worth doing.) His comments are apt in view of the remote care monitoring directed enhanced service (DES) conditions (PDF) recently published by the Department of Health. Heads-up thanks to Mike Clark.

Contra-wobbly: Aberdare Ventures bets on digital health

While the PwC tracking survey of VC investment in life sciences (including medical devices) shows definite global cooling [TTA 26 April], a $130 million venture funder is just warming up. Aberdare Ventures is one of the top three, after Qualcomm and Merck, making investments in four or more digital health companies, according to RockHealth, and moving away from other parts of life science. Funding for their present suite of seven firms is between $3 and $5 million each. The firm’s latest acquisition is partner Mohit “Mo” Kaushal from West Health. Forbes

[Unrelated editorial note: This is the 5,000th news item on this site.]

Prediction: big data saving big money

A pointer to the (US) future from the (UK’s) Emma Byrne in Forbes; four developments which will lower cost of care in the near future are big data accessible in patient data warehouses, used in personalized/predictive medicine, wellness maintenance and just-in-time medicine. No cautionary notes here about data breaches, which affect an average of 2,700 records for an average price of $2.4 million, but savings of 10 percent (or $900 per person) isn’t hay either. Scientists Save Healthcare (But They’re Not From Med School)

Update 30 April: If you are one of the many who wonder what Big Data really means, versus terminology slung like hash, endless conferences, the word ‘Hadoop’ and that worried look on your HIT department head’s face, John Loonsk, MD helps to define it in language even this Editor can understand. Start with “Specifically, big data tools facilitate pulling together great amounts of available data to support an objective whether those data were recorded specifically and narrowly for that objective or not.” Whew. Policy and implementation challenges to achieving big data outcomes (part 1) HealthcareITNews

Big Data when wayward a Big Problem: 763,000 patients at Adventist Health System’s Florida Hospital Celebration Health ER (ED) over nearly three years had their records sold by one employee with access–and the inside job continued even after he was fired. Big Lawsuit follows. iHealthBeat 

M2M revitalizing PERS, making wireless healthier

…is the surprising conviction of long-time observer Harry Wang of Parks Associates. He’s projecting that nearly all PERS will go M2M as households increasingly lose the land line, and as the current crop of older adults demands ‘anywhere’ coverage. While the numbers will be small in terms of shipping (400,000 in 2016), M2M will be the norm in five years:  more than 61 percent of PERS  in the US shipped in 2017 will feature M2M connectivity, versus only 15 percent in 2012. Wireless carriers are also pushing connectivity in both telecare and telehealth with key device partnerships: Orange and Sprint with IDEAL LIFE, Sprint and BodyMedia, AT&T with Vitality (and many others) and T-Mobile with self-install telecare BeClose.  Undoubtedly this article in e-Commerce Times is a preview to an upcoming study.

Philips to help health services get their act together on telehealth (EU)

Philips today announced a new Advancing Care Coordination and Telehealth Deployment (ACT) program which, over the course of two years and across five European regions, will assess and implement telemedicine systems to help manage patient care in three of the largest chronic disease areas, heart failure, COPD and diabetes patients. The aim is to establish a collection of actionable best practice case studies that can be rolled out across Europe. The aim is to realise the potential to save billions of euros for healthcare systems and, as part of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Aging (EIP-AHA), to help increase the average healthy lifespan by two years, by 2020. The five European regions involved are the Basque Country and Catalonia in Spain, Groningen in the Netherlands, Lombardy in Italy and Scotland in the UK. Full details in the press release: EU-funded program to develop first “cookbook” for coordinated care and telehealth deployment.

Report: RSM event ‘Using apps to transform healthcare delivery’

Many thanks to independent consultant Charles Lowe, President-elect of the Royal Society of Medicine’s (RSM) Telemedicine & eHealth Section for the following report on the one-day conference Using apps to transform healthcare delivery at the RSM, London, 18 April 2013.

Reflecting the importance of the topic, this one-day RSM conference sold out weeks in advance. The audience confirmed the growing trend for RSM Telemedicine Section-organised events to be attended principally by clinicians, in this case mainly hospital-based.

