mHealth and Child Abuse

child abuseby David Lee Scher, MD (11/9/2011)

There has not been a more horrific scandal in the world of sports that I can remember than the child abuse scandal (the mainstream media calls it a sex abuse scandal) surrounding The Pennsylvania State University.  Let it be said that I am very impressed with the reaction of much of the student body which is one of shock and disdain for the administration charged with covering up alleged abuses of children by a former assistant football coach. According to the grand jury’s report, the school demonstrated willful blindness to the allegations brought to it, none going to state officials. Some of the fans at Saturday’s PSU-Nebraska football game are organizing a blue shirt campaign to show solidarity for the victims (blue ribbon being a symbol of child abuse).

As this blogger is an evangelist for wireless technologies and the noble things it will deliver (efficient, dignified, cost-effective and better continuous healthcare), I think it fitting to discuss how mHealth technologies may, in the future, be useful tools for subjects of child abuse and their loved ones.  Read More …

ZOMM’s Lifestyle Connect wins 3 CES Innovation Awards

ZOMM Lifestyle ConnectZOMM earned 3 CES 2012 Innovation Awards this week for Lifestyle Connect™, a credit card sized accessory for any Bluetooth®-enabled phone, including the one you have right now. With a touch of a button or an alert from wireless sensors, the device can summon assistance from a Personal Safety Concierge™ or your trusted network of friends, family and health professionals. If needed, the concierge will dispatch police, fire or medical rescue personnel to the user’s location.

Lifestyle Connect utilizes Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technology to connect with Bluetooth Smart devices such as health monitors, heart monitors, glucose monitors, fall detection sensors, and activity trackers.

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MIT researchers use smart phones to monitor health

Phones Old NewThis article by John Tozzi reports on how MIT researchers are using smartphones to monitor a patient’s daily activity and report deviations to friends or doctors should they may need to intervene.

Although the trials are in early stages and there are still regulatory and personal privacy issues to resolve, it seems telephones can reveal a lot about our mood, health, and cognitive ability. Intel’s Eric Dishman explains this in a video on our Healthcare Problems & Solutions page where he uses an old, analog, rotary-dial phone to show subtle differences in how someone answers the phone as dementia sets in.

Besides just recording call frequency, duration, who called, etc., smartphones can report much more. They can monitor movement outside of the home – or even inside with an accelerometer, and of course, there are many medical sensors that can communicate through the smartphone to remote monitoring services. For related articles on sensor technologies for home healthcare, search this site for “sensors.” You’ll see that Home Automation sensors and wearable devices can obscurely monitor activity when someone doesn’t have a smartphone on them, but the phone seems like an ideal device for this purpose.

MIT’s work analyzing smartphone data relates to other interesting trends including DNA typing and personal traits typing. They are all data mining applications that depend on the analysis of massive databases – big data – and can lead toward personalized medicine.

The Caregiver: Key to mHealth

By David Lee Scher, MD

The caregiver is an individual who attends to the needs of a child or dependent adult.

Parent as caregiver for her child

There is an estimated ten million caregivers over the age of 50 caring for their parents in the USA.  Caregivers attend to people who are predominantly relatives (86%), with 36% being parents and 14% being children.  One third of caregivers take care of two or more people.  Much has been said about the need for patient engagement and people taking more responsibility for their own care, however caregivers have the unique responsibilities of their own care as well as their charged.  That being said, they require mHealth tools that address both issues.  I will discuss the role of mHealth and the role of the caregiver.  This will not be an endorsement of any specific product.

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Smartphones starting to bring Hospital Care Home

To see how far technology is taking medicine, contrast the AliveCor iPhone ECG (watch video) to traditional electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) machines that cost upwards of $10,000. They both record electrical activity of the heart for analysis, but the iPhone app is portable and cheap and no longer constrained to clinical settings.

