TTA’s Spring Hop: China’s AI health crunching, Babylon Health in Asia and Africa, Tyto Care/Best Buy, ATA, Spry’s COPD wearable, NHSX, more!

 

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.

22 May is just over a month away! Scroll below for news of The King’s Fund’s Digital Health and Care Congress in London, including Matt Hancock as keynote speaker on day 2. Plus 10% off registration for our Readers!

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

It was a busy week for acquisitions and investments–perhaps the health tech bubble is staying at a reasonable size–for now. The post-Nokia Withings is definitely wide awake with sleep tracking.

News roundup: Teladoc acquires MédecinDirect, Blue Cedar closes $17M Series B, Hill-Rom buys Voalte, Withings bolsters sleep tracking (Real but not crazy money on the line here. And Withings isn’t snoozing.)

Telemedicine Has Two Faces: the good in expanding mental health and preventing rehospitalizations in long-term care–and the very bad in delivering end-of-life news to an elderly patient.

Suddenly hot, redux: mental health telemedicine in long term care, analytics to help predict rehospitalizations in skilled nursing facilities (A traditional provider adds telemedicine, three new SNF tech companies preventing rehospitalizations)
A telemedicine ‘robot’ delivers end of life news to patient: is there an ethical problem here, Kaiser Permanente? (An insensitive use of good technology gets bad press for both)

A government study on tech to enable aging independence that actually may be useful. Meanwhile, the FBI is warning that Hackermania is running wild over healthcare. AliveCor’s KardiaMobile succeeds in UK’s EDs. And that music you have on to concentrate may be doing exactly the opposite.

A useful White House study released: ‘Emerging Technologies to Support an Aging Population’ (Big topics and tech approaches without the fluff)
Hackermania ‘bigger than government itself’–and 25% of healthcare organizations report mobile breaches (We ought to be doing better by now)
Smartphone-based ECG urged for EDs to screen for heart rhythm problems: UK study (Give the patients mobile ECG monitors to take home)
Listening to music impairs verbal creativity: UK/Sweden university study (Those headphones are not helpful if you’re trying to think)


The King’s Fund’s annual Digital Health and Care Congress is back on 22-23 May. Just announced–Secretary Matt Hancock keynoting 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

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Tyto Care inks deal with Best Buy for retail sales of remote diagnostic device

Tyto Care’s long-planned retail debut of the TytoHome remote diagnostic device has arrived at Best Buy. The telehealth device which incorporates a camera, stethoscope, otoscope, tongue depressor, basal thermometer, and smartphone app can be bought online for $299.99. According to their release, TytoHome will be available at select Minnesota Best Buy stores and will roll out to North Dakota, South Dakota, California and Ohio.

TytoHome has been from the start (late 2016) pitched to parents as a 24/7 service for ill children in that middle-of-the-night sick call to the doctor, but more recently for adults as an adjunct to a virtual visit. The Israel-based company with US offices in NYC partnered with American Well early [TTA 2 Dec 2016]. For Best Buy customers outside of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, TytoHome will connect to doctors via LiveHealth Online, an American Well partner. In those three states, TytoHome will connect to Tyto Care health system partner Sanford Health and their medical providers. Each visit will be $59, possibly less if the service is covered by the person’s or family insurance plan.

Best Buy, of course, has made a large bet on retail health tech with its purchase of GreatCall, well-known for its Jitterbug phones targeted to older adults with its 5-Star PERS, but also prior to the acquisition with GreatCall’s purchases of Lively’s tech for consumer devices and HealthSense in LTC systems. Their current plans are outlined in a recent interview with CEO David Inns.

