TTA’s Summer Unlockdown, Week 7, Normality Continues: debating how to keep data private; more M&A with Change, Medtronic, Health Catalyst, Proteus; CB Insights’ 2nd Big List; and VR in med ed

 

More signs of normality as we turn to topics other than COVID. We return to issues like data privacy and a Genomic Bill of Rights. ‘What’s hot in digital health’ lists reappear. And there’s another bumper crop of funding and acquisitions. Plus a fresh look at VR in medical education stimulated by the pandemic reaction.

See here for our exclusive offer for Readers to attend the fully virtual Connected Health Summit 1-3 September at half price!

Will the rise of technology mean the fall of privacy–and what can be done? UK seeks a new National Data Guardian. (Guarding the chicken coop with an open gate?)
CB Insights rounds up a 2020 Digital Health Top 150 (Not that different from 2019)
News Roundup of acquisitions, funding: Health Catalyst-Vitalware, Change Healthcare-Nucleus.io, Medtronic-Companion Medical, Cecelia Health; Proteus Health sale contested, but sold (updated 20 Aug) (More signs that we’re returning to a frothy ‘normal’)

Medical education going digital, virtual, and virtual reality (US/UK) (How med ed is adapting)

Is something vaguely resembling normality returning? We note and opine on multiple sales, acquisitions, and IPOs. The Propel@YH accelerator in Yorkshire returns for year 2. Walmart Health’s leader departs mysteriously. And another gimlety take on the Teladoc-Livongo deal from the ‘flight deck’.

News roundup: Ancestry sells 75% to Blackstone, Cornwall NHS partners with Tunstall, most dangerous health IT trends, Slovenski departs from Walmart Health (Activity a leading indicator of a return to normality)
Propel@YH digital health accelerator open now for applications to 24 September (UK) (Return to normality #2–important for your early stage company)
Doro AB acquires Eldercare (UK) Limited, creating #2 in telecare  (Piece by piece strategy)
Drug discounter GoodRx plans US IPO; Ginger mental health coaching raises $50 million (It’s getting foamier out there in the Digital Health Bubble Bath) 
Reflections in a Gimlet Eye: further skeptical thoughts on the Teladoc acquisition of Livongo (updated) (A message to Teladoc: just like on the flight deck, Human Factors will make–or doom–your success)

2nd Quarter results are capped with Teladoc’s Livongo acquisition (ka-ching!), SOC Telemed’s alternative IPO, plus more modest acquisitions. What happens after the mad rush of a NHS challenge? 

Plus a special offer for Readers to attend the Connected Health Summit at half price!

More consolidation: BioTelemetry acquires population health platform from Envolve/Centene, inks agreement with Boston Scientific (Acquisitions that make business sense)
TechForce 19 follow up: Alcuris’ results on testing Memo Hub (UK) (What happens after all that work–tell us your story)
Connected Health Summit 1-3 September goes virtual–now 50% off for TTA Readers! (Affordable, accessible conference)
An admittedly skeptical take on the $18.5 billion Teladoc acquisition of Livongo (updated for additional analysis) (What makes sense and what does not)
SOC Telemed will go public in unusual ‘blank check’ acquisition (An interesting alternative to IPO)

While it’s summer, investment in digital health continues with Withings’ $60 million Series B. Wearables find a boost from COVID in this Year of the Sensor. And we take a long catch up with UK news from the Isle of Man to Manchester.

En Vogue: smart clothing and wearables to track COVID spread and progression (More wearables in The Year of the Sensor)
Withings closes $60 million Series B round to fund expansion, B2B development (Funding B2B and expansion)
UK news roundup: Health Innovation Manchester winners, donate Phones for Patients in isolation, British Patient Capital funds SV Health with $65m, Memory Lane on the Isle of Man, SEHTA and Innovate UK briefings

Unlockdown is proceeding and despite breathless media hype, we are learning valuable lessons and creating new models using sensor-based monitoring, contact tracing, even about the air we breathe in the office. Innovation competition continues virtually with Aging 2.0. Telehealth remains heading up. And our weekend’s provocative Must Read is an impassioned warning on our headlong rush to turn healthcare over to Big Tech and Pharma.

