Vodafone and AstraZeneca sign global m-health partnership

Vodafone has signed a global partnership with AstraZeneca in order to develop m-health services to improve the outcome for patients with cardiovascular conditions. The collaboration will create new mobile and internet-based services to support patients through their treatment journey, improving medication adherence and giving patients confidence to manage their condition more effectively, according to the press release.

AstraZeneca’s Intelligent Pharmaceutical Group will lead the project with Vodafone charged with providing the technology, infrastructure and expertise for the new services.

The UK-based operator said it will also look to capture data from a variety of sources to improve overall engagement between patients and healthcare professionals. All the new services will be designed to work across geographies.

“Bringing together the best in connectivity with the best in treatment and education will create powerful and compelling outcomes for patients,” according to a comment attributed to Vodafone M2M Director Erik Brennais. But there is little in the way of details of what the two companies may develop or the timescales.

Samsung’s mHealthy S5, Gear–and potential

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/gear-2-neo-620×554.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Is there an untapped mHealth business model here?

Samsung’s dual announcements in New York and at Barcelona’s annual GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) of the Galaxy S5 smartphone and the latest iterations of their smartwatch (left), the Gear 2/Neo, confirm what this Editor believes will be a major 2014 trend: the matter-of-fact integration of vital signs sensors into easy-to-adopt form factors. Reported by ZDNet:

  • Galaxy S5:It’s so small and unnoticeable, you would be forgiven for not giving it a second thought. Next to the flash is a heart-rate sensor that can — prepare yourself for a hearty dose of real-life sci-fi — see the blood pumping through your finger. It works when you gently push your finger over the flash on the rear of the handset. This ties in with the smartphone’s pre-installed health apps, such as the S Health, which includes a fitness tracker and pedometer.” The phone also connects to the Gear 2 software. (This is in addition to the fingerprint scanner.) Article
  • Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo specification: Bluetooth 4 low energy, Infrared, heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope  Article

Easy to use tools for health–and fall detection–baked into a mainstream phone and a fairly attractive smartwatch. There’s plenty of health and safety functionality for all ages built into both.  What’s the missing link? Here’s a thought. A manufacturer/wireless JV or subsidiary which targets the health monitoring potential of these devices to create a separate revenue stream. The ‘risk’ could be spread to resellers allowed to creatively adapt devices like the Gear for older adults in independent and assisted living environments, or for autistic/at-risk children. This is not an inconsistently supported AT&T ForHealth [TTA 5 Feb] or a failed Lifecomm [TTA 14 Oct 13], but an entirely different business model. Reader thoughts?  

More on MWC: Washington Post

Update 28 February: The Galaxy S5’s heart rate sensor may make it a medical device in the eyes of South Korea’s health agency, forcing the phone to be regulated and reviewed in the ROK before its 11 April worldwide release. FierceMedicalDevices. Hat tip to @DrDave01 (Dr. David Albert of AliveCor) and David Doherty of @mhealthinsight via Twitter.

AliveCor links with Practice Fusion

Breathlessly noted in today’s mHealth blogosphere is AliveCor’s partnership announcement with EHR giant Practice Fusion to integrate their patient-generated ECG information. According to the release, the 100,000 physician base of Practice Fusion will have the option to import AliveCor ECG data into patient records. This is a major breakthrough for AliveCor, which just gained FDA over-the-counter clearance for its snap-on case [TTA 11 Feb]. The AliveECG app also enables physicians to obtain an expert review of the ECG data, annotate and electronically transfer this data into the EHR within seconds. Is this the confirmation that AliveCor is the ‘product of the year’ as the Forbes article puts it? Or just an indicator where mHealth with clinical quality could be going?  (Let’s see if other EHRs like Athenahealth join the trend.) Release

$3,300 annual savings from diabetes monitoring: study

A study published in this month’s Endocrinology (US) demonstrated a $3,300 per person annual reduction in employee healthcare costs in a trial of the Telcare mHealthmonitoring system in conjunction with ActiveCare data analytics used for an employee diabetes management program (N=143). The amount was the average decrease in 12 month claims between 2011 and 2012 for those who enrolled and used the program, versus those who enrolled but did not use the program demonstrated a $282 per person increase. Telcare press release, TouchEndocrinology.com (abstract/text) Hat tip to Editor Toni

Three conferences coming up soon

There are three telehealth conferences coming up in March and April which are noteworthy.

