3rings smart plug moves to IoT through Amazon Echo (UK) (updated)

click to enlargeUpdated. Good morning, Alexa! 3rings, the ‘smart plug’ that has been monitoring since 2015 a loved one’s or neighbor’s wellness through their daily use of a key home appliance like a kettle or TV, then reporting that activity via a mobile phone/smartphone app, has expanded to the Internet of Things (IoT) with the integration of the 3rings plug with Amazon Echo

The 3rings plug works with Echo and the Alexa avatar in two ways. The first is for family members, friends or neighbors to ‘ask Alexa’ (the Echo unit) if their loved one is safe, similar to the mobile phone reports and alerts. The second is to place an Echo unit in that person’s home so that the person can directly ask Alexa to tell 3rings they need help. This also sends an immediate alert to their friends/family network.

To this Editor, 3rings founder Steve Purdham noted that with Amazon Echo, the 3rings system is now expandable and agnostic, through the addition of proprietary sensors dubbed “Things that Care” and other makers’ devices to the 3rings smart plug so that families have a fuller picture of the monitored person’s pattern of activity. 3rings Things monitor temperature, activity, motion, open/close of doors and windows, and button, and are priced a la carte or in a package with the Echo. The system also integrates with Samsung SmartThings, purchased separately, for additional types of monitoring. “Through this platform we want to stay ahead of the Internet of Things curve and demonstrate how technology can care.” Steve confirmed that the system is available now via a new website from the original (and still available) 3rings, with a group of users already on board. Full rollout is expected in August. Another advantage of integrating with Echo, according to Steve, is that the system can be offered in any location where Echo is. Also release

HealthIMPACT East Monday 5 June (NYC)

HealthIMPACT East
Monday, 5 June, Union League Club, New York, NY

The HealthIMPACT series of mainly single-day events on health tech/HIT’s effect on healthcare now covers several major cities in the US. What this Editor likes about them is that they compress a great deal of information in a single day, with well-presented, relaxed panel discussions with top executives and figures in the industry. They are also held in interesting venues like the Union League Club in NYC. HealthIMPACT East is co-produced with NODE Health. This fifth annual meeting will focus on evidence-based digital health, healthcare innovations, cybersecurity, and how to achieve value-based care. Speakers are from academic and provider organizations like Yale University, Jefferson Health, Mount Sinai, Northwell Health, PCHAlliance, New York-Presbyterian, NJIT, and Partnership Fund for NYC, Panels are being hosted this year by former colleagues from Health 2.0 NYC Megan Antonelli of Purpose Events and “The Healthcare IT Guy” Shahid Shah. It’s not too late to register for this full day, including breakfast, lunch, and cocktail reception, here. TTA is a media partner for HealthIMPACT East.

16 or 27 million 2016 breaches, 1 in 4 Americans? Data, IoT insecurity runs wild (US/UK)

What’s better than a chilly early spring dive into the North Sea of Health Data Insecurity?

click to enlargeAccenture’s report released in February calculated that 26 percent of Americans had experienced a health care-related data breach. 50 percent of those were victims of medical identity theft and had to pay out an average of $2,500 in additional cost. One-third (36 percent) believed the breach took place in hospitals, followed by urgent care and pharmacies (both 22 percent). How did they find out? Credit card and insurer statements were usual, with only one-third being notified by their provider. Interestingly, a scant 12 percent of data breach victims reported the breach to the organization holding their data. (You’d think they’d be screaming?) The samples were taken between November 2016 and January 2017. Accenture has similar surveys for UK, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, Norway, and Saudi Arabia. Release  PDF of the US Digital Trust Report

So what’s 16 million breaches between friends? Or 4 million? Or 27 million?

  • That is the number (well, 15.9 million and change) of healthcare/medical records breached in 2016 in 376 breaches reported by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a Federally/privately supported non-profit. Healthcare, no surprise, is far in the lead with 34 percent and 44 percent respectively. The 272 pages of the 2016 End of Year Report will take more than a casual read, but much of its data is outside of healthcare.
  • For a cross-reference, we look to the non-profit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse which for many years has been a go-to resource for researchers. PRC’s 2016 numbers are lower, substantially so in the number of records: 301 breaches and 4 million records.
  • HIMSS and Healthcare IT News insist that ransomware is under-reported, (more…)

Technology for Aging in Place, 2017 edition preview

Industry analyst Laurie Orlov previews her annual review of ‘Technology for Aging In Place’ on LinkedIn with six insights into the changes roiling health tech in the US. We’ll start with a favorite point–terminology–and summarize/review each (in bold), not necessarily in order.