Weekend ‘Must Read’: Are Big Tech/Big Pharma’s health tech promises nothing but a dangerous fraud? (Urgent Snake Oil Warning)
The Year of the Sensor, round 2: COVID contact tracing + sensor wearables in LTC facilities; Ireland’s long and pivoting road to a contact tracing app (Contact tracing that actually works)
Nanowear’s ‘smart clothing’ in NY/NJ hospital trials to monitor patients for early-stage COVID. Is it the Year of the Sensor? (Intriguing clinical trial)
Vote now for finalists in the Aging 2.0 Global Innovation Search (to 31 July) (We have the list and links)
Can technology speed the return to office post-COVID? Is contaminated office air conditioning a COVID culprit? (All the apps, testing, and monitoring in the world doesn’t fix the air you breathe)
While telehealth virtual office visits flatten, overall up 300-fold; FCC finalizes COVID-19 telehealth funding program (US) (Still on the rise)

Is it the July doldrums, or COVID pandemic rerun fatigue? CVS Health’s study points at progress for telehealth, but a multiplicity of issues. Philips hits a home run with VA with remote ICU tech, and enters sensor-based RPM with BioIntelliSense.

Telehealth, virtual, and ‘omnichannel’ health winners in CVS’ ‘Path To Better Health’ study (Telehealth gains, but reflects the fractionalization of US healthcare)
Philips awarded by VA 10-year, $100 million remote ICU, telehealth contract; partners with BioIntelliSense for RPM (A major win and a win for BioIntelliSense)

And a bit more….Walgreens Boots goes big with billion-dollar medical office deal with VillageMD (See the competition move–and raise ’em)

News Roundup: Doctor on Demand’s $75M Series D, Google’s Fitbit buy scrutinized, $5.4 bn digital health funding breaks record (Three big stories)
Hackermania runs wild, Required Reading Department: The Anatomy of a Ransomware Attack (Weekend reading for you and your IT department)

NHSX COVID contact tracing app exits stage left. Enter the Apple and Google dance team. (Not a surprise to anyone, and some changes made)

Another COVID casualty: a final decision on the Cigna-Anthem damages settlement (It’s only 3 years and billions at stake!)
Telehealth and the response to COVID-19 in Australia, UK, and US: the paper (Malcolm Fisk and team’s comparative study)

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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

Thanks for asking for update emails. Please tell your colleagues about this news service and, if you have relevant information to share with the rest of the world, please let me know.

Donna Cusano, Editor In Chief
donna.cusano@telecareaware.com

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Medical education going digital, virtual, and virtual reality (US/UK)

How do you educate medical and nursing students when class is no longer in session? What about clinical training when hospitals are restricted due to COVID? It’s no surprise that remote learning and pre-recorded classes plus active lecturer-student discussions on Zoom (or more secure video meeting platforms) in the spring filled the gap of the first two years of med school, which are primarily tied to class instruction. For incoming and resuming classes, most have a mix of online and in-person classes, depending on school location. Nursing schools faced and resolved similar situations.

But what happens in the second two years, when lectures mix with in-person clinical learning? Most schools pulled students from clinical work in the spring, but some, like Mount Sinai in New York, continued. The University of Houston has developed some other approaches. Their medical school, starting this year, was co-founded with insurance payer Humana as part of the Humana Integrated Health Systems Science Institute. Nursing school students who would typically join nurses on house calls shadowed these nurses on virtual visits as part of their clinical training. 

