TTA’s week: sleepless wearables, RSM events, 65+ smartphones, telemed for hypochondriacs?

 

We wonder about wearables, fill our calendar with events, cheer on smartphones for 65+ and VR-enhanced fall prevention training…and telemedicine for hypochondriacs?

Wearables: it’s a journey, but is it really necessary? (A smart jeans jacket and sleep trackers leave room for head scratching)
VR system integrating cognitive, physical training to reduce falls by 50 percent (Some real results in fall prevention plus video)
65+ smartphone ownership is up to 42 percent–but slumps with increased age (Some progress, but tech and cost impediments)
HealthIMPACT’s upcoming events for 2017 (US) (Single days that pack in a lot on HIT innovation–a new media partner)
Upcoming Royal Society of Medicine telehealth/health tech events and Easter Lecture (UK)
Is telemedicine attractive to hypochondriacs? (There’s a place for excessive health anxiety)
ATA 2017 Telehealth 2.0 Orlando: 15% off for TTA Readers (updated) (Book soon!)
West Virginia considers expanding prescription medication via telemedicine (Including select controlled substances)

Data is everywhere, from the future of patient-generated data to AI. Citizen Scientists and MedStartr aid innovation.  

From despair to hope? New study charts future of patient-generated data in care delivery (It’s better in 5 years. Can we wait?)
Upcoming MedStartr healthcare events in NYC; #RISE2017 videos online (Catch the next one on 5 April. If you missed #RISE2017, catch it here.)
AI as patient safety assistant to reduce, prevent adverse events (A hopeful take on an urgent issue)
#ShareTheHealth: spare Android phone processing, used fitness trackers, aid health research (Citizen Science innovations)

Previous articles of continued interest:

Telemedicine may drive up medical utilization, increase cost: RAND Health study (Yet it worked as intended)
Idaho legislature begins repeal of telemedicine abortion ban (Editor Chrys’ follow up)
Leeds, Harrogate care homes pilot telehealth system for residents (UK) (Another small test)
Technology for Aging in Place, 2017 edition preview (Some surprises here, debated)
Debate on Care Quality Commission’s position on online prescription services on Radio 4’s TODAY (UK) (Editor Charles now radio star)

A cornucopia of events and opportunities (UK/EU) (Editor Charles fills in your health tech calendar)
Tender up: Durham Smart County on Social Isolation (Due 31 March)
What is the future of digital technology in NHS England for the haves and have-nots? (Local innovation, but the funding?)
Iron Bow partners with Vivify Health for $258 million VA telehealth contract (A real competitor to Medtronic) and VA awards over $1 billion in Home Telehealth contracts–at long last (updated) (Be careful of answered prayers)

Towards 2020: Big Tech developments predicted to impact healthcare delivery (AI, machine learning, blockchain)
The King’s Fund Digital Health and Care Congress ’17–update (Preview the meeting video)


ATA 2017 Telehealth 2.0

ATA2017/Telehealth 2.0 is the world’s largest telehealth innovation & networking event, focused on how telehealth is transforming healthcare and creating competitive and cost advantages for those leveraging best practices. You’ll hear from leading healthcare providers, hospitals, physicians, associations, regulators, fast-growing startups, technology companies and industry thought leaders. Readers save 15%–and advanced registration rates are available through 25 March! (Use TelecareAware15 code when registering)


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Telehealth & Telecare Aware: covering the news on latest developments in telecare, telehealth, telemedicine and health tech, worldwide–thoughtfully and from the view of fellow professionals

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Wearables: it’s a journey, but is it really necessary?

click to enlargeIncreasingly, not in the opinion of many. We’ve covered earlier [TTA 21 Dec, 6 Feb] the wearables ‘bust’ and consumer disenchantment affecting fitness-oriented wearables. While projections are still $19 bn by 2018 (Juniper Research), Jawbone is nearly out of business with one last stab at the clinical segment, with Fitbit missing its 2016 earnings targets–and planning to target the same segment. So this Washington Post article on a glam presentation at SXSW of a Google/Levi’s smart jeans jacket for those who bicycle to work (‘bike’ and ‘bikers’ connote Leather ‘n’ Harleys). It will enable wearers to take phone calls, get directions and check the time by tapping and swiping their sleeves, with audio information delivered via headphone. As with every wearable blouse, muumuu, and toque she’s seen, this Editor’s skepticism is fueled by the fact that the cyclist depicted has to raise at least one hand to tap/swipe said sleeves and to wear headphones. He is also sans helmet on a street, not even a bike path or country lane. All are safety Bad Doo-Bees. Yes, the jacket is washable as the two-day power source is removable. But while it’s supposed to hit the market by Fall, the cost estimate is missing. A significant ‘who needs it?’ factor.

