Data breach fail at AnthemHealth: an inadvertent ‘inside job’ (updated)

US health insurance giant AnthemHealth, which had a data breach of reportedly up to 80 million beneficiaries [TTA 6 Feb], was an inadvertent ‘inside job’. The Associated Press reported that the credentials of at least five employees were used to access information, at least one of whom was an administrator who viewed his credentials being used to query the data warehouse. It’s easier than you think to get them. In an analysis published by security firm Tripwire and also in MIT Technology Review, the writer Ken Westin outlines how easy it is to find that the Anthem warehouse is TeraData, and to match up employees engaged with it, through using public employee profiles on places like LinkedIn and job postings. Then it’s deductive to find exact email addresses (find the pattern–lead generation companies building business contact lists do this all the time) and send these key employees phishing emails  (more…)

Widespread remote GP consultations getting closer; no shortage of implementation advice

Following our previous item on the topic, on January 16th, Tim Kelsey made it very clear to this editor at a PICTFOR event that the £1b promised to GPs for premises improvement included a strong requirement that GPs also invest in electronic support, including remote consultation technology.

It is therefore particularly pleasing to see in yesterday’s Pulse Today, an item on a Skype trial in Central London that both patients and GPs seem to love. Some key quotes:

Almost all patients surveyed about their experience of the remote consultation service said they ‘would use it again’ (95%).

Although patients were warned that ‘the security of Skype isn’t 100%’, 83% also said (more…)

Economist study on mHealth: improving outcomes, but revenue model?

The Economist‘s just published survey of 144 healthcare executives in 23 countries, taken in June 2014, is a combination of cheering and dismaying.

The good:

  • Most executives surveyed (64 percent) believe that new mobile technologies and services that provide greater patient access to medical information “could dramatically improve health outcomes”.
  • 63 percent project that “greater patient access to their personal data will allow people to make better decisions about their health”.

Holding things back are factors as diverse as:

  • Risk aversion within the healthcare industry (institutional bias and conservatism
    within the healthcare establishment) cited by 44 percent
  • Patient privacy concerns (49 percent)
  • Patients finding technology hard to use (54 percent)

These executives are also not strong on wearables; they do not believe that it will alter healthcare in any noticeable way (21 percent). And still there is the consideration about how to make money in mobile health: 10% of respondents (and 19% of those in the US) believe mobile health has no promising revenue model.  PDF  Hat tip to Ashley Gold of POLITICO’s Morning eHealth on Monday.

Tunstall’s challenging year: results reported

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Big-T-thumb-480×294-55535.gif” thumb_width=”150″ /]Breaking News. The topline of Tunstall Healthcare Group’s 2014 results (through 30 Sept 14) is now (partly) public thanks to the Yorkshire Post, Tunstall’s ‘hometown paper’. (We do note that it was published on 23 Dec, in the ‘dead of night’ rolling up to the Christmas holiday.) Notably, there is no report on the Tunstall website and it is too early to show on standard corporate reporting sites such as DueDil and CompanyCheck. The YP article appears to be written partly in press release-speak, which we do not fault them for on limited news available. In summary:

  • In the 2014 FY ended 30 September, revenues were £215 million. FY2013 was £221 million, a decrease of £6 million (2.7 percent).
  • A corresponding but greater EBITDA (earnings before interest taxation depreciation and amortization) drop to £43.0 million. FY 2013 was £52.7 million, a decrease of £9.7 million (18.4 percent).
  • The good news: revenues up 6.8 percent in the Nordics, Southern Europe, Central Europe, and Australasia; Spain’s Televida as a market leader also a bright spot [TTA 19 Dec].
  • No such good news in UK and the US  (more…)

Are wearables starting to deliver?

