HIMSS Monday highlights

HIMSS is the largest US healthcare conference in the world, and Neil Versel, who has just joined the staff of MedCityNews, reported that registrations in this year’s event in Chicago were in excess of 40,000. He has a 37 minute interview with HIMSS Executive Vice President Carla Smith where they touch on CMS, Meaningful Use, EHR interoperability, data security, patient engagement and the empowered patient such as E-Patient Dave deBronkart (who will also be at The King’s Fund Digital Health conference in June). HIMSS is also showcasing on the show floor mobile health, interoperability, cybersecurity, disaster preparedness, intelligent health and the connected patient….Another sign that the Wild West days of digital health are over is the increasing oversight of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on non-HIPAA regulated health data collected by fitness and wellness devices. This is in addition to health apps making unsupported claims (see today’s and previous articles on melanoma detection apps) and the PaymentsMD patient billing software that was collecting a little extra patient data. This is both extra- and in addition to FDA. Mobihealthnews….. The Venture+Forum on Sunday discussed doctor burnout particularly in acute care and to ease this, focusing on the Holy Grail of proactive rather than reactive care and results rather than ‘shiny new objects’ (what this Editor has called Whiz-Bang Tech) “Doctors want clinical decision execution. Don’t give me any more tools.” Healthcare IT News….A survey by Accenture released today on doctors and EHR usage headlines good news–79 percent US doctors feel more proficient in their EHR usage than in their 2012 survey. The bad news is that other numbers are plummeting: fewer believe that EMR has improved treatment decisions (46 percent in 2015 vs. 62 percent in 2012), reduced medical errors (64 vs. 72 percent) and improved health outcomes for patients (46 vs. 58 percent). Familiarity breeds contempt? Buried way down in the release is that US physicians offering telehealth monitoring to patients has tripled since the last survey, from just 8 percent in 2012 to 24 percent now. Accenture surveyed over 2,600 physicians in six countries….HIMSS goes to Thursday, so more to come!

Melanoma app fined by FTC for deceptive claims (US)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/melapp-screens.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Following on Editor Charles’ reporting since February on two ‘melanoma detection’ apps cited by the US Federal Trade Commission as making unsupported claims on diagnosis of assessment of melanoma risks, one of the two, MelApp, has been fined approximately $18,000, deciding 4-1 in a final consent order. MelApp, an iOS and Android app developed by Health Discovery Corporation and retailing for $1.99, claimed without proof that it could assess skin lesion risk (low, medium, high) through a smartphone photo plus questions about the mark. From the FTC release: “The final order settling the action bars the company from claiming that any device detects or diagnoses melanoma or its risk factors, or increases users’ chances of early detection, unless the representation is not misleading and is supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. It also prohibits Health Discovery Corporation from making any other deceptive claims about a device’s health benefits or efficacy, or about the scientific support for any product or service….” No word on a final consent order against Mole Detective, but we believe it will follow shortly. FTC press release. Previously in TTA: Action on bad apps, Mole Detective still available, and Mole Detective vanishes. Photo courtesy of the 23 February FTC release

All the sillier then that the VentureBeat article on the FTC action takes the tack that “The fine shows how difficult it will be for future mobile entrepreneurs to launch health apps that go beyond basic fitness and heart rate monitoring.” (more…)

Capita announces partnership with Medibank Australia

Capita Healthcare Decisions is forming a partnership with Medibank, an Australian [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Capita-logo.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]insurance and healthcare company, according to a press release issued by Capita. One of the areas highlighted in the announcement is that Capita will provide its TeleGuide product which [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Medibank.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Medibank has customised to the Australian market.

Capita, with 68,000 staff, is a UK company providing process management and professional support services in the UK, Europe, South Africa and India and has a checkered history with UK Government health service contracts.

In Nov 2008 Capita won the contract to run UK’s NHS Choices website which provides information on medical conditions, treatments and services to UK patients on behalf of the UK Department of Health. The Cabinet Office then refused to renew the £60m 3-year NHS Choices contract with Capita in 2013. (more…)

The underweight may be at higher risk of dementia: UK study

With a personal connection. This study, just released in The Lancet, has created headlines because it contradicts previous research and conventional wisdom that the obese are at the highest risk for dementia. Of nearly 2 million aged 40+ (median age 55), developed from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) over 15 years and screened for body mass index (BMI), the highest risk–34 percent– was found among those with a BMI lower than 20, which would include low-normal and underweight, versus those in a normal weight range with BMI 20-25 percent. The very obese, with BMI over 40, had a 29 percent reduced risk versus the normal range. This leads of course to why this is, for others to study. So it looks like you should eat right and exercise, but you don’t have to be a social X-ray. Also The Telegraph, The Guardian. Cheers to one of the researchers, statistician Michelle E Johnson, MSc, of OXON Epidemiology, London–the daughter of TTA founder and EIC Emeritus Steve Hards.

