“Mainstreaming medical apps; reducing NHS costs; improving patient outcomes” – a brief summary

What follows is a brief summary of the presentations given at the Royal Society of Medicine’s third “Appday”, held on 9th April 2015. All three events have been sell-outs.

Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development at BSI, opened the event with an excellent presentation on the then shortly-to-be-finalised PAS 277 on mHealth apps (now available, free, here). She particularly welcomed the opportunity to present to clinicians, as too often her audience was primarily technologists. The presentation was especially impressive because Anne had only agreed to do the presentation the previous Friday, following realisation by both MHRA & NICE that proximity to the election meant neither could present. Anne explained that PAS 277, as a Publicly Available Specification, is not mandatory – it is essentially a checklist for developers and purchasers of medical apps to consider.

Julie Bretland, CEO of OurMobileHealth, then presented on the preliminary conclusions of the NIB Workstream 1.2 on how best to approve medical apps. (more…)

Should patients manage their own care records? RSM 4th June

Like the banking industry 10-15 years ago, Healthcare providers are coming to realise that if they start to provide intuitive software that can be used on consumer devices, then people (patients) will start to do more of the work (for free) that the Healthcare Industry currently has to pay for. These unpaid workers will be motivated by a desire for greater transparency of their own health and care information, and the ability to manage that information in the most efficient and effective ways possible; with the ultimate aim of improving their care quality and overall wellness.

This means that they will need something other than an EHR to do this, something that is constructed with the service user in mind, not the clinician. Something that makes it easy for them to see the interactions that they have had, the resultant actions, and the future planned interactions that are to come. Something that when they enter the highly fragmented world of UK care provision, allows them to have immediate access to the core elements of information that any other care provider would need. (more…)

Important: DHACA’s response to the RCP advice on medical apps

The Royal College of Physicians has just published app guidance that, according to EHI “doctors should only use medical apps with an official CE mark”. EHI goes on to clarify that the guidance “applies to medical apps that can be classed as medical devices, which are bound by EU law to carry the mark.”

The Digital Health & Care Alliance (DHACA), of which this reviewer is Managing Director, is extremely concerned that this advice may seriously impact on the beneficial use of medical apps in the UK as it places the onus of deciding whether an app is a medical device on individual clinicians, a decision that at times even experienced MHRA personnel can equivocate on.

As the original research done by this editor on the topic of medical app take-up demonstrated, clinicians (more…)

The Future of Medicine – Technology and the Role of the Doctor in 2025: May 6th

Come to this RSM/IET jointly organised event on May 6th in London for a rare glimpse of what technology may do for the role of the doctor in ten years’ time. We have a fabulous line-up of academics, clinicians and entrepreneurs who are all working on really exciting breakthroughs that will profoundly change the way healthcare is provided over the next ten years.

First off is Prof Ian Kunkler (Consultant Clinical Oncologist & Professor in Clinical Oncology at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre) who will set the scene for the day. He will be followed by Prof Joachim Gross (Chair of Systems Neuroscience, Acting Director of  the Centre  for Cognitive Neuroimaging  and Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, University of Glasgow) who will be discussing Magnetoencephalopathy (MEG) Signal AnalysisDr David Clifton (Lecturer, Department of Engineering Science & Computational Informatics Group, University of Oxford) will then give a talk on Real-time Patient Monitoring. Finally in this section on Signals, Prof Bill Sandham (Managing Director, Scotsig; Director, Diabetes Technology Research, HCi Viocare; Visiting Professor, University of Strathclyde & Javeriana University, Colombia) will talk on Biosignal Processing and Analysis.

After the break, the subject turns to Imaging, where there will be two speakers (more…)

RSM’s Medical Apps one-day conference 9th April – last call

The next RSM event, entitled “Mainstreaming medical apps; reducing NHS costs; improving patient outcomes” is on 9th April, where there are still a few spaces left. This one-day conference will build on the last two years’ sell-out one-day conferences on medical apps at the RSM.

This year as medical apps are coming of age, the focus is on the critical aspects of mainstreaming them, in particular the various UK and EU regulatory issues that need managing in order to enable apps to be recommended or prescribed with confidence by clinicians. This will also include examples of ground- breaking medical apps as well as the use of electronic games to promote health and wellbeing.

