TTA’s Brrrrr Season 3: Oracle Cerner limps again, ransomware fizzles, research on blood microsamples and post-traumatic biomarkers, Dollar General clinics, Google antitrust, more!

 

 

Weekly Update

A potpourri of news this week from Google’s antitrust lawsuit (and 6% layoff) to Dollar General’s clinic pilot with DocGo mobile vans. Ransomware attacks by AlphV/BlackCat fizzled and the DOJ knocked out Hive. Significant research on microsamples of blood and post-traumatic biomarkers published. Oracle has more VA/MHS problems, engineering head departs. Some funding and grants. And did Elizabeth Holmes really attempt to flee the country?

Rounding out week: Oracle Health engineering head departs; Hive ransomware KO’d by DOJ; Google sued by DOJ on antitrust, lays off another 12,000; Pearl and Precision Neuro raise, Enabled Healthcare ADAPT grant
Mid-week news roundup: CVS Health Virtual Primary Care launches, VA’s two-day Oracle Cerner EHR slowdown, and microsampling blood + wearables for multiple tests (Not quite a return for the Theranos concept)
Healthcare cyberattack latest: NextGen EHR ransomwared by AlphV/BlackCat, back to normal – 93% of healthcare orgs had 1-5 ransomware incidents (Expect more of this–it’s a movable war)
Using wearables to monitor biomarkers related to neuropsychiatric symptoms post-traumatic event (Significant research)
Theranos Holmes trial updates: did she book a one-way flight to Mexico last year, or were the prosecutors reckless and wrong? (You decide)
CVS, Walgreens, Walmart….Dollar General health clinics? (A low-risk toe in the clinic water)

It must be Mid-Winter Blues, but the news was fairly light this week–even from the JPMorgan health conference, a soggy SFO affair indeed. (At least the streets were cleaned.) Babylon feels ‘misunderstood’, Teladoc lays off 6%. CVS keeps funding and KillNet keeps threatening IT Havoc. Good news from UKTelehealthcare with TECS help for the digital switchover. Plus ISfTeH’s annual meeting now set for Winnipeg and news from ATA.

Industry org news: ISfTeH International Conference call for presentations, new leaders for ATA Policy Council (Good news!)
UKTelehealthcare launches TECS consultancy in partnership with TECS Advisory (Expert help on the digital switch)
Interesting pickups from JPM on CVS, Talkspace, Veradigm backs Holmusk, ‘misunderstood’ Babylon Health; six takeaways (News from a damp, dreary, insane JPM)
Teladoc laying off 6%, reducing real estate, in move to “balanced growth” and profitability (Nice move if they can do it)
‘KillNet’ Russian hacktivist group targeting US, UK health info in Ukraine revenge: HHS HC3 report (Healthcare becomes a side battle)

A mulligan stew of a week. CVS moving in on primary care with (possibly) Oak Street, funding Carbon Health in-store clinics while the latter downsizes. Walgreens’ VillageMD closed on Summit Health and Teladoc paints a brighter revenue picture with BetterHelp. Rock Health quantified a deflated 2022 year in funding, but M&A/VC investment still proceeds in its ‘boring’ way. Verily, Alphabet’s wandering ‘bet’, finally gets a needed trim. And Theranos is still in the news from appeals to post-prison requirements.

Weekend short takes: Theranos’ Holmes post-prison mental health + more on Shultz and Balwani; global M&A, funding roundup
Rock Health puts a kind-of-positive spin on digital health’s ‘annus horribilis’ 2022–a boring 2023
Mid-week roundup: Teladoc gets BetterHelp to boost Q4 ’22 revenue; fundings for Array, Paytient, Telesair, three others; layoffs hit at Alphabet’s Verily, Cue Health
CVS works their plan in Oak Street Health buy talks, Carbon Health $100M investment + clinic pilot; VillageMD-Summit finalizes (updated)
Theranos trial updates: Holmes’ freedom on appeal bid opposed; Balwani files appeal to conviction

Two surprises not under the Christmas tree or New Year’s hat. The ITC upheld AliveCor patents and damages versus Apple, pending their PTAB appeal, and Amazon got its first state approval for One Medical. As expected, telehealth’s national Medicare reimbursement was extended for two years, setting policy for health plans. And NHS advanced rapid stroke diagnosis with Brainomix trial in 22 hospital trust trial, tripling near-full recoveries to 48%.