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is also looking at ways to integrate telehealth into medical school curricula, and is publishing a guide this fall detailing core competencies around telemedicine.  FierceHealthcare

Virtual reality (VR) is providing a more interactive training environment for clinicians with realistic scenarios and feedback. Computer simulations have been common for years in specialty surgery and diagnostics. With reductions in pricing on headsets like the Oculus Rift and Quest, several companies are introducing a different kind of virtual visit, one in a realistic clinic setting, simulating a pressured situation. These come complete with interaction between doctors, nurses, and other clinicians, can be ‘multi-player’, and provide performance analysis/feedback. This Editor noted Oxford Medical Simulation’s work with NHS England in Wessex on treatment for diabetic emergencies [News Roundup, TTA 3 Apr 19] and another pilot at OxSTaR (Oxford Simulation, Teaching and Research) center [News Roundup, TTA 8 Aug 19]. In surgery, Southern Methodist University (which has a leading graduate school for video game design), Virti, and Medical Realities (the latter two UK firms) have pioneered training in US, UK, and Europe plus specialized trainings for surgeons in Africa replicating conditions faced in ORs there. The trainings not only teach procedure, but reduce surgeon and fellow clinician stress. Digital Trends

Themes and trends at Aging2.0 OPTIMIZE 2017

Aging2.0 OPTIMIZE, in San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday 14-15 November, annually attracts the top thinkers and doers in innovation and aging services. It brings together academia, designers, developers, investors, and senior care executives from all over the world to rethink the aging experience in both immediately practical and long-term visionary ways.

Looking at OPTIMIZE’s agenda, there are major themes that are on point for major industry trends.

Reinventing aging with an AI twist

What will aging be like during the next decades of the 21st Century? What must be done to support quality of life, active lives, and more independence? From nursing homes with more home-like environments (Green House Project) to Bill Thomas’ latest project–‘tiny houses’ that support independent living (Minkas)—there are many developments which will affect the perception and reality of aging.

Designers like Yves Béhar of fuseproject are rethinking home design as a continuum that supports all ages and abilities in what they want and need. Beyond physical design, these new homes are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology that support wellness, engagement, and safety. Advances that are already here include voice-activated devices such as Amazon Alexa, virtual reality (VR), and IoT-enabled remote care (telehealth and telecare).

For attendees at Aging2.0, there will be substantial discussion on AI’s impact and implications, highlighted at Tuesday afternoon’s general session ‘AI-ging Into the Future’ and in Wednesday’s AI/IoT-related breakouts. AI is powering breakthroughs in social robotics and predictive health, the latter using sensor-based ADL and vital signs information for wellness, fall prevention, and dementia care. Some companies part of this conversation are CarePredict, EarlySense, SafelyYou, and Intuition Robotics.

Thriving, not surviving

Thriving in later age, not simply ‘aging in place’ or compensating for the loss of ability, must engage the community, the individual, and providers. There’s new interest in addressing interrelated social factors such as isolation, life purpose, food, healthcare quality, safety, and transportation. Business models and connected living technologies can combine to redesign post-acute care for better recovery, to prevent unnecessary readmissions, and provide more proactive care for chronic diseases as well as support wellness.

In this area, OPTIMIZE has many sessions on cities and localities reorganizing to support older adults in social determinants of health, transportation innovations, and wearables for passive communications between the older person and caregivers/providers. Some organizations and companies contributing to the conversation are grandPad, Village to Village Network, Lyft, and Milken Institute.

Technology and best practices positively affect the bottom line

How can senior housing and communities put innovation into action today? How can developers make it easier for them to adopt innovation? Innovations that ‘activate’ staff and caregivers create a multiplier for a positive effect on care. Successful rollouts create a positive impact on both the operations and financial health of senior living communities.

