News 3/30/11

A survey finds that 85% of consumers would not use social media or IM for medical communications with providers. Specifically, only 11% said they would use Twitter or Facebook and 20% said they would use IM. The survey found more interest in using email for communication and online services for appointments, bill paying, and records access.


Healthagen and the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine (AAUCM), which represents thousands of acute care providers, announce a strategic partnership that enables AAUCM members to have premium facility listings within Healthagen’s iTriage mobile app.

More news about Healthagen. The company announces a partnership with urgent care EMR/PM vendor Practice Velocity to integrate Practice Velocity’s remote registration tool ZipPass into Healthagen’s iTriage mobile application. ZipPass enables users to register and “get in line” from home, reducing the amount of time spent at the facility.


Fountain Valley Regional Hospital (CA) announces a free mobile app with facility info, ED wait times, and ED registration. Check out the image above of ED wait times. It looks like they simply load the hospital web page, which seems pretty pathetic for a mobile app.


OptumHealth announces its mobile health application OptumizeMe is now available for iOS and Android. The application uses social pressure, and virtual badges, to motivate people to accomplish fitness challenges.

A final rule from CMS to streamline telemedicine credentialing is sent to the Office of Management and Budget. Apparently this is the last step before the rule is published.

Online provider community Sermo announces a strategic partnership with Janssen Global Services, LLC, to develop “mobile and web services that allow physicians to move their patients more easily and efficiently through the healthcare system.” From the press release, it seems that Sermo will be developing tools to help with referral coordination and clinical communication between providers.


Two grants from the McKesson Foundation’s Mobilizing for Health initiative are awarded to George Washington (GW) University, which will explore mobile phone-based interventions for diabetes. We covered the Mobilizing for Health grants when they were announced last month, but this report goes into more detail about the GW programs. One will assess the use of SMS, both to and from patients, to improve patient education and care. The other is the continuation of a study testing a “scalable and sustainable care model centered on the cell phone based application” for diabetes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media, in reference to social media sites, urges pediatricians “to help families understand these sites and encourage healthy use and urge parents to monitor for potential problems with cyberbullying, ‘Facebook depression,’ sexting, and exposure to inappropriate content.” 

Researchers using computer simulation find that telemedicine, if properly coordinated, can significantly improve patient outcomes during national disasters.  Improvements were in terms of access to care, reduced hospitalization, and lower wait times.


Healthcare mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, speaking at the CTIA Wireless 2011 conference last week, touted wireless technology as a key enabler of personalized medicine. He also spoke of the power of wireless technologies to improve outcomes and lower costs for the chronically ill. We announced last month that Soon-Shiong had acquired Vitality, the maker of the GlowCap intelligent pill bottle top. I think it will be very interesting to see where Soon-Shiong goes with mHealth, or wireless health, as he’s had such tremendous success in the past and brings almost limitless resources


Amazon opens its Android Appstore as another place to find, test, and download Android apps. I’m a big Amazon user for basically everything and I usually like my Amazon recommendations for products, so app recommendations from Amazon will probably be more powerful than the Genius recommendations from Apple.  Also, here’s a post complaining about one-click shopping in the new Appstore because it makes it too easy to accidentally buy something.

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

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