Weekend news roundup: GE Healthcare spins off, adds CTO; Allscripts now Veradigm; NHS Brainomix AI stroke trial success; Withings home urine scanner; Careficient buys Net Health EMR; CommonSpirit’s class action suit on data breach
Amazon-One Medical gains conditional OK in Oregon–a preview of coming scrutiny?
(What happens at the big state and Fed level?)
Telehealth extensions signed into US law with Federal FY 2023 omnibus bill (Major breakthrough to widen nationally reimbursed telehealth)
Split decision! ITC rules that Apple violated AliveCor patents; enforcement held for PTAB appeal (David v Goliath continues!)

A potpourri of news wraps 2022, starting with confirming how telehealth can stand on its own even in specialty care visits and its continued strength in mental health. In the US, most telehealth expansion is confirmed for two years. But as predicted, DEA is going hard after ADHD misprescribing — a unicorn may lose its horn as a result. Oracle is erasing Cerner’s home town presence as Epic stomps a patent troll. And beware of DDoS–it may distract from more nefarious cybercrimes.

We wish our Readers all the happiness of the season, as we look forward to the start of the New Year. We’ll be back with new articles after 2 January. 

We wish our Readers a happy, healthy holiday season and New Year!
News roundup: DDoS attacks may be ‘smokescreen’, DEA slams Truepill with ‘show cause’, telehealth claims stabilize at 5.4%, Epic squashes patent troll, Cerner meeting exits KC, MedOrbis, Kahun partner on AI intake (From cybercrime to Cerner, c-c-c-changes roll)
Telehealth two-year extensions included in US Federal ‘omnibus’ budget bill (Tucked into a Moby Dick-sized whale of a bill)
Few specialty telehealth visits require in-person follow up within 90 days: Epic Research study 2020-2022 (Findings, though, may be pandemically skewed)

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Telehealth & Telecare Aware: covering the news on latest developments in telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, and health tech, worldwide–thoughtfully and from the view of fellow professionals

Thanks for asking for update emails. Please tell your colleagues about this news service and, if you have relevant information to share with the rest of the world, please let me know.

Donna Cusano, Editor In Chief
donna.cusano@telecareaware.com

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Using wearables to monitor biomarkers related to neuropsychiatric symptoms post-traumatic event

Tracking biomarkers related to post-traumatic outcomes via a wrist-worn wearable. A January study published in JAMA Psychiatry (full text) monitored 2,021 participants who experienced traumatic stress exposure, mainly from car accidents but also physical assault, sexual assault, serious falls, and a mass casualty incident. 

The Advancing Understanding of Recovery After Trauma (AURORA) study examined adverse posttraumatic neuropsychiatric outcomes after traumatic stress exposure, especially among socioeconomically disadvantaged patients. Qualifying patients used the (Alphabet) Verily Life Sciences’ Study Watch for a minimum of 21 hours a day over the eight-week tracking period, starting with screening and qualification in the emergency department (ED). 

  • Participants used smartphones to complete a rotating battery of questionnaires consisting of 10 common adverse post-traumatic neuropsychiatric sequelae (APNS) symptom domains: pain, depressive symptoms, sleep discontinuity, nightmares, somatic symptoms, difficulty with concentration, thinking, or fatigue, avoidance of trauma reminders, trauma reexperiencing, anxiety, and hyperarousal.
  • Using the wearable’s accelerometer feature, it monitored eight significant biomarkers for pain, sleep, and anxiety. A reduction in 24-hour activity variance was associated with greater pain severity. Six others were associated with rest-activity measures indicative of changes in pain over time and one with repeated sleep-wake disruption indicative of changes in pain, sleep, and anxiety.

Depending on the data plus self-reporting on the questionnaires, the patient could be recovering or worsening post-event. The study concluded that “wrist-wearable device biomarkers may have utility as screening tools for pain, sleep, and anxiety symptom outcomes after trauma exposure in high-risk populations.” This Editor notes that over time, wearable monitoring was coupled with plentiful subjective information.

The group was selected from an initial 19,019 patient pool drawn from 27 emergency departments. 3,040 patients met the study criteria including being within 72 hours of the trauma, aged 18 to 65 years, and were able to speak and read English. They also provided informed consent and completed baseline assessments for a final completion group of 2,021. Most of the participants were female, half of the study were African American, 34% were white and 11% were Hispanic. Nearly 80% of the study did not have a college degree, while 64% earned $35,000 per year or less. The study was headed by a team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Also Mobihealthnews

Smartwatches lead wearables, adoption now at 29%: Parks Associates study

Health tracking and users are leading the way into smartwatch adoption and wearables popularity. In just one year, (Q2 2020 to Q2 2021), smartwatch ownership increased 13 points from 16 to 29% of US households. Fitness trackers, which once predominated, increased five points to 23%, while GPS sport watches grew four points to 11% in US households.