The general themes that emerged from the event included:

The need for greater connectedness among app overseers – the different players in the UK, notably NICE, MHRA, NHS Apps Library and NIHR each have different, often overlapping, concerns about apps before they are able to recommend or approve them for use. There emerged during the day a case to be made for tighter coordination among these bodies and, doubtless, others not represented at the meeting.

Big data doesn’t respond to professional users’ or patients’ needs well – apps are a great way to make big data acceptable to users. The Consent app (ascendinnovations.co.uk) demonstrated was quoted as an excellent example.

Not everyone has to produce apps – by opening up, publishing the APIs to your data, others with the appropriate skill might be able to do the job better than the data owner.

The day began with a presentation by (more…)

‘Wildcatting’ health tech acceleration in Texas

Instead of oil wildcatting, well gushers out of ‘Giant’ and the travails of the Ewing family in Dallas, think…tech accelerator. Health Wildcatters is introducing the RockHealth-StartUp Health-Blueprint Health model to the Southwest. Executive director/co-founder Hubert Zajicek, MD announced an initial class of 15, with applications accepted in May. The program starts in late August and extends for 12 weeks. On completion, each company will receive $35,000 in seed funding in exchange for 8 percent equity. The Southwest has had some incubator action–in Texas at NTEC (where Dr. Zajicek was previously medical technology director) and Arizona’s SEEDSTART [TTA 5 Feb]–but accelerators have largely stayed glued to the poles of San Francisco/Silicon Valley, San Diego, New York and Boston. However, both Dallas and Houston are major US–and international, mainly Mexico, Central and South America–health delivery, educational and tech hubs. The Wildcatters have raised $1 million from about 30 investors, including physicians and local entrepreneurs, many of whom will also invest time as mentors. According to Mobihealthnews, they include Mike Bartlett, founder of vision test app makers Vital Art and Science and Michael Gorton, founder of telemedicine provider Teladoc; another major investor is Green Park & Golf Ventures. Co-founders and partners are Gabriella Draney (also of related Tech Wildcatters), Clay Heighten, MD and Carl Soderstrom. Dallas Morning News article. More information on their website.

The amazing lightness of Google’s Being There vs The Private Eye

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Perhaps it is The Google Gimlet Eye’s peevishness at this late hour, but mentioning this company in conjunction with ‘privacy’ lately makes the Eye Goggle. First there is the sheer howling irony of chairman Eric Schmidt’s interesting definition of the Digital Dark Side in this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal, a state of data mining and real-time behavioral monitoring that applies to totalitarian regimes like North Korea, Iran or (more…)

‘Tactile helmet’ for rescuers may assist vision impaired (UK)

Here’s where a partner and a little seed capital could go a long way–no FDA or CE needed. Researchers at the University of Sheffield’s Sheffield Centre for Robotics (SCentRo) have developed a variation on a firefighter’s helmet containing ultrasound sensors that detect the distances between the helmet and nearby walls. When a possible obstacle is ‘sensed’, a vibration pad directionally signals the wearer. For firefighters, this is obviously useful in smoke-filled areas but a lightweight version could be used by vision impaired people as a guidance aid. After two years of research and testing, Sheffield now needs a commercial partner interested in further developing the helmet. University of Sheffield News Hat tip to TANN Ireland’s Toni Bunting

A Wi-Fi upgrade with big impact to healthcare

This was probably not headline news in your home town, unless it’s Palo Alto, but the new Wi-Fi standard (802.11ac and 802.11ad for the techies), replacing 802.11n, will be out of the box at end of 2013. The new standard is much higher capacity (supposedly it is a 3:1 difference) and has great promise for wireless hospitals. It will enable bigger data–like imaging–to go to tablets, for instance, much faster. The ‘ad’ standard is also extremely short range –10 meters–which will serve best for data-heavy localized tasks like reading X-rays or MRIs on tablets. More capacity, faster speed is especially important as more MBANs (Medical Body Area Networks) enter hospitals. Latest Wi-Fi standards could boost mHealth connectivity (FierceMobileHealthcare) Techies can parse eWeek.

Sleep apnea tracking goes mobile

Philips Respironics goes mobile in combining their System One PAP (positive airway pressure) device for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with a self-management and education tool. The user can view on SleepMapper therapy feedback, set goals and access information, resources and tutorials about sleep apnea online on their PC or smartphone (iPhone and Android). Badly needed support for a major and life-threatening condition. Philips release.