News 3/26/10

Apple Logo

iPhone provides vital link to medical records. This is a pretty interesting case study by Apple and Toronto’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, with a slick video to boot. You might think this is an overt statement to RIM – the fact that Apple’s healthcare enterprise ‘coming-out’ party is in Toronto, about an hour drive from RIM headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario. There’s more to it, though. Mt. Sinai has developed an in-house iPhone app called VitalHub for displaying patient records, test results, vitals, as well as access to the hospital’s repository of medical literature. More than just an app, VitalHub Corp., a Mount Sinai Hospital company, appears to be making preparations for a formal launch.

iTriage Logo

Healthagen launches new iPhone version of its consumer-focused healthcare information app. iTriage 2.0 vastly improves the search capabilities for finding healthcare providers and better connects medical symptoms to the specific physicians who treat those conditions.

TremorTracer

TouchDx releases TremorTracer, an iPhone tremor assessment for patients with Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other movement disorders. TremorTracer provides physicians a unique and revolutionary tremor assessment suite with which to identify, record, and monitor longitudinal change in writing skills for patients with fine motor function deficits, due to tremor. The application includes three tests: Archimedes Spiral Test, Writing Test, and Straight line Test.

Sensimed Triggerfish

‘Smart’ contact lens with embedded wireless sensor promises earlier diagnosis and optimized treatment of Glaucoma. STMicroelectronics has announced that it will develop and supply a wireless micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) sensor that acts as a transducer, antenna and mechanical support for additional read-out electronics in a breakthrough platform developed by Swiss company Sensimed AG. Known as the SENSIMED Triggerfish®, the solution is based on a "smart" contact lens that uses a tiny embedded strain gauge to monitor the curvature of the eye over a period of, typically, 24 hours, providing valuable disease management data that is not currently obtainable using conventional ophthalmic equipment… Or, BORG phase 1 as I call it.

HTC-EVO-GL

World’s first 3G/4G Android phone, HTC EVO 4G, coming to Sprint this summer… Ok, this is just a freaky device. Check out the specs: 4G (up to 10x faster than 3G) within one of Sprint’s 27 4G-enabled markets; 4.3 inch, pinch-to-zoom display; 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor; dual cameras (8 megapixel autofocus camera with HD-capable camcorder + forward-facing 1.3 megapixel camera); built-in mobile hotspot functionality, allowing up to 8 Wi-Fi enabled devices to share 4G connection; HDMI output; and, of course, Android 2.1 operating system… I guess the iPhone is going to have to wait a little longer.

VisualDx Mobile

I had the opportunity to meet Logical Images CEO Richard Cohan at HIMSS just after the company launched VisualDx Mobile for the iPhone. My impressions of the application were that the content appears well organized, and there is a plethora of images that are… well, gross. Then again, I’m not a physician. The company provided me a copy of the software which I, in turn, gave to a primary care physician to get some ‘real’ feedback. The initial response is “wow… cool”. The physician found the content very well organized and easy to navigate. The images are fantastic, and support diagnosis of a multitude of skin conditions and diseases. Great tool for a range of clinicians… Good stuff.

Axial Exchange

Wanted to put in a quick mention of Axial Exchange, a Raleigh, NC-based start-up focused on health data integration. I’ve met Founder and CEO Joanne Rohde a couple of times as the company has continued to evolve. Joanne is former COO and Director of Health IT Strategy at Red Hat, Inc. Tapping into their extensive open-source experience, the company is in the process of releasing their code to the open-source community via the Axial Project. Keep an eye on them. They’ve covered a lot of ground in a short period.

RememberItNow! Logo

Speaking of start-ups, I had the chance to see a demo of RememberItNow!’s medication reminder and PHR software. The web-based application is very clean and well designed. I think the interface is superior to Google Health and at least on-par with Microsoft’s HealthVault. The real spark of the application is its built-in scheduling and reminding functionality, which gives patients and caregivers the ability to set medication and other event reminder alerts that can be delivered via multiple formats, including email and SMS.

It seems like I’ve been talking about PHRs quite a lot lately, which is interesting because I have not been a big fan of them for the last few years. Historically, my biggest objection has been that – other than a few specific situations, primarily related to disease state management – I just don’t think patient created data is very reliable or useful. I think the evolution of HIEs, thanks in no small part to funding, will advance PHRs from patient diaries to portable electronic health records. This is not a subtle difference.

HIEs will ultimately populate PHRs with provider- (and device-) created, event-driven information… similar to how your bank sends transaction data to your Microsoft Money or Quicken account. Just as OFX standards have moved personal financial software from fancy check registers to powerful financial management tools, HIEs, or their underlying architecture, will take PHRs to the next level. This does not necessarily bode well for all PHR vendors, though. In fact, quite the opposite. The companies that will benefit the most – those that can scale quickly, have credibility, can affect – if not dictate – standards, and perhaps most importantly, can integrate multiple complementary strategic assets. So, my money’s on Google and Microsoft, regardless of what their solutions look like at present. Anyone else in this space should be thinking long and hard about unique, valuable, and defensible intellectual property. That’s my two cents, anyway.

  • Nom de Plume

    Smart contact lenses are amazing!

    I’m waiting for a contact lense technology that senses when a program is being broadcast/projected in 3-D thus making those lovely, iconic glasses obsolete for the visually challenged masses! I know! Gonna’ be a long wait!

  • Another start up PHR medical device manufacturer to pay attention to is ViVre Medical the makers of the LifeGuard30. The LifeGuard30 allows critical medical information to be shared at the scene of an emergency via a small, mini-computer that fits in one’s hand. The LifeGuard30 does not need Internet or phone lines to function in an emergency. It has a complete back up system that includes a text back system and 24/7 live support. The LifeGuard30 is completely secure and offers no information about the customer that can be monetized. For more information please visit http://www.lifeguard30.com.

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