ATA 2017: Telehealth 2.0 annual President’s Awards

This year’s ATA 2017 President’s Awards, each honoring a company or individual, are:

President’s Award for the Transformation of Health Delivery (supported by Cerner): New York-Presbyterian OnDemand

NYP OnDemand has five services in its app which delivers services from Weill Cornell, NYP, and ColumbiaDoctors: Second Opinion, Urgent Care, Virtual Visit (telemedicine), Express Care (if you’re already in the ER, a virtual visit may shorten wait time), and Inter-Hospital Consult (a collaboration tool within the NYP network). At a recent Health 2.0 NYC Hospital Innovation Programs meeting, Jonathan Gordon (director of NYP Ventures) and Graeme Ossey (innovation manager) discussed its development (see video here, starting at 18:06, about 15 minutes).

Innovation in Remote Healthcare (supported by InTouch Health): Tyto Care

Tyto Care’s portable diagnostic device includes an FDA Class II cleared digital stethoscope, a digital imaging otoscope for ear exams, a throat scope, a skin camera and thermometer swipe. The Tyto home device includes video guidance instructions as part of the smartphone or tablet platform and connects to an online platform to send the information, either in real time or store-and-forward, to a primary care physician the user selects. Currently, they are working with American Well [TTA 2 Dec] and announced in the past month partnerships with Miami Children’s Health System and Allied Physicians Group, a 35-location pediatrics and specialty group headquartered in Melville, NY.

Other awards were: (more…)

TytoCare remote diagnostics comparable to in-person exam results: study

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Mom_using_on_child_ear.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]A study of the Tyto Care remote diagnostic device, conducted by Schneider Children’s Medical Center and the Sackler School of Medicine, found that the quality of readings by Tyto Care was ‘on par’ with in-person medical exams using conventional otoscopes and stethoscopes. Ears, heart, lungs and throats of 137 children aged 2-18 seeking care from the emergency department of a tertiary care facility were examined first conventionally and then again by a second remote physician using exam data captured by the TytoCare all-in-one device and attachments. Using standard statistical methods, the results were compared and the study reported “good to excellent agreement for all exams conducted using TytoCare and conventional exam tools, with a p-value <.001.” The study also recorded a separate five-point measure of patient experience and results averaged 4.4 and 4.5 out of 5 (excellent). No adverse events were recorded.

What is lacking in the release are the diagnoses of the young patients, but presumably those results will be presented with the final study. Formal presentations will be at the Israel Society for Clinical Pediatrics (HIPAK) meeting on 8 February in Tel Aviv and at the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) conference 23-25 April in Orlando, Florida. This positive report on efficacy will also aid their rollout with American Well, announced at the end of 2016 [TTA 2 Dec]. Harry Wang at Parks Associates in their blog also named TytoCare one of the two standouts of CES 2017–and the other, Partron (Croise) is not yet on the market.

Telemedicine’s ‘missing link’ found? American Well adds Tyto Care remote diagnostics. (US)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Mom_using_on_child_ear.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Telemedicine leader American Well and telehealth newcomer Tyto Care announced a new partnership that (finally) pairs up remote diagnostics to the virtual doctor visit. Patients (or parents) can use the Tyto Care device before or during the online visit to take guided exams of the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, throat, skin and temperature which is then shared with the doctor. The releases indicate that the American Well-Tyto Care combination will be introduced first to health systems and employers. The Tyto Care examination platform and clinical data are being integrated into American Well’s telehealth platform. Timing and pricing are not disclosed, but the retail price of Tyto Care’s home model is $299.  Tyto Care, American Well releases.

Tyto Care recently obtained FDA 510(k) Class II clearance for its digital stethoscope snap-on to the main device to monitor heart and lung sounds. [TTA 2 Nov] The all-in-one type device also includes attachments for a digital imaging otoscope for ear exams, a throat scope, a skin camera and thermometer swipe. A new and quite comprehensive demo video of Tyto Care on its own platform is viewable on YouTube, which includes how a doctor can review the information during a live video visit, or as a store-and-forward exam. Tyto Care is also introducing a professional version of its device and platform.

