Louisville’s Thrive Center showcases senior care technologies (KY)

Louisville, Kentucky is not the place our Readers would put at the top of their minds when thinking about assistive technologies for older adults, but the debut last week of The Thrive Center may change that. It’s a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Louisville Metro with private technology and senior living companies. It showcases technologies transforming senior care on a permanent, updating basis and demonstrated in use. 

The Center includes in their 7,500 square foot setting Samsung technologies integrated into a full-size kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom; AppliedVR virtual reality headsets; headphones from Eversound; brain fitness software from Posit Science; and music-as-medicine solutions from SingFit and wellness apps from EVŌ. The opening theme is assistance for memory care, which implies that the exhibits will be shifted to different themes in the future.

Companies which helped to establish Thrive include CDW Healthcare (IT), Samsung, Intel, Ergotron, Lenovo, HP/Aruba, Kindred Healthcare (post-acute care) and skilled nursing provider Signature HealthCare. Kindred and Signature are located in Louisville, which is a healthcare hub of the mid-South. It is also the headquarters of Humana and an operations center for Care Innovations–both notably absent from the partner list. CDW releaseSenior Housing News, Thrive Center website, Thrive Center release.

Japan’s workarounds for adult care shortage: robots, exoskeletons, sensors

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/robear.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The problem of Japan’s aging population–the oldest worldwide with 32 percent aged 60+ (2013, RFE)–and shortage of care workers has led to a variety of ‘digital health solutions’ in the past few years, some of them smart, many of them gimmicky, expensive, or non-translatable to other cultures. There have been the comfort robot semi-toys (the PARO seal, the Chapit mouse), the humanoid exercise-leading robots (Palro), and IoT gizmos. Smarter are the functional robots which can transfer a patient to/from bed and wheelchair disguised as cuddly bears (Robear, developed by Riken and Sumitomo Riko) and Panasonic’s exoskeletons for lifting assistance.

Japan’s problem: how to support more older adults in homes with increasingly less care staff, and how to pay for it. The Financial Times quotes Japan government statistics that by 2025 there will be 2.5m skilled care workers but 380,000 more are needed. The working age population is shrinking by 1 percent per year and immigration to Japan is near-nonexistent. Japan is looking to technology to do more with fewer people, for instance transferring social contact or hard, dirty work to robots. The very real challenge is to produce and support the devices at a reasonable price for both domestic use and–where the real money is–export. 

The Abe government in 2012 budgeted ¥2.39bn ($21m) for development of nursing care robots, with the Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industry tasked to find and subsidize 24 companies–not a lot of money and parceled out thinly. Five years later, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare determined that “deeper work is needed on machinery and software that can either replace human care workers or increase staff efficiency.” Even Panasonic concurred that robots cannot offset the loss of human carers on quality of services. At this point. Japan leads in robots under development with SoftBank’s Pepper and NAO, with Toshiba’s ChihiraAiko ‘geisha robot’ (Guardian) debuting at CES 2015 and Toyota’s ongoing work with their Human Support Robot (HSR)–a moving article on its use with US Army CWO Romy Camargo is here. (attribution correction and addition–Ed.)

The next generation of care aids by now has moved away from comfort pets to sensors and software that anticipate care needs. Projects under development include self-driving toilets (sic) that move to the patient; mattress sensor-supplied AI which can sense toileting needs (DFree) and other bed activity; improved ‘communication robots’ which understand and deploy stored knowledge. Japan’s businesses also realize the huge potential of the $16 trillion China market–if China doesn’t get there first–and other Asian countries such as Thailand, a favored retirement spot for well-off Japanese. In Japanese discussions, ‘aging in place’ seems to be absent as an alternative, perhaps due to small families.

