Carephone calling for beta tester partners

From reader Stephen Westley, the sales director of The Carephone, well-known in the UK as one of the long-time telecare companies supporting carers via technology that enables older adults and the disabled to live more independently, is a call for beta tester partners (UK and Ireland only) of the new home sensor kit (see photo below, click to enlarge) Smart Sense.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/carephonekit.jpg” thumb_width=”300″ /]

Stephen may be reached at 0800 849 9254, email swestley@thecarephone.com  More on Twitter @thecarephone

 

Avizia over-subscribes its Series A by $6 million

Telemedicine startup Avizia announced an unusual bonus on what was thought to be a closed Series A with a $6 million additional investment. There was also an unusual investor–the New York-Presbyterian health system. The add-on was led by HealthQuest Capital. Also reported was an extension of Silicon Valley Bank’s agreement for $3 million in debt financing and a $1.5 million line of credit. In July, the first part of the Series A had $11 million from Blue Heron Capital, HealthQuest Capital and five other investors. Total investment is over $22.7 million. From a start in telemedicine carts using Cisco Telepresence, Avizia developed software and apps for mobile devices, including secure messaging for doctors within hospitals. The new funds will be used to upgrade its engineering capabilities to build new capabilities into its telehealth platform, integration with electronic health records and the ability to monitor the battery life of remote diagnostic devices. Also unusual is that they market in the US, UK and Australia covering 400 health systems, including 1,000 hospitals. MedCityNews, Crunchbase

Tender Alert: Simulation for Digital Health (SimDH) and A2i needs CRM supplier (UK)

London South Bank University (LSBU) is seeking a supplier for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for its A2i and SimDH initiatives. This will house “reporting functions that can measure progress, achievement of target outputs/results and both intended and unintended impacts….The CRM system will provide end-to-end management for all SMEs participating in the projects.” The contract is valued up to £20,000. More information on the contract tender is here on the Gov.UK site. Act quickly–it closes 10 November. Hat tip to reader Susanne Woodman.

Virtual care stops germs dead in their tracks! (Who would have thought it?)

Here at TTA we do receive and read a lot of press releases, and most are pretty meh. (We work very hard to avoid subjecting our readers to meh, as we don’t much like it either.) Now this one takes a different tack. It backs up telemedicine and telehealth technology that enables the patient to avoid the germ-filled doctor’s office and ED. According to Zipnosis citing the Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology journal, after the standard well-child visit, there is a 3.17 percent increase in influenza-like illnesses among children and their family members within two weeks. Extrapolated, this results in more than 766,000 additional office visits for flu-like symptoms each year and nearly $492 million in annual costs. Now here is a simple, proactive improvement in outcomes that achieves savings (hear that, HHS and NHS?) facilitated by healthcare technology. (See previous article on ‘A tricorder one step closer‘)

The remainder of the release concentrates on what a bad idea it is to subject the rest of the world to your germs when down with a cold or flu. Even the CDC wants patients to stay home from work, school and errands. (That is, if you can.) The point is made that virtual care can unjam doctor offices and EDs for those less dangerous who need hands on care. The light touch of the product message is that Zipnosis provides a white-labeled virtual care platform to health systems that first uses an online adaptive interview with a patient to document the condition, provides a diagnosis and treatment plan within an hour, directing the patient to an appropriate level of care. Release.

A tricorder one step closer: Tyto Care gains FDA clearance for its digital stethoscope (US)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Mom_using_on_child_ear.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Only a few years ago, the Star of the Future of Digital Health was the ‘tricorder’–that all-in-one vital signs device that Bones on Star Trek wielded with such élan (when he wasn’t uttering ‘He’s dead, Jim’). We haven’t heard much from Scanadu since early last year when it raised $35 million for its Series B and when it teamed with with Northern Ireland’s Intelesens as a finalist for the seemingly never-ending Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. (Seven finalists are now in consumer testing with awards in early 2017.)

In the meantime, others have been proceeding in bringing their devices into reality far sooner, for real people with everyday health problems who want to examine a child, another family member or even themselves at home. One of these companies is Israel’s Tyto Care (picture above at left), which received FDA 510(k) Class II clearance for its digital stethoscope snap-on to the main device to monitor heart and lung sounds. The device also includes a digital imaging otoscope for ear exams, a throat scope, a skin camera and thermometer swipe. The Tyto home device includes video guidance instructions as part of the smartphone or tablet platform to enable a correct reading. It connects to an online platform to send the information, either in real time or store-and-forward, to a primary care physician the user selects. Tyto Care has been in investigational marketing in the US as well as Israel, bolstered by over $18 million in international investment. They are targeting home DTC as well as professional markets through practices, payers, virtual visit providers and possibly retail (one of their investors is Walgreens Boots). Release If you are attending MEDICA 2017 in Düsseldorf on 16 November, you can see Tyto Care demonstrated at the 5th Annual MEDICA App Competition.

