News 12/1/11

GE’s Centricity Radiology Mobile Access, a mobile radiology image viewer for Centricity PACS, receives FDA approval. The FDA clearance is specific in that it only applies to iPhone and iPad diagnostics when not in proximity to a PACS workstation. Is that the way that the FDA clearances for these mobile image viewers are always worded, such as with AirStrip’s FDA clearances?

The future of mobile for clinicians is bright based on a recent survey of medical residents in ACGME-approved programs. 85% of residents have smart phones and 56% of those are iPhones. Both numbers seem low, but it reminded of my shock and horror just this past weekend when I was speaking to a resident who didn’t have a smart phone. She had an Android, but lost it and is punishing herself (her words) by not replacing it immediately. Of those residents with a smart phone in the survey, the majority used them in clinical practice, with far and away the most common app used being were drug references (likely Epocrates.) Apps not in use but most requested were reference and clinical algorithms. I bet you could do this survey each year and find that these percentages uniformly increase.

Five reasons for the love between clinician and mobile, from a clinician’s perspective. I’d also add feeling like you’re not using 1970s technology to the list.

  1. The potential to increase patient engagement
  2. More data points for the patient
  3. Mobility=convenience – access in the car, on wards, etc.
  4. 4) It makes face-to-face appointments more meaningful
  5. 5) Improved doctor-patient relationship.


This is a good story about Ottawa Hospital’s experience with iPads in the enterprise. We reported on the initial order of 1,000 iPads by the hospital back in 2010 and that number has increased to over 3,000. I was unaware that the hospital has a team of 70 software developers churning out an app a month, based on clinician recommendations. The hospital is using MobileIron for mobile device management. I didn’t see it anywhere in the article, but I’d read before that the main clinical application in use was Adaptiv Clinical Viewer (video above).

Kony launches Member Mobile, an out-of-the box app for health plans. The app can be branded by health plans and delivers pretty impressive features by default. Features include browsing and purchasing plans, displaying and sending cards (I need this), provider locator, appointment requests, benefit status, prescription life cycle management (refills, pricing, reminders), wellness program integration, and PHR.

Equitable Life of Canada introduces EZClaim, a mobile app that allows plan members to submit health and dental claims. This seems like a pretty cool feature. The app is available on BlackBerry now and will soon be available on iOS. It’s an interesting strategic move, based on the most recent data about smart phone platform uptake, to release first on BlackBerry over both Android and iOS. Maybe Canadians are brand-loyal to RIM and the Pew data doesn’t translate north of the border.

I love this story. An ICU in NY deploys a video-based hand washing monitoring system and sees improvements in hand washing compliance from 6.5% three years ago to over 80% today. The system monitors when somebody enters the room and records a 10-second video clip of the hand sanitizing station. The clips are randomly reviewed by contracted employees in India to assess compliance. The real-time results are displayed on a screen in the ICU for all to see. The ICU pays $1,000/month to maintain the system. What a smart use of tech and non-tech resources with little to no implementation cost.

Speaking of hand sanitizing, Proventix Systems announces that its nGage hand hygiene monitor is the most widely used system in the US. Proventix is much higher tech than the above story in that it uses RFID to monitor compliance and personal alerts to remind workers.

Mobile risk management (MRM) firm Fixmo raises $23 million in a Series C round. In case you’re wondering what exactly MRM is and how it differs from mobile device management (MDM), you’re not alone. According to the story, MRM "empowers organizations to identify, mitigate and manage the risks associated with mobile devices". This goes beyond MDM, which is more about risk avoidance, and supposedly allows organizations to realize more of the potential benefit of mobile technology. Does Fixmo have any healthcare clients?

The Australian government is launching an $8 million trial to test home monitoring for 300 veterans connected to the Australian National Broadband Network. The grant amount is in Australian dollars, which is actually pretty close in value to US dollars. In either currency, it seems like a lot of money for a 300-patient trial.

A US News & World Report article covers how physicians are using social media. Use of Twitter and Facebook is mostly for sharing links and generic education for patients. Using Twitter to let patients know that a provider is running late for appointments seems sensible as long as they’re promoting the Twitter account so people can follow it.

Travis Good is an MD/MBA who works with health IT startups.

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