Free e-consultation event for medical students and doctors at the Royal Society of Medicine

For two years in a row, Leicester Medical School has been successfully introducing its first year medical students to e-consultations, an interactive and virtual training program built in partnership with Patients Know Best (PKB). Since then, it has been expanded to three other schools including pharmacy at De Montfort University and has garnered a lot of attention from international schools.

Last year’s event was widely successful as Leicester Medical School and PKB reflected on their experiences, implications of the tool, and lessons learned.

This year, again hosted at the Royal Society of Medicine, Leicester Medical School’s Dr. Ron Hsu and his team are sharing their thoughts and approaches about this training program and reflecting on what will be expected of future generations of physicians and pharmacists.

Anyone interested in e-consultation should consider attending this event. Further details are in this poster. To sign up for the free event on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm, please email Dr. Ron Hsu at rth4@leicester.ac.uk.

30 ways mHealth is impacting healthcare–and EHRs need to be

If EHRs were perfect, there wouldn’t be so many companies developing communication workarounds. And why does a HIT consultant play Blame The Doctor?

Practice Unite, an early-stage company fresh out of Newark (cross the Hudson, head south) that knits together patient and clinician communications in highly customized app platforms for healthcare organizations [TTA 11 Mar], has put together a thought-provoking and fully attributed list of 30 ways mHealth is impacting healthcare: the value for patients and clinicians, the need for mHealth apps as part of collaborative care platforms and communication, plus the investment trail towards digital health. Hat tip to @PracticeUnite via Twitter.

One notable point is the difficulty current systems have in integrating data and the increased administrative load (+10 percent more) physicians experience with EHRs versus paper patient records. Confirming this are two items in Thursday’s POLITICO Morning eHealth: one, the privately-driven workaround for universal health data interoperability that the CommonWell Health Alliance is seeking as a non-profit trade alliance. and two, what happened when the GE Centricity EHR used by MedStar Health group’s DC and Baltimore-area outpatient clinics crashed after a weekend upgrade and stayed down through Tuesday night. Weekend data was lost. One doctor’s reaction:

“They kept saying it would be back up in an hour, but when I left work Tuesday night it was still down.” This doctor told us that the outage was “disruptive and liberating at the same time. I wrote prescriptions on a pad for two days instead of clicking 13 times to send an e-script. And I got to talk to my patients much more than I usually do. But of course we didn’t have access to any notes or medication history, and that was problematic.” 

Now this observation is neither petty nor isolated. Last Fall we noted a JAMA study of internal medicine physicians finding that for both experienced physicians and trainees, there was a loss of time across the board in taking notes, reviewing patient data and at least one data management function was s-l-o-w-e-r. [TTA 12 Sept 14] Houston, we have a problem.

Yet there are still the ‘nothing to see here, move along’ types sailing down A River in Egypt. Others blame the victims, as in the doctors, for their cloddish unwillingness to Get With The HIT Program. (more…)

NY Digital Health Accelerator 2015: call for applications

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/New_York_Digital_Health_Accelerator_534424_i0.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Deadline: 18 May. The third annual call for applications for the New York Digital Health Accelerator is now open. NYDHA, a joint program run by the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) and the Partnership Fund for New York City, is a five-month program for ten early- and growth-stage digital health companies in New York (or willing to locate in NY state). What makes the program distinctive in their view, in addition to being in NY, is that it offers unique exposure to top-level healthcare executives and venture capitalists while accelerating product development and access to capital. Certainly its 20+ partners come from the top level of NY healthcare companies and providers, such as Aetna, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Winthrop University Hospital, Rochester General, VNSNY, Mount Sinai and many others. 15 companies in the prior two years of the program have done extremely well, raising a total of nearly $41 million in additional capital post-program, securing 33 pilots and creating more than 120 jobs. Two were acquired: Avado and Remedy Systems. New for 2015: to encourage collaborative innovation, two companies can jointly apply to present a combined solution. NYDHA website, press release, FAQs on applying.

