Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Mobile E-Health Is Really Getting All Sorts of Attention! The Recent HIMSS Conference Made The Scale of Interest Clear.

Here is a bit of a roundup.
First we had the US Federal Health Secretary (Minister) on the podium.

Sebelius lauds smartphones at mHealth Summit

December 06, 2011 | Eric Wicklund, Contributing Editor
WASHINGTON – The practice of medicine is undergoing a sea change, thanks to the smartphone.
So said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other speakers, such as Eric Topol, vice chairman of the West Wireless Health Institute, at the mHealth Summit, a three-day conference and exhibition on mobile health technology at the Gaylord Resorts and Conference Center in Washington. The event counts 3,600 registered attendees – up from 2,400 last year.
Both Sebelius and Topol focused on the game-changing aspects of mobile health technology to improve clinical outcomes, promote preventive medicine and reduce wasteful spending and healthcare costs. And they issued a call to arms – or minds – to support innovation in the field of mobile medical devices.
“This is an incredible time to be having this conversation,” said Sebelius.
Mobile health technology is gaining added significance, Sebelius said, at a time when healthcare is slow to adapt to new things. “Part of our healthcare problem is a lack of information,” she said. “Doctors way too often have incomplete information on their patients.”
Sebelius highlighted several government initiatives and challenges to foster innovation, including Text4Babies – a text-messaging program for mothers-to-be – and the new SmokeFreeTXT program, targeted at preventing teens from smoking. She also noted the winners of the recent Apps Against Abuse technology challenge: On Watch, an iPhone app that allows the user to transmit critical information by phone, e-mail, text or social media to one’s support network, and Circle of 6, an app that allows users to reach a circle of supporters in real time. Both were selected from a pool of more than 30 entries submitted to Chllenge.gov and announced in early November.
More here:
We had the conference covered in the Washington post:

In health technology, an enthusiasm gap between startups and doctors

By Olga Khazan, Published: December 7

Dr. Eric Topol is a cardiologist who doesn’t use a stethoscope. As a keynote speaker at a mobile-health convention near Washington, Topol took the stage Monday and performed an echocardiogram on himself using an iPhone. He later reached under his shirt and gave himself an ultrasound using a hand-held device called a Vscan and some hotel-room lotion (he forgot his ultrasound gel).
“I once diagnosed a patient who was having a heart attack on an airplane,” Topol said. He explained his passion for portable health devices to the audience: “You’re familiar with digitalizing books and magazines, but now we’re talking about digitizing man, and that’s the future of medicine.”
Topol and the other presenters at this week’s mHealth Summit predict that health care in coming years will be highly personalized, ultra-efficient and will most likely involve smart phones and tablets. That is, of course, only if mobile health entrepreneurs can get health care providers to embrace the new technologies, which so far they have been slow to do.
During his presentation, Topol clicked through slides of potential apps and devices — some already in existence — that would help patients monitor health conditions remotely. There are contact lenses that can check for glaucoma symptoms, a photo app that can track changes in a suspicious mole and small test strips that can analyze saliva droplets for disease.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, another keynote speaker, described a future “where you can take a video of a rash on your foot and get a diagnosis later that afternoon without making a doctor’s appointment....Or get a calorie estimate of how many calories are on your plate by snapping a picture.”
Lots more here:
We also had waning of the need to be careful with governance and some useful survey statistics.

Mobile tech popular, but governance gaps remain, says HIMSS

December 06, 2011 | Eric Wicklund, Contributing Editor
WASHINGTON – The 1st Annual HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey, released on Monday, finds that almost all respondents have accessed clinical information through a mobile device. But just 38 percent of them report having a policy in place that regulates the devices' use.
The 12-page report, released on the first day of the mHealth Summit, points to widespread mHealth use in healthcare settings, but also indicates that upper-level management is having problems keeping up with the technology. According to the survey, about half of the respondents said their organization is developing a mobile technology policy, while close to two-thirds plan to have a policy in place in the next six months.
HIMSS officials received responses from 164 members in conducting the survey in October and November. Half of the respondents indicated they are responsible for ensuring their mobile technology is implemented and operational at their organization, while 48 percent are part of a committee that is responsible for developing organizational policy for mobile technology and 42 percent have direct responsibility for developing that policy.
The survey comes as HIMSS makes a move to address the growing mHealth industry through the launch of mHIMSS and the development of the mHIMSS.org website, both of which are being shown off at this week’s mHealth Summit in Washington D.C. In addition, the World Health Organization recently released a study indicating the “use of mobile and wireless technologies to support the achievement of health objectives has the potential to transform the face of health service delivery across the globe.”
Factors figuring into this growth include the development of mobile technologies and applications, growth in cellular networks and new opportunities to integrate mobile health into current services.
The survey can be accessed here.
Lots more here:
We clearly had some debate as well.

Doctor or patient? Who will drive mHealth?

