The most important event in two weeks’ time: the Future of Medicine on June 13th at the RSM!

In two weeks’ time, Donald Trump may meet Kim Jong-Un in Singapore and the World Cup will begin, though even more importantly the Royal Society of Medicine will be holding its fourth Future of Medicine event in partnership with the Institute of Engineering and Technology: on June 13th to be precise.

The full title is the Future of Medicine: the role of doctors in 2028.  The conference will explore just how far the delivery of health and care will be improved by the availability of new technology over the next decade, and what the latest predictions are by those working in the field of how this will change the way medicine will really be practised. It is aimed primarily at senior executives in the health and care world whose decisions today will hasten – or hinder – the arrival of improved technology-enabled care, though it’s relevant to anyone with an interest in knowing what’s happening at the cutting edge of how medical technology is changing medicine.

One area of focus will be training doctors to work in this new world: Professor Joanne Martin will describe how Barts are tackling this, and Dr Jean Nehme will describe how technology can specifically help train surgeons. Dr Harpreet Sood (not yet in the published programme) has kindly offered to talk about how the NHS Digital Academy fits into the picture. The future of the profession will be explored by Dr Will Cavendish, now at Arup,  and Professor Pali Hungin.

AI is a key topic running through the event, for which Dr Clare Novorol of Ada.com and Dr Richard Dybowski of Cambridge University will offer contrasting views and Dr Vishal Nangalia will look specifically at its impact on surgery. Promoting innovation is clearly key, and our distinguished ‘regular’, Professor Tony Young will give another of his high-intensity presentations on it.  Speakers on specific key relevant topics will include Professor Rachel McKendry on rapid diagnostic tests, Dr James Wollard on changing the way mental health is managed and Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu on the future of nanomedicine. Finally, wrapping it all up, Andy Wilkins, Consultant, and Chris Burghes, CEO, The Royal Free Charity, will describe the new vision they have been developing of the future of person-centred care. 

Another great day, in short, and at the usual very low cost RSM rates!

For more information, and to book, click here.

(Disclosure, this editor was involved in putting together this conference.)

CNET spotlights ‘comfort companions’ and therapy robots

CNET, generally a home for all things whiz-bang and techy, is unusually but admirably spotlighting tech that assists the disabled and older adults. The latest in its Tech Enabled series focuses on robotics and AI-assisted comfort companions to help the sick–children undergoing medical treatment and adults with dementia. 

We’ve previously covered the PARO therapeutic seal, here in use with dementia, PTSD, and TBI residents in a VA Hospital in Livermore, California, It’s now in its 13th year of distribution and on its ninth release. Our prior criticism was only that it could benefit far more people if production were higher and prices were lower. 

Insurer AFLAC has developed with Sproutel the ‘My Special Aflac Duck’, designed for children undergoing treatment for cancer. The stuffed duck has a microphone, sensors, and pre-programming to respond to the child. The child can place discs on the duck’s stomach which are “feeler cards” which reflect moods from sad to happy. It can also be taken care of with ‘feeding’ and bathing (the furry cover is removable). AFLAC is donating the $200 cost of the therapy duck for a wider release this fall. Sproutel previously designed Jerry the Bear for children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, where they learn to monitor blood sugar levels and give insulin shots to the bear via an AR phone app.

The writer and videos attest to the comfort and control patients feel with these comfort companions (and plus). Where articles like this in CNET contribute is in increasing general awareness that these are available here and now. One only wishes they and research on them were more widely available. 

VA’s ‘Anywhere to Anywhere’ telehealth initiative finalizes

VA Secretaries may come and go (or never get there), but their initiatives stay. With much fanfare last year, then-Secretary David Shulkin announced the ‘Anywhere to Anywhere’ telehealth and telemedicine program [TTA 3 Aug]. This program will use VA practitioners to provide virtual patient care across state lines when a veteran cannot make it to a VA hospital or clinic. The Department of Veterans Affairs published the proposed rule last October [TTA 3 Oct 17] with the Final Rule published in the Federal Register on 11 May.

Technically, it preempts state and local regulations around telehealth. “VA is exercising Federal preemption of conflicting State laws relating to the practice of healthcare providers; laws, rules, regulations, or other requirements are preempted to the extent such State laws conflict with the ability of VA health care providers to engage in the practice of telehealth while acting within the scope of their VA employment.”

