Chronic condition monitoring is suddenly hot. UVA has been a telehealth pioneer going back to the early oughts, with smart homes, sensor based monitoring, and remote patient monitoring. Their latest initiatives through the UVA Health System focus on preventing or managing chronic conditions. It will include remote monitoring for patients with diabetes, screenings for patients with diabetic retinopathy, home-based cardiac rehabilitation programs for heart failure patients and streamlined access by primary care physicians to specialists through electronic based consults. The program will also include specialized trainings for health care providers.
The programs are being funded by a $750,000 grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health. UVA press release, Mobihealthnews
Mobihealthnews earlier noted that Doctor on Demand, a smaller commercial telehealth company, is also expanding in the management of chronic conditions through a new service, Synapse, that creates a digital medical home for personal data. This data can include everything from what is generated by fitness trackers to blood pressure monitors. The data can be directly shared with a provider or across health information exchanges and EMRs. Doctor on Demand plans to use this longitudinal data to identify gaps in care and increase access to healthcare services–and also integrate it into existing payer and employer networks.
This Editor recalls that this was a starting point for telehealth and remote patient monitoring as far back as 2003, but somehow got lost in the whiz-bang gadget, Quantified Self, and tablets for everything fog. Back to where we started, but with many more tools and a larger framework.
Virginia closes in on including remote patient monitoring in telehealth law. Two bills in the Virginia legislature, House Bill 1970 and Senate Bill 1221, include remote patient monitoring (RPM) within their present telehealth and telemedicine guidelines and payment in state commercial insurance and the commonwealth’s Medicaid program. It is currently moving forward in House and Senate committees with amendments and. RPM is defined as “the delivery of home health services using telecommunications technology to enhance the delivery of home health care, including monitoring of clinical patient data….” Both were filed on 9 January. Virginia was an early adopter of parity payment of telemedicine with in-person visits. The University of Virginia has been a pioneer in telehealth research and is the home for the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center. mHealth Intelligence
Chichester Careline switches to PPP Taking Care. Chichester Careline is currently a 24/7 care line services provided by Chichester District Council. Starting 1 March, PPP Taking Care, part of AXA PPP Healthcare, will manage the service. According to the Chichester release, costs will remain the same, technology will be upgraded, and telecare services will be added. Over the past 35 years, Chichester Careline has assisted over 1 million people across Britain.
Sensyne collaborates with University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute (BDI) on chronic disease. The three-year program will use Sensyne’s artificial intelligence for research on chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Sensyne analyzes large databases of anonymized patient data in collaboration with NHS Trusts. BDI’s expertise is in population health, clinical informatics and machine learning. Their joint research will concentrate on two major elements within long-term chronic disease to derive new datasets: automating physician notes into a structure which can be analyzed by AI and integrating it into remote patient monitoring. Release.
Tunstall partners with Digital Health & Care Institute Scotland. The partnership is in the Next Generation Solutions for Healthy Ageing cluster. Digital Health & Care supports the Scottish Government’s TEC Programme and the Digital Telecare Workstream. The program’s goals are to help Scots live longer, healthier lives and also create jobs. Building Better Healthcare UK
Teledermatology powered by machine learning helps to solve a specialist shortage in São Paolo. Brazil has nationalized healthcare which has nowhere near enough specialists. São is a city with 20 million inhabitants, so large and spread out that when the aircraft crew announces that they are on approach to the airport, it takes two hours to touch the runway. The dermatology waitlist was up to 60,000 patients, each waiting 18 months to see a doctor. The solution: call every patient and instruct them to go to a doctor or nurse to take a picture of the skin condition. The photo is then analyzed and prioritized by an algorithm, with a check by dermatologists, to determine level of treatment. Thirty percent needed to see a dermatologist, only 3 percent needed a biopsy. Accuracy level is about 80 percent, and plans are in progress to scale it to the rest of Brazil. Mobihealthnews.