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…)

VR system integrating cognitive, physical training to reduce falls by 50 percent

click to enlargeA virtual reality (VR) treadmill system has been developed that improves both muscle strength, coordination, and cognitive abilities to prevent falls in patients with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Researcher Jeff Hausdorff at Tel Aviv University-Sourasky Medical Center is integrating traditional therapies that concentrate on developing muscle strength, balance and gait with cognitive factors for fall prevention: motor planning, attention, executive control, and judgment training. In a recent study of 282 patients in matched therapy groups (VR+treadmill versus treadmill alone), those who participated in the VR group fell 50 percent less after six months. The biggest improvement was seen in Parkinson’s patients. Video is below. (Photo and video from Center for the Study of Movement Cognition and Mobility). ApplySci/MIT

65+ smartphone ownership is up to 42 percent–but slumps with increased age

click to enlargeA report of progress in smartphone ownership by those over 65 years of age is mixed indeed. There’s progress–ownership is up to 42 percent of the age group, and 64 percent of these smartphone owners are users of the Internet according to Pew Research‘s 2016 study. But mitigating factors to this good news is that ownership is very much a function of income and age. According to the US Census’ American Community Survey 2015, 66 percent of those aged 65+ households with income $70,000+ own smartphones, but that declines to 33 percent in the 75+ age range and 27 percent of those 80+. Perhaps Laurie Orlov exaggerates the cost of smartphones, especially Android–this Editor has never bought an LG phone over $200 and has a miserly data plan, using Wi-Fi most of the time; Verizon has plenty of new older models at lighter prices and other carriers like Consumer Cellular and GreatCall have excellent deals. But what is true is that interest wanes with age–and that phones, especially Apple, still present legibility and usability barriers to those with low vision or hand arthritis. Ms Orlov also notes Pew’s discovery that 65+ users are less likely to secure their phones with lock codes and regularly update their apps. Aging in Place Technology Watch

HealthIMPACT’s upcoming events for 2017 (US)

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:

HealthIMPACT Southwest
Texas Medical Innovation Center | TMCx
April 4th, 2017  Receive a 20% discount off registration–use HIEB2017

HealthIMPACT Southeast
Florida Hospital Innovation Lab, Werner Auditorium, Orlando, FL
May 4th, 2017

HealthIMPACT East
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

HealthIMPACT Midwest
Matter Health, Chicago, IL
September 14, 2017

HealthIMPACT West
San Francisco, CA, October 7, 2017

TTA is a media partner of HealthIMPACT for 2017.

Upcoming Royal Society of Medicine telehealth/health tech events and Easter Lecture (UK)

Events are blooming like daffodils in a long-awaited Spring! Here are two coming up, organized by the Royal Society of Medicine’s Telemedicine & eHealth Section. Both are full day programs held at the RSM’s offices at 1 Wimpole Street, London.

Medical apps: Mainstreaming innovation
Tuesday 4 April 2017, 9am to 5:10pm
CPD: 6 credits
Event link: www.rsm.ac.uk/events/TEH03
To discuss the regulation, the potential use and evaluation of the introduction of medical apps in a range of healthcare situations. This event is the fifth annual medical apps event run by the Section; the previous four have all been popular. The purpose of each one has been to educate forward-thinking clinicians in the benefits of using medical apps to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. In view of the expectation that the NHS will have an mHealth assessment operation running by next April, this event will focus on mainstreaming the use of apps within the health and care services.

Digital health and insurance: A perfect partnership?
Thursday 1 June 2017, 9am to 5pm
CPD: 6 credits (applied for)
Event link: www.rsm.ac.uk/events/TEH04
This meeting will explore how digital health and insurance can be mutually beneficial by enabling insurance companies to get a better handle on the risk of their insureds. It will also explore whether these new business models might result in a new paradigm for delivering care more effectively, and to consider whether as a result the population as a whole might be better motivated to take greater responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.

