Two events of interest, especially to digital health entrepreneurs

Prof Mike Short has drawn my attention to two events taking place in October:

‘The cupboard is bare: how technology can address key unmet needs in mental health’ – Cambridge Wireless Healthcare SIG event – this half day Cambridge event om 13th October, hosted by Philips Research Laboratories and jointly sponsored by TTP and Plextek, will explore the needs from the perspective of the healthcare professional and patient. More details here; book here.

6th Discovering Start-Ups Competition – a brilliant opportunity to win some really valuable prizes to get your start-up really started up, pitching to an elite panel of business leaders from Deloitte, Google, BT, IBM, Cambridge Angels, London Business Angels, Qualcomm Ventures, Samsung and more. Finals will be held at Deloittes in London on 21st October. Note entries have to be submitted by 14th September at the latest.

 

Apps and wearables – developments over the summer

Trying at least temporarily to distract this editor’s attention from his recent unfortunate experience with Jawbone technology, here are some interesting app and wearables snippets received over the summer.

We begin with news of the first CE certified mole checking app, SkinVision which rates moles using a simple traffic light system (using a red, orange or green risk rating). The app lets users store photos in multiple folders so they can track different moles over time. It aims to detect changing moles (color, size, symmetry etc.) that are a clear sign that something is wrong and that the person should visit a doctor immediately.

This contrasts with the findings of a paper published in June examining 46 insulin calculator apps, 45 of which were found to contain material problems, resulting in the conclusion that :”The majority of insulin dose calculator apps provide no protection against, and may actively contribute to, incorrect or inappropriate dose recommendations that put current users at risk of both catastrophic overdose and more subtle harms resulting from suboptimal glucose control.”, which to say the least of matters is worrying. (more…)

Another Tunstall Americas distributor acquisition

click to enlargeAnother press release from Tunstall Healthcare Group is also about Tunstall Americas, in this case the acquisition of Syracuse NY (Central NY State)-based Health Care Monitoring Systems (HMS). This continues this year’s strategy of purchasing or partnering with local home care providers. Like Mountain Home and Kupuna Monitoring (previously in TTA), HMS’ website prominently features a competitor–Philips Lifeline. Notable in the spare release is that the HMS founder notes “strong relationships with referral partners and government agencies.”  Release

Anyone want to do a PhD in digitising paper-based systems? (Swansea)

The University of Swansea is advertising for a computer science/IT PhD student to convert an existing paper-based system into an electronic version, for managing mental health. A scholarship exists to provide full student fee paid and £14k annual bursary for the student. Interviews are required by 11 September. Apparently no-one’s applied yet, so here’s your chance! Full details here.

Unicorns to Series A–health tech funding gained in (perhaps) the nick of time

click to enlargeMoney, money everywhere–unicorns get the headlines, but the companies are still (largely) small

Up until the latter part of last week, this Editor would have assumed that our Readers would look at this funding roundup as a bracing windup to a largely positive eight months and a veritable Corvette Summer for healthcare technology funding. We may have to give back the keys a little sooner than we imagined. Will the dropping market affect digital health as 2008-9 did–‘out of gas’ for years? Or will it barely affect our motoring onward? Despite the Dow Jones average hitting an 18 month low today, we hope it’s closer to the latter than the former. though the new and big entrant to digital health investing is the country most affected, China.

Our roundup of the August Action includes ZocDoc, Fitbit, Alphabet, PillPack, Owlet and more, along with a few comments:

**ZocDoc, a NYC-based online medical care appointment service that matches patients with doctors by location and schedule, had the most sensational round with last week’s Series D funding of $130 million, giving it a valuation of $1.8 bn. It took over a year after the filing (June 2014) and was led by two foreign funds (London-based Atomico and Edinburgh-based Baillie Gifford) with additional funding from Founders Fund, which previously participated in raises of $95 million.

Though it claims 60 percent coverage in the US  and ‘millions of users’ (numbers which have been quoted for some years), ZocDoc won’t disclose profitability nor volume–metrics that would be part of any IPO.

Direction? Points given for deciphering this windy statement (quoted from Mobihealthnews): (more…)

September-October digital health events (US)

While enjoying the last weeks of the Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer (thank you Nat Cole, BBC clip), it’s time to put the fall’s upcoming events on the calendar, if you haven’t already. A selection starting with our partners:

  • Parks Associates’ Connected Health Summit (9-10 September)–see banner advertising above or here
  • ATA Fall Forum (16-18 Sept)-see sidebar or here
    • If you are attending and would like to report on either conference, email Editor Donna (her schedule unfortunately does not permit her to attend)

Others of interest:

And in London, our partners at The King’s Fund have a wealth of events on their calendar into 2016.

