Telefonica and Capita to partner on eHealth

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Telefonica-logojpg.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Five months after pulling out of the telehealth market in the UK, Spain’s Telefonica has struck a partnership to develop eHealth solutions. In a recent press release Telefonica announced a “global partnership agreement” with Capita “to deploy innovative communications and telehealth technologies”. According to the release Telefonica is set to enhance its portfolio of eHealth services with clinical content.

One of the three criteria for choosing Capita as its partner is stated as Capita’s NHS Direct website for the UK Department of Health. However, the same NHS Direct service was said by a Department of Health spokesman earlier this year to have “struggled to meet the standards required” (more…)

Is the ‘last mile’ of app certification efficacy metrics?

News and announcements around app certification definitely were hot topics in the past week or so, but are they more heat than light? Do these certifications adequately address efficacy? Stephanie Baum, in her follow-up to the Happtique kerfuffle in MedCityNews, opens up the discussion with the proposition: “It seems like there needs to be some way to prove that apps actually help people.” Bradley Merrill Thompson of Epstein Becker & Green points out “It’s certainly useful to know that an app works from a software perspective reliably, but it is even more valuable to know that the app can actually improve health.” While Happtique certification standards have a gap here, this Editor would point out that they were evolved nearly two years ago when the reporting/analysis needed for this was largely not available. Newer programs such as Johns Hopkins’ mHealth Evidence and the new IMS Health AppScript [TTA 15 Dec] can dip into the ‘big data’ pool far more effectively. Will Happtique be able to address this, or leave the ‘last mile’ to others? And what is the real and quantifiable demand for app certification anyway? Health app prescribing by physicians is a question mark in this Editor’s observation; the larger market may be health plans and programs such as Partners HealthCare’s Wellocracy, Cigna’s GoYou  and Aetna’s CarePass.

EHR interoperability redux for VA, Department of Defense (US)

Back in late February, the US Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs announced that they would not achieve their goal of a single EHR by 2017, and would stick with their creaky AHLTA and VistA systems for the foreseeable future [TTA 3 April]–along with the general lack of interoperability–eyes rolled at the $1 billion down the drain, but seemingly not much else budged. (And this does not include the $4 billion spent on failed updates and fixes in both systems–TTA’s ‘Pondering the Squandering’, 27 July) To this Editor’s utter shock, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), agreed to by the House and Senate this week, mandates a plan for either interoperability or a single system by 31 January–about 6 weeks from now–and to adopt it by 2016. Moreover, both systems must be interoperable with private providers based on national standards by 1 October 2014. A close reading of the NextGov article indicates that the bill adds levels of complexity and perhaps unworkability. Getthereitis, anyone?–or does this sound like Healthcare.gov, redux? FierceMobileHealthcare

And it takes a grad student to find a major info security flaw in VistA.  (more…)

Further evidence of brain affect of sub-concussive blows

The body of research on the effect of sub-concussive blows to the brain is still developing. This recent study published this month in Neurology (abstract only) of  80 nonconcussed varsity football and ice hockey players and 79 non–contact sport athletes in a Division I NCAA athletic program concluded that head impact exposure negatively affected verbal learning and memory plus changed white matter by the end of the season. The subjects were evaluated before and after the season with brain scans plus learning and memory tests. All wore instrumented helmets that recorded the acceleration-time history of the head following impact. “A total of 20 percent (more…)

IMS Health enters health app ranking, prescribing

Global healthcare informatics provider IMS Health during mHealth Summit announced its entry into mHealth prescribing and evaluation with AppScript. They also are getting into the development standards business with AppNucleus, a hosting platform that from the description, will guide developers in designing secure, HIPAA and HITECH Act compliant apps using IMS Health information and data analytics. AppScript uses a proprietary methodology called AppScore to classify and evaluate apps based on functionality, peer and patient reviews, certifications, and their potential to improve outcomes and lower the cost of care. According to Information Week Healthcare, AppScore includes 25 criteria developed by IMS and its physician advisors (more…)

23andMe as Rorschach test

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/rorschach1.jpg” thumb_width=”125″ /]Just like the good doctor’s ink blot, there’s a lot of ‘reading into’ the travails of genomic ‘spit test’ 23andMe. Blogger PF Anderson, the Emerging Technologies Librarian for the University of Michigan Health Sciences Libraries, has collected them in pithy quotes and citations. For your weekend or holiday exploration: Collecting Thoughts on the FDA vs. 23andMe

Happtique halts app certification on data security concerns

Health app industry self-policing and ‘trusted sourcing’ credibility at stake?