Overall:

  • Smartwatches are dominated by the Apple Watch (1st left), with Samsung’s devices a distant second.
  • Smartwatch owners are particularly likely to own and use other connected health products, with these consumers reporting owning an average of 6.8 devices (including their smartwatch)
  • Most people buy their smartwatches through ecommerce channels–42%–but 30% still use traditional retail. (15% are gifts!)
  • Intent to purchase in the next six months has rocketed from 18% to 45%
  • Apple and Samsung lead all wearable brands under consideration. Curiously, pioneers Fitbit and Garmin are ranked below LG and Sony, which no longer offer wearables. (Fitbit–2nd left–and Garmin need to do some marketing)
  • Fitness trackers/bands hold their own, but GPS sport watches are the weakest of the three categories. Current owners are most likely to seek a new model, with 88% of owners reporting intention to purchase.
  • Most of the intenders are “very likely” to purchase add-on subscriptions for their watch, such as cellular plans (69%) and at-home fitness programs (47%), as long as they are at $10/month. This overlaps into cellular phone providers who need to keep these subscriptions inexpensive.

Parks Associates surveys every quarter 10,000 U.S broadband households, with additional surveys throughout the year. The results represent the national demographics for US broadband households, which are 88% of all US households. To read the full survey results, go to Parks Associates’ survey page.

Pre-weekend short takes: Teladoc posts much smaller Q3 loss, 17% revenue boost; is telehealth threatening disability care quality; $2.8M for Australian wearables; more healthtech layoffs at Antidote, OrCam, Ada Health

Teladoc today (27 Oct) beat Wall Street consensus in reporting revenue of $611.4 million, a 17% increase versus prior year. It also reduced its per-share losses to 45 cents per share ($73.5 million) versus last year’s Q3 loss of 53 cents ($84.3 million) and Q2’s stunning $3.1 billion loss due to goodwill impairments from the Livongo acquisition [TTA 30 July]. Powering today’s stock bump (6.5% to $28.47) was primarily loss reduction from the prior quarter zeroing out the goodwill impairments and lower net interest expense. Motley Fool, Mobihealthnews

Disability groups are expressing concern that incentives to promote telehealth may be discriminatory. The concerns are primarily around the need for in-person care.  Groups such as the American Association of People with Disabilities admit that telehealth can benefit the disabled, but are wary of a swing towards telehealth as a cost-saving measure versus in person. Federal data confirms that Medicare beneficiaries due to disabilities use telehealth at about twice the rate of age-eligible Medicare beneficiaries. There’s also concern about how the disabled can access and use telehealth platforms, as well as the quality of assessment during the virtual visit. POLITICO.

The Australian government is funding three five-year projects using wearable sensors for activity and diagnostics. The US$2.8 million will go to Curtin University for monitoring activity in children with cerebral palsy who are unable to walk (US$950,000), University of New South Wales for a cuffless blood pressure for hypertension monitoring (US$1.2 million), and Bond University for a project combining data from wearable devices and medical records for Type 2 diabetes patients (US$700,000). Mobihealthnews

More healthcare tech layoffs confirm that VC Elvis has left the building. The tech downturn has hit Israel-based startups particularly hard, but Europe is also affected. This is despite fundings for two of them earlier this year.

  • Pinkslipping over a third (23) of its employees is telehealth platform Antidote Health. Based in Tel Aviv and New York, the layoffs hit primarily R&D staff in Israel. Antidote in March closed a $22 million Series A, bringing total funding to $36 million (Crunchbase). Antidote offers telehealth primary care, mental health, and hypertension chronic care as well as featuring sinus, tick bite, and UTI treatment on its website. The platform connects users to a network of about 100 doctors with a smart chatbot and through video calls. Their target audience is uninsured and underinsured people. Calcalist CTECH, Mobihealthnews   
  • Larger OrCam in Jerusalem is laying off about 16% (62) of staff, again primarily in Israel, as part of a reorganization. OrCam develops devices to help blind or visually impaired people read and navigate daily life more easily via AI. OrCam has over $86 million in funding through a Series A and three venture rounds (Crunchbase), the last in 2018. A planned 2020 IPO valuing the company at $3 billion never happened. The company also has offices and staff in New York, London, and Cologne. Calcalist CTECH, Jewish Business News

Berlin, Germany-based Ada Health also pinkslipped 50 people. According to a spreadsheet linked on Layoffs.fyi, most of the layoffs are in Europe and the UK in tech and product development, with others in marketing and medical. Ada has a medical assessment app that claims 10 million users and 25 million assessments. Employees are based in the US, London, and within Germany. Most recent funding was in March from a $30 million Series B, adding to a 2021 Series B of €74 million funded by Bayer (Crunchbase).

