News 11/22/10


The American Telemedicine Association issues guidelines for telerehabilitation services. If you go to the ATA standards web site, you can read about telehealth services in other clinical specialties.

The Indian mHealth market is expected to grow from $1.5 billion to $5 billion in four years, which is predicated on finding viable business models.


Novartis will seek approval in the next 18 months for pills with embedded microchips to better monitor med compliance. The company is testing the chip-embedded pills in transplant patients.

Home monitoring company VRI partners with Bosch Healthcare to combine VRI’s home monitoring solutions with Bosch’s telehealth systems.

A large-scale Yale trial of heart failure patients fails to find benefit, in terms of rate of readmission, with telemonitoring compared to standard of care. The trial used an automated phone system to collect symptom information as opposed to a live patient coordinator, which smaller trials have used to achieve reductions in readmissions. This is exactly what an immunologist I met at the mHealth Summit experienced when she piloted SMS messages for asthma patients. Her initial study, based solely on automated SMS-based data collection and transmission, found improved patient education with SMS, but no change in med compliance.  Only after changing the protocol to include live interactions and coaching was med compliance improved.    


Epocrates, the Bible for med students and residents, buys Apple mobile device app developer Modality for $13 million in a cash deal. Modality launched in 2007 with the Apple App Store and now has over 140 applications.  The goal of the merger is to combine Epocrates content with Modality’s mobile health development expertise. Check out this list of Modality Health Sciences Apps.

Nevada doctor Kevin C. Petersen, MD, owner / operator of, an online hypertension evaluation and treatment service, could lose his license for prescribing meds without physically examining patients. The web site is geared towards uninsured patients who can’t afford a typical office visit, which doesn’t exactly paint the picture of Dr. Evil.  Peterson claims the statute he is allegedly violating applies to controlled substances, which are not blood pressure meds.

Vocera acquires patient experience company ExperiaHealth. ExperiaHealth will continue to operate as a subsidiary, leveraging Vocera communication tools to improve the patient experience.


A former health minister and surgeon in the UK launches the WellNote mobile app to provide consumers with facility ratings, appointment reminders, and storage of personal health data.

Another urgent care provider, AfterOurs Urgent Care (NJ), now has premier listings through the iTriage mobile app. There is no mention of mobile registration options as iTriage is doing in Florida.


Intermountain Healthcare launches the LiVe iPhone app (free) to help kids learn about eating healthy and staying active. The app is part of a larger campaign to prevent childhood obesity, which is a good thing because I really can’t imagine the app alone having much of an impact.

Lee Mental Health (FL) uses a $50K telemedicine grant to pilot remote capture of stethoscope and EKG data along with remote, video-based consultations.

iPad-loving Stanford, which issued incoming medical students iPads this fall, is testing the use of iPads for patient entertainment. I’m waiting to see when they roll out iPads in the cafeteria as digital menus. I’ve heard a healthcare CIO, though not one from Stanford, mention this potential application.

Not to be outdone by the West Coast, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (MA) is also issuing iPads to patients for three-hour rentals at no charge.

Not really mHealth-related, but interesting nonetheless: this article details a report by MetLife Mature Market Institute on the cost to modify a home to meet the needs of an aging population, in contrast to taking the nursing home route.  The last three items on the list are for remote monitoring.

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