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The Year of the Sensor, round 2: COVID contact tracing + sensor wearables in LTC facilities; Ireland’s long and pivoting road to a contact tracing app

...the week, nonfunctioning but giving the HSE a look at the user interface. NearForm worked on a centralized model first, which was basically terminated by Apple’s insistence on blocking BTE, then in April pivoted to the decentralized Apple-Google (Gapple? AppGoo?) Exposure Notification system, once the HSE secured beta access to the new technology. By 7 July, Ireland launched and had over a million downloads in 48 hours. Germany had a similar saga and timing. Both Ireland, Germany, and other countries moved quickly to adopt Apple and Google’s APIs, when Apple blocked their original centralized app methodology. UK and NHSX did... Continue Reading

News Roundup: Doctor on Demand’s $75M Series D, Google’s Fitbit buy scrutinized, $5.4 bn digital health funding breaks record

...The US Department of Justice is also evaluating it, as is the Federal Trade Commission. But an acquisition like this doesn’t easily fall under antitrust regulation as Google and Fitbit aren’t direct competitors. Fitbit has only about 5 percent of the fitness wearable market. However, this plays into another related investigation by DOJ — Google’s abuse of advertising data and its dominance of the market in tech tools such as Google Ad Manager in the US. DOJ asked competitors for information at the end of June. There are separate investigations by state attorneys general and also by Congress of Google... Continue Reading

News roundup: Teladoc closes InTouch, Samsung bets on tele-genomics, SURE Recovery app, Optimize.health’s seed round, Walgreens’ Microsoft boost

...London. The app is now available to download; search ‘SURE Recovery’ on the App Store or Google Play. The page on the Mindwave site is on their Clinical Research page–click the tab for SURE. Hat tip to Ellis Noble of KC Communications. Connected to telehealth and RPM is provider reimbursement. Optimize.health is an early-stage company which provides a turnkey setup for practices for its remote patient monitoring platform, with the usual features such as patient engagement, integrated devices with the platform, and call center support. The apparent difference is the emphasis on sharing data and simplifying reimbursement, the hard part... Continue Reading

Breaking: NHSX COVID contact tracing app exits stage left. Enter the Apple and Google dance team.

Breaking News: The NHS finally abandoned the NHSX-designed COVID contact tracing app in favor of the app based on the Apple and Google API. The NHSX version had issues, seemingly intractable, on the BTE features on distancing and contact duration between devices, as well as the app being inaccurate on the iPhone. The “Gapple” app is already in use in Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Latvia, and Poland. As t his Editor noted on Tuesda y, Austria is in test, Germany just launched their ‘Corona Warning App’ and reported 6.5 million downloads in the first 24 hours. The BBC reported that the... Continue Reading

Where in the world is the NHS COVID contact tracing app? Apps rolling out globally, but will they roll out before it’s treatable ?

...great deal of fuss has been made of other countries adopting contact tracing apps that actually work. Most of these are built on a platform developed by Apple and Google. These have been used in Italy, Switzerland, Latvia, and Poland. Austria is in test, Germany just launched. Japan’s is on a Microsoft platform. Countries that launched earlier have had their wrinkles. Italy is feuding over issues of data privacy. Norway’s Smittestopp app, which used both GPS and BTE to advise those contacted to self-isolate, was stopped by the Norwegian Data Protection Authority on disproportionate intrusion into users’ privacy. A bug... Continue Reading

News roundup: LabCorp CRO boosts Medable, Propeller Health gains 510(k), EU’s 34 medtech startups, Amazon’s healthcare moves, Google’s Arizona privacy lawsuit

...with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway, Haven, has stumbled with its CEO Atul Gawande, MD, leaving the post to return to practice after less than two years. Executive turnover has been high, and the company has yet to announce a major initiative. FierceHealthcare Meanwhile, Arizona’s attorney general has sued Google for violating state privacy laws. Seems like Android users are trackable, even if they turn off location on their phones, through Google apps like Maps and Weather. The lawsuit also charges that Google changed its default tracking settings without informing users, using data for targeted ads. Becker’s Health IT... Continue Reading

NHS’ COVID contact tracing service started today–but where’s the app? Australia? (with comments)

...with whom they were in close contact. MIT Technology Review Apps have been deployed in Australia (COVIDSafe) and Singapore (TraceTogether) and are in development in Switzerland and Germany. Most use BTE, but South Korea, India, Iceland, and some US states including North Dakota and Utah are using GPS phone location. China has been the most ruthless in using GPS data to monitor citizen locations and activity, to restrict their movements. Previously mentioned here [TTA 19 May] are UnitedHealth Group and Microsoft’s ProtectWell, PWC’s homegrown app–and Google and Apple announced in April a BTE app which hasn’t debuted yet. The Verge... Continue Reading

Has the ‘river of knowledge’ reversed its natural course? A lighter look at technology’s other effects.

...bowline; how to saw a board; how to chop down a tree, and hundreds of other skills. The most amazing change has taken place today. Now, so many times it is the grandchildren teaching the grandparents. The advent of technology is the cause. Cell phones, e-readers, Google, directions to anywhere from anywhere, Amazon shopping, Uber, movies, music, and on and on. All came screaming into our lives in the last decade or two, like an avalanche filling those little machines we hold in our hand. The acquisition of the new skills needed is no longer based on the experience and... Continue Reading

CMS clarifies telehealth policy expansion for Medicare in COVID-19 health emergency, including non-HIPAA compliant platforms (US)

...(enforcement discretion again), which enables providers to use Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype–but not public-facing platforms such as Facebook Live, Twitch, or TikTok. Telephones may be used as explicitly stated in the waiver in Section 1135(b) of the Social Security Act. (FAQ #8) More information on HHS’ emergency preparedness page and OCR’s Notification of Enforcement Discretion. On reimbursement, “Medicare coinsurance and deductible would generally apply to these services. However, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare... Continue Reading

News roundup: Kompaï debuts, Aging Tech 2020 study, Project Nightingale may sing to the Senate, Amwell, b.well, Lyft’s SDOH, more on telehealth for COVID-19

...(and expensive) The White House report “Emerging Technologies to Support an Aging Population” [TTA 7 March] first was an acknowledgment of its importance and two, would also serve as a great source document for entrepreneurs and developers. The study covers the demographics of the older adult market, where they are living, caregiving, the effect of data breaches, optimizing design for this market, the impacts of voice-driven assistants, wearables, and hearables. Project Nightingale may be singing to some US Senators. The 10 million Ascension Health identified patient records that were transferred in a BAA deal to Google [TTA 14 Nov 19],... Continue Reading