Data insecurity in Obamacare insurance exchanges (US)

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”175″ /]The warning that should appear as the main page of 50 state health exchanges.

Subsumed under the ‘government shutdown’ (affecting in reality a distinct minority of Federal government employees) is the significant concern that the state-based online exchanges now selling individual insurance, effective 1 Jan 2014, much trumpeted under the Affordable Care Act and baked into it two years ago, already present significant vulnerabilities in securing the vital data of millions: Social Security number, date of birth, addresses, tax and earnings information. These state-based exchanges are also dependent on information from a Federal data ‘Hub’ which “acts as a conduit for exchanges to access the data from where they are originally stored.” (HHS Office of Inspector General report August 2013, page 2) If improperly secured, this opens up other Federal agencies to further upstream identity theft mayhem.

Already information is in the hands of thousands of call center staff and so-called ‘navigators’ who may or may not have gone through security verifications. Insurance customer information has already leaked outside of exchanges (see below). (more…)

Philips, Accenture examining Google Glass

Philips and Accenture announced their test of a proof of concept which seamlessly transfers Philips’ IntelliVue patient monitoring data into a Google Glass display. The test is on how a surgeon could simultaneously view vital signs data while performing surgery and not having to turn away. In addition, the surgeon could consult with doctors in other locations in real time. Ready of course is a glossy YouTube video simulation (02:57). For the trend-spotters, (more…)

KeepUs–smartphone-based senior activity monitoring and telecare

KeepUs is a new, free app developed in the UK that when installed on an older person’s or a child’s Android smartphone, allows a family member to monitor that person’s both indoor and outdoor activity. Using geolocation, the family member can see that person’s visits (locations can be labeled), level of activity on any given day, alerts (being idle for too long), how much time was spent at each named location over the past two weeks (if Uncle Ted is spending three hours every day at the pub), and trends over two months. It requires no action from the person being tracked other than to carry the smartphone (certainly less obtrusive than a bulky non-removable watch). The family member/carer installs the app on both phones and controls permissions to view the other person’s activity. The app is in beta, free for individual use in the UK. (more…)

Designing housing for the cognitively impaired–where’s the telecare?

Steve Moran’s Senior Housing Forum is hosting a lively discussion on designing communities for what this Editor would term the cognitively impaired, euphemistically called ‘memory care’ here in the States, then often bluntly categorized as dementia care. This concentrates on one CEO’s journey in designing a new memory care community, The Cottages at Cedar Run (Wisconsin) and how he utilized ideas developed in the US (Eden Alternative, Green Houses — Bill Thomas’ work, TTA 30 July) as well as the Dutch Dementia Village [TA 22 Dec 12] The architect’s video still strikes this Editor as full of nice touches (the courtyard a la the Dutch, but not as spacious or a center of activity; the padded window seats) but still institutional feeling (the cottages have a nice look but need more individualization to aid resident identification; how a resident/family can personalize the cottage); all in the right direction. The comments expand upon many points, but what is really missing here is the integration of technology(more…)

ABI Research surveys…telecare

It is refreshing to note a commercial research study that concentrates on straightforward home monitoring for the senior care market, a segment that doesn’t get the cocktail party chatter or anything resembling buzz.  ABI Research looks at eight home monitoring companies–BeClose, Care Innovations, GrandCare Systems, Healthsense, independa, Philips, pomDevices (Sonamba) and Tunstall Healthcare–and judges them on several analyses. On the Competitive Assessment, measuring product innovation as well as implementation, the three leaders were (in rank order) Healthsense, pomdevices (Sonamba), and GrandCare Systems. Both Healthsense and GrandCare are prominent ‘grizzled pioneers’ evolving their model considerably over the years; Sonamba is a tablet-based relative newcomer so low profile that we haven’t heard about them since their 2011 debut at CES. Whither Philips and Tunstall? (more…)

Two health app directories/curation sites debut, contrastingly

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”175″ /]Health app curation and directory listing is becoming a popular space with Cigna’s GoYou Marketplace, launched at Health 2.0 this week, and start-up Cigna’s move is clearly designed to counter Aetna’s CarePass, which is a more broadly centered consumer platform [TTA 12 July]. GoYou will include not only health monitoring/wellness apps but also lifestyle/money management with a strong social (rating/sharing) overlay. Developed with SocialWellth, the latter’s Las Vegas location must account for the blindingly bright, about-as-far-as-you-can-get-from-insurance graphics (despite the Cigna logo), to the point where the approach becomes New Age kitschy: “We want to inspire you to be  (more…)

Box-ing up interoperability and file sharing

File storage and sharing platform announced thirteen additional partners for its healthcare platform, joining the group of ten announced in the spring. If you use for document storage and sharing (this Editor uses it for portfolio and collaborative space), their foray into healthcare may come as a surprise. What the partners are on board for is to facilitate storage/sharing in four major areas: clinical documentation, care coordination, interoperability and access to care. The latest on board include NYC-based Medikly (pharma digital marketing to physicians), Grand Rounds (second opinion/referral) and CareCloud EHR. Box releases 2 October, 25 April.

