Breached healthcare records down 72% but incident numbers steady. Then there’s MyFitnessPal’s 150 million…

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Hackermania.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Hackermania in healthcare may be running less wild…but what about consumer health devices? Year-end and top-of-year analyses indicate that the flood of breached records may be starting to drain. A Bitglass analysis of 2017 US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) data from its infamous ‘Wall of Shame’ is encouraging. They found that the number of breached records decreased over the 2015-2017 period by 72 percent between 2015 and 2017 and by 95 percent from 2016. The calculation excludes the huge spike in breaches due to two 2015 incidents at Anthem and Premera Blue Cross [TTA 9 Sep 15]. Numerically, the breach incident numbers decreased but are relatively steady: 2017 at 294, 2016 at 328. Data security company Protenus in its tracking found more incidents in 2017 versus 2016 (477 in 2017 v. 450 in 2016) but the same reduction in records affected, with five times fewer records in 2017 versus 2016’s 27.3 million records.

What’s been successful has been reducing mega-breaches and containment of healthcare device loss and theft through education and enforcement of employee practices. What continues is the major cause of breaches continue to be insider-related via error and wrongdoing; this includes the major annual Verizon report. Healthcare Informatics

Protenus’ February report, while continuing the reduction trend, had its share of hacking and insider incidents. Of the 39 incidents in their report affecting over 348,000 records, insider actions such as the misuse of system credentials accounted for 51 percent of breached records while hacks were 46 percent, with the majority involving ransomware or malware. Hacking as a cause hasn’t disappeared but perhaps has shifted to easier targets.

UnderArmour’s MyFitnessPal delivers another breach blow. Late last month, the company revealed that 150 million user records were hacked in February. The MyFitnessPal mobile app (more…)

Connecting with Connected Health (PCHA Connected Health Conference)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/JC-with-VGo.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Guest 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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Verizon’s ‘white label’ telemedicine service debuts

Verizon is evidently sticking with its strategy of enterprise marketing when it comes to digital health. The Verizon Virtual Visits service released last week enables a video chat with a clinician via smartphone app (3G/4G OK as well as Wi-Fi; the full mobile enablement Verizon states as a key differentiator versus competitors such as American Well, MDLive and Teladoc) or alternatively, web portal. Prior to the average 30 minute chat, the service verifies eligibility and co-pay information, presents patients’ self-reported histories, symptoms, medication allergies and other information, then collects the co-pay; at the close if needed, an e-prescription via SureScripts is sent to the patient’s pharmacies. Verizon presents this as as a ‘white label’ service for groups such as health systems, insurers and health plans who will determine their unique co-pay and clinician mix. Clinicians can be contracted through Verizon’s provider network or, in a health system, their own or an in-house/contract mix. Neither clients nor third-party medical provider(s) have been announced yet, but VentureBeat states that the clients will be publicized in the next few months, which is deflating. Information Week, The IHCC. Verizon release.

Verizon adds Telcare, Genesis to monitoring platform

Verizon received a second FDA clearance for its health management software platform, and added blood glucose management monitors Telcare and Genesis Health as part of it. The first clearance, according to Mobihealthnews, covered five telehealth devices from Ideal Life. Verizon’s intentions are to ‘white label’ market the system to providers who plan to use personally gathered telehealth as part of a patient management program in integrated delivery networks (IDNs), where it is currently in trial–plus health plans and self-insured employers. Verizon’s platform also has ‘gamified’ educational and motivational functions, including its own virtual currency for rewards. If this is proven in the US, will this be marketable in the UK and EU–and will Verizon go it alone or seek partners? Hat tip again on the story to reader Mike Short via Editor Charles.  

Powerhouse DC lobbying for telehealth, telemedicine

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The Gimlet Eye observes from a houseboat anchored at a remote Pacific island, with coconuts and occasional internet to Editor Donna.

Telehealth and telemedicine have reached a US milestone of sorts: the formation of a Washington, DC-based ‘advocacy’ (a/k/a lobbying) group constituted as a business non-profit. The Alliance for Connected Care is headed by three former Senators (two of whom were ‘amigos’) from both sides of the aisle and backed by a board including the expected (giants Verizon, WellPoint, CVS Caremark, Walgreens)–and the surprising (much smaller remote consult provider Teladoc and HealthSpot, the developer of the HealthSpot Station kiosk–hmmm, must be a fair chunk of their marketing budgets there) flanked by six well known ‘associate members’ including Cardinal Health and Care Innovations (another hmmm). There’s also a hefty ‘advisory board‘ including the American Heart Association and the NAHC (home care). The leadership team members are all members of major Washington law/lobbying firms. Tom Daschle is recognized as one of the most influential former Senators in town via DLA Piper, though himself not a registered lobbyist (OpenSecrets.org). Trent Lott and John Breaux hung out their own shingle and were recently bought by mega-lobbyist Patton Boggs. To put a fine point on it, more high-powered one does not get. The Eye sees that the time is prime for the Big Influence and…

What the Eye sees is Big Financial Stakes: Private insurers are required to cover telehealth in 20 states, as does Medicaid in most. The VA is a major user. But the great big trough of Medicare is new territory; covering 16 percent of the population, the use of telemedicine and telehealth is limited to certain geographic areas. (MedCityNews) This marks the infamous tipping point: the clarion call to ‘build significant and high-level support for Connected Care among leaders in Congress and the Administration’, ‘enable more telehealth to support new models of care’ and ‘establish a non-binding, standardized definition of Connected Care through federal level multi stakeholder-input process’ (whew!) Big companies want in, insurers want reimbursement, and they want it from somewhere as well. Toto, we’re not in the Kansas of Small anymore with ‘connected health’–we are now in the Oz of Big Money and Power Players. Alliance release (Oddly the website looks preliminary despite the big announcement and backing.)

