News 8/12/10

The Senate approves a bill to eliminate co-pays for veterans receiving telehealth services.


Adventist Health is the first Oregon health system to launch iTriage from Healthagen, which provides consumers with facility, symptom, and disease information while on the go.

Oil rigs are increasingly using telemedicine to link rig-based emergency response personnel to physicians. We recently reported on a story about telemedicine being used to treat Gulf oil spill cleanup workers. 


Text4baby, the SMS service we’ve reported on that provides timely pregnancy-related health information, receives one of three HHSInnovates Awards from HHS.

The Colorado Neurological Institute is using 13 “Telemedicine Robots” across the state to provide telestroke services to rural hospitals.

The FDA issues a notification letter to Novartis for a misleading advertisement of its drug Tasigna on a Facebook Share widget. Novartis has removed the widget.


Walgreens offers registered users free, online, 24/7 chat with pharmacists.

Many hospitals are struggling with social networking by staff. The report in this article of employees photographing and posting photos of a dying ED patient is particularly disturbing.


A New Zealand startup is producing biosensing clothing that collects and transmits physiologic and GPS data to mobile devices and then to the web (Google Health, Facebook, Twitter, i Map My Run). Originally created for athletes, the company is now in talks with telemedicine companies.

Cochrane Review (25 studies and 5 abstracts) finds that remote monitoring of heart failure patients reduced all cause mortality and hospitalizations, improved quality of life, lowered cost, and produced better prescribing. (Inglis SC, Clark RA, McAlister FA, Ball J, Lewinter C, Cullington D, Stewart S, Cleland JGF. Structured telephone support or telemonitoring programmes for patients with chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010;8)

Ashland Community Hospital (OR) is helping distract and relax patients by giving them iPads to use while they’re in the hospital.


IASIS Healthcare is providing ED wait times for its Arizona and Utah facilities on the iPhone.

InteractiveMD, which provides telemedicine services over e-mail and phone, is launching a videoconferencing service. All telemedicine consultations (e-mail, phone, video) are saved within the InteractiveMD EMR.


Ophthalmologists at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles are using RetCam to remotely assist Armenian physicians diagnose and treat retinopathy of prematurity.

UC Davis School of Medicine is awarded a $1 million grant to develop culturally appropriate interventions to help Native American communities in Northern California, specifically targeting obesity and type-2 diabetes.  Telemedicine will be an important component of the interventions.

mHealth provides decision support to patients, not clinicians, according to panelists at the World Congress mHealth Summit.

Aging baby boomers + declining numbers of geriatricians = more telemedicine and remote monitoring. According to Alice Borelli of Intel, telemedicine can move 30-40% of healthcare to the home.


HealthOne (an HCA affiliate) expands its use of the Airstrip OB application from Rose Medical Center (CO) to its five other hospitals in the Denver area. Here’s another story about Airstrip OB being used by Florida obstetricians. With sky-high malpractice rates in Florida, I didn’t know any OBs were left.

REACH Call, a Web-based telestroke service, gets another $1.05 million investment from Medical College of Georgia Health Inc (MCGHI). MCGHI had already invested $2 million in REACH and owns 25% of the company.

Mobile Fringe and announce UroApp for iPhone, a private social network for urologists to stay connected with each other and stay up to date. This is the first of 11 such social networking apps.


Incoming medical students at the UC Irvine School of Medicine will receive an iPad preloaded with mandatory course materials and “hundreds of medical applications; note-taking and recording capabilities; and many other tools to complement various learning styles”. The iPads will also have digital stethoscope apps and the ability to record ultrasounds.  Stanford Med is also giving iPads to incoming students.

With more lax prescribing rules than some other countries, British Web sites are cropping up that allow for medical consultation and prescriptions without providers interacting with the patient. “Not surprisingly, the most in-demand drugs are for erectile dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases and hair loss.”

PerSay, provider of voice biometrics, announces VocalPassword for Apple devices, which can be embedded into any app and allow for fast, secure, keyboardless logins.

Network World has a nice piece on the challenge smart phones present to enterprise security. 

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