Connecting with Connected Health (PCHA Connected Health Conference)

click to enlargeGuest contributor JC Muyl attended the PCHA Connected Health Conference last week and contributed his thoughts on the event.

Last week I drove down from NYC to spend an afternoon at the Connected Health Conference (#CHC16) at the Gaylord Convention Center outside DC. The majority of my time was spent in the exhibit hall meeting digital health vendors.

I walked away fascinated by just how eclectic the digital health industry is. By approaching it from so many different angles, we’re bound to find some solutions that will stick. I thought I’d spread my optimism by sharing a sample of what I saw for those who couldn’t make it. Here’s my take on my day:

  • The most represented category was patient engagement solutions, probably as a function of the conference itself. Also, when you think about it, a proliferation of proactive patient engagement solutions makes sense in the context of value-based payments. What I like about patient engagement is that it has applications across multiple segments (payers, providers, employers, etc.) which means a bigger market. I met with the folks at Fitango Health (customizable care plans & member engagement), CareWire (member engagement via text), PokitDok (a development platform for care management / patient engagement), Utila (a text-based behavior health engagement solution) and Dacadoo (a cool health score app for patients based on proprietary algorithms).
  • Dacadoo was the play that felt most natively consumer-centric, especially because the user is able to track their health score in the app. The other solutions were for providers looking to manage and interact with patient populations. I like the notion of designing these products from the standpoint of how consumers want to navigate their healthcare experience.
  • In telehealth, I visited SwyMed, a ruggedized telehealth kit for emergency workers (makes a lot of sense), and VGo (see left above), a friendly-looking telehealth assistant that combined a Segway with a camera and a screen. They demoed how they could remotely drive it to the patient for a telehealth consult. I really think this product has legs…well wheels, actually! Seriously, it made me wonder how soon until we use drones to deliver meds & pick up samples?
  • I was surprised by the number of international companies: Medelinked from the UK, EarlySense from Israel, Voluntis from France, Dacadoo from Switzerland, most with a local presence here in the US. These foreign companies are usually pretty big in their home country, with a (clinically) proven product, yet are approaching the US market with the agility but also possibly the financial needs of a startup. I bet they would make good prospects for investors.

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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.

Fall/winter US events–Extra #1: TEDxNJIT, PCHA CHC and CHS

“Shuttle Corridor” Conferences this fall! Coming up fast: New Jersey Institute of Technology is hosting a TEDxNJIT event on Innovation and Collaboration next Wednesday 28 Sept at the Jim Wise Theatre on their Newark campus. It’s not strictly healthcare–it includes everything from nanotech to the arts, students, entrepreneurs and local government. TEDx is the local, self-organized version of TED talks and “Ideas Worth Spreading”. See their flyer and website. Hat tip to Michael Ehrlich of NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management. 

Partners HealthCare is hosting its 13th Annual Connected Health Symposium (CHS) 20-21 October, with an opening networking event on the 19th October evening, all at the Boston Seaport World Trade Center. The theme this year is “Digital Technology That Cares: Bringing the Human Element to Life”. Speakers are listed here. The CHS has traditionally been focused on care delivery and how it impacts the daily lives of patients, with a significant academic bent. More information, registration.

And put a few days aside before Christmas for the PCHA Connected Health Conference at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort near Washington DC, now back in December (11-14) when it belongs. It also includes the Global Digital Health Forum on the last two days, a separate conference co-presented by PCHA and the Global Digital Health Network, with the Canada-US Connected Health Workshop on the 14th and three pre-conference events on Sunday the 11th. More to come. TTA is a media partner of the PCHA CHC for the 8th year, starting in 2009 when it was the brand new mHealth Summit.

 

Put them on the calendar: autumn/winter UK health tech events

click to enlargeSeptember means that we come back from our holidays. Those smartphone calendars come out and the gaps are filled for the last part of the year into 2017 (gasp!) Here’s our (now separate) starter list for UK.

The RSM’s Telemedicine and e-Health Section (which is chaired by our own Contributing Editor Charles Lowe, who will be updating them as usual)…Event listings here and surely more to come (All at the RSM)

Point of care testing: disruptive innovation – is the NHS ready for it yet?   22 November

Recent developments in digital health   28 Feb 2017

The King’s Fund’s upcoming meetings involving healthcare technology (All at The King’s Fund)

Designing digital services around users’ needs   6 Oct 2016
Learning from clinician and patient-centred service design

Integrated Care Summit 2016   11 Oct 2016
Improving local population health and delivering accountable care (more…)

Abstracts for Med-e-Tel now online

click to enlargeMed-e-Tel Luxembourg, one of the longest continuously running health tech conferences in Europe (from 2004, certainly enough to qualify it as a Grizzled Pioneer), will be on this week from Wednesday to Friday, but if like this Editor you’ll be unfortunately far, far away, Prof. Maurice Mars, Richard E. Scott and Malina Jordanova of the organizing International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH), have published the speaker abstracts online and free (requiring only registration.) See them here.

