Mainly mHealth: a few predictions for 2014, and some speculation

Editor Charles on what to watch for in 2014

As we have covered previously (and here), there’s no shortage of forecasts that the mHealth market will continue to grow faster, or of penetrating comments like that that won Research2guidance a What in the Blue Blazes award that smartphone user penetration will be the main driver for the mobile health (mHealth) uptake. mHealth apps continue to proliferate – there’s even shortly to be a Pebble apps store. There are a few straws in the wind that not is all well though – for example, as we covered recently, Happtique ceased, at least temporarily, its apps approval process, citing security concerns.  Elsewhere Fierce Mobile described serious data privacy issues with the iPharmacy app, and the ICO recently produced security guidelines for app developers in the UK.  The EU is also strengthening data privacy, moving from individual country directives to a pan-EU regulation. This leads us to our first prediction (more…)

Interesting Yale University model for med device development

At Yale University, a college (undergraduate) course, ‘Medical Device and Innovation’ , perhaps is pointing to the 2014 future of medical device development in the academic setting. The course was co-taught by the assistant director of Yale’s Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID) and an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine; the original device ideas were pitched by doctors at Yale Medical; and the development teams included engineers, physicists, chemists, school of management students and environmental studies students. The four projects which were developed to the point of early prototype were: (more…)

The Quantified Selfer’s Christmas form letter

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]  APPROVED by The Gimlet Eye, on assignment directing Air Traffic Control for Mr. Claus.

Dear ______,

I can see from my ______ wrist device that it’s once again time for my annual Christmas letter to update you on a number of personal facts about the past year! Lucky for you, I’ve been able to view my daily data on a variety of self-tracking devices using interactive graphs to spot trends and patterns so far.  The year raced off to a great start because I got a new ______ from Santa last Christmas. (Continued…)

Our final pre-Christmas post is from the ‘♥ Sister’ herself, Carolyn Thomas, who has written this most witty communication that you may well receive from your favorite (?) Quantified Selfer. If not, reading this you will be forearmed at holiday tables and gatherings. You will view your QS nephew or friend in a new, more tolerant light. Wearing their Google Glass, tracking the cookies and egg nog on their Fitbit or Jawbone UP, passing around the Misfit Shine, obsessing on what workout will most efficiently balance the caloric intake…. To the rescue? Spot the Dog. Fitbit, Jawbone and Shine make great chew toys, and Glass…will Spot get to it before the video hits the cloud?

We wish all of our readers a marvelous Christmas Holiday, Festive Season and Happy New Year! (and thank Carolyn for the reference!–Ed. Donna)

mHealth Summit 2013: The Velocity of Big

Lois Drapin, Founder & CEO of The Drapin Group, provides her post 2013 mHealth Summit insights on how IMS Health plans to move mHealth into a more ‘industrialized’ environment for mHealth apps. This is the second of her dispatches, courtesy of HIT Consultant.

The first time I heard Stefan Linn, Senior Vice President in Strategy & Global Pharma Solutions at IMS Health, pair the words industrial and mHealth in the first few minutes of his address in the Potomac Ballroom as part of the Executive Spotlights session on December 10th at the 2013 mHealth Summit, it made me sit up and listen more carefully. The words seemed to be odd companions, and oddly out of place in a healthcare conference. During the course of his speech, I heard those words three more times in some of its iterations— industrialized, industrializing, and industrialization with mHealth. It went something like this:

“What’s really needed here is to take on a large scale… to take mHealth forward into a kind of industrial world where we have standards, where we have safety and where we have adequate measurement of outcomes of mHealth applications.”

“So… there are a lot of folks taking on the world to a more industrialized environment, but certainly physicians [are] experimenting with this.”

“So… where does IMS fit in all of this? You may know that IMS Health is considered one of the best in the world around industrializing health informatics and analytics.”

“So…we think that this can make substantial contribution to the industrialization of mHealth.”

