Tynetec sale?

Following our earlier post about Bosch ending sales of their Health Buddy and (temporarily?) exiting the telehealth market in the UK, comes another unattributable suggestion that Tynetec have been purchased by Legrand whose website proclaims them to be “The world’s leading manufacturer of wiring devices and cable management systems.”

There’s some clear and fascinating synergy there which looks potentially very exciting for the world of remote monitoring…however as yet there is nothing confirmed in the media, so watch this space.

Bosch to can Health Buddy, withdraw from telehealth in UK – temporarily?

On September 6th, Bosch announced a tie up with Remedy Health Media  [TTA 10 Sep] “to launch remote patient monitoring products designed for tablets and smartphones”, which suggested that it would not be long before they stopped selling their purpose-built telehealth hardware.

Now TTA has heard from a reliable source that they are telling their customer organisations that they are going to withdraw (more…)

DrChrono and Sermo’s ‘Blue Blazes’ moments

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/blue-blazes.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Neil Versel in his personal blog Meaningful HIT News notes meaningful lapses in accuracy and good communications taste from two reputable companies targeted to US medical professionals. DrChrono is a mobile ambulatory EHR tweeting about ‘cashing in’ on the HITECH Act–the program that rewards practices for achieving stages of Meaningful Use with EHRs. Sermo is a physician social networking platform that has staged a contest called ‘The Pro Football Injury Challenge’  where one will go ‘head-to-head’ with other doctors in ‘making predictions about how injuries will affect pro athletes this season.’ This Editor felt in her comments below the article that this promotion’s communication crossed the line into, on the usual two-second read, a message that it is OK to ‘play for glory’ and win prizes out of players’ real pain, injury and career disaster–a misbegotten effort to gamify real-world medical situations ostensibly for learning. Yes, both have sound messages at the core, but how they were communicated…regrettable. Both DrChrono and Sermo are nominated for ‘Blue Blazes’ because, to paraphrase Neil, ‘what are their marketers thinking?’ What do you think? And this Editor would be more than open to comments from representatives of these two companies. DrChrono and Sermo, what are you thinking?

Editor’s Update: Sermo has provided an important response and clarification blazingly fast in their blog here. (more…)

Queensland Government to invest $31m in telehealth

The health minister of Queensland, Lawrence Springborg, has announced that the Queensland Government will invest $31m in telehealth over the next 4 years, according to a report in Brisbane Times.  It seems the spend will be primarily in remote consultation systems. The minister has said that the $30m of remote consultation equipment deployed by the previous government of Anna Bligh had largely failed to deliver, but has admitted that some of these are used for carrying out up to 25 consultations a day.

Read the full article here.

Telehealth and Broadband in Australia

Australia appears to be in the midst of a debate on the cost of building a national broadband network. According to the NBN Co which is buildng the network, the aim is to provide broadband to every home, school and workplace by the end of the next ten years. Nick Ross writing in ABC’s website suggests that just the ability to deploy telehealth and telecare nationally over such a network would save Australia enough money to more than pay for the network.

The arguments for deploying telehealth in Australia are no different to those in other parts of the developed world. The Australian healthcare budget is 10% of GDP (9% in UK) and growing at twice the rate of GDP, according to the very comprehensive article.

With a $967 price tag for a single night’s hospital stay, the economic benefit identified for using telehealth to monitor patients at home after earlier release from hospital or to avoid hospital admission altogether are very familiar. Add to that the use of telecare to allow older people to stay in their own homes for longer and Nick Ross’s article has covered all the elements for supporting telehealth and telecare.

Read the full article here.

Google ‘moonshots’ aging (and death) with Calico

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/360_cover_0930.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Calico is the new Google-ism for a new and apparently separate company which will focus on health and wellbeing, concentrating on aging and associated diseases. Announced yesterday, it will be headed by Arthur D. Levinson, Chairman of both Genentech and Apple, who plans to remain in both day jobs. It’s way outside of Google’s main business model, but in sync with the (failed) Google Health PHR, the potential of Glass in medicine and their relationship with Cornell NYC Tech, which until 2017 is in substantial space in Google’s sprawling downtown Manhattan building; one of the latter’s tech entrepreneurship hubs is ‘healthier life’. Google is also willing to spend floods of money on this without any ROI in the foreseeable future–even the driverless car has a far closer horizon to reality. Other than the release, pretty much copied on Gizmag, Google is Mum. TIME’s cover story next week is only partly available without subscription but the cover (left above) is priceless. Along with it is an interesting bit of speculation on Mr. Levinson’s potential conflicts of interests in this third for him venture which are of perennial interest to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