Aging and Health Technology Watch’s latest: The Future of Wearables and Older Adults 2021

Laurie Orlov’s latest report takes a look at the state of wearables in the older adult market. She posits that it’s comparable to where voice tech (Alexa et al) stood in 2018–at the early stage, with the present state of minimal adoption ramping up in about a three to five-year time frame. 

From the report, she identifies these tipping points:

  • Self-service hearables have made hearing improvements cool – and cheap. In the US, hearing assistance has become mass marketed and, as a result, has become less of a stigma. While not for all, it’s reduced prices overall.
  • Fitness wearables already appeal to the younger, better educated, and more affluent cohort of older adults. They will carry this trend forward as they age.
  • Designs are improving, from the Apple Watch to mobile PERS. The pendant is the past.
  • Pricing is improving
  • Technology means that one wearable can be multi functional–and research is pouring into new uses, creating new companies and tech
  • Investment is pouring into digital health, accentuating all the above
  • Doctors may be more accomodating of the ‘data overload’–but consumers may drive this with recording their own data

The future for wearables? Personalized, predictive, proactive, smart, integrated, affordable, privacy-protective–and prescribed.

The report is free and downloadable from AgeInPlaceTech.com.

Rock Health/Stanford U Digital Health Adoption Report: high gear for telemedicine, digital health, but little broadening of demographics

It’s good news–and an antidote to the bubble at the same time. Rock Health and Stanford University Medicine-Center for Digital Health’s just-released report found that, unsurprisingly, that telemedicine/telehealth use rocketed during the pandemic and gained ground that would not have been true for years otherwise, as of September 2020. However, the growth was not largely from new demographics, but largely among the adopters of telehealth in 2019 and prior. It also rolled back to about 6 percent of visits. Wearable use also boosted, especially for better sleep, as did self-tracking. But overall healthcare utilization cratered from March onward, barely reviving in the late summer, and telemedicine use declined to a steady state of about 6 percent of all visits–far more than the near-zero it was pre-pandemic. Here’s our rundown of the highlights.

Telemedicine user demographics haven’t changed significantly. It accelerated among those in the 2019 and prior (through 2015) profile: higher-income earners ($150K+), middle-aged adults aged 35-54, highly educated (masters degree and higher), urban residents, slightly male skewed (74 percent men/66 percent women/67 percent non-binary)and those with one or more chronic conditions (78 percent) and high utilizers (87 percent with 6+ visits/year). This profile apparently sustains across racial and ethnicity lines. (page 15) The non-user profile tends to be female, over 55, lower-income, rural, not on a prescription, and Hispanic. (page 23)

More usage of live virtual video visits than before–11 points up from 32 to 43 percent. These reduced reliance on non-video communications: telephonic, text, asynchronous pictures/video, and email. (page 12) And respondents largely accessed live video and phone visits through their doctor, indicating a pivot on practices’ parts: 70 percent of live video telemedicine users and 60 percent of live phone telemedicine users. (page 17) But the reasons why were more acute than this Editor expected: 33 percent for medical emergency, then minor illness (25 percent), then chronic condition (19 percent). (page 16)

Barriers to use remain significant in telemedicine and have not changed year to year except for awareness of options. (page 22-23)

  • Prefer to discuss health in-person (52 percent)
  • Not aware of options (much less this year)
  • Provider didn’t recommend
  • Cost
  • Poor cellular or broadband connection is minimal (3 percent). There is also no barrier of ‘inability to use’, though this may be skewed by the survey group being online (see methodology).

Wearables and digital information tracking accelerated, but ‘churn’ continued. 54 percent of respondents adopted wearables, up 10 points, while information tracking increased by 12 points.  (page 11) Unpacking this:

  • The populations with the highest rate of digital tracking were those with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity as chronic conditions
  • The leading reasons for wearables remained fitness training and weight loss. However, right behind these were major year-to-year spikes in better sleep (27 to 52 percent), managing a diagnosed condition (28 to 51 percent), and managing stress (24 to 44 percent).
  • The surprise uses of wearables? Managing fertility tracking and menstrual cycle.
  • Yet wearables churn continues. From the study: 55 percent of respondents who owned a wearable in 2020 stopped using it for one or more purposes (though they may continue using it for another purpose). The demographics tend to mirror telemedicine users for adoption and stopping use. (pages 24-28)

Healthcare utilization overall, telemedicine or not, has barely revived versus the March baseline, using the Commonwealth Fund data TTA profiled here. The report usefully digs into the groups that delayed care: 50 percent of 35-54-year-olds, women, Northeast residents, chronic conditions, and mental health. (page 34)