Speakers on the regulatory side include, from the UK Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE, and Jo Hagan-Brown & Dr Neil McGuire from the MHRA, and from the European Commission Pēteris Zilgalvis, Head of Unit for Health and Well-being. Julian Hitchcock from lawyers Lawford Davies Denoon will give another of his excellent talks summarising the regulatory position from a user’s point of view, Dr Richard Brady will update us on bad apps and Julie Bretland will describe progress on the National Information Board’s work on how best to evaluate medical apps.

From the patient perspective, Alex Wyke will be talking about developing guidelines for good practice in health apps and Dr Tom Lewis from Warwick (in place of Prof Jeremy Wyatt now sadly unable to attend) will be talking about how best to evidence benefits from apps.

Describing some novel apps will be Professor Ray Meddis, on how to make an iPhone a hearing aid, Professor Susan Michie from UCL on gamification of smoking cessation, Ileana Welte from big White Wall on why mental health is such fertile ground for apps, and Ian Hay describing the challenges of using Android apps to deliver artificial pancreas-like functionality for the GSMA Brussels to Barcelona bike ride.

Should be a great day, and at the RSM’s rates, a tiny fraction of the cost of a commercially-run event!

Book here

Supplier offer

For £50/table, the RSM is also offering SMEs the opportunity to demonstrate their medical apps to the professional audience during refreshment breaks and at lunch (for more information on this offer contact Charlotte on 0207 290 3942). There are just four tables left now.

Mole Detective still available on Google Play Store

Following on from our piece on the action taken by the FTC against two melanoma apps, it has been drawn to this editor’s attention that Mole Detective is still available, for £3.14/download, on the Google Play Store.

The relevant section of the FTC press release says:

Mole Detective Settlement and Lawsuit. Kristi Kimball and her company, New Consumer Solutions LLC, developed and first marketed Mole Detective in January 2012.  U.K.-based Avrom “Avi” Lasarow and his company, L Health Ltd., took over marketing the app in August 2012.  The marketers advertised the app primarily online, where it has sold in the Apple and Google app stores for as much as $4.99.

The settlement with Kimball and her company prohibits them from claiming that a device, such as an app, can detect or diagnose melanoma, unless the representation is truthful, not misleading, and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of human clinical testing of the device. It also prohibits them from making any other misleading or unsubstantiated health claims about a product or service, and requires them to disgorge $3,930.

The agency will pursue a litigated judgment against non-settling defendants Lasarow and his company.

Especially as the organisation marketing the app is UK-based, (more…)

Looking back over Telehealth & Telecare Aware’s predictions for 2014

Looking back over our predictions made on 31st December last year, it’s hard to quibble with any, and worth hanging on to those that didn’t come good this year.

Our first was

Security and data privacy issues will become a serious mHealth issue in 2014; developers failing to take great care over security and privacy issues will risk very adverse publicity and worse.

Job done: that certainly proved correct, with many being exposed as either selling or potentially selling private information. Clinicians were not immune from privacy invasion eitherHere is a US summary of the issues. Attention was drawn to an EU Article 29 data protection opinion (actually published in 2013) that sought to clarify the legal framework applicable to the processing of personal data in the development, distribution and usage of apps on smart devices, and the obligations to take adequate security measures.   Many apps got hacked too, including FDA-approved ones. There were also items, such as this one, demonstrating how complex the law is in this area in the US. In the EU, the arrival of the Data Protection Regulation in 2015 (now some say 2016) will undoubtedly improve data privacy significantly, though the failure to treat data used for health purposes differently from (more…)

Early 2015 healthcare events & awards (UK)

The call for abstracts for Sensors in Medicine 2015 closes on 31st December. The event will be held at the Royal Geographic Society, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2AR on 24 – 26 March 2015. More details here.