It was widely supported by ATA, the American Association of Family Physicians, American Medical Informatics Association, Federal Trade Commission, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), and many other industry organizations. It also enjoys wide Congressional support.

There is plenty of room for growth. Only 1 percent of VA’s veterans used Home Telehealth, while 12 percent used other forms of telehealth. They will be doing so with few suppliers: Medtronic, 1Vision/AMC Health, and Care Innovations. Iron Bow/Vivify Health was found to not have tablets which met the US production qualification. This Editor wonders how the current three suppliers will fare.

This telehealth program will be located in the apparently newly named Veterans Health Administration Office of Connected Care. mHealthIntelligence.com

Building Better Healthcare Awards 2018 open for entries (UK)

Our former Eye on Tenders, Susanne Woodman of BRE, has informed us that this year’s BBH Awards is seeking organizations which are implementing healthcare technologies and software. These can be either process-centered (e.g. information or workflow systems) or patient-centered (e.g. medication compliance, smoking cessation). The organizer, HPCI Media, is accepting entries until 30 June. 

There will be 27 awards across five classes: Building Design, Technology, Estates and Facilities, Staff and Patient Experience, and Special Awards. Last year’s awardees are here. Another theme is the 70th Anniversary of the NHS. 

This year’s awards will be on 31 October at The Brewery in Chiswell Street, London.

Our very best to Susanne as she sets out on new horizons!

The magic quadrant matrix strikes again for health tech and investment potential

click to enlargeDeceptively simple, the quadrant matrix can make sense out of actions and decisions. As a management tool, it can help you prioritize what is most urgent and important, or how to vary your supervisory/coaching style based on the person’s skill and will levels.

Here we see the magic box used by Krishna Yeshwant, MD, a doctor and investor with GV, Alphabet’s venture firm, to sort out all those Next Revolutions in Health Care. The factors that Dr. Yeshwant uses pertain to the end user’s medical and social needs, often called social determinants of health (SDH). Both are meshed, whether in an active older veteran who lives alone in a rural area but manages his diabetes well, or in a homeless substance user in a city with multiple medical conditions.

Most non-medical entrepreneurs prefer to develop tech and services for people like them with low medical/low social needs, such as virtual doctor apps, concierge primary care, and wellness apps. It’s a crowded quadrant and perhaps is over-served. Those with a medical background appear to gravitate to the diagonal quadrant–high medical/high social needs, such as those targeted to the ‘underserved’ with diabetes or high-need care model management, such as Aledade and Iora Health. Where does the investment money go? Their money goes to companies which have developed high medical need therapeutics such as expensive treatments for cancer, neatly avoiding those complex social factors.

What is missing: innovation in low medical/high social needs. This group is at high risk to move into high medical needs due to their lack of organization and access to/willingness for primary care. This Editor agrees, but if another factor is observed–profitability–this is likely the least potential of the four. So if you want to get Dr. Y’s attention and maybe some moolah from Alphabet…. From his presentation at the HLTH meeting last week in Las Vegas. CNBC.

Hungary’s burgeoning med and health tech scene comes to NYC

The NYC MedTech Medical Technology Forum has, for some years, presented programs which bring together the life science, biotech, medical device, and pharma industries. Attendees are always an eclectic mix of executives, reporters, scientists, academics, attorneys, and developers as well as representatives of trade organizations and international partners.

click to enlargeLast week’s presentation at the Consulate General of Hungary provided a view of global health tech rarely seen in the US–the view from Central Europe. It focused on Central European and in particular Hungarian health tech companies, ranging from Big Pharma (Janssen Pharmaceutical/J&J) and law firm Goodwin to six early-stage companies participating in the V4 Connects Global Tour business showcase. The Visegrad Group (the V4) are four Central European countries within the EU–Hungary (this year’s president), Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Slovak Republic–that have worked together since 1991 to promote their regional interests. 

The evening led off with a discussion panel led by Goodwin’s Frederick Rein, a partner in their IP Litigation Group, with Scott Lassman from their Technology & Life Sciences Group and Peter Takacs, Director Real World Evidence Partnership in the Global Market Access Organization of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Most of the discussion was on the differences in drug regulation between the EU and the US, and the swing back in the latter to getting more innovative medical products to US consumers quickly. A hot area is biosimilars, branded drugs that are highly similar but not identical to other drugs, which are gaining FDA approval through the 351(k) pathway. Other topics: the US increasing pressure on pricing and the UK’s Brexit, which will present challenges to drug and device developers from staffing to markets.

