Digital health versus eHealth: ‘here we go again’ with the confusion and the differences. Plus Women in eHealth (JISfTeH)

Editor Donna (and Editor Steve before her) always likes a good dust-up about terminology. One of the former’s pet peeves is the imprecise usage of telemedicine (virtual visits) versus telehealth (remote patient monitoring of vital signs); she will concede that the differences have been so trampled on that telemedicine has nearly faded from use.

The Journal of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (JISfTeH) makes a grand attempt to parse the differing definitions of digital health and eHealth in their opening editorial of this month’s (24 Jan) issueeHealth has fallen so far from use that the few times one does see it is in associations such as ISfTeH and the New York eHealth Collaborative. Even the World Health Organization, which has always been a fair arbiter for the industry, defined eHealth back in the salad days of 2005 as “the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for health”–broad, but workable. After a witty aside in defining digital health as “an area of healthcare focused entirely on fingers and toes” (plus), and examining the overly broad definitions of Eric Topol and Paul Sonnier, the authors Richard E. Scott and Maurice Mars seem to settle on this: that while digital health is given a  much broader but nebulous definition (to the point of linguistic absurdity cited in Mesko et al.), and may incorporate related technologies like genomics (another poorly defined term) and ‘big data’, it would not work without that ICT. And that at least there’s a settled definition for eHealth, as stated above, for which this Editor assumes we should be happy. In the author’s closing, “Will we be sufficiently motivated to rise to such a challenge-globally agreed universal definitions? If not ……here we go again …..”

This month’s journal theme is also Women in eHealth, with articles on Brazilian eHealth distance education, digital technology in midwifery practice, and how online social networks can work for drug abuse treatment referral. There’s also a change in format, with article links opening to full PDFs of each article.

Who’s available? A young graduate in telemedicine/eHealth studies seeks opportunity

Maceline (Mimi) Kadurira is finishing up her MSc in eHealth & Tele-Medicine at Rome (Italy) Business School. She is seeking a position where she will gain additional exposure to various aspects of telemedicine, eHealth, and social sciences where she has an honors degree from Africa University in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Some points she would like to highlight re her suitability for a new opportunity:

  • Volunteer involvement. I have volunteered with Inspire Tutors as Communications and marketing Organiser helping with writing and maintaining company blog and spearheading campaigns and marketing awareness programmes and providing one-on-one coaching children and youths with developmental disabilities, including counseling. I also implemented individualized learning plans for students with intellectual disabilities. Shadowing case managers and attending mental health meetings was an incredibly beneficial experience during my volunteering time.
  • Professional experience. As a student (Intern) a full year as Human Resources Assistant, compiling time sheets, risk management, helping in the recruitment process, filing, data entry and general confidential information handling/maintenance.
  • E-Health and Telemedicine Management. Courses include Electronic Medical Records, Chronic Disease Management, Best Practice, Clinical Decision Support Systems, ESA activities in Telemedicine (space technology for downstream eHealth applications) Protection of personal data in eHealth, Standards and Interoperability.

Can your growing organization use Mimi? Contact Details: macelkaduri@yahoo.co.uk  Her CV is here

NYeC Digital Health Conference (NYC)–next week

NYeC Digital Health Conference, 6-7 December 2016 | New World Stages, New York, NY
The New York eHealth Collaborative’s Digital Health Conference brings together 500 senior-level healthcare industry leaders to learn about new innovations and to foster dynamic conversation addressing how healthcare is being redefined through technology. It is well on track to fill completely, so if you’ve been delaying your booking, now is the time. And our readers enjoy a 10 percent discount.

Updated and expanded agenda here.

Keynote speakers:
• Robert Wachter, MD, Professor and Interim Chairman of the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, author of “The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age” [TTA 16 Apr 15]. (To this Editor, this is a must-see keynote!)
• Steven Johnson, PBS Host and Bestselling Author, “How We Got To Now” and “Where Good Ideas Come From”

Some other speakers: Carol Raphael, the former CEO of Visiting Nurse Service of NY; Kristopher Smith of Northwell Health; James Mault of Qualcomm Life and Aron Gupta of Quartet Health. This year a who’s who of New York’s healthcare and health tech community will gather for two days of networking, lively intellectual exchange, and exploration to see what’s new, what’s cutting edge and what will shape the future of healthcare.

It’s worth taking the trip to NYC for this right before the holidays! For more information, click here for the website.

Telehealth & Telecare Aware Readers receive a 10% registration discount. Click on this link or the sidebar advert. Important–use code TTA when registering. For updates, @NYeHealth. TTA is a conference partner/media partner of the NYeC DHC.

