News 4/27/11

More information on the SMART Diaphragm, which came in second at the recent Vodafone and mHealth Alliance awards. The diaphragm sits on the cervix of high-risk pregnant women, measures collagen levels, and transmits results via Bluetooth to a phone and then into the cloud, detecting potential pre-term births before any symptoms would be noticeable. Very cool stuff.

Telehealth solutions company American Well launches Online Care for Providers. The new services allows providers to easily incorporate virtual visits into existing practices. The virtual visits can take place using video, phone, or chat. Virtual appointments can be on-demand or scheduled. The name, Online Care for Providers, seems like doctors anonymous, but I’m not a marketing or brand guy.

mHealth can deliver better preventive care at lower cost by simply using the mobile technology commonly used by consumers. Several speakers at a conference last week touted the power of mobile technologies to revolutionize care by leveraging the technology that they claim already is present in the patient population. There needs to be consideration for non-smart phones, which I consider to be essential to target the aging (expensive) population.

The first near field communication (NFC) enabled mobile phone app is announced by iMPak Health. The app, call SleepTrak, analyzes sleep data. I’m confused why NFC would be better than Bluetooth for transmitting data from a device, in this case a sleep monitoring device, to a phone?

The list of speakers for the upcoming GSMA-mHealth Alliance Mobile Health Summit, to be held in South Africa in June, is announced.  Not surprisingly, the list is very different and less star-studded than last year’s US Summit.

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A new study of the use and efficacy of lithium in ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) was conducted using the medically-oriented social media site PatientsLikeMe. The study used the social network to recruit patients and collect subjective data, resulting in a cheaper, faster trial. The conclusion from the article is that social networks may serve an increasingly important role in clinical trials, but will not replace more rigorous trials.

A survey of consumers finds that of those who download health-related smart phone apps, 26% use the app ongoing, while another 26% stopped using apps after only one try. The rest use health apps under ten times. This seems to make sense for all apps that I download, so I’m guessing that health-related apps are no different. There are just too many apps out there, so you download and try them to filter them.

The video above is a side-by-side comparison of the iPad 2 and the new Blackberry PlayBook tablet. The PlayBook seems very small, almost too small for healthcare.

The iPad seems to be increasing traction within the autism community. Children on the autism spectrum use the device for all sorts of things beyond just communication.

To address some of the $100 million Medicaid shortfall in Kentucky, the State Government asks CMS if the state can use Medicaid funds to cover in home monitoring services. The article says the remote care is half the cost of in-home care.

The ONC is looking for vendors interested in developing solutions to help with patient consent and trust in health information exchanges.

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

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