TTA’s Week: AliveCor’s ECG cleared, Harris acquires Uniphy, CVS and Aetna’s days in court, Jawbone’s resurrection, events, funding and more!

 

 

CVS and Aetna await their hearing on how their merger isn’t anti-competitive, but others ‘spring’ ahead with acquisitions, fresh funding, FDA clearances, and interesting events. And Jawbone makes the case for resurrection.

Next Wednesday is the The King’s Fund’s Digital Health and Care Congress in London. It’s not too late to attend. Plus 10% off registration for our Readers!

News, events roundup: FDA clears AliveCor’s first 6 lead ECG, Jawbone Health rises from ashes, Let’s Get Checked’s $30M check, Health Wildcatters’ $35M ‘how to’ breakfast
CVS-Aetna hearing starts June 4; now only 6 witnesses called, for and against (updated) (The drama continues for the 9th month)
Harris Healthcare acquires in-hospital workflow tech pioneer Uniphy Health (A NJ innovation success bringing better communications to hospitals)
Events, dear friends, events in London from painting to leadership (From Arts in Health to HealthChats and The King’s Fund in summer)

Psychiatry goes ‘hybrid’, health tech gets NICE, events both coming up and future, and in long-running shows, CVS-Aetna and Theranos keep packing them in.

Telepsychiatry improves time to care plus frequency of care for behavioral health patients: study (Now it’s hybrid psychiatry)
CVS-Aetna hearing now June; 12 witnesses called, for and against (Another long-running DC show in its ninth month)
It’s NICE to HealthTech Connect with the NHS (A health tech matchmaking service)
The Theranos Story, ch. 60: becoming a Cautionary Tale of Silicon Valley Ethics (Will SV change its ways? Not likely.)
Events coming up soon–and in the autumn: Hunter College 13 May, Aging 2.0 London 21 May; NYeC’s November Gala, Connected Health Summit (16-18 Oct) poster call

International digital health news from India, Finland, Hong Kong, and even the US leads our roundup, from Verily, Oxford VR, Blackberry, Blue Cedar, and more. And if you are in digital health in the UK, it’s countdown to the Digital Health and Care Congress.

International news roundup: Verily ‘eyes’ India, Oxford VR trials in Hong Kong, Israel-Finland collaborate, Blue Cedar-Blackberry partner, NuvoAir inhales $3M
The King’s Fund Digital Health and Care Congress arrives soon on 22-23 May (It’s here before you know it)

It’s really Spring this week. Theranos lives again, courtesy of the Patent Office, while reliving its demise is postponed in court. Machine learning is starting to shine on radiology. New event at RSM and a major EU prize. But it feels like autumn for Athenahealth, Watson Health, and Waystar.

Comings and goings: Cuts hit Athenahealth, IBM Watson’s Drug Discovery unit; Bain may sell Waystar RCM (Mostly goings)
The Theranos Story, ch. 59: there’s life left in the corporate corpse–patents! And no trial date in sight. (A kind of resurrection, courtesy of the USPTO)
AI and machine learning ‘will transform clinical imaging practice over the next decade’ (Radiology catching up)
Digital Technologies for Disease Prevention and Promotion of Wellbeing – RSM, London, 10th June 2019 (A don’t miss event)
Win the Trillium II prize and get €1,000! (For publicizing and deploying the International Patient Summary)

Spring Fever continues as we hop like a bunny to Easter and Passover. This week has a distinctly international focus, with Babylon Health and Merck in Africa, a digital health funding competition in Helsinki, and Israel’s Tyto Care DTC-ing with Best Buy. We take a critical look at China’s massive data reaping through private healthcare companies for AI diagnostics, with little regard to patient consent or privacy. Closer to home, there’s ATA, Spry Health’s wearable for COPD, and NHSX’s establishment.

International news roundup: ATA dispatches, compete for funding in Helsinki, Spry FDA-cleared for COPD, Merck acquires ConnectMed Kenya 
Babylon Health’s expansion plans in Asia-Pacific, Africa spotlighted (We extract the highlights including the new NHSX for good measure)
Tyto Care inks deal with Best Buy for retail sales of remote diagnostic device (Tyto finally moves into DTC with a retailer apparently set on digital health)
China’s getting set to be the healthcare AI leader–on the backs of sick, rural citizens’ data privacy (Damn ethics and privacy rights, full speed ahead!)

