News 2/16/11


A research2guidance blog post provides highlights is recent report, Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015. The report is ~$2,500 so I’m glad these blog summaries are free. This post speculates that mHealth developers will not be able to make money using the dominant, current revenue model of pay-per-download. Instead, the report finds services tied to apps around monitoring, sales, and advertising will be what creates sustainable business models. I agree, and the more intriguing apps I’ve seen recently are monthly, service-fee oriented. Also, Epocrates,which is going public, makes most if its money from premium content paid for by drug companies.

A new study finds that hypertensive patients liked using a special pill reminder mobile app, Pill Phone, and that there is a trend towards higher refill rates with the use of the app. The study issued 3G phones preloaded with Pill Phone to 50 patients in DC. OK, admittedly I read the press release and not the study itself but I’m not very wowed by the findings. To draw any real meaningful conclusions from this, I think they needed to find lower blood pressures or somehow prove improved med compliance, not just find satisfaction with the use of the app and a trend towards more refills. Also, why couldn’t you just design an SMS system for this, which does both send and receive, and not have to issue people pre-loaded phones?

Royal Caribbean Cruises offers teledermatology to its on-ship employees through physicians at the University of Miami. I had no idea they provided that level of care on the ships, but I guess it’s a lot more convenient than trying to get a real appointment with a dermatologist.  

RNK Products announces that the FDA has approved its PCP-1 Stethoscope. It plugs directly into a PC and can be used for remote monitoring. 

The Initiative for Open AuTHentication (OATH) launches its OATH Certification Compliance Program (OCCP) for authentication technologies. On the initial list of certified vendors and products is Diversinet and its MobiSecure Health Platform for mobile health.


Home monitoring aggregator MedApps is named one of three finalists for Best New Product in the Innovative Services: Health, Wellness & Safety Segment, which is part of the 2011 Edison Awards. Another health-related finalist in the same category is American Well, which offers a suite of online care platforms for patients, providers, and health plans. The winners will be announced April 5.

A new Ernst & Young report finds that drug makers increased investments by 78% in websites and mobile applications targeting patients.Investments were designed to improve compliance and overall health. The leaders in the industry were Merck and Novartis.


Doro, a Swedish company that develops mobile phones for aging populations, announces two mHealth-related partnerships. They will work with MyGlucoHealth to assist with the management of diabetes and with Medixine to provide medication reminders and compliance tracking. This is timely given the need for devices and apps for baby boomers    


The New York City Health Department releases an app that uses GPS to help New York City residents locate places that give out free condoms. The app was released just in time for Valentine’s Day.      


Attending HIMSS next week?  If so, have you searched for “mobile” or “wireless” on the education session search page?

President Obama talks about the federal government’s push to expand wireless Internet to rural America. Of the $18 billion allotted, “About $3 billion would go to a government research program that would develop methods for using mobile Internet access for emerging technologies and for health, education and energy applications.”

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

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