But Japan must move quickly, more so than the leisurely pace so far. Already Thailand is pioneering smart cities with Intel and Dell [TTA 16 Aug 16] and remote patient monitoring with Western companies such as Philips [TTA 30 Aug]. There’s the US and Western Europe, but incumbents are plentiful and the bumpy health tech ride tends not to suit Japanese companies’ deliberate style. Can they seize the day?  Financial Times (PDF here if paywalled) Hat tip to reader Susanne Woodman of BRE (Photo: Robear) 

Fitbit’s smartwatch on track; Intel exits the game

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Fitbit-smartwatch.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /]Fitbit’s ‘Project Higgs’ in-house designed smartwatch is, by all reports, on schedule to hit the market later this year in time for the holidays, at least in Wall Street’s expectations. To the FT (may be paywalled) CEO James Park reassured, “The product is on track to meet our expectations and the expectations that we’ve set for investors. It’s going to be, in my opinion, our best product yet.” It will be waterproof, a battery that lasts several days, have mobile payment capability (from the Coin acquisition), simple health tracking,  heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, stream music (Spotify and Pandora are rumored), and its own app store. It will be either Wi-Fi or smartphone connected. TechRadar’s agglomeration of rumors include pricing ($199 to $299 –about £231), swappable bands, a full-color screen with 1,000 nits of brightness, an aluminum body and built-in GPS. The most interesting part is the proprietary operating system which uses Javascript. Also Pocket-Lint articles 18 July and 19 July

Intel, however, is giving up the smartwatch and fitness tracking chase. In 2014 they acquired Basis in a well-publicized move and enlisted hip celebrities like 50 Cent to endorse their products versus the likes of Apple and Fitbit. In November about 80 percent of the group was let go, according to CNBC, and entirely eliminated this month. The New Technologies Group is now focusing on augmented reality. CNBC

VA awards over $1 billion in Home Telehealth contracts–at long last (updated)

Breaking News, Updated  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on 1 Feb issued over $1 billion in awards to four companies to provide Home Telehealth vital signs monitoring technologies to veterans in home care and monitoring. The four companies are Medtronic, Care Innovations, Iron Bow Technologies, and 1Vision LLC. The $1 billion is split evenly between the four ($258 million for each company over the five-year duration). The contracts are for an initial year (31 Jan 2018 end date listed on GovTribe.com), renewable annually for five years total. The bid process started in 2015 and the award had originally been scheduled for early-to-mid 2016.

On the suppliers:

  • Medtronic is the incumbent as a supplier since 2011, dating back to Cardiocom’s 2011 award for its home monitoring units (Cardiocom was acquired in August 2013). Medtronic is a Dublin, Ireland HQ’d company with a US headquarters in Minnesota.
  • Care Innovations is well known to our Readers as the developer of Health Harmony and the acquirer of the QuietCare telecare/behavioral monitoring used in senior housing. Their parent is Intel.
  • Iron Bow Technologies is a supplier to VA in other healthcare areas (telemedicine and store-and-forward) and is a large, privately held IT company with multiple Federal contracts and deep Federal contractor roots. Their revenue has been reported at over $462 million (Washington Technology Top 100 2016).
  • 1Vision LLC is a new company formed as a joint venture between HMS Technologies, Inc. and MBL Technologies, Inc. Neither are previously engaged as home telehealth providers, but both are Federal contractors. According to their individual websites, HMS is an IT systems integrator and MBL is engaged primarily in cybersecurity.

The question for this Editor is how Iron Bow and 1Vision, which are not telehealth (vital signs) monitoring companies but telemedicine and IT service providers respectively, will execute Home Telehealth with the VA. Have they partnered with yet-to-be disclosed providers in providing home telehealth services to the VA? (Watch this space)

While the award is the largest in US telehealth, the VA is, by this Editor’s experience in her last position with Viterion Corporation, extremely demanding on its service providers and will be even more so in the future. The future reasons are clear: 1) President Trump has put a Klieg light on the VA and 2) he’s named a new VA secretary, Dr David Shulkin, who is currently VA Undersecretary for Health (confirmation hearing notes courtesy of POLITICO, nomination approved by the Senate committee Tuesday, and easily confirmed Monday night 13 Feb), who has been highly engaged with HIT issues, including both the VistA EHR modernization/replacement and initiatives such as the recently unveiled Digital Health Platform [TTA 12 Jan]. (more…)

Care Innovations gets into the behavior change training business

An under-the-radar move by Intel-owned Care Innovations, which markets the Health Harmony telehealth and the QuietCare behavioral telemonitoring systems, is their entrance in the behavior change training business.