If you caught the recent Wired article entitled Wearables Are Totally Failing the People Who Need Them Most, you may have felt a sense of deep depression that a sector growing as strongly as it is is apparently delivering so little real health benefit (you may also be depressed to see the world of apps developers described as “From Silicon Valley and San Francisco to Austin and MIT…” although remember the North American-based Major League Baseball is called the World Series). The thrust of the article is that young people are developing wearables for people like them, who are then stopping using them within a few months, whereas those with long term conditions (LTCs) who are not the target customers are actually the ones using wearables consistently. As they say: (more…)

Tunstall adopts new Tactio in patient management

Tunstall Healthcare is partnering with Canadian mHealth developer Tactio Health Group in what is a distinct first for them: creating a mobile care management system that is 1) smartphone-based for the patient and 2) prominently integrates non-Tunstall apps and devices. The patient uses the smartphone and the Tactio-developed mTrax app to collect a wide spectrum of data–everything from activity, sleep, pregnancy, body fat and mood tracking to the traditional constellation of vital signs. This uploads to the care provider’s tablet mPro Clinical App which overviews, details and reports the data for each patient and patient groups in care. The data comes from well-known mHealth apps outside the Tunstall world: BodyMedia, Fitbit, Fitbug, Garmin, Jawbone UP, Medisana and Wahoo Fitness, as well as connected (presumably Bluetooth) medical devices from A&D Medical, Mio, iHealth, Telcare, Withings and Nonin. Tunstall has also added two-way patient coaching and  health journal features.

Tunstall’s positioning for what they call Active Health Management or AHM is “supported self-management” and “shift(ing) from reactive care to cost-effective active care.” (more…)

Journal starts peer review process–at a price–for mHealth apps

If the rosy future of mHealth apps [study here] is to be achieved, some form of validation and review is needed, but is ‘pay to play’ the way to go?. The Journal of Medical Internet Research has come up with a peer review process which gives, in the words of mHealthNews, “developers a chance to have their products evaluated by “medical and mHealth experts from the JMIR peer-reviewer database (possibly complemented by consumers/patient experts) for a cool $2,500 per app.”  Aside from the price, (more…)

Free research report on the state of mHealth apps

research2guidance has published the 2014 (fourth) edition of mHealth App Developer Economics with an in-depth market analysis on the current status and future impact of mHealth app publishing. Some findings of the global study:

  • Revenue achieved $2.4 billion in 2013 and projected to be $26 billion by 2017, derived primarily on a subscription model from services.
  • Surprisingly, mHealth app publishers and “wannabes’ (planning to release soon) by the numbers target chronically ill patients (31 percent) with the top being diabetes and obesity, with the greatest potential cost benefit on nonadherence and hospital readmission–then health and fitness (28 percent). The B2B market presently is composed primarily of physicians, targeted by 14 percent of app developers, but the five year outlook is that physicians and hospitals will develop into the primary distribution channel. (more…)

Health apps presently of little use, says Australian telehealth expert

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Margelis.jpg” thumb_width=”120″ /]”Immature” and “focused on low-lying fruit such as fitness tracking and not focused on the big issues of management of disease” are also two of the compliments that Dr George Margelis of the University of Western Sydney’s TeleHealth Research & Innovation Laboratory (THRIL) has bestowed on the current state of health apps. Until the collected data ‘plugs into other digital platforms’–he mentions the Australian government’s PHR, eHealth–apps will not help those who need it the most. “Unfortunately, managing these diseases, in particular the chronic diseases that are a major part of the current burden, requires more than just tracking a few physical parameters which is what the app world is up to.” Dr Margelis called for collaboration between app developers and healthcare professionals; while he scores Apple’s HealthKit, that may be the means to make his vision come true. It should be noted that Dr Margelis (more…)

It’s official! mHealth in the ‘trough of disillusionment’

Gartner annually issues its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies in the Dog Days of August, perhaps not to burst too many bubbles, derail too many fundings?

  • Lo and behold, ‘mobile health monitoring ‘ is heading towards the bottom of the Trough of Disillusionment. Moreover, its recovery is projected at 5-10 years to move out of the Trough, whip through the Slope of Enlightenment and enter the sunny uplands of the Plateau of Productivity. See Gartner chart below.