Smartphones faster than mainframe computers

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Walt Mossberg blasts medical consumer products

In his TEDMED 2010 talk, Walt Mossberg, Technology Journalist for the Wall Street Journal, shares his thoughts about medical consumer products. He’s clearly a fan of Apple’s iPad and iPhone but laments the lack of really useful consumer medical products like good blood glucose monitors. Thankfully, we’ve seen lots of innovation in 2011, but I wonder if it’s enough to change Walt’s mind. Watch the video and let us know what YOU think with a Reply below.

Telehealth cuts patient deaths by 45%

Industry leaders welcome telehealth planAccording to this article in Fierce Mobile Health, results from a large telehealth study that monitored 6,200 remote patients show that telehealth can dramatically improve the care people receive while helping to reduce costs. The study took place over three years and covered patients in three cities suffering from one of three primary conditions: diabetes, heart failure or COPD.

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eCaring: a Home Care Management & Monitoring System

From Press Release…

eCaring™ Develops Breakthrough Home Health Care Management System

eCaring Creates Easy To Use Web-Based Home Care Management And Monitoring
Systems For Families, Home Health Care Workers, And Doctors

Contact: Robert Herzog, (917)-743-4347 or (347)-946-0080;

NEW YORK, Dec. 7th 2011 – eCaring™ LLC today announced the launch of its new home health care management and monitoring system that enables home care recipients to live at home longer, with better quality of care, at lower cost.  eCaring’s breakthrough web-based system enables everyone involved with home health care—from family members to home care providers to doctors—to receive up-to-date, useful information on the care, conditions, activities and status of home health care patients.  eCaring also announced today that it will offer a 75% discount for life to those families accepted into its beta test.

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Jawbone UP wristband & iPhone app tracks your wellness

image of Jawbone UP, a motion sensing wristbandUP by Jawbone ( is a revolutionary system (wristband + iPhone app) that tracks your activity and sleep and inspires you to move more, sleep better and eat smarter. UP also integrates a social experience and open content platform to motivate you with personal and team challenges tailored to help you achieve your goals.

UP is Jawbone’s first step in giving people tools to become engaged as consumers of their own health. It integrates an accelerometer to sense motion and track how much you’re walking, exercising, or sleeping; and it then uploads that data to an app that shows progress charts and lets you photograph and log your meals, even sharing all this with friends for additional motivation if you wish.

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Competition in the Telehealth Market Set to Intensify

pie chart showing the Relative Proportions of Telehealth Gateway Transmission in 2020

Relative Proportions of Telehealth Gateway Transmission – 2020. Source: InMedica

Competition in the Telehealth Market to Intensify

PRESS RELEASE: Date: 28 November 2011

With a global revenue forecast of $990 million by 2015 (InMedica) the Telehealth market is already attracting a host of suppliers and innovators at various points in the value chain. In a new whitepaper, “Competitive Dynamics in the World Telehealth Market – 2011 to 2020”, InMedica assesses the current telehealth ecosystem and forecasts how it will change over the next ten years.

The major parts of the ecosystem include peripheral device suppliers – blood pressure monitors, glucose meters etc; gateway suppliers – health hubs and mobile gateways; and data transmission service providers – POTS, cellular and broadband.

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Healthcare meets Bluetooth Low Energy technology


By Wayne Caswell

Bluetooth v4.0 with low energy is transforming the healthcare industry, creating efficiencies and promoting responsible personal health monitoring, as shown by the innovators in this category. The finalists include:

1. Pancreum LLC created the CoreMD, a wireless communication and power infrastructure for low-cost replaceable/disposable wearable medical devices for patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases that can sense body conditions (temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, interstitial glucose, etc) and/or deliver subcutaneous drugs (insulin, glucagon, vasopressors, etc).

2. Dan Corkum smart medicine caps took advantage of the unique advantages of Bluetooth low energy technology to develop a connected medicine packaging and treatment adherence aid system that transmits data on whether the patient is taking his medicine correctly to physicians or support personnel.