More information, online learning opportunities and links on the RSM section page. (PDF).

Upcoming at the RSM is next Tuesday’s (28 March) 28th Annual Easter Lecture given by Matthew Syed, a columnist for The Times and author of two acclaimed books, ‘Bounce’ and ‘Black Box Thinking’. He will focus on the dynamics of a high-performance culture. Talent is significant but not enough. There is no substitute for a mindset that drives continuous improvement. Every marginal gain is vital and they build together to achieve performance excellence. Open to the general public, it is a short evening program which starts at 6pm. Event link here. Hat tip to reader Jerry Kolosky via LinkedIn

ATA 2017 Telehealth 2.0 Orlando: 15% off for TTA Readers (updated)

click to enlargeATA 2017, 22-25 April, Orlando Florida at Orange County Conference Center Our Readers save 15%–and advanced registration rates are available through 25 March! (Use TelecareAware15 code when registering)

What’s New? ATA’s Experience Zone demonstrates how management and monitoring capabilities can reduce time and costs, and first and foremost save lives. In the Simulation Area, participants can receive a 15-minute guided tour of four common environments – an ICU, ER, doctor’s office and senior living facility – to learn how telemedicine services are best utilized in these areas.

Women in Telemedicine are also highlighted in the “Women in Telemedicine: Leading the Charge of Healthcare Innovation” executive panel discussion featuring Charlotte Yeh, CMO, AARP (moderator); Julie Hall-Barrow, VP, Virtual Health and Innovation; Susan Dentzer, CEO, Network for Excellence in Health Innovation; Paula Guy, CEO, Salus Telehealth and Kristi Henderson, ATA Board of Directors, VP of Virtual Care & Innovation, Seton Healthcare Family and President & CEO, e-Health Advisors. There will also be a networking reception honoring women in the industry. ATA Release

The themes beyond the trends in telehealth which the conference will cover are:

  • Consumers’ desire for devices to help them improve their health and communicate more easily with their doctors
  • How the latest technologies are lowering costs, improving services/reach and are reinventing healthcare
  • How doctors and healthcare systems are utilizing telehealth after hours to extend services 24/7 and are making it easier to reach patients who need them
  • How virtual reality is being used to treat everything from mental illness to rehabilitation and beyond
  • What’s hot, what’s not in investment opportunities–and why

More than 6,000 healthcare and industry professionals, including 1,000 C-level executives, are expected to attend this year’s event in Orlando. Our Readers save 15%–advanced registration rates are available through the end of the week (25 March). Our discount is good till registration closes. Click on the link in the advert on our right sidebar or here.  Twitter: @AmericanTelemed and #T2Telehealth  TTA is again this year a media partner with ATA of T2 Telehealth 2.0.

TTA’s week: data’s everywhere and hopeful, Citizen Scientists and Innovation, events, more

 

Data is everywhere this week, from the future of patient-generated data to AI. Citizen Scientists aid innovation. MedStartr and ATA2017 (save 15%!) events. 

From despair to hope? New study charts future of patient-generated data in care delivery (It’s better in 5 years. Can we wait?)
Upcoming MedStartr healthcare events in NYC; #RISE2017 videos online (The places to be in the next few weeks, and if you missed #RISE2017 catch it here)
AI as patient safety assistant to reduce, prevent adverse events (A hopeful take on an urgent issue)
#ShareTheHealth: spare Android phone processing, used fitness trackers, aid health research (Citizen Science innovations)

and: ATA 2017 Telehealth 2.0 Conference, Orlando: TTA Readers attend for less! (The place to be in April–more detail below)

Telemedicine may increase plan cost, the Idaho legislature takes action, aging tech 2017 trends, diabetes apps, Radio 4 CQC debate features Editor Charles, more. 

