FCC Broadband Health Imperative – how we responded

FCC Broadband Health Initiative - Modern Health Talk respondsAs a retired IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, consumer advocate, and founding editor of Modern Health Talk, I am please to respond to this FCC action and will describe my background afterwards. What follows is the detailed docket (16-46) with my responses inserted and key points highlighted. Read More …

Telehealth Legal Obstacles Delay Home Healthcare

Doctor Robot

DOCTOR ROBOT: Technology like this RP-VITA device at Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael, Calif., lets doctors beam themselves to remote patient bedsides, but government rules need to catch up. (AP / Rich Pedroncelli)

Home telehealth” technology promises to be a critical component of providing quality care to the growing number of Americans who need long-term services and supports to “age in place” at home. Home telehealth and related technology can make it cheaper, easier and more comfortable for seniors to remain at home and avoid nursing facility placement.

But government regulations lag behind telehealth technology, according to this article in the National Law Journal. This is disappointing because “24-hour monitoring would allow Americans who need long-term care to ‘age in place’ at home.”  Read More …

Lack of Fast Internet threatens Telehealth Future

I responded to an online discussion of a call for Congress to Expand Telehealth Services to Improve Patient Access and Outcomes and Decrease Healthcare Costs. Key to delivering telehealth is the availability of high-speed Internet access, and that prompted me to comment on an online conversation of this HIMSS problem description.

The enormous potential of telehealth or telemedicine to positively transform healthcare delivery in America is not being realized due to numerous impediments. These include out-of-date public and private reimbursement structures, inadequate broadband availability, and varying licensure and practice restrictions between some states. … In many areas of the country, there are not enough health professionals to provide in-person visits or appropriate follow up care, especially for mental health and highly specialized services like pediatric critical care. In other areas, distance or unavailability of transportation presents impediments to care.

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Telehealth is Shaping Healthcare for the Better

Game ChangerBy Karen R. Thomas, President of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions

As incredibly innovative and efficient as telehealth is at providing greater access to care for consumers, lowering healthcare costs for both patients and healthcare systems, and improving outcomes, barriers have always existed that hinder the widespread adoption of telehealth. Yet recently, issues such as state requirement hurdles, reimbursement limitations, and a general resistance from physicians to learn and integrate new technologies into their care routines are quickly evaporating in the wake of the overwhelming proof of telemedicine’s many benefits. Read More …

5 mHealth Tech Trends to Shape Industry


Alivecor Heart Monitor

 

By Snookie Lioncourt

With continuous advancements in technology, more and more innovative solutions have been invented to facilitate global healthcare delivery services. These include a number of medical and healthcare mobile applications, remote Caregiving tools, assistive wearable devices for elderly and disabled patients, live mobile pulse monitoring systems, and emergency response GPS trackers. So, what do all of these innovations portend for 2014 and onwards? In 5 mHealth Tech Trends to Shape Industry, we’ll take a closer look at five significant technological trends this year that will vehemently shape the future of the mobile health (mHealth) industry. Read More …

Zeo’s demise, a wakeup call for Sleep Wellness?

Zeo headbandThis article is based on a LinkedIn discussion that was started by Paul Sonnier, founder of the Digital Health discussion group.

Zeo has closed shop. Mentioned here & here and shown in the video below, Zeo is the company that provided a well known direct-to-consumer (DTC) sleep monitoring and coaching system that claimed to take the “science of sleep out of the lab and put it into your hands.” While speculation abounds as to why this happened (see comments in this group discussion: http://bit.ly/ZeoDHDiscuss), it does highlight some of the challenges in this dynamic consumer digital health market segment, which represents 70 million people in the US alone. Read More …

Healthcare Reform to Boost Telehealth 55% in 2013

Home Healthcare Gadgets, Devices, Sensors

Healthcare Reform to Boost Growth in Telehealth Market by 55 Percent in 2013

Austin, TX 19 Dec 2012 – From 2010 to 2011 usage of remote patient monitoring, or telehealth, increased by 22.2 percent as the number of patients enrolled worldwide reached 241,200. However, telehealth device revenues only grew by 5.0 percent from 2010 to 2011; and 18.0 percent from 2011 to 2012. InMedica, a division of IMS Research (now part of IHS Inc.) attributes slow revenue growth over the last year to poor economic conditions leading to restrictions in healthcare funding particularly in Europe, and ambiguity on the impact of healthcare reform and readmission penalties on telehealth in the U.S.