Over Hungarian food, drink (excellent Hungarian red and white wines), and networking in adjacent rooms, the five tech-based early stage-companies had café table displays of their products. :

  • Insimu – Interactive medical case study education app with simulated patients for students to test their diagnostic and clinical skills on virtual patients. The founder, Gabor Toth MD, is targeting medical schools: currently in use in Hungary and 39 other countries. 
  • Vitrolink – Imaged-based tumor detection tool for pathology decision support. While the number of diagnostic tests is increasing, the number of pathologists worldwide is actually decreasing. Vitrolink is a free connecting platform for pathologists to share information which will eventually move to researchers and patients. Contact Dr. István Szarka.
  • Now Tech – The Gyroset is a smart wheelchair controller and proportional head controller, an unobtrusive band that contains an eye level camera.
  • click to enlargeNotch – Movements reconstructed in 3D for smartphones. The main use is in physical therapy. It captures position, motion, and acceleration through multiple sensors, calculating and graphically representing degrees of motion. Contact Stepan Boltalin, founder/CEO.
  • click to enlargeME3D – 3D CFD-based analysis system for vascular anastomosis (suturing). The co-founder, Balazs Gasz MD, is a vascular surgeon and the kit plus model offers a realistic recreation of the surgical vascular environment (left) for medical training.

(The sixth, Promobox, is a gift box for maternity/baby products available in Hungary’s hospitals.)

Many thanks to founder/organizer John Lieberman CPA/PFS, the Managing Director of Perelson Weiner LLP and Gábor Takács, Hungarian 1st Secretary for Science and Technology, who will shortly be moving to London.

Events roundup: The King’s Fund, SEHTA, RSM, VR4REHAB, Parks Associates, HealthIMPACT, Telemedicine SPS

click to enlargeIt’s spring into summer, prime time for healthcare and related conferences.

If you are in the UK, prime territory on your calendar will be marked for 10-11 July in London at The King’s Fund 2018 Digital Health and Care Congress. Content and case studies include creating the right culture for large-scale digital change, using digital technology to improve quality of care, prevention and changing behaviors, population health informatics, tools for self-management, and much more. Find out more here. It includes a drinks reception on Tuesday 11th. Follow The King’s Fund on Twitter here: #KFdigital18. TTA is a media partner of the Digital Health Congress.

Hacking for Solutions is the prior week (4-5 July). It’s part of the three-year VR4REHAB project, with partners including The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Teesside University, with the objective of developing new VR applications that promote better function and outcomes for patients and children with disabilities. Find out more on the UK Hackathon here and the international program here. At Brunel University London, Department of Clinical Sciences, Mary Seacole Building, Kingston Lane. 

SEHTA’s 2018 AGM & Annual Conference is 13 June at the Mary Sumner House, 24 Tufton Street, London. More information here.

The RSM has two upcoming events presented by the Telemedicine and eHealth Section: The 4th Annual Future of Medicine: The Role of Doctors in 2028 on 13 June and the timely Health Data: Who Owns It and How to Keep It Safe on 24 September.

And last, the Digital Healthcare Show will be 27-28 June at ExCeL London as part of Health+Care, positioned as Europe’s largest integrated health and social care event. More information on their very flashy website here. The TSA will host their Summer Forum at the Technology Enabled Care Theatre including updates on key areas for TEC and why regulation and standards are so vitally important for TECS. TSA members can receive discounted passes. UK Telehealthcare will also have members’ activities during the show.

For more upcoming UK Telehealthcare events starting 7-8 June, click the advert at the upper right. 

In the US, Parks Associates’ 2018 Connected Health Summit: Engaging Consumers will be held 28-30 August at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California. This year will analyze the role of innovative connected health solutions in driving changes in consumer behaviors as well as how healthcare systems, insurers, and hospital networks interact with consumers.  Speaker submissions are open until 1 June–more information is hereEarly registration is open. TTA is a media partner of the Connected Health Summit and there will be more on this as we move closer to the event.

