Short takes, 4 Feb: HIMSS 21 Global/APAC go ‘hybrid’; ATA announcements including virtual ATA2021; Hillrom acquires EarlySense monitoring tech

It’s 4 Feb, and while All Is Not Right With the World, we should be reassured that a real, in-person HIMSS 21 Global conference is apparently still On Target for 9-13 August in Las Vegas. What’s new is that it will have a virtual component (the ‘hybrid’) in addition to the Three Ring Circus spread among the Venetian-Sands Expo Center, Caesars Forum Conference Center, and the Wynn. t Hotel reservations ARE open, but registration is not. (Those who wish to transfer the 2020 registrations to 2021 will have to wait for an email.) HISTalk, which always seems to have the Inside Line on the conference, confirmed that HIMSS is kicking the can down the road on an in-person conference. It’ll depend on vaccination rates, infection rates, and federal guidelines, all of which are indefinable bars to something six months down the road. The next HIMSS21 update will be published on 19 February. It may include an announcement of the registration opening date. As the HIMSS update page is singularly uninformative, this Editor is subscribing to their update emails as offered.

Reading further down on HISTalk, the long-standing co-located CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives) annual conference is no more. CHIME will be holding a hybrid Fall Forum in October and virtual events in April and June. Will this mean that a lot of CIOs and senior IT people–the deciders–will not be as eager to go to Las Vegas and HIMSS will turn even more into a ‘boat show’, in HISTalk’s words? 

Meanwhile, in Singapore on 18-19 May, HIMSS APAC is full hybrid with both in-person and virtual sessions. The theme is Future-Proof Healthcare: The Emergence of Asia. If you’d like to nab a speaking or panel spot, act fast–it closes on 28 February and is only open to government/healthcare providers. More info is on their website.

The American Telemedicine Association just wrapped its four-part ATA EDGE virtual conference. Like a lot of virtual events, it’s split into relatively short sessions (about 2.5 hours) and multiple days. EDGE was on Tuesdays starting 12 January and wrapped 2 February. Announcements and related news from EDGE and ATA include an announcement for ATA2021:

  • The Telehealth Equity Coalition (TEC) launched. TEC is a data-driven project to review public data on telehealth adoption in communities across the country. The objective is “to improve access to quality and affordable healthcare by increasing adoption of telehealth, especially among those who have been left out or left behind. Together with nonprofit, academic, and industry partners, TEC will offer a unique voice to optimize equitable telehealth delivery and utilization.” Founding members are Hims & Hers, the ATA, and the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved. Release
  • ATA2021 will be full virtual in June and take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This year’s theme is Telehealth: Enabling Flexible, Inclusive and Contemporary Care Delivery. More information on the content and program, including links to proposal submission forms, is here. Deadline for General Program speaker nominations and Research Presentations/Posters is 26 February. The registration page is not yet active.
  • On the policy front, ATA commended Texas Governor Greg Abbott on his advocacy of telehealth expansion as key to quality care for Texans. In his State of the State annual address, he outlined goals for the executive and the legislature in expanding both telehealth and broadband access. Release  ATA also sent a letter to the Arizona State Legislature in support of House Bill 2454 which makes some comprehensive changes to telehealth policy that will increase telehealth options in that state. Letter

And in the Continuing Story of Big Company Buys Little Company’s Tech, Hillrom, which just acquired cardiac monitoring company BardyDx, has now acquired contact-free continuous monitoring technology from EarlySense. Hillrom already has equity in the Massachusetts and Israel-based company. A portion will go in payment for the monitoring technology, plus a cash consideration of $30 million with potential payments based on the achievement of certain commercial milestones. EarlySense will also have a license to the technology, useful as EarlySense continues to develop next-generation AI-based sensing technologies specifically for the remote patient care market. Hillrom is incorporating it in its Centrella Smart+ med-surg bed and ecosystem of connected devices for the monitoring of heart and respiratory rates over 100 times per minute. Release 

Themes and trends at Aging2.0 OPTIMIZE 2017

Aging2.0 OPTIMIZE, in San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday 14-15 November, annually attracts the top thinkers and doers in innovation and aging services. It brings together academia, designers, developers, investors, and senior care executives from all over the world to rethink the aging experience in both immediately practical and long-term visionary ways.

Looking at OPTIMIZE’s agenda, there are major themes that are on point for major industry trends.

Reinventing aging with an AI twist

What will aging be like during the next decades of the 21st Century? What must be done to support quality of life, active lives, and more independence? From nursing homes with more home-like environments (Green House Project) to Bill Thomas’ latest project–‘tiny houses’ that support independent living (Minkas)—there are many developments which will affect the perception and reality of aging.

