Participate in the 2015 Global mHealth App Developer Economics Study

click to enlargeTTA readers are invited to participate in the fifth annual mHealth App Economics survey, sponsored by research2guidance in collaboration with mHealth Summit Europe and HIMSS. The study will look at the mHealth app market, how apps generate revenue, how behavior could be changed by apps, the use of APIs and sensors as well as other related topics–and is the largest industry survey on mHealth app development.

Click here to go to our exclusive link and participate in the survey. The survey is available till 26 April. Share your opinions and experience on how mHealth apps impact healthcare delivery now and in the next five years. Plus, every participant will receive the chance to win one of five free entry tickets to the mHealth Summit Europe in Riga, Latvia 11-12 May, where the results will be presented; a free copy of the 2015 report as well as the possibility to see initial results after completing the survey. Download link for the 2014 study (PDF).

TTA is a media partner of the 2015 Global mHealth App Developer Economics Study, and was a media sponsor of this year’s US mHealth Summit.

MWC 2015 part 1: in search of S Health

2015 was this editor’s first visit to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Though well prepared for the experience by seasoned visitors, the sheer size of the event is simply breath-taking. 15 minutes to walk fast from the entrance to the end of Hall 8.1 suggests the site is getting on for a mile long, and five minutes to walk from one end of Hall 3 to the other suggests it’s pretty wide too.

The sheer volume of people attending is astonishing – nearly 90,000 expected this year, which must be the largest single alien invasion of the city. It certainly tells, with long queues to get on the train to the Fira Gran via site in the morning, and a 25 minute wait to get on a train back for those making the mistake of hanging on to closing time early in the week, to indulge in the hospitality that breaks out on many stands as the sun passes the yard-arm.

Organisation is stunning too – there are helpful people way back in the metro system pointing the way, and throughout the site. Ask them and they’ll almost certainly know the answer, or know someone who does.

The contrast therefore with the Congress’s largest exhibitor – Samsung – is (more…)

Smartphone health data, privacy concerns rear head at MWC

As Editor Charles is chronicling at the world’s largest mobile event, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has a great deal of focus on healthcare–and that includes healthcare data security. Both telehealth monitoring and telemedicine virtual consults are increasingly phone-based. That data transmitting via and in virtual storage a/k/a The Cloud, including personal health records (PHRs), is overly assumed to be secure, but security protocols vary. “We are at the mercy of who the app providers are and how well they secure the information, and they are at the mercy sometimes of the cloud providers.” according to Kevin Curran of the IEEE. This article also points out that there’s real consumer concern that insurance companies will access their personal identified data via various databases, (more…)

66% of ‘tech-savvy seniors’ dissatisfied with current health tech

Yes, those same people who–gee whiz–designed computers, did their own programs in MS-DOS and went from Palm Pilots to BlackBerries to iPhones, are already over or hitting 65 (3.9 million in US in 2015)–and they aren’t happy with what’s being served up to them in healthcare tech. The Accenture study across 10 countries and over 10,000 adults points out the demand–67 percent–and the dissatisfaction–66 percent. They want independent self-care tools, wearables to monitor themselves, online communities like PatientsLikeMe, patient navigators and health record tools. Moreover, the more comfortable they are with and value technology, the more likely they are already using technology for tracking weight and cholesterol levels. Couple this with the ‘Drawn and Quartered’ Parks Associates research [TTA 11 Aug 14] and moving past the mHealth hype earlier this week, the study points out a strong market for apps, online tools and other digital health–but designed not for a peer group of most designers, nor to be ‘cool’. Helloooo designers! Wake up! Laurie Orlov does point out on AgeInPlaceTech that there’s not much new here, but that we shouldn’t move on. Accenture release, Modern Healthcare, Fred Pennic in HIT Consultant, Stephanie Baum in MedCityNews

Fitbit accurate in measuring energy expenditure: AHA presentation

click to enlargeThe current judgment on commercial fitness monitors is that they are worthwhile directionally, but accurate–not so much [TTA 10 May 14]. This may be changing, albeit on a specific, non-clinical measurement. A Columbia University Medical Center (New York, NY) team tested the Fitbit One and Fitbit Flex for tracking energy expenditure during treadmill walking and running exercise, versus energy expenditure assessed by indirect calorimetry, and found themto be valid and reliable devices. Correlation between measurements was 0.95 – 0.97. These devices were interestingly placed on wrists and hips; perhaps a user can enlighten me.  Poster presentation/Abstract MP11 published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation.