Another all-in-one device is Las Vegas-based MedWand, which is still in pre-marketing. MedWand seems to feature clinic and ‘group’ packages as well as the individual device which includes a pulse oximeter. They received another round of undisclosed financing from Maxim Ventures, the venture arm for semi-conductor developer Maxim Integrated Products at end of September. Release.

Using telehealth to improve night-time ICU care

Intensive Care Units treat the most sick people in a hospital and requires round-the-clock staffing by doctors and nurses. 24-hour staffing, however, means shift working and an inevitable night shift. To make it fair on all staff the shifts are usually rotated so any doctor or nurse would do a period on one shift and then move to the next shift.

It is not surprising that the more senior staff manage to have less night work than newer, less experienced ones. On the other hand night shifts may have attractions such as extra pay and this may be more important to the lower paid less experienced staff than to the higher paid senior ones. Also, the cost of staffing nights with less experienced staff may prove cheaper for the hospital. Nevertheless, the patients’ needs are no less important at night than during the day. Another aspect of night-time care is the possibility that a doctor or nurse may not be as alert at night as they would be in the day-time.

Looking at these downsides of night-time ICU care staffing, an hospital in the US has come up with a novel idea – move the doctors and nurses to a zone where it is day-time when it is night-time at the hospital and use telehealth to connect them. This is counter intuitive and has its own drawbacks.

Georgia’s largest healthcare provider Emory Healthcare is sending some ICU doctors and nurses to Sydney, Australia, for tours of six to nine weeks at a time, in a trial to staff ICU at night with health staff in a daylight zone using telehealth. The six month trial in collaboration with Philips and Australia’s Maquarie Health has been underway for 3 months.

The reason this is counter-intuitive is that telehealth was invented to overcome the problems associated with healthcare professionals and patients not being at the same location and here the two are being artificially removed to two ends of the world. While telehealth is a good solution to the diagnosis and treatment from afar, most professionals are likey to agree that it is inferior to being face to face with the patient. So it will be good to see the conclusions reached by this trial on how any drawbacks of distance balances out with having more alert doctors and nurses.

See also mHealth Intelligence article here.

Touch and feeling through a bionic prosthetic arm (DARPA-Univ. Pittsburgh)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/bionic-arm.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /]A robotic arm with a neural interface that allows the user to experience touch has been developed by the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  The Revolutionizing Prosthetics program since 2006 has been developing advanced upper-limb prosthetics. Their first was the Gen-3 Arm System by DEKA Integrated Solutions Corporation, submitted for 510(k) in 2012. The subject for the test of the touch interface, Nathan, has been a quadriplegic from the chest down since 2004. He permitted four microelectrode arrays, each about half the size of a shirt button, to be placed in his brain: two in the motor cortex and two in the sensory cortex regions that correspond to feeling in his fingers and palm. Wires run from the arrays to the robotic arm, which has torque sensors that detect when pressure is applied to its fingers. These physical “sensations” are converted into electrical signals back to the arrays in Nathan’s brain so that he has the sensation of feeling and touch.  The sensation of touch in the bionic arm is near 100 percent natural and accurate. This research has great potential both for prosthetics and for other neurological conditions. Armed With Science.  Video

eTELEMED/MATH 2017: call for contributions deadline extended

19-23 March 2017,  Nice, France

eTELEMED, the Ninth International Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine, and Social Medicine, and the co-located MATH (Mobile and Assistive Technology for Healthcare), are both calling for submissions of original scientific results. These contributions and presentations can take any one of these forms:

Contributions:
– regular papers [in the proceedings, digital library] – short papers (work in progress) [in the proceedings, digital library] – ideas: two pages [in the proceedings, digital library] – extended abstracts: two pages [in the proceedings, digital library] – posters: two pages [in the proceedings, digital library] – posters: slide only [slide-deck posted at www.iaria.org] – presentations: slide only [slide-deck posted at www.iaria.org] – demos: two pages [posted at www.iaria.org] – doctoral forum submissions: [in the proceedings, digital library]

Proposals for:
– mini symposia: see http://www.iaria.org/symposium.html
– workshops: see http://www.iaria.org/workshop.html
– tutorials: [slide-deck posed on www.iaria.org] – panels: [slide-deck posed on www.iaria.org]

Submission deadline is 19 November. The general information pages have more information on the conference tracks and topics. Links:  eTELEMED: General information, submission page; MATH: General information, submission page