The long-term care revolution: two papers

Written for the Technology Strategy Board and published by the Housing Learning & Improvement Network, the purpose of the main study is to “outline the case for a revolution in long term care all to be set in a time scale of 2012, 2020 and 2050. This includes evidence about the views of older people and their carers in the UK, lessons from abroad and the implications for industry/providers.” It is written as a ‘study of studies’ on a broadly-scoped problem; it focuses considerably on issues such as care provision, housing (including co-housing and communities) and putting the older person in more control of decisions, housing and tech design. Telehealth and telecare, while not the focus, have a hefty section (pages 32-41) but their conclusions will not be a huge surprise to our readers such as expanding inexpensive, simple assistive technologies, the need for more research and better design. The fact it is comparative is extremely helpful for those who want to see beyond borders, and there is a large section on ethical issues which is certainly unusual in studies of this type.  We thank the lead author, Professor Anthea Tinker, Institute of Gerontology, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, King’s College London, for providing information on and the PDFs of the studies. Assisted Living Platform – The Long Term Care Revolution and A study of innovatory models to support older people with disabilities in the Netherlands

Bosch Update (UK)

Further to our previous post on the topic, we have now heard from Bill Broderick, Acting Divisional Head of Bosch Healthcare in the UK, clarifying Bosch’s position re the UK market:

1. Bosch Healthcare is not exiting the UK market. Telecare is business as usual and we will continue to sell our entire line of telecare products in the foreseeable future. We have placed all new telehealth activities on hold for now as we spend the next few months re-evaluating the business strategy based on current market dynamics in the UK.

2. We are not exiting the Health Buddy device business. We will continue to offer Health Buddys to patients who need them. The Remedy partnership press release announced an expansion of our patient interface portfolio to more mobile and internet-based solutions, not a replacement of existing Health Buddy devices.

Telehealth & IP Soapbox: Hacking through Patent Thickets

Not only do company founders have to deal with patent trolls, but find their way through patent thickets. Patent thickets are overlapping patent rights through which developers must find a safe, defensible space for their technology. This article introduces this concept to our readers and outlines a strategy to deal with it–in early days, and not sticking one’s head in the sand as this Editor has encountered. What may surprise you in reading this excellent article is that the author, Dolly J. Krishnaswamyis not an experienced litigator, but a law student at NYU while working as a Project Manager/Law Clerk, Goldstein Patent Law. She blends law, science, tech and journalism with her prior experience as a journalist for Science magazine, technology work in New York City and in the study of genetics while at Emory University. Enjoy the article.

Many of you are privy to the problem of excessive patents. You have all seen the articles about yet another cellphone company infringing on yet another patent, but what you’re left with are questions of what all this activity means and how to use that information to act in your best interest– whether you are the CEO of a company or the general counsel for one. At the 2013 ABA Annual Meeting held in San Francisco, legal experts tackled this problem, discussing the trends in patent litigation and some potential strategies for companies preparing to introduce products into heavily-patented market segments.

Generally speaking the use of patents can vary with some people using them for insurance and others using them strategically. From a business standpoint, how a company uses a patent depends on the industry that company is in. For example, in the medical technologies space, all the companies will have patents on their core technologies and be highly cognizant of the patents they have to deal with. With the record number of high patent filings, the continued state of high damages, and the fact that even smaller companies are beginning to see patent infringement lawsuits, it’s clear that patent strategy is a complex matter– further complicated by the presence of patent thickets. (more…)

US government takes a pause, medical device tax repeal effort does not

The partial shutdown (except essential services) of the Federal Government due to the missed budget deadline will mean some suspension of services and furloughed people (with the far more important debt limit/default deadline looming in mid-October)–but no year long postponement of the unready-for-prime time Affordable Care Act (ACA). What is surprising is the bi-partisan support, separate from the budget wrangle, for eliminating the medical device excise tax, (more…)

Breathing monitoring, Google Glassing, AngelListing at Rock Health’s Demo Day

The Rock Health accelerator premiered its fifth class of startup/early stage companies last week. The most interesting are the assistive technologies developed by Lift Labs in devices for everyday use–a spoon that counteracts the effect of active tremors; the Spire clip-on breathing monitoring device that takes an additional step into biofeedback and stress management (the similar BreathResearch was in TTA 24 Sept); the Google Glass-powered Augmedix service for doctors that serves up patient information during exams; ThriveOn which creates an on-demand 8-12 week custom-built programs for mental health issues. Rock Health also announced its alliance with AngelList  (more…)

Health IT serving population health

From the iHT2 Health IT Summit this Editor attended two weeks ago is this presentation by Jonathan Weiner, DrPH, Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Director of the Center for Population Health IT (CPHIT), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland. Telehealth is (or should be) implicit in the data feedback loop outlined in slide 3; in the population health assessment and performance loop on slide 5; the ‘digital health milieu’ on slide 9.

Harnessing EHRs and Health IT to Achieve Population Health    Interview with Dr. Weiner