China’s Anthem hack: they just wanna understand US healthcare

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Knock yersself out! The Gimlet Eye files via Bottle from A Dot On The Map off the New York coast. One of the stranger follow ups of the past week–one that is difficult to read with straight face–is the report in the Financial Times that the Chinese hacked into insurer Anthem’s 80-million strong beneficiary database in order to study up on the American healthcare system and benefit their aging population. Neil Versel with raised eyebrow in MedCityNews quoting the FT story: “The Chinese hackers had trained their sights on the U.S. health sector to help the country understand how other nations deal with medical care, people familiar with the Anthem investigation said.” You’d think it would be easier for the Chinese to go to a few conferences, meet a few executives and learn a few things first. Then maybe they could do a ‘deal deal’ with an insurer on their IP, or bring them into China on a JV. With so many services for sale from the thundering horde of data analytics companies and multiple middleware providers, write a check already. But that would destroy the Fun of Hacking!

How the FT could actually print without a hint of skepticism this ‘nothing to see here, move on’ story rolls the Eye. (more…)

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…)

The NHS fail at encouraging digital health startups

While Minister of Life Sciences George Freeman MP speaks very highly of the need for innovation and digital health in an NHS integrated health system, the reality is less encouraging for UK startups and their growth. The story of Big Health’s Sleepio and its move from the UK, told by Bloomberg, illustrates the difficulty that new companies and technologies have in fitting into a national framework, then selling into the 209 NHS regions plus related healthcare spenders. The long cycle and the narrowness of the frameworks are disincentives for many digital health technologies and their funders. Even if you win clients as part of being on the framework, when it expires after a few years, the business can be lost.

It’s hard to crack the code, and small companies are dependent on partners. A personal anecdote from this Editor’s time at Living Independently: the company achieved getting on a national framework with the QuietCare telecare product (2007) through partnerships with several larger telecare providers. We relied on them to offer QuietCare to the regions and councils. This had limited success and the US business far outstripped that in the UK.

Ten years ago, the situation was reversed. NHS, Government and council funding helped the earliest development and acceptance of telehealth and telecare, much as the Veterans Health Administration (VA) did with home telehealth and telemedicine in the US.  Other European markets and Canada have established private spending in this area, but these smaller markets–and funders– don’t have the potential that is possible in the US private market, even without reimbursement. The trend is reflected in investment: $4 bn in the US, less than €100 million in Europe. US developers now have a bonus in the potential of Asia, with China having the greatest interest and now funding. [TTA 23 July].  How the NHS Is Locking Out Britain’s Digital-Health Startups

Can digital health solve China’s healthcare quality, distribution problems?

Earlier this year [TTA 21 May] we noted China’s interest, governmental moves and private investments in digital health as part of ‘Internet Plus’: Tencent Holdings and Fosun International led the $35 million Series B round for ‘healthcare tricorder’ Scanadu; ZTE Health; Alibaba‘s investment in data cruncher CITIC 21CN. Now McKinsey partner Florian Then analyzed for Yahoo! Finance the promise of telemedicine and telehealth in that country, and the great problems they must solve. The huge disparity of care between urban and rural hospitals drives patients to the former, regardless of long distances and inconvenience. In population health, the unhealthy habits of much of China’s population make US/UK/EU concerns look unimportant: one of every three of the world’s smokers and 300 million hypertensives live in China.

A possible telemedicine-driven solution would be for urban hospitals to support via doctor consults and email rural hospitals to get patients into the medical system locally and earlier. Education would be delivered online, probably through those 847 million mobile phones on which 83 percent of Chinese Internet users access the web (market intelligence firm IDC). China also appears to be liberalizing (more…)

Nurses, China, ageing, longevity, TV, mobile data, Magna Carta, even logarithms – something for everyone!

This editor has always felt that telehealth and allied technologies is a nurse’s friend, enabling them to treat more people, with less stress, in short delivering more care and driving less car. It’s therefore great to see the European Federation of Nurses so active in the mHealth event in Riga recently, and to see them making a strong case for nurse engagement in the mHealth care pathways.

However this editor could not restrain a small chuckle at presumably a wayward spellchecker resulting in the phrase “incorporating big data logarithms for clinical pathways” appearing in the Presidential Message in their June-July 2015 Update.

Staying, briefly, overseas – the UKTI and co want to take you to the Expo 2015 in Milan on 28 September to 1 October to find new export opportunities. Programme for the main day is here. Book for the whole event here. Looking further afield, there is more info about the China Healthcare & Life Sciences Roadshow 2015 taking place in London, Manchester, Belfast, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff between 29 June – 8 July here. For those interested in exporting to China, the roadshow will highlight the extensive work that has been done to identify and scope current opportunities in the healthcare sector there. Great stuff.

On a different tack, this editor has just been made aware that the University of Greenwich has established (more…)

‘Internet Plus’ nurturing China’s nascent digital health market

Back in April this Editor was surprised by the interest Chinese investment companies had in Scanadu–and vice versa. Two of the three, Tencent Holdings and Fosun International, led the $35 million Series B round. Scanadu in return reportedly is developing products primarily for the China market, such as a urine analyzer.

Somewhat surprising, but it should not be, is the extent that private money tacks to the winds of official Chinese government policy. Ecns.com, the online site of the state China News Service, reports that part of the government ‘Internet Plus’ initiative will be targeted to the health and social care needs of 212 million people over 60 in China–a surprising 15.5 percent of the population. The civil affairs vice-minister has publicly advocated the use of the Internet, cloud computing and big data to transform care for the aged. Oddly, this also includes the development of ‘e-commerce’ for seniors.The language is also interesting and very careful–“The country’s population also features a large number of elderly people who are disabled and who are faced with empty nests and poverty” and a similar to the West shortage of carers. (more…)

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 (more…)

Microsoft Kinect now as sign language translator

The versatility of Microsoft Kinect continues to astound, with uses ranging from human rehab/physical therapy to equipping robots with anticipatory powers for your drink to Ellie the Virtual Analyst. Add sign language translation to this list. The latest is Chinese sign language simultaneous translation via Kinect that will permit deaf and hearing individuals to understand each other. Sign languages are their own entity with grammar and rules that make the spoken/written language nearly foreign to the user. The system developed by Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Computing Technology and Microsoft Research Asia joins the one developed for American Sign Language last year. Wired.co.uk  Hat tip to Toni Bunting, TTA and TANN Ireland.