iPhone 5’s health tracker-friendly chip

Lost in the somewhat fizzled debut of the iPhone 5s (the pricey one) last week was their inclusion of a “motion coprocessor” chip called the M7, which measures data generated by the phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. Apple has also created the CoreMotion API for developers to facilitate health tracking apps, including the Nike + Move app. It’s catchup time with Samsung’s S Health surely. Medical Device + Diagnostic Industry  This has fueled the expected Apple-ologist divinations on Apple’s ambitions in the wearable computing area, a taste of which you’ll see in GigaOM, though the Trojan Horse analogy is a mite overblown. Hat tip to reader Chris Paton.

Another set of forecasts to not believe in?

A sunny day for approaching Fall (Autumn to our loyal UK readers) and a bon weekend at least in this part of the world, and this Editor has to spoil it by waxing downbeat about an up forecast–way up. This week it is Juniper Research’s Mobile Health and Fitness report straight from Hampshire, UK with the big numbers–98 million by that magic year 2018–but that’s users, not revenue. They also forecast beaucoup cumulative savings of $35 billion over the next five years from remote patient monitoring. Want to know the size of the market versus the research2guidance and MarketsandMarkets forecasts? You’ll just have to scramble in your wallet for £2500 to get the scoop. Healthcare Technology Online, Juniper release, Juniper report overview and pricing. Previously in TTA: The ‘ginormous’ hype around forecasts and our very first ‘Blue Blazes’ feature (by Editor Charles).

Is nothing private in your EHR? Another disturbing trend out of Swampland.

According to a solicitation posted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-Ed.) on Sept. 4, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) is commissioning the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study how best to add social and behavioral factors to electronic health record reporting.  Washington Free Beacon

So a non-profit online publication, which one would site on the conservative or libertarian side (part of the Center for American Freedom), breaks a huge story, way ahead of the mainstream media, which has major implications for privacy, data security, public health, how goes your doctor or hospital visit and the level of care you receive. Is this EHR TMI (too much information)? The Federal inclusion is being linked to Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program and reimbursement under Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Hospital Insurance Program (CHIP). The NAS already is working on this with the Institute of Medicine to draft suggestions for collecting this behavioral data and identifying “core social and behavioral domains to be included in all EHRs.”

With linking the data to outside Nosey Parkers agencies such as public health entities, the possibilities for identified data becoming insecure or compromised increase dramatically. Will it be accessed (abused) by other entities involved in ACA such as the IRS, state Medicaid databases and Social Security? How much of this data will accidentially leak out in non-deidentified files? Will breaches of millions of non-encrypted records become the norm? Another important and oft-overlooked factor is the additional workload on already overworked hospital and clinical staff, who presently struggle to get comprehensive vital data correctly into multiple fields and screens on present EHRs–a major pain point among many speakers and participants at this past week’s iHT2 Health IT Summit. Finally, there’s the patient. He or she will be pressed to answer, due to penalties baked into the ARRA/HITECH MU3 incentives, the most personal questions about their life and behavior particularly if the diagnosis is one of what euphemistically was called a ‘social disease’. Having spoken this week to those in public health both at iHT2 and at Health 2.0 NYC, this Editor can see it as a deterrent to getting the care they need–or choosing evasion rather than truth with their doctor because there are no more confidences. Even the California Healthcare Foundation, hardly on the right wing, sounds an alarm in iHealthBeat.

Worcestershire 3ML Pathfinder procurement canned

It seems that the much-vaunted Worcestershire 3ML pathfinder tender, already the subject of a critical TTA post on 5th July due to delays, has now been cancelled.

