UCLA Health data breach may affect 4.5 million patients

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/keep-calm-and-secure-your-data-4.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Breaking news out of Los Angeles this afternoon is that the UCLA Health System’s computer network was compromised by an external cyberattack, compromising an estimated 4.5 million patient records. According to the LA Times, “the hospital saw unusual activity in one of its computer servers in October and began investigating with assistance from the FBI. The investigation confirmed May 5 that the hackers had gained access to parts of UCLA Health’s computer system where some patient information was stored. The hackers gained access to names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, Medicare and health plan identification numbers as well as some medical information like patient diagnoses and procedures.” There also appears to have been a delay in the realization that the sensitive PHI had been accessed, and that the suspicious activity could have started as early as September 2014. Yet the UCLA Health statement equivocates: “At this time, there is no evidence that the attacker (more…)

LeadingAge CAST updates its telehealth selection portfolio (US)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/LeadingAge_Square_Logo_Large.jpg” thumb_width=”100″ /]LeadingAge, the association of over 6,000 non-profit providers of aging services (the US chapter of IAHSA), this week issued an updated version of its telehealth selection portfolio, adding six new products to the online selection tool and product matrix, in addition to a new interactive guide (requires log in). Developed by their Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST), the selection tool and product matrix exhaustively compare 28 different products from 23 vendors across 220 different functionalities. An indispensable help for those involved in the selection and purchasing of telehealth for senior housing, post-discharge/rehabilitation and home health. LeadingAge release. Hat tip to Scott Code of CAST.

Hacking your way to managing your illness

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Health-Hacker.png” thumb_width=”125″ /]Health + Hacking doesn’t necessarily mean another data breach. In another context, it means Patients Are Doing It For Themselves and not waiting for an app to help them manage their medical situation. They are self- constructing, deconstructing or repurposing software (or hardware like Fitbits, smartwatches and smartphones) to create customized solutions for themselves and to share with others. A lively young Swedish engineer, through building her own mobile apps to help manage her Parkinson’s disease, is building apps for others and finds her biggest challenge is the wide variety of symptoms.Stage 1 diabetes is a health hackers magnet, with hacks creating new features for continuous glucose monitoring (more…)

Trusting a virtual diagnosis? 74 percent of adults wouldn’t (US)

It’s a matter of trust. While telemedicine is benefiting from liberalization of state regulations, proof of cost savings and consumer acceptance of mobile technologies (plus a surge in investor confidence!), there’s still the hurdle of patient confidence.

Just under 45 percent in this survey are very or somewhat comfortable with a virtual doctor’s appointment. Over 64 percent would not readily choose one over an in-person visit.

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When it comes to trusting the diagnosis, almost 75 percent of the 504 respondents either would not trust it at all (29.3 percent) or would trust it less (45 percent). But the ‘would not trust’ sentiment is heavily skewed to those 45+ (left).

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The good news here is that when it comes to follow up with a doctor via telemedicine, the tables turn almost exactly in its favor (left).

The hope is that the last will increase acceptance of the first–and the age trend is telemedicine’s friend. Both bode well for the growth of telemedicine in the near future.

Do Patients Trust Telemedicine? (PDF) (TechnologyAdvice Research/Google Consumer Insights) Also HIT Consultant plus their infographic (hat tip to AliveCor’s David Albert MD via Twitter @DrDave01)

Telemedicine’s 25 things to know better–and Better

For those of us who have been Terminology Warriors going back to the oughts (see founder and EIC emeritus Steve Hards’ summary in ‘What is Telecare’), this is a useful summary of not only what is telemedicine and who is authorized to perform it, but also how it is developing (US focus) in state law and reimbursement (private and Medicare). Despite being published earlier this month, it is already dated as reimbursement parity laws have been passed in Connecticut and Delaware [TTA 10 July]. The richly IPO’d Teladoc is omitted on the provider list in point #21; Better is anomalous as it is less telemedicine than a personal health assistance service.  25 things to know about telemedicine (Becker’s Health IT and CIO Review)

About Better: they have joined with Johns Hopkins’ Sibley Memorial Hospital Innovation Hub to provide support for orthopedic episodes of care. These generally are for a 90 day period which extends from scheduling the procedure through post-discharge recovery, and are usually tied into a bundled payment from an insurer or Medicare. Johns Hopkins press release Hat tip to CEO Geoff Clapp.

Blueprint Health’s 8 for Class 8

Blueprint Health announced its Summer 2015 class of 8 on Thursday. The NYC-based accelerator, since its early startup days in 2011, now focuses on companies further along in the development continuum. Telehealth companies would find Oculus Health most interesting as Medicare chronic care management and telehealth reimbursement present opportunities for remote patient monitoring expansion.

