News 3/9/11


Wireless carrier USA Mobility acquires unified communications vendor Amcom for $163 million in cash. USA Mobility intends to make Amcom its software arm and the acquisition helps USA Mobility gain access to Amcom’s healthcare clients. Amcom also does smart phone paging in healthcare.

mHealth app developers need to decide whether or not to apply for FDA approval, but the best quote is from West Wireless Health Institute CMO Joseph Smith, MD, who said apps needing FDA approval “would be those that provide physicians with information that they use to make a diagnosis or treatment decision.”


Walgreens is seeing an impressive number of users for its mobile apps and services. The company recently launched “Refill-by-Scan”, in which a user can take a photo of the barcode on the pill bottle and automatically send a refill request to the pharmacy. The service already accounts for the majority of mobile refills.  Another Walgreens mobile service, SMS notifications, has surpassed 1 million subscribers.

New startup Doximity, called a “LinkedIn for doctors,” is getting a lot of attention ahead of its official launch. The company, founded by the former COO of Epocrates, allows physicians to securely connect and communicate with one another. Doximity is targeting young docs, but I wonder how open they will be with advice to other providers, especially if, as the article points out, they are then open to malpractice?

Pharma emarketing firm Eveo is developing over 40 mobile apps that the press release is calling mobile patient relationship management (MPRM) apps. The mobile apps are being developed for big pharma and categories of apps include disease management, treatment trackers, and lifestyle focused.  This is an interesting strategy, especially if it is being driven by pharma companies as the clients.  


American Medical News talks about the good and the potential very bad of using group deal services like Groupon in healthcare. The article warns providers about the potential conflicts if these discount services are used for non-elective, insurance-covered services. It also addresses another problem I’ve read about these services in healthcare, namely the inability to meet the surge in demand.

Wellmont Health System (VA) is using a $500K USDA grant to provide telemedicine services to rural patients suffering from chronic diseases as well as those with a history of cancer.

On the heels of the official announcement of the iPad 2, the new device is being touted as a more powerful tool in clinical medicine that will help make 2011 a big year for mobile health. Smaller form factor, faster processor and graphics, and dual-facing cameras will make the iPad even more popular amongst providers.

A new report from RBC finds that Apple will eventually lose out to Android-based tablet devices in terms of market share. The report predicts great growth in the global tablet market because only 0.3% of the world population now owns a tablet. To be honest, I’m not sure Apple is that concerned about the global market, as reflected by its iPhone strategy. Apple basically prices itself out of the competition for the majority of the people in the world and the big growth in phones in the developing world is in Java-based phones, not iOS-based.


New York based health plan CDPHP launches Find-A-Doc Mobile for Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices. The app allows the company’s members to search for providers and facilities then get directions or connect via phone.

Computer Sciences Corp (CSC) issues a new report finding that a true PHR still does not exist. The report outlines three types of PHRs currently offered: 1) payer-populated, 2) provider-populated, and 3) untethered. The finding is that a true PHR would include clinical information from all care settings, be fully controlled by the patient, allow for interaction between patient and provider, and provide lifetime access to the patient.   

A new Frost & Sullivan report finds, not surprisingly, that the global remote monitoring market is growing and seeing the entrance of lots of big players: GE, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Philips, Qualcomm, Siemens and Wal-Mart.  Also not surprising, the major barrier identified for adoption was reimbursement.

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

  • Frank Avignone

    With respect to the CSC comments. Again true to fashion the larger the company becomes the less well informed they become. Perhaps I would suggest the leadership at CSC run a quick fact check and visit HealthyCircles Web site. Good Luck.


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