HealthIMPACT East moves to Washington, DC’s National Union Building 18-20 July with deep dives, re-think tanks, and re-boot camps. Their goal is to improve healthcare through technologies making a meaningful impact on patient outcomes and experience through honest and candid best practice sharing. The new format provides a TED-like experience to senior health system leadership. Register before 1 June with promo code HIEEB2018 to save 30%. The Digital Medicine Conference will return to NYC on 5-7 December. TTA is a past media partner of HealthIMPACT.

The Telemedicine & Telehealth Service Provider Summit (SPS) is annually organized by the Arizona Telemedicine Program, one of the pioneering organizations of practitioners in the US. This year the meeting is 8-9 October in Glendale, AZ, but abstracts for poster presentations are still open till 30 June. 

WannaCry’s anniversary: have we learned our malware and cybersecurity lessons?

Hard to believe that WannaCry, and the damage this malware wreaked worldwide, was but a year ago. Two months later, there was Petya/NotPetya. We’ve had hacking and ransomware eruptions regularly, the latest being the slo-mo malware devised by the Orangeworm hackers. What WannaCry and Petya/NotPetya had in common, besides cyberdamage, was they were developed by state actors or hackers with state support (North Korea and–suspected–Russia and/or Ukraine).

The NHS managed to evade Petya, which was fortunate as they were still repairing damage from WannaCry, which initially was reported to affect 20 percent of NHS England trusts. The final count was 34 percent of trusts–at least 80 out of 236 hospital trusts in England, as well as 603 primary care practices and affiliates. 

Has the NHS learned its lesson, or is it still vulnerable? A National Audit Office report concluded in late October that the Department of Health and the NHS were warned at least a year in advance of the risk.  “It was a relatively unsophisticated attack and could have been prevented by the NHS following basic IT security best practice.” There was no mechanism in place for ensuring migration of Windows XP systems and old software, requested by April 2015, actually happened. Another basic–firewalls facing the internet–weren’t actively managed. Worse, there was no test or rehearsal for a cyberdisruption. “As the NHS had not rehearsed for a national cyber attack it was not immediately clear who should lead the response and there were problems with communications.” NHS Digital was especially sluggish in response, receiving first reports around noon but not issuing an alert till 5pm. It was fortunate that WannaCry had a kill switch, and it was found as quickly as it was by a British security specialist with the handle Malware Tech. 

Tests run since WannaCry have proven uneven at best. While there has been reported improvement, even head of IT audit and security services at West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust and a penetration tester for NHS trusts, said that they were “still finding some real shockers out there still.” NHS Digital deputy CEO Rob Shaw told a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in February that 200 NHS trusts tested against cyber security standards had failed. MPs criticized the NHS and the Department of Health for not implementing 22 recommendations laid out by NHS England’s CIO, Will Smart. Digital Health News

Think ‘cyber-resilience’. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Healthcare organizations are never going to fix all the legacy systems that run their world. Medical devices and IoT add-ons will continue to run on outdated or never-updated platforms. Passwords are shared, initial passwords not changed in EHRs. Add to firewalls, prevention measures, emphasizing compliance and best practices, security cyber-resilience–more than a recovery plan, planning to keep operations running with warm backups ready to go, contingency plans, a way to make quick decisions on the main functions that keep the business going. Are healthcare organizations–and the NHS–capable of thinking and acting this way? WannaBet? CSO, Healthcare IT News. Hat tip to Joseph Tomaino of Grassi Healthcare Advisors via LinkedIn.

Blockchain deployment not matching the hype–so far. 34% of CIOs have ‘no interest’.

A Gartner study confirms blockchain’s Peak of Inflated Expectations position on the Hype Curve. Despite all the chatter, blockchain isn’t being deployed in a commensurate way. Among over 3,100 CIOs surveyed, only 1 percent reported “any kind of blockchain adoption” in their organization. On the other hand, 34 percent have ‘no interest.’ 8 percent said they were conducting short-term testing with blockchain, 14 percent had graduated to medium or long-term planning, and 43 percent said it was on the radar, but they had no plans to test or develop or deploy it. A major reason is a dearth of skills; 23 percent said the effort requires the “most new skills to implement” of any IT tool.

But spending on blockchain technology is geometrically increasing: estimates for 2018 are $2.1 bn, a 122 percent increase over 2017’s $945 million. More information in Gartner’s press release and blockchain page. Also Angus Loten in The Wall Street Journal.

