News 1/26/11

AirStrip releases AirStrip Cardiology for the iPad.  The above demo video is pretty impressive, as the app enables users at login to view all ECGs awaiting a read or opinion, whether the patient is on the floor, in route to the hospital (if that capability exists with EMS), or in the ED.  While viewing the ECG, the user can zoom in and out on each ECG lead and even use embedded calipers to measure segments, meaning no more counting big and little boxes.  Obviously this is dependent on AirStrip having access to digital ECGs, but still, the value of having all of this on an iPad, and being able to scroll through present and past readings, is very powerful.

A new report from the Enterprise Forum of the Northwest finds that baby boomers will drive the mHealth market to $4.6 billion in 2014 and $12 billion in 2020.  Not surprisingly, the driving forces behind this are the desire to remain independent and reduce costs of chronic diseases. I was surprised to learn that baby boomers own a third of all smart phones. The full report can be found here.

Two Wake Forest professors develop an animated Mobility Assessment Tool (MAT) to help assess and track mobility status. The MAT is available on iPad and PC.  Apparently they have found the that by using computer animations of different tasks (walking up stairs, walking up an uneven slope), they can gain better insight into patient mobility status than with standard questionnaires currently in use.

AliveCor

iPhone ECG maker AliveCor, which showcased its new device earlier this month, announces that an Android version will be available soon.

Handyscope

Another smart phone-based diagnostic tool, which will officially be launched at the American Academy of Dermatology conference next month, is the handyscope from FotoFinder. The device is an iPhone accessory that serves as a dermatoscope, capturing, storing, and transmitting digital images of skin lesions. My wife is a dermatologist and I’m shocked by the number of standard iPhone images she texts back and forth with colleagues, so I’m sure she’ll have some interest in this device. Also, the telemedicine applications of this are huge. Cost is ~$1,500.  

On the heels of the release of HealthAlert, a Cisco-integrated mobile clinical workflow communications application, developer EXTENSION, Inc. announces that Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, an HCA-affiliate, has signed a deal to use HealthAlert for Nurses.

Ekahau

WiFi-based RTLS vendor Ekahau teams with Army asset tracking vendor Conexus to provide asset tracking services for over 5,000 pieces of mobile equipment at Brooke Army Medical Center (TX), with plans to grow to over 20,000 pieces. Brooke is the largest military hospital in the US with over 450 beds.

Several new studies find that rural and Native communities in the US suffer disproportionately in terms of health outcomes due to lack of access to health IT resources, including mHealth and telemedicine.

USDA

Coincidentally, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announces 45 new telemedicine grants through the USDA totaling $14 million, touting it as “another step forward for rural America”. 

The military’s successful use of mobile and online platforms for engaging and educating patients is helping to drive the commercial side of mHealth and telemedicine.

As an example of the military’s use of mHealth technologies, the VA has a pilot in which returning veterans are issued a mobile device that allows them to store their medical record, find VA-related information, and communicate with providers. The article mentions the use of FaceTime for video calling, so I assume the devices being used are from Apple.

Insurers are increasingly reaching out to consumers through social media channels to both push information and collect consumer opinions. The article highlights that most insurers are not using social media or mobile devices to engage providers, but that they are exploring strategies in these areas. 

SayMedicine

The SayMedicine mobile app (iPhone – $4.99) audibly pronounces medical terms to help doctors and students prevent embarrassment when they encounter a new term. It also allows searching for more info on terms using eMedicine, Google, and Wikipedia. I can’t really imagine using something like this, as the chance of being caught using it carries more embarrassment than the mispronunciation it is supposed to prevent.

A blog post from GE Healthcare’s CMO, Derek Wagner, calls for comments to the FCC’s proposed establishment of a frequency spectrum that would support body sensor networks (BSNs).  The post also covers the potential advances and improvements in healthcare from BSNs.

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

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