Telemedicine’s greenhouse gas emissions

There’s occasionally speculation about the environmental impact of remote care but not much detailed research. A team from Imperial College London have evaluated  the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from 21,000 telemedicine consultations performed over a seven year period in Alentejo, Portugal. The results were dramatic. Telemedicine may have led to a 95% reduction in distances travelled – or 2.3 million kms of travelling by patients – saving a total of 455 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. How we factor such environmental impacts into cost-benefit assessments of remote care remains to be seen. The research was conducted by Tiago Cravo Oliveira, Steffen Bayer and James Barlow, with support from Luis Gonçalves from the Administração Regional de Saúde do Alentejo.

The published paper is available at

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GP-critical survey sort-of revealed – or is it? (UK)

When publications like Pulse manage to insert the historic, and wholly-unrepresentative-of-telehealth, cost/QALY from the Whole System Demonstrator into an article twice in a week (here & here), and the Royal College of General Practitioners produces a vision of a GPs life in 2022 that essentially ignores technological progress, it is hard for a publication such as Telehealth & Telecare Aware to appear fair and unbiased, so it is great to have an opportunity to redress the balance.

The occasion is  (more…)

Audax Health raises $20 million

Breaking News

One very substantial bet was placed today on consumer engagement, with CE/mobile/social media-for-wellness developer Audax Health announcing a $20 million Series B funding this afternoon. Navigy Holdings, Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Florida Blue (Blue Cross Blue Shield, Florida’s largest health plan) led the round, which included current board member Jack Rowe (former CEO and chairman of Aetna) and Dan Rose, VP of partnerships at Facebook. Audax’s main product is Zensey, a mobile-based platform for personalized health content, connection with like minds via online communities, challenges, health assessments and games. The funds reportedly will be used for product development, build out the company’s mobile and engineering teams and expand partnerships with health plans, employers and providers. Previous funding has exceeded $35 million since its 2010 founding ($21 million this past January alone). Corporate partners include Cigna and Cardinal Health, with New Leaf Ventures their leading VC.  Press release via Yahoo Finance; Gigaom; Washington Business Journal.  Hat tip to reader David E. Albert, MD of AliveCor via Twitter (@DrDave01) 

Ford and WellDoc give a new meaning to mobile health (US)

As a postscript to yesterday’s post on mHealth apps, WellDoc Health have introduced BlueStar, a prescription-only, reimbursable app that majors on encouraging improved self-care by those with type II diabetes. Apart from being the first prescription-only app in the US, it is apparently also downloadable directly into a car (Ford).

Editor Donna comments 29 August: Aside from WellDoc being the only mHealthy company I can think of located in Baltimore, MD (for our ex-US readers, a city perched uneasily between Washington and Philadelphia), wasn’t the idea (or one of the ideas) originally behind Happtique a process to certify health apps, with a prescribing tool (along with patient ed) via their mRx platform? In June, they sought primary care physicians to beta test their catalogue, formularies and mRx prescribing tool [TTA 28 June]. With Happtique now firmly under the GNYHA Ventures wing [TTA 17 May] and a much lower profile, there may be plenty of room for a private competitor with an established name and its own FDA-cleared apps to establish a prescription app model.

Canada’s generic road forward on health tech

Canada’s federal government has stated that they have been thinking long and hard about extending digital health to more Canadians. In 2012, they commissioned and funded an independent organization, Canada Health Infoway (Inforoute Santé du Canada in the mandatory bilingual terminology) to study future healthcare needs, determine where digital health could make a difference and propose a strategic plan. After surveying 500 individual Canadians, clinicians, governments and health care administrators, national associations and vendors (a small number, it seems to this Editor), their report (PDF here) centers on five opportunities for action: (more…)

Cleveland Clinic concussion diagnostic app repurposed

Perhaps seeing a ‘job to be done’  in diagnosing sports concussions in rural areas where direct medical help can be distant, the Cleveland Clinic is now extending the usage of its Concussion Assessment System (C3) to assessing student athletes after suspect head blows. The two-year-old iPad app can be strapped on to the back of the athlete to measure movements that indicate balance problems, and assesses cognitive and motor impairment; information processing ability; attention/memory; balance and visual acuity. (more…)

First human to human brain control – yikes!