If you have ever seen Terry Gilliam’s 1986 film Brazil, (more…)

End of year roundups: 10 leaders, 10 trends

Four of Information Week‘s top 10 tech leaders have a direct impact on healthcare: Tony Young, CIO, Informatica (big data); Michael Sentonas, VP & CTO, APAC, McAfee (defense against cybercriminality); Dr. Ruchi Dass of HealthCursor Consulting Group, India; Mikael Hagstrom, Executive VP, EMEA and APAC, SAS (big data and analytics again.) The others are from Hitachi Data, Dell, Amazon,, Facebook and UIDAI India. Juniper Consulting’s top 10 trends for 2014 are smarter cities, mobile money (bitcoins, anyone?), wearables, tablets, mobile fitness, LTE goes wide, smarter devices, cheaper home gaming, personal private clouds and 3D printing. VentureBeat

Additional views on the mHealth Summit

HISTalk:I’ve been at the conference for two days and it still doesn’t have a clear identity in my mind. Others told me the same thing – it’s unfocused and hard to describe, much like “mHealth” itself.” The anonymous editor of this hospital HIT-oriented blog scores the conference for lack of provider-oriented content and participants, being a ‘speed-dating’ event for companies and investors (the original governmental/NGO/non-profit focus utterly swamped by the commercial), and the event management (which is largely out of the organizers’ hands and in the site’s). Part of the confusion may well be the fact that mHealth is 1) exploding and 2) transitioning (‘m’ going the way of ‘e’ in Health). A second article underneath the main from an anonymous CIO criticizes many of the sessions for being mislabeled, the Executive Breakfast for being underserved–and Tuesday was an improvement over Monday. Food a major complaint!

You do have to wonder if the GSMA writer attended a different conference because he resolutely focuses on wireless and NGO/social organization mHealth frameworks. An interesting but limited perspective. And the article includes a major error: Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm did not deliver the opening keynote as originally listed, but Rick Valencia of Qualcomm Life. One Qualcomm as good as another? Commercial Models to the Forefront: Key trends at mHealth Summit 2013 (

Sunday’s WIPJam (Wireless Industry Partnership) with 20+ speakers seems to have been the in place for the mobile developer crowd, with Mobile Development 101, mobile trends, 10 ways to fail in first-time app development and more. Seventeen of these presentations are available to view at a Dropbox link here.

Yet another House Bill on Telehealth (US)

House Bills supporting telehealth and telecare are coming thick and fast with a third bill in just over a month being introduced on Tuesday, 17 December. The Telehealth Modernization Act of 2013 (H.R. 3750) introduced by two Representatives from California and Ohio [grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]follows the 21st Century Care for Military & Veterans Act (H.R. 3507) (see our item Bill to expand military telehealth services introduced (US) on November 19) and the Health Savings Through Technology Act (H.R. 3577) (see our article Another House bill supporting telehealth and telemedicine (US) on November 22).

According to the press release Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Bill Johnson (R-OH), (more…)

In-home activity monitoring telecare trial launched in the US

A year-long trial to monitor the day-to-day activities of elderly Medicare members is being launched in the US. The 100-participant trial [grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]will monitor eating, sleeping, physical activity and toileting according to a press release from Humana. The trial appears to be a collaboration between Humana and a sensor provider Healthsense.

The idea of using bed occupancy sensors, weight (more…)

Small scale telehealth is effective says The Guardian

A very interesting article in The Guardian (UK) on Monday (16 December) that argues for small scale telehealth implementations. [grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /] Dick Vinegar (aka the Patient from Hell) reports in the article from a telehealth conference organised by the Health Service Journal last month where some examples of  successful small scale implementations were (more…)

NIH-NFL research grants on brain injury awarded (US)

In September 2012, the National Football League (NFL) donated $30 million to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) to focus on brain injury. The Sports and Health Research Program (SHRP) now has a somewhat wider scope inclusive of joint diseases, sudden cardiac arrest, sickle cell anemia and hydration/heat injury. Last week they announced eight projects to be supported. Two ($6 million each) are cooperative agreements focusing on brain injury and after multiple concussions. These research projects are:  Boston University, which has pioneered major CTE research [TTA 5 June], and the VA on CTE; the pathology of CTE and delayed TBI from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The six other studies are ‘pilots’ totalling about $2 million over two years and range from cortical GABA in pediatric sports concussion, the Spot Light concussion management app developed by Inlightened, LLC, and eye movement tracking for concussion detection. FNIH release

Wearables more than trackers…family communicators

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”180″ /]This article from Connected World, despite the title of Will your kid wear wearables?, is a look at Revolutionary Tracker, which has developed two products from a GPS-enabled tracker to a simplified smartwatch. Both read to a smartphone for GPS tracking and communication. Where it differs is that the company broadly, not narrowly targets, ‘family tracking and communications’ as a modish wearable–infants, children, special needs children and adults (the autism market which most trackers have concentrated on), older adults and pets. Lone workers are another market, and a newer market: groups such as in camps, school trips and residential communities. It is also unusually made in USA, and the founders already have in the works a more sophisticated-looking design with multiple buttons and text functionality.