Tyto Care has also made it to the finals of The Best of Baby Tech (a/k/a The Bump) Awards, which include a new version of the awww-worthy Owlet smart sock baby monitor, the Edwin the Duck child learning tool, TempTraq’s continuous temperature monitor and the SNOO smart sleeper. They will be exhibited with 13 other finalists at CES 2017 in the Bump Pavilion at the Baby Tech Showcase 5-8 January, with winners in six categories on the 5th. #babytechces

‘Chief Health Officer’ moms want 24/7 connected health for the family: survey (US)

A just-released survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and telemedicine provider LiveHealth Online indicates a near-total desire for–and ability to access–on-demand, 24/7 healthcare and virtual visits. The key motivations are economic, convenience and educational: 71 percent cited the loss of at least two hours of time at work and school due to taking their child to the doctor’s office.

Given their age (starting at 18 and up to 59), the 500+ moms surveyed not surprisingly felt confident using health technology, with 82 percent believing themselves to be the most ‘health-tech savvy’ in the family.

  • 64 percent stated that having access to healthcare on-demand was more important than having streaming video or food delivery
  • 64 percent (64%) of women surveyed said they found it challenging to take their kids to the doctor during office hours during the school year
  • 79 percent said they would be interested in trying or learning more about telemedicine to help themselves and/or their family when faced with a non-emergency medical issue

Over half–54 percent–believed that online video doctor visits would improve their confidence in attending to family health, “like having a health security blanket”.

The survey apparently did not test for price sensitivity; for instance, per visit fees and amount subsidized by the payer.

It was conducted earlier this year by EmpowHER, an online health community for women. BCBSGa’s interest is that it offers coverage for online visits to many of its health plan members via LiveHealth Online, which uses the American Well network but is a separate company. BCBSGa release, EmpowHER/LiveHealth infographic, Internet Health Management

An interesting adjunct to this survey would have been to ask about ideal healthcare tools used in conjunction with that online doctor visit. This is anticipated to be a major market for advanced ‘all-in-one’ telehealth diagnostic units such as those developed by Tyto Care, Scanadu Scout or MedWand [TTA 2 Nov]. These are not only capable of taking standard vital signs, but also clinical quality digital pictures of those sore throats and inflamed ear canals.

A tricorder one step closer: Tyto Care gains FDA clearance for its digital stethoscope (US)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Mom_using_on_child_ear.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Only a few years ago, the Star of the Future of Digital Health was the ‘tricorder’–that all-in-one vital signs device that Bones on Star Trek wielded with such élan (when he wasn’t uttering ‘He’s dead, Jim’). We haven’t heard much from Scanadu since early last year when it raised $35 million for its Series B and when it teamed with with Northern Ireland’s Intelesens as a finalist for the seemingly never-ending Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. (Seven finalists are now in consumer testing with awards in early 2017.)

In the meantime, others have been proceeding in bringing their devices into reality far sooner, for real people with everyday health problems who want to examine a child, another family member or even themselves at home. One of these companies is Israel’s Tyto Care (picture above at left), which received FDA 510(k) Class II clearance for its digital stethoscope snap-on to the main device to monitor heart and lung sounds. The device also includes a digital imaging otoscope for ear exams, a throat scope, a skin camera and thermometer swipe. The Tyto home device includes video guidance instructions as part of the smartphone or tablet platform to enable a correct reading. It connects to an online platform to send the information, either in real time or store-and-forward, to a primary care physician the user selects. Tyto Care has been in investigational marketing in the US as well as Israel, bolstered by over $18 million in international investment. They are targeting home DTC as well as professional markets through practices, payers, virtual visit providers and possibly retail (one of their investors is Walgreens Boots). Release If you are attending MEDICA 2017 in Düsseldorf on 16 November, you can see Tyto Care demonstrated at the 5th Annual MEDICA App Competition.

Another all-in-one device is Las Vegas-based MedWand, which is still in pre-marketing. MedWand seems to feature clinic and ‘group’ packages as well as the individual device which includes a pulse oximeter. They received another round of undisclosed financing from Maxim Ventures, the venture arm for semi-conductor developer Maxim Integrated Products at end of September. Release.