With a touch of spring fever, we round up events from a two-week digital health festival in Leeds to ATA in New Orleans. CVS-Aetna’s merger continues to linger in a Federal court. And the NHS App report is overall positive for its rollout later this year–but Microsoft’s HealthVault is rolling into history.

NHS App’s pilot results: renewing prescriptions good, making appointments…not so much (Plus the demise of Microsoft HealthVault)
Leeds Digital Festival 2019: a two-week showcase of digital health and care (Quite an annual show across town!)
Spring is here, so are some events to enjoy–and broaden your horizons (From New York to New Orleans) 
Drawn-out decision on the CVS-Aetna merger held up again in Federal court (Examined up, down, and sideways in a Federal court–since October)

Fortune and Kaiser Health News take down EHRs and the havoc they wreak on doctors and patients. Our weekly news roundup looks at diabetic VR training in Wessex, telemental health in Australia, GreatCall’s health ambitions–and prescribing apps is baaack!

EHRs: The Bridge to Nowhere–other than despair. An investigative Must Read on ‘an unholy mess’. (The reality settles in, and it’s worse than you thought, whether you’re a doctor or patient)
News roundup from all over: prescribing apps is back! Plus telemental health Down Under, GreatCall’s health tech strategy, Wessex’s diabetic sim, telehealth growth outpaces urgent care


The King’s Fund’s annual Digital Health and Care Congress is back on 22-23 May. Secretary Matt Hancock keynoting and closing Day 2. Meet leading NHS and social care professionals and learn how data and technology can improve the health and well-being of patients plus the quality and effectiveness of the services that they use. Our Readers are eligible for a 10% discount using the link in the advert or here, plus the code Telehealth_10.


Have a job to fill? Seeking a position? Free listings available to match our Readers with the right opportunities. Email Editor Donna.


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Telehealth & Telecare Aware: covering the news on latest developments in telecare, telehealth, telemedicine and health tech, worldwide–thoughtfully and from the view of fellow professionals

Thanks for asking for update emails. Please tell your colleagues about this news service and, if you have relevant information to share with the rest of the world, please let me know.

Donna Cusano, Editor In Chief
donna.cusano@telecareaware.com

Events, dear friends, events in London from painting to leadership

‘Framing the Future’, Paintings in Hospitals 60th Anniversary. Monday 13 May at 6pm, Royal College of Physicians

What is the past, present and future role of arts in health? Considering the past pioneers and future innovations of visual arts in health and social care is a panel including Edmund de Waal OBE (artist and author), Dr Errol Francis (CEO of Culture&), Dr Val Huet (CEO of the British Association of Art Therapists), Prof. Victoria Tischler (Professor of Arts and Health at the University of West London) and Ed Vaizey MP (Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing). This event is waitlisted, but was fascinating enough to warrant a mention.

HealthChat with Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, Thursday 23 May at 5.30pm, The King’s Fund

Organized by UK Health Gateway, this evening with Ms. May will delve into issues such as workforce, her priorities, and how she will unite nurses in planning for the future? Tickets through Eventbrite are £19.95 – £39.95.

HealthChat with Rashik Parmar MBE. Monday 10 June at 5.30pm, The King’s Fund

Organized by UK Health Gateway, this evening with Mr. Parmar who is a Fellow of IBM, the leader of IBM’s European technical community and an IBM Distinguished Engineer will be about technology, data mapping, and AI. Tickets through Eventbrite are  £19.95 – £39.95.

Hat tip to Roy Lilley and his NHSManagers.net newsletter for the above three events

Ninth annual leadership and management summit. Wednesday 10 July starting 8am for the full day. The King’s Fund

The King’s Fund’s annual leadership event is for senior leaders in health and care organizations across the public, private and third sectors. Topics will be centered on leadership capabilities and cultures that enable teams to deliver better patient care and value for money, while also delivering continuous improvements to population health. Speakers include the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP and Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England. More information and registration here.