Our related recent coverage: KeepUS (UK only), Mindme (also UK),  We’ve covered Lok8U (UK/US) in the past and buddi (UK) as far back as 2009.

Technology to support those at risk of falling: free resource

We have been contacted by Sue Williams, Project Development Manager, ADASS West Midlands, who is keen to promote a free information leaflet about technology to support people at risk of falling, how it can help and how people can obtain it, either through Local Authority Telecare services or self purchase. She is keen for Telehealth & Telecare Aware readers to use it to raise awareness of how technology can play a key role in the support available to people at risk of falling and their families and carers.

She explains that in 2012 it was estimated 800 people fell daily in the West Midlands where fall detectors were an under-used resource. By sending an alert so that someone knows a person has fallen, a fall detector does make a difference to living independently by restoring confidence. And of course if someone does fall, getting help quickly makes a real difference as there is a very strong direct correlation between recovery and how long people lie on the floor after a fall; the speedier the response, the lower the risk of hospital admission, and the shorter the length of hospital stay & subsequent support requirements on discharge. (more…)

DARPA Robotics Challenge field competition

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”175″ /]This weekend (20-21 Dec) in far-south (and warm) Homestead Raceway, Florida the outdoor ‘field’ round of the DARPA Robotics Challenge [TTA 2 July, 22 June] will take place. Robots will win on their performance in disaster response situations–both man-made and natural. Robots will be measured on eight tasks to measure 1) performance in ‘human’ environments, especially degraded ones; 2) ability to use human tools from small to large and 3) usable by those skilled in disaster response who aren’t robotics experts. From the article, the observers will be ‘watching paint dry’ as robots currently perform at the level of a one-year-old, at best moving rather slowly as 30 minutes is allowed for each task, at worst falling a lot. But it’s understood that this establishes a Robot Baseline. Wonder if the researchers and brass will be taking bets on Chiron, Kaist, Valkerie, SCHAFT, THOR, and Robosimian. Final will be in 2014. Mettle and Metal (Armed With Science) Attendance is free and public–and also livestreamed. Information at the Robotics Challenge website.

Making robotics news is Google’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics, designer of one of the competitors, Atlas.  Atlas’ well-publicized stable mates largely mimic animals–BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat, Sand Flea–along with Atlas’ older human-form brother, PETMAN. NBC News wonders what Google’s intense and somewhat covert interest in robotics (nary a peep heard lately from past purchases Meka and Redwood Robotics) really means, but hasn’t answers. Why does search giant want to be ‘BigDog’ of automation?

Around the mHealth Summit in 70 pictures

Courtesy of mHealth Insight/3G Doctor, David Doherty takes the LIFE magazine approach and delightfully, you feel like you are there. He hosted a get-together at his booth on Monday (many pics), stops by AliveCor, Alere Connect (hello Kent Dicks), the Venture+ Forum (see Lois Drapin’s earlier article; hello Richard Scarfo, director of the Summit and Pat Salber of HealthTechHatch crowdfunder and the DoctorWeighsIn), VNA Health Group, investor in many things Esther Dyson, Google Glass Explorers, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch and the ‘panini generation’ courtesy of AT&T ForHealth. But you’ll have to page all the way down to see the last shot of an ‘wild, wooly and yo-ho-ho’ AliveCor demo in My thoughts on the 2013 mHealth Summit as it happens…

3D printing for medical uses spotlighted

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]A newcomer to the health tech blog scene, InternetMedicine from John Bennett MD of Miami, Florida, presents an overview on 3D printing plus videos:  printing tissue (including the cartilage of a human ear), customized prosthetic limbs, customized exoskeletons (see Editor Charles’ bionic arm article), a personalized airway splint (caught at the NYeC DHC), bone scaffolds and cardiac models. 2014 may be the year of 3D printing for medical. 6 Promising Medical Applications of 3-D Printing

“Ageing Well – how can technology help?” – RSM conference report

The Royal Society of Medicine’s Telemedicine & eHealth Section held its annual conference at the end of November, on the topic of how technology can help people age well.  As the organiser I was not able to be in every session, so the following are the highlights of what I was present for.  Many people commented that the quality of presentations was extremely high; feedback was very good.

Baroness Masham of Ilton opened the conference describing loneliness as one of the challenges of ageing well.

Jon Rouse, Director General for Social Care, Local Government & Care Partnerships, Dept. of Health, continued the theme explaining that older people will increasingly want to continue earning money and play a full role in society: the antidote to loneliness.   (more…)