Rarely do we hear beyond India and Japan in Asia-Pacific health tech. But here comes Thailand with the Saensuk Smart City developed with prestigious partners Dell and Intel Microelectronic (Thailand)
Saensuk is a Thai municipality with 46,000 registered local residents, 15 percent of whom are 65+, as well as a touristic area around the Bangsaen beach. The Smart City is a three-year public-private partnership with the first aim of supporting older people in their homes through IoT-powered applications including health monitoring (RPM) of vital signs, fall detection, emergency notifications, environmental monitoring and safety tracking.The targeted number for the pilot is between 30 and 150 homes in the initial phase. Residents, for instance, are given a smartwatch that alerts for falls and also conveys information at entry into the program. Intel-based systems from Dell aggregate and analyze the large amounts of health data generated daily.
Visiting nurses, fairly common in Thailand, (more…)
Tunstall Healthcare has been, quite untypically (for years) and aseasonally, burning up the newswires with press. The first we’ll mention is from Tunstall Americas announcing the availability of smoke detection sensors as part of their their newly introduced Vi+ and the CEL mobile PERS. The units when triggered by heat or smoke sound an audible alarm and generate an alert over to the 24/7 monitoring service. Like last week’s announcement of ambient temperature sensing, there’s nothing revolutionary here but these add-on features are extremely helpful to older people who use these systems. It also is a bit of sales upsell for their growing network of local home monitoring monitoring dealers/services [TTA 3 Aug]. Tunstall release.
We’ve also noted a new surge of activity in Australia (the Staying Strong telehealth pilot) with vital signs monitoring using the myclinic telehealth hub in the homes of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In the UK there is the PegasusLife new Malt Yard assisted living development for care alarms, Wakefield District housing and providing extra care services at Hare Hill-Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH). Roundup here on their press page. For their LTC work at Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Community Services, Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Tameside Metropolitan Council (TMBC), Tunstall UK won the HealthInvestor Technology Provider of the Year Award. Tunstall telehealth solutions reduced hospital admissions by 38 percent or £2.7m where mymedic was used. Release
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is formally reaching out to the private sector to explore switching from its current, pioneering EHR system, VistA (also referred to as CPRS, Computerized Patient Record System) to a commercial system. Their ‘feeler’ is an August 5 and 8 notice in FedBizOpps.gov titled 99–TAC-16-37877 * RFI – VHA supporting COTS EHR REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI), Solicitation Number: VA11816N1486. This requests information on business support for transitioning to a commercial-off-the-shelf system (COTS–don’t governments love acronyms?–Ed.) and closes 26 August, which is not a lot of time even for an RFI.
VHA has been under extreme pressure from Congress to modernize its EHR, lately in July hearings before the Senate Appropriations Committee. EHR replacement is also in line with the Congressionally-mandated, now concluded Commission on Care’s recently published recommendations on a total, top-down reorganization of VHA, including a sweeping reorg of their HIT management. The VHA strategy appears to be that while they are walking down the road to replace VistA and have already spent to assess where they are with KLAS and other EHR consultancies (spending $160,000+ on surveys), they are essentially ‘kicking the can down the road’ to the next administration (POLITICO’s Morning eHealth, 14 July).