Care Innovations developed an accredited (CE eligible) training course for nurses to effect behavior change in patient beyond what may be a limited telehealth engagement. According to their release, the training will help them with coaching patients to increase their engagement with their health and identifying areas for improvement, along with the appropriate technology.

The three-hour course work, designed primarily for telehealth nurses but open to all, has three key learning sections:

  1. Six steps to take to achieve behavior change in healthcare
  2. Learning four coaching skills: crafting open-ended questions, sharing words of affirmation, demonstrating reflective listening and crafting summary statements
  3. Discussing the most common challenges associated with acting as the coach, which are avoidance, ambivalence, resistance and compliance.

There are three sessions before the end of the year, priced at a relatively modest below $300 rate, with group discounts. Information is on their website here.

It’s an interesting move in that the training seemingly is not exclusive to CI clients, although this Editor would expect that 1) it would fit best with CI’s system and 2) is a way of cultivating prospective clients in an academic, value-added way.

For CI, it is another association with the ‘intersection of behavior change and technology’ (more…)

Intel, Dell develop an IoT “smart city” to support older people in Thailand

Rarely do we hear beyond India and Japan in Asia-Pacific health tech. But here comes Thailand with the Saensuk Smart City developed with prestigious partners Dell and Intel Microelectronic (Thailand)

Saensuk is a Thai municipality with 46,000 registered local residents, 15 percent of whom are 65+, as well as a touristic area around the Bangsaen beach. The Smart City is a three-year public-private partnership with the first aim of supporting older people in their homes through IoT-powered applications including health monitoring (RPM) of vital signs, fall detection, emergency notifications, environmental monitoring and safety tracking.The targeted number for the pilot is between 30 and 150 homes in the initial phase. Residents, for instance, are given a smartwatch that alerts for falls and also conveys information at entry into the program. Intel-based systems from Dell aggregate and analyze the large amounts of health data generated daily.

Visiting nurses, fairly common in Thailand, (more…)

Eric Dishman departs Intel for NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative Program

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/20160411-eric-dishman-pmi-1.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Late breaking news….Reported in Aging in Place Technology Watch from the Oregonian is that Eric Dishman, one of Oregon’s more famous sons (and certainly a star in health tech), is leaving Intel after 17 years. Currently an Intel Fellow and general manager of the Health and Life Sciences for the Data Center Group (profile), he is joining the National Institutes for Health (NIH) in their Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort program as a director. According to the Oregonian, Mr Dishman “will lead an effort to study more than 1 million volunteers to study the impact of “precision medicine” – the practice of studying an individual’s specific genetic makeup and lifestyle to produce targeted treatments. It had been a key focus of Dishman’s work at Intel, and he had helped design the study he will now oversee.” Mr Dishman had his own extreme experience with precision medicine to treat his recurrent cancer in 2012, which made him eligible for a life-saving kidney transplant later that year [TTA 27 Feb 14 and 12 Apr 2013]. He had recently been a key part of the PMI Network working group in this ‘audacious’ study as NIH, in announcing his appointment, termed it. His last day at Intel will be 29 April, according to Intel’s data center chief. Replacing him (at least in the organization) on an interim basis will be Steve Agritelley. NIH release, USNews interview

Laurie Orlov (hat tip re this article–Ed.) commented to this Editor that Mr Dishman could be considered the ‘father of Care Innovations‘; certainly he was crucial to the development of the original Intel Health Guide out of Intel’s Digital Health Group, and was prominently in the leadership of the early Louis Burns days of the company. His work during Intel spanned over LeadingAge’s CAST, Ireland’s Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) Centre, Everyday Technologies for Alzheimer’s Care (ETAC) and the Oregon Center for Aging & Technology (ORCATECH). Mr Dishman’s work is marked by a singular focus on delivering health into the home, changing aging and hospitals as we know them. Now he will be more focused on genomic medicine and changing disease treatments as we know them.

