News 2/11/11


It seems like everywhere I turn I hear about somebody else wanting to get into the appointment-setting business. The viral growth of ZocDoc probably doesn’t hurt that. This week Healthagen announced that it will acquire and integrate appointment making into the web and mobile versions of iTriage. I assume they will offer this to premium facility listings first and I’m curious to see if this is a fee per appointment or subscription payment model. With the recent announcement that iTriage has over one million users, this certainly has some potential.


Quest and Withings announce a partnership to integrate Withing’s WiFi scale into Quest’s Gazelle mobile app. This is an interesting move for Quest, which released the app to help patients get lab test results and send information to providers. Quest is clearly trying to move into remote monitoring and I think we’ll probably see another announcement soon about the Withing’s iPhone-enabled blood pressure cuff being integrated into Gazelle. According to Quest, “Over the coming months, we will continue to add additional capabilities from best-in-class partners as we expand and enhance the Gazelle Mobile Health platform”. I wonder if that means appointment setting?

A study of socials networking sites for diabetics finds considerable variability in the quality of information and privacy controls. The sites compared were the top ten sites found with a Google search. The report found only 50% of sites were consistent in terms of science and clinical practice.

How does your facility deal with security issues around Apple mobile devices? Adventist Health System uses a “sandbox” network to limit connectivity for the devices and uses Citrix for access to Cerner, though they plan to start testing a native, Cerner-developed iPad app in March.


Mobile diabetes management system developer Cellnovo, based in London, secures a whopping $48 million in Round B funding. The Cellnovo system, which includes an insulin pump, mobile handset, and online management system, is being compared to Apple as the “iTunes of diabetes care.”      


This article comparing the Motorola Xoom to the iPad 2 predicts that the leaked Xoom price of $799 will likely push consumers towards Apple. I’d say Motorola is more in need of pulling customers than Apple is in getting customers pushed to them.

InTouch Health announces that 45 telemedicine networks are using the company’s cloud-based telemedicine platform and Remote Presence endpoints. These networks represent 475 contracted hospital locations.

In a study of 46 mobile apps to help people quit smoking, a recent paper concludes that none should be effective. This conclusion is based on the finding that none of the apps’ strategies were recognized as effective for smoking cessation.     


PEPID announces the release of an iPad version of its drug database and clinical decision support tools.

The Continua Health Alliance is working with the Global Certification Forum to create a certification program for wireless personal health devices. I didn’t realize Continua had grown to over 230 members. That’s impressive.

A study of the Pacific Asynchronous TeleHealth (PATH) system, a provider-to-provider teleconsultation platform, finds it to be effective and convenient at providing pediatric subspecialty care.   The study looked at 1,000 teleconsultations and found that it precluded transfers that saved up to $750,000 annually.


AstraZeneca launches Quest app (not to be confused with Quest Diagnostic’s Gazelle app) for the iPhone to provide clinicians information about cardiovascular-related clinical trials and news. The app also allows users to annotate and share trial information.    

A study by Children’s Hospital Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto finds that not only do parents prefer digital health forms over paper, they also provide more information digitally. This isn’t very surprising, but what is surprising is that I still fill out paper forms when I visit Kaiser.

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

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