 

Robotic exoskeletons are…alive!

It seems like ages–in reality, only two years or so [TTA 19 Dec 15]–that this Editor was writing hopefully about advances in exoskeletons such as ReWalk and Wyss, EKSO plus DARPA research in assisting the mobility of paraplegics and others who need assistance in major movement. And then the news went rather dark, though ReWalk is now in its sixth iteration.

So it is heartening to be able to report that an established healthcare robotics company, Toronto’s Bionik Laboratories, is investing in a joint venture with Boston-based Wistron Corporation, an industrial design and manufacturing company, to further develop the Bionik ARKE lower body exoskeleton. Bionik’s emphasis has been on rehabilitative hospital-to-home upper body robotics to assist patients with regaining mobility. The ARKE appears to be both rehabilitative and assistive for patients in the home. Once developed in the JV, Wistron would be the sole manufacturer. 

According to Crunchbase, Bionik raised $13.1 million in a July 2015 private placement specifically to develop the ARKE (MassDevice). This past May, they raised about $2 million from Hong Kong’s Ginger Capital in a separate JV to sell their robotics into the Chinese market. Bionik partnered with IBM starting last year to develop machine learning to analyze the data generated by the ARKE (FierceBiotech).

The target market for the Bionik/Wistron JV is not in this context a surprise. It is the booming older adult Asian market, where the aging/elderly population is projected to hit 983 million by 2050. Many especially in China and India live in rural areas and aren’t covered by any pension or old-age support (ADB Research). It is not clear to this Editor how expensive lower-body exoskeletons will be supported financially either privately or by government.  Bionik release, FierceBiotech

#ShareTheHealth: health research using spare Android phone processing, used fitness trackers

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/fitness-tracker-and-Android.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Citizen Science on the Move. Two new campaigns harness the power of everyday people to boost research and personal health.

The World Community Grid is coordinated by IBM and taps into the spare processing power of potentially millions of Android smartphones and tablets. Users download an app called BOINC through the IBM site and select a research area in health or sustainability. Researchers then can use the processing power of the device at idle times to fuel processing of massive records or simulations required for research. The app operates in the background when your device is connected to Wi-Fi and at 90 percent+ charge, so it doesn’t use data or drain significant power. It has been or is currently being used for up to two million daily calculations in research initiatives for Ebola, Zika, TB and HIV/AIDS. Highlighted in the BBC News article is the new Smash Childhood Cancer project to help find cures for six types of childhood cancer, including brain tumors, liver and bone cancer. Previously, 200,000 World Community Grid volunteers contributed device power to research on neuroblastoma, which helped identify several potential treatments. The BOINC project started in 2004 and originally used spare mainframe and PC processing. It remains free to researchers in exchange for allowing other researchers to access the data. More information on the IBM World Community Grid with app download links here to put your Android device on the grid. It beats a cat video app! Hat tip to reader Guy Dewsbury via LinkedIn.

RecycleHealth and #ShareTheHealth is a crowdfunded research/wellness project that aims to put used fitness trackers back to work for those who wouldn’t normally buy them at retail: older adults with chronic disease, veterans’ organizations working to reduce PTSD, inner city running clubs, and more. Developed by Tufts University School of Medicine assistant professor Lisa Gualtieri, Ph.D., RecycleHealth has cleaned and refurbished over 1,000 donated fitness trackers which have been used in three research studies on how wearables affect behavior change and clinical outcomes. The three and future rounds of crowdfunding help with postage (donor and new user) and refurbishment. So far the research has covered hypertension and Type 2 diabetes. Future studies are planned for how wearable activity tracker data can be used in clinical visits for actionable physician counseling and wearables’ therapeutic role in assisting veterans recovering from mental health and other concerns. Dr. Gualtieri’s Tufts crowdfunding site is here, but this Editor discovered her through LinkedIn. (And hope that she will not mind our borrowing her hashtag!)