The abstract researchers span the globe–Nigeria, Greece, Sweden, Czech Republic, Brazil, New Jersey (!)…plus several from UK (including Malcolm Fisk), Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa and Bulgaria. Orange Labs will present the data of their diabetic bike riders from the 2015 mHealth Grand Tour (MHT)–this was a high point of last November’s mHealth Summit/HIMSS Connected Health [TTA 13 Nov 15]. There’s also research on topics you don’t hear about in most conferences: smart cities, mHealth’s environmental impact, telenursing, adapting eHealth to serve those of differing abilities, even substituting smart technologies for physical restraints. So many unusual views are represented here. Also in this issue, Vol 4 (2016), is a wealth of research from Brazil.

More in the Med-e-Tel update press release.

HIMSS Connected Health Conference/mHealth Summit starts Sunday–save $100

Time is short! This Editor will be attending the HIMSS Connected Health Conference this November 8-11 in Washington, DC (actually outside The Puzzle Palace in National Harbor, Maryland). Telehealth & Telecare Aware has been a media partner (disclosure) since the 2009 mHealth Summit. Changes this year include that it is three conferences in one: the original mHealth Summit with the Global mHealth Forum, the new PopHealth Summit (concentrating on health improvement on the community, regional and national level) and the much needed new CyberSecurity Summit.

Attend all three for one registration, including a large Exposition floor and three pavilions for Population Health, Cybersecurity and Games for Health. Also, there are extra co-located and add on events, mainly on Sunday the 8th. The Global mHealth Forum focuses on mobile and connected health in low and middle income countries (LMICs) and is on Wednesday.

The Summit organizers have been kind enough to offer an excellent discount to our readers of $100. When registering, click on the advert (above, right hand side) and use the promotional code TELEHEALTH100 to receive it. (more…)

mHealth Summit now HIMSS Connected Health Conference

Another sign that mHealth is now in our rear view mirrors [TTA 24 July] is that one of the main conferences on the US and international conference calendar is changing its name. Since 2009, the mHealth Summit has closed the year. Its organizing groups have changed and it’s gone international to Europe (the recent summit in Riga). Now it has been renamed (though not on the website yet) the HIMSS Connected Health Conference-an umbrella event comprising the mHealth Summit (including the Global mHealth Forum), and two new conferences:  the Cyber Security Summit and Population Health Summit.

The shift in the industry and new concerns are clearly reflected in this reorganization. Transitions were visible last year to this Editor in covering the sessions, speaking with exhibitors and attendees. It’s not about the tech anymore, but how it fits into care models, saves money/avoids costs, improves care, improves the experience–all population health metrics–and fits with other technology and analytics. (It’s also how it fits into government payment models, an endlessly changing equation.) What is surprising is the lifting of cybersecurity to equal status, given the Hackers’ Holiday that healthcare is now (see TTA here). (Also this Editor notes that last year’s Big Buzzwords, Big Data and Analytics, has faded into where it should be–into facilitating population health and we should expect, inform data security. We also note that HIMSS has stepped forward as the organizer. HIMSS release  Telehealth & Telecare Aware has been a media partner of the mHealth Summit for most years since 2009. 

Call for presentation proposals: mHealth Summit (US)

click to enlargeYou have till 8 June to submit a proposal for a presentation at one of the largest digital health conferences in the US, the mHealth Summit (which is same place–near Washington D.C.–but a month earlier than usual–8-11 November). This year’s theme is “Anytime, Anywhere: Engaging Providers and Patients” and centered around one of five topics: clinical care, technology, patients and consumers, research, policy or business. The co-located Global mHealth Forum has a separate submittal process. Information and submittal linkTelehealth & Telecare Aware has been a media partner of the mHealth Summit US since 2010 and the 2015 Global mHealth App Developer Economics Study presented earlier this month at mHealth Summit Europe in Riga.