The Australian Telehealth Conference 2014 is on the 19th and 20th March in Melbourne. It is brought together by a set of key organisations in the field: the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA), the Allied Health Professions Australia, the Australasian Telehealth Society, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, the Australian Medicare Local Alliance, the Health Information Management Association of Australia and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Keynote presentations cover mHealth, Integreated Care, Rural Medicine, Law and others. More info is on the ATC 2014 website.

Next up, from 30 March to 1 April the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Summit 2014, in Fredericksburg, VA (USA) will examine ways in which telehealth adds value to patients, practitioners, hospitals etc. Participants will explore the concept of value-add through an interactive program. More on this is on the MATRC 2014 website.

Finally we have the California Telehealth Network 2014 Summit on April 28 and 29 in Newport, CA. Subtitled Growing California’s Connections, this is the second annual event and will build upon information, ideas and practice with even more presentations, educational sessions and networking opportunities. More on CTN 2014 Summit website.

Dr. Topol in the AT&T house: a reboot of ForHealth?

HIMSS14 will tell. The big news that kicked off this snow-bound week in large parts of the US was Dr. Eric Topol joining Dallas, Texas-based AT&T ForHealth as Chief Medical Advisor. Well-known for his personality and evangelism of all things mHealthy, certainly Dr. Topol lends a certain star power to Big Blue’s efforts in this area–a shine that went completely dark in 2013 after a promising start in 2011 and strong partnering moves in 2012 (Alere and WellDoc diabetes management TTA 10 Aug 12VRI monitoring in May). The quietude of 2013 deserves a closer look. Dr. Geeta Nayyar joined with fanfare in September 2011 as Chief Medical Information Officer and departed exactly two years later to join engagement company PatientPoint with the same title. ForHealth made no waves at International CES save for being an example in the controversial ‘sponsored data’ plan announcement (GeekWire). Even finding ForHealth on the AT&T website is not easy. It is buried under ‘Business>>Enterprise Business‘ and then in a dogpile of footer links as ‘Healthcare Solutions‘–not ForHealth. In marketing, this is a state usually termed ‘dead in the water.’ The fact that Dr. Topol is remaining as Chief Academic Officer at Scripps Health also indicates that he is no direct replacement for Dr. Nayyar, despite being cited by AT&T SVP Chris Hill as a “change agent” who will help “drive our competitive strategy”. We’ll see if HIMSS14 on 23-27 February where AT&T will be exhibiting and their subsequent activity marks a genuine reboot for ForHealth, putting Dr. Topol’s impressive abilities to work beyond a twinkle. AT&T press release, MedCityNews article

“mHealth: smartphones as saviours?” webcast Thurs 6 Feb

Taking place at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, this seminar will be livestreamed starting tomorrow at 3:30pm UK time (10:30am Eastern Time US). Watch it below or at this YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoVxgkE02V0  A recorded version will be available on Friday morning. (90 minutes)

This seminar is part of the Oxford Martin School Hilary Term seminar series: Blurring the lines: the changing dynamics between man and machine

Cheap, accessible and easy to use, mobile phones are everywhere. With the advent of the smartphone has come a new kind of healthcare – mHealth – in which mobiles are playing a key role in monitoring and improving the health of communities around the globe. Linking remote communities in developing countries with professional healthcare, mobile phones are helping break down long-standing barriers to accessing treatment. mHealth is also growing in developed countries, helping patients to monitor and manage their own health, and thereby reducing pressure on health services. According to the World Health Organisation the burden of deaths from non-communicable diseases will climb from 28 per cent in 2008 to 46 per cent by 2030. The George Institute for Global Health is investing in research into innovative new strategies for tackling the burden of chronic disease.

Speakers: Dr Fred Hersch, James Martin Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health, Oxford Martin School: Dr Gari Clifford, James Martin Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health, Oxford Martin School

Join in on twitter with #humantech

Hat tip to Sally Stewart, Communications and Media Officer of the Oxford Martin School.

[This video is no longer available on this site but may be findable via an internet search]

An essential link to mHealth devices and apps?

Guest columnist Lois Drapin thinks so. She shares her insights on Validic, an emerging company in data integration for payers, providers, preventive wellness companies and pharma;how it evolved from its original concept in consumer health engagement, along with a few pointers its founders have for fellow entrepreneurs.