3. Arturas Vaitaitis and Jung Bae Kim submitted a concept for an ID wristband and health monitor for newborn infants that includes a motion sensor, monitors the baby’s activity, and prevents sudden infant death syndrome by sending vital data via Bluetooth technology to a smartphone/computer.
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Wireless devices to change medicine

Wireless devices will dramatically change how medicine is practiced

Stephen C Schimpff, MDBy Stephen C. Schimpff, MD (originally published at

I interviewed about 150 medical leaders just a few years ago for my book The Future of Medicine – Megatrends in Healthcare. Not one mentioned wireless devices as a coming megatrend. How fast the world changes! Nowadays everyone has a cell phone and we rarely stop to think that just two decades ago almost no one had them. We have a laptop or tablet computer that can access information from the web at very high rates of speed; again it is hard to remember when this wasn’t so. And those with smart phones have numerous “apps” – to check traffic conditions, find the nearest Starbucks, or play games. But these and other devices that use wireless technology will lead to major changes in the delivery of health care in the coming years. This is another of those coming medical megatrends.

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False Barriers to mHealth?

cartoon about good healthFrom a consumer perspective, technologies – including wireless networks, smartphones, tablets, and medical sensors – are advancing at breakneck speed, enabling the new converged field of mobile health care, or mHealth.

Technologists, on the other hand know that so much more can be done and are often frustrated by barriers that slow innovation and time-to-market, including nay-Sayers  and regulators. I’m a technologist, and I’ve been hanging out online with others in the mHealth field, maybe too long. Anyway, I’ve written about both the exciting technologies and the barriers of adopting them. See:

What prompted this post is an optimistic article by Heidi Wilson. In You’re not wrong, it’s just hard she starts out:

“Every time I turn around I see another article about how current reimbursement models are blocking widespread adoption of mHealth and I’m kind of sick of it. You see, the challenge with business models of mHealth is a false problem.”

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Are we Bringing Health Care Home or Sending it Overseas?

Doctors at We Care Health Services, IndiaGet ready for outsourced health care. Last week I wrote TeleHealth: The Doctor Will See You Now, Remotely, but what if Remotely means someplace in India or China?

As Dr. David Lee Scher notes, interest in mHealth is driven by several factors, including:

  1. The rising costs of health care;
  2. The worsening shortage of primary care physicians, and an even greater shortage of specialists;
  3. The shift away from diagnosis-related fee for service management of diseases to reimbursement based on wellness & measured outcomes; and
  4. The advent of more widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs).

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TeleHealth: The Doctor Will See You Now, Remotely

Basic Telehealth System, connecting patients, sensor devices, caregivers, and healthcare services

Derived from a paper by Iboun Taimiya Sylla, Texas Instruments

There’s a fairly new option for after-hours medical care that connects you with practitioners anytime, anywhere.  It’s called Telehealth or Telemedicine, and it’s offered by companies like American WellMyNowClinic, and OptumHealth.

Hospitals already use high-speed Internet connections to share medical information among specialists within the facility or in different locations. And they can even put a rural patient in front of a big city specialist miles away. But as Internet use permeates people’s everyday lives, health care professionals are able to connect with patients in real time over any distance without traveling or scheduling an office visit. Previously when you were sick, you had to go to the doctor. Now she can come to you, electronically 24/7. Some services also provide in-home visits by physician assistants to supplement telehealth.

“While having access to a doctor outside of normal office hours is a popular telehealth service, it isn’t the only one. Doctors can also Read More …

11 predictions for the Mobile Health market

wearable wireless sensorsOver the past 3 years, research firms including ABI, Chilmark, IDC, In-Stat, InMedica, Juniper, and Manhattan have prediced the future size of and eventual revenues generated by mobile health services.” In this article, MobiHealthNews gathers them into its own set of predictions for the next five years of mobile health.

  1. 14% of smartphone users to use Mobile Health Apps in 2011
  2. 81% of Physicians using Smart Phones by 2012
  3. Read More …