Three of the best – digital health events at the Royal Society of Medicine for 2016

The Royal Society of Medicine has two unbeatable benefits to offer conference attendees: virtually every world expert is keen to present there and, because it is a medical education charity, charges are heavily subsidised. As a result you get the most bang for your buck of any independent digital health event, anywhere!

And just now the offer is even more attractive as if you book for all three in the next 14 days (ie by 12th February) the RSM will give you a 10% discount on all three!

On February 25th, the RSM is holding their first 2016 conference: Recent developments in digital health. This is the fourth time they have run this popular event which aims to update attendees about particularly important new digital heath advances. For me the highlight will be Chris Elliott of Leman Micro who plans to demonstrate working smartphones that can measure all the key vital signs apart from weight without any peripheral – that includes systolic & diastolic blood pressure, as well as one-lead ECG, pulse, respiration rate and temperature. When these devices are widely available, they will dramatically affect health care delivery worldwide – particularly self-care – dramatically. See it first at the RSM!

I’d also highlight speakers such as Beverley Bryant, Director of Digital Technology NHS England, Mustafa Suleyman, Head of Applied Artificial Intelligence at Google DeepMind (who’ll hopefully tell us a bit about introducing deep learning in to Babylon), Prof Tony Young, National Clinical Director for Innovation, NHS England and Dr Ameet Bakhai, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. It’s going to be a brilliant day!

Book here.

On April 7th the RSM is holding Medical apps: mainstreaming innovation, also in its fourth year. Last year the election caused last minute cancellations by both NICE & the MHRA, who are making up for that with two high-level presentations. Among a panoply of other excellent speakers, I’m personally looking forward especially to (more…)

On the passing of Bob Pyke Jr.

Bob Pyke Jr. Many readers of Telehealth and Telecare Aware will join our editors in sending condolences to the family of Bob Pyke, who died on Sunday 24th January 2016. (Obituary and condolences link here.)

Bob’s enthusiastic promotion of all things telehealth by linking to relevant articles online pre-dated TTA by many years. A Google search of his name will show up thousands of items and associations to which he was linked. He continued to post articles to his Facebook page up until last November, despite the debilitating effects of his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or motor neurone disease (MND) as it is known in the UK.

In July 2014 he announced his illness with typical frankness and simplicity “I wish I could write as well as Danny Sands who recently wrote about his own health experiences, my writing style is a cross between Monty Python and Mark Twain. On this past Friday, I was diagnosed with ALS. I am blessed to have a loving family and friends who support me and encouraged me to keep a journal about my changed life.”

Bob was a nurse and the humanity which led him into that profession always shone through: “Since being diagnosed with ALS, I am not a patient with ALS, I am a person who has ALS.” Nor did he shrink from noting some of the more difficult aspects of his illness “…living with ALS or dying is the most singular and solitary experience one undergoes.”

Ten years ago Bob and I collaborated on setting up a social networking site for community nurses. Unfortunately it did not get past the early stages but it was always a pleasure working with him. Looking back through my emails I see that I once described Bob to a colleague as “a long term avid sniffer out of news”. I think he’d have liked that.

Bob built up a worldwide network of people interested in nursing and telehealth and he inspired and encouraged them. We will miss him.

Steve Hards
Founder and ex-editor, TTA

 

Eight TECS expected to change health and care

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/8-technologies-8-connected-community.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]The King’s Fund is still bullish on the transformative capabilities of technology-enabled care services for health (even if others are not, see following article). This article (which almost passed this Editor by this month) highlights eight areas which have the greatest potential. Some are expected–but at least two are surprises. You be the judge!

  1. Smartphones: apps, as hubs/hub replacements, and research transmitters (voluntary but also involuntary?)
  2. At-home and portable diagnostics; smart assistive technology
  3. Smart or implantable drug delivery
  4. Digital therapeutics/interventions; cognitive behavioral therapy; lifestyle interventions
  5. Genome sequencing
  6. Machine learning (computers changing based on new data, spotting pattern) in big datasets (Surprise #1)
  7. Blockchain, the tech behind bitcoin; decentralised databases, secured using encryption, that keep an authoritative record of how data is created and changed over time, to bring together decentralized health records. (Surprise #2)
  8. The connected community; P2P support networks and research communities

