News 6/29/12

The comments from my last post provided some real-world feedback on iPads and tablets use with clinicians. Check them out. Thanks for contributing.

Above is a very good high level presentation of venture funding trends in healthcare technology. This was put together by Rock Health. I have to say I’ve been very impressed with how Rock has been gathering and pushing out very useful information about new ventures in healthcare. Beyond its role as an incubator, this collection of info is very valuable. Nice job.

“The real opportunity in medicine, then, is not to replace physicians, but to enable them, and enable patients.” This is from a great piece about the risk of investing in health tech without understanding MDs and the broader healthcare industry. While MDs are not the only way to get access or have an impact in healthcare, they do provide a valuable perspective not only on our healthcare system, and many problems associated with it, but also on patients and their motivations.

The message of this article sounded a lot like the message from the above article about MDs. The author, one of the early Epocrates execs, stated that what is needed is “applications and platforms that provide real value to the individual clinician and make the job easier, while at the same time benefiting other players in the health care system.” The author is right that companies succeeding in this way will be very successful. She also mentions HealthFinch, which has a great tagline – “The Doctor Happiness Company”.

Accenture released the results of a survey that found 83% want access to health records online but 46% were unaware that their health records were available online. First, the survey of patients was online and only open for 6 days, so it has inherent selection bias when it asks if people want to use online tools. Second, and this is something I wonder about from other industries, is what is the best way to inform people about how to access health records online. I realize not all patients, including my kids because our pediatrician is still on paper, have access to online records, but when access is available, how do you get that inform that 83%. I’ve always thought physicians were the key to this. Payers can and do offer members access to basic health information via web and mobile, but I think the uptake is considerably different from the provider than the payer. I also think it needs to be individual, not just signage at the registration desk. Looking at this specific survey, 85% of patients wanted to preserve in-person interactions with providers. I guess what it comes down to is that the key to success is using technology to expand and improve the doctor-patient relationship, not replace it.

Qualcomm Life announces that the SDK for its 2net platform will be available to developers August 15th. The SDK, initially only for Android, allows developers to easily integrate their data into Qualcomm’s 2net Platform. To coincide with the release of the SDK, Qualcomm also announced a developer challenge looking for the best app to utilize the new SDK. I love these challenges but its getting hard to keep up with all of them.

This is very high level but a great summary of the potential of mobile health. The article focuses on the need to better understand how people are using mobile health technologies as well as the need to critically assess the benefits and risks associated with the technologies. And it’s written by Francis Collins, Director of the NIH and a very cool guy. I was lucky to see him speak at my wife’s med school graduation and it’s one of the best speeches I’ve ever seen, especially when he got out a guitar and sang a tune he’d written for the occasion.

Shareable Ink raises $5 million for business and technology development. Shareable Ink provides a platform to turn paper notes into structured data.

According to this article, WellDoc is launching a prescribed health app for diabetes next year. I was under the impression that this was already what WellDoc already offered. I thought individual providers could customize the app already. If not, what has WellDoc been offering to patients and providers? WellDoc, for type 2 diabetes at least, is a tool with FDA clearance and decent data, at least more than most apps, about efficacy. Can anybody help clear up my confusion on this?

The global telehealth market is predicted to grow from $736 million last year to $2.5 billion in 2018. I think I’ve said this before, but the numbers are all starting to blur together for me. The take home is always that connected health technologies are good sectors to be in over the next 5 years.

Has anybody heard of or used the Endomondo fitness app? It looks Runkeeper-esque and apparently has 10 million users, which I’m betting is 10 million downloads of its mobile app – still pretty impressive. Only a quarter of the users are in the US, so I guess it’s the international Runkeeper.

I enjoyed this post, by a physician, about the power of social media to teach both physicians and patients. The premise is that physicians have a responsibility, “as accumulators of information and trusted leaders in the community”, to share that information with colleagues and patients. I definitely agree and I’ll be curious to see how companies like HealthTap, Sermo, and Sharecare can facilitate and promote these interactions.

A couple of months ago I wrote about the distractions created by all the technology we have around us, focusing on the risk to the doctor-patient relationship from mobile devices in the exam room. It’s a phenomenon that intrigues and annoys me at the same time. It’s also something I think we need to stay mindful of as we continue to surround ourselves with connected technologies, sensors, feedback systems, etc. I stumbled on this summary of a presentation by Google Ventures Partner Joe Kraus, in which he discusses the risks to our creativity and the myth of multitasking.

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


  • Chris Wasden

    To be honest I have been shocked at the apparent success of Endomondo. I use Digifit and Cyclemeter all the time and like them quite a lot. I have used RunKeeper and find it is quite good too, but Digifit and Cyclemeter have features that I have grown to like and depend on and others don’t have. Endomodo on the other hand seems to be light on core features and has almost none of the extras that these other apps have. So why all the downloads?

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