There is an event entitled Are Telehealth and Telecare the Answer for Older People with Assisted Living Needs? on Tuesday January 13th 2015, 1 to 2.15pm. The venue is Room C143, Tait Building (Accessible through main University Building, Northampton Square, EC1V 0HB). The speaker is Joe Wherton, Senior Research Fellow, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London. To book a place please email Doria Pilling: d.s.pilling@city.ac.uk

Entries for the IET’s Healthcare Technologies Student & Early Career Awards close on 16th January. The event takes place on 25th February. More details here.

The Digital Health & Care Alliance (DHACA) (of which this editor is Managing Director) is holding its third Members’ Day in London on 29th January. Members can attend for free. The day will be focused on developing the responses of the nine Special Interest Groups to  the recent NHS paper on Personalised Health & Care to 2020 and on how best to avoid duplicating innovations in the health & care sector (otherwise know as ‘reinventing wheels’). More details and how to book on the new DHACA website (existing members may need to refresh their passwords).

Finally the Royal Society of Medicine’s annual Recent Development in Digital Health 2015 event takes place on February 26th. For the past two years this event, showcasing upcoming healthcare technologies, has been a sellout so early booking here is recommended!

Integrated care – how can technology help? (+ earn 12 CPD points)

There has been a recent rush to book for the Royal Society of Medicine’s two day conference entitled “Integrated Care- how can technology help” on 24th & 25th November, so we are featuring it one more time, especially as it looks to be only one of two health & care technology events this autumn that also offers CPD points (the other is the TSA conference next week).

With a wide range of speakers from across the world, including Adam Darkins (ex VHA, now Medtronics), Robert Wah (President, American Medical Association) as well the UK’s very own Cathy Hassell and Tim Kelsey,  this conference will explore the many ways in which technology can assist in the effective delivery of integrated care to improve patient outcomes, at reduced cost.

The event will cover all the principal care disciplines which so often end up failing to work together to deliver holistic care: primary care, secondary care, mental health, social care and third sector engagement. Even within each of these areas, coordinating care can be challenging when people have to rely on paper and word of mouth to communicate. Technology offers a way of (more…)

The sun is in his heaven and all’s well with the world?

It’s tempting to think that nothing much has changed in the world of telehealth & telecare recently. For example the quality of healthcare PR looks to be unchanged, if the recent announcement by Telehealth Sensors is anything to go by. They claim to have developed  an incontinence sensor that is “a revolutionary advancement in the home healthcare and post-acute care monitoring market.” Careful reading suggests this “revolutionary advancement” is based on the property of water, apparently only recently recognised by Telehealth Sensors,  that it conducts electricity (especially if its impure) – so advanced in fact that such sensors with a rather longer lifetime than the 30 days claimed by Telehealth Sensors, have (more…)

A salmagundi of (mainly free) opportunities to learn more about health technology this autumn (UK)

UKTI Belgium is running an excellent webinar series on eHealth & the European Union. Dates/times are:

  1. Thu, Nov 13, 2014 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM GMT
  2. Tue, Dec 2, 2014 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM GMT

During these webinars they will discuss tools that will enable you and your organisation to react to EU opportunities and challenges. For more information and to register go here.

TechUK and the BCS are running another of their very successful Healthtech Startup Schools, starting on Monday 20 October, ending on Monday 08 December. It is at techUK London , 10 St Bride Street, London , EC4A 4AD. Registration is here.

The University of Bath’s Assisted Living Action Network (ALAN) is holding an evening meeting in Bristol on 22nd October entitled on the flyer “Digital Health Apps: Insider views on the Challenges and Opportunities”, and on the website “Understanding the new regulatory and information environment for health apps”. It is being addressed by many worthies including Rob Turpin of BSI and Graham Worsley, recently retired from the TSB and now assembling a portoflio of really interesting roles. Book here

The GSMA has announced a whole bunch of awards for 2015 – entries are now open. Don’t dismiss them without checking each one out first – for example the Best Connected Life Award has eight categories, each with an award, including Best Mobile Innovation for Health. (If you wonder why this is under opportunities to learn (more…)

Integrated care – how can technology help? Royal Society of Medicine 24 & 25 November

This year the Royal Society of Medicine’s Telemedicine & eHealth Section’s conference, on 24th & 25th November, is on how technology can support integrated care.