Telemedicine may drive up medical utilization, increase cost: RAND Health study (Yet it worked as intended)
Idaho legislature begins repeal of telemedicine abortion ban (Editor Chrys’ follow up)
Leeds, Harrogate care homes pilot telehealth system for residents (UK) (Another small test)
Technology for Aging in Place, 2017 edition preview (Some surprises here, debated)
Debate on Care Quality Commission’s position on online prescription services on Radio 4’s TODAY (UK) (Editor Charles now radio star)

CHANGED DEADLINE Calling all diabetes prevention apps: may be your chance for greatness! (Our Mobile Health/NHS England–application due 15 March)
A cornucopia of events and opportunities (UK/EU) (Editor Charles fills in your health tech calendar)

Previous articles of continued interest:

#HIMSS17 roundup: machine learning, Proteus, Soon-Shiong/NantWorks’ cancer vax, Uniphy Health, more (From AI-assisted workflow technologies to the Soon-Shiong cancer vax controversy)
Here’s Howz: now electricity consumption as elder minder (UK) (Telecare 3.0?)
Utah telehealth expansion bill passes Senate and House (Lawmakers working together)
HIMSS17 dispatches: Mayo maps neonate telemedicine, Amwell-Samsung, Samsung-T-Mobile (Including IoT for senior care)

HIMSS17 news flashes: Lenovo, Orbita, Tactio, Garmin, Parallax, Entra Health, Philips, IBM (Some setbacks for Watson Health)
The Theranos Story, ch. 37: the Object Lessons for future healthcare entrepreneurs (An MBA in what not to do)

The Theranos Story, ch. 36: Their money–and time–are running out (The start of the denouement) (more…)

From despair to hope? New study charts future of patient-generated data in care delivery

click to enlargeA frustration of everyone in healthcare and technology is the unfulfilled promise of Big Data. A study conducted by a team for NEJM Catalyst (New England Journal of Medicine) of 682 health care executives, clinical leaders, and clinicians indicates that at present, very few (<20 percent) believe that their healthcare organizations extremely or very effectively use data for direct patient care; 40 percent believe it is not very effective or not at all effective.

The hope comes in a trend over the next five years (NJEM chart at left above, click to enlarge). Presently, the most useful sources of data are clinical (95 percent), cost (56 percent), and claims (56 percent). In five years, they project that the top four will be clinical (82 percent) and cost (58 percent) joined by patient-generated and genomic data (both at 40 percent). How that patient-generated data will be compiled to be useful is not described, but the hope is that “With patient-generated data and genomic data, we will be able to create true “n of 1” medicine with options specific to each patient’s needs, giving a boost to priorities such as care coordination and improved clinical decision support.”

A possible roadblock is the lack of interoperability of EHRs. Less than 10 years ago, the EHR was touted as The Solution to patient records and a repository of Everything. 51 percent indicate that interoperability is weak. One-third believe that ease of use and training for EHRs are also week.

Other findings indicated strong support for greater patient access to personal medical records (93 percent), fee/price information for comparison shopping (80 percent), and outcomes information listed by hospital (73 percent)–but not by doctor (55 percent).

The full report is available for download at the NEJM Catalyst link here. Also Mobihealthnews.

Upcoming MedStartr healthcare events in NYC; #RISE2017 videos online

click to enlargeMedStartr is sponsoring two upcoming evening events which will be of interest to our New York metro Readers. Next week’s roundtable includes participants from the Melbourne (Australia) Health Accelerator/Startup61.

The first is next week, Wednesday 22 March, starting at 6pm. The Hospitals 2.0: Hospital Innovation Program Roundtable is a discussion on how hospitals are leading innovation programs of their own and to review their progress. This will feature leaders from Mount Sinai, Northwell Health, NY-Presbyterian, Christopher Kommatas of Melbourne Health Accelerator/Startup61, and others. Location: CityMD, 1345 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue to the rest of us), between 54th-55th Streets, 8th Floor, NYC. Event link on Meetup here.

On Wednesday 5 April, also at CityMD and at 6pm will be Doctors 2.0: ¡Viva La Evolución! Three doctors–Jay Parkinson (Hello Health, Sherpaa), Rich Park (CityMD), and Greg Downing (HHS)–will discuss rewriting the story of care delivery and what is coming next in the evolution of care. Event link on Meetup here.