“Health Tech” replaces “Digital Health,” begins acknowledging aging. This started well before Brian Dolan’s acknowledgment in Mobihealthnews, as what was ‘digital health’ anyway? This Editor doesn’t relate it to a shift in investment money, more to the 2016 realization by companies and investors that care continuity, meaningful clinician workflow, access to key information, and predictive analytics were a lot more important–and fundable–than trying to figure out how to handle Data Generated by Gadgets.

Niche hardware will fade away – long live software and training. Purpose-built ‘senior tablets’ will likely fade away. The exception will be specialized applications in remote patient monitoring (RPM) for vital signs and in many cases, video, that require adaptation and physical security of standard tablets. These have device connectivity, HIPAA, and FDA (Class I/II) concerns. Other than those, assistive and telehealth apps on tablets, phablets and smartphones with ever-larger screens are enough to manage most needs. An impediment: cost (when will Medicare start assisting with payments for these?), two-year life, dependence on vision, and their occasionally befuddling ways.

Voice-first interfaces will dominate apps and devices. “Instead we will be experimenting with personal assistants or AI-enabled voice first technologies (Siri, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Cortana) which can act as mini service provider interfaces – find an appointment, a ride, song, a restaurant, a hotel, an airplane seat.” In this Editor’s estimation, a Bridge Too Far for this year, maybe 2018. Considerations are cost, intrusiveness, and accuracy in interpreting voice commands. A strong whiff of the Over-Hyped pervades.

Internet of Things (IoT) replaces sensor-based categories. Sensors are part of IoT, so there’s not much of a distinction here, and this falls into ‘home controls’ which may be out of the box or require custom installation. Adoption again runs into the roadblocks of cost and intrusiveness with older people who may be quite reluctant to take on both. And of course there is the security concern, as many of these devices are insecure, eminently hackable, and has been well documented as such.

Tech-enabled home care pressures traditional homecare providers – or does it? ‘What exactly is tech-enabled care? And what will it be in the future?’ Agreed that there will be a lot of thinking in home care about what $200 million in investment in this area actually means. Is this being driven by compliance, or by uncertainty around what Medicare and state Medicaid will pay for in future?

Robotics and virtual reality will continue — as experiments. Sadly, yes, as widespread adoption means investment, and it’s not there on the senior housing level where there are other issues bubbling, such as real estate and resident safety. There are also liability issues around assistance robotics that have not yet been worked out. Exoskeletons–an assistance method this Editor has wanted to see for several years for older adults and the disabled–seems to be stalled at the functionality/expense/weight level.

Study release TBD

WLSA merger with PCHAlliance: the digital health conference scene contracts a bit more

Over the weekend, the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance) and the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA) announced that the San Diego-based WLSA would be combining its operations with the PCHAlliance. This follows on the earlier announcement [TTA 21 Oct] that the Boston-based and Partners HealthCare- owned Connected Health Symposium would be folding its operation into the PCHAlliance. Both Robert B. McCray, co-founder and CEO of WLSA, and Dr Joseph Kvedar of Partners HealthCare are now Senior Advisers to the PCHAlliance, with Mr McCraw heading Thought Leadership and Dr Kvedar now Program Chair of next year’s event.

WLSA has been largely inactive on the conference scene since 2015, when it staged its last Convergence Summit in May and the Wireless Health event in October of that year. The Convergence Summit has been merged into PCHAlliance’s Connected Health Conference kicking off today near Washington, DC. The Wireless Health event will continue through a collaboration with IEEE/EMBS cooperating with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

In their release, PCHAlliance emphasized WLSA’s experience in research within engineering, computer science, biomedical and health disciplines. Patricia (Patty) Mechael, PhD, Executive Vice President, PCHAlliance in the release was quoted that “Their focus on medical and health research communities is a perfect compliment to our commitment to accelerate the adoption of clinical grade technology in consumer-friendly health outcomes- based business models.” Life science companies will be welcomed for membership in the PCHAlliance. PCHAlliance also includes Continua, which for well over a decade has been promoting engineering standards for device interoperability.