One of the keystone aspects of “ecosystems” is interoperability and this also applies to the data pipeline that flows from health apps and devices to the appropriate segment of the healthcare delivery system, and eventually, to the users—patients, consumers and/or medical professionals such as physicians and nurses or other clinicians. By now, we all know that the capture and analytics for both “big” and “small” health data are business imperatives for healthcare in the US. With data of this nature, we can embrace our understanding of behavioral change at the individual and population levels. The anticipated outcomes of behavioral change may power operational and cost efficiencies in the healthcare industry.

But data will no longer come from just inside the healthcare delivery system. In addition to the changing technology enablement within the health system, as we all know, data will flow from many things—in fact, The Internet of Things (IoT). This means that data that relates to our lifestyle, wellness and health will pour from the many types of wearable devices not now connected to the heath delivery system. In addition to our computers, tablets, phablets and smartphones, are the many sensors paired with tech innovations such as the wearables— from wristbands, smartwatches, clothing (from shoes to headbands), glasses, contacts, and pendants — to things such as refrigerators, clocks, mattresses, scales, coffee pots, cars, and even, toilets…all of which are predicted to become an important market in the coming years.

Validic, based in Durham, NC, has put itself smack in the middle of that market (more…)

Advanced haptics advancing behavioral mHealth

Haptics is the feedback you receive through a sense of touch–think of the slight vibration you receive on a mobile touchscreen when you touch a ‘button’. Marry haptics to behavioral health and remote monitoring, and you have some interesting devices from MIT’s Touch Lab (formally the Laboratory for Human and Machine Haptics) which have reached clinical testing stage. The four are Touch Me, Squeeze Me, Hurt Me, and Cool Me Down. Touch Me is an array of sensors that vibrate at the caregiver’s remote command to simulate touch. The related Squeeze Me is a vest that inflates, also remotely controlled, to simulate holding, similar to the T.Ware T-Jacket vest [TTA 22 Mar]. Both are for autistic children or those with sensory processing disorders. The touch is to calm and reassure them. Hurt Me is not for the local “dungeon” or Client #9–it’s to assist in the therapy of those who deliberately harm themselves such as ‘cutters’ by simulating the feeling of being bitten on the arm. The pins against the skin deliver controlled pain without breaking the skin. (more…)

Net neutrality’s end and effect on telehealth (US)

With its recent decision in ending ‘net neutrality’ as directed in the FCC‘s 2010 Open Internet Order, the (Washington) DC Circuit Court of Appeals has changed the playing field for mHealth. The FCC regulation treated internet service providers (ISPs) like telecommunications companies by enforcing telecom ‘common carriage’ requirements that prevented ISPs from blocking or discriminating against types or providers of internet traffic. The current situation is now a double-edged sword for the ISPs: on one edge, ISPs such as Verizon, Comcast or Charter won, because they now can charge fees to, slow down or demand revenue sharing of high-demand content originators (Netflix) which also use a lot of bandwidth; the other edge is that the court affirmed that the FCC regulates the relationship between the two.

The meaning for mHealth? The amount of health data carried over the internet is growing exponentially and dependent on speed. If internet carriage can be held up for small providers to make way for high-paying content, it can and will change the revenue model for mHealth. From clinicians to fitness buffs, everyone wants their data right now. It may impact lower-income people and home health which uses internet tracking for healthcare. But it may also have a stimulative effect on ISPs–more bandwidth and speed means more revenue. How does this compare to UK/Europe/Asia/Oceania regulation? What do you see as the outcome?

More here: mHealth after net neutrality: Innovation drain or gain? (GovernmentHealthIT)Three Dangers of Losing Net Neutrality That Nobody’s Talking About (Wired)Net Neutrality is Dead! Long Live Net Neutrality! (Wall Street Journal)  And an advocate of Congress getting involved (!) is Greg Slabodkin in FierceMobileHealthcareHat tip to Editor Charles Lowe for pointing out the potential effect on mHealth.

Telecare – time to lose the last “e”?

Many years ago when I co-founded eForum to promote what was then called “eGovernment”, it was common for smart speakers to begin their conference presentations by saying that it’d soon be plain “government”, which indeed it has been now for many years; around the world, government sector workers have embraced technology to offer huge improvements in quality of service to citizens at reduced cost. Sadly health services have proved far more resistant to the beneficial use of technology, so eHealth & mHealth seem likely to take rather longer to lose their prefixes, in spite of pleas from the VA. If any support for this view was needed, the telehealth news from the flat earth society of a recent survey of GPs (more…)

mHealth Summit 2013: Verizon’s role in the HIT ecosystem

Peter Tippett, MD, PhD Talks Verizon’s Role in the Health IT Ecosystem

Lois Drapin, Founder & CEO of The Drapin Group, in the third of her post 2013 mHealth Summit insights, speaks with CMO and VP of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Peter Tippett, MD, PhD to share his insights on expanding Verizon’s role in the health IT ecosystem during the 2013 mHealth Summit. This article is courtesy of HIT Consultant.