More on this strategy: It’s called ‘soft lobbying’ and it is the latest thing in the Influence Wars. The Alliance for Connected Care is a 501(c)6 non-profit, similar to a business league like the Chamber of Commerce, and this has become a popular tactic. It’s also a less regulated, less transparent way to shape coverage, public opinion and exert influence on legislators. See this well-timed examination from the Washington Post on the corn syrup versus table sugar wars. ‘Soft lobbying’ war between sugar, corn syrup shows new tactics in Washington influence

mHealth Summit 2013: Verizon’s role in the HIT ecosystem

Peter Tippett, MD, PhD Talks Verizon’s Role in the Health IT Ecosystem

Lois Drapin, Founder & CEO of The Drapin Group, in the third of her post 2013 mHealth Summit insights, speaks with CMO and VP of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Peter Tippett, MD, PhD to share his insights on expanding Verizon’s role in the health IT ecosystem during the 2013 mHealth Summit. This article is courtesy of HIT Consultant.

I was happy to hear that Peter Tippett, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Verizon Enterprise Solutions put aside thirty minutes for an interview with me at the mHealth Summit. I arrived at the large Verizon booth and was immediately greeted by one of my favorite women in health technology, Nancy M. Green, Managing Principal of Healthcare Practice at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Disruptive Women in Health Care, a group founded by Robin Strongin, just announced their list of Disruptive Women to Watch in 2014 and Nancy is on that list. Congrats goes out to Nancy… and to Dr. Tippett for having one of these top women on his team. We like that.

I always ask people to share a little about themselves before we talk business. (more…)

Fashion? Can wearables simply…work?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Apple’s hiring of Burberry’s CEO Angela Ahrendts as Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores to start in spring 2014 may well be indicative of the importance that Apple is putting on 1) smartwatches (she was honcho of a Burberry watch intro) and 2) wearables (she refreshed and upscaled an iconic brand from stores to merchandise). Chris Matyszczyk in Cnet points out that she is the second hire from the fashion industry (the other’s from YSL). On one hand this seems to reinforce that Apple’s strong suit is design; on the other hand it implies that their retail and online stores need to evolve after some recent missteps–and that they may not feel as confident as in the past of their internal capabilities. However this all seems too haute for the simple everyday buyer who wants stuff that helps you live your life better and more conveniently, and who may find it much easier to go to Verizon or Vodaphone for their mobile needs and that Jawbone UP band to wear. And where are the other wearables, say in a Burberry scarf? The Gimlet Eye is blinking in impatience, and it had better be elegant, or Gloria and Babe’s ghosts will be haunting Cupertino. [TTA 25 Oct]  Apple and the emperor’s new wearable tech (Cnet) Hat tip to TANN Ireland Editor Toni BuntingNew Apple Retail Chief Hired Over SummerApple to Hire Burberry CEO (MacRumors).

Healthcare.gov’s broken UX guidelines

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/now-panic-and-freak-out.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Given the broken Healthcare.gov website, perhaps a silver lining lesson some of us can take from it, as we (in the US) wait and wonder, is what user experience (UX) usability guidelines it broke. From UX research/consultancy Nielsen Norman group is a ‘count the ways’ to ten. (A difference–the pictures of real people have been removed and replaced with cartoons, with wags bemoaning the loss of the anonymous ‘Obamacare girl’ on the home page, not depicted here.) The contention here is that the account setup is unnecessarily complex and may be contributing to the backend technology failure. HealthCare.gov’s Account Setup: 10 Broken Usability Guidelines  Hat tip to former EIC Steve Hards. (more…)

Delays in ‘game-changing’ PERS

Both Philips GoSafe and Lifecomm have apparently blown past at least two in-market dates.

Philips Lifeline GoSafe: Announced at CES in January [TTA 11 Jan], it is a mobile, souped-up PERS chunky neck-worn pendant with the fall detection features of Lifeline Auto-Alert plus GPS detection through multiple systems such as Skyhook, Wi-Fi and ‘intelligent bread crumbing’. The CES-announced debut was March, reconfirmed in February to Leading Age [TTA 14 Feb]. Then a small blog, The Senior List, confirmed with Philips in June that in-market would be delayed till fall. Now that fall is here, an industry insider tipped us to the further delay till December, confirmed by a later article in the The Senior List blog. Notably Philips is beefing up its website and video demo presence, apparently building up to an announcement near the end of the year. In the PERS category, one of the peak selling seasons is post-New Year’s, after holiday get-togethers bring the realization that a loved one is getting frailer and in need of some protection.

On the polar opposite, the Lifecomm PERS (from the Qualcomm/Hughes Telematics-now-Verizon/AMAC-now-Tunstall JV) seems to be hanging in limbo–again. (more…)

So many apps, so little time

Over the past few days there seems to have been a particularly rich set of alerts related to mHealth apps (there’s even been an update to the mHealth Grand Tour website with a nice video to promote the tour that starts on 5th September). Adding to them a couple that others have kindly alerted me to, here are a few that might interest:

Let’s begin with an infographic on the rising popularity of mHealth apps that puts it all into context. However, in some countries mHealth is being held back by outdated privacy laws, and in the US lack of final FDA guidance is considered a check on progress.  If you ever wondered how much data your DNA, or your most recent scan contained, (more…)