As this Editor looked back in October, when most of these organizations and events started about 2007-8, there were few Big Health conferences that took what was then dubbed eHealth and mHealth (later Digital Health) seriously. Now, of course, they do. There are also multiple events, large and small, expensive and popularly priced, every month in many cities–we attended and reported on #MedMo16 which will be branching out to multiple cities in 2017.

In looking back at our articles, the WLSA was engaged with the conference almost from the start, when the mHealth Summitwas one of the first ‘big name/big support’ conferences. Its tack then was governmental policy and what international NGOs were doing as a model for developed nations. It was organized by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the National Institutes of Health and the mHealth Alliance up to 2012, when HIMSS took it over.

Grizzled Pioneers, and even the non-grizzled, can testify to the multiple phases in a decade up and down the Hype Curve: device-driven, mobile-driven, sensor-driven, telehealth, wearables, Big Data, population health, patient engagement, analytics, data integration, outcomes-based and a few others. This move confirms that many factors are blending: academic, engineering, software, biotech, genomics, social, behavioral, governmental–and that technology is not standalone or sitting in isolation, but is integrating and manifesting itself in all sorts of interesting places both behind the consumer scene and in policy, and to consumers on mobiles and in the home (IoT, which hasn’t resolved its multiple and obvious security problems).

Also Neil Versel in MedCityNewsTTA is a media partner of the PCHA CHC for the 8th year, starting in 2009 when it was the brand new mHealth Summit. Conference tweets on #connect2health.

Connected health: what’s different than last year?

This Editor was interested in what the organizers of the annual Connected Health Summit, now taking place in San Diego, are seeing as the differences in the digital health and remote monitoring sector over the past year. This year, Parks Associates promoted it as “spotlight(ing) health technologies as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon and the transformational impact of these connected solutions on the US healthcare system.” I’ve been reading Parks’ research since 2006, when telecare was riding quite high, but the marketplace between consumer and enterprise-focused tech, monitoring and analytics has exploded. I asked Stuart Sikes, President of Parks Associates, for toplines on the key differences in the market and the conference between last year and this. It’s shifting to implementation, how to streamline processes around data, making data useful….and still finding someone to pay for it.

What is different this year than 2015?
The primary difference this year is that we will be discussing case studies and implementation and engagement issues, shifting the focus from “what elements are needed to encourage engagement” to “how is implementation working.” In addition, the emphasis on the power of data to provide meaningful data that empowers both consumers and care providers will increase, as secure collection and management of data is a central theme to most of the solutions on the agenda.
Regarding the agenda, one difference this year will be presentations by emerging companies to members of the investment community, who will offer some feedback on the company concepts and approach.

Do you see progress in adoption by physicians, healthcare organizations, consumers–and who is paying? (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…)

IoT and the inevitable, looming Big Data Breach

click to enlargeThe Gimlet Eye returns to once again cast a baleful gaze on All Those Connected Things, or the Plastic Fantastic Inevitable. Those 6.4 million Wi-Fi-connected tea kettles, smart fridge, remotely adjusted pacemakers (and other medical devices) plus home security two way video systems that accost the dodgy door ringer sound just peachy–but how good is their security? Not very, according to the experts quoted in this ZDNet article. It’s those nasty security flaws in IoT which were patched out 10 years ago on PCs that make them incredibly risky to have, as they can vector all sorts of Bad Things into both personal and enterprise networks. Their prediction is that a Connected Device with a big flaw will become molto popular and provide a Target a Hacker Can’t Refuse within two years. Or that some really clever hacker will write ransomware that will shut down millions of Connected Cars’ CPUs or disable the steering and brakes if 40 bitcoins aren’t placed in a brown paper bag and left on the third stool of the pizzeria at 83rd and Third.