Your Editors wish him good fortune and hope that his experiences with NIH and in Washington will be fruitful and all that he intends it to be.

Care Innovations’ Slovenski, 23andMe’s Schwartz move to Healthways

Breaking News: Healthways, an online wellness program company based in Nashville, this morning announced that two executives well known to many of us in digital health have joined them. Sean Slovenski, CEO of Intel-GE Care Innovations, is now their President, Population Health Services. Steve Schwartz, their new SVP Strategy and Corporate Development, joins the company from VP Business Development and Strategy, 23andMe.

Mr Slovenski’s track record in 2.5 years at CI certainly impressed this Editor (formerly with the developer of their behavioral telemonitoring system bequeathed from GE Healthcare, QuietCare) with turning around the company from an outpost of Intel and GEHC having difficulty transitioning from ancient technology (remember the Intel Health Guide?) to a telehealth platform dubbed Health Harmony. He also put together a team that engineered multiple academic and health system alliances, along with an interesting turn into home digital health certification. While he came to CI from health insurance giant Humana in Louisville Kentucky running their behavioral health and wellness businesses, his prior experience includes both entrepreneurial turns at his own company and with smaller companies. He most recently engineered a Louisville outpost of CI [TTA 14 Oct 15]. Since Mr Slovenski is still listed on the CI website as CEO, this may have been a quickly executed move.

Mr Schwartz’s business development background includes long stints at two large healthcare companies, Allscripts (EHRs and practice management software) and LabCorp (lab testing). He weathered 23andMe’s FDA troubles and headed up their B2B sales area. Healthways release

Unusually, Healthways is a NASDAQ traded company that closed at $12.11 today in a down market. It’s old (in our terms) having been founded in 1981, becoming publicly traded ten years later. Its last round of venture financing was $20 million from CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield in October 2013 (CrunchBase). Healthways has a fairly new CEO as well, who joined last August and obviously feels comfortable adding to his team.

Care Innovations partners with caregiver mental health app Happify

Intel-GE Care Innovations announced yesterday a partnership with NYC-based Happify to integrate their mental health for caregivers app into Health Harmony by 1st Quarter 2016. Happify is a game-based app targeted to caregivers of the chronically ill to support their mental health and wellbeing through cognitive behavioral therapy, ‘positive psychology’ and conquering negative thinking. Currently it is marketed to healthcare providers and corporate wellness programs. According to the release, “By adding on access to Happify’s innovative mobile app, Care Innovations will be able to leverage state-of-the-art programs to improve the well-being of family caregivers and offer additional programs to its clients.” This is certainly an interesting integration to the typical vital signs and qualitative information gathering of patient data in thinking about the caregiver. However, we note that a previously announced partnership, with UK’s buddi announced last December, is not to be found on the CI website. Release (Business Wire)

Care Innovations goes East–down home to Kentucky

Intel and GE’s joint venture, Care Innovations, is opening an IT and product development center in Louisville KY’s Norton Commons live/work community. According to reports, the 10-person office was opened to develop “software for medical monitoring systems that allow people to measure their vital signs in own homes and that will analyze the data for health care providers”, which sounds like a description of Health Harmony as mentioned further in the article. Also cited by CEO Sean Slovenski was the recent acquisition of several major clients in Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Headquarters will remain in Roseville, California, northeast of Sacramento and far east of Silicon Valley. Why Louisville? It’s the headquarters of Humana, currently in the early stages of a merger with Aetna. Mr Slovenski is an alumnus of Humana who undoubtedly recognizes that there’s always talent which shakes loose with any merger, often proactively. He has reorganized the company top to bottom since the days in the doldrums under Louis Burns, and added initiatives such as the Validation Institute plus academic relationships with the Jefferson School of Population Health, Xavier University and the University of Mississippi. Louisville is also a lot closer to Washington DC (1.5 hour flight time) and all those wonderful Federal programs with lots and lots of funding.  Louisville Business First, release.

