News 5/4/10

HP

HP to acquire Palm for $1.2 billion. In what many are considering a surprise, HP will purchase Palm at a price of $5.70 per share of Palm common stock in cash or an enterprise value of approximately $1.2 billion. The transaction has been approved by the HP and Palm boards of directors. With sluggish sales, and declining fourth quarter estimates, the acquisition saves Palm from near certain demise. While there is some speculation that HP is overpaying for Palm, the acquisition of Palm’s webOS should help HP broaden their reach, particularly into the lucrative smartphone market.

Droid Incredible

Verizon Wireless launches DROID Incredible. The new device is being touted for its enterprise capabilities, including Exchange Active Sync. It is powered by the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and supports 8GB onboard memory as well as an 8 megapixel camera. It runs Android 2.1 and has access to over 50,000 apps on the Android Market.

iPad WiFi + 3G now available. There’s really not a whole lot more to say about the iPad except the price -  the Wi-Fi + 3G is $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.

GE Healthcare and Ascom partner to enhance mobile clinician communications. The agreement aligns the GE Healthcare patient monitoring platform with Ascom’s wireless communication solutions to enable hospitals to customize, filter and send secondary alarms to clinicians’ Ascom Voice over IP (VoIP) phones, pagers and Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) handsets.

A few interesting apps…

HeartScan 1.1

HeartScan 1.1 for iPhone promotes user healthcare. The application was developed by AppTouch, a Buenos Aires, Argentina- based development company. According to the company, HeartScan 1.1 can determine a user’s heart rate from either self-measurement or via a twenty second scan using the iPhone’s internal mic placed against the left pectoral. Results can be viewed in a graph, and graph images can be exported to the photo album.

Contraction Tracker USA

Contraction Tracker USA. This application provides expectant mothers and their coaches a way to time and track their contractions during labor. Contractions are timed, recorded and saved, categorized into the different phases, and plotted on a chart so that you can see at a glance whether or not you may be progressing. Originally launched in June 2009, this newly released version has been stripped of the alert feature due to patent infringement in the USA.

Fall detection app for the Android. iMedicalApps has covered a story about software being developed by researchers at Florida State University. The iFall application for Android uses the tri-axial accelerometer in Android phones to monitor the phone’s location, position, and movement. The software integrates information about user height, weight, and carrying position with continuously gathered data on phone movements into an algorithm that determines whether a fall has occurred. If a possible fall has occurred, the device first attempts to communicate with the user. If the user does not respond, pre-designated contacts are sent text message alerts that include time of event and GPS co-ordinates. iFall is expected out later this summer.

My Epilepsy Diary

Epilepsy.com launches new iPhone app to help people with epilepsy manage seizures, symptoms, and treatment.  The Epilepsy Therapy Project (ETP), a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating new therapies for people living with epilepsy and seizures and the parent organization of epilepsy.com, announces the launch of an iPhone app called "My Epilepsy Diary," a comprehensive data-gathering and reporting tool designed to improve epilepsy care.

iTriage Logo

Finally, a few more wins for the folks at Healthagen…

San Jose hospitals deploy iTriage app to offer residents greater medical access anywhere, anytime. Good Samaritan Hospital, Regional Medical Center of San Jose and seven sister facilities are partnering with Healthagen on the iTriage mobile application to provide premier listings for HCA’s Far West Division facilities.

Sunrise Health uses iTriage smartphone app to post average ER wait times for mobile patients. Sunrise Hospital, MountainView Hospital, SouthernHills Hospital and Sunrise Children’s Hospital will now have their average ER Wait Times available on the iTriage smartphone application developed by Healthagen, LLC… Congrats on the wins!

As an aside, I just had a reader write to inquire about the rationale of posting ER Wait Times. I actually had the same conversation with Healthagen Founder and CEO, Peter Hudson, MD. From my perspective (and that of the reader), posting ER Wait Times seems like it would only encourage the misuse of these costly services. I am not aware of any research on the subject – but it seems like a fairly logical consequence. As Dr. Hudson explained to me, ER Wait Times is a critical metric where a matter of minutes can often have a dramatic impact on outcome. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple matter of disseminating this information to just EMTs and Ambulances. There’s no way to tell where the next emergent admission is coming from. If one of my children were in crisis and I had to drive them to an ER, I’d darn sure want to take them to the right location. I would also assume that regardless of posted ER Wait Times someone is triaging patients appropriately to ensure that the sickest are seen first. Does anyone have some insight to offer here?

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