GE Healthcare staying together: CEO (updated)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2000px-General_Electric_logo.svg_.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]It’s ‘black and white’ but not GE blue all over! During an investor conference Wednesday, GE Healthcare’s CEO John Flannery insisted that “Bottom line is we have been black and white that all aspects of healthcare are part of our portfolio,” reported in Reuters. Investors have questioned the flatlining of both revenue and profit and the fact that GEHC doesn’t seem to fit well in the engineering/manufacturing bent of the Immelt-ized GE.

The speculation by investors and we in the healthcare press is rational. Earlier this year, GEHC announced the phaseout of the Centricity Enterprise (hospital) EHR. [TTA 15 April] Healthcare Financial Services and the services it would provide were also up in the air. Currently it lends to healthcare entities including hospitals and other health facilities to purchase equipment (made by GE) and real estate/facilities (not made by GE). Initial indicators was that GE would continue to finance what it sells. The real estate financing then is questionable, and undoubtedly an issue for healthcare facilities, as GE Capital has been sold. GE also sources funding for healthcare innovation through the Healthymagination Fund and GE Ventures, and of course has an interest in the Intel-GE JV, Care Innovations. What shape this financial arrangements will take in the future is not clear from the available information.

Also announced, according to Biospace, is $1 billion funding over the next five years for education to reach more than two million healthcare professionals worldwide–physicians, radiologists, technologists, midwives, nurses, biomedical engineers–geared to local needs. It will include new clinical, product application, technical and leadership training and education. A forward commitment of this magnitude does seem to confirm that GEHC is in the healthcare game.

Soapbox: The burning technological platform for person-centred care

Rising demands of an aging population are putting increasing pressure on care providers across health and social care. But the technology and thinking that can help alleviate some of those pressures is analogue in a digital world, argues Tom Morton of Communicare247.

Analogue thinking in a digital world
Integrated, person-centred care is seen as a driving force for building public services around individual needs. It aims to bring care out of the hospital and into the community and home to cope with the growing burden of the 3 million people who will have over three long-term conditions by 2018. It will also help acute hospitals to address the ever increasing costs associated with our aging population.

Meanwhile life in our homes and communities is becoming fragmented. One in four (2.9 million) people aged 65 and over feel they have no one to go to for help and support, according to a 2015 report from Age UK and The Campaign to End Loneliness(1). With research indicating that social isolation leads to higher mortality, what point is there keeping people out of hospital, if only they are left home alone, and without the necessary support?

Person-centred care will have minimal success if we do not recognise this fact; people need someone to look out for them. And current approaches are not building the foundations that society needs to help grasp the nettle of providing round-the-clock personal care. (more…)

Conference report: MedCityNews CONVERGE

Guest columnist Sarianne Gruber (@subtleimpact) attended Breaking Media’s annual MedCityNews CONVERGE two-day conference at Philadelphia’s Hyatt at Bellevue earlier this month, and has a few observations on the surface contradiction of innovation and health insurance.

Breaking Media rightly titled this year’s MedCity News conference “Converge”. Listening to the speakers, meeting the founders of new startups and talking to presenters, it became clear that today’s healthcare ecosystem is interdependent on the all the players to move the needle for better quality health. It was fascinating to learn was how innovation is breaking down the old silos of engagement, and is emerging from all the industry players, as well as joining at new intersections. The proliferation of better products, methodologies and engagement is closing the gap with more data, technology and ideas.

When you think of your health insurance company, usually two words comes to mind, cost and coverage. Keynote Speaker, Daniel Hilferty, President and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, wants to change the focus to consumer and care. Hilferty paralleled the new ventures at Independence to the work of the great innovator, Thomas Edison. Not only did Edison invent the light bulb, but his work is evidenced in the scalability of electricity that changed the world and how we now live.

In what directions is Independence Blue Cross converging? (more…)

A day in the life of a blind business man (guest blog)

Chris Lewis, the world-renowned telecoms expert and regular presenter on disability issues has kindly offered to share some thoughts with readers prior to his presentation at the Royal Society of Medicine event on the Medical Benefits of Wearables on 23rd November. This is the second of two he has written specially for TTA.

