News 1/14/11

Clinical communications leader Vocera acquires Wallace Wireless, which specializes in message delivery to smartphones.  The story says Wallace has implementations at over 200 sites but it does not specify what the number is specifically for healthcare.

The list of intelligent pill options to automatically track and improve medication compliance is growing, which makes sense considering estimates put the cost of medication use errors at anywhere from $100-$300 billion annually.  It seems like combining these compliance tools, based on technology, with better integration of services like medication therapy management, into care delivery, would be effective at saving significant cost in the system.

A new study on remote smoking cessation programs shows that quit-rates doubled when phone calls were used in combination with web-based tools compared to web alone. This seems to be a growing trend, which to me makes a lot of sense. Automated tools alone are not going to be enough to change behavior, which is a major part of the problem with health in America.

Epocrates logo

A new survey of doctors on Sermo finds that Epocrates is the most commonly used mobile app on a day-to-day basis and the iPhone is the most commonly used device.  The survey only had 73 participants so it’s hard to read too much into it.

Mobile healthcare platform developer Diversinet signs a five-year contract to make Mihealth Global Systems the exclusive reseller of Diversinet’s Mobisecure Platform outside of the United States. Mihealth is focused on consumer-facing mobile health applications, which, from I can tell, means a mobile PHR. The deal has minimum commitments to Diversinet of $5 million.

Voalte Logo

Nurse call solutions company Rauland-Borg Corporation partners with Voalte to bring calls from Rauland-Borg’s Responder 5 Nurse Call System to Voalte’s iPhone app, improving time to response.

With the iPhone 4 available on Verizon starting February 10, comparisons are already being made between the devices being carried on Verizon’s vs. AT&T’s network.  This article highlights the three major differences:

  1. Verizon users can turn the iPhone 4 into a mobile hotspot, connecting up to 5 wireless devices to the Internet.  No information is available yet on data plans or rates so we’ll wait and see how useful this feature really is.
  2. Verizon’s CDMA network does not allow you to use the phone and Internet at the same time. For me this is basically a deal breaker as I often use my iPhone for both data and phone simultaneously.
  3. The Verizon iPhone has a slightly different shape which is supposedly tailored to Verizon’s CDMA network, though the article speculates it might just be resolution to the “death grip” issue with the iPhone 4.


Healthagen announces that its mobile app, iTriage, has been downloaded over 1 million times over the past 12 months and is used in more than 80 countries.  iTriage provides symptom checking and facility information, with premium listings for subscribing health providers.

A new survey finds that almost 70% of patients wish they could find more information about primary care providers online.  This comes right after the launch of the Physician Compare site from CMS, which hasn’t gotten the best reviews.  I’ve used Kaiser’s doc search and I like it. It’s simple and has education, location, a narrative, and specific areas of interest.


iPad EMR vendor DrChrono is donating and implementing its mobile EMR to World Wide Village’s Community Health Initiative in Haiti. I’m not sure who’s donating the hardware but it is certainly a cool application in a place that can use all the help it can get.

Kevin Rose, founder of super news site Digg, claims to “have on good authority” that the second generation iPad will be announced in the next several weeks and available for purchase shortly thereafter. He also claims it will have front/back cameras and a retina display, which is what I’m holding out for.

The Happy Hospitalist has a glowing review of the use of his iPad on hospital rounds, finding and even calculating his increased efficiency in terms of revenue for the hospital.

Butler Memorial Hospital (PA) makes improvements in operations and patient care from the installation of a system combining RTLS from Ekahau, a visibility platform from Intelligent Insites, and communications from Vocera.

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

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