Current state is to continue to upgrade VistA through late 2018, though the closely related Department of Defense’s Military Health System is in the long process of cutting its homegrown AHLTA over to Cerner-Leidos as MHS Genesis, awarded last August, with a first trial in the Pacific Northwest later this year (HealthcareITNews, Ed. emphasis). Of course, it will take the VHA years to roll it out; there are close to 9 million veterans enrolled in the closed system that is the VHA. FCW, Morning eHealth 10 August
Love EHRs or hate them, the sheer size of the VHA and its growing concession that VistA won’t do in caring for American veterans makes it clear that the future of EHRs is in private systems from major developers–a field which is winnowing out to The Few (take that, GE). (more…)
[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Hackermania.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Cybersecurity is the word, not the bird, from South Korea (see here) to the US. The week opened with an unusual healthcare plan supplier breach: 3.3 million payer records held by a card issuer, Newkirk Products of Albany, NY. The company issues ID cards for several Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans and provides management services to other commercial payers. Ironically, it was discovered five days after their $410 million acquisition by Broadridge Financial Solutions of Lake Success, Long Island. On July 6, Newkirk discovered ‘unauthorized access’ to a server with records containing the member’s name, mailing address, type of plan, member and group ID number, names of dependents enrolled in the plan, primary care provider, and in some cases, date of birth, premium invoice information and Medicaid ID number. “No health plans’ systems were accessed or affected in any way” according to the release. MedCityNews, Newkirk release on notice
Another supplier breach affected another estimated 3.7 million patients at Arizona’s Banner Health. This one was a bit closer to home, hacking computer systems used in payment processing on debit and credit cards used at their food and beverage outlets in four states between June 23 and July 7. A week later, the hackers gained unauthorized access to systems containing patient information, health plan member and beneficiary information, as well as information about physician and healthcare providers. MedCityNews, Banner Health release
But what’s secret anymore about your health data anyway? It’s all those apps that are sending data via your Apple Watch and your Fitbit which aren’t necessarily covered by HIPAA or secure. (more…)
[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Last week Tunstall Americas
emerged from a long period of quiet with their introduction of Tunstall’s Vi+
telecare home unit [TTA 3 Aug
]. We noted that Vi+ included an integral ambient temperature sensor which could alert their response center on extremes in home temperature and that the release highlighted it. This week, we learned the reason why, as on Tuesday they announced marketing that capability as free Temperature Extremes monitoring for subscribers of their medical alert monitoring service. When the ambient temperature sensor is activated, their call center will be alerted when the room temperature rises above 89°F or falls below 50°F. The subscriber and registered contacts are then notified so that the person can be checked and the situation corrected. Tunstall release (PRWeb
The surprising reasons why. 5.8 million South Koreans aren’t exactly tech-phobic, enjoying a nationally swift internet backbone and high personal smartphone penetration. The home of the two leading smartphone makers is pioneering mobile-first retailing and a national IoT network. South Korea (SK) also has the need–an aging population living in rural areas. Yet South Korea bans doctor-patient virtual visits in their Medical Act, and expects major demonstrations by doctors and activists when it comes up for a vote later this year in their National Assembly. Telemedicine and also telehealth/RPM may happen eventually, backed by powerhouses like SK Telecom, Samsung and LG, but will have to take into consideration some unique circumstances:
- Cyberattacks from North Korea, which have already hit a Seoul university hospital’s software security contractor and demonstrated their system’s HIT vulnerabilities
- The government’s glitch-ridden telemedicine pilot program with serious problems in data management, encryption and weak passwords
- The fear that only the rich will be able to afford it–and in SK’s split system, the fear that funding may be withdrawn from the extensive network of community clinics instead of benefiting them
Medical professionals, including the 100,000 doctors in the KMA who successfully blocked telemedicine in 2014 and haven’t participated in the pilot program, are calling for “a slower, more collaborative plan of attack that establishes safety protocols and smart regulatory oversight.” Quartz
NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS LCCG) is soliciting a telehealth (remote patient monitoring) technology for a three-year contract. The first step for the telehealth provider is to submit a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) document by 5 September. If invited, providers will tender for the provision of telehealth technology services. The contract is valued at £2.4 – £14.4 million (including VAT), to start 3 April 2017 and extendable for two years after the initial three. The clinical portion–patient recruitment/assessment, back-end clinical monitoring and clinical support elements– is part of LCCG’s NHS Community Health Services provision and will be separately bid. For complete information, see the listing on the new Gov.UK Contracts Finder. Hat tip to Suzanne Woodman.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been investigating [grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/C2H-BroadbandMap_Gaps-America.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]the relationship between broadband and health in the US through their Connect2Health Task Force and this week it has released an online tool “Mapping Broadband Health in America”.
It is an interactive map that allows users to visualise, overlay and analyse broadband and health data at the national, state and county levels.
This tool allows easy access to existing health and broadband access data to anyone who wants to look at the possible influence of broadband access on health over a period of time or to identify gaps which may provide opportunities to develop or expand online health services.
The interactive tool allows the user change the broadband availability measure (by say proportion of coverage or download speed for example) and select a health measure such as say obesity rate or preventable hospitalisation days and shows where the selected broadband measure is satisfied, where the selected health measure is satisfied and where both are satisfied. The types of health measures are currently limited but if users find the tool useful and feedback to the FCC there may well be further expansion.
Have a play with the map here.
[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Yak_52__G-CBSS_FLAT_SPIN.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Is the Great Oz Behind the Curtain? Updated for The Box and additional articles.