I was happy to hear that Peter Tippett, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Verizon Enterprise Solutions put aside thirty minutes for an interview with me at the mHealth Summit. I arrived at the large Verizon booth and was immediately greeted by one of my favorite women in health technology, Nancy M. Green, Managing Principal of Healthcare Practice at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Disruptive Women in Health Care, a group founded by Robin Strongin, just announced their list of Disruptive Women to Watch in 2014 and Nancy is on that list. Congrats goes out to Nancy… and to Dr. Tippett for having one of these top women on his team. We like that.

I always ask people to share a little about themselves before we talk business. (more…)

mHealth data privacy: a worrying finding

We reported last August on a YouGov poll that found nine out of ten people not knowing what the term ‘telehealth’ meant.  Now they’ve been at it again, this time looking at mHealth, sponsored by Pinsent Masons.  From a poll of 2000 people, they found that:

“Prior to being given a definition of mHealth, the majority (73%) of respondents didn’t know what the term meant, and when explained 90% stated they never used mHealth services, despite the examples given including established applications such as fitness apps.”

Perhaps there’s a little encouragement (more…)

mHealth Summit 2013: The Velocity of Big

Lois Drapin, Founder & CEO of The Drapin Group, provides her post 2013 mHealth Summit insights on how IMS Health plans to move mHealth into a more ‘industrialized’ environment for mHealth apps. This is the second of her dispatches, courtesy of HIT Consultant.

The first time I heard Stefan Linn, Senior Vice President in Strategy & Global Pharma Solutions at IMS Health, pair the words industrial and mHealth in the first few minutes of his address in the Potomac Ballroom as part of the Executive Spotlights session on December 10th at the 2013 mHealth Summit, it made me sit up and listen more carefully. The words seemed to be odd companions, and oddly out of place in a healthcare conference. During the course of his speech, I heard those words three more times in some of its iterations— industrialized, industrializing, and industrialization with mHealth. It went something like this:

“What’s really needed here is to take on a large scale… to take mHealth forward into a kind of industrial world where we have standards, where we have safety and where we have adequate measurement of outcomes of mHealth applications.”

“So… there are a lot of folks taking on the world to a more industrialized environment, but certainly physicians [are] experimenting with this.”

“So… where does IMS fit in all of this? You may know that IMS Health is considered one of the best in the world around industrializing health informatics and analytics.”

“So…we think that this can make substantial contribution to the industrialization of mHealth.”

If you have ever seen Terry Gilliam’s 1986 film Brazil, (more…)

Additional views on the mHealth Summit

HISTalk:I’ve been at the conference for two days and it still doesn’t have a clear identity in my mind. Others told me the same thing – it’s unfocused and hard to describe, much like “mHealth” itself.” The anonymous editor of this hospital HIT-oriented blog scores the conference for lack of provider-oriented content and participants, being a ‘speed-dating’ event for companies and investors (the original governmental/NGO/non-profit focus utterly swamped by the commercial), and the event management (which is largely out of the organizers’ hands and in the site’s). Part of the confusion may well be the fact that mHealth is 1) exploding and 2) transitioning (‘m’ going the way of ‘e’ in Health). A second article underneath the main from an anonymous CIO criticizes many of the sessions for being mislabeled, the Executive Breakfast for being underserved–and Tuesday was an improvement over Monday. Food a major complaint!

You do have to wonder if the GSMA writer attended a different conference because he resolutely focuses on wireless and NGO/social organization mHealth frameworks. An interesting but limited perspective. And the article includes a major error: Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm did not deliver the opening keynote as originally listed, but Rick Valencia of Qualcomm Life. One Qualcomm as good as another? Commercial Models to the Forefront: Key trends at mHealth Summit 2013 (GSMA.com)

Sunday’s WIPJam (Wireless Industry Partnership) with 20+ speakers seems to have been the in place for the mobile developer crowd, with Mobile Development 101, mobile trends, 10 ways to fail in first-time app development and more. Seventeen of these presentations are available to view at a Dropbox link here.