European tours for professionals in aged & disability care (Australia)

Sydney-based Community Resourcing Worldwide and CORAL (The Community of Regions for Assisted Living) have three Professional Development Tours to Europe primarily for Australian professionals. These tours are designed as professional exchanges of best practices with international experts in community aged and disability care to explore practice, policy and funding models. Visits are arranged to state-of-the-art facilities and community initiative programs that exhibit innovative approaches to service delivery, selected to showcase outstanding approaches to service delivery and innovation. Particular focus has been made on the application of assistive, enabling and operational technologies which are significantly changing the service and workforce models deployed as well as achieving greater health and social outcomes for the consumers of services.

  1. 8 June 2015, starting in Geneva and held in conjunction with the 13th International Conference On Smart Homes and Health Telematics (ICOST 2015)
  2. 15 June, Netherlands-Denmark
  3. 22 June, Catalonia

CRW website. Tour information and registration PDF. Or you may contact Elizabeth Dodd on 0457 838 570 for more information: liz@communityresourcing.com.au

The King’s Fund Digital Health and Care Congress 2015

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/DHCC_web-ad_300x145.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /] Enabling patient-centered care through information and technology. @The King’s Fund, 11 – 13 Cavendish Square, London

The two-day event will explore how the innovative use of information and technology is supporting improvements in health and social care services. The event will also showcase exciting new digital health technology, research and service delivery methods which can have a positive impact on care providers and patients.

  • Digital health projects featured at the Congress have been through a peer-reviewed submission process
  • The Exhibition Hall features new digital health applications and wearable devices. The new Innovation Hub provides opportunities for organizations to demo and showcase their digital health products.
  • Leading speakers and experts: Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information; Beverley Bryant, Director of Strategic Systems and Technology; Paul Rice, Head of Technology Strategy, all from NHS England; Dave deBronkart (better known as e-Patient Dave)

Meet and mingle with more than an estimated 500 attendees from the NHS, local government, academia, commercial providers, digital health startups, entrepreneurs and innovators. TTA readers receive a discount of 10 percent on all registration types. We are pleased again this year to be a supporter of the Digital Health and Care Congress. 

And don’t forget The King’s Fund’s commentaries on key issues in health and social care leading up to the UK General Election here.

COPD Navigator app in pilot with Mount Sinai Hospital (NYC)

An app to help make life easier for a reported 24 million COPD patients in the US has been developed jointly by Mount Sinai Hospital, the affiliated National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute in New York and LifeMap Solutions. The COPD Navigator app encourages patient self-management through visualizing patient data and patterns, including symptoms, medication, treatment adherence, and quality of life, coupled with alerts about local air quality and weather which can dramatically influence risk. Patient data is transmitted to their physician, with an emphasis on fitting into office workflows. LifeMap is also tracking when the patient uses an inhaler through their self-designed Bluetooth LE device, though it uses any Apple HealthKit enabled inhaler. (more…)

Possible early detection test for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)

A research study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (US) presents the results of screening 14 retired professional American football players with suspected CTE. Using a tau-sensitive brain imaging agent, [F-18]FDDNP, the California and Illinois-based researchers were able to detect the abnormal accumulation of tau and other proteins, in the distinct CTE pattern, in the brains of living subjects who had received, during their playing careers, multiple concussions and head trauma. Of the 14, one had been diagnosed with dementia, 12 with mild cognitive impairment and one with no symptoms. Previous studies, such as Robert Stern, MD‘s pathfinding research at Boston University and for the NFL (see below), have been primarily post-mortem on brains donated for research, although Dr Stern’s last presentation at NYC MedTech and Inga Koerte, MD of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) have also used brain scan information on live subjects in their studies.

Where this differs is that the imaging agent injected binds to the tau  (more…)

ELabNYC Pitch Day 2015

Thursday 3 April, Microsoft’s NY Technology Center, Times Square NYC

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Elab.png” thumb_width=”100″ /]The third annual Pitch Day for the now 20 startup/early-stage life science, biotech and healthcare technology companies in the ELabNYC (Entrepreneurship Lab Bio and Health Tech NYC) is a culmination of their year-long program participation in this NY Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)-supported program. The entrepreneurs in the ELabNYC program primarily come from from the doctoral and post-doc programs from New York’s many universities, from CUNY to Columbia, from many parts of the world, and most have experience within the city’s multitude of major health research institutions from The Bronx to Brooklyn. New York is also a center of funding for life science and health tech ventures; it’s #2 with NIH awards totaling $1.4 billion. For the past few years, NYEDC has also supported these companies with finding access to capital, specialized space (e.g. wet labs such as the million square feet at Alexandria Center alone, plus Harlem Biospace and SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn) and partnerships with major companies such as Celgene, Eli Lilly, Pfizer and GE Ventures.