Speaking of the Aetna-Humana merger, it now has a strong boss man to make sure it works–Rick Jelinek, CEO for a year of OptumHealth, 19 years at predecessor now unit UnitedHealthcare including leading the Medicare Advantage and Medicaid businesses. The stakes are high in that the merger will create the second-largest managed care company in the US. Mr Jelinek also will lead Aetna’s enterprise strategy division, and will report directly to Aetna’s CEO. The timeline, unless the Feds put on the brakes, is to close in second half 2016. The combined operating revenue is projected at about $115 billion, with about 56 percent from government-sponsored programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The plan, according to Louisville Business First, is to headquarter the combined Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare businesses in Louisville. But, as they say, the meal is still being prepared, and assuredly not everyone at either company will find a seat at this table, or one they want to sit in.

‘eVisits’ save $5 billion globally this year–but are they more effective care?

Deloitte and Towers Watson obviously disagree on the savings from eVisits (Deloitte) and telemedicine (Towers Watson). Deloitte’s study of eVisits projects a global savings of $5 billion in 2014. Towers Watson is estimating $6 billion in 2015 from US employers alone if there is full employee utilization of telemedicine. Deloitte is also more transparent in its estimating, for example on the $50-60 billion total addressable market for eVisits in ‘developed countries’. This Editor doesn’t see a major difference in definitions between the two; Deloitte defines eVisits as video consults plus the forms, questionnaires and photos that have become part of telehealth, but not the vital signs monitoring part.. Perhaps our readers, looking at both more closely, can discern, or confirm that Towers Watson has too rosy a picture? Deloitte‘s ’21st Century Housecall’ study (short paper) is also worth a read for presenting facts/figures on the global addressable market and for a surprising conclusion–that the ‘greater good (in developing countries) may come from saving tens of millions of lives’. Hat tip to reader Mike Clark. Clinical Innovation + Technology summary.

‘Virtual care is much more effective than brick-and-mortar care.” (Editor’s emphasis) A bold statement that Microsoft and the writer from Intel fail to back up with facts. The focus of this ‘In Health’ article is preventing readmissions. There are the usual Panglossian pointers  (more…)

Intel and its ‘Basis’ instinct

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/intel-basis-smartwatch_large.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Intel now in the smartwatch business…or are they?

TechCrunch reported yesterday that fitness tracker Basis sold to Intel, ending weeks of speculation of a sale to Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft. The price is between $100 and $150 million according to TechCrunch’s sources. A higher-end ($200) watch which recently entered the sleep tracking area, Basis’ Health Tracker B1 currently tracks steps (accelerometer), calories burned, heart rate, skin temperature and perspiration through wrist contact. Their proprietary software loads up the information to a dashboard for analysis and tracking. Basis has not developed into a major fitness smartwatch, having 7 percent of the market according to TechCrunch but far less according to NPD Group’s 2013-4 retail sales year , with Fitbit at 68 percent, Jawbone at 19 percent and Nike FuelBand at 10 (Mobihealthnews). With Intel premiering at CES a smart chip called Edison for wearables and a Siri-like Bluetooth headset dubbed Jarvis, the speculation is that the purchase is to give Intel both entreé into and a ready-made working team for the Internet of Things and wearables, since it largely missed the boat in mobile.  Also Motley Fool, Apple Insider and one tech observer on why Intel shouldn’t be in the smartwatch business.

