Digital health supporting daily living with autism

A developing area for healthcare tech is in the assistive technology (AT) area–in this instance to support those with autism. The spectrum of abilities and capabilities here is very wide–as are the needs. Some major challenges: organization, communication, managing stress levels, managing transitions in everyday living as a college student with autism must. Last week’s Autech 2015 at Old Trafford, Manchester spotlighted AT such as Brain in Hand, a smartphone/tablet app that touches on all three: it helps with planning daily activities, logging stress levels, providing help with coping strategies and if it is overwhelming, a direct connection to a support worker at the Wirral Autistic Society. Other promising technology includes biometric wristbands to monitor signs of stress and provide feedback to identify and work to modify the autistic person’s reactions; the Kaspar assistance robot for socializing children; the Proloquo2go tablet app which speaks for those without speech by using speech-producing icons. AT for the autistic is at the very early part of the development curve, but this Editor could see dual or triple uses for these technologies for those with TBI, stroke or dementia. Studies on cost savings are early, but the Brain in Hand test in Devon estimated a 100-200x savings: £300-500/week for social care versus £20/week for the service (but does this include the live support worker?) There’s an app for that: how assistive tech changes lives of people with autism (Guardian)

Related: on a late adult diagnosis of autism, how it is to live with it on your own (Guardian)

Connected health to help cure–physician burnout?

Here’s an interesting proposition: digital health tools such as telemedicine, telehealth and mobile health can help to reduce physician burnout. Except that if one is looking for support points in this HCI Healthcare Informatics article, one would be hard pressed. There’s no link to QuantiaMD‘s study (a 225,000-member US physician community), an inexplicable lapse. Your persistent Editor tracked it down, and found it connects the dots a bit more. It starts with the proposition that nearly half of doctors wouldn’t recommend medicine as a career to their children, then identifies a key frustration–“healthcare technologies that sap time and money are among the top reasons.” The solution? Other “emerging technologies—in the form of telemedicine, mHealth tools, and connected health devices—may actually help reverse this trend of physician burnout.” The paper then describes how telemedicine virtual visits, giving patients telehealth tools which will aid compliance and monitoring, especially with new treatments, and the opportunity to improve care all are Good Things. But not entirely convincing that these can be effective in mitigating the complex reasons why behind doctor burnout. Read the QuantiaMD study for yourself. Hat tip to Stuart Hochron, MD, JD of Practice Unite via LinkedIn

Blueprint Health’s 8th Demo Day: 8 new companies show their stuff

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/blueprint-health1.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Last Friday, in the middle of a NYC nor’easter, Blueprint Health had its eighth Demo Day, where startup companies in this accelerator’s latest three-month Summer class, having worked on their innovations and developed a business plan, ‘graduate’ and ‘pitch’ their audience. There’s been a shift over the past few classes to B2B-oriented digital health, from reducing readmissions through geolocation (Position Health)  to HIPAA compliance (HIPAAfix) to streamlined billing for chronic care management (Oculus Health), but half are more consumer-oriented companies, providing more accessible genetic testing (Bind Health), workplace stress reduction (Psocratic) and point of service lending to patients with high-deductible health plans (Crediyo). The other two companies are MedPilot (simplifying patient billing and debt through electronic billing) and DocDelta (streamlining provider talent search). Annually, Blueprint Health’s invites in about 20 digital health companies with an investment of about $20,000 each, has graduated 68 companies and hosts in their space over 24 digital health companies. Release. Company profiles.

European Assistance for Innovative Procurement (eafip) Conference Manchester, Nov 24th

When this editor first saw European, Innovative and Procurement in the same title, he thought he’d misread it as one of the complaints that has been made at almost every recent meeting attended, especially those relating to the Accelerated Access Review, is how European procurement rules disadvantage small suppliers who are typically the principal source of innovation in the health & care sector.

So here’s your opportunity to hear from the experts and to make your concerns known to them, in this European Commission sponsored joint NHS England/eafip event on ICT solutions procurement.

Date is 24th November; more details here – booking for this free event will open soon apparently.

Better’s fast fail, ending health assistance service 30 Oct

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Better.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Better is sadly not. This two-year old service that provided personal health assistance, including a real, live health assistant, to guide members through health questions, the thickets of insurance claims, finding doctors and specialists, apps and more, announced earlier this week that it was ending operations as of 30 October. While it was announced via their Twitter feed on Tuesday, most of the industry learned of it through Stephanie Baum’s article in MedCityNews today. Better formally debuted only 16 months ago [TTA 23 Apr 14] and at the time this Editor felt that it was a service in the right direction, a kind of ‘concierge medicine for the masses’ needed when individuals have to direct more and more of their own care.

A solid start, as our Readers have seen, does not guarantee success, but this fast fail is still fairly shocking. A concern at the time was the pricing for the full service model at $49/month, which later became the family price (individuals were $19.99/month). CEO/co-founder Geoff Clapp was among the most Grizzled of Health Tech Pioneers; he had been a co-founder of Health Hero/Health Buddy from 1998 to its sale to Bosch Healthcare, a very long pull in telehealth, and he had spent much of his post-Health Hero time generously advising other startups. Yet despite the involvement of blue chip Mayo Clinic as a service provider, its financial backing from their investment arm and socially-oriented VC Social+Capital Partnership, it managed to raise only its initial seed funding of $5 million (CrunchBase).

So what happened? (more…)

76 percent of post-surgery patients prefer telehealth followup: study

A 50-patient study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee found that online-only post-surgical followup was acceptable to 76 percent of patients after uncomplicated surgery (hernia repairs, laparoscopic gall bladder). These patients, all of whom had internet access and a smartphone, tablet or digital camera, took their own pictures of their surgical site and transmitted these digital images through an online patient portal established by Vanderbilt. Both patient and doctor communicated through the portal to discuss follow-up care (though not necessarily at the same time). Another plus was that the online visits took significantly less time for patients (15 versus 103 minutes) and surgeons (5 versus 10 minutes). The surgeons reported a comparable effectiveness number–68 percent–for both online and in-person visits. Clinic visits were more effective in 24 percent and online visits for 8 percent. What was also notable was that no complications were missed via online visits. The program used to analyze images, typically used in wound management, was not disclosed in the study, which was performed between May and December last year. mHealthNews, Journal of the American College of Surgeons (abstract only)

NJ Innovation Institute gains $49 million HHS grant

The New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), a New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) corporation, has been selected as one of 39 health care collaborative networks participating in a Health and Human Services (HHS) program, the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative. According to their announcement, NJII was selected as a Practice Transformation Network and over four years will receive up to $49.6 million for technical assistance support to help equip 11,500 clinicians in the New Jersey region with tools, information, and network support needed to improve quality of care. This is part of a $685 million HHS program awarding grants to 39 national and regional health care networks to help equip more than 140,000 clinicians with the tools and support needed to improve quality of care, increase patients’ access to information, and reduce costs. This is in addition to an $2.9 million grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC-HIT) announced in August for sharing of quality data through its New Jersey Health Information Network (NJHIN). Through its Innovation Labs (iLabs), NJII brings NJIT expertise to key economic sectors, including healthcare delivery systems, bio-pharmaceutical production, civil infrastructure, defense and homeland security, and financial services. Release via Ridgewood Patch, HHS release. Hat tip to contributor Sarianne Gruber via LinkedIn.