Bind (Bind-Health.com) Helps prospective parents to make informed decisions about genomic testing and provides genetic counseling services
Crediyo (Crediyo.com) Decreases patient payment write-offs and improves cash flow for medical practices with turn-key patient lending products
Ekovia (Ekovia.com) Helps hospital hire top talent with the most robust database healthcare professionals and algorithms to predict who is open to new job opportunities
GetCompliant (HIPAAWithUs.com) Provides a full service platform for HIPAA compliance for physician practices (more…)

Events for your diary, your CV and perhaps your bottom line

This editor has recently been overwhelmed by important dates near and far that readers needs to be aware of. Beginning with July, the first networking event for the Long Term Care Revolution SBRI National Challenge will take place in Birmingham on 21st July at the Menzies Hotel, Birmingham. Click here to register. The second networking event will take place on the 28th July at The Thistle Marble Arch. Register here

This SBRI competition aims to stimulate the development of innovative new products, services and systems that disrupt the institutional long-term care model, ensuring that UK businesses are well placed to take advantage of this growing market opportunity. A total of £4m is up for grabs so (more…)

Telehealth in pediatrics: same statement, two opposing views

Telehealth and telemedicine use in pediatrics is relatively limited at present and low profile. That may change with a statement published earlier this month in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It has been interpreted in two ways which are polar opposites. The first pictures telehealth and telemedicine as potentially practice-transforming (mHealth Intelligence), improving health outcomes in underserved communities through continuous care, and with high potential to benefit communication between the pediatric care team and patients in disease management. The second criticizes ‘episodic care in isolation’–telemedicine patient-doctor consults that take place with no previous relationship, history or physical exam (mHealth News)--as is the antithesis of the PCMH (patient-centered medical home) the AAP advocates. This Editor’s take: the statement supports both sides with a great deal of cautionary language. Pediatrics (full content).

46 percent of undiagnosed chronic disease discovered through corporate wellness program

A HealthMine survey of corporate wellness program participants found that 46 percent of respondents who were diagnosed with a previously unknown chronic disease discovered it as a result of their wellness program. Corporate wellness programs have been light on ROI metrics (many are at heart incentive programs). While the survey was conducted by a provider of these programs (HealthMine’s Automatic Health) and should be seen in that light, it also indirectly confirms the proactive value of health screenings. Employees want more as well. Participants in an earlier survey that they would like programs to offer vision (74 percent), genetic testing (75 percent), blood pressure (73 percent), cholesterol (69 percent), cancer (58 percent), and hearing (58 percent). The MedCityNews article also makes the excellent point that employers, through these wellness programs, are directly or indirectly accessing employee personal health information–a legally fraught area.

A med reminder app that manages and delivers those pills

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Pillpack_phone_and_watch1-482×362.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Medication compliance apps have been with us almost since the start and have had a certain popularity. However, most are essentially alarm clocks reminding the patient to take what pill at what time. Some have added refill reminders and interact with pill dispensers or smart caps. They also require a lot of work to manually fill in medication and dosing information. PillPack goes another few yards by integrating one-stop pharmacy-based med management, coordinated through a database that aggregates identified patient prescription information from pharmacies and insurance claims.  (more…)

‘Uninvited Guests’

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/SmartFork3-small-Superflux.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Wonder what it would be like to be older and ‘nannied’ by some of the ‘whiz-bang’ devices we promote as making life healthier and better? This short (4 minute) video dramatizes how a 70 year old man deals with the smartphone-connected devices–a food-monitoring fork, activity-tracking cane, pill dispenser and sleep monitor–his well-meaning children have provided to nag and monitor Dad at a distance. Dad dispenses with these annoying ‘uninvited guests’ in his own clever way. Produced by the UK/India-based design consultancy Superflux Lab for the ThingTank project, which explores the conflicts and frictions these IoT tools in the connected home can produce with humans. On Vimeo. Hat tip to Guy Dewsbury via Twitter.

I’m finally losing faith in Jawbone

A couple of days ago this editor got yet another promotion for a Jawbone product – UP4 – that he cannot buy. This time however, things were different.

Not only were the links both to find out more about, and to buy, the product broken, the UP4 isn’t even in the UK Jawbone store. Thankfully “Caitlyn” from “Jawbone Customer Care” did reply to my email, to give me standard blurb on the product explaining that it is linked to an American Express account to offer contactless payment. She also commented that it “is currently available for purchase in the US” so why the email was sent to a European she did not bother to explain, or seemingly, even care (they should know my address as they’ve used it often – see below). If this experience is repeated by other wearable suppliers, no wonder there continues to be a high level of abandonment among purchasers.