Updated below. Last week, after Happtique announced its ‘Inaugural Class’ of 19 certified apps [TTA 2 Dec]–certified on their standards of operability, privacy, security and content–a young HIT software developer, Harold Smith III, discovered some major security flaws in two of them: MyNetDiary’s Diabetes Tracker and TactioHealth5. User names and passwords were stored in plain text files–not encrypted–and Mr. Smith then subjected them to a ‘man in the middle attack’ (MITM) which he explains as “…where a nefarious source intercepts your communication from the App to the server. They decrypt the SSL connection, pull out your data, and send the data on to the server.” Both failed. Worse, the ePHI (ePersonal Health Information) of both were not sent in a secured way and not stored in secure, encrypted files. After advising both companies of the problems (including one of these companies in person at the mHealth Summit), as well as Happtique, and receiving no satisfactory response after days passed, Mr. Smith went public Tuesday and Wednesday on his blog mHealth and Mobile Development. Both articles deserve careful reading. Our readers with software development background will appreciate 1) his meticulousness and 2) his ire not only at Happtique but their validator, Intertek, at the poor technical quality of their vetting; the non-techies like your Editor will appreciate the clarity of his writing.

Small blog, big impact today. Happtique has suspended its certification program (website notice) and on its website now has revised certification standards. Regarding the credibility of Mr. Smith, (more…)

Feros Care ponders what is beyond the telehealth pilot

The trouble with trials and pilots is they come to end. As the two-year pilot in Coffs Harbour, Australia, looms ahead Glen Payne, CIO of Feros Care has told iTnews that he is not looking forward to the day he has to go back to his elderly participants to uninstall the equipment.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Ferros-Care-logo.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Under the service, participants are equipped with and trained to use technology such as a digital thermometer, blood pressure monitor, weight scale, pulse oximeter and glucometer according to Your Life Choices. (more…)

Pediatric obesity patients like telehealth support: UCLA study

Some positive directional results were obtained by researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles trialling a pediatric telehealth/telemedicine check-up program integrating telemedicine virtual consults at clinic sites. From the 45 young (average age 10), obese patients enrolled in ‘Fit for Healthy Weight’, the 25 patients who were followed after their appointment series had overall positive outcomes and opinions: 86 percent either stabilized or decreased their BMI scores and three of the four patients with high blood pressure normalized their blood pressure; 80 percent were satisfied with the virtual consult system and would do it again. Health check-ins were onsite (more…)

Is ‘mobile health for seniors’ obsolete?

Perhaps it should be. At the ‘mHealth & Boomers:  Reinventing the Dynamics of the Healthcare System’ panel discusssion at the mHealth Summit Monday afternoon, Stephen Johnston, cofounder of Aging 2.0 (and parent of the GENerator accelerator TTA 12 Dec below), and Laurie Orlov, founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch speculated on the future of technology for older adults in an aging market. The most interesting and unique conclusion arrives at the end of the Mobihealthnews article, with Ms. Orlov flatly stating that the category will disappear by 2020. “There will be no aging in place technology market by 2020,” she said. “All technology will be customizable and usable by all categories of people, and we will not have to have technologies that are marketed for seniors.” Hat tips to readers Mike Clark and Luca Sergio via LinkedIn

Accelerator (at last) for older adult supportive tech

Supportive technologies for older adults is perhaps the least buzzy area of health tech. The Aging 2.0 GENerator accelerator is bucking that conventional wisdom. Its initial class of 11 early-stage companies span telecare (Lively, TTA 27 Sep), cognitive assistance (BrainAid), transportation (LiftAid) and product design (Sabi). It also connects companies to an impressive list of 75 mentors including LeadingAge/CAST, Mary Furlong Associates, the OnLok PACE community and Pfizer. Founder Katy Pike of Aging 2.0 has embedded it into San Francisco’s Institute of the Aging, which houses independent living facilities, adult day centers, and a geriatric clinic–ideal places for these startups to field test their approaches directly with their potentially 40 million 65+ market. For this the GENerator takes a not-more-than 2 percent equity stake in these companies; unlike the larger StartUp Health and Blueprint Health, it is right now too small to offer seed capital. MedCityNews