23andMe’s FDA coup hazardous to personal DNA data security?

click to enlargeGenetic test developer 23andMe’s wins with the FDA [TTA 20 Feb] served to clear the path for their current Bloom Syndrome and future kits as Class II devices. It’s long been believed that the company’s real diamond mine is in selling the DNA data gained through the kits, and with consent, to major pharma and medical companies. Proof: recent collaboration announcements with Genentech and Pfizer on genetic research. But how will this data be safeguarded? It may not be a significant concern now, but “Personal DNA information will become far more critical and more important to safeguard than the details of our life circumstances”. Hackermania’s Running Wild with AnthemHealth-sized data breaches (more…)

Veterans Affairs boosts telehealth, HIT in proposed 2016/2017 budgets

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in its proposed 2016 budget released earlier this week, is increasing support for telehealth/mHealth along with programs that use these services–rural health and mental health. Telehealth’s VA budget from FY 2014 increased from $986 million to just below $1.1 billion in the current year. In FY 2016 (beginning 1 Oct), the VA is allocating $1.22 billion of a $56 billion budget, and in 2017 advance appropriations, $1.37 billion–a year-to-year increase of 11 percent and 12 percent respectively .

VA has the largest telehealth program in the US, divided into three main functional areas: (more…)

Keynote speakers at ATA 2015

click to enlargeThere’s a diverse group of keynoters at this year’s American Telemedicine Association annual meeting in Los Angeles. They include Sanjay Gupta, MD, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent and a practicing neurosurgeon; Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, founder/CEO of the Healthcare Transformation Institute and NantWorks; Yulun Wang, PhD, President of ATA and CEO of InTouch Health; Reed V. Tuckson, MD, ATA President-Elect, Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, former Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group and Senior Vice President for Professional Standards of the American Medical Association;LTG (Ret.) James Peake, MD, ATA Vice President, President of CGI Federal, former US Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Surgeon General of the US Army; and Ateev Mehrotra, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Health Care Policy and Medicine, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School. For more information on ATA 2015 and to register, click here. Telehealth & Telecare Aware is a media partner of ATA 2015.

Building from the bottom up: an approach to healthcare

Reader and independent UK consultant Guy Dewsbury writes about an approach to health and social care delivery that gives staff more control, as well as accountability, and integrates mobile into not just tablets, but keeping care plans updated in real time.

Effectively it inverts the current care pathway, but potentially achieves a better quality of care, as frontline staff are not required to spend time updating records in an office because they are updated on the go.

and

Having a smartphone-based programme, in real time, allows the managers to be kept up-to-date on all their staff. The software could also help with reports and handovers ensuring the most up-to-date information on each person being cared for is available to the frontline staff coming on shift.

concluding

Empowering frontline staff with technology can mean more appropriate, timely care and a more resilient workforce who are happier as their worth is valued.

 

He’s been kind enough to give TTA readers access to his freshly published article in Care Management Matters.

Guy’s website here. Previously in TTA on the Dependability Assessment Tool for telecare.

Moving past the hype on mobile, wearables for consumer health

click to enlargeDirectionally positive, but still quite developmental in reality. The gold rush not quite begun.

In the past week or two, this Editor has been working her way through a stack of surveys and journal-published research, all heavily promoting the greater interest in and usage of consumer mobile health. Here we have Monique Levy of the well-regarded Manhattan Research finding in their surveys (via Mobihealthnews):

  • 86 percent of the general population is online for health
    • Half of those use mobile
    • Two-thirds use social media to seek health information
    • One-third communicate digitally with doctors
    • Three-quarters interact with online pharma resources
    • About 20 percent of patients say that mobile is essential for managing their care–increasing to 32 percent of people with diabetes, 39 percent for people with MS

Before the D3H (Digital Health Hypester Horde) crowd vaults over the moon, however, Ms Levy states that “What people mostly do on their smartphone is look for information.” She recommends optimizing websites (in this context, primarily pharma) for mobile search, and apps should address “real customer pain points or niche needs”, not just a cool tracking app.

Yes, but the D3H point out the fifth annual ‘Pulse of Online Health’ by Makovsky Health (healthcare PR agency) and Kelton (research), a survey of over 1,000 adults, headlining that almost two-thirds (66 percent)of Americans would use a mobile app to manage health-related issues, (more…)

Mole Detective still available on Google Play Store

Following on from our piece on the action taken by the FTC against two melanoma apps, it has been drawn to this editor’s attention that Mole Detective is still available, for £3.14/download, on the Google Play Store.

The relevant section of the FTC press release says:

Mole Detective Settlement and Lawsuit. Kristi Kimball and her company, New Consumer Solutions LLC, developed and first marketed Mole Detective in January 2012.  U.K.-based Avrom “Avi” Lasarow and his company, L Health Ltd., took over marketing the app in August 2012.  The marketers advertised the app primarily online, where it has sold in the Apple and Google app stores for as much as $4.99.

