The Independent for Longer website has been profiled on the website magazine Ucan2, which highlights mobility aids, assistive technologies, and techniques for better management of a wide variety of disabilities, including learning and autism spectrum. The website showcases real-life TECS (technology enabled care solutions) in the form of seven ‘case studies’ spanning ages from 20 to 79: brain injury, stroke, epilepsy, collapse, ill health, heart failure, and learning difficulties. Each leads the viewer through how a home can be enabled through the selective use of equipment to support independent living. The eighth section is about ‘Billy the Dog’, the Dementia Dog funded through JustGiving in memory of Tynetec’s Billy and Lisa Graham. The ‘Interested in Telecare’ page, where the user can find a service provider, links to the ‘Consumers and Carers’ page of the TSA website, where the first tab is ‘Find a Service’. This website is funded by Tynetec, which is part of Legrand Assisted Living and Healthcare–but is unbranded. Tynetec and Legrand are long-time supporters of this website.
higi, the wellness kiosk + consumer engagement program, received an infusion of ‘vitamin B’–as in Series B–from Blue Cross Blue Shield Venture Partners. The exact amount is undisclosed in reports. This adds to their Jan 2016 $40 million venture round (Crunchbase). BCBS Venture Partners is the investment arm of the BlueCross BlueShield trade association, which licenses the BCBS names to insurers.
They also took the opportunity to announce their acquisition of the EveryMove fitness tracker/wellness incentive app primarily marketed to employers. The tie-in is that higi’s wellness program also integrates data from 80 different devices, wearables, and apps, plus the kiosk locations. higi claims 11,000 locations at places like RiteAid, Publix and Stop&Shop; 36 million users, 4.5 million who’ve signed up for a higi account and 200 million screenings. Where they need improvement is the number of sticky users who stay with them over time, which is where an employer-based program like EveryMove fits. Built in Chicago, PRNewswire release
CEO and controlling shareholder Elizabeth Holmes is offering shareholders, supposedly from her personal holdings, about two additional shares for each one purchased. This has been offered to the investors in the 2014-2015 $600 million round who bought in at about $15-17/share (ch. 27), such as Cox and Bechtel. The deal dilutes their share cost to about $5. The caveat? Don’t sue Theranos. According to the Wall Street Journal‘s report (Yahoo Finance as WSJ is paywalled), it was approved by Theranos’s board in February, and most investors have ‘signaled that they will sign off on it’. Others are the family of US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Waltons of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and John Elkann, the Italian industrialist who controls Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
One who is washing his hands is News Corp. executive chairman Rupert Murdoch. He reached a separate settlement for a nominal sum–rumored to be $1–to sell back his shares and legally write off his $125 million investment.
Others are not so lucky. Early investors before that round are not included. (more…)
What’s better than a chilly early spring dive into the North Sea of Health Data Insecurity?
Accenture’s report released in February calculated that 26 percent of Americans had experienced a health care-related data breach. 50 percent of those were victims of medical identity theft and had to pay out an average of $2,500 in additional cost. One-third (36 percent) believed the breach took place in hospitals, followed by urgent care and pharmacies (both 22 percent). How did they find out? Credit card and insurer statements were usual, with only one-third being notified by their provider. Interestingly, a scant 12 percent of data breach victims reported the breach to the organization holding their data. (You’d think they’d be screaming?) The samples were taken between November 2016 and January 2017. Accenture has similar surveys for UK, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, Norway, and Saudi Arabia. Release PDF of the US Digital Trust Report
So what’s 16 million breaches between friends? Or 4 million? Or 27 million?
- That is the number (well, 15.9 million and change) of healthcare/medical records breached in 2016 in 376 breaches reported by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a Federally/privately supported non-profit. Healthcare, no surprise, is far in the lead with 34 percent and 44 percent respectively. The 272 pages of the 2016 End of Year Report will take more than a casual read, but much of its data is outside of healthcare.
- For a cross-reference, we look to the non-profit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse which for many years has been a go-to resource for researchers. PRC’s 2016 numbers are lower, substantially so in the number of records: 301 breaches and 4 million records.
- HIMSS and Healthcare IT News insist that ransomware is under-reported, (more…)
Can health tech help? Sepsis, according to the CDC, is “a complication caused by the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.” It often happens when another underlying condition is occurring, but which cannot be located, but the sepsis is overwhelming and must be treated first. The sepsis has to be treated quickly, or else the patient winds up being a statistic, or worse, disabled or dead. The UK Sepsis Trust estimates 37,000 annual deaths (derived from an extrapolated dataset provided to the UK Sepsis Trust by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) in 2006) with an estimated 200,000 cases per year. In the US, the estimate is over a million cases a year (NIH). Worldwide, it may be 15-19 million cases. The odds are that sepsis may have touched you, a family member, friend or someone you know. (For this Editor, two in the past six months–and one did not make it.)
