Health Affairs review of telehealth/telemedicine studies

Just published in Health Affairs is Connected Health: A Review Of Technologies And Strategies To Improve Patient Care With Telemedicine And Telehealth, an overview of several studies on telehealth and telemedicine in use for congestive heart failure (Center for Connected Health), care coordination (VA), ‘store and forward’ imaging, remote ICU, medication adherence (CCH with Vitality GlowCaps) and e-referrals. The article closes with a (too-short) discussion of the three criteria that telemedicine must meet to demonstrate effectiveness: assurance of quality (met), aligning financial incentives in using telehealth to provide desired outcomes (in progress) and more research on quality and cost impact (ditto). Authored by Dr. Joseph Kvedar of CCH, Molly Joel Coye of UCLA and Wendy Everett of NEHI. Full text in PDF, HTML. Hat tip to Editor Chrys.

Dr. Topol in the AT&T house: a reboot of ForHealth?

HIMSS14 will tell. The big news that kicked off this snow-bound week in large parts of the US was Dr. Eric Topol joining Dallas, Texas-based AT&T ForHealth as Chief Medical Advisor. Well-known for his personality and evangelism of all things mHealthy, certainly Dr. Topol lends a certain star power to Big Blue’s efforts in this area–a shine that went completely dark in 2013 after a promising start in 2011 and strong partnering moves in 2012 (Alere and WellDoc diabetes management TTA 10 Aug 12VRI monitoring in May). The quietude of 2013 deserves a closer look. Dr. Geeta Nayyar joined with fanfare in September 2011 as Chief Medical Information Officer and departed exactly two years later to join engagement company PatientPoint with the same title. ForHealth made no waves at International CES save for being an example in the controversial ‘sponsored data’ plan announcement (GeekWire). Even finding ForHealth on the AT&T website is not easy. It is buried under ‘Business>>Enterprise Business‘ and then in a dogpile of footer links as ‘Healthcare Solutions‘–not ForHealth. In marketing, this is a state usually termed ‘dead in the water.’ The fact that Dr. Topol is remaining as Chief Academic Officer at Scripps Health also indicates that he is no direct replacement for Dr. Nayyar, despite being cited by AT&T SVP Chris Hill as a “change agent” who will help “drive our competitive strategy”. We’ll see if HIMSS14 on 23-27 February where AT&T will be exhibiting and their subsequent activity marks a genuine reboot for ForHealth, putting Dr. Topol’s impressive abilities to work beyond a twinkle. AT&T press release, MedCityNews article

Telehealth is independent of broadband rollout – Australian DoH

We reported in September last year (Telehealth and Broadband in Australia) that the cost of the National Broadband Network in Australia was being debated with telehealth being proposed as a potential[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /] justification. The Australian broadband rollout was very ambitious with fibre to the premises (FTTP), one of the costliest solutions, as the target. The Government has now lowered its sights and does not expect to connect all premises with FTTP.

Recently a series of questions were raised in the Australian Parliament on both the status of telehealth in Australia and the broadband programme and what impact, if any, the latter has on the first.  The written reply from the Australian Department of Health is not unexpected and enlightening. (more…)

“mHealth: smartphones as saviours?” webcast Thurs 6 Feb

Taking place at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, this seminar will be livestreamed starting tomorrow at 3:30pm UK time (10:30am Eastern Time US). Watch it below or at this YouTube link:  A recorded version will be available on Friday morning. (90 minutes)

This seminar is part of the Oxford Martin School Hilary Term seminar series: Blurring the lines: the changing dynamics between man and machine

Cheap, accessible and easy to use, mobile phones are everywhere. With the advent of the smartphone has come a new kind of healthcare – mHealth – in which mobiles are playing a key role in monitoring and improving the health of communities around the globe. Linking remote communities in developing countries with professional healthcare, mobile phones are helping break down long-standing barriers to accessing treatment. mHealth is also growing in developed countries, helping patients to monitor and manage their own health, and thereby reducing pressure on health services. According to the World Health Organisation the burden of deaths from non-communicable diseases will climb from 28 per cent in 2008 to 46 per cent by 2030. The George Institute for Global Health is investing in research into innovative new strategies for tackling the burden of chronic disease.

Speakers: Dr Fred Hersch, James Martin Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health, Oxford Martin School: Dr Gari Clifford, James Martin Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health, Oxford Martin School

Join in on twitter with #humantech

Hat tip to Sally Stewart, Communications and Media Officer of the Oxford Martin School.