The difficulty in differentiating telemedicine and telehealth

Our Editors have always tried to cleanly define the differences between telemedicine, telehealth and telecare, even as they blur in industry use. (See our Definitions sidebar for the latter two.) But telemedicine, at least on this side of the Atlantic, has lost linguistic ground to telehealth, which has become the umbrella term that eHealth wanted to be only two or three years ago. Similarly, digital health, connected health and mHealth have lost ground to health tech, since most devices now connect and incorporate mobility. And there are sub-genres, such as wearables, fitness trackers and aging tech.

Poor telehealth grows ever fuzzier emanations and penumbra! Now bearing the burden of virtual visits between doctor and patient, doctor-to-doctor professional consults, video conferencing (synchronous and asynchronous), remote patient monitoring of vital signs and qualitative information (ditto), and distance health monitoring to treat patients, it also begins to embrace its data: outcome-based analytics, population health and care modeling. Eric Wicklund accumulates a pile of studies from initial-heavy organizations: WHO, HIMSS, HHS, Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP), ATA, TRC Network. All of which shows, perhaps contrary to Mr Wicklund’s intentions, how confusing simple concepts have become. mHealth Intelligence

Two US events: Health Wildcatters Pitch Day (Texas), mHealth Deep Dive (California)

Health Wildcatters Pitch Day: 12 November, Majestic Theatre, Dallas Texas

This Texas accelerator will be presenting its 2015 class of 10 early stage companies in 10 days. Doors open at 2:30pm and the presentations are 3-5 pm. All attendees are cordially invited to the Pitch Day After Party which is a short two-block walk from the theatre at the Health Wildcatters office, 211 N. Ervay Street, 2nd floor. The $10 ticket cost is primarily to defray Eventbrite (having worked with them before!) as it is well-sponsored indeed. More information and registration hereHat tip to Fiona Schlachter.

Deep Dive: Health/mHealth/eHealth: 8 December, 2825 Lafayette Street, Building 34 (EBC entrance), Santa Clara, California

Shrinking smart devices, sensors, cloud services, connectivity, and an aging population have all created tremendous changes in healthcare and fitness. This half-day deep dive meeting will discuss wireless and mobility solutions, as well as the fixed and fiber side that enables remote radiology and VR tele-surgery through robotic arms. If you are interested in the marriage of startup tech with the health and fitness industries, join in this discussion and networking. It probably pays to be a member as the non-member fee is steep. There are also ‘spotlight tables’ that are discounted 50 percent for pre-revenue startups. Sponsored by the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley. Information and registration. Hat tip to Editor Charles and Mike Clark.

‘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…)

Women and eHealth on the international scale: JISfTeH explores

JISfTeH–the Journal of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth–published by the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, has an intriguing issue this quarter that focuses on the international role of women and eHealth, not only as recipients but also as developers, designers and integrators of what they term Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Encouraging a greater role for women in what we more commonly call HIT is the subject of various UN, academic and rural efforts. The articles here are about   programs designed by, implemented and largely for women: the ‘Zero Mothers Die’ global initiative using mHealth to reduce infant and maternal mortality, using video games in structured exercise to prevent depression and anxiety among new mothers in the rural Philippines, telehealth in the monitoring of gestational diabetes (more…)

MALCOLM final results now online (UK/FR)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/MALCOM-Middle-logo.jpg” thumb_width=”250″ /]If you are interested in the outcomes of SEHTA and Pôle-Tes‘ MALCOLM project, they are now published on the SEHTA website. The Anglo-Franco project analyzed remote care via ICT (information and communications technology) delivery (eHealth) and needs in the coastal Channel area: Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent in England, and Lower Normandy in France. The press release has more details on results, methodology and the funding.

19th ISfTeH International Conference – 5th Carrefour de la Telesante

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/logo_catel-ISfTeH.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]16 – 17 October 2014. Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Paris

The annual fall “Telesante” meeting’s theme this year is “Towards an international eHealth?” Sessions will center on success stories of eHealth applications, connected tools and services, methodologies, eHealth and economic development, and legal/regulatory frameworks. Organized by CATEL, the French Network for eHealth providers, and the ISfTeH, the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth. Website and registration

Also: July ISfTeH newsletter Hat tip to Malcolm Fisk, CoDirector of Age Research Centre, Coventry University

International eGovernment and eHealth Cooperation Forum 2014 (Austria)

