News 1/12/11

GE Healthcare and eHealth Initiative release a brief report on 11 HIT trends for 2011.  Of interest:

  • # 6 – Volume and Diversity of Mobility Solutions Explode for Providers. They describe 2010 as the year of the iPad and mobile application, while 2011 will bring a more diverse set of hardware and software options. They also project that HIT resources at healthcare organizations will be stretched to provision and secure all of these new, diverse devices.
  • #7 – Patient Engagement through Digital Channels Reaches a Tipping Point. New tools, coupled with the national dialogue about health reform, will drive patient engagement, empowering patients to improve outcomes.


As more connected medical devices are used in hospitals, and hence more medical data is being carried over data networks, the FDA is moving closer to regulating those networks as medical devices. The article cites a statistic from the FDA from last year that “six patients died and 44 people were injured as a result of health IT-related malfunctions.” The article goes on to say that adhering to FDA standards could be costly, with facilities required to engage a risk management facilitator to develop processes and procedures.

In more FDA-related news, the agency warns consumers about a scam in which customers of online and over-the-phone pharmacies are called and ordered to pay fines for ordering medications illegally over the phone or online.  The victims are asked to wire funds to overseas locations, which on the flip side, also provides a little help to all of those exiled Nigerian princes that keep e-mailing me.

A guest poster on KevinMD’s blog argues for the creation of a national medical license, which would certainly ease some of the regulatory issues with the practice of telemedicine.


A new Apple mobile app, Fooducate (free), allows users to scan barcodes of items while in the supermarket to get nutritional info, ratings, and alternatives. The app seems pretty cool, so I downloaded it to try next time I’m at the store. A purchase tracker, with pricing and sharing, would be a nice add-on. I’m not sure I’ll remember or bother to use it because it doesn’t save me any money on purchases, but I did recently discover the barcode-reading feature in the Amazon iPhone app. I saved over $100 by ordering from Amazon while I was still in the store, with no tax or shipping charges.       

We’ve reported about some of the new health-related gadgets showcased at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  I found a few articles covering CES from a health perspective.

  • 10 iOS Gadgets at CES 2011. The article covers several of the items we’ve profiled for Apple devices (AliveCor ECG and Withings BP Monitor) as well as the BodyMedia FIT Armband BW to measure steps and calories burned (Here’s another story on Sprint’s integration with the BodyMedia FIT). The rest of the list is not health-related, but there are still some pretty cool accessories worth checking out. 
  • Elbrys Networks announces its Secure Personal Sensor software development kit (SDK) for TI’s “telehealth aggregation manager platform”. From what I can gather, the SDK opens up devices that support Bluetooth Health Data Profile to be integrated into T1’s platform. The interesting part is that to order the “complete Continua-Certified telehealth aggregation manager solution,” you have to go to both TI’s and Elbry’s website separately. Maybe they should move from technical integration to marketing and sales integration.
  • Tablets for Business. This article walks through the new tablets from Motorola, Samsung, Blackberry, and Motion Computing.
  • More on tablets and businesses. This article talks about Apple and Google ramping up efforts to build tablet software for the business user. There’s a pretty good video below on the new Android OS for tablets, called Honeycomb.

Xhale Innovations releases HyGreen, which checks a health workers hands for the smell of alcohol to determine if they’ve recently washed. If not, a badge worn by the health worker vibrates to remind them.                        


EXTENSION releases a mobile app that’s a clinical communication tool for physicians and nurses. It does lab and imaging results, stat order notification, and messaging, amongst other things. They’ll have a booth at HIMSS if anybody wants a demo.

Pfizer, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson all remove apps from Apple’s App Store, which may be a sign that big pharma is rethinking its mobile strategies.   


Here’s a positive review of the new iHealth Blood Pressure Dock for the iPhone, which we reported on last week and is pictured above, though the story is lacking some meat. In comparing this device with the other iPhone blood pressure cuff from Withings, I tend to prefer the look of the Withings device and also like that the Withings device has a straightforward API, though right now it is only relevant for the Withings iPhone-enabled scale, as well as easy integration with both Google Health and MS HealthVault.

Zyxel Communication and Entra Health Systems form a partnership that will link Entra’s FDA-approved MyGlucoHealth device, via Bluetooth, to Zyxel’s Smart Home Gateway, which can then transmit the glucose data to the MyGlucoHealth Portal over cellular or Wi-Fi networks.

Murray A. Persicke becomes president of Techmedic e-Health, Inc, maker of the Dyna-Vision remote monitor that measures 12 biometric parameters.        

Travis Good is in his final year of an MD/MBA program and is involved with multiple health IT startups.

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