You’re blind: How do you ‘read’, join in social media and find your way around, let alone run a business?

Picture the scene: a blind man walking down the street moving white stick to and fro. He is muttering to himself while clicking a small black thing in his left hand. What is he doing? Actually, he is running his business, doing email, messaging, reading documents, checking-in for his flight and working out the best route using bus and tube to get to the airport. The black device is a mini keyboard, controlling the iPhone in his pocket and it is talking to him via his in-ear Bluetooth device….

Having been registered blind for over 30 years, I am accustomed to the regular question about how the hell do you run a business? I thought it worth while to put this down in writing both as a record of how things stand in 2015, but also as evidence of how my world has changed since the days of cumbersome magnifiers, papers being sent off to be recorded, and very clunky interfaces with early PCs.

Equipment & technology

(more…)

Want to update your mobile technology knowledge?

Hatching a new business idea? Interested in mobile and IoT innovation? Need to bring mobile technology and business know-how in to your organisation?

Or perhaps you just want to move your career on…

Stuart Revell has kindly drawn TTA’s attention to the Mobile Academy which sets up shop at UCL’s innovation hub in Shoreditch, London. This year’s CPD-certified annual course will run from the 1st October to 3rd December 2015 on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Tutors (including Stuart) are extremely high quality, and give their time for free.

Looks to be a great opportunity. Registration is here.

Big Data at work in the Emergency Room

Did you watch the Panorama programme yesterday on BBC (only available in the UK, I understand)? [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Beth-Israel.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Subtitled “Could a Robot do my Job?” reporter Rohan Silva was looking at the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the workplace and jobs, primarily in the UK.

The last section of the programme was on a data analysis system at a Boston hospital (Beth Israel Deaconess Memorial Center). The reporter mentioned they use an “artifical intelligence supercomputer” (!) in their emergency department that can “forecast if you’ll die in the next 30 days”. Well, not quite, but, “forecast the probability of a patient dying with almost 96% confidence” according to the very enthusiastic doctor (and the only one featured in the programme) at the hospital. Not sure if that is all PR or verified independently.

I was very impressed when it was mentioned that the computer had 30 years of data from over 250,000 patients,so it could recognise rare deceases quicker than a doctor. After all my navigator can find me a route a 100 times faster than I can, so why not.
But then I got thinking. 30 years ago they didn’t collect patient’s blood oxygen level and blood pressure every 3 minutes like they are doing now. This was an emergency department, not the obvious place for lots of people with a rare diseases to turn up. How many rare diseases had this system diagnosed so far? So there was a fair bit of mirrors and smoke to make it look far better than it really is I think. In fact, I think the Boston system is actually just good example of what is called Big Data at work.

This tendency to exaggerate was true of the rest of the programme too which can be fairly described as sensational rather than educational.

No doubt the publicity will help the hospital. I see that the story about the dying prediction appears on many newspaper websites right now with headlines like “the supercomputer that can predict when you’ll die”!

Thanks Donna for telling me about the programme.

Qualcomm Life, Cox Communications buy into integration–differently (US/FR) updated

Qualcomm Life, known for building partnerships with independent companies to form a continuum in transitional/chronic care management utilizing the HealthyCircles platform [TTA 19 Dec 14], yesterday announced not a partnership but an acquisition–Capsule Tech, a company that builds systems for healthcare facilities, mainly hospitals, to collect and integrate data from myriad medical devices. Their medical device information system (MDIS) is dubbed SmartLinx and is used by 1,930 hospital clients in 38 countries. Headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts, Capsule has international offices in France, Singapore, China, Australia, UAE and Brazil. Majority owner was Turenne Capital, a French PE company. Acquisition terms were not disclosed. Release. Also Forbes, Neil Versel in MedCityNews.

Update: Fortune is quite bullish on how this aids Qualcomm in narrowing the quality gap of data transmission between the home and the hospital setting.