UK, Nordics lead best EU countries for mHealth business: survey

Respondents to research2guidance’s fifth annual mHealth Economics survey rated UK and the Nordic countries the best for mHealth market success, based on factors of market readiness and maturity including doctors and consumers. Other top countries were Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland. Germany and France were significant because of market size and investment in healthcare. According to the survey where over 5,000 healthcare app publishers and health professionals ranked countries on multiple points, “In UK, Sweden, Denmark and Netherlands doctor’s acceptance of apps and high level of digitalization are seen as main drivers. Germany is attractive mainly because of its substantial market size and its big number of potential users.”click to enlarge

Findings were presented this week at the mHealth Summit in Riga, Latvia and is the first part of a larger study on developer economics and future healthcare delivery. As a media partner, TTA participated starting in March in inviting respondents to the survey. A free download of the report is available to our readers here (minimal registration required). Release

ATA 2015: Day 1 news

click to enlarge HealthSpot/Xerox, Sentrian/Scripps, American Well, Honeywell, vitaphone, more

HealthSpot unveiled the first results of its partnership with (and investment by) Xerox, leveraging their HIT cloud infrastructure and back-end for the HealthSpot Station. The telehealth/virtual consult walk-in kiosk has targeted over 30,000 retail pharmacies with a newly developed consumer retail pharmacy personal health record (PHR). Upgraded patient and portal interfaces process insurance claims through a payment data feed and integrates with EMRs. Release….The US/UK predictive data/remote patient intelligence company Sentrian, winner of this year’s ATA Innovation in Remote Care award, is a part of a year-long 1,000-patient COPD remote patient monitoring study by the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) with members of Anthem’s CareMore health plan. The goal is to use the Sentrian platform data to accurately detect COPD patient decompensation in advance to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions, which on average in the US is 1 out of 11 within 30 days of discharge. Release….American Well launched a platform for individual physicians to connect with current patients (more…)

An alert watch for older adults that responds to voice commands

click to enlargeThis Editor has been in Watch Overload (see Apple Watch) for months, but this may be an exception. The UnaliWear Kanega watch (in development) is for the sizable market of older adults who would wear a well-designed watch or band for safety assistance, but not one that screams Old Person With Plastic PERS, an objective shared with the latest edition of buddi [TTA 16 Dec 14]. Their prototype looks like a fairly techno steel watch, a little on the chunky side, but it packs in a lot: a 9-axis accelerometer for fall detection, a GPS locator, Bluetooth LE, cellular/Wi-Fi connectivity and a digital analog display with time and date. What’s unique: no buttons, smartphone or other tether. It works via speech recognition and ‘talks with’ the wearer (via mechanical voice, messaging on the display and a feed to a BLE hearing aid if worn.) (more…)

Looking back over Telehealth & Telecare Aware’s predictions for 2014, part II

click to enlargeEditor Charles has treated you to a look back on his 2014 predictions, daring Editor Donna to look back on hers. Were they ‘Decidedly so’, ‘Yes’, ‘Reply hazy, try again’ or ‘My sources say no’? Read on…

On New Year’s Day 2014, it looked like “the year of reckoning for the ‘better mousetraps’”? But the reckoning wasn’t quite as dramatic as this Editor thought.

We are whipping past the 2012-13 Peak of Inflated Expectations in health tech, diving into the Trough of Disillusionment in 2014.

There surely were companies which turned up ‘Insolvent with a great idea’ in Joe Hage’s (LinkedIn’s huge Medical Devices Group) terms, but it was more a year of Big Ideas Going Sideways than Crash and Burns.

Some formerly Great Ideas may have a future, just not the one originally envisioned. (more…)

Tunstall’s challenging year: results reported

click to enlargeBreaking News. The topline of Tunstall Healthcare Group’s 2014 results (through 30 Sept 14) is now (partly) public thanks to the Yorkshire Post, Tunstall’s ‘hometown paper’. (We do note that it was published on 23 Dec, in the ‘dead of night’ rolling up to the Christmas holiday.) Notably, there is no report on the Tunstall website and it is too early to show on standard corporate reporting sites such as DueDil and CompanyCheck. The YP article appears to be written partly in press release-speak, which we do not fault them for on limited news available. In summary:

  • In the 2014 FY ended 30 September, revenues were £215 million. FY2013 was £221 million, a decrease of £6 million (2.7 percent).
  • A corresponding but greater EBITDA (earnings before interest taxation depreciation and amortization) drop to £43.0 million. FY 2013 was £52.7 million, a decrease of £9.7 million (18.4 percent).
  • The good news: revenues up 6.8 percent in the Nordics, Southern Europe, Central Europe, and Australasia; Spain’s Televida as a market leader also a bright spot [TTA 19 Dec].
  • No such good news in UK and the US  (more…)

Qualcomm (Second) Life: a conversation with Jim Mault

One of the surprises for this Editor, and for others attending the mHealth Summit, was to see the sizable presence of Qualcomm Life on both the exposition floor and during the sessions. From a near-nil presence at ATA 2014 and gone dark on news, the floodlights snapped on last week with new partners and a new emphasis: coordination of chronic and transitional (hospital to home) care management (CCM/TCM).