As our Editor in Chief Emeritus Steve Hards explained in his recent must-read article on blockchain, especially in healthcare, “distributed ledger technologies are not just in their infancy, they are still at a baby stage. Many are still gestating. It may be worth waiting to see which ones thrive.” In healthcare, we have a far greater problem with interoperability and secure data exchange which blockchain can only partially address. 

Can chronic disease apps get adopted? Is it as simple as four steps? HBR states the obvious.

“Why Apps for Managing Chronic Disease Haven’t Been Widely Used, and How to Fix It” is an enticing title, and in the Harvard Business Review no less.

Here’s the advice that two Harvard Business School professors have for app developers. First, find an organization–an employer, an integrated health system that includes a payer–that’s willing to pay for your app. Then work the “adopt-diffuse-use-improve” cycle. Get them to adopt it, diffuse it through potential users (as in getting them to try the app), get them to continue using it, and improve the product.

You have to sled through about 500 words of exposition to get to this conclusion, obvious to anyone who’s worked in the field more than a couple of months. And oh, as if these steps were so easy to achieve! There’s the given example of Fitbit buying the Twine Health tracking/coaching app in a bid for a more integrated chronic disease management (CDM) approach–for those who’ve tracked Fitbit, and even the professors, its success remains to be seen. 

There are some nuggets of confirmation useful for presentations, such as you can’t generally sell monitoring apps direct to consumer because managing chronic disease is largely something to be avoided, except for the few with a different attitude, and most believe that insurers should pay for them at least in part. For clinicians, reimbursement and the differential between remote patient monitoring and in-person visits is a big factor.

What’s not mentioned: sustainable pricing that’s low enough for a health system, high enough to support a business; clinicians fitting All That Data into a clinical workflow, much less a patient record in an EHR. 

News roundup: First Stop, GlobalMed, American Well, Avizia, Medicity, Health Catalyst, Allscripts, Welbeing, BenevolentAI

click to enlargeAnnouncements and acquisitions have been multiplying–here’s what’s most interesting.

In companies we’ve recently written about:

Our recent Contributor Bruce Judson, now with corporate telemedicine provider First Stop Health, wrote us enroute to the Government Finance Officials Association conference in St. Louis that FSH achieved triple-digit top-line revenue growth and also achieved an average utilization rate of 52 percent. The formal announcement was made earlier this week at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas (release), where another one of our Contributors, Sarianne Gruber, is attending for Answers Media Company.

GlobalMed, a prior contributor to Perspectives, is offering a lower cost telemedicine alternative to practices with a flat fee starting at $799 per month for three years. Startup costs remain at about $5,000. The starting kit includes a cart, a total exam camera, stethoscope and vitals linked to the organization’s network, and a nurse license. Additional compatible equipment is available at extra cost. We know that a number of comparable telemedicine cart-based kits run upwards of $8,000. It is one of the first public acknowledgments this Editor has seen (but has known for years) that high cost is a major impediment for implementing both telehealth and telemedicine in practices. Health Data Management.

In other news:

Telemedicine and telehealth consolidation continues with American Well’s acquisition of hospital-based telemed/workflow systems provider Avizia. Avizia has a product line of telemedicine carts and workflow software for 40 different specialties, including telestroke and telebehavioral health. The acquisition price was not disclosed. Prior investors in this 2013 Cisco spinoff include Northwell Health, NY-Presbyterian, HealthQuest, and other providers in seven rounds totaling over $23 million. Healthcare IT News

A further sign of consolidation, this time in the crowded health information business, is the Medicity acquisition by Health Catalyst. Health Catalyst is primarily a data analytics and warehousing company while Medicity focuses more on data interoperability and patient engagement for practices, health systems, and HIEs. Medicity was purchased by Aetna in 2011 with much fanfare for $500 million as one of its ‘Emerging Businesses’, rebranded as Healthagen in 2013 [TTA 28 Feb 14] which never quite took off. Out of that unit, what remains are Active Health Solutions and Aetna Accountable Care Solutions, a payer-driven value-based care management company. The amount of the sale was not disclosed but is expected to close in 90 days. Health Catalyst’s CEO Brent Dover served as president of Medicity up to 2013, and both companies are located in Salt Lake City. What is interesting about this sale is that CVS, which is buying Aetna, has no comparable in-house technology. It’s a probable shedding of peripheral or money-losing businesses prior to sale.  HISTalk, MedCityNews

Allscripts continues on its acquisition binge with patient communication and engagement platform HealthGrid. HealthGrid is a mobile app platform that delivers care and education materials traditionally distributed from practices to patients via paper. In January, Allscripts bought practice EHR Practice Fusion for $100 million (a loss to investors) and earlier McKesson’s HIT business for $185 million. It’s a noticeable shift to value-added care tools for this formerly EHR-centric company. Mobihealthnews. 