Tickets are $25 for either three-hour event. Advance reservations are required due to building security. Ticketing is being done through the Meetup Group Health 2.0 NYC at the links above. If you are not a member, please email MedStartr directly at members@Medstartr.com.

Videos are now online for 1 March’s Rise of the Healthy Machines (#RISE2017). These include keynotes, panels, and the six pitches for the Challenge.

TTA is a MedStartr and Health 2.0 NYC supporter/media sponsor; Editor Donna is a host for this event and a MedStartr Mentor. Also check the MedStartr page to find and fund some of the most interesting startup ideas in healthcare.

AI as patient safety assistant that reduces, prevents adverse events

The 30 year old SXSW conference and cultural event has been rising as a healthcare venue for the past few years. One talk this Editor would like to have attended this past weekend was presented by Eric Horvitz, Microsoft Research Laboratory Technical Fellow and managing director, who is both a Stanford PhD in computing and an MD. This combination makes him a unique warrior against medical errors, which annually kill over 250,000 patients. His point was that artificial intelligence is increasingly used in tools that are ‘safety nets’ for medical staff in situations such as failure to rescue–the inability to treat complications that rapidly escalate–readmissions, and analyzing medical images.

A readmissions clinical support tool, RAM (Readmissions Management), he worked on eight years agon, produced now by Caradigm, predicts which patients have a high probability of readmission and those who will need additional care. Failure to rescue often results from a concatenation of complications happening quickly and with a lack of knowledge that resemble the prelude to an aircraft crash. “We’re considering [data from] thousands of patients, including many who died in the hospital after coming in for an elective procedure. So when a patient’s condition deteriorates, they might lose an organ system. It might be kidney failure, for example, so renal people come in. Then cardiac failure kicks in so cardiologists come in and they don’t know what the story is. The actual idea is to understand the pipeline down to the event so doctors can intervene earlier.” and to understand the patterns that led up to it. Another is to address potential problems that may be outside the doctor’s direct knowledge field or experiences, including the Bayesian Theory of Surprise affecting the thought process. Dr Horvitz discussed how machine learning can assist medical imaging and interpretation. His points were that AI and machine learning, applied to thousands of patient cases and images, are there to assist physicians, not replace them, and not to replace the human touch. MedCityNews

#ShareTheHealth: health research using spare Android phone processing, used fitness trackers

click to enlargeCitizen Science on the Move. Two new campaigns harness the power of everyday people to boost research and personal health.

The World Community Grid is coordinated by IBM and taps into the spare processing power of potentially millions of Android smartphones and tablets. Users download an app called BOINC through the IBM site and select a research area in health or sustainability. Researchers then can use the processing power of the device at idle times to fuel processing of massive records or simulations required for research. The app operates in the background when your device is connected to Wi-Fi and at 90 percent+ charge, so it doesn’t use data or drain significant power. It has been or is currently being used for up to two million daily calculations in research initiatives for Ebola, Zika, TB and HIV/AIDS. Highlighted in the BBC News article is the new Smash Childhood Cancer project to help find cures for six types of childhood cancer, including brain tumors, liver and bone cancer. Previously, 200,000 World Community Grid volunteers contributed device power to research on neuroblastoma, which helped identify several potential treatments. The BOINC project started in 2004 and originally used spare mainframe and PC processing. It remains free to researchers in exchange for allowing other researchers to access the data. More information on the IBM World Community Grid with app download links here to put your Android device on the grid. It beats a cat video app! Hat tip to reader Guy Dewsbury via LinkedIn.

RecycleHealth and #ShareTheHealth is a crowdfunded research/wellness project that aims to put used fitness trackers back to work for those who wouldn’t normally buy them at retail: older adults with chronic disease, veterans’ organizations working to reduce PTSD, inner city running clubs, and more. Developed by Tufts University School of Medicine assistant professor Lisa Gualtieri, Ph.D., RecycleHealth has cleaned and refurbished over 1,000 donated fitness trackers which have been used in three research studies on how wearables affect behavior change and clinical outcomes. The three and future rounds of crowdfunding help with postage (donor and new user) and refurbishment. So far the research has covered hypertension and Type 2 diabetes. Future studies are planned for how wearable activity tracker data can be used in clinical visits for actionable physician counseling and wearables’ therapeutic role in assisting veterans recovering from mental health and other concerns. Dr. Gualtieri’s Tufts crowdfunding site is here, but this Editor discovered her through LinkedIn. (And hope that she will not mind our borrowing her hashtag!)