Cox Communications, the third largest cable and internet company in the US with ad media and business data divisions, is dipping more than a tentative toe in healthcare with last week’s acquisition of Trapollo, a program design/supply chain/logistics provider that currently works with multiple telehealth, telecare and monitoring device companies. Cox is clearly seeking another type of integration of their data carriage capabilities with systems and programs; they have also invested in HealthSpot Station’s virtual visit/telehealth kiosk and formed a strategic alliance with Cleveland Clinic. Release.

Neil Versel’s columns also note IBM Watson‘s growth and development of its own Care Manager with Apple HealthKit/ResearchKit [TTA 10 Sep] and Salesforce’s entry into patient management with Health Cloud, with another big announcement rumored to be on the way.

Eric Topol, Robert Wachter have a patient-centered conversation

Ostensibly an interview about Dr Topol’s book ‘The Patient Will See You Now,’ it is more a discussion of Dr Topol’s thesis that patients in control of their data are upending the relationship between doctor (as authority) and patient. What Dr Wachter questions– is the lack of analytics to turn this into useful information for both doctor and patient. Dr Topol agrees that the data is outstripping the analytics:

The field has not been developed nearly the way it should be to get us to the virtual medical assistant, which integrates all relevant data about an individual and provides great data visualization back to that person. Once it does, we have a tremendous opportunity to help people, even to preempt illness.

Dr Topol is also widely depicted as an advocate of ‘DIY’ (do it yourself) medicine, but he is not; “This is more about acquiring diagnostic or monitoring data and still having an intimate relationship with a doctor to help guide the appropriate treatment.” Doctors will have to change their methods too. A worthy Weekend Read (and audio excerpt 08:05) in this month’s AHRQ WebM&M.

Previously in TTA: Dr Topol on his book at last year’s NYeC Digital Health Conference (contrasting with the central control-stop medical intervention at 75 advocacy of Ezekiel Emanuel); Dr Wachter on The Overdose (excerpted from his ‘Digital Doctor’ book)

IBM Watson Health adds 5 partners, 2 solutions

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/pillar.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Breaking News  IBM Watson Health not only cut the ribbon on their new global HQ on Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts (and on their new General Manager Deborah DeSanzo), they also announced two more data crunching power platforms and five new partners.

  • The IBM Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences is designed to help life science companies fast track the deployment of a GxP compliant infrastructure and applications while adhering to stringent requirements for hosting, accessing and sharing regulated data.
  • The IBM Watson Care Manager is a population health solution that integrates Watson Health, Apple ResearchKit and Apple HealthKit into a personalized patient engagement program to improve individual health outcomes.

The five new partners are Boston Children’s Hospital (pediatrics), Columbia University (Pathology & Cell Biology and Systems Biology), ICON plc (pharma clinical trial matching–Ireland), Sage Bionetworks (Open Biomedical Research Platform) and Teva Pharmaceuticals (treatments for chronic conditions–Israel). They join CVS Health, Medtronic and Yale University. On opening day, the new headquarters also hosted demonstrations by health ecosystem partners Best Doctors, Modernizing Medicine, Pathway Genomics, Socrates and Welltok. Release (PDF)

Previously in TTA on IBM Watson Health: their big announcement at HIMSS 15 and we do wonder about their work with the VA on clinical reasoning and mental health.

Accessibility arriving at the Top Table (guest blog)

Chris Lewis, a world-renowned telecoms expert and regular presenter on disability issues has kindly offered to share some thoughts with readers prior to his presentation at the Royal Society of Medicine event on the Medical Benefits of Wearables on 23rd November. This is the first of two he has written specially for TTA.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona accessibility I took to one of the main stages for the first time. IBM, Microsoft, Google and the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) joined me to present perspectives on how accessibility is going mainstream.