HIMSS17 news flashes: Lenovo, Orbita, Tactio, Garmin, Parallax, Entra Health, Philips, IBM

Voice commands a new frontier in telehealth. Why not dispense with the pill dispenser, the smartphone, the tablet? Lenovo Health and Orbita have put together a solution that works via Amazon Alexa. The Orbita Voice is a voice-controlled speaker for the home that connects with the Lenovo Smart Assistant to “help patients with chronic and post-acute care needs be more fully engaged in their wellness at home. Enhancing a patient’s ability to access and share information with providers, caregivers, and family members contributes to improved care journey management, treatment adherence, and medication compliance.” The release isn’t informative as to how it will do this, but apparently it’s all in the programming. This is the second Lenovo Health initiative on view in the past few months. This Editor saw at NYeC Digital Health their Authoritative Identity Management Exchange establishing a universal, verifiable patient ID system [TTA 19 Jan video] and was impressed.

Canada’s Tactio telehealth platform is adding Garmin wearables to its compatible peripherals. TactioRPM is a mobile platform that combines mobile apps, hundreds of connected health integrations (Garmin, A&D, Fitbit, Roche, Nonin, Omron and Welch Allyn), patient questionnaires, digital coaching programs and HIPAA-compliant messaging. TactioRPM has FDA Class 1, CE and ANVISA (Brazil) clearances. Release via Yahoo Finance

Parallax Health Management (PHM) is presenting with Entra Health (mobile HIT) and Microsoft Cloud its remote patient monitoring systems. Based on the PHM website, they are tablet based with a raft of peripherals for the multiple-chronic condition patient. The release highlights their chief medical officer, Bob Arnot, MD who is well known in the US as an author and television presenter.

Philips announced US FDA 510(k) clearance of the IntelliVue Guardian software system, which pairs with the single-use, adhesive Philips Wearable Sensor for continuous clinical-grade monitoring of high-acuity patients. The software gained CE Mark certification last October. They also debuted a mobile app called Jovia Coach for healthcare systems to reach patients at risk for Type 2 diabetes. MedCityNews.  Philips’ ongoing Intensive Ambulatory Care (IAC) pilot program with Banner Health in Arizona so far has delivered impressive reductions in overall costs of care by 34.5 percent and hospitalizations by 49.5 percent. LeadingAge/CAST

IBM Watson heralds cognitive computing, or computers that learn, according to IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, and will profoundly change medicine as well as IBM, as they are betting the company on it. In the meantime, they have announced the Watson Platform for Health Cloud and a specialized Watson Health Consulting Services unit. Health Data Management. An elephant in the ointment is that the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Center, part of the University of Texas, has put their Watson program, the Oncology Expert Advisor, on indefinite hold as it checks out other contractors after sinking $62 million into OEA over three years without a measurable result. Forbes

Data breach cost crests $4 million: Ponemon Institute

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Hackermania.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The average fully allocated cost of a data breach, according to the 2016 Ponemon Institute study (sponsored by IBM) is now over $4 million. The average global cost of every lost or stolen record is $158, but for healthcare organizations, that average cost is $355 per record, which reflects the higher street value of healthcare information. Healthcare was the second most ‘churned’ type of organization, surpassed only by financial services. Across the industries surveyed, hacking and ‘inside jobs’ caused the most data breaches overall–48 percent. (Hackermania does really run wild!) Healthcare organizations can mitigate costs by being proactive in detecting breaches early, having a CISO (chief information security officer), instituting employee training and awareness programs, deploying encryption and endpoint security plus a business continuity management plan. Ponemon/IBM website. Healthcare IT News

Threat hunting is also emphasized in a second Ponemon study sponsored by Raytheon, which recommended offensively hunting down threats to data security, and defensively setting up a security barrier to protect patient data and care systems. With nation-state attacks (think China and Russia), ransomware, compromises due to IoT (add outdated software), and physical data theft, the game is now complete control rather than plain ol’ disruption. After the attack, when most healthcare organizations finally get into gear on cyberthreats, is far too late. Ponemon/Raytheon ‘Don’t Wait’. Healthcare IT News

IBM automates diagnostic image analysis

“Most smart software in use today specialises on one type of data, be that interpreting text or guessing at the content [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Avicenna.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]of photos. Software in development at IBM has to do all that at once. It’s in training to become a radiologist’s assistant” writes Tom Simonite in MIT Technology Review.