In UK news:

Welbeing has won Norwich City Council’s Norwich Community Alarm Service (NCAS). It provides a 24-hour, year-round monitoring and response service for over 6,500 adults who are vulnerable or at risk in this part of East Anglia. The press release is on UK Telehealthcare‘s news page. 

BenevolentAI, a UK company using artificial intelligence for drug development, raised $115 million in new funding, mostly from undisclosed investors in the United States, according to Mobihealthnews, for a total funding of over $200 million. The company uses AI to reduce drug discovery time and risk. It does not do its own drug discovery but sells the intellectual property discovered by their AI algorithms, claiming to cut drug development timelines by four years and improve efficiencies by 60 percent compared to pharma industry averages.

Health 2.0 NYC Empowered Patients event rescheduled to 16 May; apply now to the Digital Health Breakthrough Network (NYC)

Empowered Patient 2018: Using Big Data & Technology to Empower Patients & Providers to Make Healthier Decisions
Verywell, 1500 Broadway (at 43rd), 6th Floor (Verywell)–now 16 May

Overview: Big Data is rapidly transforming the healthcare industry – from personalizing content to the patients’ individual needs to making medical diagnoses and outcomes more predictive. The panel of industry experts from various companies ranging from healthcare publishing, research, and technology will discuss how Big Data is enabling this evolution with content, product, and services to democratize health information and provide insights that improve medical care, research, and the overall patient experience. Technology is already making a difference, but raises privacy and ethical issues.

Agenda:
6:00 – Meet, Greet, and tweet with healthy snacks provided by event sponsor: Verywell
6:30–  Panel Discussion
7:15 – Get to know other healthcare innovators in the community

Moderator: Dr. Deepna Devkar, Senior Director, Data Science, Dotdash
Panel:
Marlene Guraieb, PhD – Senior Data Scientist, Oscar Health
Dmitriy (Dima) Gorenshteyn, PhD, Senior Data Scientist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Rob Parisi, SVP/GM Verywell – This evening’s sponsor and site host is a leading health and wellness site that provides trusted advice for a healthier life to its 20 million monthly unique visitors.
Joy Fennel, Empowered Patient – pilot patient on mymee, a digital therapeutic solution for autoimmune disorders – see www.mymee.com
Libbe Englander, PhD., CEO, Pharm3r, a healthcare analytics company helping improve outcomes with big data

Tickets $15, the snacks and drinks (and crowd) are great. Register and pay here. TTA and Editor Donna are longtime supporters of Health 2.0 NYC and Medstartr, the organizing groups behind this event.

A startup looking for funding? Look no further than the Digital Health Breakthrough Network. Sponsored by NYCEDC and HITLAB, they are in the process of recruiting their fourth class of startups. Eligible companies are early-stage startups (pre-revenue/pre-Series A), based in NYC (50 percent+ of employees), with an innovative digital health technology that presents a novel solution to a significant need in the health marketplace. Applications are open until 15 June. More information here and here.

Health tech founder ousted over alleged ‘acts of intimidation, abuse, and mistrust’: some reflections (Soapbox)

And we thought they were par for the course. Those of us who have worked for company founders, CEOs, and senior execs have learned that some interesting personalities come with the territory, especially in entrepreneurial companies. This Editor has worked for at least one diagnosed ADHD, a bipolar ADHD, another with anger management/impulse control issues, and a gentleman who is now spending a few years in a Federal penitentiary for securities fraud. One of her most memorable CEOs made the cover of Fortune with the caption, “Is this America’s Toughest Boss?” and no, his name was not Donald Trump. (Clue: he was chairman of what was for a time the world’s largest airline conglomerate.)

