News 6/1/12

Glooko and Roche announce a partnership and the co-promotion of Glooko’s cable and associated iOS app to connect and log glucose readings from Roche’s Accu-Chek glucose meters. Instead of developing a connected glucometer like those from Telcare and iBGStar, Glooko is targeting existing glucometers with an add-on that turns them into connected devices. The cable is about $50 and the app is free. I like the model of leveraging big players like Roche for growth.

A good article on mobile and connected health technology covers topics like mobile EMR access, BYOD, and telemed. Most interesting to me is discussion of a recent study in which 25 ED patients were given an app that provided access to their medical record, information about the stage of care, and pictures of the care team. The app told gave them status updates, such as "Awaiting lab results." This information seems valuable in ER environment, where it always seems to be about short patient interactions mixed with leaving patients in the dark for long periods of time, at least in my experiences as a patient and family member. This is exactly in line with my last post about POC patient engagement. The study, though very small, found that patients had less anxiety about their care. The app was more advanced than what I imagined as a starting point, but I think it speaks to what you can do combining mobile devices, real-time information, and acute care patients.

This is a good breakdown on what patients can get out of using Twitter. The four uses: conducting real-time conversations, gaining access to doctors and nurses, participating in tweet chats, and getting breaking news.

A survey of physicians finds that physician use of social media and Internet technologies is most influenced by physician gender, physician age, and practice location (working at an academic medical center.) These are intuitive, but what surprised me was that specialty had no influence.

Integrated health systems are leading the way when it comes to mobile health, and I’d say patient engagement as well. From an incentive standpoint, they are more aligned within an integrated system. The other area that I think will see acceleration of use of patient technologies is concierge medicine or direct primary care.

Northwestern is testing a new online game that helps physicians recognize drug seeking behavior and become more comfortable talking to patients about the difficult subject. It’s geared towards primary care physicians and is based on similar training given by the FBI on interrogation.

Are you interested in having a formal classification on your resume that shows you’re a mobile health expert? TechChange and mHealth Alliance may have the solution, a new online certificate course called mHealth: Mobile Phones for Public Health. The four-week course is being slotted for the fall. It’s interesting timing, as I recently read about Johns Hopkins adding two dedicated mobile health courses next year for its MPH program.

A survey of cancer patients finds that the majority do not search for information online to challenge a doctor’s opinion or knowledge. The study assessed why patients search for information and why they share it with their providers. It turns out most patients are looking for clarification or additional insight from physicians.

Will the FDA suffocate mobile health innovation? It’s a hard question, just the thought of regulation slows the process. A certain amount of regulation is required in healthcare, but why mHealth should be treated as a distinct entity from the rest of digital health is confusing to me.

A study of stroke patients finds positive outcomes associated with telerehab vs. the usual care. Telerehab in this study included home visits (not very tele), telephone calls, and an in-home messaging device that sounded like one-way to the patient. Reading the abstract doesn’t tell what specific functional improvements were found in the telerehab group.

Here’s a list of 20 hospitals that are using social media effectively, which varies from fundraising to emergency communications to education. For some reason this article feels like deja vu even though the date of posting was last week.

Health incubator Rock Health announces its third class of startups, which will be the first based in Boston instead of San Francisco. It’s a smaller group, with only six startups. I’ll write more about the companies next week. If you want to be in a health incubator in Boston but didn’t make the cut or apply to Rock, Healthbox is accepting applications for its first Boston class. I think Healthbox should stay in Chicago for the summer and fall but move somewhere warm (like Austin or San Diego) for the winter.

Travis Good is an MD/MBA involved with health IT startups. More about me.

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