I introduced the session with some of the key findings from the second Telefonica accessibility report “Digitising the Billion Disabled: Accessibility Gets Personal“. In summary, the billion disabled people represent a major spending group, combining earnings of some $2.3 Trillion and state support of $1.3 Trillion. Disabled people on average earn only 60% of their able-bodied peers and, of course, many disabled people don’t get the opportunity to work at all. 4% of children and 10% of the working population are disabled, but perhaps most striking, over three quarters of the elderly. Combine this dynamic with Douglas Adams’s theory of adopting technology getting harder as we get older and you can see the ticking time bomb of disability and age. (more…)

DHACA visits Lancaster University on 23rd September – come and join us!

The Digital Health & Care Alliance is holding its sixth one day event on 23rd September, at the University of Lancaster.

DHACA Days are aimed at informing members, seeking feedback on DHACA activities and encouraging special Interest Group (SIG) engagement in topics of importance to members. On this occasion we have a very special SIG event which is the launching of DHACA’s medical apps regulatory process description, which looks at all the things you need to do to get a medical app fully approved. The draft is already available for members to comment on.

In addition, in the morning we will have presentations from:

  • Prof Peter Sawyer, Professor of Software Systems Engineering, University of Lancaster:sensing cognitive health through monitoring computer interaction and through ambient technology – this is a most exciting (and I guess to some a bit scary) new area of research where you can sense someone’s cognitive health from how they use smartphones and other devices.
  • Prof Jon Whittle; Head of the School of Computing and Communications,University of Lancaster: the uses for temporary digital tattoos, and how to make them – this will in part be an interactive session in which members’ suggestions and, if appropriate, future involvement will be sought.
  • Jeremy Moyse, Strategic Development Manager, SEQOL: a provider’s view of how technology will help deliver changes in the health & care world – SEQOL is a ‘spin-out’ social enterprise formed in 2011 from the NHS Transforming Community Service programme and now delivers a broad range of health & care services in Swindon; as Jeremy will explain, it has grown massively since then, and collected a cabinet full of awards.
  • Prof Awais Rashid, University of Lancaster: secure IoT use in digital health – Prof Rashid is a world expert on this topic which has become particularly important since the FDA recently withdrew approval from an infusion pump because it was too easy to hack. He will explain the critical importance of IoT security, how to assess it and how best to achieve secure solutions.

(more…)

Fancy £35,000 to develop a Quantified Self solution to meet a real need?

Innovate UK has announced a £175k IC tomorrow innovation contest focusing on Quantified Self, launching Monday 14 September.

As most TTA readers will be well aware, Quantified Self relates to the use of digital technology in self-tracking, monitoring and sensing to improve wellbeing. In particular the contest will be looking for solutions relating to the areas of: nutrition, older people, younger people, mental health and data capture. The winning solutions will focus on ways of empowering users to take ownership of their data to influence behaviour change and improve wellbeing.

The contest will include five challenges each offering up to £35,000 and the chance to work with one of challenge partners: Jamie Oliver, Toshiba, AXA PPP Insurance, Saga and Bupa. The winning company will trial their solution with the challenge partner over a period of three months.

The Knowledge Transfer Network is running two briefing events for this call. To register please sign up below:  (more…)

The intent is good, the name–Hackfest–is unfortunate (Updated)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/CI_Hackfest_15.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Given another Big Blue Cross data breach (below), the juxtaposition of a release from Intel-GE Care Innovations is, how do we say, jarring. A great trumpeting of a prestige event 18-20 September in conjunction with the Stanford Center on Longevity on the Stanford University campus. “Inspiring a reconfigured care delivery process bringing care to the home and uniting patients, family caregivers and professional caregivers with the traditional clinical care team.” which will “…change the status quo. The event will bring together clinicians and care providers, health plan leaders, family and professional caregivers, patients, designers, engineers, students and faculty to explore the meaning and definition of a care team.” Yes they can be ‘hack(ing) a strategy to redefine the care team’…but given the tens of millions of health records hacked, breached and stolen in this year alone, is this the best name Stanford and Care Innovations could think of?  ‘Hackfests’ and ‘hackathons’ usually are coding or programming competitions, which long predate the negative use of ‘hack’ for malicious entry into systems. Even events in that context are increasingly met with raised eyebrow.

