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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A random walk through ATA 2014

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ATA_Button_color_filled.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] Editor Donna attended ATA 2014 on Monday only. This article is a set of impressions (mainly) of the exhibit floor and visits to a number of select booths.

Donna, it’s Baltimore. You’re not in NYC or Las Vegas.

Arriving after a long trip to a city you used to visit regularly, but haven’t been to in over 30 years, is disorienting, especially when you are heading on a fair spring day to a section that didn’t exist then. The Inner Harbor and Camden Yards resemble Atlanta, not necessarily a bad thing since the parts of ‘Charm City’ they replaced were largely past ‘gentrification’. The Baltimore Convention Center was unexpectedly huge, the distance to registration made longer by a taxi driver who dropped me off at another entrance two blocks away. Any resolve I had to drop in on the many educational sessions was dissuaded by the sheer length of the halls. The thick Exhibit Guide confirmed that the show floor filled two city blocks–a challenge to cover and spend time with my appointments before the close of the day.

Was it a hardware show, a software show or somewhere in between?

You could make a case for both views. One observer I walked with at the start compared it to a radiology trade show–all hardware. Yet a closer look indicated that the hardware–the PCs, tablets and smartphones–was there to show software that integrated: systems to track patients, distribute information, workflows, store and forward images and reports. It was about enabling secure consults, platforms, interoperability, two-way data flows, mitigating readmissions and putting telehealth, telemedicine and education into provider and patient hands. It was also about making the business case. It was most definitely NOT about gadgets and single purpose peripherals, though the latter were still quite visible. The old picture of telehealth closed systems, of proprietary monitoring devices feeding data onto a proprietary PC platform where it’s seen by a care manager, is so 2011.

Noteworthy: the growth in specialized services like telepsychiatry, teleneurology, teleradiology and teledermatology. Contrast: despite VGo‘s ubiquitous telepresence robots accosting you on the floor, a tablet-faced robot following a nurse down the hospital hall and ‘consulting’ with patients will likely still be a rarity.

Patient engagement on top

Traditional telehealth device makers are connecting their devices and opening up their reporting platforms to be accessible to patients. But there are bumps along the way in this transition. A&D Medical has gone ‘Wellness Connected’ with a mobile app (more…)