Yet trust in health information remains with the person’s physician, family, hospital, payer, and pharmacy. Overall, there is a reluctance to share data with entities beyond these. Health tech and tech companies aren’t trusted sources, along with social media, and lag to less than 25 percent, along with less willingness to share data with them. COVID-19 data is broken out in sharing, generally following these trends except for more willingness to share this data with governmental entities and research. (pages 29-31) 

The report recommends that for telemedicine to go deeper into adoption, refocusing is in order: (page 21)

  • Shift from a transactional model to a continuous virtual care or ‘full-stack’ model
  • Seek a different kind of customer. One-third of telemedicine visits were for emergencies. A more sustainable model would concentrate on chronic condition management and lower-acuity care.
  • Accept that new care models are disintermediating the patient-provider relationship especially in the younger age groups

The methodology of the survey: N=7,980 US adults, matched to US demographics; dates conducted 4 September-2 October 2020; online survey in English only. Rock Health summary, link to free survey report download, Mobihealthnews article.

En Vogue: smart clothing and wearables to track COVID spread and progression

Wearables and smart clothing are having a ‘moment’ in the tracking of COVID symptoms and spread. After TTA noted Nanowear’s clinical trial with two major New York metro health systems last week, both POLITICO and Mobihealthnews catalogued additional trials and uses of innovative clothing and devices for detection: 

  • Apple watches and Fitbits
  • Oura rings (!) by the NBA to detect temperature and heart rate–at about $300 and up
  • Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab have developed a sensor that adheres in the visible dip at the base of the throat to monitor respiratory symptoms
  • Tufts University’s sweat sensor embedded in clothing, to analyze elements in perspiration such as electrolytes (sodium and ammonium ions), metabolites (lactate) and acidity (pH). NPJ Flexible Electronics
  • Paris-based Chronolife, which debuted the Nexkin smart T-shirt in December. It monitors heart rate, abdominal and thoracic breathing, body temperature, physical activity, and pulmonary impedance.

Part of the problem of wearable adoption is that without a specific ‘reason why’, wearables haven’t been all that compelling for the mainstream market beyond the trendy and pricey Apple Watch. Wearables have tried corporate wellness programs that almost give away the devices with the promise of lowering health costs long term. Venture funding (see the POLITICO chart) has been flowing into these companies for a decade. But in the eyes of many, wearables are a solution without a clear and compelling problem. COVID may resolve that.

The Year of the Sensor, round 2: COVID contact tracing + sensor wearables in LTC facilities; Ireland’s long and pivoting road to a contact tracing app

Wearables + sensors being used in long-term/post-acute care facilities for COVID contact tracing, decontamination. Historically ‘unsexy’ to digital health techies, long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) came into sharp focus as the epicenter of COVID-19 deaths in the past four months. 45 percent of US COVID-19 deaths (over 54,000) occurred in nursing homes and assisted living residences, with the percentages being far higher in states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island (80%), Massachusetts and Connecticut (63%), Pennsylvania (68%), and New Jersey (48%). Freopp.org has a wealth of state-level information.

This created opportunities for companies that already had relationships with LTPAC to create systems to 1) contact trace individuals and residents, 2) trace locations not only of residents and staff but also contaminated areas, and 3) help focus ongoing decontamination and sanitization efforts. Featured in this surprising TechRepublic article is CarePredict, which back in March started to develop a response to COVID spread including what they dubbed the PinPoint Toolset. CarePredict already had in place a sensor-based system for residents that consolidated sensors into a wrist-worn resident ADL tracker with location and machine learning creating predictive health analytics that appear in a dashboard form. They expanded their analytics to staff and visitor contact plus locating frequently visited area by residents and staff so that decontamination efforts can be focused there. Also featured in the article are VIRI (website) and Quuppa, a real-time locating system (RTLS) repurposed from manufacturing and security. (Disclosure: Editor Donna consulted for CarePredict in 2017-18)

Ireland’s long and winding road to a national contact tracing app is the subject of an article in ZDNet. Waterford-based NearForm was called in by Ireland’s Health Services Executive (HSE) on week 1 of the lockdown and started work immediately. They had a prototype oapp running on a mobile phone by the end of the week, nonfunctioning but giving the HSE a look at the user interface. NearForm worked on a centralized model first, which was basically terminated by Apple’s insistence on blocking BTE, then in April pivoted to the decentralized Apple-Google (Gapple? AppGoo?) Exposure Notification system, once the HSE secured beta access to the new technology. By 7 July, Ireland launched and had over a million downloads in 48 hours. Germany had a similar saga and timing. Both Ireland, Germany, and other countries moved quickly to adopt Apple and Google’s APIs, when Apple blocked their original centralized app methodology. UK and NHSX did not pivot and are In The Lurch with Test and Trace [TTA 18 June, more deconstruction in VentureBeat]. Editor’s Note to Matt: go to your neighbor island, don’t be shy, and make a deal deal’ for the app. Solves that problem. 