Not much has changed since Eye wrote about those darn Internet Thingys last year [TTA 22 Sept 15]. The mystery is of course why these antique flaws are even part of the design. Designers being cheapskates? No consideration of security? (more…)

Stop the Internet of Things Monster!

click to enlargeA cry from the heart (or aching head) indeed! The overhyped, overheated and overblown Internet of Things (IoT) gets a good and deserved lampooning from tech writer Joanna Stern. If you take seriously a egg tray that tells you when the hen ova are getting few or old, an umbrella that signals you when it’s left home, a connected toilet seat and a juicer that only works when it’s on Wi-Fi, you’ll think the writer is a Luddite. But if you think 95 percent of IoT is ridiculous (save a Few Good Apps) and Overload Reigns in Solving Problems Which Aren’t, you’ll enjoy The Internet of Every Single Thing Must Be Stopped (Wall Street Journal). (Ms Stern would be undoubtedly appreciative of the ‘‘Uninvited Guests’ that nag and spy. And she doesn’t even get into the hackable dangers of Interconnected Everything.)

Two RSM events of interest on medicine’s future and Big Data/IoT (UK)

Make a place in your calendar for two Royal Society of Medicine full day events coming up in May and June. Both organized by the Telemedicine and eHealth Section. Hat tip to Charlotte Cordrey, Event Team Manager, RSM

The future of medicine – the role of doctors in 2025
Thursday 19 May 2016  (Chaired by our own Editor Charles Lowe)

Big data 2016 (Clouds and the Internet of Things)
Thursday 2 June 2016

 

The AAL Smart Ageing Prize: €50,000 could be yours!

The Active & Assisted Living (AAL) Programme has launched the AAL Smart Ageing Prize – a €50,000 challenge prize to find the best innovation in internet connected devices and technologies (Internet of Things) that will empower older adults to achieve the social & independent qualities of life they aspire to.

The prize aims to find innovations that improve connectivity between older adults, devices and technologies related to any aspect of their life (e.g. home, social, work, study, transport or services). The idea should present a business opportunity which has the potential to be commercially viable. Applications must involve older adults in the development and testing of the technology.

The AAL will help the most innovative ideas turn into real products that can be financially sustainable. Fifteen of the most promising applications will be chosen as finalists and will be invited to a social innovation mentoring academy in Brussels in July to progress their ideas. Each of the finalists will be awarded a €500 Euro grant to develop a prototype to demonstrate.

The winner will be awarded a prize of €50,000 at the AAL Forum in Switzerland in late September. The Prize is open to individuals, groups and organisations in the 28 member countries of the European Union, as well as Israel, Canada, Norway and Switzerland.

The deadline for applications is Friday 13 May 2016 at midday (12pm) Central European Time.

For full details and to apply please visit the AAL website.

Good luck!

The security risks, and the promise of, the Internet of Things

Jason Hope, who back in September wrote on how one of the greatest impediments to the much-touted Internet of Things (IoT) was not security, but the lack of a standardized protocol that would enable devices to communicate, has continued to write on both this topic and IoT security. While The Gimlet Eye had great fun lampooning the very notion of Thingys Talking and Doing Things Against Their Will [TTA 22 Sept 15], and this Editor has warned of security risks in over-connectivity of home devices (see below), relentlessly we are moving towards it. The benefit in both healthcare monitoring/TECS and safely living at home for older adults is obvious, but these devices must work together easily, safely and securely. To bend the English language a bit, the goal is ‘commonplaceness’–no one thinks much about the ubiquitous ATM, yet two decades ago ‘cash machines’ were not in many banks and (in the US) divided into regional networks.

As Mr Hope put it as the fifth and final prediction in his recent article:

The IoT Will Stop Being a “Thing”
How many times in the past week have you said, “I am getting on to the World Wide Web?” Chances are, not very many. How many times have you thought about the wonder of switching on a switch and having light instantly? Probably never. Soon, the Internet of Things, and connectivity in general, is going to be so common place, we also won’t think about it. It will just be part of life and the benefits and technology that wow us right now will cease to be memorable.

This Editor continues to be concerned about how hackers can get into devices, (more…)

Philips Healthcare partners with Amazon Web Services, adds more IoT

click to enlargeThe once-quiet Philips is expanding its connectivity for HealthSuite through a partnership with Amazon‘s recently announced collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The objective in connecting through AWS is to expand to hundreds of million devices through a secure, stable IoT ‘device cloud’ that securely collects and analyzes data from apps (like the diabetes app in test with Radboud University, TTA 18 Sept), medical devices and EMRs/PHRs. The Philips HealthSuite Digital Platform is a product of Philips’ collaboration with Salesforce, and is also (for now) targeted to senior care for adults. Philips’ release and case studies are, unfortunately, buried in this very busy page. It’s another move for Philips that confirms their ‘Hospital to Home’ repositioning.

