News 1/19/11


Telemedicine outsourcing leader Specialists On Call (SOC) celebrates several achievements from 2010. SOC provides telemedicine services to over 100 hospitals in 12 states and in 2010 performed more than 11,000 emergency consults resulting in more than 600 doses of tPA to stroke patients. Initially focused on neurology services, SOC has expanded to pediatrics and psych. SOC seems exceptionally well placed to become a leading provider of remote specialty services to ACOs, becoming a part of the ACOs, without any geographic restrictions, in the process.

With the growing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), grants are being used to explore the use of telehealth in both the diagnosis and treatment of ASDs. This post presents some of the findings from a report on pilot programs in Missouri geared towards remote services for ASD patients and families. This is definitely interesting to me, but the concern I would have is around the reliability of diagnosis, which the report found to be dependent on the severity of symptoms. I just can’t imagine parents being satisfied with an uncertain diagnosis.


A new Apple mobile app, depressioncheck (free), is a mobile version of the M-3 Checklist, a validated three-minute screener for mood disorders including depression, PTSD, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

San Diego-based startup Wellcomm releases an open architecture smart phone app, and apparently platform, that the article claims integrates all sources of healthcare data, though it only specifically mentions Google Health and OpenMRS, the open source EMR used in many developing countries.

This article highlights technology that can be used to by seniors to help keep them living independently longer. The categories of products include sensors for activity monitoring, GPS for people tracing, and intelligent pill boxes for medication compliance. The most interesting point in the article is intuitive but still valuable, that nine of ten AARP members would give up some privacy to stay in their homes longer. If you’ve spent any time in assisted living facilities, you’d think 90% is pretty low.


Healthagen continues to add to its 1 million plus customers, this week adding both St. Elizabeth Hospital (LA) and Liberty Urgent Care (OH).  

The Iowa Board of Medicine decides not to sanction Planned Parenthood of the Heartland physician Susan Haskell for remotely administering abortion pills after videoconferences. The practice, which some have coined “tele-abortions”, has been controversial, though this ruling allows Planned Parenthood to continue it.  

This is another cool tablet application in the hospital. Kaweah Delta Hospital (CA) is conducting patient surveys on iPads before discharge instead of sending them in the mail. The survey’s have photos of docs that cared for the patient to help the patient give more informed answers.


A California dentist offers patients a mobile app to report symptoms, including emergency dental issues, and get immediate feedback.

A new study out of Switzerland finds continuous wireless monitoring of ocular pressures for glaucoma patients to be safe and effective. This is similar to the value of continuously monitoring things like blood pressure, especially when assessing dosing regimens.


A new iPhone app translates items you eat into the exercise equivalent to burn off those calories. It seems like a pretty simple tool, but I’m not really sure if somebody would pay $2.99 for this and bother using it when they want an ice cream cone.       

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

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