FBI ‘Flash Alerts’ health organizations about hacker attacks (US)

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keep-calm-and-encrypt-your-data-5.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Late yesterday Reuters reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a ‘flash alert’ to healthcare organizations, warning they are being targeted by “…malicious actors targeting healthcare related systems, perhaps for the purpose of obtaining Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) and/or Personally Identifiable Information (PII),” and that “These actors have also been seen targeting multiple companies in the healthcare and medical device industry typically targeting valuable intellectual property, such as medical device and equipment development data.” These alerts are sent to businesses by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to help prevent cyberattacks. This follows an April FBI alert warning healthcare companies that their security systems were lax compared to other sectors, making them highly vulnerable to hacker attacks. Our Monday report on the Community Health System attack on 4.5 million records at the the #2 US publicly traded hospital operator  (more…)

Annual SIHI conference “Informatics to deliver integrated care” 10th September

If perchance in spite of our previous set of suggestions, you still aren’t booked for an event on the 10th September, why not whizz down to the University of Portsmouth’s annual SIHI conference, this year entitled “Informatics to deliver integrated care”?

Booking costs a mere £95 and is here. Last year’s event, on Big Data was exceptionally good; looking at the array of excellent speakers, it will clearly be another brilliant event.

I am just so sorry I am already committed for that date.

The NICE way to a long and healthy life

The National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) has produced truly excellent draft guidance entitled Dementia, disability and frailty in later life – mid-life approaches to prevention.

As pointed out by David Oliver’s Kings Fund blog, which alerted this Editor to the NICE document, what is particularly exciting about these guidelines are “the principles and linking themes behind them, and the fact that, instead of just advising clinicians, the guidelines include direct advice to the government on health and wider social policy”.

Put another way, this document represents a holistic approach to coordinating the principal health drivers for a long and healthy old age: a major step to helping people achieve the vision of looking forward to old age. The table on page 15 of the draft emphasises just how wide (more…)

The drip of data breaches now a flood: 4.5 million records hacked–update

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keep-calm-and-encrypt-your-data-5.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Breaking News–updated at end  Earlier this year [TTA 23 Apr] this Editor commented on the fourth annual update from the Ponemon Institute plus a qualitative study from IS Solutions that contained mostly unwelcome news for healthcare IT departments in the US. Ponemon’s new estimate of data breaches’ cost per year: $5.6 billion. While making some progress in the existential threat that data breaches present to institutional and personal security, both reports also outlined the disconnect between HIT professionals busy dealing with and sealing off the mice of internal causes versus the looming, huge menace of the external criminal threat. We now know that Godzilla has arrived and he’s stomping ‘n’ chomping. Community Health Systems of Franklin, Tennessee claimed today as part of a SEC regulatory filing that hackers originating in China breached sensitive information in 4.5 million patient records accumulated over five years during April and June using cyberattacks and sophisticated malware.  (more…)

More (much more) on tDCS brain stimulation research

Prepare to be shocked! Can brain enhancing techniques via  transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) be the future of performance enhancement? Will it be the future basis of recovery from some mental illnesses, stroke and other neurological diseases? It’s a hot research area, according to this Atlantic article. Researchers at DARPA, University of New Mexico, George Mason University, Stanford University, Oxford University, University of Göttingen and this Editor’s local City College of New York (CCNY) are hot on the trail. Four areas being investigated are (more…)

Now a sensor for healthier necks and spines (TW/CN)

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fineck.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Would you like to monitor your neck and spine as an aid to fitness, better posture and to avoid strain? This Editor, who has a history of both neck and back problems, surely would–and it’s an area not covered by current fitness monitors. Fineck, developed by the China/Taiwan company VEARI with central Taiwan’s Sport and Health Research Center at National Chung Hsing University of Taiwan, claims to have developed a waterproof, reasonably presentable (left) necklace sensor along with analytics. It will send alerts via smartphone when it determines bad body posture or too much inactivity. ‘Neck-Health’ pictures demonstrate what you should do. While not clinical grade like devices such as those from Australia’s dorsaVi, it opens a whole new pursuit for QSersFineck website. VentureBeat

All that Quantified Self data? Drowning doctors don’t want to see it.