This Editor will concentrate on health tech companies–eight, up from five last year [TTA 17 Apr 14]. Each company pitched for five minutes on its concept, its current state of advancement (including pilots/customers), its team and a funding timeline. It was a very different mix from last year’s class, which focused on compliance, diagnosis, dementia and concussion. These companies focused on niches which are either not being served well or to substantially reduce costs. Nearly half the entrepreneurs were women, a substantially greater number than one usually sees in the biotech/health tech area. Short impressions on our eight, with links to their Executive Summaries on the 2014-15 ‘class page’: (more…)

A telecare device that may solve the ‘soft fall’ and unconscious problems (UK)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/MonitorGO-cropped-small-232×300.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Guy Dewsbury of the eponymous Gdewsbury independent research consultancy brought to this Editor’s attention his recent commission for West Yorkshire-based MonitorGo in evaluating their new smartphone-based personal alarm. He analyzed the device’s features here in a comparison chart and writeup, versus what is commonly available in the market. If it reliably does what it says it does (our normal caveat), it could be a big step beyond the Ur-Pendant, addressing our (and Neil Versel’s) concerns earlier this week on the persistence of ‘ancient history’ PERS [TTA 31 Mar].

It goes well beyond common mPERS as well. There are 12 features, including GPS location, hard fall detection and 24/7 third-party help line monitoring (via Medvivo), but the key differentiating features are the soft fall detector, unconsciousness/inactivity detection and false alert detection/response–as well as usability as a simplified smartphone with unlimited calls to UK landlines and 250 mobile-to-mobile minutes. (more…)

“Data moves at the speed of trust”–RWJF report

The report issued today by the influential Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), ‘Data for Health: Learning What Works’ advocates a fresh approach to health data through greater education on the value/importance of sharing PHI, improved security and privacy safeguards and investing in community data infrastructure. If the above quote and the first two items sound contradictory, perhaps they are, but current ‘strict’ privacy regulations (that’s you, HIPAA), data siloing and the current state of the art in security aren’t stemming Hackermania (or sheer bad data hygiene and security procedures). Based on three key themes, the RWJF is recommending a suite of actions (see below) to build what they term a ‘Culture of Health. All of which, from the 10,000 foot view, seem achievable. The need–and importantly, the perception of need–to integrate the rising quantity of data from all these devices, pry it out of its silos (elaborated upon earlier this week in ‘Set that disease data free!), analyze it and make it meaningful plus shareable to people and their doctors/clinicians keeps building. (‘Meaningful’ here is not to be confused with the HITECH Act’s Meaningful Use.)

But who will take the lead? Who will do the work? Will the HIT structure, infrastructure and very importantly, the legal framework follow? We wonder if there is enough demand and bandwidth in the current challenged system. Release. RWJF ‘Data for Health’ page with links to study PDF, executive summary which adds details to the recommendations below, more.[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Data-For-Health-Advisory-Committee-RWJF.png” thumb_width=”400″ /]

Regulatory action may strengthen telehealth take-off: PWC

PWC Health Research Institute has released a Spotlight Brief on the US telehealth (read telemedicine for telehealth) regulation which states that recent regulatory action may be the catalyst to spur the fledgeling telehealth market.

Expansions in Medicare reimbursements, Government telehealth grants amounting to several million dollars and legislative action in many States are all seen as supporting new entrants as well as traditional players and growing the US telehealth market that PWC says is estimated as high as $10 billion.

Benefit to consumers is of course lower costs and easier access. Challenges mentioned are licensing, reimbursement, privacy and security. Read the full report here.

Telstra expands telemedicine offering with acquisition

Following our report earlier in the month on Telstra’s success in winning the Western Australia telehealth [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Telstra-Health.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]contract, Telstra announced the acquisition of UK based Dr Foster last week. Telstra has now announced that they are acquiring Medibank’s Anywhere Healthcare platform, further expanding its Telstra Health arm.

Since 2013 Telstra has had exclusive access to Dr Foster in Australia and supplies Dr Foster products to several health services in Australia.

Anywhere Healthcare is a middleman platform with specialists signed up to provide remote consultations and GPs signed up to use the services of those specialists. When a face-to-face consultation is considered not appropriate the GP can arrange for a remote consultation via Anywhere Healthcare. Typically, this has been used to date for patients in nursing homes.

The current Anywhere Healthcare directory lists 30 specialists covering 17 specialties and it is reported that there are 1600 GPs signed up to the service. Telstra have stated that they expect to expand the service, particularly into rural patient consultations.