In the U.S., there remained considerable uncertainty on the future of the US healthcare market and the role of telehealth in this market throughout 2012. As the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began penalizing U.S. hospitals for readmissions in October 2012, many healthcare providers remained unclear on the potential impacts on their institutions and are yet to implement a post-acute care plan.

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Five Reasons Why mHealth is Not Going Away

Click for larger image of Basic Telehealth System, connecting patients, sensor devices, caregivers, and healthcare services

Five Reasons Why mHealth is Not Going Away
(despite the Hype-haters)

By David Lee Scher, MD

One feels almost assaulted by financial projections of the mHealth market every day.  Extrapolations from the increasing use of smartphones, the use of iPads by physicians, the adoption of patient portals by insurers, and research of the Internet for medical purposes are commonplace.  Occasionally there will be a welcomed “Let’s bring it back to Earth” post, but  I can almost predict verbatim the final paragraphs of some of these predictions.

Mobile health is part of the overall movement of the digitization of healthcare.  While adoption of these technologies will take a while to occur for a variety of reasons, (many of which have been the subject of other posts by this author), it would not be fair to let the hype become the face of the industry and an easy target of critics.

These technologies WILL become a major part of healthcare for the following reasons: Read More …

The Nurse in Your Pocket

Ginger.io monitors smartphone activity to give health insightsFrom The Nurse in Your Pocket:

In 2009, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave a dorm full of students smartphones and tracked where they went, who they called and texted, and at what times they communicated. The researchers found that the data pouring out of the phones could reliably tell when a student was ill: Those stricken with the flu moved around much less, and those who were depressed had fewer calls and interactions with others.

 

As a result of the study, some students who worked on it founded Ginger.io, a behavioral analytics firm that turns mobile data into health insights. Based on branches of computer science known as “machine learning” and “big data,” they sort through tens of thousands of data points coming out of a smartphone each month to identify a user’s typical pattern of behavior. And when someone deviates from that pattern, Ginger.io can alert friends or doctors that they may need to intervene.

It’s kind of like a “check engine light” for the body, and it extends the thinking of Intel’s Eric Dishman that’s described in the video below. Read More …

Telemedicine becoming the new house call

 

Travis Proctor logged onto his computer, turned on his new webcam and clicked his mouse. Within seconds, the 42-year-old father of three was face to face with Dr. Kelvin Burton, his primary care physician.

Just months ago, Proctor would have had to drive for nearly an hour round-trip from his home in Powder Springs to Burton’s Douglasville family care practice just for a checkup. Not anymore. (Read more at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

The referenced article by Gracie Bonds Staples prompted a Linkedin discussion where I couldn’t help but respond. Here’s what I said:

Telemedicine includes video calls with patients, video consultations among specialists, remote monitoring of sensor devices, and more, all aimed at increasing service, improving outcomes, and lowering costs.

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5 reasons Digital Health Technologies need FDA oversight

FDA logoBy David Lee Scher, MD

A draft proposal of the FDA guidelines for regulating mobile medical applications was released in July, 2011 . In response, the mHealth Regulatory Coalition sent detailed comments on the proposal . There was a recent piece in the Washington Times “The FDA’s Assault on Mobile Technologies” which, in my opinion, was misguided. No one in the healthcare industry (pharmaceutical, medical device, or technology) is enamored with the FDA. They recently drastically raised review fees for device companies and slow down approval processes more year after year. Between 2005 and 2008, the FDA clearance process time increased 30%, and has continually increased, notwithstanding increased funding and staffing levels. Regardless of its procedural faults, I will attempt to lay out my reasons why this regulatory body needs to oversee digital health technologies. This article should not be seen as a blanket endorsement of the FDA’s specific operational processes and policies, but as a rebuttal to the claim that it is assaulting the mobile health industry.

