News 3/16/11

A Howard University study of a diabetes self-management portal with a PHR, linked to an EHR, diabetes care plans, and social networking components to engage other patients, finds portal users lowered BMI and were 4.6 times more likely to lower their A1c levels. The study was small with only 47 total patients, 26 of which were assigned to the portal and given a laptop. The idea sounds great, but I’m not sure how representative this is and how much can be concluded from a study this small.


A clinical trial of Medtronic’s CareLink Network remote monitoring platform shows reduced cost, length of stay, and time to clinical decision with CareLink vs. standard in-office follow-up of cardiac patients with implantable devices. Remote monitoring of cardiac patients is just such a no brainer to me, and it seems like studies show that over and over again.

A new report assessing website vulnerabilities finds healthcare sites to be the most secure. The report looked at 3,000 websites from 400 organizations. At the other end of the spectrum, social networking and retail sites were found to be the most vulnerable, giving credence to healthcare CIOs’ hesitation to employ social networking sites.


ATA president Jonathan Linkous says telemedicine is at the “top of the hype cycle” right now but won’t be able to sustain that level without integration into the health system, more importantly the payment system. The rest of the article gives some good background on the VA and the size of the telemedicine market.


Capital Regional Medical Center (FL) will test the new iNotify feature of the iTriage mobile app. iNotify allows users to fill out intake information, including allergies, and notify the facility of the need for an oversized wheelchair. This seems like a step in the right direction to motivate users to use iTriage to find a facility as long as data entry is not too intensive.

In order to develop new remote treatment methods for astronauts in space (not a joke), the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency is testing the Littmann Scope-to-Scope Tele-Auscultation System from 3M on the International Space Station. My bet is reimbursement is not a hindrance to adoption.

A soon-to-be-released  iPhone app allows patients to enter information about eye problems, including visual acuity and visual fields, and submit this info to a physician, presumably one that is getting reimbursed for reviewing remote data from a patient. The video claims the information collected can be used to detect 99% of eye problems.

A French study of Diabeo, a smart phone diabetes management system, finds the use of the smart phone app in conjunction with teleconsultation results in lower A1c levels vs standard of care, which is in-office follow-up every three months.


Eyemaginations launches six iPad apps to help eye professionals educate patients about conditions and treatments. The article suggests using the apps for patients in the reception area, which makes sense, especially if you link to registration forms and consents.


University of Utah Health Care offers patients access to medical records using the MyChart mobile app from Epic.  

Broomwell HealthWatch, a provider of ECG telemedicine services in the UK, has completed over 130,000 remote ECG interpretations since 2006. The service allows patients to go to local care centers (GPs, walk-in centers) and have a full 12-lead ECG that is then remotely interpreted by Broomwell. The system is used in a third of primary care trusts in the UK and trials have found it be effective in preventing 63% of referrals to secondary care. I’ll be curious to see who the winners are in the US as the providers of these services for ACOs.

The mHealth industry is set to explode, according to this column. The author is looking for a good name to call the industry, so head over there if you want to be heard. I personally like “mHealth” because, despite not addressing every aspect of the industry, it seems to be winning out in most circles, is easy to remember, and I don’t like any of the other options.  

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

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