Rounding up August’s end: ‘blended’ mental healthcare, Army’s telehealth innovation, Montefiore’s 300% ROI on social determinants, telehealth needs compliance

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Lasso.jpg” thumb_width=”NaN” /]Our UK readers have the summer bank holiday in the rearview mirror, and our US readers are looking forward to a break over next Monday’s Labor Day holiday in the US. It’s sadly the end of the traditional summer season, though Summer, The Season lingers on for a few precious more weeks.

Here are some short takes on items of interest over the past month:

Blended care–eHealth and direct clinician care–for mental health. The NHS has been promoting online webcam and instant messaging appointments as an alternative to ease pressure and waiting times for mental health patients, but the evidence that they are effective on their own is scant. Blending digital health with F2F clinical care may be the way to go. This Digital Health News explores how the two could work together and still save time and money.

Army testing telemedicine and remote monitoring for triage. The US Army’s MEDHUB is designed to streamline communication flow between patients, medics and receiving field hospitals.  MEDHUB–Medical Hands-free Unified Broadcast–uses wearable sensors, accelerometers, and other FDA-cleared technology to collect, store, and transmit de-identified patient data from a device to a medical facility, allowing clinicians to better prepare for inbound patients and more promptly deliver appropriate treatment. The 44th Medical Brigade and Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina have already volunteered to test the system. MEDHUB was developed by two subordinate organizations within the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. Army release, Mobihealthnews 

Soldier, don’t take your health tracker to the front. Or even the rear. Deployed US Army soldiers have been told to leave at home their wearable trackers or smartphone apps, government issued or otherwise, that have geolocation capability. Turns out they are trackable and heat mappable–in other words, these trackers and apps can tell you where you are. (And don’t use Google either). Mobihealthnews

Social determinants of health part of Montefiore Health System’s approach to reducing emergency room visits and unnecessary hospitalizations.  Montefiore, based in the Bronx and lower Westchester, invested in housing for the homeless through their Housing at Risk Alert System. The system noticed through their analytics that the issue was housing. Many of their ‘frequent flyers’ cycled between shelters and the ER (ED). Oncology patients were at risk for eviction. Montefiore acquired respite housing (160 days) and housing units for up to a year through organizations such as Comunilife. They claim a 300 percent return on investment. Healthcare Finance

Telehealth needs compliance health. A study from Manatt Health, a division of law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, presents what readers already know–the inconsistent statutes, regulations and guidance various states are implementing around the provision of telehealth services points out the growing need for compliance assistance. Manatt Health Update (blog) 

A tipping point in consumer acceptance of health apps, AI, and virtual care? Accenture thinks so.

Accenture’s 2018 Consumer Survey on Digital Health indicates that the tipping point may be here, sort of. Some key findings:

  • Consumers had high rates of favorable acceptance and likeliness to use AI-enabled clinical services: home-based diagnostics (66 percent of respondents), virtual health assistants (61 percent), and virtual nurses to monitor health conditions, medications and vital signs at home (55 percent), which may be good news for the future of telehealth services.
  • The 2,301 respondents already are using mobile and tablet health apps (48 percent). 44 percent are using patient portals for to fetch their health records, primarily to get information on lab and blood-test results (67 percent), to view physician notes regarding medical visits (55 percent), and their prescription history (41 percent).
  • Wearables are being used by 33 percent and favorably viewed by over 70 percent as beneficial in understanding their health condition (75 percent), engaging with their health (73 percent), and monitoring the health of a loved one (73 percent). 

Virtual care seems to be leading the way over wearables and remote patient monitoring–and after-hours care, patient follow-up, and patient education are leading virtual care.

  • 25 percent had received virtual care services in the previous year, up from 21 percent in last year’s survey. 16 percent are taking part in remote health consultations, compared with 12 percent in 2016. 14 percent are participating in remote monitoring, up from 9 percent in 2016.
  • 47 percent state that given a choice, they would prefer a more immediate virtual medical appointment over a delayed in-person appointment.
  • For after-hours care, 73 percent said they would use virtual care for after-hours (nights and weekend) appointments.
  • 71 percent said they would use virtual care for taking a class on a specific medical condition. 65 percent would use virtual care for a follow-up appointment after an in-person visit.
  • Most respondents said they would also use virtual care for a range of additional services, including discussing specific health concerns with medical professionals (73 percent), in-home follow-up after a hospital stay (62 percent), participating in a family member’s medical appointment (59 percent), and being examined for a non-emergency condition (57 percent).

Accenture release and report.