There may be a treatment that is both effective and cost-effective, a combination that is hard to beat. It was developed on the ICU front lines at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital (Norfolk General), located in Norfolk, Virginia. An ICU physician, Dr. Paul Marik, who is also chief of pulmonary and critical care at Eastern Virginia Medical School, had read journal articles on treating sepsis with IV infusions of vitamin C. For a patient sinking fast, to the vitamin C infusion he added hydrocortisone to bring down inflammation. (more…)
Susanne Woodman, our Eye on Tenders, is advising our Readers of a substantial Innovate UK project in the form of a competition–and it is coming up quickly. From their web page:
NHS Scotland, working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Government, has up to £400,000 to invest in projects that use technology and digital platforms to support and manage inflammatory bowel disease.
The competition is looking for proposals that:
- help patients manage their health from home
- promote independence and support people to be more involved in decisions about their care
- facilitate easier and quicker communication with clinicians
This competition is funded under SBRI (the Small Business Research Initiative) and will have 3 phases – feasibility study, prototype development and pre-commercial testing.
The competition opened on 20 March 2017, and the deadline for registration is at midday on 10 May 2017. There’s a briefing being held in Inverness on 4 April 2017. More information and application link on the Gov.uk website.
On the lighter side, as you’re doing your food shopping this weekend, think about the lucky souls of the Tampa Bay area who soon will be able to fit in a virtual doctor visit between picking up a dozen eggs and the laundry detergent! The BayCare Health System will be installing private rooms at select Publix supermarkets with video conference capability plus some medical diagnostic equipment, including stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs. BayCare currently provides telemedicine and consults using the BayCareAnywhere app. The telemedicine system they are using is not disclosed.)
Publix is no stranger to telehealth/telemedicine, having earlier piloted with The Little Clinic (now owned by Kroger supermarkets) in a dozen locations, exiting in 2011. BayCare will also partner with the higi wellness stations already in some Publix markets to send patient results to BayCare physicians (their app system is not mentioned). Based on the BayCare Anywhere pictures, their target market are busy families, young singles and couples, and older children where the supermarket is convenient and often 24/7. (But where are the older people, quite populous in FL year round, who don’t have to be online or download an app?) WLRN (radio and TV)
The effect on healthcare? The categories are very broad, but the third category of employment affected is administrative and support services at 37 percent, followed by professional, scientific and technical at 26 percent, and human health and social work at 17 percent. Will it increase productivity and thus salaries, which have languished in the past decade? Will it speed innovation and care in our area? Will it help the older population to be healthy and productive? And the societal effects will roll on, but perhaps not for some. View this wonderful exchange between Jean Harlow and Marie Dressler that closes the 1933 film Dinner at Eight. Hat tip to Guy Dewsbury @dewsbury via Twitter
A must read on telemedicine and telehealth cost. One of our Readers, Bruce Judson, commented on our earlier coverage of RAND Health’s new study published in Health Affairs [TTA 8 Mar] finding that telemedicine virtual visits (here called telehealth) drove up utilization of care by 88 percent and cost by $45 per year for respiratory illnesses that typically resolved on their own.
He has written his own analysis based on the full study. Telehealth Costs: RAND’s Questionable Rant (Huffington Post), considers the full study and compares it to a 2014 RAND study by the same authors. Mr Judson notes inconsistencies in sampling and definitions; the illogical attachment of a waiting period cost (77 minutes=$30) to a telehealth visit (perhaps to level it with an office visit?); the misinterpretation of results; small sample size; and the fact that the CalPERS sample is ancient (2011-13), representative of a time when telemedicine (here provided by Teladoc) was a new notion. There are inconsistencies with an earlier RAND study based on the same data! (He does not count in costs outside the study such as lost time at work or the cost of spreading infection to co-workers.)
Mr Judson, after many years in publishing, digital marketing and strategy (from when it was called ‘new media’), and currently an advisor to a UK firm investing in IoT, has cast his lot with us in health tech, heading a firm in the Hudson Valley of NY, Telehealthworks, which markets an employer telemedicine and wellness program called freshbenies. While he discloses that he’s not a disinterested observer or researcher, he has that in common with most of our Readers, who are very interested in determining the truth about costs and savings. He gives many reasons to be skeptical of the RAND findings.
It looks like the long-running Jawbone v. Fitbit trade secrets show will continue in California Superior Court. Judge Richard Ulmer on Friday (24 Mar) in San Francisco ruled that the scope of the Jawbone-initiated lawsuit, charging that Fitbit and five former Jawbone employees stole trade secrets, was far larger than the dismissal handed down last October by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, DC, rejecting Fitbit’s claim. To Bloomberg Technology, a Jawbone spokesperson crowed, “We look forward now to focusing on presenting our case to a California jury, which will not be bound by the strict procedural limitations that we faced in the ITC. We will push the case to trial as quickly as possible and are confident that justice will be done.” Fitbit is expected to appeal, but this is not good news for them if this drags out–their share price is down 72 percent from a year ago (Marketwatch)–and threatens their IP which is key to a pivot to the clinical monitoring market.
