Funding, granting and executive moves

Summer hasn’t been beach holiday time for some of the companies we’ve been following….Genetic testing for the masses 23andMe, only last fall in much hot water with FDA (but recently making nice–TTA 2 July), received a two-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes for Health (NIH). iHealthBeat….’Smart pill’ developer Proteus Digital Health received a Series G round of $52 million, adding to a June round of $120 million. Investors not disclosed, but Proteus currently has a blue-chip list including Novartis, Medtronic and Kaiser. BusinessWire….Pre/post-procedure education and recovery monitoring service VOX Telehealth received another $1.1 million round of angel financing primarily from original investors, preliminary to an institutional round of financing in 1st Quarter 2015. Release….HealthSpot Station is reinforcing its retail reach (more…)

‘Explosive growth’ for telehealth and telecare at last?

This sunny summertime prediction by Ephraim Schwartz, an editor-at-large for enterprise tech publication InfoWorld, outlines five main reasons why:

  1. Healthcare is broken, and because it is, finally there’s the financial commitment from providers.
  2. The base of home telehealth devices is now fairly large at 3 million in the US so that the projection by 2018 of 10.3 million in the US and 19.1 million worldwide doesn’t look improbable (Berg Insight).
  3. Cellular and digital phone networks are now ubiquitous. The conversion of existing POTS devices which account for 70 percent of existing telehealth users is underway. Mobile is driving developers to create smartphone health apps and devices. (more…)

University of Edinburgh MSc in Global eHealth

Deadline extended to 8 September for the Autumn term

We are happy to update our readers on this innovative UoE programme with a message from the director, Dr Claudia Pagliari. Please read ’til the end to learn about sponsoring a student from a low-income country. (Ed. Donna)

This fully supported online learning programme provides a unique opportunity to study health informatics with reference to global health challenges. Combining core courses with a rich portfolio of innovative modules delivered by international experts, the programme provides a foundation in the core principles and practice of health informatics whilst considering how innovations and policies are shaping the technology landscape, strengthening health systems and changing professional and patient behaviour.

The programme is interdisciplinary and is suitable for eHealth designers and implementers, healthcare practitioners, global development professionals, government policymakers, healthcare managers and CIOs, and academic researchers with interests in the role of ICT in health. The supported online learning format provides an opportunity to obtain a rich learning experience, interacting with your tutors and peers, whilst remaining in work. (more…)

RSM healthcare technology videos online at last!

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]The Royal Society of Medicine’s Telemedicine and eHealth Section at last has its own dedicated website for videos of past presentations. Sadly there is only room for a selection of these, however there are important presentations there from last year’s conference, and from all the three one-day events this year on recent development in digital heath, medical apps and big data: a real treasure trove of knowledge and expertise!

Viewing is free for RSM members (including students), with a small fee for non-members (less than attending the conference though).

Mum & Baby app – delivering relevant and reliable information

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]Remembering the panics due to lack of good advice from when our first child was born 36 years ago, this editor was especially intrigued to hear of an app being developed to reduce such anxiety by Sunita Sharma, Clinical Education Fellow at Imperial College, London at a recent Royal Society of Medicine Innovation event.

Sunita worked closely with Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity’s Maternity team to create this free Mum & Baby app for new mums. Developed in response to the maternity service user surveys, it aims to meet the new mum’s need for relevant and reliable information about herself and looking after her new-born baby. Topics are divided into easy to navigate sections with links to useful online resources.

The Android version can be downloaded here, and the Apple version here.

Since publishing this piece, Sunita Sharma has pointed out that the app does have some elements that are specific to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital although, if other maternity services want to use it, it is built to be easily reconfigurable.

Cerner acquires Siemens HIT business

The big news in HIT circles today was Cerner’s purchase of Siemens’ health IT business for $1.3 billion. Forbes has the most detailed analysis by far, which appears prepared in advance based on the 22 July rumor published by HISTalk at that time. HISTalk’s and their readers’ comments on the announcement conference call today are moderately scathing and worth reading if of interest to you. The takeaway for this Editor is that it was a defensive move for Cerner versus Epic Systems, Athenahealth and Allscripts; they bought out a competitor, bought market share with the acquisition (although how much of it would have fallen to them anyway is a question), gained more of an international foothold plus an inside track to customers eager to move to newer technology. For Siemens, it appears  (more…)

Text messaging for health: simple and it works

This Editor often casts a skeptical eye on short (2.5 month) studies and those sponsored by companies with a vested interest in the patient engagement technology being successful. In this case, the study reinforces earlier findings by the Center for Connected Health and other providers. Sending text messages to Medicaid (low income state-based health insurance program) recipients, even for a short time, proved to be effective. The targeted group was pregnant women plus families with children and teenagers in New York’s Healthfirst Medicaid managed care program. HealthCrowd, the developer, sent this group messages about prenatal care; wellness visits for children; and/or vaccinations. (more…)

Tons of app health data, bound for…third parties?

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /] The law of unintended consequences also applies to Quantified Selfers. Health apps seem to be reaching beyond the QS early adopters and becoming a commonplace, whether on your wrist or built into your smartphone. Apple, Google, IBM and Samsung are all in.The DH3 set (Digital Health Hypester Horde) could not be more pleased. But where is that data going? According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it’s ending up where your online data goes–profitably sold by developers large and small to your friendly data broker and onward to marketers. You may think it’s private, but it isn’t. There is the famous case of an Target (store) app used to determine whether female customers were pregnant (purchases such as pregnancy tests) and then market related and baby products to them. Commissioner Julie Brill doesn’t like the possibility that health data could be part of the Spooky Monster Mash that is Big Data. “We don’t know where that information ultimately goes,” Brill told a recent Association for Competitive Technology panel. “It makes consumers uncomfortable.” (Ahem!) From the consumer protection standpoint, the FTC would like to do something about it, and they happen to be very good at that type of regulation. Compliance will not only be an added cost of doing business, it will cut into that ol’ business plan. And you thought that the only problem around apps and the Feds was gauging risk to users. Do you have that creepy ‘Big Brother is Watching You’ feeling?  Health IT Outcomes, FierceMobileHealthcare, VentureBeat.

The importance of biomedical engineering

Picking up on yesterday’s post about an event on the topic in November comes a fascinating report produced by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. It gives an overview of biomedical engineering in the UK and includes case studies from UK universities and industry. It looks at the role of technology and biomedical engineers in the NHS, and makes a number of key recommendations, which would help improve healthcare in the UK and stimulate grow in the sector.

Key recommendations (more…)

Now a VC concentrating on tech for older adults (US)

Don’t call it a trend yet, but Ohio’s Link-age Ventures Inc. is launching a $26.6 million venture capital fund to invest in startup to early-stage companies targeting products, services and technologies for the 55+ market. The 50 percent partner is a familiar name to those in the US non-profit senior community sector, Ziegler Companies, along with 70 non-profit senior communities (!) as limited partners. The Ziegler Link-age Longevity Fund will look to invest about $500,000 to several million dollars apiece in 10-12 companies engaged in aging in place, care coordination, disease prevention, readmission reduction and wellness strategies. An investment announcement may come in late summer. The US heartland demonstrates a different trend than the relentlessly DH3, youth-oriented West Coast and the mixed messages out of the New York-Boston corridor. Cincinnati Business Courier