(more…)

One Caring Team testing virtual reality for dementia and depression treatment, relief

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/vr-elderly-2_wide-af9c501d8fea7232e366e38b699ee41ee4040334-s1500-c85.jpg” thumb_width=”250″ /]A San Francisco-based company, One Caring Team, is visiting Bay Area seniors with a treatment that is also a treat–virtual reality headsets that recreate a beach or other relaxing environment. VR has been used with Microsoft Kinect in game-playing in assisted living communities, but the physician-founder Sonya Kim is seeking to give a break most to those older people with dementia or depression. They no longer can travel and their world has grown very small. VR gives them an opportunity to hear and see things they haven’t in a long time, if ever. Versions being tested have both a VR picture, narration on screen and audio; versions for dementia patients skip written ‘bubbles’. The point is to have the clients/patients feel safe, relaxed and welcomed. Some of the results have been that patients start to speak, interact with the pictures intuitively and be more alert, with lasting effects between VR visits. Formal studies have been done in other settings for pain management and for rehab, but this is a new company and concept. One problem is cost: $850 for each Samsung Gear VR headset plus the Galaxy smartphone, but if anything help on VR and social funding is easy to find the Bay Area; founder of the Virtual World Society, the University of Washington’s virtual interface pioneer Dr. Tom Furness, is now One Caring Team’s acting chief technology officer. Washington Post, NPR, F6S.com (Photo from One Caring Team via NPR)

Phobic? There’s an app for that.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/phobia10.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Everyone has certain fears or things that have a high ‘eeewwww’ factor (see left). Phobious, a new app, uses virtual reality on a smartphone that after several sessions of gradual exposure, desensitizes the user to potentially disabling fears such as dentists, insects, flying and dogs. (Can it work in the backyard when you’re about to be attacked by bees and Godzilla-sized weeds?–The Gimlet Eye) It was developed by a group from Barcelona by way of Charm City a/k/a Baltimore, Maryland, participating in the prestigiously backed DreamIt Health Baltimore accelerator’s 2014 class. The app is currently available for $49 in the Apple App Store and Google Play, with a 3D goggle device VR system due in September at $149–$299 with two psychology sessions. According to MedCityNews, the founders are seeking $750,000 in funding, plan to develop a clinical quality version and obtain FDA clearance and CE Marking. The progress in VR therapy made in less than four years is startling when this Editor considers the price of the CAREN system (Motek and Polycom) which was tested on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans back in June 2010: $500,000. (Ed. note: if you have a phobia about typos, don’t look at the Phobious website!)

Nintendo’s next move: entertaining healthcare

Nintendo, which has sold 100 million Wii consoles but is facing a shrinking market and increased competition in video gaming both from established companies like Sony and mobile gaming providers, has announced its intention to shift the notion of ‘entertainment’ into ‘quality of life’ (QOL) and health. This will be set up as a separate new business area. CEO Satoru Iwata said that Nintendo wants to “create an environment in which more people are conscious about their health and in turn expand Nintendo’s overall user base.” Although this sounds terribly vague, this Editor recalled that the Wii console had a brief vogue a few years ago in senior communities for fitness and that Editor Emeritus Steve had written about its use in rehabilitation and telehealth as far back as April 2008! (Additional articles here) One wonders what corporate imperatives discouraged the initial exploration of Wii for health. Now the field is thick with competitors from fitness bands (Jawbone, Fitbit, Misfit) to smartphones to Samsung’s new iterations of the Gear watch. Venture Beat.

Could virtual reality in games like Wii be useful therapy in relieving the phantom limb pain (PLP) from amputation? A recent Swedish study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience (abstract) indicate that it might. Researchers Max Ortiz Catalan and his colleagues developed an augmented reality therapy where muscle signals from the amputated arm activated a virtual arm that performed virtual tasks, and relieved the pain in a subject who had painful PLP for 48 years. “The patient reported that his pain gradually reduced, and he experienced pain-free periods over the course of his virtual reality treatments. He said his hand changed from feeling painfully clenched to feeling open and relaxed.” According to the article in Scientific American, the Swedish team has developed an at-home version if approved, and the technology may be adapted for other rehab such as post-stroke or spinal cord injury.  Also FierceHealthIT.