Telemedicine may drive up medical utilization, increase cost for respiratory illness: RAND Health

click to enlargeIs convenience the culprit? Researchers from RAND Corporation’s Health program conducted a three-year study of telemedicine (here called telehealth) usage by employees of CalPERS for respiratory illness and came to a surprising conclusion. From the study abstract: “12 percent of direct-to-consumer telehealth visits replaced visits to other providers, and 88 percent represented new utilization. Net annual spending on acute respiratory illness increased $45 per telehealth user.”

The study examined 2011-2013 claims information for over 300,000 people insured through the California California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which despite the name provides health benefits to active state employees as well as retirees. It targeted common acute respiratory infections (sinus infections, bronchitis and related) to determine patterns of provider utilization and the change after the introduction of telehealth. Of that group, 981 used the Teladoc system for video consults, adopted by CalPERS in 2012.

The objective of the study was to determine whether the telehealth visits were new care or substituted for other types of care such as doctor, clinic, or ED visits. Even though the telehealth services were far cheaper–about 50 percent lower than a physician office visit and less than 5 percent the cost of a visit to the ED–they did not make up for the calculated 88 percent rise in utilization.

Similar results were reported by RAND in last year’s research on retail clinics, which estimated that 58 percent of visits for low-severity illnesses were new and not shifted from EDs or doctor’s offices. What is in common? Convenience. Convenience opens up greater use. If you have a store down the street, you may pop in daily versus once-weekly.

Updated: Some further insights from Mobihealthnews were that the study stated that telehealth visits may be more likely to result in additional costs, such as follow-up appointments, testing or prescriptions. In other words, the telehealth visit starts off less expensive, but the standard of care in follow-up adds to that initial cost.

The RAND recommendation is thus not a surprise: make more telemedicine visits a shift from office or ED to restrict telemedicine growth. Raise the cost of co-pays for the service to reduce demand. On the ‘high side’, encourage ED ‘frequent flyers’ to use telehealth services instead. Pass the painkillers. Health Affairs (abstract only; paid access required for full study), RAND Health press release.

Analysis: instead of self-doctoring, and suffering at home and in the workplace, the small group of CalPERS policyholders in the study actually used their new benefit to check their health–as intended! The additional cost is not staggering; (more…)

Leeds, Harrogate care homes pilot telehealth system for residents (UK)

click to enlargeThe Sunnyside Care Home in Crossgates is the first of 14 local care homes in Leeds and Harrogate with a telehealth remote telemonitoring program for residents. The pilot that started before Christmas is sponsored by NHS England’s West Yorkshire and Harrogate Acceleration Zone as part of their £8m initiative to improve urgent and emergency care.

The Yorkshire Evening Post profiles one of the residents, Mavis Robinson, who has motor neurone disease (MND). She was helped over the festive (US=holiday) season when her condition began to decline based on her vital signs monitoring which appears to be administered by staff. They were then able to obtain medication for pain before the situation escalated. Ms Robinson can discuss her health with the nurse based on the telehealth information. Telehealth information was also used to involve a family member in care for a patient nearing the end of their life. Unfortunately this Editor has been unable to determine what system is being used in the pilot. (Can one of our Readers enlighten us?–Ed.) Based on the closing quote from Sue Robins of NHS Leeds West CCG, it’s also an example of the NHS local strategy mentioned in The King’s Fund blog [TTA 17 Feb] for local areas to pilot and share the knowledge.

Technology for Aging in Place, 2017 edition preview

Industry analyst Laurie Orlov previews her annual review of ‘Technology for Aging In Place’ on LinkedIn with six insights into the changes roiling health tech in the US. We’ll start with a favorite point–terminology–and summarize/review each (in bold), not necessarily in order.

“Health Tech” replaces “Digital Health,” begins acknowledging aging. This started well before Brian Dolan’s acknowledgment in Mobihealthnews, as what was ‘digital health’ anyway? This Editor doesn’t relate it to a shift in investment money, more to the 2016 realization by companies and investors that care continuity, meaningful clinician workflow, access to key information, and predictive analytics were a lot more important–and fundable–than trying to figure out how to handle Data Generated by Gadgets.

