Legrand adds Jontek to assisted living and healthcare businesses (UK)

Jontek Ltd, a Stockport-based developer and provider of monitoring software and response centers for telecare, telehealth, lone worker and mCare, is being acquired by Legrand, a specialist in digital building and electrical infrastructure. Jontek will be joining Tynetec in Legrand Electric Ltd’s Assisted Living & Healthcare Business unit. Like Tynetec, Jontek is one of our Grizzled Pioneers of telecare, having started their business over 20 years ago. Currently they provide services to over 60 organizations in the UK and are a Government Procurement Supplier.

Looking at the release, Legrand sees an opportunity to complement Tynetec’s current lines in at-home alarms and assisted living call systems with Jontek’s Answer-link monitoring software, which is a system integrating database queries/reporting, document management, emailing and incident logging. (This Editor also sees potential for these systems to enhance Tynetec’s telehealth RPM systems and Intelligent Care.) Managing Director Chris Dodd: “Historically, both Jontek and Tynetec have been committed advocates of an open protocol philosophy. This will continue to remain one of our primary considerations when developing integrated digital solutions and innovative IP care platforms of the future.” Legrand release.

Two important takeaways: We continue to see consolidation of health tech businesses with an eye to enhancing and widening capabilities. Companies with established businesses are moving to make their products more accessible and user-friendly with mobility and enhanced response–BYOD and call centers. In design, they are incorporating secure data integration and reporting capabilities to make the data useful to clinicians and to prove worth, reducing the number of time-consuming steps to obtain data–or fall inevitably behind other digital health competitors. The other is ‘open protocol’ which this Editor interprets in this context as the ability to integrate sensors, peripherals, software and other kit which are not proprietary–in other words, to play nicely in the sandbox. Another indicator that the ‘walled garden’ is coming to an end. Not that it is going to be easy for those firms which have invested in a certain way of doing business–a challenge that many heretofore successful companies are facing. Ed. disclosure: Tynetec is and has been a long time supporter of TTA.

A diagnosis of why digital health startups die–an old (and new) story

click to enlargeFor years now, your Editors have championed integration of data and system interoperability–search on these terms and you’ll find a wealth of articles and views. This Editor also included how data is integrated in patient records as the Fifth Big Question (FBQ) in 2012 [TTA 8 Aug 13]. Many digital health companies, not just startups, have failed at the data integration (and security) tasks, whether with EHRs, hubs, billing and practice management systems or with other devices. (Let us not forget that the initial impetus for Continua back in 2007, the US state/regional HIXs and for HL7 now, was to have common data and interchange standards.)

So there’s no real element of surprise here by John Sung Kim’s pleading in TechCrunch re ‘integrating into legacy systems’ and the troubles his own startup DoctorBase encountered in what he tactfully puts ‘political and technical hurdles’ encountered. But then the velvet gloves come off about EHRs and their less-than-scrupulous idea of ‘partnerships’. (more…)

Qualcomm Life, Cox Communications buy into integration–differently (US/FR) updated

Qualcomm Life, known for building partnerships with independent companies to form a continuum in transitional/chronic care management utilizing the HealthyCircles platform [TTA 19 Dec 14], yesterday announced not a partnership but an acquisition–Capsule Tech, a company that builds systems for healthcare facilities, mainly hospitals, to collect and integrate data from myriad medical devices. Their medical device information system (MDIS) is dubbed SmartLinx and is used by 1,930 hospital clients in 38 countries. Headquartered in Andover, Massachusetts, Capsule has international offices in France, Singapore, China, Australia, UAE and Brazil. Majority owner was Turenne Capital, a French PE company. Acquisition terms were not disclosed. Release. Also Forbes, Neil Versel in MedCityNews.

Update: Fortune is quite bullish on how this aids Qualcomm in narrowing the quality gap of data transmission between the home and the hospital setting.

Cox Communications, the third largest cable and internet company in the US with ad media and business data divisions, is dipping more than a tentative toe in healthcare with last week’s acquisition of Trapollo, a program design/supply chain/logistics provider that currently works with multiple telehealth, telecare and monitoring device companies. Cox is clearly seeking another type of integration of their data carriage capabilities with systems and programs; they have also invested in HealthSpot Station’s virtual visit/telehealth kiosk and formed a strategic alliance with Cleveland Clinic. Release.

Neil Versel’s columns also note IBM Watson‘s growth and development of its own Care Manager with Apple HealthKit/ResearchKit [TTA 10 Sep] and Salesforce’s entry into patient management with Health Cloud, with another big announcement rumored to be on the way.

Integrating mobile apps between clinicians and patients

Your Editors have noted many well-funded companies working in the wings to link up and find meaning in the hugeness of Big Data generated by a gazillion medical systems and devices (Validic, the recently seen QpidHealth at HealthIMPACT East). However what’s been scarce on the ground are companies that are front-end, point of service, integrating mobile communications between clinicians, then with consumers/patients, then with EHRs, operations and patient portals. We noted ZynxHealth at HealthImpact, interestingly part of media giant Hearst, but they confine their secure messaging to clinicians. Now spanning both worlds is an early-stage company, Practice Unite, out of New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT–metro NY-ers of a certain age remember it as Newark College of Engineering!) NJ Innovation Institute accelerator. Inspira Health Network, located in southern NJ, is adopting their single clinician/patient platform. In conjunction with Futura Mobility, this will facilitate clinician/patient secure texting, voice communications, patient-directed communications and delivery of EHR data. Practice Unite has previously developed apps for at least ten health systems and home care providers. Their three-minute demo here illustrates a very wide span among clinicians, hospital operations, home care operations and patient engagement. (This Editor will be finding out more on Friday when visiting their offices at the NJIT Enterprise Development Center in Newark.) Release.

Digital health attracting small–and very big–investment action (US)

Last week Validic, a data integrator for payers, providers, preventive wellness companies and pharma, received $1.25M in convertible note funding from SJF Ventures. Recently profiled by guest columnist Lois Drapin [TTA 27 Jan], in August 2013 they received $760,000 in seed funding and are bridging with this to their Series A. According to Mobihealthnews, they are building out their team and adding three senior executives in marketing, business development and operations. They are also presently registered as a Class 1 MDDS device with the FDA. Styling as a mobile health conduit for payers, providers and preventive wellness seems to be a persuasive position. Also CrunchBase.

On the other side of the continuum is Castlight Health with a Friday IPO that raised $180 million and eventually created a valuation for the company at a blindingly bright $3 billion. Not bad for a company with but $13 million in 2013 revenues and $100 million in forward customer contracts. Castlight’s tech platform enables employers to manage healthcare costs better and for employees provides better information for making decisions based on quality, pricing and convenience. Here at the top of the market is another attractive position–drive down big enterprise healthcare cost. Mobihealthnews

Mobile in healthcare: HIMSS Analytics infographic

You can read the full 3rd Annual HIMSS Analytics Mobile Survey of 170 health IT and clinical staff or treat yourself to the highlights in this infographic. It summarizes key findings such as 59 percent have a mobile technology plan and 29 percent are developing a mobile technology plan; 62 percent indicated that they offer patients access to at least one of the mobile tools identified in the research, including patient portals, telehealth services and remote monitoring devices; only 22 percent indicated that three-quarters of the data captured by mobile devices was integrated into the organization’s EMR. Developed by HIT Consultant.