According to Simonite, the IBM software, named Avicenna, analyses diagnostic images like CT scans and the associated data such as a patient’s medical record and suggests possible diagnoses.

An example quoted was the case of a 28-year old with shortness of breath whose pulmonary angiogram images and medical history were analysed by the software. Using a family history which showed a tendency to form blood clots the software diagnosed a pulmonary embolism which was the same diagnosis an independent radiologist reached.

Simonite reports that IBM have thus far used annonymised data and are now working on commercialising the software although an independent researcher is quoted as saying that the accuracy needs to be increased before it would be a useful diagnostic tool.

Read the full article here.

Accessibility arriving at the Top Table (guest blog)

Chris Lewis, a world-renowned telecoms expert and regular presenter on disability issues has kindly offered to share some thoughts with readers prior to his presentation at the Royal Society of Medicine event on the Medical Benefits of Wearables on 23rd November. This is the first of two he has written specially for TTA.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona accessibility I took to one of the main stages for the first time. IBM, Microsoft, Google and the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) joined me to present perspectives on how accessibility is going mainstream.

I introduced the session with some of the key findings from the second Telefonica accessibility report “Digitising the Billion Disabled: Accessibility Gets Personal“. In summary, the billion disabled people represent a major spending group, combining earnings of some $2.3 Trillion and state support of $1.3 Trillion. Disabled people on average earn only 60% of their able-bodied peers and, of course, many disabled people don’t get the opportunity to work at all. 4% of children and 10% of the working population are disabled, but perhaps most striking, over three quarters of the elderly. Combine this dynamic with Douglas Adams’s theory of adopting technology getting harder as we get older and you can see the ticking time bomb of disability and age. (more…)

Apps and wearables – developments over the summer

Trying at least temporarily to distract this editor’s attention from his recent unfortunate experience with Jawbone technology, here are some interesting app and wearables snippets received over the summer.

We begin with news of the first CE certified mole checking app, SkinVision which rates moles using a simple traffic light system (using a red, orange or green risk rating). The app lets users store photos in multiple folders so they can track different moles over time. It aims to detect changing moles (color, size, symmetry etc.) that are a clear sign that something is wrong and that the person should visit a doctor immediately.

This contrasts with the findings of a paper published in June examining 46 insulin calculator apps, 45 of which were found to contain material problems, resulting in the conclusion that :”The majority of insulin dose calculator apps provide no protection against, and may actively contribute to, incorrect or inappropriate dose recommendations that put current users at risk of both catastrophic overdose and more subtle harms resulting from suboptimal glucose control.”, which to say the least of matters is worrying. (more…)

US Department of Defense picks Cerner/Leidos/Accenture for $4.3 bn EHR

Breaking News Updated  The winner of the massive, potentially ten year contract for the Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization program is defense computer contractor Leidos, which brought in Cerner and Accenture Federal Systems.The DOD announcement mentions only lead contractor Leidos, interestingly under the US Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, California. The announcement was released just after 5pm EDT today.

This combination beat the Epic/IBM and the Allscripts/Computer Sciences/HP bids. According to the DOD announcement, “This contract has a two-year initial ordering period, with two 3-year option periods, and a potential two-year award term, which, if awarded, would bring the total ordering period to 10 years. Work will be performed at locations throughout the United States and overseas. If all options are exercised, work is expected to be completed by September 2025. Fiscal 2015 Defense Health Program Research, Development, Test and Evaluation funds in the amount of $35,000,000 will be obligated at the time of award.” Modern Healthcare attended the embargoed press conference this morning and adds in its article that only one-third is fixed cost, with the remainder as ‘cost plus’, which could conceivably run the contract to the $4.33 bn ceiling over the 10 years. The system will be used in 55 military hospitals and 600 clinics, with an initial operational test as early as 2016 (Washington Post) and full rollout by 2023.  Interoperability with private EHR systems was a key requirement (Healthcare IT News).Over the 18 year life cycle, the contract value could be up to $9 bn, according to the WaPo.