Themes and trends at Aging2.0 OPTIMIZE 2017

Aging2.0 OPTIMIZE, in San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday 14-15 November, annually attracts the top thinkers and doers in innovation and aging services. It brings together academia, designers, developers, investors, and senior care executives from all over the world to rethink the aging experience in both immediately practical and long-term visionary ways.

Looking at OPTIMIZE’s agenda, there are major themes that are on point for major industry trends.

Reinventing aging with an AI twist

What will aging be like during the next decades of the 21st Century? What must be done to support quality of life, active lives, and more independence? From nursing homes with more home-like environments (Green House Project) to Bill Thomas’ latest project–‘tiny houses’ that support independent living (Minkas)—there are many developments which will affect the perception and reality of aging.

Designers like Yves Béhar of fuseproject are rethinking home design as a continuum that supports all ages and abilities in what they want and need. Beyond physical design, these new homes are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology that support wellness, engagement, and safety. Advances that are already here include voice-activated devices such as Amazon Alexa, virtual reality (VR), and IoT-enabled remote care (telehealth and telecare).

For attendees at Aging2.0, there will be substantial discussion on AI’s impact and implications, highlighted at Tuesday afternoon’s general session ‘AI-ging Into the Future’ and in Wednesday’s AI/IoT-related breakouts. AI is powering breakthroughs in social robotics and predictive health, the latter using sensor-based ADL and vital signs information for wellness, fall prevention, and dementia care. Some companies part of this conversation are CarePredict, EarlySense, SafelyYou, and Intuition Robotics.

Thriving, not surviving

Thriving in later age, not simply ‘aging in place’ or compensating for the loss of ability, must engage the community, the individual, and providers. There’s new interest in addressing interrelated social factors such as isolation, life purpose, food, healthcare quality, safety, and transportation. Business models and connected living technologies can combine to redesign post-acute care for better recovery, to prevent unnecessary readmissions, and provide more proactive care for chronic diseases as well as support wellness.

In this area, OPTIMIZE has many sessions on cities and localities reorganizing to support older adults in social determinants of health, transportation innovations, and wearables for passive communications between the older person and caregivers/providers. Some organizations and companies contributing to the conversation are grandPad, Village to Village Network, Lyft, and Milken Institute.

Technology and best practices positively affect the bottom line

How can senior housing and communities put innovation into action today? How can developers make it easier for them to adopt innovation? Innovations that ‘activate’ staff and caregivers create a multiplier for a positive effect on care. Successful rollouts create a positive impact on both the operations and financial health of senior living communities.

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Tender Alerts: Warwickshire, Thurrock, and Hertfordshire

Susanne Woodman of BRE, our Eye on Tenders, alerts our Readers to two open and one probable new tenders:

  • Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC) in Warwickshire is seeking a 24/7 ‘reactive repair service’ for Tunstall telecare equipment presently in 35 independent living accommodations. The contract is for an initial period of two years, with two optional one-year extensions. Closing is 4 August. Details here.
  • Thurrock Council in Essex is seeking “to appoint a Consultant who will work as Project Manager with Adult Social Care and Health staff to develop an Assistive Technology Strategy and support implementation of the strategy.” The contract is valued at £25-50,000. Interest must be registered by 28 July at the Council’s Delta eSourcing page. On the Council page there is additional information in a summary of the Council’s of the Careline service and a resolution to expand/upgrade assistive technology for local users. 

Not registered as a tender yet is a plan by Hertfordshire County Council to bring wearables such as activity trackers and software-enabled clothing into the homes of at-risk local adults, plus online systems for video-link calls, scheduling messages and reminders for people to take their medication and connect with families. This article in the Watford Observer tells some of the story but the page on the Hertfordshire blog is oddly missing–however, captured by the sharp-eyed Ms. Woodman here. They advise monitoring the Herts County Council on social media–right now they are burning up Twitter @hertscc on the alphabet countdown to potholes and fire safety tips from Reqs the Fire Dog!

Ericsson report: will 5G close the healthcare gap from hospitals into the home?

Ericsson, one of Europe’s leading telecom companies, earlier this month published its latest ConsumerLab report, “From Healthcare to Homecare” on the next generation of healthcare enabled by the greater speed and security of 5G–the fifth generation of wireless mobile. Their key findings among consumers and industry decision makers contained surprises:

  • Growing frustration with hospital wait times. 39 percent prefer an online consult with a doctor versus waiting for the face-to-face.
  • Wearables are perceived as better ways to monitor and even administer medication for chronic conditions–nearly two in three consumers want them. But medical grade wearables will be required.
    • Yet the current state doesn’t lend itself to these wishes. “55 percent of healthcare decision makers from regulatory bodies say these devices are not sufficiently accurate or reliable for diagnosis. In addition, for liability reasons it will be very difficult to rely on patients’ smartphones for connectivity….medical-grade wearables will be required. Such devices could also automatically dispense medicine and offer convenience to those recovering from surgery.”
  • +/- 60 percent of surveyed consumers believe that wearables will improve lifestyles, provide personalized care, and put people in control of their own health.
  • There’s real security concerns that 5G is expected to access: “61 percent of consumers say remote robotic surgery is risky as it relies on the internet….47 percent of telecom decision makers say that secure access to an online central repository [of medical records] is a key challenge and expect 5G to address this.” Surprisingly, only 46 percent of cross-industry decision makers consider data security to be an issue. Battery power is also a significant concern for over half in wearables, a problem that over 40 percent will be helped by 5G.
  • Even more surprising is the lack of desire for consumer access to their medical records–only 35 percent of consumers believe that it will help them easily manage the quality and efficiency of their care. In contrast, 45 percent of cross-industry experts consider the central repository as a breakthrough in healthcare provisioning.

Decentralizing care into the home is seen as worthwhile by a majority of industry decision makers 

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/healthcare-to-homecare-fig3_rgb.jpg” thumb_width=”250″ /] (more…)

The Nightingale-H2020 project for wireless acute care (UK/EU)

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/nightingale.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Susanne Woodman of BRE, our Eye on Tenders, is following the Nightingale-H2020 project for acute care–and if you are in the wireless or wearable remote monitoring business, you should be too. It is a pre-commercial procurement project (PCP) that invites the European healthcare industry to develop wireless solutions for patient in-hospital and home monitoring. Deriving from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 grant, the process started last year with a €5 million award and in the spring had two Open Market Consultation meetings. Q&As from these meetings were recently released. The official tender will be released this November on the EU website Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). For more information, consult the Nightingale PCP website and their useful PDF on the process. @Nightingale_EU

Wearable haptic/Braille guidance system for the visually impaired

MIT researchers from their CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) unit have developed a system that is designed to aid the visually impaired in accurately navigating a room, with or without the assistance of a cane. It consists of a 3-D camera worn on the abdomen, a belt that has vibrational (haptic) motors, and an electronically controlled Braille interface worn on the side of the belt. The camera is worn on the chest as the optimum and least interfering body location. The pictures taken are analyzed by algorithms that quickly identify surfaces and their orientations from the planes in the photo, including whether or not a chair is unoccupied. The belt sends different frequency, intensity, and duration tactile vibrations to the wearer to help identify nearness to obstacles or to find a chair. The Braille interface also confirms the object and location through key initials (‘c’ for chair, ‘t’ for table) and directional arrows. According to the MIT study, “In tests, the chair-finding system reduced subjects’ contacts with objects other than the chairs they sought by 80 percent, and the navigation system reduced the number of cane collisions with people loitering around a hallway by 86 percent.” MIT News, Mashable, ‘Wearable Blind Navigation’ paper Hat tip to Toni Bunting of TASK Ltd.

 

A breakthrough wearable? Sweat analysis for cystic fibrosis and diabetes diagnosis.

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sweat-Sensor-Stanford.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and University of California-Berkeley have developed a wristband equipped with a sensor that can capture and analyze perspiration. The design stimulates the production of sweat, with the embedded sensors and microprocessors detecting the presence of different molecules and ions based on their electrical signals. In the abstract’s words, this is an “electrochemically enhanced iontophoresis interface, integrated in a wearable sweat analysis platform.” The wearable was tested in two separate studies for detecting a key indicator for cystic fibrosis (CF)–a high level of chloride ions–and in comparing levels of glucose in sweat to blood glucose for diabetes. The data is transmitted via smartphone to a server that analyzes the results in real time.

The potential for this wearable is considerable. First, for CF, it changes a 70-year-old protocol–that sweat is stimulated and collected in a 30-minute procedure, then sent to an outside lab to be analyzed with the usual delay. Children being screened for CF have trouble sitting still for the lengthy test. The second is that the test can be done anywhere with minimal training, making it suitable for underserved communities and developing areas of the world. The third is in CF drug development. CF genetics have multiple mutations, limiting drug usefulness. A test such of this in real time could speed drug clinical trials and human response.

The glucose testing was preliminary in comparing the glucose in sweat with standard blood glucose levels, but also proved that the platform could be used for other perspiration constituents, such as sodium and lactate. The ultimate intent of the researchers is to incorporate the technology into a smartwatch for continuous monitoring, but they recognize two challenges: reproducibility, to see whether measurements are consistent, and mapping all the constituents of sweat.

The report was published on 17 April in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). Abstract and full report (PDF, 6 pages). Stanford Medicine News Center