EEG TMS diagram2University of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first non-invasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher having used a brain signal to control the hand of a fellow researcher.

Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to his colleague Andrea Stocco (who was on the other side of the university campus), causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard – involuntarily! It’s pretty cool stuff and you can watch a video of it here.

“It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain,” Rao said. So how was it for Stocco? Maybe slightly less thrilling – he compared the feeling of his hand moving involuntarily to that of “a nervous tic”! (more…)

Why HIT CIOs breakfast on aspirin

CIO has an excellent summary of how HIT is attempting to cope with the tidal wave of mHealth. Moving away from the ‘look up, receive alerts’ passive mode versus being able to enter data on that mobile device (whether BYOD or hospital issue) means having to focus on architecture, infrastructure and governance priorities (rather than one-offs), fitting mobile into workflows (field discovery of clinical needs), alignment of IT with line-of-business departments and figuring out how patient engagement really works plus how it fits into the previous (and it’s not the hype of what developers would like to see and sell.) Healthcare IT Struggles to Keep Up With Mobile Health Demands

Sanitizing iPads: study

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]It was inevitable–that the increased mobilization of in-hospital healthcare would lead to a study about reduction of microbial surface contamination leading to increased risk of nosocomial infection transmission. (Editor Steve and I were flagging this up in 2011 for both clinical devices and the patients!) Here’s the first study this Editor has seen on reducing the microbial load on iPads, and it’s out of Germany. Using a standard disinfectant–isopropanol tinted blue, otherwise known as alcohol, applied on the front, back and sides of the iPad in a six-step process–the procedure achieved a 98 percent + reduction compared to non-disinfected iPads. However this may violate the warranty, as the study warns! Study looks into standard disinfection of iPads in clinical setting (iMedicalApps)

AdhereTech pill dispenser adds wireless network provider

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”175″ /]AdhereTech’s compact pill bottle for medications that need extra minding for accurate dosing beyond the usual ‘med reminder’ has just acquired a wireless backbone through KORE Telematics. AdhereTech, which was accelerated through Blueprint Health and is based out of StartUp Health here in NYC, has received some recent awards but is still in the lengthy clinical trials phase with Walter Reade Army Medical Center for patients using Type 2 diabetes medications and with Weill Cornell Medical College for single-dose HIV medication. KORE has provided M2M wireless services for Meridian Health [TTA 24 June 11] but hasn’t been prominent in health tech of late based on their press.  Smart pill bottle developers ink deal with wireless network provider KORE (MedCityNews)  KORE press release

Previously in TTA: Smart pill bottles 2.0, AdhereTech wins Healthcare Innovation World Cup, Pilot HealthTech NYC winners

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…)

Samsung gets jump on 2014 smartwatch rush

Breaking news

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”175″ /]Word via Mashable is that Samsung’s shot over the bow in the smartwatch wars comes on 4 September when it introduces its smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, just ahead of the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin. Rumor has it that it will be in five colors (white, orange, gray, black and the newest trend, white gold). This couples with their recent introduction of the massive phablet, the Galaxy Mega. No word yet on health applications, but what comes in the smartwatch will be an indicator of Samsung’s seriousness about extending S Health.  (Photo is mockup) Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Coming Sept. 4Samsung’s Smart Watch Rumored to Come in Five Colors

Previously in TTA: Smartwatches as the 2014 tablet, redux; Apple-ologists discern ‘new’ interest in health tech and telehealth

Owlet baby monitor sock moving to market

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]About nine months ago [TTA 6 Dec 12], the Owlet baby monitor in prototype won a student competition at Brigham Young University. It definitely ‘socked it” to this Editor at the time as an elegant way to monitor baby vital signs or signs of distress; it is a sensor-rich sock transmitting to a smartphone. While it still had pending patents, needed further prototyping and of course no FDA approval, I recommended “if you’re an angel looking for a highly marketable telehealth item–and with adult uses in hospitals and nursing homes–a trip to Utah may be in order.” Owlet is now seeking $100,000 in crowdfunding directly via its website and Amazon checkout (it was rejected by Kickstarter for being a baby product!) and will ship the device at an early bird rate of $159 once the funding is achieved. (more…)