News 6/3/11

IDC Health Insights calls 2010 the tipping point for telecommunication providers to get into the telehealth space, mentioning efforts by Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T and the interest of health systems and self-insured employers in their services.

Telehealth in Canada grew to over 260,000 remote sessions last year. A new report estimates this saved $70 million in transportation costs and $55 million for the healthcare system in 2010.

MediComp releases Quippe, a clinical documentation SDK for licensing by EMR vendors. The demo video above is of Quippe being used on an iPad.

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The National Health Service (NHS) launches the NHS Direct app for Android devices. It provides mobile access to the 37 NHS symptom checkers, directing patients with instructions and appropriate next steps for care. It’s nice to have a trusted source like the NHS providing this type of guidance over mobile. Do we do this in the US (NIH)? I know organizations like Healthwise and Healthagen offer symptom checkers, but I don’t think government entities offer anything similar.


Another insurer, BCBS Florida, launches a mobile app for iOS and Android. It gives members benefit information, an in-network provider search, a medication function to find lower cost options, and several other things that I can’t really imagine people doing with a BCBS app. I think insurers should make these apps lighter, with less functionality, but specific to the insurer.


Mobile health developer Diversinet appoints Alan Portela to its board. He has an impressive resume in the health IT and remote monitoring arena, including a board seat with Airstrip Technologies (and was just named CEO of that company).


The American Red Cross and Dr. Oz launch an Android app that provides users with guides to assess emergency situations and provide basic CPR support. Are there liability issues for the Red Cross and Dr. Oz for creating and endorsing something like this?

Enterprise mobile device management company AirWatch gives $100,000 to Inova Health System (VA) to support the systems mobility programs. The gift will support efforts to mobile-enable telestroke programs, inpatient services, and home health personnel. Inova must have other sources of funding since $100,000 seems pretty low for those three initiatives.

PharMed launches MedAssist QuickList to help patients keep a digital medication list. The app allows you to keep up to four different patient profiles, including those for pets. Users enter medication information manually.

The Rhode Island Department of Health launches a year-long text campaign to help those trying to quit smoking. The program is limited in terms of number of messages and registered users (22 so far), but they only spent $18,000 on it. How many projects are less that $20,000 these days?

A non-healthcare user lists 12 complaints about the new iPad. Most are far from major issues, skipping larger issues such as difficulty in securing the device in the enterprise and Apple’s drive to own 30% of all revenue for app-related purchases.

Travis Good is an MD/MBA and is involved with health IT startups.

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