The race to replace DOD’s AHLTA accelerated with the final failure to launch a plan to create a joint DOD-VA EHR in March 2013 [TTA 27 July 13], though hopes revived in Congress occasionally during the past two years [TTA 31 Mar].

It is also widely interpreted as a blow to Epic, which has been defensive of late about its willingness to play in the HIT Interoperability sandbox with other EHRs; certainly it cannot make Big Blue, which would undoubtedly have found some way to sell Watson into this, happy.

POLITICO’s Morning eHealth had many tart observations today, mostly pertaining to the belief of some observers that Cerner will be strapped in meeting this Federal commitment and would find it increasingly difficult to innovate in the private sector.

Example–From Micky Tripathi, CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative: “My biggest worry isn’t that Cerner won’t deliver, it’s that DOD will suck the lifeblood out of the company by running its management ragged with endless overhead and dulling the innovative edge of its development teams. There is a tremendous amount of innovation going on in health IT right now. We need a well-performing Cerner in the private sector to keep pushing the innovation frontier. It’s not a coincidence that defense contractors don’t compete well in the private sector, and companies who do both shield their commercial business from their defense business to protect the former from the latter.”

Healthcare vulnerability in a concatenation of data breaches

Concatenation is one of those lovely English words that express far more than its simpler synonyms: sequence, series or chain of events. Perhaps we have experienced that concatenation of data breaches which connect and demonstrate a critical mass that motivate healthcare organizations, including insurers, to ensure that data security and privacy gets primacy in HIT. Our Readers know we’ve been on the case since 2010; we’ve been noting Ponemon Institute and ID Experts studies since then.

While simple, straightforward theft can be the cause of smaller breaches and not part of a Big Hack, it’s not as Three Stooges or Benny Hill-esque as perhaps the JAMA study earlier this year made it out to be, especially if it’s your personal record, or your patient’s, which is breached, identity and financials damaged. (See this Security Intelligence article on a minor health breach and how it affected an individual who happens to be in IBM’s security arm.)

Just in the past few weeks, in the US we have experienced the following major and minor breaches:

  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in Maryland–an insurer, not a hospital or practice–had a Big Hack of 1.1 million health records, with names, birth dates, email addresses and insurance identification numbers (but not SSI or credit card numbers) revealed.
  • Beacon Health Systems (Indiana) had a phishing attack into employee email boxes dating back to 2013. This was a Medium Hack that affected about 220,000 patients. Data taken included SSI and driver’s license. Health Data Management today.
  • Advantage Dental in Redmond, Washington had a 152,000 patient hack during three days in February.
  • Also in February, a New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation employee transferred patient files to her personal and new work email. 90,000 patients may have compromised data as a result. Becker’s

More breaches are listed today in iHealthBeat and the ever-growing list on Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Cost of a Data Breach Study: Global Analysis, with IBM, was published last week. (more…)

IBM Watson Health adds 2 companies, three partners, moves to Boston and into the cloud

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/IBM-Watson-Announcement.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /]A Day with a Big Exclamation Point for Healthcare Data and Analytics. In a series of press releases late NY time on Monday and a spectacular announcement at HIMSS (photo hat tip to Sandeep Pulim via Twitter), the recently quiet-on-the-healthcare-front IBM Watson has announced multiple major moves that re-position it squarely into the healthcare arena as the 90,000 lb. Elephant.

  • IBM Watson Health is now a separate business unit headquartered in Boston. The Watson New York headquarters will be expanded, but that may be for their other businesses: travel, retail, veterinary care, cognitive computing, and IT security and support. IBM claims that Watson Health will be hiring up to 2,000 healthcare consultants, clinicians and researchers, folding in existing units such as Smarter Care and Social Programs.
  • The IBM Watson Health Cloud is now their secure, open and HIPAA compliant platform for health-related data: physicians, researchers, insurers and health and wellness companies.
  • Three new partnerships were announced, designed to bolster IBM in different aspects of what is to be done with All That Data being generated from health and fitness devices. IBM Watson Health Cloud will be the secure platform, storage and analytics for Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKitJohnson & Johnson will be working with Watson on pre/post-operative coaching and education and Medtronic on diabetes management using data from Medtronic devices. (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.