Niche hardware will fade away – long live software and training. Purpose-built ‘senior tablets’ will likely fade away. The exception will be specialized applications in remote patient monitoring (RPM) for vital signs and in many cases, video, that require adaptation and physical security of standard tablets. These have device connectivity, HIPAA, and FDA (Class I/II) concerns. Other than those, assistive and telehealth apps on tablets, phablets and smartphones with ever-larger screens are enough to manage most needs. An impediment: cost (when will Medicare start assisting with payments for these?), two-year life, dependence on vision, and their occasionally befuddling ways.

Voice-first interfaces will dominate apps and devices. “Instead we will be experimenting with personal assistants or AI-enabled voice first technologies (Siri, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Cortana) which can act as mini service provider interfaces – find an appointment, a ride, song, a restaurant, a hotel, an airplane seat.” In this Editor’s estimation, a Bridge Too Far for this year, maybe 2018. Considerations are cost, intrusiveness, and accuracy in interpreting voice commands. A strong whiff of the Over-Hyped pervades.

Internet of Things (IoT) replaces sensor-based categories. Sensors are part of IoT, so there’s not much of a distinction here, and this falls into ‘home controls’ which may be out of the box or require custom installation. Adoption again runs into the roadblocks of cost and intrusiveness with older people who may be quite reluctant to take on both. And of course there is the security concern, as many of these devices are insecure, eminently hackable, and has been well documented as such.

Tech-enabled home care pressures traditional homecare providers – or does it? ‘What exactly is tech-enabled care? And what will it be in the future?’ Agreed that there will be a lot of thinking in home care about what $200 million in investment in this area actually means. Is this being driven by compliance, or by uncertainty around what Medicare and state Medicaid will pay for in future?

Robotics and virtual reality will continue — as experiments. Sadly, yes, as widespread adoption means investment, and it’s not there on the senior housing level where there are other issues bubbling, such as real estate and resident safety. There are also liability issues around assistance robotics that have not yet been worked out. Exoskeletons–an assistance method this Editor has wanted to see for several years for older adults and the disabled–seems to be stalled at the functionality/expense/weight level.

Study release TBD

Debate on Care Quality Commission’s position on online prescription services on Radio 4’s TODAY (UK)

Friday’s BBC Radio 4 TODAY breakfast show has two segments discussing the Care Quality Commission‘s public warning on online prescription services and potential danger to patients. The first is a short interview of Jane Mordue, Chair of Healthwatch England and independent member of the CQC (at 00:36:33-00:39:00). The second, longer segment at 02:37:00 going to 02:46:30 features our own Editor Charles Lowe, in his position as Managing Director of the Digital Health and Care Alliance (DHACA), debating with Sandra Gidley, Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English Board. The position of the RPS is that a face-to-face appointment is far preferable to an online service, whereas Mr Lowe maintains that delays in seeing one’s GP creates a need for services where a patient can see a doctor online and receive a prescription if necessary. The quick response allays anxiety in the patient and provides care quickly. Both agreed that a tightening of guidelines is needed, especially in the incorrect prescribing of antibiotics, and that there is no communication between patient records. Mr Lowe notes that GPs have always been comfortable with a telephonic consultation but are far less so with telemedicine consults via Skype. Here’s the BBC Radio 4 link available till end of March.

In the US with 24/7/365 telemedicine services such as Teladoc, MDLive and American Well, there is a similar problem with patient records in many cases except for history that the patient gives, but this is an across the board problem as the US does not have a centralized system. The prescribing problem is less about antibiotics, though MRSA/MSSA resistant superbugs are a great concern. According to Jeff Nadler, CTO of Teladoc during his #RISE2017 presentation here in NY attended by this Editor, Teladoc has a 91 to 94 percent resolution rate on patient medical issues. Of that 9 percent unresolved, 4 percent are referred, 2 percent are ‘out of scope’, 1 percent go to ER/ED–and 2 percent of patients are ‘seeking meds only’, generally for painkillers. Teladoc’s model is B2B2C, which is that patients access the service through their health plan, health system, or employer.