News 4/20/11

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The West Wireless Health Institute (WWHI) announces the winner of its $10K Developers Challenge. Congratulations to Steven Palmer MD, whose app is designed to assist veterans with self assessment of melanoma. Dr. Palmer is a veteran and a melanoma survivor.

American Medical News has a story on the appeal of tablets in medicine as well as the more popular uses for them. After the standard salute to Apple for being #1 in mobile healthcare, the authors cite the recent Knowledge Networks survey that found drug reference to be the most popular mobile function. It then goes on to say that doctors are not fans of electronic communication from pharma sales reps, still preferring in-person meetings. Face-to-face will probably remain preferable with drug reps as long as the iPad doesn’t start delivering free meals and office supplies.

Another survey of doc preference, though this one much smaller, finds that providers prefer communications from pharma to be digital and mobile, either smart phone or tablet. I think this survey only assessed preference between paper materials and digital materials, not digital delivery vs. in-person.

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ZigBee-based RTLS supplier Awarepoint acquires Patient Care Technology Systems (PCTS), the developer of the Amelior visibility platform. The new venture extends the reach of Awarepoint from its present installed base of 93 hospitals to PCTS’s 60 hospitals. I wonder what this means for other Awarepoint visibility platform partners like Intelligent Insites?

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation iHT2 formalizes its panel on security and privacy in mHealth. The panel will be a part of iHT2’s Summit in May in Fort Lauderdale. The panel has a HIPAA security officer, a PhD HIS professor, and a director of IT security. I wouldn’t expect too much excitement at that talk, but Barry Chaiken, MD/MPH is moderating, so you never know.

OhioHealth

OhioHealth releases a mobile app for women’s health in general, but specifically targeting pregnancy. The app provides weekly advice, facility information, and education about different conditions and tests. I downloaded the app and it is actually pretty good. It is built for use beyond OB, though none of those departments are currently available within the app. The app will be available to all OB patients at OhioHealth at the end of April. My favorite part of the article was the mention of five dozen current users? Dozens, really?

The Government of Australia announces a $467 million plan to provide all citizens access to medical records online or over mobile. I guess it helps that they are able to agree on a national, 16-digit healthcare ID.

PlayBook

This collection of reviews of the new tablet from Research in Motion (RIM), the PlayBook, are not exactly glowing. The consensus seems to be that this will not likely compete with other tablets, especially the front-running iPad.

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Qualcomm announces a 3G-enabled remote monitoring and education project called Self Quality Care in Korea. The program will “provide participating patients and health workers with educational health information and reminders to help manage the chronic disease and live healthier lives.”

text4baby, the text-based message system for expecting moms, is expanding to Russia. Hopefully we’ll get some data soon on whether this service has any value and whether it is worth the cost to administer.

MedHelp, which claims to be the world’s largest social health network, passes one million users. The story makes MedHelp out to be somebody that I should have heard of, but I haven’t. They offer online forums and tools to collect subjective data from patients, both online and over mobile. The story claims that users can leverage the vast dataset that MedHelp has built up to compare progress, treatment, and symptoms against others. That would be cool if they had the necessary data, but I think integration with EHRs and probably pharmacy data systems would make it more useful to map progress across follow-up, compliance, and refill status.

 

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

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