Marcus Agius, ex-Barclays chair, joins government consultant PA Consulting

Our UK readers have undoubtedly noted the announcement yesterday that former Barclays chairman Marcus Agius has joined employee-owned management consultancy PA Consulting Group as Non-Executive Chairman starting 1 January, after the retirement of long-time Executive Chairman Jon Moynihan. This is one of several changes at the top including the retirement of board members Victor Halberstad (who according to The Times recruited Mr. Agius), Lady Judge and Martin Stapleton. Of the three additions, the most interesting is Esther Dyson, well known for her role in the early days of the internet and now best known as a space, healthcare and IT start-up investor and board member. Her position as founder of the Health Initiative Coordinating Council (HICCup) may signal further reach of PA Consulting’s healthcare sector. According to the FT, one of their largest clients is the British Government–they are finalists in a purchasing bid for the Ministry of Defence–and has extensive experience with the NHS and what’s termed ‘service change’ as made clear on their website. Also Telegraph, PA press release.

Exoskeleton to aid paraplegic in charity walk (US)

This past Sunday, architect Robert Woo walked a mile in NYC’s Riverside Park for Generosity NYC 5K. Now that would not be remarkable at all except that Mr. Woo is a paraplegic, and he is walking that mile with the aid of an Argo ReWalk exoskeleton. He and his ReWalk-equipped teammates are raising funds as Team ReWalk to aid the Bronx Medical Veterans Research Foundation/James J. Peters VA Medical Center’s Exoskeletal-Assisted Walking Program. Mr. Woo’s story is a memorable and courageous one from the time of his injury in a horrific construction-related accident six years ago; more in Paralyzed By Seven Tons Of Steel, Man Now Walks With A Bionic Suit (Gothamist). Video in this local CBS News clip. This is certainly the most developed version of an exoskeleton and robotics to enable paraplegics to walk, yet it is still not easy and requires specialized training; most exoskeletons to date have concentrated on assisting lower body movement. Hat tip to Donald Andrews of New York-Presbyterian/Lev El Medical via LinkedIn Groups.

Health 2.0 Latin America

6-7 December 2013, Hospital Sírio-Libanês, São Paulo, Brazil

The first annual international Health 2.0 meeting in Latin America will be held at the historic hospital founded by the large Christian-Syrian and Lebanese community of São Paulo in 1931. Latin America’s fast-growing–and aging–population presents multiple health challenges and disparities. Yet as a region, it is a world leader in medical schools, internet usage growth (2nd largest for Facebook and Twitter) and the 4th largest mobile market. Topics include:

  • What the Health 2.0 movement can do for Latin America
  • Who should step up to finance Health 2.0
  • What will be the role of incubators in the region
  • Sensors and trackers – From quantifying the self to changing behaviors

Information and registration.

Opportunities in the mHealth Landscape: Encouraging Integration

27 November 2013, Pinsent Masons LLP, 30 Crown Place, London, EC2A 4ES

A one-hour breakfast seminar focusing on opportunities and challenges being presented by mHealth developments. Presenting: Tim Davies, CEO of mHealth supplier Exco InTouch, Dr Andy Richards, recipient of BIA’s 2013 lifetime achievement award, Collette Johnson of Plextek Consulting, who has had a central role in advancing the adoption of mHealth technologies in the NHS, and Matthew Godfrey-Faussett, a partner at Pinsent Masons specializing in ICT and Healthcare. The seminar will be chaired by David Isaac, Head of Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Services at Pinsent Masons. Breakfast is 8am with presentations 8:30-9:30am. Free. Email for registration. Additional information here.

Bill to expand military telehealth services introduced (US)

Two House representatives from California, Mike Thompson (Congressional District 5) and Scott Peters (District 52) have introduced HR 3507, the 21st Century Care for Military & Veterans Act. This expands coverage of telehealth services (including remote monitoring and virtual consults/telemedicine) for active-duty service members, their dependents, retirees and veterans, including physician reimbursement for telehealth services under TRICARE (the health plan for active duty and military retirees) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). (more…)

Apple purchasing 3D gesture control developer PrimeSense

Breaking News

Based on the report you read, the deal is done or nearly done, but it is highly likely that Apple will be acquiring Tel Aviv-based PrimeSense for an amount in or around $345 million. PrimeSense developed the original 3D gesture control behind Microsoft Kinect (replaced by their in-house version); the company currently works with Asus and probably Apple. The purchase will enable Apple to add controls with body movements and hand gestures to its smartphone, tablet and TV products, as well as more closely defend its own patents in 3D gesture control lined out in Apple-ology blog 9to5Mac. Nothing in this or other reports about the Apple foray into smartwatches or wearables, but the capability fits. Watch 9to5Mac, TheNextWeb and TechCrunch for updates.

