Do startups truly threaten the ‘healthcare establishment’?

Or are successful startups fitting into their game? Chris Seper in MedCityNews paints the picture of one side of a quandary. The ‘healthcare establishment’ fundamentally and to its detriment does not understand and is threatened by the startup and innovation process. A startup may begin with an idea which is, in his words, ‘almost always flawed, sometimes deeply’. If the founders are smart, they will test their ideas, validate them and change them appropriately. If not, they will fail. But it is easier for the Establishment to point at the most egregious of the bad ideas and use them to rationalize the status quo.

But being congenital contrarians, we paint the house on the other side of the street. Has the Establishment caught up with–or in some cases, co-opted startups, making them and their funders ‘do their diligence’ and be more cautious before emerging? This Editor would argue yes, and largely for the better.

**The ‘Wild West’ days are over. A few years ago, a truly bad or deeply flawed health tech idea or could easily find funding, because it was all blank slate, new and ‘transformative’.The sexiest hooks were Quantified Self, sleep, employer health incentives, interactive coaching, genomics, app prescribing and (last) wearables. A lot of founders imagined themselves as the Steve Jobs of Healthcare, down to the black turtleneck. Now there is a history of success and failure. The railroads reached the dusty frontier towns.

**There’s now a ‘Startup Establishment’. National accelerators (more…)

Wearable technology – so much choice, so much data to sell?

Vandrico has recently updated its List of Wearable Devices which now features (at the time of this post) 118 such items, plus some interesting analysis.  It is indeed a most comprehensive and impressive listing, that underlines the growing importance of this sector. And still there are others, such as Apple, apparently still to join.

One aspect not mentioned by Vandrico, which is becoming increasingly concerning is the extent to which the business models of such apps might involve selling persona fitness data.  In spite of denials, this Mother Jones article suggests that worries persist. iMedicalApps reports that the practice is already well established with medical apps used by physicians in the US (more…)

The sea of security ‘red flags’ that is

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”170″ /]It’s just a fact of life
That no one cares to mention
She wasn’t very good
But she had good intentions

—Lyle Lovett, ‘Good Intentions’

Confirmed by experts to the more-than-mainstream Christian Science Monitor are the layers of insecurity completely feasible on the current website–and the 14 state (plus DC) websites feeding into the Federal health insurance exchange and up into the mysterious hub linked to other Federal agencies. is supposed to adhere to NIST standards but these are no guarantee–and the state sites are not required to. ‘Red flags’ cited by experts (aside from ‘Wildman’ John McAfee) make for interesting reading:

  • Cross-site request forgery
  • ‘Clickjacking’–an invisible layer over the legitimate website
  • Cookie theft, and not by the Cookie Monster
  • Problematic verification from state to Federal, from legitimate third-party assistance, from brokers and so on
  • Log in fraud–the happy hunting ground of hackers and DDOS attacks

Warnings were apparent as early as 2 October [TTA 8 Oct]. And as our later coverage has explained, undoing all of this is near-impossible even with funding, in the less-than-a-month window till the crash time deadline in mid-November and then early January. Obamacare website security called ‘outrageous’: How safe is it? (+video)

Our 11-14 October compilation is a narrative and summary of major articles on the failure of the website and its consequences like none you will see elsewhere.

Health IT security gets a boost in Texas

Unlike the rampant data insecurity present in the state health insurance exchanges and the Federal, Texas is moving forward to secure data from providers within the state. The Texas Health Services Authority and the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) are developing and managing the Texas Covered Entity Privacy and Security Certification Program. Organizations must assess their compliance with privacy and security regulations, and if they do will receive a certification recommendation from HITRUST. According to iHealthBeat quoting a VP there, how this is implemented will have repercussions far beyond the state. A major goal, according to Health Data Management, is to reduce data breaches which are levied in Texas alone between $5,000 and $1.5 million–not including HHS.  Also Modern Healthcare, HITRUST process page.

Apps World

22-23 October 2013, Earls Court 2, London

While this event is all about the apps and M2M in every area, the organizers are reaching out to the health tech area in both the exhibition and with speakers such as Subir Mondal, Deputy Director IS, NHS – Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, myHealthPal and BleepBleeps. Parts are free with registration, others are paid. Keynote speakers include Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple at the free Developer World. The free part also includes the 250-exhibitor expo along with 3 keynote talks within the 5 free-to-attend workshops (registration here). The Enterprise World speaker track on both days is free and includes the NHS speaker on security. M2M and Automotive is a paid track and includes content (Health & Wearables, Connected Car) relating to telehealth with myHealthPal and BleepBleeps.  Passes range from £250 (networking) to £995 (2 day Gold). According to a posting on LinkedIn, there is a 25 percent savings when you use this code for registration: LINKEDIN25. More information here.