Before a skeptical audience Monday afternoon at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry
‘s (AACC) annual meeting in Philadelphia, Theranos
‘ CEO Elizabeth Holmes, due to be banned from the industry by CMS for lab violations, unveiled a new lab technology. According to Ryan Cross in the MIT Technology Review
, “Holmes claimed her company had developed a sophisticated “miniLab” capable of carrying out an array of tests, including detecting the Zika virus, from a finger prick of blood.” A cube-like box, developed in secrecy, she called it a “single platform” able to carry out a wide array (or several–depending on what quote you read!) of different test types using small volumes of blood (apparently finger sticks). The device will be small, portable and directly connected to the internet to centrally send and verify test results. Ms Holmes actually took questions from a three-person scientific panel. When asked if she would be sharing the device with other researchers, she said she was “working on it right now.” It is not, of course, FDA-approved or in production.
Updated for video and new articles (as of 8/19/16).
- MedCityNews’ Stephanie Baum must have some OSS/CIA blood in her, because it appears she’s beaten everyone on the miniLab Box picture plus posting the Theranos presentation video, which went up via AACC’s YouTube site within hours of the presentation. Other commitments prevent me from an analysis of the hour until later, but gone is the black turtleneck, remaining is the talent for tap dancing around hard facts. The comments in the article and from elsewhere echo the profound skepticism and cynicism found in the MIT and WaPo articles. Yes, the ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ intro was dark humor, served up the way we like it!
- Bloomberg interviews attendees (scientists, clinical directors, professors, doctors) who believe they were baited and switched. The bait was the justification for Edison performance. The switch was The Box–a new technology, untested, untried and not even peer reviewed–that simply crunched down multiple existing tests into one container.
- (Updated 8/19) AACC’s published article was short and straight up. “(Dr Steven) Master told Holmes that her data “fell far short” of what he expected based on the wide menu that Theranos promised previously.” Plenty of promises from Ms Holmes at the end, but if CMS has their way, which is likely, Ms Holmes’ “I’ve made the decision to double down and stick by it no matter how hard the path” and to be involved with AACC in the future, will be more empty Theranos promises.
Also WaPo, TechCrunch and POLITICO Morning eHealth
Is Theranos–and Ms Holmes–too far ‘gone’ to be credible or funded? Will there even be a Theranos company to develop this? Will Ms Holmes remain in the business through successfully appealing her imminent ban? The only sensible conclusion is that we’ll believe the technology–and her–when we see it is properly and independently verified–and operated by a company with proper governance and controls.
Stay Tuned to See if The Fix Is In.
Thumb through the prior 17 chapters of the Theranos Story here. Hat tips to @EdifInstruments and Editor Chrys Meewella for the links (WaPo and MIT respectively).
Verily, the Alphabet (Google) life sciences research group, and GlaxoSmithKline are partnering in a joint venture that may replace drugs for disease with micro-electronic implantable devices. GSK will own 55 percent of Galvani Bioelectronics, with Verily owning 45 percent. They have pledged an investment of £540 million in the new UK-based business over 7 years, as well as contributing intellectual property rights to Galvani. Most of the staff will be at GSK in Stevenage with some at Verily’s HQ in South San Francisco, and led by Kris Famm, formerly GSK’s vice president of bioelectronics R&D. The deal is expected to close by end of year.
According to Business Insider UK, GSK has been involved with bioelectronics for four years. It’s defined as “a relatively new scientific field that aims to tackle a wide range of chronic diseases using miniaturised, implantable devices that can modify electrical signals that pass along nerves in the body, including irregular or altered impulses that occur in many illnesses.” The diseases that are being targeted are inflammatory, metabolic and endocrine disorders, including type 2 diabetes. According to the MedCityNews interview of Verily’s CTO Brian Otis, the systems will be closed loop where the devices listen to the nerve signals, do real-time signal processing and send the optimized signal back to the nerve to restore healthy function. GSK has the diagnostic and biologic expertise, Verily has the device smarts. Also Mobihealthnews, Recode
[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]We don’t hear much from Tunstall Healthcare
in the US other than their traditional/mobile PERS business (formerly AMAC
‘s). That may be changing with their introduction (finally) of the Vi+ telecare home unit
. It has medical alert, fall detection (via ‘intelligent pendant’) and integrates with home monitoring an array of what they call ‘Virtual Sensors’–motion and other sensors to monitor activity in the home, including wireless sensors for fire, flood and gas leaks. They do make a point of having an integral ambient temperature sensor which will alert their response center if an unsafe high or low temperature is detected.
Other than the press release, no information on Vi+ is on the Americas website yet, including pricing. (Vi without the sensor array has been sold for some time.) Vi+ is marketed in most Tunstall countries in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The fact sheet from Ireland is representative of Vi+ in most markets.