20 October 2014. Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Wiedner Hauptstraße 63, Vienna, Austria

The Cooperation Forum is targeted at European and international public administrators, service providers, companies and potential purchasers in the areas of eHealth and eGovernment. It covers several verticals outside of healthcare but in the eHealth area they are (directly) listed as eHealth and Telemedicine, as well as less directly Open Government Data (OGD)/Public sector information (PSI). The Forum is centered on learning about latest trends and technologies, as well as cross-border contacts and meetings with principals in the eGovernment and eHealth sector. Supported by Enterprise Europe Network, the European Commission, WKO and Digital Austria. Attractively, participation in the Cooperation Forum is free of charge but registration for the event is mandatory; for international guests it includes complimentary accommodation (two nights in a 3*/4* hotel in the city center of Vienna with breakfast). Program (PDF). Flyer (PDF)Information and registration. Hat tip to Eva Weidinger, Head of Technology Affairs at the Austrian Embassy (London)

Welsh Government to develop new eHealth and Care Strategy

The Government of Wales has announced that it is to develop a new eHealth and care strategy in [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Welsh-Goverment.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]conjunction with health boards, NHS trusts and local authorities in Wales. The strategy will focus on using technology such as video conferencing, remote monitoring and better use of health records.

In a written statement issued last week while the Welsh Assembly is on its break, the minister for health and social services states that consultation will take place with health and social care professionals and users and the strategy will be in place by the end of the year.

“This will help us achieve our aim of ensuring there are more services, care and support available for patients in their homes or in their local communities” says the statement from Mark Drakeford.

“Technology has a key role to play. This could include the use of video conferencing to allow patients and health professionals to talk to each other; to aid diagnosis and decision making and remote monitoring for people with particular health conditions. Technology can also help improve access to services by bringing them closer to people’s homes, for example by providing mobile services in rural areas.

“With an increasing ageing population it is essential we enable people to live independently for as long as possible. Without this, the health and well-being of individuals will be adversely affected.

“We will expect our information to be accessible to professionals where and when it is needed whether in health or in social care. We already have the Individual Health Record, with appropriate security and governance in place. Any potential wider access to people’s data would only be with their consent.”

The full statement is available on the Welsh Government website here.

A useful note on telehealth & telecare (UK)

If like me you are frequently asked for a summary of what has happened recently in the world of telehealth & telecare and are forced either to sit down and cut & paste/write one or politely turn down the request, you’ll be pleased to know of the recent four-page summary produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Written by Peter Border, it is a competent summary of recent developments in remote monitoring in the UK, including 3millionlives & ALIP, extending to mention of the regulation of medical apps.

Of course there are bits I’d have written differently. For example (more…)

The GET Project to grow EU startups/SMEs

Associated with the international Health 2.0 organization, the GET Project provides four services to promote the growth of eHealth start-ups and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in four different phases: opportunity identification, business model definition, fundraising and internationalization. Health 2.0 is managing the “GET Funded” service, which provides SMEs looking for Series B or follow up investment (between € 0.5-2M) with training, resources and networking opportunities with VCs and investors at the European level. (Perhaps a way around the Series B crunch?) More information. Contact Pascal Lardier, International Director at Pascal@health2con.com. Editor Donna notes that the focus here does not appear to be UK, though one of the five Advisory Board members listed is from Scotland (and interestingly, two are from the US): Jan Rutherford, Partner, Scottish Equity Partners (SEP); Sandra Bates, Founder and CEO Innovation Partners; Dave Whitlinger, Executive Director, New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC); Ron Michael Liebkind, Founder and CMO, Laastari Retail Clinics; Rajendre Khargi, Chair, OneWorld International Foundation.

Telefónica buys strategic stake in Saluspot

Telefónica Digital today announced a strategic agreement with and a financial stake in information/medical community website Saluspot to extend the latter’s content and network in Spain and Latin America. Saluspot is an interesting cross between health information (WebMD) and physician locators (in the US, ZocDoc and Vitals) in that it provides free, anonymous contact with registered (on their site) physicians via the website to answer consumer questions in areas where healthcare access is limited; through this matching it also provides visibility for doctors as well as a professional exchange and purchasing collective. The benefit for Saluspot is to increase their coverage beyond Spain and Chile, and for Telefónica to add health tech services in major markets such as Brazil, where they acquired chronic care management company Axismed last year. Telefónica’s eHealth reach, according to the release, is over two million eHealth service customers in Latin America and its media networks include Eleven Paths, giffgaff, Media Networks Latin America and Terra.

Telecare – time to lose the last “e”?

Many years ago when I co-founded eForum to promote what was then called “eGovernment”, it was common for smart speakers to begin their conference presentations by saying that it’d soon be plain “government”, which indeed it has been now for many years; around the world, government sector workers have embraced technology to offer huge improvements in quality of service to citizens at reduced cost. Sadly health services have proved far more resistant to the beneficial use of technology, so eHealth & mHealth seem likely to take rather longer to lose their prefixes, in spite of pleas from the VA. If any support for this view was needed, the telehealth news from the flat earth society of a recent survey of GPs (more…)