Eric Dishman’s ‘view from the top’ on genomics

Eric Dishman of Intel’s Health & Life Sciences Group credits genomics with changing the course of treatment for his life-threatening cancer about two years ago. With new treatment based on his genomic sequencing, he became cancer-free in three months and eligible for a kidney transplant, which he received in early 2013 from, as it turned out, a fellow Intel-er [TTA 12 Apr]. His keynote at HIMSS14 was about what he calls ‘N=1″ personalized medicine, which is based on three Bs plus one: body, biology and behavior, plus beliefs. Dishman also recounted a story around the original Intel Health Guide of a woman caregiving for a mother with Alzheimer’s whose diabetes worsened because she could not make clinic visits; with the addition of remote monitoring to the care plan this was reversed. No mention of Care Innovations (the Intel-GE JV), but he presented the Sotera Wireless ViSi Mobile wireless patient monitor as an ‘ICU on a wrist’ (Intel is an investor). Neil Versel reports in MedCityNews.

More on the data analytics and integration behind genomics from an unexpected source–the chief medical officer of Northrop Grumman. If like Editor Donna, you had no idea that this company had a footprint in healthcare, prepare to be surprised. Thanks to our friends at HITECH Answers.

New diabetes telehealth trial in Mississippi (US)

A new telehealth trial for diabetes patients will be recruiting patients in Mississippi this spring. Known [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ummc_aerial.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]as the Diabetes Telehealth Network, the trial is planned to provide a classic telehealth service for up to 200 patients for a period of 18 months.

This trial is a result of a collaboration between several public and private organizations: the Mississippi Governor’s office, University of Mississippi, North Sunflower Medical Center, GE Healthcare, Intel-GE Care Innovations and C Spire.

The recruited trialists will be provided with a broadband connected tablet PC which will have software to enable daily medical measurements to be transmitted to a specialist team at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. A press release states that the measurements will include weight, blood pressure, and glucose level and these will be monitored by the clinical staff at (more…)

The convergence of health systems with technology (US)

Intermountain Healthcare has been well-known for its proactive approach to healthcare models–it moved early to a fixed-fee integrated delivery system (IDS), helped to pioneer the evidence-based healthcare approach and was an early adopter of EMRs. It was one of the main providers cited in the influential The Innovator’s Prescription written by Clayton Christensen, the late Jerome Grossman, MD and Jason Hwang, MD. It’s now further backing technology development and integration through its new Healthcare Transformation Lab. Founding members Xi3 and Intel, and ‘collaborators’ Dell, CenturyLink, NetApp, and Sotera Wireless are participants in the new 20,000 square foot facility at Intermountain’s lead hospital in Murray, Utah. Some of the prototypes already being readied are the ‘patient room of the future’, 3D printing of medical devices for testing purposes, a watch-form handwashing sensor, a ‘life detector’ for patient vital signs (an outgrowth of ViSi Mobile TTA 23 Aug 12?), a mobile vital signs monitor/data collector for use by helicopter rescue teams, an alert system for at-risk for suicide patients based on increased heart rate, and more. What seems to be missing are innovations related to the specific needs of older, frailer patients. Release. The extensive coverage is indicative of Intermountain’s influence in healthcare far beyond Utah: Healthcare IT News, FierceHealthIT, iHealthBeat, Salt Lake City Tribune. Will other health systems follow in influencing and funding health tech?

Eric Dishman: Health care should be a team sport

It’s great to see Intel’s Eric Dishman back in good form after his kidney transplant. Heads-up thanks to Matan Czaczkes.

 

Editor Donna comments 12 April: Dishman (@ 03:30) demonstrates the MobiSante hand held scanner to check his kidney–online and real time with his doctor–and eloquently speaks on the marvelous care coordination he received before/during/after the transplant at Legacy Good Samaritan in Portland, Oregon.  It’s contrasted with the sheer craziness of care he received as a child for a broken arm (where he was caught in the ‘longer you stay in the hospital, the sicker you get’ syndrome), his diagnosis with kidney disease as a university student, and a health scare due to multiple and mistaken dosing. Care coordination is the answer. How can we in health tech work this in to our broken health systems–and work to fix and truly re-form, not paper over?