It’s interesting that Tunstall Americas has chosen to enhance their PERS/call center services with sensors, versus entering the hotter telehealth area. Sensor-based activity/danger monitoring is hardly new. (more…)
Philips has made another substantial, if traditionally risky, move into the direct to consumer (DTC) health monitoring segment with a limited wearables ‘ecosystem’ under a new Personal Health Solutions division. It contains five FDA-cleared products for monitoring vital signs. Four peripherals download via a watch to iPhone/Android phone apps which run on version 2.0 of the Philips HealthSuite (with Salesforce1) mobile app. Earlier the apps were marketed in NL and BE.
While the release states they are globally available, initially it appears they are being marketed direct to consumer for the US only. Purchase is direct on the site. All devices are Bluetooth LE and sync with the watch and smartphone app/dashboard (available on Google Play and the Apple Store). The watch/app also tracks exercise with activity recognition, calorie tracking and sleep patterning, with the app providing some education content.
- Watch $249
- Body Analysis Scale (weight, body fat, BMI) $100
- BP/pulse (upper arm) $100, (wrist) $90
- Ear Thermometer $60
Interestingly, their existing DTC PERS enterprise, Lifeline, is not linked to or mentioned.
Prices are mid-range to high, making this a prima facie tough sell. (more…)
While this Editor didn’t get to the second annual d.Health Summit in NYC this past May, the organizers Avi Seidmann, PhD & Ray Dorsey, MD [TTA 20 July] of the University of Rochester have conveniently distilled the day down to a 13-page policy paper on successful aging at home. The keynote speaker set the theme around the core needs of older people:
- identity (“help me stay me”)
- routine (“help me stay in control”)
- sociability (“help me stay engaged”)
- vitality (“help me stay physically and mentally fit”)
Innovation around healthcare delivery, mobility solutions, assistive technologies that adjust to a wide variety of needs, socialization outlets and home services can improve health and wellness while reducing costs for the healthcare system as a whole. Impediments are regulatory, interoperability and that old devil, payments. It needs to move to ‘next generational care” where healthcare tech fully becomes an extension of the healthcare system. Can’t come soon enough. Download the PDF here. Also read contributor Sarianne Gruber’s perspectives on the conference in RCM Answers on 18 May and 24 May.
The State of the Connected Patient is a 21-page survey with plenty of bar charts of over 2,000 Americans taken in June by the Harris Poll sponsored by Salesforce, which we’ve noted here is partnering notably with Philips in the HealthSuite digital platform. Analysis is separated by boomers, millennials and Gen X. 62 percent of respondents would be open to some form of ‘virtual care’–and 52 percent of ‘millennials’ would prefer to choose a doctor who uses virtual care tools. Most are content with their primary care doctor, though that doctor may not recognize them in the street. Only a quarter actually keep track of their health records, digital and otherwise. Apps are used, but all age groups are split evenly in using a wearable if an insurance company or provider gave them to wear in exchange for (respectively) lower rates and health information access. Download PDF via EHR Intelligence.
Future technologies are expected to play an important role in supporting independence in later life says one of the main findings [grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/How-tech-savvy-are-we.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]from research published this week in the UK. People aged 65 and over who have not grown up with technology around them, perhaps unsurprisingly, find it more difficult to master the latest technologies initially than younger groups do and there are concerns that society could become more inactive and too reliant on technology. This are some of the other main findings given in the report ‘How Tech Savvy are We?’ from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in the UK.
Although the research was not focused on just the older age group there are some aspects which are particularly looking at this group of people.
There is no clear consensus on which of the six proposed technologies in the research would be most useful in later life – smart healthcare devices are rated most useful by 27%, whilst driver-less cars and robot help are deemed the most useful by only 10%. This suggests a possible disconnect between what industry is developing and what the public actually wants says the IET.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Chris Cartwright, Chair of the IET Information and Communications Sector, is quoted as saying: “It’s great to see strong public support and understanding for the potential benefits new technologies offer an ageing population. But it’s less encouraging that this support is still hindered by concerns around cost, lack of physical activity and loss of human contact. There is also a lack of clarity about which technologies people will find most useful, probably because they are unclear of the benefits.
In this editor’s view rarely do opportunities as good as this come along for aspiring digital health innovators working on early warning systems for infectious diseases: I-Sense, in UCL, has announced that applications are now open for the 2nd round of I-Sense Mobility Fellowships – designed to support incoming researchers from academia and industry to work with I-Sense.
They are currently inviting incoming fellowship proposals from academia and industry in the following areas – (more…)