MediSafe extends med reminder tech, signs major pharma

MediSafe Project, a mobile med reminder app developed in Israel [TTA 4 Jan], is partnering with Wealth Taxi’s (!) iReminder pill caps to create a reminder system which can be used without a smartphone. The MediSafe Virtual Pillbox can use a NFC (near field communication) tag or alternatively, a Bluetooth version for web users, to create a ‘lighter’ reminder for over-the-counter or generic drugs. The more sophisticated iReminder pill caps would be used for higher-end prescription drugs. The MedCityNews article from the mHealth Summit also officially confirms Omri ‘Bob’ Shor’s ongoing discussions with New York-based AdhereTech’s [TTA 27 Aug] high-end pill reminder/dose confirmer. MediSafe is also partnering with Swiss pharmaceutical company Tillotts Pharma in “UC and ME”, a program for ulcerative colitis patients using their drug and HealthiNation on videos for Lipitor and Metformin users. While MediSafe on its own has had 170,000 downloads of its free app and ‘tens of thousands’ active (Ed.–data from Bob Shor), its real potential is in the partnerships–and the data generated by them–which now seem to be well underway.

Use of telehealth in diabetes self-management – Taiwan study

An 18-month study of diabetes patients in Taiwan has shown that using a telehealth programme was effective in enhancing blood glucose monitoring and that the patients in the programme showed improvements in glycemic control, according to a paper published this month.

Wrting in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the authors Lichin Chen and others describe what they refer to as a diabetes telehealthcare programme whereby patients received assistance from an online diabetes self-management system to record and manage their daily activities, a 3G glucometer to monitor their glucose and a teleconsultant service to enhance their self-management activities. (more…)

Wearables on the hype cycle: a ‘Fitbit for babies’

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/3019806-poster-1280-sprouting.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]Is nothing sacred? Certainly not when you want a high-performing infant! FastCompany Design goes ga-ga over the Sproutling, an anklet activity monitor for the bassinet set. It tracks heart rate, skin temperature, and movement plus the room’s ambient temperature, humidity and light levels via a camera and sensors in a base station, sending data to parental smartphones. Target price not disclosed. More measurements here than our late summer baby rave, the Owlet smart sock sleep monitor which primarily alerts for dangerous baby rollover onto the stomach and trends in sleep quality, plus blood oxygen and skin temperature. There’s quite a bit in the article (more…)

mHealth Summit 2013: Sunday Venture+ Forum

Lois Drapin, Founder & CEO of The Drapin Group, provides a recap of the Venture+ Forum held the day before the official start of the mHealth Summit 2013. This is the first of her dispatches, courtesy of HIT Consultant.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/mooc1.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Yes, it’s true. Sunday’s Venture+ Forum, one of the day-long events that takes place before the official start of the mHealth Summit 2013, was a lot like living Gartner’s Hype Cycle in one day. Before I tell you why, let me first offer my sincere apologies to Gartner Inc. (I’ll reference the Gartner methodology in underlined italics). Absolutely no offense is meant, but this borrowed framework could be the assist I need at 1 a.m. to offer up my POV.

Keynote Speaker: Jack Young, Director of Qualcomm Ventures

The day began with Jack Young, Director of Qualcomm Ventures and head of the Qualcomm Life Fund. He talked about trends that we should all know by now— the rising costs of healthcare (at $8K per human per capita, health is the most expensive subscription in our home); the aging population (a company in Japan reported that it had sold more adult diapers than baby diapers this past year). Qualcomm sees the Technology Trigger in the emergence of wearables or “mini working computers” and with big data in health such as claims data, EMR data, genomic data, consumer and social data. The wearables industry is emerging, having come into our lives connected to our smartphones. In this way, if you will, our social-ness is changing too. When you wear a wearable (watch, glasses, shoe, shirt, pin—whatever item(s) we choose), we are more likely to accept that “I’m on the journey” to health, wellness and well-being. We’re involving our friends, families and co-workers. The data that is, or will be coming from our use of wearables and other sources, will give us meaningful insights that can change behavior and health outcomes. It sounds a bit like ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, yet who doesn’t love an investor with ‘California Dreamin’’ on his mind. I know I do.

But I already could feel the climb toward the Peak of Inflated Expectations. It really didn’t seem too far away or too high up. (more…)