Of late, there’s been the behavioral quirks of their founders leading to disastrous problems at Uber, Theranos, and Zenefits. It often seems that the more hype, the more sunshine, daisies, puppy dogs, mission, and ‘fab culture’ are on the website, the worse the dysfunctional reality and mistreatment of the troops.

Perhaps no longer. Monday’s very public firing by his board of Ron Gutman, CEO of HealthTap, a digital health all-over-the-map company that now has settled into a members-only patient-doctor mobile health platform, over non-financial behavior may be a first. Mr. Gutman was given the heave-ho by his board after, notably, months of effort. Recode cited a termination letter to him that he “committed acts of intimidation, abuse, and mistrust, and that [he] repeatedly mistreated, threatened, harassed and verbally abused employees.” The coup de grâce: “The toxicity you introduced into the workplace ends now.”

An all-hands memo to employees was more restrained:

After receiving concerning reports by employees about Ron’s conduct as CEO, the Board of Directors hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into these allegations. What we learned left us with no choice but to make this change, and we did so after taking the necessary steps from a corporate governance perspective.

The replacing CEO is Bill Gossman, a serial founder and a partner in one of the investors, Mohr Davidow Ventures.

Mr. Gutman has denied it all, stating that he did not abuse employees and that the VCs are in violation of their duties. (FYI, not a whiff here of #MeToo antics.)

Funded to the tune of $38 million by Khosla Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, but without fresh funding in five years, the public face of both Mr. Gutman and HealthTap (of which he is the very public face, appearing all over their website still) is one with a very large smile. Mr. Gutman gained some fame from his TED talk and book on the power of smiling. One wonders how the smile is doing today. A frown turned upside down. TechCrunch, Mobihealthnews

Nokia throws in towel on digital health, negotiates Withings sale to co-founder Eric Carreel

Nokia finally gave up on consumer health tech, confirming February reports that they were reviewing strategic options for its Digital Health business. Digital Health was a tiny part of Nokia Technologies and an even tinier part of overall revenue (under .2 percent at €52 million of revenues). The prospective buyer in the exclusive talks is Withings co-founder and former chairman Éric Carreel. “Nokia and Éric Carreel recognize that as an original Co-Founder of Withings, he is best positioned to carry the company forward into its next phase,” a Nokia spokesperson wrote to Mobihealthnews.

Withings sold itself to diversifying Nokia in 2016 for a hefty €170 million, becoming Nokia Digital Health in February 2017. The Withings purchase was positioned as a reverse takeover, with Withings staff taking over Nokia’s fledgling efforts in digital health. But the promised results and impact never took place and Withings faded from view, at least in the Americas.

According to their statement, “The planned sale is part of Nokia’s honed focus on becoming a business-to-business and licensing company.” Other interested buyers include Google’s Nest division and Samsung. The company may also head back to France.  TechCrunch, Mobihealthnews

Confronto Nazionale sul Software in Sanità (National Comparison on Healthcare Software), 4-5 July, Rome

Policlinico Gemelli, Rome, 4-5 July

If you are one of our Readers in Italy or curious about the state of Italian healthcare technology as part of EU developments, 14 healthcare and IT system groups have come together for a meeting on technology innovation. The meeting will examine how health system stakeholders are developing and deploying software that supports the strategic, organizational, operational and clinical processes of service provision. The main discussion will center on sustainability, usability, performance, and interoperability with a focus on the EU’s Horizon 2020 and Italy’s particular situation in (translation) “extreme institutional, managerial and technical confusion. The result of this confusion is the continuous hemorrhaging of economic, logistical and human resources for the functioning of very restricted areas of health that are not interoperable with each other.” There is considerably more information on their website or you may contact the organizer, Koncept Ltd., t. 055 357223, m. 334 7365693, email segreteria@koncept.it

Alerts moving to Thursdays; TTA seeks contributors

Starting this Thursday, TTA updates will be sent to subscribers on Thursdays. This is due to Editor Donna’s new full-time position which has sadly cut down on her writing time. (Oh, for a robot to send to work!).

That being said, we are seeking contributors on an occasional to regular basis to send us articles. If you are an observer of the health care and health tech scene in the US, UK, Europe, Ireland, or in fact anywhere in the world, we’d like to hear from you. Articles can be about conferences, events, R&D, M&A, news, policy, or thoughtful views on developments. The one thing that they cannot do is promote a product or service–in other words, commercial. Email Editor Donna in confidence.