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/reduce-documentation1.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Our long-time readers will remember Questions # 3, 4 and 5 of The Five Big Questions (FBQ*). They have not lost their salience as doctors are rejecting the not-terribly-accurate ‘telehealth’ data [TTA 10 May] generated by popular fitness trackers such as Fitbit, Misfit Shine and Jawbone. We do note that Apple’s Health/HealthKit has trotted out alliances with Mayo Clinic and Epic Systems (EHR) on apps and integrating data into an PHR [TTA 3 June], as well as Samsung’s SAMI [2 June] funding a University of California (UCSF) research center and (of course) Google. But this article confirms (more…)

‘eVisits’ save $5 billion globally this year–but are they more effective care?

Deloitte and Towers Watson obviously disagree on the savings from eVisits (Deloitte) and telemedicine (Towers Watson). Deloitte’s study of eVisits projects a global savings of $5 billion in 2014. Towers Watson is estimating $6 billion in 2015 from US employers alone if there is full employee utilization of telemedicine. Deloitte is also more transparent in its estimating, for example on the $50-60 billion total addressable market for eVisits in ‘developed countries’. This Editor doesn’t see a major difference in definitions between the two; Deloitte defines eVisits as video consults plus the forms, questionnaires and photos that have become part of telehealth, but not the vital signs monitoring part.. Perhaps our readers, looking at both more closely, can discern, or confirm that Towers Watson has too rosy a picture? Deloitte‘s ’21st Century Housecall’ study (short paper) is also worth a read for presenting facts/figures on the global addressable market and for a surprising conclusion–that the ‘greater good (in developing countries) may come from saving tens of millions of lives’. Hat tip to reader Mike Clark. Clinical Innovation + Technology summary.

‘Virtual care is much more effective than brick-and-mortar care.” (Editor’s emphasis) A bold statement that Microsoft and the writer from Intel fail to back up with facts. The focus of this ‘In Health’ article is preventing readmissions. There are the usual Panglossian pointers  (more…)

Telemedicine may save employers $6 billion per year, increase 68% (US)

Employers offering telemedicine projected to increase by 68 percent. Professional services advisory firm Towers Watson, in a survey of US employers with over 1,000 employees, has estimated that adoption of telemedicine by employees in benefit programs may save US companies up to $6 billion annually. This substantial number of course is projected on use by all employees and dependents. A reservation: it is $1 billion higher than the global eVisit savings cited by Deloitte‘s study. The definition of ‘telemedicine’ from the context of the TW release seems to be mainly virtual visits, (more…)

Unhappy endings: where even innovation cannot make a difference

This week’s sad news of the death of comedian/film star Robin Williams and his ongoing battles with addiction and depression are the center of this thoughtful article by EIC Veronica Combs in MedCityNews. Even with access to the best care and innovations such as virtual visits, Mr Williams committed suicide. The larger point made is that access and healthcare innovation don’t mean automatic adoption or a positive outcome. Some of those with chronic physical or mental illnesses choose not to change their behaviors, comply with a regimen or even to seek help, much less seek out technology or be a QSer. And some are simply beaten down and depressed by the perpetual Battle of Stalingrad that is chronic disease–ask any diabetic [TTA 5 Apr 2013]. Her conclusion is that though innovation may not help everyone, it doesn’t mean we should not pursue it. And, this Editor would add, for developers to realize that they must make technologies simple and affordable enough–‘tear down that wall’–so that those who won’t access help become fewer. (And, yes, there is a spiritual aspect of care that must be addressed–see VOX Telehealth’s work with HealthCare Chaplaincy Network TTA 25 July.)

Update:  Other factors may have tipped Mr Williams’ depression flare-up. The first (more…)

When will we learn how to evaluate complex healthcare interventions?