The King’s Fund’s publications 1 Jan

Health tech innovations are doing little for baby boomers

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/upside-down-duck.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Wonder why the duck is upside down and sinking? Maybe it’s looking for all that transformative tech! Versus The King’s Fund sunny article above is Laurie Orlov in Boomer Health Tech Watch. Her POV is that as of right now, health tech innovations are not moving the needle for obese (39 percent) and chronically diseased US baby boomers. They aren’t downloading health apps and wearing wearables. Workplace wellness programs? Au contraire, they make us feel less well (Harvard Business Review) and anxious that we’re getting spied on by the company. Maybe we realize that All That Data isn’t secure (healthcare being a Hacker’s Holiday Camp), so we’re not playing the game. And the cost of care that the ACA was supposed to level off? Not if you’re a self-insured Boomer struggling to pay an ever-higher monthly premium, or even in a corporate high-deductible plan, paying increased deductibles, restricted networks, ever-higher treatment costs and fighting your insurer at nearly every turn. Add to that safety risks of procedures, mistakes compounded by EHRs [Dr Robert Wachter, TTA 16 April]  and (not mentioned) hospital-acquired infections. No wonder investment has cooled. Health and tech innovations do little for baby boomers

International Summer School Integrated Care (ISSIC) 27 June – 01 July

The International Summer School on Integrated Care, “Integrated Care in Theory and Practice” is organised by the International Foundation for Integrated Care’s Integrated Care Academy©. It will run from 27 June – 01 July at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, UK.

It will provide a week of intensive training on theory and practice of integrated care. It is aimed at health and social care professionals, clinicians, researchers and managers who want to strengthen their understanding of integrated care, get a comprehensive overview of the state of the art in theory & practice, and hone their competencies in analyzing, designing, evaluating and practising integrated care.

It is eligible for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) or Continuous Medical Education (CME) credits for professionals and managers. (more…)

VerbalCare debuts a new symbol-driven app for patient health communication

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/verbalcare.png” thumb_width=”200″ /]Many patients in both home and hospital/post-acute settings have difficulty communicating their needs for a variety of reasons: post-stroke, cognitive impairment, facial surgery, aphasia, age (very young, very old) and of course there are language and cultural obstacles. VerbalCare‘s relaunched patient and caregiver apps may find a way around it. The patient clicks on icons in the VerbalCare Patient tablet app, which if touched in succession can form a sentence, then sends the message either to family members or the care team via the paired Messenger app for smartphone or tablet. The app can also send custom texts, phrases, or reuse a favorite selection; it will record patient appointments with patient consent. It has been tested over the past four years at Massachusetts General and Franciscan Hospital for Children. The Boston-based early stage company was acquired in August 2015 by an area durable medical equipment company company, Medical Specialties Distributors (MSD) and operates as a subsidiary (Mobihealthnews). The current pricing is for the VerbalCare Patient app $9.99 per patient per month, BYOD, but founder/CEO Nick Dougherty expects that healthcare organizations will pick this up. MedCityNews  What would be interesting is if a telehealth company licenses this for integration, in part or wholly, with its remote patient monitoring–Ed. Donna

NHS England announces 7 “Test Beds”

NHS England has announced a series of “Innovation Test Beds” that will be used to “harness technology to address some of the most complex issues facing patients and the health service”.

“Front-line health and care workers in seven areas will pioneer and evaluate the use of novel combinations of interconnected devices such as wearable monitors, data analysis and ways of working which will help patients stay well and monitor their conditions themselves at home”, according to the NHS press release. (more…)

Australian healthcare fund takes stake in telemedicine startup

HCF, the oldest of the “Big Four” Australian health funds, has bought a 15% stake in telemedicine online doctor service startup GP2U. [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/HCF-logo.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]GP2U provide systems which helps to make remote consultations via video conferencing possible.

According to yesterday’s press release HCF will run a pilot to “ensure the service is scaled to the wider HCF membership as smoothly as possible”. In addition to providing the video conferencing platform, [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/GP2U-logo.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]GP2U also provides a prescription service that sends prescriptions directly from the GP office to pharmacy once the GP approves it. GP2U has agreements with three Australian pharmacy chains, Terry White Chemist, Chempro and Priceline.

HCF is a not-for-profit organisation founded 80 years ago and provides health cover for 1.5 million Australians and has a turnover in excess of AUD 2 billion. GP2U is very fortunate that such a large fund has taken a serious interest in it

European Alliance for Innovation Summit, Budapest, 14-16 June 2016

The European Alliance for Innovation (EAI) is holding its International Summit focused on eHealth (eHealth360°) from the 14th-16th June 2016 in Budapest, Hungary.