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How to Find Mobile Apps for Home Health Care

App overload on Smartphone: more or smarter?Try Appolicious and let us know what you think in the comments below.

This article was originally published in June 2011 but is republished due to high interest in finding apps. It’s based on The Best Tools to Help you Discover New Mobile Apps, by Hillel Fuld, but I removed CHOMP, since that search tool seems to have disappeared.

Back in June ’11, there were over 500,000 iOS apps (for iPhone, iPad and iPod) and 250,000 Android apps, as well as apps for BlackBerry, Nokia, WebOS, Windows Phone 7, and other platforms. They’re almost all quite affordable or free, and many are dedicated to health and fitness. But the number is still so overwhelming that finding what you need a challenge.

The tremendous variety is good news for consumers, but how do you find the best apps for your needs and filter out the junk? It’s so out of control that startups and established companies are responding with even more apps – to help you find apps.

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How Wearable computing could take off

The 1"x1" WIN One shown here is an Android-powered wrist computer.After decades of tech evolution consistent with Moore’s Law, you can now wear a $3.5 million mainframe computer on your wrist. The WIMM One is much faster than the IBM System/370 Model 158-3 mainframe that I worked on in the 1970’s, and in some ways it’s better. It’s got sensors, an accelerometer, and wireless connections to connect with other digital devices and remote services. So, it’s not just a wristwatch; it’s also a wrist-doc that can monitor, track and report vital signs to help keep you healthy.

I’ve already written several articles about the role of smartphones in healthcare, including:

But now here’s an Android-based wearable computer that complements the smartphone, tablet, PC and medical devices you may already have. It’s just entering the market now but points to what we may expect — wearable devices that are always with you to unobtrusively monitor your activity, sleeping patterns and vital signs such as heart rate.

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A Totally New Healthcare System

KingOfTheWorldFive months ago I posted a challenge on Linkedin titled, “Innovative Ideas for a Totally New Healthcare System?” and it generated a discussion that’s been active for 5 months now with over 900 responses from different perspectives worldwide.

As a fun exercise to stimulate creative, out-of-box thinking, pretend you have all been appointed to the new World Health Commission by the new King of the World (or whatever title you prefer). You have absolute power to determine health strategy, for the whole world. Think like a child, and forget the constraints you’re used to dealing with as adults. There are no financial hurdles, no political worries, no cultural barriers, no legacy to contend with, no managers looking over your shoulders, and no imposed time frames. What is it that patients, providers and society seek from healthcare? Why can’t they get that now? Starting with a completely blank canvas, what would be the objectives of the new System? Imagine potential roadblocks and how we might overcome them.

The discussion has evolved, and most participants have come in and out of it, but Clifford Thornton posted one of the longest and most thoughtful replies and gave me permission to reprint it here.

A Totally New Healthcare System

By Clifford Thornton

Wow sir, a blank sheet; this is a dynamic exercise.

I came into the healthcare field about 9 years ago from a marketing strategy business background in the cable/telecommunication industry. Let me say that I cannot think or even imagine a bigger contrast in terms of quality of service, efficiencies, level of customer satisfaction, duplication of service levels, delivery, and range/availability of services.

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Will mHealth be the Next Flight to the Moon?

We Choose To Go To The Moon

By David Lee Scher, MD (12/19/2011)

When President Kennedy in his inaugural address challenged the country to land a man on the moon in ten years, he had no idea how many technologies would be spawned off of such a mission. Technology used in space shuttle fuel pumps, for example, led to the development of a miniature heart pump weighing less than four ounces. A system originally developed to detect shuttle hydrogen gas leaks led Ford to produce a car-powered by natural gas.  Construction of space shuttles led to ‘fly by wire’ control systems and ultimately to ‘drive by wire’ by the auto industry.