Tunstall Americas allies with Apria Healthcare (US)

click to enlargeTunstall Americas continues its home care provider-centric strategy through an expanded product marketing relationship with Apria Healthcare. Apria, in addition to home care services, markets directly to customers a range of medical devices and durable medical equipment; they will be selling Tunstall’s brands under their medical alert category. This is the first we’ve seen in the US the Tunstall Vi and iVi pendant, along with the CEL cellular PERS unit. Tunstall will also be providing Apria with custom branded products, along with call center, ordering and fulfillment services.  Apria is the US’ fourth largest home care provider (2014 Home Care Market Outlook) with 1.6 percent of a highly fractionated market. Our sources tell us that the initial relationship precedes the Tunstall acquisition of AMAC.  PR Web

Is wearable IoT really necessary–and dangerous to your privacy?

click to enlargeBut does the average person even care? This Editor senses a groundswell of concern among HIT and health tech regarding the highly touted Internet of Things (IoT) and the dangers it might present. Our previous article reviewed the possibilities of hacking, system vulnerabilities in IoT networks and software bugs ‘bricking’ everyday objects such as refrigerators and cars. But what about wearables and the unimaginable amount of data they generate? Is it as unidentifiable as wearables makers claim? Columbia University computer science student Matthew Piccolella focuses in his article on healthcare ‘things’, primarily fitness trackers like Editor Charles’ favorite, Jawbone, but also clothing and even headsets that measure brain waves (Imec). Their volumes of data are changing the definition of healthcare privacy, which in the US has been synonymous with HIPAA. The problem is that health metadata are increasingly identifiable in a ‘big data’ world. (more…)

Resources dear boy, resources – useful stuff TTA has been sent recently

During this editor’s brief holiday, the interesting reports really piled up, so here is a selection of what look to be the best, including a few that never got blogged previously:

G3ICT & AT&T have published an excellent new report entitled ‘The Internet of things: new promises for persons with disabilities

The European Parliament has produced an extremely useful compendium of articles and statistics on the silver economy: well worth reading (or at least bookmarking for writing that next EIP AHA project proposal).

If like me, use of the ‘Euro’ prefix always brings to mind the Eurosausage episode of Yes Minister, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by this new online database of digital services for carers of older people jointly produced by Eurocarers and the EC’s Joint Research Centre, and hosted by Eurocarers. This offers access to 78 good practices of digital services for older care at home.

Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report is essential reading for anyone working in (more…)

My Jawbone saga just got much worse: UP3

Readers may recall this editor’s most recent blast against Jawbone in which I complained about being emailed by them about a product I couldn’t buy. Well in due course I got a nice email from Jawbone, explaining the error and extolling the UP3, that I could buy. So nice that I relented and bought one.

Big mistake: my three UP bracelets that failed have lasted an average of some seven months each. The UP3 lasted just eight days before it stopped recording sleep correctly (an even shorter time than the two weeks the preproduction UP3 took to stop working when on trial by re/code).

Initial problem handling by Jawbone support has always been good – I can only assume they get lots of practice – and indeed I got an email straight back telling me how to do a ‘soft reset’ (These have never worked for me for any of the problems I’ve had, with either UP type of bracelet; perhaps it gets some people to give up.). When I told them it hadn’t worked, this was followed quickly by an email 10 working days ago telling me that they were referring my problem to colleagues and to expect a response within 2-3 working days.

Since when nothing: my emails have gone unresponded to, and I have heard nothing further. If this poor quality is the experience of others too (certainly some), then it’s clearly no wonder why FierceMobileHealthcare refer to Jawbone as one of six companies collectively making up 15 percent of the market with Apple & Fitbit way ahead.

It’s such a shame too, because in spite of the problems, my Jawbones, when they have worked, have been great motivators that have helped me lose over 12 kilos now – unlike the suggestions in the recent Guardian artcle, I’m sold on being nudged. I just need something I can rely on to nudge me!

Situations wanted, talent needed–list with us

click to enlargeYou don’t need a crystal ball to predict….As Summer winds down, thoughts turn to new situations and to fill those gaps in staff. Your Editors would like to assist those who are seeking a new situation–and those companies which have talent vacancies–in these pages. We are accepting new listings for both under the Jobs tab above. See ‘Who’s Available’ if you are looking, and ‘Who’s Hiring’ for positions. ‘Who’s Hiring’ is free for now; ‘Who’s Available’ will always be free as a service to our readers and for the digital health community.