December 07, 2011 | Eric Wicklund, Contributing Editor
WASHINGTON – Who’s more important to the advancement of mHealth – the physician or the patient?
To Krishnan Ganapathy, of the Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation in India, the answer quite clearly is the physician – and he’s quite sure that all this new technology and all these new services won’t be accepted by people unless it’s all recommended by their physicians first. But to Joseph Kvedar of Partners Healthcare’s Center for Connected Health, the future of mHealth may lie with the patient.
 “I think there is a role for automated coaching and maybe, maybe, the doctor isn’t the center of the universe,” he said.
Ganapathy and Kvedar were two members of a five-person panel at the mHealth Summit in Washington D.C. for Tuesday morning’s Super Session, titled “Mobile Health in the Clinical Enterprise.” In an hour-long session taken up almost entirely by each panelist’s opening remarks, the conversation centered primarily on how mHealth initiatives can be advanced, and who should do the advancing.
Ganapathy’s argument focuses on his native country of India, which holds one-sixth of the world’s population but where “mHealth is conspicuous by its absence.” He said primary care physicians aren’t adopting mHealth because it might hurt their business, and the general public won’t adopt it unless their doctors tell them to.
 “Unless the general practitioner is incentivized he isn’t going to fall in love with mHealth,” Ganpathy added. “The ordinary physician is yet to be excited by this fancy new tool. … Is it possible that the mobile phone is perceived as a threat?”
Ganpathy said mHealth initiatives need to focus on the human being rather than the technology – the health, rather than the ‘m.’ There are more mHealth pilots than there are pilots in the American and Indian air forces, he added, because the emphasis isn’t on the physician or the patient, but the technology.
More here:
Lastly we had the usual useful conference round-up from iHealthBeat.
Thursday, December 08, 2011

mHealth: Closing the Gap Between Promise and Adoption

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. -- Stakeholders at this week's third annual mHealth Summit in the Washington, D.C., area touted the potential of mobile health technology to improve health care quality, increase patient centeredness and reduce costs. However, they also acknowledged that while mobile tools have helped revolutionize nearly every other industry in the U.S., the health care field has lagged behind.
The mHealth Summit -- which was presented by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in partnership with the mHealth Alliance, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and NIH -- attracted nearly 3,600 attendees from 46 states and 48 countries, up from 2,400 attendees last year.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius -- one of the summit's keynote speakers -- said, "Virtually every American today has a cellphone. ... And every year, our phones have more features and computing power." She added, "As our phones get more powerful, they are becoming our primary tools for doing everything from getting directions to deciding where to eat. And, increasingly, that includes using our phones to track, manage and improve our health."
The promise of mobile health is not new. Health care leaders for several years have advocated for increasing use of mobile tools to help improve preventive health care, reduce unnecessary physician visits, curb rising health care costs and empower patients. Yet, widespread mobile health adoption has remained elusive.
Sebelius said, "Over the last few decades, we've seen information technology improve the consumer experience in almost every area of our lives. We've gone from waiting until a bank opened to make a deposit to 24-hour ATMs and paying bills online," adding, "But health care has stubbornly held onto its cabinets and hanging files."


Unrelated but in synch somehow we also have this:

Apps Can Help You Take A Pill, But Privacy's A Big Question

11:08 am
December 2, 2011
The American Medical Association just rolled out a shiny new iPhone app, My Medications, that you can use to keep track of your meds.
Mobile medical apps are a hot market, but unlike "Angry Birds," they're not just harmless fun. Some come with real privacy risks.
Sure, many medical apps are pretty benign. People use them to track how they're doing with their diets or to help them stop smoking. But apps are also being used to monitor their blood sugar, chart blood pressure and screen for depression. You might be a little more concerned about strangers finding out that information.
So with the phone increasingly becoming a portable medical record, the time seems ripe to consider how private that information should be.
One big issue: Medical apps aren't covered by a federal privacy law, known as HIPAA, that controls how doctors and health care providers store and share patients' health information. "They are offering to store and share some pretty sensitive information," says Deven McGraw, director of the health privacy project at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Because apps aren't covered by HIPAA, a company that makes them can pretty much do with a customer's medical information what it pleases. As McGraw tells Shots, "If their privacy policy says, 'From time to time we will share your information with advertisers,' they can do that."
More here:
and finally this interesting article from Wired Magazine.

Apple’s Secret Plan to Steal Your Doctor’s Heart

Nancy Luo didn’t expect an answer when she e-mailed Steve Jobs one Wednesday evening two summers ago. But less than a day later, an Apple emissary knocked on her door at the University of Chicago Hospitals.
It was Aug. 25, 2010, the last day of a long heatwave in Chicago. Luo — a second-year resident at the hospital’s internal medicine department — had been assigned the tricky task of figuring out whether a pilot program that put iPads in the hands of the hospital’s residents was working out. So she sent a note to the CEO of Apple.
Fun long article follows:
All in all there is a lot going on in this space. I hope these links get you into all the fun and the potential issues to be aware of.

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