The settlement with Kimball and her company prohibits them from claiming that a device, such as an app, can detect or diagnose melanoma, unless the representation is truthful, not misleading, and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of human clinical testing of the device. It also prohibits them from making any other misleading or unsubstantiated health claims about a product or service, and requires them to disgorge $3,930.

The agency will pursue a litigated judgment against non-settling defendants Lasarow and his company.

Especially as the organisation marketing the app is UK-based, (more…)

Telecare LIN Newsletter

The Telecare LIN Newsletter for this month is out now and contains 44 pages of news, views click to enlargeand updates on various projects related to care for the elderly and telecare, mainly from the UK.

A short article in the NHS England website announcing a meeting in London in March entitled “Older People’s Care Summit” is highlighted and some of the statistics there caught my eye. It says that there are 3 million people over the age of 80 in the UK and by 2030 the number is expected to double with the figure reaching 8 million by 2050. I’ve worked with the demographic change graphs for some time now but this is a particularly stark statistic to bring home the need for new approaches to care for the elderly. (The summit still had spaces available if anyone is interested and registration is at this page).

There is a link to Roy Lilley’s new website “The Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff”  and pointers to some article on telemedicine in China.

On the technology side there is an item on mental health apps and a pointer to a good article on why Australia (could be any country really) isn’t further ahead than it is with Assistive Tech for the elderly living at home.

A good read to catch up on things you may have missed over the month.

‘Good’ dermatology consult app to launch 1 May

Contrasting with Editor Charles’ ‘bad apps’ that made spurious claims on detecting dangerous melanomas is Pittsburgh-area Iagnosis’ ‘DermatologistsOnCall’ app set to launch 1 May on iOS and Android. This app is a virtual consult which will be available in 18 states. Currently it is available as an online service to Highmark commercial insurance members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware, who provide a brief history, information on the condition and upload photos to a secure website. A board-certified dermatologist reviews, then provides a diagnosis, comprehensive treatment plan, prescriptions and if needed, an in-office referral for $45 (Highmark) and $59 (private).  Present turnarounds average about 12 hours. To date they have raised an admittedly modest $2.8 million as part of a $7.25 million Series A preferred stock/debt conversion round, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. Also MedCityNews and CrunchBase.

Tele-dermatology seems popular but funding remains modest, with Germany’s Klara  (more…)

Action on bad apps in the US – not yet in the UK/EU

It is most encouraging to see that the FTC in the US has reached a settlement with two suppliers of “Melanoma Detection” apps: “In two separate cases, marketers of MelApp and Mole Detective have agreed to settlements that bar them from continuing to make such unsupported claims.” The FTC are pursuing actions against two other companies.

Echoing the requirements also of the EU’s Consumer Protection Directives as applied to health claims (notably the Misleading & Comparative Advertising Directive 2006/114EC), Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said: “Truth in advertising laws apply in the mobile marketplace.” “App developers and marketers must have scientific evidence to support any health or disease claims that they make for their apps.”

Sadly, despite a number of exposures of ‘bad apps’ that we have previously covered, as yet no action (more…)

Healbe GoBe sees daylight–but still can’t count calories

click to enlargeAt CEWeek NYC last June, this Editor spent some time with Healbe’s co-founder, who demonstrated to me a prototype of the Healbe GoBe 100% Automatic Body Manager fitness tracker. I walked away underwhelmed at its performance and skeptical of its main claim to fame–automatic measurement of caloric intake via measuring blood glucose conversion to fluid in cells. This was reinforced by a trail of tech product reviewers digging into its development, the controversial science behind it and a growing rebellion on Indiegogo, where contributions exceeded $1 million. Then it took delays–first September, then November. Few in the industry believed it would ever ship.

However, it has, and at least one intensive review after a month of wear is in from Engadget. Topline: it’s not a scam (which will disappoint some)  (more…)

Epic Systems getting into the app store business (US)

Epic Systems, the #1 company in the hospital and large practice EHR business, is launching its own app store, reportedly within a few weeks. This opens up interesting possibilities not only for mHealth app developers–who need application standards and guidelines soon–but also for Epic’s reputation as a closed system that shies away from interoperability with other EHRs like Cerner, Meditech and McKesson–a serious wrinkle with their Department of Defense EHR joint bid with IBM to replace AHLTA. The HIT Consultant article quotes a leading Epic customer consultant on that the first apps will be clinical, then crossing over into consumer; the latter seems an obvious move with PHRs (personal health records) as part of Meaningful Use requirements.