This editor’s piece last week entitled “Is this the last time the flat earth society will be celebrating” was very widely read – thank you readers – and prompted both further thoughts and an especially thoughtful pointer from Mike Clark.

As readers of that post will be aware, the paper referred to in the post focused heavily on the high cost/QALY supposedly shown by the Whole System Demonstrator RCT. Mike drew my attention to a paper, published both here and here, by Trine Bergmo on the different ways in which the concept of a QALY is calculated for remote patient monitoring. The thrust of the paper is that different methods give significantly different results for interventions like telehealth. To this editor there was another equally important message though, that (more…)

Drawn and quartered: digital health consumer study

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Parks-Associates-Health-Groups-Segmentation.jpg” thumb_width=”300″ /]

Parks Associates’ latest study of potential digital health consumers will come as a confirmation for some of us who’ve been up and down a few hype curves, and be a sobering bucket-of-cold-water for those wedded to the Revolutionary-Transformative-eHealthy-D3H Bandwagon view that digital health will change EVERYONE’s life. Market segmentation is a useful marketing tool for narrowing down your real market to spend those scarce (investor-supplied) funds: those most likely to purchase, and a broad picture of what they look like. As you’ll see in the Parks Associates/TTA graphic above, the market for digital health almost neatly breaks into quarters: the top half has the greatest potential. The report looks at lifestyle/behavior, health, residential and income factors among 2,500 broadband-equipped heads-of-household.

Where’s the surprise party? It’s no surprise that the highest potential market denizens are already health-conscious, good ‘do-bees’ in their diet and exercise and higher in income. The second quarter represents older adults facing health challenges, but already on track with their health ‘mindfulness’–perhaps they are the older, health-challenged versions of the first group. It’s the next two groups and their respective positionings which are the surprise. The Parks study ranks the ‘bad do-bees’ –the already sick with bad health habits and lower incomes–in potential above the young, tech-enthusiastic and healthy–but not health-conscious in their behaviors and also lower in income. Despite all their connectivity, only 28 percent of this group looked up health information online in the past year, contrasting with 38 percent of all responders.

Marketing implications?  I’d be spending my company’s money and time on (more…)

Brain neuroprosthetics, stimulation for TBI, PTSD

A signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as an outcome of all wars–post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Over 270,000 veterans since 2000 have been diagnosed with TBI–along with 1.7 million civilians per year. The US Department of Defense (DOD) has been funding research in several areas to help veterans–and eventually civilians–with these traumas.

  • DARPA’s RAM: Restoring Active Memory program is seeking to compensate for brain injury by developing a neuroprosthetic to aid memory function. (more…)

Free telecare event in Eccles (UK)

If you are in the Eccles/Greater Manchester area on 11 September (and not attending the Kings Fund International Digital Health and Care Congress or Medical Engineering Centres Annual Meeting and Bioengineering14, both in London), Contour Homes is sponsoring a free, full day North West Telecare Event at AJ Bell Stadium. It will give an overview and showcase latest technologies in telecare for professionals involved in supporting independent at home living. There are talks including Alyson Bell, Managing Director of the TSA, Dawn Thomber of Contour Homes and Tahir Idris of TeleMagenta plus an exhibition. This Editor notes the Tunstall logo (but no speakers); Contour Homes is one of the ‘my world’ introductory sites. PDF with complete information and registration.

Will bicycles be another sector to leave health behind?

As someone whose favourite bicycle-related activity is cooking an occasional Paris-Brest, who mounts an exercise bicycle only when there’s nothing else unoccupied in the gym, and who just occasionally sallies forth on a fold-up when alternative transport is impractical, this editor has been blown away by the revelations in the recent Beecham Research on Connected Bikes.

It seems there is no limit to how technology is transforming the bicycle with the aid, of course, of the ubiquitous smartphone. A particularly popular feature seems to be an app-driven automatic gear changer, as introduced by Cambridge Consultants when they first used the term “Connected Bike” in 2012. Fitness, navigation, anti-theft, safety and (more…)