Since 2005, Telehealth & Telecare Aware readers have been the most experienced and talented industry professionals in the UK, US, Europe and Australia. To reach them, you should be posting here. (And advertising–but that’s another story!)

Updated: We have two people now in ‘Available‘–a project manager with deep remote monitoring expertjse in UK and a Spanish industrial engineer with ‘silver market’ experience. No positions yet in ‘Hiring’–a missed opportunity. What company will be the first to correct this? For now, both types of listings are free.

Events dear boy, events: a roundup of UK digital health stuff this autumn

This editor accumulated vast piles of notifications when on a two week holiday recently – here is the cream of the events notified. More to follow on resources shortly.

Between 4-6th September, SECC Glasgow is holding what it claims is the first ever medical education hackathon.

On the 14th September the free-to-attend London Health Technology Forum, organised by this editor, has an evening devoted to Exits (of the financially very lucrative kind). Baker Botts’ experienced lawyers will describe with examples the different exits available to the successful entrepreneur, why it’s important to plan ahead, and what the plusses and minuses are of each type of exit. Essential knowledge if you hope to become rich from your hard work & dedication.

On 17th September, KPMG are holding a free all-day event entitled ‘Information Protection in Digital Health’ at (more…)

Accenture projects that 50 percent of digital health startups fail after two years

click to enlargeBased on historical funding data and analyzing 900 healthcare IT start-ups, Accenture predicts that within two years of life, 50 percent will fail. These ‘zombie startups’, in Accenture’s charming term, burned through $4 bn in funding between 2008 and 2013. An additional $2.5 bn will go to fund digital health in 2015-16.

Does this mean that for the angels to the VCs, a visit to Las Vegas may be more fun? What remains can be mined for gold. There’s a wealth of IP–1,700 patents between the 900 startups analyzed–and experienced people who can be “aqui-hired”. Their solutions, despite failure, can be sound. Kaveh Safavi, managing director of Accenture’s global health care business, said, “Many digital startups that are dying or in danger of failure have developed solutions that can help traditional and non-traditional health care companies achieve their goals.” Mobihealthnews, iHealthBeat, FierceHealthIT. Accenture announcement.

Defense, VA EHR interoperability off the tracks again: GAO

click to enlarge According to the US Congress’ Government Accountability Office (GAO), the birddog of All Things Budget, the Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) missed the 1 Oct 2014 deadline established in the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to certify that all health data in their systems met national standards and were interoperable. Modernization of software–a new Cerner EHR for DOD, modernization of VistA– is also behind the curve with a due date now beyond the 31 Dec 2016 deadline until after 2018. Finally the DOD-VA Interagency Program Office (IPO), which shares health data between the departments, has not yet produced or created a time frame nor “specified outcome-oriented metrics and established related goals that are important to gauging the impact that interoperability capabilities have on improving health care services for shared patients.” iHealthBeat, GAO report

CAST-IAHSA Australia Technology Forum 31 August

As part of the joint ACSA (Aged & Community Services Australia)-IAHSA (International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing) conference 31 August-4 September in Perth, there will be a half-day session sponsored by LeadingAge CAST (Center for Aging Services Technologies) on 31 August. The conference will feature the tools which CAST has developed to help providers better understand, plan for, select and implement appropriate technologies to support self-management, independence and facilitate the delivery of services to the home. Featured speakers are from CAST–Majd Alwan–and from providers such as New York’s Selfhelp, The Salvation Army and It’s Never 2 Late. Session page. Conference information and booking.  Australian Ageing Agenda Technology Review

Can technology be a help in reducing loneliness?

Those who are older, disabled, new mothers and those who work from home often experience something in common–a feeling of isolation, of being in a vacuum. This Guardian article discusses how online networks targeting special interests can relieve that feeling: Mumsnet for new mothers, Scope for the disabled. For older people, Mindings (UK) can connect them to their own private network with text messaging, reminders, calendaring and photo sharing; it has been piloted by NHS Midlands and East as well as Suffolk County Council for dementia sufferers.

This Editor tried the artificial intelligence software powered chatbot Mitsuku recommended in the article, and found it monumentally silly after a minute of ‘dialogue’, kind of like a person you’ve met at a cocktail party with whom you find some common ground, only to find out that you’ve met a parrot, and not the Monty Python Dead Parrot.

One-on-one relationships that don’t need apps is in a related Guardian article where their writers take up Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s invitation for people to invite their elderly friends and neighbors into their homes for a chat and a cup of tea. (more…)