The summit is claimed to be a unique event bringing a 360 degree perspective on mobile and electronic health. It will gather experiences and innovative ideas from related projects and activities, to draw out the process of moving from innovative research to commercialization.

It aims to be a powerful and inspirational event that brings together industry representatives, researchers, vendors, mHealth and eHealth domain experts, clinicians, developers and others to plan, learn, network, collaborate, strategise and tap more effectively into the immense potential of the eHealth and mHealth domains. It will comprise (more…)

Free entry to UCL’s Rosalind Franklin Appathon at Wayra – Tuesday 23rd Feb

UCL is delighted to invite you to join them at Wayra, London for their Prize and Tech Day on Tuesday 23rd February at 14.30-19.00 as part of the Rosalind Franklin Appathon- a national app competition to empower and recognise women as leaders in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine).

This free event will include some short talks from the judges, UCL Provost Professor Michael Arthur and a very special guest talk from Rosalind Franklin’s sister, author and historian Professor Jenifer Glynn. We will then hear pitches from the app finalists. Winners will be announced by Baroness Martha Lane Fox (Founder of Lastminute.com), Andrew Eland (Director of Social Impact Engineering, Google) and Dame Athene Donald (Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge). There will also be plenty of time for networking and a chance to try out some of the apps. More information can be found here .

Do join UCL in celebrating the breadth of digital talent here in the UK and the pioneering women behind some truly innovative and exciting apps by registering for the event here.

Dubai starts telemedicine pilot

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/rp-vita-1-e1453251179139.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]I am somewhat baffled by the news this week of a telemedicine trial in Dubai. One of the seven emirates making up UAE, Dubai has an area of less than 1,600 square miles, which amounts to a square of about 40 miles – so not exactly far to travel from any place to any place else if you are in Dubai. Not the obvious place to benefit greatly from telemedicine. The press release two days ago said that the pilot will “significantly enhance the manner in which healthcare is delivered in the emirate”.

According to the release the project will use “robots” from In Touch Health (referred to as “RoboDoc” in the release). These are self-propelled six-foot tall units (similar to the one shown, I expect, which is from the In Touch Health website) with video conferencing capability so that staff in one hospital can consult experts in one or more other hospitals in real time at the patient’s bedside.

The full press release is available here.

HealthSpot files for Chapter 7 liquidation (updated)

The shock continues with HealthSpot. On Wednesday the company filed for Chapter 7 liquidation in US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus. The laundry list: assets of $5.2 million, about $3.5 million in inventory, and $23.3 million in liabilities, including convertible notes of $10 million from cable/broadband company Cox Communications, $6 million from investor Xerox and an undisclosed amount from the Ohio Development Services Agency. HealthSpot had raised close to $44 million since 2011. Their bankruptcy attorney David Whittaker cited cash flow; with only $1.1 million in revenue over the past three years, according to the filing, including $600,000 in 2015, no elaboration was needed. There’s not much left in assets to sell: 191 kiosks, mostly in storage (137) and 54 operating but shuttered at customer sites. The remaining value in liquidation (a/k/a pennies on the dollar) is dependent on whether the name, the kiosks and the IP are purchased. The last is problematic due to the current legal action by Computerized Screening [TTA 8 Jan] We hope this is not a sad harbinger of digital health in 2016, though we have already sensed that the unicorns are heading Over The Rainbow or wherever they go to pasture, but it’s not reassuring. Columbus Business First, MedCityNews.

Update: Neil Versel in his Throwback Thursday took a look at HealthSpot’s steak and salad days at International CES 2013. (See comments for this Editor’s impressions of HealthSpot at ATA 2014.) Perhaps good marketing, but symptomatic of the capital burn, doomed by a lack of sales and quite possibly, a solution that would have knocked it out of the park in 2010. As the old fighter pilot said, ‘timing and luck are everything.’

RSM hosts digital health event 25 February

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/RSM.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Recent developments in digital health 2016
Thursday 25 February 2016
Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 0AE

Presented by the Royal Society of Medicine’s Telemedicine and eHealth Section (presided by our Editor Charles), this full day conference is open to the public and provides a global perspective from leaders within digital health. Keynoters are Mustafa Suleyman from Google’s Artificial Intelligence branch, DeepMind, and Dr Euan Ashley from Stanford University in California who leads Apple’s MyHeartCounts. Rates are reasonable: £50-115 for RSM members and £60-175 for non-members, plus 6 CPD credits. More information and registration on the RSM website here and download the flyer here.