TSA Crystal Awards winners

The Telecare Services Association (TSA) announced its Crystal Awards winners [TTA 7 Nov on shortlist] at their gala dinner last week, and they are:

Most creative application of technology including telecare, telehealth, telecoaching: STAY (Sandwell Telecare Assisting You) and Red Embedded Systems Ltd. for their use of innovative video supporting those with learning disabilities. Receiving the award were our Contributing Editor Alasdair Morrison of STAY and Adam Hoare of Red Embedded.

Enhancing lives through technology enabled services: Peninsula Community Health for their home-based telehealth solution addressing a spike in UTIs in their locality.

Professional of the Year: Sarah Wyke of Stafford and Rural Homes

An additional award for 2013 Overall Winner, signifying the highest level of excellence across all three categories, was awarded to Peninsula Community Health.

More information on the awards and judging panel in their release (PDF)–and click the headline to view comments. Hat tip to the TSA’s Mark Leivesley for the updates.

eHealth not rocket science: former rocket scientist (Australia)

Prof. Michael Georgeff is the aforementioned rocket scientist (actually the Program Director for the Space Shuttle’s control software) who is now CEO of Precedence Health Care. The company has developed what they claim is the first-ever chronic disease management network, cdmNet, accessible via broadband and mobile. Instead of controlling the shuttle, cdmNet controls the workflow end-to-end from care plans to follow up including all documentation. It is part of the Collaborative Care Cluster Australia initiative and is also the core technology infrastructure for Australia’s Diabetes Care Project. Post-discharge and chronic disease management integration into hospital/practice workflows is of course a huge issue elsewhere in the world, and perhaps the solution is found Down Under.

Disrupting the hospital room

The new frontier of disruption is design. Long-term housing for the cognitively impaired is being rethought [TTA 4 Oct]–why not the hospital room, when the last big change in the US was going from wards to semi-private and private rooms? The typical hospital room now houses tons of technology, but resembles a spaghetti bowl of wires and also is a nexus of nosocomial infections. Rethinking it is NXT Health’s Patient Room 2020 designed with a team from Clemson University’s Healthcare + Architecture Graduate Program and with support from the US Department of Defense. The many interesting features include mood adjustment, noise blocking, hand sanitization stations before room entry, nonporous flat surfaces on equipment and seamless flooring for efficient sanitization, UV light for same and multiple built-ins. Wall Street Journal article, full size illustration with callouts.

Hospital Directions

London, 27-28 November 2013, ExCeL London Convention Centre

The second annual Hospital Directions conference focuses on Secondary Care and care integration, including the crisis of emergency care with winter looming, the benefits of telehealth in secondary care and comparatives from the US, notably the Kaiser Permanente model. There are seven speaker streams, seminars, workshops and hands-on skill sessions and an exhibition. Presented by CloserStill. Please see attached and their website for more information and registration.

Temperature sensing chip implanted in man’s arm

A biohacker called Tim Cannon, has had a computer embedded in his forearm, to allow his bodily data to be monitored. The device called Circadia 1.0 was built by Tim and colleagues from Grindhouse Wetware. In this first version, the chip records body temperature and transfers it in real time via Bluetooth to any Android-powered mobile device. Three LEDs built into the package serve as status lights (which glow visibly under the skin). The device’s battery charges wirelessly.

Because a regular surgeon wouldn’t be allowed to carry out the implant as it is unapproved by medical authorities, Tim relied on the expertise of body modification enthusiasts to implant the device! …Yes, it’s a bit crude, but more likely than not is another small step towards our cyborg future!

[This video is no longer available on this site but may be findable via an internet search]

Read more: PSFK / Time

Phone chats between deaf and non-deaf now possible (the Netherlands)

kpnFor deaf people wanting to have a conversation with non-deaf people remotely, there aren’t too many options. In the Netherlands, Royal Dutch phone company KPN has launched its Tele Interpreter service, which translates sign language to speech (or text) and vice versa, in real time. The service uses a combination of technology and real-life translators. Read more: Springwise

Tech to help blind people navigate… and perform yoga

smart_glassesA pair of “smart glasses” being developed by researchers at Oxford University could help blind people in unfamiliar surroundings. The majority of people registered as blind have some residual ability to perceive light and motion. With this in mind, the team are developing glasses with mini cameras on either side which detect objects. Enhanced images are then displayed on the lenses. In addition, the cameras can detect how far an object is from the wearer by comparing the distance between the cameras. (more…)

New digital pathology technology enables remote tissue analysis

Belfast-based PathXL’s TissueMark technology launched this week has the potential to transform pathology services worldwide. The technology allows tissue analysis to be carried out remotely, enabling pathologists and pathology skills to be accessed from anywhere in the world.

TissueMark analyses detailed structural patterns in tissue samples and marks the boundaries of potentially cancerous sections for detailed analysis (a process which is otherwise carried out by pathologists hand-marking of slides).  A pathologist can mark around one hundred samples per day, while it takes around ten minutes for TissueMark to do so (and in greater detail). TissueMark could therefore accelerate cancer research and discovery, including the advancement of personalized medicine. Thanks to our Editor-In-Chief Donna Cusano for the heads up on this one!

Read more: PathXL Press Release