Yesterday’s Apple intros and implications for health monitoring

A knockout or a catch up? Now that the Hype Dust is settling (along with Apple’s stock price), let’s take a look at what we know today about the new, larger iPhones and the Apple Watch regarding health monitoring.

Where it was a catch up:

  • Size and screen in phones. Apple got the message: squinting at tiny type and swiping to enlarge is rapidly becoming yesterday’s pain. As smartphones and larger screens knocked out the Blackberry, Samsung led the way in sizing up and higher resolution–and others followed suit. The awful fact is that the smartphone market is aging, both in users and who’s left in the market to grow it, and we want to see, not squint.
  • [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/apple-watch-beauty-shot.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Finally (drum roll), a sleeker smartwatch with fitness tracking, out sometime next year–and not just a sports model. The basic model is a rubbery Sport watch, the mid-line has a sapphire crystal, stainless steel case and (proprietary) swappable bands. The beauty is the upmarket version in gold with a leather band (left, courtesy re/Code).
    • Here Apple is up against multiple in-market competition from Fitbit to Moto to Withings to Samsung Gear–whose pricing is well below the starter Apple Watch at $349 in the $200 and below range.
    • The Apple Watch looks seriously great, distinctively thinner and it’ll be a prestige item. But does it track more and better? No. According to reports (updated today) this is what it has: heart rate monitor, pulse, daily activity for which you need the phone. No sleep monitoring. It also has to be charged every night. There may be other features from developers, but they are under wraps for now and will likely require phone tethering. (re/Code) It’s not a comprehensive lifestyle watch–yet.

Where it could be a knockout in healthcare:

  • Finally, a compelling reason for health care providers to ditch the old iPhone and not go Android. Healthcare providers in the US are heavily wedded to iOS: (more…)

Cerner acquires Siemens HIT business

The big news in HIT circles today was Cerner’s purchase of Siemens’ health IT business for $1.3 billion. Forbes has the most detailed analysis by far, which appears prepared in advance based on the 22 July rumor published by HISTalk at that time. HISTalk’s and their readers’ comments on the announcement conference call today are moderately scathing and worth reading if of interest to you. The takeaway for this Editor is that it was a defensive move for Cerner versus Epic Systems, Athenahealth and Allscripts; they bought out a competitor, bought market share with the acquisition (although how much of it would have fallen to them anyway is a question), gained more of an international foothold plus an inside track to customers eager to move to newer technology. For Siemens, it appears  (more…)

Tons of app health data, bound for…third parties?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/obey_1984.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] The law of unintended consequences also applies to Quantified Selfers. Health apps seem to be reaching beyond the QS early adopters and becoming a commonplace, whether on your wrist or built into your smartphone. Apple, Google, IBM and Samsung are all in.The DH3 set (Digital Health Hypester Horde) could not be more pleased. But where is that data going? According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it’s ending up where your online data goes–profitably sold by developers large and small to your friendly data broker and onward to marketers. You may think it’s private, but it isn’t. There is the famous case of an Target (store) app used to determine whether female customers were pregnant (purchases such as pregnancy tests) and then market related and baby products to them. Commissioner Julie Brill doesn’t like the possibility that health data could be part of the Spooky Monster Mash that is Big Data. “We don’t know where that information ultimately goes,” Brill told a recent Association for Competitive Technology panel. “It makes consumers uncomfortable.” (Ahem!) From the consumer protection standpoint, the FTC would like to do something about it, and they happen to be very good at that type of regulation. Compliance will not only be an added cost of doing business, it will cut into that ol’ business plan. And you thought that the only problem around apps and the Feds was gauging risk to users. Do you have that creepy ‘Big Brother is Watching You’ feeling?  Health IT Outcomes, FierceMobileHealthcare, VentureBeat.