A sidebar to this is Business Insider’s recent report that one of Jawbone’s law firms, Susman Godfrey LLP, has withdrawn from three pending cases citing ‘professional considerations’, remaining on two. This Editor cannot confirm whether Susman Godfrey is representing Jawbone in the above case, as Plainsite records indicate that Skadden Arps is their counsel. The California courts website has not been updated for the case (Aliphcom Inc. v. Fitbit Inc., CGC15-546004). Previous TTA coverage 9 Feb.
Wednesday 5 April’s MedStartr/Health 2.0 NYC presentation on healthcare’s evolution will be a little more relaxed with three panelists so far, but they are rare ‘gets’: Greg Downing, DO is the Executive Director of Innovation at the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), an institution much in the news with Federal changes in healthcare. Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH developed the first commercial cloud-based EHR, Hello Health, back in 2008 and founded his current telemedicine company, Sherpaa Health, five years ago. Rich Park, MD is both host and the founder-CEO of CityMD. All have different views of how healthcare is evolving, so it should be both an interesting and full evening. It begins at 6 and wraps up at 9pm, with plenty of networking time.
Tickets are $35. Advance reservations are required due to building security. Ticketing is being done through the Meetup Group Health 2.0 NYC here. If you are not a member, please email MedStartr directly at members@Medstartr.com.
Videos are now online for the 22 March Hospital Innovations program and 1 March’s Rise of the Healthy Machines (#RISE2017). The latter includes keynotes, panels, and the six pitches for the Challenge. December’s #MedMo16 is also online.
TTA is a MedStartr and Health 2.0 NYC supporter/media sponsor since 2010; Editor Donna is a host for this event and a MedStartr Mentor. Check the MedStartr page to find and fund some of the most interesting startup ideas in healthcare.
Almost exactly 14 months to the day since the press release announcing a pilot of a telemedicine service, the first patient is said to have undergone treatment using the Dubai Health Authority’s RoboDoc telemedicine system according to Middle East North Africa Financial Network. The patient was based in Hatta Hospital and the respiratory specialists were based at Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre according to the report. RoboDoc units, from InTouch Health, have also been installed at two primary care centres in Dubai.
In a previous TTA article this editor expressed surprise that telehealth would be of interest to Dubai which is only 1600 square miles in area. Having considered the details of the implementation the interest is partially explained by the fact that Hatta is an outpost separated from the rest of Dubai, 135 km (84 miles) from Rashid Hospital.
However, the other two centres at which the RoboDoc devices have been installed, Al Bashar Health Centre (15 miles from Rashid Hospital) and Nad Al Hammar Health Centre (7 miles from Rashid) (more…)
Remember the Quantified Selfer’s fascination with sleep tracking and all those sleep-specific devices that went away, taking their investors’ millions with them? Fitbit and many smartwatches work with apps to give the wearer feedback on their sleep hygiene, but the devices and apps themselves can deliver faulty information. This is according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine called “Orthosomnia: Are Some Patients Taking the Quantified Self Too Far?” (abstract) by Kelly Glazer Baron, MD with researchers from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. “The patients’ inferred correlation between sleep tracker data and daytime fatigue may become a perfectionistic quest for the ideal sleep in order to optimize daytime function. To the patients, sleep tracker data often feels more consistent with their experience of sleep than validated techniques, such as polysomnography or actigraphy.” (more…)
The HealthIMPACT series of mainly single-day events on health tech/HIT’s effect on healthcare now covers several major cities in the US. What this Editor likes about them is that they compress a great deal of information in a single day, with well-presented, relaxed panel discussions with top executives and figures in the industry. They are also held in interesting venues like the Union League Club in NYC. Panels are being hosted this year by former colleagues from Health 2.0 NYC Megan Antonelli of Purpose Events and “The Healthcare IT Guy” Shahid Shah, with new vice chair Mandi Bishop, a HIT entrepreneur who was a Challenge Competitor at #MedMo16. Here’s the HealthIMPACT schedule with links to the individual events:
Texas Medical Innovation Center | TMCx
April 4th, 2017 Receive a 20% discount off registration–use HIEB2017
Florida Hospital Innovation Lab, Werner Auditorium, Orlando, FL
May 4th, 2017
Union League Club, New York, NY
June 5th, 2017 (note that this is a new date, changed from the date on the website)
HealthIMPACT WISE/Women in Information Science Retreat
Sundance Mountain Resort, Sundance, UT
June 23-25, 2017
Matter Health, Chicago, IL
September 14, 2017
San Francisco, CA, October 7, 2017
TTA is a media partner of HealthIMPACT for 2017.