I believe that mHealth is taking a similar journey.  The quest for patient-centric healthcare has resulted in enthusiastic participation in mHealth by telecommunications companies, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, insurance companies, healthcare systems, and healthcare providers ranging from dietitians to surgeons. Read More …

The End of Illness

The End of Illness - image from Amazon.comToday’s article is adapted from The End of Illness by Dr. David B. Agus and an ABC News story about his book. (video below)

“The end of illness is closer than you might think,” says Agus, a professor of medicine at USC. But to achieve that, people must look at their bodies in a whole new way. He and many others like him are challenging long-held beliefs about what “health” means and are promoting health & wellness as ways to extend life, improve vitality, and lower the cost of medical care.

As a cancer doctor and researcher on the front lines, Dr. Agus became infuriated by the statistics and lack of progress within the medical profession, and that got him thinking about alternative approaches. He likens it to “having to go to war to understand peace,” since the goal should be to avoid war in the first place. And shouldn’t the same apply to health – striving for ways to eliminate illness rather than just treat its symptoms? Read More …

CES 2012 … in Pajamas

CESinPJs

Did you go to CES this year? What struck you as a highlight (comment below)?

If you didn’t get to go, CES 2012 in Pajamas gives you all of the insight with none of the hassle or expense. This 12-page virtual trip report combines a healthcare and consumer electronics perspective so you can:

  • Learn what the analysts and pundits said.
  • Know about key trends from different perspectives.
  • Discover cool products for digital health & wellness.
  • See the products in action with over 4.5 hours of video.
  • And discover who was missing and the significance.

Headings:

  • About CES
  • Getting the Most from this Report
  • General Media Coverage of CES
  • Is CES becoming Irrelevant?
  • It’s All about the Platform & Ecosystem
  • Smarter, Thinner Televisions
  • Smarter, Thinner PC & Tablets
  • Smartphones & mHealth
  • Healthy Games
  • Home Networking & Energy Management
  • Robots

Be part of the Future of Healthcare. Our in-home evaluation is a fun and education survey that helps medical researchers collect autonomous health information so they can find unexpected correlations and find new treatments. It’s part of the Next Frontier for Big Data.

Do We Need Doctors Or Algorithms?

robot medic

Image credit: Shutterstock/koya979

By Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures
(original on TechCrunch.com)

I was asked about a year ago at a talk about energy what I was doing about the other large social problems, namely health care and education. Surprised, I flippantly responded that the best solution was to get rid of doctors and teachers and let your computers do the work, 24/7 and with consistent quality.

Later, I got to thinking about what I had said and why, and how embarrassingly wrong that might be. But the more I think about it the more I feel my gut reaction was probably right. The beginnings of “Doctor Algorithm” or Dr. A for short, most likely (and that does not mean “certainly” or “maybe”) will be much criticized. We’ll see all sorts of press wisdom decrying “they don’t work” or “look at all the silly things they come up with.” But Dr A. will get better and better and will go from providing “bionic assistance” to second opinions to assisting doctors to providing first opinions and as referral computers (with complete and accurate synopses and all possible hypotheses of the hardest cases) to the best 20% of the human breed doctors. And who knows what will happen beyond that?

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A Doctor in Your Pocket: Future of Personalized Medicine

image by Alex Nabaum, WSJWhat does the future of medicine hold?

Tiny health monitors and tailored therapies, says David B. Agus, author of “The End of Illness,” a book to be published Tuesday by Free Press. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal published an adaptation of that, and my posting here is a short summary of the WSJ article.

Dr. Agus believes that most of the medical conditions that kill us, such as cancer and heart disease, can be prevented or delayed with personalized medicine, but we don’t yet know enough about how the body works to do the things that avoid causes and prevent illness. He thinks, however, that the end of illness is near.

He describes the future of medicine as holding a big shift from the today’s model, where we currently wait for the body to break before we treat it. We’ll soon be able to  adjust our health in real time with help from smartphone apps and wearable sensors that track proteins and the inner workings of cells. We’ll monitor what happens when we exercise, eat more salmon or dark chocolate, or take drug x at dosage y.

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