Designers like Yves Béhar of fuseproject are rethinking home design as a continuum that supports all ages and abilities in what they want and need. Beyond physical design, these new homes are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology that support wellness, engagement, and safety. Advances that are already here include voice-activated devices such as Amazon Alexa, virtual reality (VR), and IoT-enabled remote care (telehealth and telecare).

For attendees at Aging2.0, there will be substantial discussion on AI’s impact and implications, highlighted at Tuesday afternoon’s general session ‘AI-ging Into the Future’ and in Wednesday’s AI/IoT-related breakouts. AI is powering breakthroughs in social robotics and predictive health, the latter using sensor-based ADL and vital signs information for wellness, fall prevention, and dementia care. Some companies part of this conversation are CarePredict, EarlySense, SafelyYou, and Intuition Robotics.

Thriving, not surviving

Thriving in later age, not simply ‘aging in place’ or compensating for the loss of ability, must engage the community, the individual, and providers. There’s new interest in addressing interrelated social factors such as isolation, life purpose, food, healthcare quality, safety, and transportation. Business models and connected living technologies can combine to redesign post-acute care for better recovery, to prevent unnecessary readmissions, and provide more proactive care for chronic diseases as well as support wellness.

In this area, OPTIMIZE has many sessions on cities and localities reorganizing to support older adults in social determinants of health, transportation innovations, and wearables for passive communications between the older person and caregivers/providers. Some organizations and companies contributing to the conversation are grandPad, Village to Village Network, Lyft, and Milken Institute.

Technology and best practices positively affect the bottom line

How can senior housing and communities put innovation into action today? How can developers make it easier for them to adopt innovation? Innovations that ‘activate’ staff and caregivers create a multiplier for a positive effect on care. Successful rollouts create a positive impact on both the operations and financial health of senior living communities.

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Connecting with Connected Health (PCHA Connected Health Conference)

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/JC-with-VGo.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Guest contributor JC Muyl attended the PCHA Connected Health Conference last week and contributed his thoughts on the event.

Last week I drove down from NYC to spend an afternoon at the Connected Health Conference (#CHC16) at the Gaylord Convention Center outside DC. The majority of my time was spent in the exhibit hall meeting digital health vendors.

I walked away fascinated by just how eclectic the digital health industry is. By approaching it from so many different angles, we’re bound to find some solutions that will stick. I thought I’d spread my optimism by sharing a sample of what I saw for those who couldn’t make it. Here’s my take on my day:

  • The most represented category was patient engagement solutions, probably as a function of the conference itself. Also, when you think about it, a proliferation of proactive patient engagement solutions makes sense in the context of value-based payments. What I like about patient engagement is that it has applications across multiple segments (payers, providers, employers, etc.) which means a bigger market. I met with the folks at Fitango Health (customizable care plans & member engagement), CareWire (member engagement via text), PokitDok (a development platform for care management / patient engagement), Utila (a text-based behavior health engagement solution) and Dacadoo (a cool health score app for patients based on proprietary algorithms).
  • Dacadoo was the play that felt most natively consumer-centric, especially because the user is able to track their health score in the app. The other solutions were for providers looking to manage and interact with patient populations. I like the notion of designing these products from the standpoint of how consumers want to navigate their healthcare experience.
  • In telehealth, I visited SwyMed, a ruggedized telehealth kit for emergency workers (makes a lot of sense), and VGo (see left above), a friendly-looking telehealth assistant that combined a Segway with a camera and a screen. They demoed how they could remotely drive it to the patient for a telehealth consult. I really think this product has legs…well wheels, actually! Seriously, it made me wonder how soon until we use drones to deliver meds & pick up samples?
  • I was surprised by the number of international companies: Medelinked from the UK, EarlySense from Israel, Voluntis from France, Dacadoo from Switzerland, most with a local presence here in the US. These foreign companies are usually pretty big in their home country, with a (clinically) proven product, yet are approaching the US market with the agility but also possibly the financial needs of a startup. I bet they would make good prospects for investors.

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Are you all sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Even if you are an unpaid Telehealth & Telecare Aware editor, believe it of not, you still get asked to post the most ridiculous stuff by people trying to make out it is important to the world of remote monitoring.

It’s great therefore to be able to put the boot firmly on the other foot and point out a new sensor that seems likely to add real value that is not even, today at least, referencable online. This is the chair sensor, reported by FierceMedicalDevices as having just received FDA approval. The sensor, made by EarlySense and placed under the chair cushion, can apparently measure the heart rate and respiration rate of someone sitting in the chair, without any connection to that person. Sadly I can currently find no reference to it on their website though.

The use envisaged is in hospitals, where patients are in individual rooms and to be encouraged to walk about and sit rather than stay in bed (where, if I read it right on the EarlySense website, they can also be similarly monitored by a sensor under the mattress), with the readout at the nurse station. Changes in either pulse or respiration rate then give warnings of impending problems

I can see lots of other uses too though, supporting independent living.