News 8/17/11

Welcome to Kony as a Platinum Sponsor of HIStalk Mobile. Kony offers a mobile platform and associated custom mobile libraries for the healthcare industry that are flexible and guaranteed to run natively on all major devices and operating systems as well as over 9,000 mobile browsers; or, in Kony’s words, it will "future-proof a company’s mobile investment." Kony speeds the time and reduces the cost to market while assuring healthcare organizations are reaching their customers regardless of the mobile devices being used. To me, this makes a ton of sense for an EMR vendor, payer, or provider wanting to go mobile.

From Medhavi Jogi (in response to my questions about the new GE Centricity Advance iPad app): "I have been using the application for a week now. It is beautifully designed and we are working it into the current office flow. I like the mobility it brings to our practice. I’m able to fill prescriptions and respond to patient messages without going back to my desk. In addition to the advantage to the “digital notepad” advantages, Centricity Advance mobile seems to make a better connection with my patients. There is a perceived communication barrier by a traditional desktop EMR, and perception is reality. Anyone with questions can feel free to reach out to me directly."  That’s a pretty good review.

It’s been a busy week for Healthagen, the mobile app vendor that offers premium listings for partner providers. First it announced a partnership with ED staffing firm Schumacher Group to provide premium listings for Schumacher’s 180 hospital partners. That’s not a bad sale. Second, Healthagen announced it has added medication information from the National Library of Medicine for 1,000 common medications. Users can now find relevant drug information in the context of specific diseases. The above video talks about the new medication information in iTriage, but all I remember from it was the bouncing dock icon at the bottom of the computer screen in the background of the interview.

The ONC plans to expand efforts to educate and inform consumers about health IT, including EHRs, PHRs, and mobile apps. HHS videos and animated education are great, but to do this effectively, ONC will need to leverage providers. To do that, it will need to give them a CPT code for HIT Education and Counseling.

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I found this next one to be a very interesting story. Medagate, which is a "benefits disbursement and redemption network" serving CMS program members, partners with prepaid wireless vendor ReadyWireless to offer Medicaid members free cell phones with free, limited monthly airtime via the FCC’s Lifeline Assistance Program. The dedicated phone lines can be used by Medicaid to reach member and to send alerts. Once the free airtime runs out, users can top up at their own expense at ReadyWireless locations. It’s an interesting concept that is taking full advantage of government assistance programs to target health. It’s also something that serves both Medagate and ReadyWireless

A new report from Frost & Sullivan examines the different mobile opportunities available in healthcare today. The report analyzes four types of devices: 1) smart phones, 2) tablets, 3) push-to-talk devices, and 4) machine-to-machine (M2M) devices. The report is touted as a tool to assist organizations with mobile vendor decisions, but seems somewhat Sprint-heavy as it uses the company as a model. The images I found for the report don’t include iOS devices, which seems a little odd considering the high uptake of Apple devices in the provider community.

I was unaware of this, but apparently drug companies were granted special privileges on Facebook to block public comments on their Walls. Now Facebook has changed its policy and opened up most drug companies’ Walls to comments. Specific drug pages are still able to block comments on Walls, but this is a minority of pharma-owned pages. Several drug companies are shutting down pages because of the new policy.

HHS announces a new contest called "The Lifeline Facebook App Challenge". It seeks a Facebook app that helps people connect and improve personal preparedness during a disaster. In the words of HHS, "The app should integrate the concepts of disaster preparedness and community resilience into an app that better prepares individuals for disasters, thereby strengthening national health security". If you read further, it sounds a little bit like creating a "Lifeline" Circle in Google+.

Aetna expands services to providers in Florida by extending the Navinet Mobile Connect smart phone platform with e-prescribing services and clinical alerts based on gaps in care. The gaps in care are identified using ActiveHealth’s CareEngine. I’m interested to see how successful payers will be in targeting providers with mobile offerings.

In response to the recent presentation on the vulnerabilities associated with mobile health devices, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) draft a letter to the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to assess if the FCC is appropriately identifying risks associated with such devices.

The army is planning to upgrade the four-year-old Motorola mobile devices that are currently used in combat zones by medics to document clinical encounters. iOS and Android devices are being tested, some of which are tablets. If they can make a protector and lock down an iPad’s OS for the battlefield, it seems like we should be able to do it for a hospital environment. I can’t wait to see that on an Apple commercial.

ABI Research issues a new report finding that the WiFi-based healthcare segment will grow by close to 20% this year. I’m not 100% sure what this includes as the report is not free.

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

  • denis baker

    Travis – re: Facebook/Pharma – are there other entities who have had special privileges?

  • Vicente Fernandez

    Denis – In the articles I’ve read about the Facebook/Pharma news the special privilege was described as “exclusive” to certain Pharma companies and that some of them will still maintain the ability to block postings on their walls.

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