In last week’s Senate subcommittee hearings on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Universal Broadband Fund and Rural Healthcare (RHC) program, the University of Virginia’s Center for Telehealth chalked up some substantial results confirming the effectiveness of telemedicine in rural areas. In advocating further funding for an expansion of the program, they presented the following:
- A 40 percent reduction in 30-day same cause hospital readmissions for patients with heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, stroke, and joint replacement
- It enabled over 65,000 live interactive patient consultations and follow-up visits with high definition video within 60 different clinical subspecialties
- Their home remote monitoring program included over 3,000 patients and screened more than 2,500 patients with diabetes for retinopathy
- UVA delivered 100,000 teleradiology consults and provider-to-provider consults supported by the Epic EHR.
The UVA analysis also quantified travel savings in areas where medical and hospital care can be hours away–17 million miles of rural travel including 200,000 miles by high-risk pregnant mothers. For these mothers, NICU hospital days for the infants born to these patients were reduced by 39 percent compared to control patients and patient no-shows by 62 percent.
Karen Rheuban, MD, director and co-founder of the UVA Telehealth Center, recommended that the FCC continue to fund the RHC’s $400 million budget, with the caveat of exploring additional federal revenues should that budget be reduced. She also recommended that Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services be increased, the addition of wireless technologies, and including emergency providers and community paramedics in RHC funding. mHealth Intelligence, Subcommittee information and hearing video (archived webcast)
A victory in this perpetual Battle of Stalingrad? Three universities, plus Dublin-based Medtronic, are developing devices that may bring a commercial artificial pancreas for Type 1 diabetics to market within the next few years. Medtronic is estimating that their system could be in market by 2017. The University of Virginia‘s Center for Diabetes Technology has a final clinical trial this summer on the inControl system which is being commercialized by start-up company TypeZero Technologies. Other research programs are underway at Cambridge University and Boston University, on a product that will measure both insulin and glucagon. Type 1 diabetics produce no insulin, making their lives literally dependent on close glucose monitoring and correct insulin delivery. These are “closed-loop” systems, consisting of a pump worn outside the body, a continuous glucose monitor, which measures glucose from fluid under the skin, and a device that runs continuous algorithms to determine insulin delivery. Much of this research has been funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Perhaps there will be a better and safer way soon to fight this perpetual Battle of Stalingrad for those with Type 1 diabetes. CNBC
Neil Versel (again) profiles a mobile platform that may be the start of the end of the Continuing Battle of Stalingrad for type 1 diabetes patients. The prototype system, Diabetes Assistant (DiAs), is a closed-loop system which combines a modified Android phone with wirelessly connected wearables attached on the skin–Dexcom glucose monitors and Insulet OmniPod insulin pumps- to effectively act as an artificial pancreas. It was developed by University of Virginia’s Center for Diabetes Technology with funding via The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Findings of the 20 patients monitored were initially presented at June’s American Diabetes Association’s annual scientific meeting and published in the July edition of the journal Diabetes Care (PDF does not require subscription). The system was designed by an international team: Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif., University of Padova in Italy and the University of Montpellier in France. Tests continued with summer campers and the integration of Bluetooth LE into the connectivity system. Mobihealthnews article.
But can this small miracle of a system be hacked–and can providers be held accountable? This scary thought of ‘harm or death by hacking’, with the example given of an insulin pump gone awry–was tagged at the 2011 Hacker’s Ball, a/k/a Black Hat USA by Jerome Radcliffe [yes, in TTA back in August 2011]. The late Barnaby Jack was also on the medical device hack track. The danger is only now entering the consciousness of medical administrators and the industry press in mainstream venues such as Information Week. Are Providers Liable If Hacked Medical Device Harms A Patient? (Healthcare Technology Online). Also Kevin Coleman in Information Week tells more about the liability providers may find themselves in if they don’t update their systems.
Both the diabetes closed-loop systems under development (Diabetes Assistant is one of three) and the hacking threat were addressed by Contributing Editor Charles earlier this month [TTA 5 August] in his examination of how systems should move from decision support to decision taking in order to truly reduce patient or caregiver burden.