It is less than eight weeks to ATA 2016 14-17 May and a reminder it’s time to register for this leading telemedicine and telehealth conference. Young professionals 35 and younger can save 37 percent on their registration, which they can promptly spend in Minneapolis. There are local delicacies like the Juicy Lucy (cheese-stuffed burger), which can be washed down with a drink at the Art Deco bar in the W Foshay. There’s always retail therapy at the Mall of America, which is a bit of a drive out of town. More local is walking off the calories in a visit to the Mill City Museum or Minnehaha Park. TTA is a media partner of #ATA2016. See sidebar for our link to information and registration.
On the European calendar, a reminder for Med-e-Tel Luxembourg on 6-8 April sponsored by ISfTeH (International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth). Online registration is still available through 1 April. Back in the US, at the same time is HX Refactored in Boston, a Health 2.0 conference on 5-6 April; this Editor attended when it was in Brooklyn. HealthImpact East in NYC, a tightly organized one day conference organized by Purpose Events, is on 17 May.
Last Wednesday in London, City University London opened their City TECS (Technology Enabled Care Studio) Smart Home Facility. According to the article, it’s one of the first ‘smart homes’ opened by a UK university, though this Editor must note that in the US, it was a phenomenon of the mid-2000s that popped up and endures today at universities like Florida, George Mason, Rochester, Iowa State and Washington State. It encompasses telehealth, telecare and complements the existing Clinical Skills Suite for healthcare education. A small disappointment is the apparent lack of diversity in the kit, as Tunstall and Philips are the only companies mentioned. News-Medical.net
A note to this Editor had details on an event a little outside our usual frame; the 2 June conference in Edinburgh organized by Scotland Policy Conferences, ‘Next steps for palliative and end of life care: access, delivery and integration’. “The recently published Strategic Framework for Action outlines standards and commitments for the palliative and end of life care people in Scotland can expect…including service improvement, early identification of needs and staff education.” Information and registration.
Add 4,500 miles and have breakfast in Dallas hosted by the always-interesting Hubert Zajicek at the Health Wildcatters seed accelerator. The monthly ‘Pulse’ event features education from a guest speaker, a local health startup’s pitch their company and networking. Next one up is 14 April. More information and subscription here.
No deal yet between insurer giants. Cigna turned down a $53.8 billion bid from Anthem. According to Healthcare Finance, concerns ranged from corporate governance problems, their membership in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the probable chairman’s (from the Anthem side) qualifications and data security (ahem!). Given that Anthem’s 60 million record breach was an inadvertent inside job [TTA 11 Feb], the last is perfectly understandable. But the door appears to be open for the emollient of additional money (to mix a metaphor). Extra: a tart take on this from the WSJ…..Jaguar is looking to increase driving safety by reading your brain waves to detect if you are distracted or daydreaming, via sensors embedded into the steering wheel. It’s based on technology used by NASA and the US bobsled team. They are also working on mood enhancing lighting and a predictive system to speed your interactions with the dashboard to minimize eyes off the road. But will these detect if you feel good to be bad, as their adverts say? Gizmag….The FT gets into digital health via business, profiling startups such as Lyra Health, Genomics England and Heartflow, as well as 23andme and Google X (including the glucose-detecting contact lens we profiled 18 months ago. Hat tips to Eric Topol and David Doherty (mHealth Insight) via Twitter….The NY Times looks at the dark side of ‘senior independence’ with a group of NYC homebound seniors, but other than tut-tutting the desire of older mainly limited income New Yorkers to remain in familiar surroundings, our ‘national celebration of independence’ (!) and not to be institutionalized (their words), the article doesn’t offer much in the way of solutions. And solutions are badly needed for the nearly 2 million over 65 who rarely or never leave their homes, because not all of them will be in assisted living. Hat tip to Joseph Coughlin of MIT AgeLab via Twitter…. But in Australia, they’re exploring ‘future proofing’ and ‘dignity enabling’ homes for an aging population to make them more livable and accessible, via landscaped ramps, larger bathrooms, and sensor rich floors that connect to gait tracking and analysis. Smart Homes 2.0. Sydney Morning Herald…..Neil Versel over at his new MedCityNews stand reports on Doctor On Demand‘s test of tablet-based medical kiosks adjacent to the pharmacy department at four Wegman’s grocery stores here in the Northeast. Is Weis Market far behind?….And Fitbit has a bit part in ‘Law and Order’…well, not the TV show in perpetual reruns, but in a real-life case in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania which is not all Amish farms, black carriages and the so-called Amish Mafia. The police used Fitbit activity data to determine that a local resident (and Fitbit wearer), who claimed she was raped by a stranger, staged the crime scene with overturned furniture, a knife, and a bottle of vodka in her home. ABC27 News via David Lee Scher.
Is the best design for older people and the disabled not specifically designed for them, but an adaptation of basic good design? Laurie Orlov in one of her apt Aging In Place Technology Watch articles questions the market viability of all those specially designed products we’ve seen since, say 2008. We recall ‘smart homes’, senior desktop computers, simplified phones and the robot caregivers which never seem to get past the prototype stage [TTA 25 July 14]. Her POV is that in most cases ‘designing for all ages is feasible today’ except for healthcare–durable medical equipment (DME) and healthcare delivery (and,this Editor would add, monitoring). One of her commenters points out that not everything can be designed ‘universally’, linking to this excellent article from Smashing on guidelines for designing tech to be used by those over 50. The section on blue color perception was especially interesting, as blue is healthcare’s #1 color. I would also point out that design which avoids stigma (as in ‘it screams OLD’) and has good aesthetics also wins.
Is AARP admitting that ‘tech designed for seniors’ is not a winning notion, as this May’s Life@50+ National Event in Miami is likely the last national event they sponsor? And it would be interesting to go back to the previous ‘Live Pitches’ to see how they are doing. Ms Orlov profiles this year’s five.