Upcoming RSM Telemedicine events into early June:
Medical apps: Mainstreaming innovation–Thursday 7 April 2016

The future of medicine – the role of doctors in 2025–Thursday 19 May 2016

Big data 2016–Thursday 2 June 2016

Large Leeds rollout: is this NHS acceptance that apps can sometimes replace drugs?

A new app that can replace expensive, side effect-prone, drugs has been developed by Yorkshire tech company ADI (disclosure which manages the admin for this editor as Managing Director of DHACA, and provides one of DHACA’s three Directors), with assistance from Harrogate-based Inhealthcare.  It is set to ease the burden on the NHS, alleviating daily chronic pain, initially available for some 7,000 patients it Leeds, making it one of the largest digital health services to be commissioned in the UK.

The app, called Painsense, will be free for patients to use. It gives them the knowledge, skills and guidance to manage their pain, which should reduce the need to visit their GP or hospital. It will be rolled out across other regions of the UK within the next six months.

(more…)

Outsourcing of retail clinics–another reason for HealthSpot’s demise? (US)

Walgreens earlier this week announced another round of outsourcing their in-store health clinics to a local health system, this time in the Midwest US with Advocate Health Care. It affects 56 locations in the Chicago, Illinois area which will operate as Advocate Clinic at Walgreens in May 2016. It’s an interesting spin on the much-touted integration of healthcare services into retail pharmacies. It gives an integrated health system a prime location for community services–a clean, well-lighted place (to quote Hemingway, minus the daiquiris) with minimal overhead that provides one-stop-shopping for patient pharmacy and OTC products. It also solves part of the ‘fragmentation of care’ problem for Advocate patients as their records will go straight into their EHR. For Walgreens, it offloads the licensure and operating expenses of a clinic, gives a strong competitive advantage lent by the legitimacy of a leading provider, and attracts Advocate patients to their locations. Walgreens release  Last August, Walgreens turned over the keys of 25 Washington and Oregon clinics to Providence Health & Services in what now can be seen as a trial balloon.

What is surprising is how few Walgreens have clinic services–400 of over 8,100–over nine years of operations, starting with the acquisition of former travel industry executive Hal Rosenbluth’s 25 or so TakeCare Clinics around Philadelphia back in 2007. Yet further clinic expansion has been difficult as many locations have no physical space, there are restrictive state laws and the competition is everywhere between over 1,000 CVS Minute Clinics and local urgent care clinics. CVS also recently acquired 80 Target pharmacies and walk-in clinics. It’s reported that profitability has been a challenge for Walgreens in the clinic biz. Expect to see more of these arrangements to grow Walgreens’ clinic network.

Why might this be a contributor to HealthSpot Station’s end? A change of direction and a need for cost cutting that wasn’t there a year ago.  (more…)

Care Innovations’ Slovenski, 23andMe’s Schwartz move to Healthways

Breaking News: Healthways, an online wellness program company based in Nashville, this morning announced that two executives well known to many of us in digital health have joined them. Sean Slovenski, CEO of Intel-GE Care Innovations, is now their President, Population Health Services. Steve Schwartz, their new SVP Strategy and Corporate Development, joins the company from VP Business Development and Strategy, 23andMe.

Mr Slovenski’s track record in 2.5 years at CI certainly impressed this Editor (formerly with the developer of their behavioral telemonitoring system bequeathed from GE Healthcare, QuietCare) with turning around the company from an outpost of Intel and GEHC having difficulty transitioning from ancient technology (remember the Intel Health Guide?) to a telehealth platform dubbed Health Harmony. He also put together a team that engineered multiple academic and health system alliances, along with an interesting turn into home digital health certification. While he came to CI from health insurance giant Humana in Louisville Kentucky running their behavioral health and wellness businesses, his prior experience includes both entrepreneurial turns at his own company and with smaller companies. He most recently engineered a Louisville outpost of CI [TTA 14 Oct 15]. Since Mr Slovenski is still listed on the CI website as CEO, this may have been a quickly executed move.

Mr Schwartz’s business development background includes long stints at two large healthcare companies, Allscripts (EHRs and practice management software) and LabCorp (lab testing). He weathered 23andMe’s FDA troubles and headed up their B2B sales area. Healthways release

Unusually, Healthways is a NASDAQ traded company that closed at $12.11 today in a down market. It’s old (in our terms) having been founded in 1981, becoming publicly traded ten years later. Its last round of venture financing was $20 million from CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield in October 2013 (CrunchBase). Healthways has a fairly new CEO as well, who joined last August and obviously feels comfortable adding to his team.