Aetna’s CarePass passing into history

Another Aetna Healthagen initiative is shutting its virtual doors–the much-touted CarePass aggregator for mobile health apps. Available to both Aetna and non-Aetna members, it incorporated leading apps such as Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings, MapMyFitness and BodyMedia. A dimming of its consumer/mobile health star which burned so brightly from late 2012 through last year was evident at this year’s HIMSS. CarePass was nowhere to be seen, and the iTriage patient engagement tool was off in the shadows [TTA 28 Feb]. From its redone website, Healthagen is increasingly concentrated on core areas for payers: ACOs, clinical decision support, data management and health information exchanges. MobiHealthNews broke the exclusive including Aetna’s confirmation and also the quiet departure of two CarePass executives from the company which took place earlier this summer. (more…)

Edinburgh Global Health MSc

A quick plug for the above which is a flexible part-time distance learning programme delivered entirely online using a combination of online tutorials, multimedia interactive learning materials, peer to-peer discussion and independent study. It looks very interesting. More details are here.

Claudia Pagliari tells me that the mHealth course will be available as a stand alone option or as part of a certificate of diploma track.

mHealth: a salmagundi of items

Overloaded with Horizon2020 proposal adjudication and conference management (including the first DHACA members’ day on 11th July), this editor has been unable to do much Telehealth & Telecare Aware blogging. However the interesting items have continued to attract my attention and Prof Mike short (especially), Alex Wyke and Nicholas Robinson have continued to add further to the pile (huge thanks to all). So much seems worth highlighting: where to start? Perhaps with the 18 factors to make telemedicine a success, enumerated by the EU-funded Momentum project. Telecare Aware readers will be unsurprised by all 18, which look pretty basic. However many will notice obvious absences, such as the need to adduce evidence of the success of the intervention. Gluttons for punishment will find much more (more…)

Big data and mHealth combine to track & test ‘flu (UK event)

What looks to be a really fascinating event is being held on Thursday 26th  June 2014 in The Council Room, The Institute of Materials, 1 Carlton House  Terrace, London SW1Y 5DB entitled “New Frontiers in Digital  Technologies for Influenza:  Big data and Mobile-­‐Phone  Connected Diagnostic Tests“. Entry is £70 for delegates, less for students.

This event brings together leading experts in the field of big data and mobile diagnostics to discuss the latest technologies to track and test influenza. This includes recent developments in mobile connected tests such as microfluidic chips, advanced nano materials and optics and surface-acoustic wave devices and the use of online sources (e.g. Google search engine queries, Twitter) to identify disease outbreaks much earlier than current healthcare systems.

Pandemic influenza is rated as one of the top threats to global health on the UK Government National Risk Register. Early detection and vigilant monitoring of serious flu epidemics is crucial to controlling outbreaks and supporting effective follow-up care. Researchers across the globe have turned to innovative digital technologies to address this global challenge. A successful early warning system using big data and mobile-phone connected tests could predict a pandemic even before people attend clinics or in parts of the world that lack the resources for traditional public health surveillance.

EU green paper on mHealth – VERY IMPORTANT

This week the European Commission published its green paper on mHealth previously announced in the eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020, kicking off a broad stakeholder consultation on existing barriers and issues related to mHealth deployment and helping to identify the right way forward to unlock mHealth potential. To accompany it, a very short video by Neelie Kroes is available. An accompanying short (10 page) paper by the EC on the current legal position for people using health & wellbeing apps is also well worth a read. Finally, to complete the set, the EC has produced an mHealth infographic as well.

Responses to the Green Paper are required to the European Commission by 3rd July at the latest.

In view of the potential for mHealth to benefit everyone if correctly regulated and supported, all readers are urged to respond, either individually or collectively via an industry body (eg DHACA – see below), or both.

The document, at only 19 pages long, is hugely impressive, making an excellent case for (more…)

FDA finally issues proposed rule simplifying medical device classification

The FDA has now published its proposed rule simplifying its medical device classifications as directed by the 2012 FDA Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA). This permits reclassification by administrative order versus the rulemaking (notice and comment) process. (Presumably this rule, as part of the latter process, sets up the process for the former.)  In the US, the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FDC Act), which FDASIA amends, has three classifications of devices from least restricted (Class I general controls) through premarket approval (Class III).  

As published yesterday in the Federal Register, the class definitions are being amended to balance the assurance of safety and effectiveness with “the level of regulation necessary to provide such assurance should be closely tailored to the risk presented by a type of device.” The long-awaited changes are seen as highly favorable for mobile health devices and apps which for the most part do not fit neatly into the present Class I-III structure.  (more…)