Now this editor has been after a posher UP ever since the new tracker that captures heart rate etc – the UP3 – was announced, seemingly many months back now, and so any email like this gets me excited, encouraging me to click ‘customise’ in the Jawbone store, only then to be told when I click through that it’s ‘coming soon’. and indeed it still is, apparently (even though Amazon now says it’ll be in stock by (more…)

“Who do I call?” when the cyberalarm goes off

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Hackermania.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]A top read for the weekend is this short article by Gillian Tett in the FT on the lack of coordination in the US in not only protecting systems from cyberattack, but also the lack of coordination between public and private sectors in protection–and when something does go wrong. As Henry Kissinger famously said about Europe when various crises loomed, ‘who do I call?’

Indicators of a gathering storm are everywhere:

* Wednesday’s hours-long, still unexplained outages at the NYSE and United Airlines. (The Wall Street Journal website going down for a bit was the topping on the jitters)

* A joint report from Cambridge University and Lloyds insurance group, also released Wednesday, estimated that a hack shutting down the US electrical grid would create $1 trillion in damage. (more…)

AdhereTech’s smart pill bottle gets a new retro design

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AdhereTech-pill-bottle-e1436497826583.jpg” thumb_width=”120″ /] My visit to CEWEEK in NY at the end of June was, in contrast to the 2014 edition, light on compelling health tech. One that stood out, for all the modesty of their display, was NYC-based AdhereTech. It’s a med reminder system pushed to the max: a pill bottle that dispenses normally, but collects and sends adherence data in real-time, with a system that analyzes and records the data. If a dose is missed, they send out customizable alerts and interventions to patients, using automated phone calls, text messages and other reminders. It also uniquely measures the level in the bottleso it can automatically notify the patient, provider and pharmacy about a refill.

When last we saw them, they had just won a spot in the inaugural (2013) Pilot Health Tech NYC program. They have redesigned the bottle to have a more compact, retro med bottle-like shape along with a brighter light and chime. (more…)

Payer reimbursement for telehealth, telemedicine gains in Delaware, Connecticut (US)

Two states–Connecticut and Delaware–are now requiring private commercial insurers to cover telemedicine and telehealth services at parity with in-person visits. Connecticut was first, signed into law on 22 June but not starting till 1 January 2016. It covers not only video consults but distance care delivered both synchronously and asynchronously, such as store and forward transfers, and covers remote patient monitoring. It specifically omits audio-only consults, email, texting and fax (!). The Connecticut law also requires parity of payment with in-person visits to prevent lower reimbursements. Delaware’s law was signed 7 July to take effect immediately, and based on the summary is similar in breadth to Connecticut’s. Delaware is now the 29th state to enact telehealth/telemedicine reimbursement legislation. Articles written by members of the Foley & Lardner law firm. JD Supra, Lexology

On the Federal front, Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) and three other members of the House of Representatives introduced H.R. 2948, the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2015. It would remove the current geographic restrictions for telehealth (in the Federal definition including telemedicine), expand services, expand telehealth/RPM for additional chronic conditions and expand home care service into hospice and dialysis. It is a rework of last session’s H.R. 5380 and is at very early days having gone to a Congressional committee. Unfortunately its passage has a snowball-in-July chance with Govtrack.us giving it zero chance of enactment. Rep. Thompson’s website, FierceHealthIT, ATA-Jonathan Linkous support statement.

Previously in TTA: Telehealth reimbursement makes legislative progress in Texas, US House

Rock Health’s mid-year report: 2015 investment leveling off

Rock Health‘s 2015 report is revealing in one aspect–that the authors try to put a game face on what is a flat situation in digital health investment for first half. Not even the most optimistic of the digerati expected a lift of 16 percent as we saw in 2014 versus 2013 [TTA 2 July 14], but the 8.7 percent fall off from 2014’s blistering $2.3 billion to $2.1 billion in 2015 year-to-date was unexpected. StartUp Health’s report indicated a slower start to 2015, though slightly less, so the reports correspond. Digital health still is growing faster than software, biotech and medical device.

Other highlights:

* The top six categories accounted for 50 percent of investment funding: wearables, analytics, consumer engagement, telemedicine, enterprise wellness, EHR/clinical workflow

*  In M&A action, this year’s first half has almost matched 2014’s full year total, but with only 13 percent of the investment. Most are digital health companies acquiring others for small amounts. (more…)