[This video is no longer available on this site but may be findable via an internet search]

Australia’s telehealth incentive programme nears end

A multi-million dollar financial incentive programme to encourage Australian clinicians to start telehealth [grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]schemes is due to end in June. Launched as a four-year programme in July 2011, the Telehealth On-Board Incentive Programme was funded from a wider AU$620 million telehealth initiative, but the end of the programme was brought forward to June 2014.

The Medicare rebates and financial incentives for specialist video consultations were introduced to address some of the barriers to accessing medical services, particularly specialist services, for Australians in remote, regional and outer metropolitan areas. The Telehealth On-Board incentive was one of five financial incentives in the wider initiative and encouraged and supported the initial and ongoing provision of telehealth services to eligible patients by practitioners. (more…)

DARPA’s $45million program to mine health data

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has just announced they are soliciting research proposals for a data mining/bioinformatics program to research the biology of cancer and signal pathways for cancer cells.

The anticipated budget for the “Big Mechanism” program is $45M over 42 months. The idea is to mine through worldwide scientific research on cancer, in order to find patterns within that mass of information which can be meaningfully interpreted. By the final 12 months of the project, mechanism developers should be able to identify targets for therapy based on their findings from the data.

The full text of the announcement tells us that although the domain of the Big Mechanisms program is cancer biology and systems biology, the goal of the program is to develop the capacity to integrate data/research more generally – more or less immediately – automatically or semi-automatically – into causal, explanatory models.

Read more: Military Times

BT’s plans for Cornwall and the UK: old news warmed up

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]Qualifying for TTA’s occasional What the Blue Blazes! spot: one has to wonder why last Friday, 31st January, Nick Renaud-Komiya in the paywalled Health Services Journal resurrected the ‘BT going to make Cornwall its UK telehealth base’ story. Although, actually, the item is all about Cornwall. Some of it is culled from an October 2013 BT press release which we did not bother our readers with. Why did we not? We thought it was old news even then, as putting ‘Cornwall’ into TTA’s search box on the right will reveal. However, anything posted in the HSJ will generate some interest and that’s just what it did with an approving mention in the sidebar of Roy Lilley’s influential newsletter today. It’s just a pity that HSJ’s readers will not see the whole context or be able to make any sensible assessment of the numbers quoted. They would fare better with this 2 October eHealthInsider article.

For TTA readers who want to read the HSJ item but who do not want to get their digital wallets out,it can be read unpaywalled on the Local Government Chronicle site: BT plans to make Cornwall its ‘telehealth hub’

Are you the SME that has developed the best eHealth solution in the past year? (EU)

If so, be sure to register for this great competition quick, as the closing date for registration is February 6th.

The competition’s objective is to support business success of EU SMEs by giving them visibility together with marketing opportunities to attract customers, partners and external capital. There are two separate categories, each with their own three prizes: those will turnover of under €500k and those with turnover over €500k.

Good luck!

Three takes on adopting new technology

Last week saw three very contrasting reports on technology adoption by care workers.  The first, by NESTA, was a fascinating read entitled Which doctors take up promising new ideas? New insights from open data. Unsurprisingly for those of us who have attempted to peddle new technology to GP practices, the key findings are that larger practices are more likely to be early adopters, and that early adopting practices tend to influence those close to them, resulting in islands of early adoption. (The first is not an inviolate rule I found – sure larger practices can specialise so can focus more on innovation, however a larger workforce can also mean a greater probability of a technophobe with a bee in their bonnet about a pet project that the technology is drawing funds from.)

The report is a great example of big data in action (more…)

Ohio Telehealth bill passed by Senate – goes to Governor

HB 123, the Ohio health bill supporting telehealth, was passed unanimously by the Ohio state Senate on the 30th of January. [grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]The bill has now made its way to  Governor John Kasich for signature and to become law.

This bill requires the Department of Medicaid to establish Medicaid payment standards for the provision of telehealth services offered by medical facilities.  The rules governing what telehealth services would be covered will be decided by the Medical Director following existing regulations. With the 30-0 vote in the Senate, Ohio now joins 45 other states in modernizing thier healthcare practices.

This bill and the three others in the US House of Representative which were reported earlier (Yet another House Bil on Telehealth, TTA Dec 20, 2013) shows a welcome growing awareness of telehealth by US legislators.