Tenderers apparently received letters late last week informing them that no offers had been received that met the combined risk sharing requirements of the original tender.  As a result, the telecare part of the tender is to be retendered on a standalone basis (more…)

Jawbone jawbones $100 million in financing

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/band1.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Fortune, no usual hangout for health tech news, headlined late last week that Jawbone, which recently relaunched its UP fitness tracker after the earlier version developed glitches, obtained $93 million in debt financing and is rumored to be lining up another $20 million in equity financing from its four largest existing VC backers: Andreessen Horowitz, JPMorgan Digital Growth Fund, Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital. Reportedly they are wildly back-ordered for the colorful and stylish UP fitness tracker (now a fashionista item, a sure sign of scarcity). Their founder/CEO Hosain Rahman told Fortune “We’ve been experiencing crazy sell-through demand, particularly since the relaunch of Up. It’s been faster than anything we’d had before, and equity is not the most efficient way to scale all that.” We’ve previously noted Jawbone’s aggressive acquisition warpath with BodyMedia [30 April] and Massive Health [11 Feb]. Competitors have hardly been sleeping: Fitbit just raised an additional $43 million to add to their previous $23 million [15 Aug] and Withings a fresh $30 million [22 July], so fitness trackers are all going one way–up. Exclusive: Jawbone raises more than $100 million (Fortune). Also Mobihealthnews.

Telemedicine in the TIME Swampland

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/blue-blazes.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]TIME’s ‘Swampland’ section may be referring to the original siting of Washington, DC on reclaimed swamp land off the Potomac River, but this swampy article ultimately struggles to solid land. You will have to meander through the UVA Center for Telehealth, the Center for Connected Health Policy, WellPoint, the Institute for e-Health Policy and of course Partners Healthcare’s cardiac program [TTA 27 Aug] before addressing the real problem: the desirability of broader telemedicine reimbursement and a consistent policy in US Federal programs such as Medicare and Federally-subsidized Medicaid administered through the states. Currently Medicare reimbursement is restricted to specific rural areas, Native American territories/Indian Health Service, and of course the often-mentioned mess of cross-state physician licensing. However, the Accountable Care Act is not going to be the savior as its implementation is hardly going smoothly. Earlier CMS policies on 30-day same cause readmissions have had far more impact. There is the to-be-expected muddling of telemedicine (virtual consults) and telehealth (monitoring)–and robotics gets a ‘say wot?’ mention. The kicker is the headline and accompanying picture:

“Saving U.S. Health Care With Skype”

Skype, while used in ‘telemental health’ [TTA 11 May], is not HIPAA-compliant for patient privacy.  Were TIME’s famed fact-checkers asleep? 

Hat tip (and thanks) to reader Bob Pyke.

Ageing Well – how can technology help?

This year’s Telemedicine & eHealth conference, on 25th & 26th November, at the Royal Society of Medicine at 1 Wimpole St, London will focus on how technology can help people to age well. It will cover a wide palette of issues relating to technology and ageing, including both physical & mental conditions, and the importance of social & spiritual considerations too.

Keynote speakers include Jon Rouse (more…)

Medical identity theft hits new highs

August ended with the report of the second highest-ever identity breach traced to a healthcare provider–4 million patient names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and clinical information, contained on four unencrypted Advocate Health System (Illinois) office computers. It was a ‘behemoth breach’ in Healthcare IT News‘ words and has led to the filing of a class-action lawsuit (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse). Now security consultant Ponemon Institute’s latest report, released yesterday, increases the breach anxiety level with its 2013 Survey on Medical Identity Theft: (more…)

Telehealth in Arizona: Technology Connecting People to Care

30 October 2013, Shriners Auditorium (El-Zaribah Temple), 552 N. 40th St. Phoenix, AZ 85008, 11am-4pm

Join the Arizona Telecommunications & Information Council (ATIC) in partnership with the Arizona BioIndustry Association (AZBio) and the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) for a day’s program of speakers and panelists, an array of industry exhibitors and sponsors, and valuable networking. Keynote speaker is Randy Roberson who focuses on using telemedicine successfully in disaster zones such as Haiti and Japan (interview). It is a mixed professional/public information event on telemedicine and telehealth. Tickets are $10 to attend onsite including lunch and parking. (As they say back East, ‘such a deal!’) Remote access will be provided online at no charge. Flyer (PDF). Website and registration information. Or for more information, contact Janet Major (520) 403-0736 jmajor@telemedicine.arizona.edu