Something for (almost) everyone – a digital health gallymaufry

The Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) is looking for companies to share the British Pavilion at the CMEF trade show from 15th – 18th May 2015 in Shanghai, China. It is apparently the the leading Healthcare trade show in China and is now the largest Medical Equipment exhibition in the Asia Pacific region attracting over 60,000 visitors. Details here.

Still need to see some more predictions for 2015? – try these 12 for telecoms, which does include the odd interesting nod towards subjects we cover, including interconnection of wearables and connected homes.

Prompted by our mention of V-Connect in our review of our 2014 predictions, MD Adam Hoare has pointed out that his company also won the Medilink ‘partnership with the NHS’ award for their renal project with The Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Congratulations!

Accenture has produced an interesting survey of the connected world that shows a fall-off in purchases of relatively mature technologies like HDTVs and smartphones, and a modest increase in plans to purchase eg wearable fitness monitors (8% of those surveyed already own, +12% of those surveyed in year 1, rising to 40% by year 3). A scary 83% of purchasers are reported as having difficulty using their ‘intelligent devices’.

Sadly they have not looked at the age distribution of intended purchasers which might have added further weight to the point we made in a recent post that the potentially greatest beneficiaries of such devices – frail older people – are not (yet?) the principal purchasers. This concern is reinforced by an observation on last week’s CES: it looks as though digital technology developers have still to discover that older people are likely to be a big market, particularly for health technology and for connecting this to their smart homes.

The British government has produced a ‘horizon-scanning’ paper on Big Data that reads as a good primer for the basics as well as giving a fairly concise definition of the term. Sadly it also includes a few perceptive statements of the blindingly obvious, such as “With the Big Data universe expanding so quickly, looking to the future is very difficult” which for this editor do detract from its value. It identifies six high-level trends:

  • The emergence of cloud computing;
  • The development of new software tools and database systems for large, unstructured datasets;
  • The development and refining of analytical tools so that they can process vast quantities of data in near-real time;
  • The monetisation of Big Data sources – realising the value of the data collected by selling it on the market;
  • The increasing concerns around privacy of data and intellectual property; and
  • The rise of global smart cities.

The opportunities for Big Data applications described in the report are:

  • Creating transparency;
  • Enabling experimentation to discover needs, expose variability, and improve performance;
  • Segmenting populations to customise actions;
  • Replacing/supporting human decision making with automated algorithms; and
  • Innovating new business models, products and services with Big Data.

This editor has recently been reminded by Prof Mike Short of the excellent resources available on mHealth – particularly for the developing world – from the GSMA. Always worth a quick look at their mHealth/connected living section every month or so. There are some great reports on the mobile economies from around the world too, with masses of quotable statistics.

FierceMobileHealthcare quotes Craig Stires, associate vice president for big data, software and analytics at IDC Asia Pacific as claiming that wearables will move from the arm to the ear as that location offers the opportunity to capture oxygen levels, electrocardiograms, and body temperature.

Aviva have sent us a most interesting press release announcing that they are partnering with Babylon to bring “the latest digital technology to some of <their> customers”. They go on to say that “the deal will see the roll-out of an innovative virtual health service, the Babylon app, to some of Aviva’s UK customers starting with key corporate healthcare clients. Through Babylon, customers will have quick and convenient access to family GPs, specialist consultants, and state of the art health monitoring and treatment.” At last, here is some evidence that business models are being changed as a result of remote consultation!

If your company is less than five years old, there’s a good chance you might be eligible to apply for the Medtec Startup Academy. Eligibility is:

  • “Start-ups from 0 to 5 years producing or aiming to produce medical devices
    • Suppliers to the medtech industry with innovations should contact Medtec Europe for details of different schemes
  • Start-ups from the following countries: the UK, Ireland, France, Germany
  • Start-ups based in the rest of the EU”

(No we don’t really understand why the difference between “from” and “based in” either though it’s clearly significant to Medtec Europe)

Christopher Mims has written an incredibly positive item on the Apple Watch in the Wall Street journal that suggests that we’ll all be wearing them soon. Definitely worth a read. Dexcom for example will be using the Watch to access their continuous glucose meter.

The Patient Safety Congress is now seeking award nominations. There are 17 categories to choose from, including Technology and IT to Improve Patient Safety. Nothing though specifically focusing on digital/mobile health which is a shame as it is becoming increasingly clear that there are unique features of health & care technology, notably medical apps as we have discussed in previous blogs, that require careful management to ensure excellent patient safety.

Finally, at last the EC has published a summary of the responses to the mHealth Green Paper that were submitted mid 2014. Intriguingly the UK contributed the second greatest number of responses, eclipsed by Belgian organisations (presumably also including Brussels-based EC-wide organisations).

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