On the show floor, the spotlight was on the partner companies which mixed the established with (mostly) the early and mid-stage. Readers will recognize names such as AliveCor, Telcare, OMRON, Nonin and Airstrip; not so well known are Vaica, Orion Health, Monitored Therapeutics, IMPak Health, Vital Connect, Care Connectors, toSense (CoVa), Dexcom, InteliChart, TruClinic, ForaCare, VOXX, vitaphone (outside of Europe), Propeller Health and Noom Health (a NYeC Digital Health Accelerator 2014 graduate). The partners occupy different parts of the management continuum, integrating communications, record sharing, population health management, sensor-based monitoring, traditional and non-traditional vital signs monitoring, medication management, behavioral change methodologies and PHRs. The 2net Hub is still present for data transmission, sharing and storage, but more prominent is Qualcomm Life’s HealthyCircles platform which provides the clinical management ‘glue’: secure communications, record sharing and care team coordination. HealthyCircles was purchased in mid-2013. Founder James Mault, MD, FACS joined Qualcomm Life as VP/Chief Medical Officer.

We had some post-mHealth Summit reflection time by telephone this Wednesday while Dr Mault was in Boston. (more…)

Another alliance to promote connected health

The formation of the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHA) by the Continua Health Alliance, mHealth Summit and HIMSS solidifies what has been a close working relationship into what will “represent the consumer voice in personal connected health.” With the three organizations having worked together for some years particularly in relation to the mHealth Summit, the PCHA will now be the Summit’s formal presenter with Continua, HIMSS and the Foundation for the NIH as partners. Clint McClellan, Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Business Development and Continua’s board chair, is the acting chair and the PCHA will be located in Arlington, Virginia. According to Rich Scarfo, Vice President of the PCHA and the developer of the mHealth Summit,“The Personal Connected Health Alliance, in cooperation with the mHealth Summit and Continua, will continue driving the industry forward by generating a new knowledge base around the personal connected health space, providing a strong and united voice on policy, regulatory issues and government relations, and advancing education and awareness for the widespread adoption of personal connected health technologies.” Continua, after a few uncertain years while it shifted from a sole mission of interoperability standards and certification to combining that with advocating personal telehealth, now enjoys a membership of roughly 200 companies and has largely shed its ‘subsidiary of Intel’ reputation. The mHealth Summit has undergone its own shifts from a focus on governmental and NGO wireless health to a much wider scope (and major expansion) courtesy of HIMSS. Certainly PCHA’s activities will bear watching with this tripartite backing. Release on HIT Consultant (hat tip to publisher Fred Pennic), mHealthNews, YouTube video

One can only speculate on PCHA’s mission overlap with another DC advocacy group, the Alliance for Connected Care. The latter, a thinly veiled lobbying group [TTA 13 Feb], has been strangely quiet, with the news section of its glossy website not updated since early March. (Lobbying is best done quietly?)

An essential link to mHealth devices and apps?

Guest columnist Lois Drapin thinks so. She shares her insights on Validic, an emerging company in data integration for payers, providers, preventive wellness companies and pharma;how it evolved from its original concept in consumer health engagement, along with a few pointers its founders have for fellow entrepreneurs.

One of the keystone aspects of “ecosystems” is interoperability and this also applies to the data pipeline that flows from health apps and devices to the appropriate segment of the healthcare delivery system, and eventually, to the users—patients, consumers and/or medical professionals such as physicians and nurses or other clinicians. By now, we all know that the capture and analytics for both “big” and “small” health data are business imperatives for healthcare in the US. With data of this nature, we can embrace our understanding of behavioral change at the individual and population levels. The anticipated outcomes of behavioral change may power operational and cost efficiencies in the healthcare industry.

But data will no longer come from just inside the healthcare delivery system. In addition to the changing technology enablement within the health system, as we all know, data will flow from many things—in fact, The Internet of Things (IoT). This means that data that relates to our lifestyle, wellness and health will pour from the many types of wearable devices not now connected to the heath delivery system. In addition to our computers, tablets, phablets and smartphones, are the many sensors paired with tech innovations such as the wearables— from wristbands, smartwatches, clothing (from shoes to headbands), glasses, contacts, and pendants — to things such as refrigerators, clocks, mattresses, scales, coffee pots, cars, and even, toilets…all of which are predicted to become an important market in the coming years.

Validic, based in Durham, NC, has put itself smack in the middle of that market (more…)