What’s caught my digital health interest recently

At the Royal Society of Medicine we’ve just announced our next medical apps event on 7th April next year, Medical apps; mainstreaming innovation in which we feature for the first time a presentation by Pam Kato, a Professor of Serious Games, so it’s intriguing to see the iMedicalApps review of a clinician-facing serious game, iConcur, for anaesthetists.

We also have a powerful presentation on mental health apps from Ieso Digital Health which doubtless will make the same point as has been made in previous events that online mental health services typically are more effective than face:face. The abstract to the recent Lancet paper by Dr Lisa Marzano et al, examining this topic in great detail, suggests that the academics are now a long way to working out why this is the case and offers further potential improvements; aspiring mental health app developers unable to access the full paper may consider it worth paying $31.50 (or join the RSM to access it for free).

A regular at the RSM’s Appday is Dr Richard Brady’s presentation on Bad Apps, which next year will now doubtless include mention of the FTC’s recent fifth action against an app provider, UltimEyes, with deceptively claiming they their program was scientifically proven to improve the user’s eye sight.

Moving to good apps (more…)

IoT’s biggest problem? Communication of Things.

click to enlargeThe Gimlet Eye joins us for a ‘blink’ from an undisclosed, low-tech dot on the map. The fave rave of 2015 is IoT, the annoying shorthand for Internet of Things. Well, can Aunt Madge go into a store and buy an Internet Thingy? But it seems fundamental that The Things Speak with each other, if only to compare football scores and conspire against their owner to drive him or her Stark Raving Mad by producing too many ice cubes in the fridge, turning lights on/off at the wrong times or sending out for a deli order of 20 pounds of Black Forest sliced ham. Our fear about The Things was in considering that they could be hacked in doing Things Against Their Will and Not In The Owner’s Manual. But never mind, it’s not this we should be concerned about, or whether Uncle Aloysius will go off-roading in his Google Galaxie after it’s hacked for fun by an eight-year-old Black Hat. It’s that practically all of these same or different brand TVs, parking meters, cars and health/activity monitoring devices to make life simple for Auntie and Oncle are built on different platforms without a communication protocol. The Eye is now relieved of the fear that IoT devices will be crawling out of the water onto her faraway from dull care beach anytime soon. But you may not be. The Biggest Problem with the Internet of Things? Hint: It’s Not Security (Tech.co) Hat tip to follower @ersiemens via Twitter

DHACA visits Lancaster University on 23rd September – come and join us!

The Digital Health & Care Alliance is holding its sixth one day event on 23rd September, at the University of Lancaster.

DHACA Days are aimed at informing members, seeking feedback on DHACA activities and encouraging special Interest Group (SIG) engagement in topics of importance to members. On this occasion we have a very special SIG event which is the launching of DHACA’s medical apps regulatory process description, which looks at all the things you need to do to get a medical app fully approved. The draft is already available for members to comment on.

In addition, in the morning we will have presentations from:

  • Prof Peter Sawyer, Professor of Software Systems Engineering, University of Lancaster:sensing cognitive health through monitoring computer interaction and through ambient technology – this is a most exciting (and I guess to some a bit scary) new area of research where you can sense someone’s cognitive health from how they use smartphones and other devices.
  • Prof Jon Whittle; Head of the School of Computing and Communications,University of Lancaster: the uses for temporary digital tattoos, and how to make them – this will in part be an interactive session in which members’ suggestions and, if appropriate, future involvement will be sought.
  • Jeremy Moyse, Strategic Development Manager, SEQOL: a provider’s view of how technology will help deliver changes in the health & care world – SEQOL is a ‘spin-out’ social enterprise formed in 2011 from the NHS Transforming Community Service programme and now delivers a broad range of health & care services in Swindon; as Jeremy will explain, it has grown massively since then, and collected a cabinet full of awards.
  • Prof Awais Rashid, University of Lancaster: secure IoT use in digital health – Prof Rashid is a world expert on this topic which has become particularly important since the FDA recently withdrew approval from an infusion pump because it was too easy to hack. He will explain the critical importance of IoT security, how to assess it and how best to achieve secure solutions.

(more…)