‘Hackfest’ for this is a stretch. Message to both: care teams need redefining, but it’s time for a better, and more descriptive, name. A ‘****-palooza’ (a voguish term in US), anyone?

Update: A Care Innovations spokesperson and this Editor had a Twitter conversation–a TweetFest, so to speak:

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Care-Innovations.png” thumb_width=”450″ /]

Readers–what do you think? Is this Editor overly sensitive to the ‘h’ word? She might be…click on the title to see Comments.

Hackers hit another Blue Cross, put 10.5 million members at risk (Breaking)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Hackermania.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]BREAKING NEWS This time the data breach is at Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, which covers upstate New York (Rochester-Syracuse area). It was discovered by Excellus on 5 August but dated back to 23 Dec 13, and reportedly has compromised members’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, financial account information and in some cases sensitive medical information. According to the AP/NBC, it also breached other divisions of Excellus and the corporate parent, Lifetime Healthcare: Lifetime Benefit Solutions, Lifetime Care, Lifetime Health Medical Group, The MedAmerica Companies and Univera Healthcare. The source of the hack has not yet been determined.

Excellus joins fellow BCBS members Anthem [TTA 11 Feb], soon to be merging with Cigna, with 80 million; Premera Blue Cross [TTA 24 Mar] with 11 million, Care First with a ‘bag o’ shells’ 1.1. million [TTA 2 June]. The pattern has been such that the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced in July that it will offer all 106 million of its members identity protection starting next January. (Note for our mathematicians: Anthem has millions of non-BCBS members) Chinese hackers are suspected in the Anthem breach.

FierceHealthPayer broke the story, in this Editor’s estimation, to the healthcare trade area. Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Excellus message to policyholders. The NBC/AP report also has a video interview with Eugene Kaspersky of the eponymous anti-virus software (and whose Kaspersky Lab was also a hacking victim earlier this year)

Updated via the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle:  FireEye is becoming the ‘go-to’ security company for health organization breaches–Excellus hired them in the wake of the Anthem breach and they discovered the vulnerability facilitating the breach.

Are you an entrepreneur dreaming of riches?

Well if you are, you need to come along to the free London Health Technology Forum meeting on Monday 14th September when Neil Foster, Corporate Partner in lawyers Baker Botts, and the person responsible kindly for providing the Forum with a beautifully appointed room and excellent hospitality, will be talking to us about Exits.

He will be joined by David Blair, chartered accountant and chief financial officer of a number of companies. Between them they will tell you everything a good entrepreneur needs to know about exits. Exits of course are where entrepreneurs begin to cash in on all their hard work and long hours; some become very rich.

As planning for your exit should start when you establish your company, it is critically important to know what your options are now, in time to ensure that when the time comes, you are prepared, so you can secure the maximum value for the organisation you have personally established and grown.

They will cover the following topics: (more…)

Is ‘pure’ robotic telesurgery nearing reality?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Nicholson-Center-FL.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Moving beyond robot-assisted surgery (e.g. the well-accepted use of the daVinci system with prostate surgery), controlled by a surgeon present in the operating room, is telesurgery, where a remote surgeon uses a robot to fully perform surgery at a distant location. The Nicholson Center at Florida Hospital in Celebration, Florida, which specializes in training surgeons and technicians in leading (bleeding?-Ed.) edge techniques, is studying how internet latency (lag time to the non-techie) affects surgical effectiveness. Latency is defined in this case as “the amount of delay a surgeon can experience between the moment they perform an action to the moment video of the action being carried out at the surgery site reaches their eyes.” Their testing so far is that internet latency for surgery between hospitals has a threshold of 200-500 milliseconds before dexterity drops off dramatically (not desirable)–and that given the current state of the internet, it is achievable even at a mid-range distance tested (Florida to Texas). Making this a reality is highly desirable to military services worldwide, where expertise may be in, for example, Germany, and the casualty is in Afghanistan. It would also be a boon for organizations such as the Veterans Health Administration (VA) where resources are stretched thin, rural health and for relief agencies’ disaster recovery. ZDNet