The conference will be opened by Cathy Hassell, Deputy Director, Quality Programmes, NHS England, who manages the NHS Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) programme

Other keynote speakers include:

Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information, NHS

Dr Robert Wah, President, American Medical Association

Adam Darkins, Chief Consultant in Care Coordination Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, US

There is a superb line-up of speakers to inform you about the many aspects of using technology to support the effective and efficient delivery of care services. These range from practical integrated care implementations such as that underway in Bradford (presented by Cath Doman) and Airedale (presented by Anne Wagner), through the use of innovative technology such as (more…)

RSM healthcare technology videos online at last!

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/RSM-logo.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]The Royal Society of Medicine’s Telemedicine and eHealth Section at last has its own dedicated website for videos of past presentations. Sadly there is only room for a selection of these, however there are important presentations there from last year’s conference, and from all the three one-day events this year on recent development in digital heath, medical apps and big data: a real treasure trove of knowledge and expertise!

Viewing is free for RSM members (including students), with a small fee for non-members (less than attending the conference though).

RSM event on Clinical Neuroscience and Telemedicine on 24th September (UK)

Through presentations by world-class clinicians, this meeting on 24th September, will examine the wide range of ways in which telemedicine has improved patient outcomes, and reduced cost, in the field of clinical neuroscience. Older readers with long memories may recall a BT television advert from the late ’80’s featuring a neurosurgical consultant in his dressing gown and slippers studying a TV monitor in his home. A CT scan of an acute patient had been transferred in real time for a consultant decision using the ‘Intrans’ system. Since then, there have been many applications of image transfer, which has become the UK norm. This will be discussed, as well as the complexities and difficulties related to encryption.

However telemedicine has applications in a host of other clinical areas. Management of very acute neurological conditions remains the most obvious. ‘Apps’ in head injury management are now commonly used for both record and decision making and are about to be expanded further. We will also be discussing telemedicine intensive management with international experts by Skype. Acute stroke has also been transformed by thrombolytics, although the decision on who to treat must be made in local centres without recourse to neurological experts, so here again telemedicine plays a vital role.

Acute medicine is not the only field where telemedicine has a role. Long term management of disabled patients who find the distance to the specialist centre daunting is also vital. Telemedicine in neuro-rehabilitation is one of a number of areas where the techniques have found a clear place.

This is the fourth event organised by the RSM’s Telemedicine & eHealth Section this year – the previous three have all been extremely well attended; delegates have rated them highly in feedback reports. To book go here – as with all RSM events, prices are far below commercial rates as the Society is a charity dedicated to medical education and the promotion of medical advances.

Of tricorders and lemmings

Telehealth & Telecare Aware is privileged to break the news of the new Tricorder-like device developed by iMonsys called EIMO, a compliment we take to heart. Watch the demo video:

It seems perhaps a trifle churlish therefore to point out that there is similar functionality in other products under development, such as Wello, which looks like it is going to become available about the same time, too. However the Wello slips over your phone so is much less intrusive and, some would say, has more cool. There are of course a bunch of competitors for the Tricorder X prize too, perhaps most famously the Scanadu Scout.

To explain where the lemmings come in, this reviewer went to a Wayra event recently (at which there were some brilliant pitches, especially from Cookiesmart (telepathology), Handle My Health, My Clinical Outcomes, Virtually Free and BreakBad, that we hope to cover in a future blog).

On arrival, the warm-up had already started, given by a financier who asked if anyone remembered Star Trek. He went on to say (more…)

Big Data – Royal Society of Medicine 5th June

Finding the needles in an ever bigger health information haystack – that’s what the latest RSM conference on 5th June is all about.

There is now a mass of data in the NHS accumulated over the past 60 years about health, its delivery, and increasingly about the individual characteristics, personal health and genetic data of individual and massed patients. The novelty is that this data can now be linked up with data from ever more disparate sources to give answers to questions that only yesterday we could barely conceive.

We have access to a vast data volume, faster, and in increasingly varied ways. We have more papers about how to manage it and more tools. Where are the experts? We have moved rapidly from bytes to gigabytes, and now Petabytes (and soon evenbiggerbytes) of data held by health systems about people.

But how can we use this data rationally? How can Big Data analytics help? (more…)