News 9/28/11

A new report by Kalorama Information, Remote & Wireless Patient Monitoring Markets (167 pages, $3,995 to download), forecasts the remote and wireless monitoring industry to grow at 25.4% annually from the current size of $7.1 billion to $22.5 billion in 2015. A key area of growth is found to be eICU. I still struggle with bundling everything from an eICU platform like Visicu (Philips) to consumer home monitors like MedApps under one umbrella. I realize these solutions are all remote, wireless, and patient monitoring, but the regulation, marketing, technology, users, and clients are just so different.

A new congressional act, Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2011, would issue Medicare smart cards to all beneficiaries and providers. The cards, when read together, would help assure that services were delivered, combating fraud. If CMS is going to pay — and I can’t imagine it will be cheap — to roll out smart cards and readers to providers, then they might as well load PHR data if they can agree on a source for it. I’m sure some patient rights groups would cringe at the thought.

Home monitoring tablet company Independa closes a round of funding worth $1.6 million. The new company offers a health tablet called Angela and a service for health reminders that integrates family into the care of patients. It’s a good idea and well positioned to be acquired if it can get some traction. The press release needs to be updated because I assume data from Angela is not still being sent to Google Health.

Another research group, inMedica, issues a report that finds the telehealth device market will grow from $163 million in 2010 to $6.28 billion in 2020. The drivers for the growth are aging, chronic disease, and health reform.

I thought this was a pretty cool story about games for medical sciences, though not really games for health. A team at University of Washington develops a game, called Foldit, that challenges players to create the optimal protein structure for an AIDS enzyme. In a matter of days, players were able to figure out the correct structure for the enzyme, something that scientists and computers alone had been unable to do.

A new Harris report finds that 74% of adults have gone online for health information at some time and 60% have looked for health info in the last month. Slightly more people use search engines than medical sites.

drcrhono releases a new version of its iPad EMR. New features include free e-prescribing, faxing, and FreeDraw, which allows providers to draw on any document, including radiographic images. According to the report, more than 10,000 providers are using drchrono.

A report by the Congressional Research Service finds social media to effective but risky for disaster response. It shouldn’t be surprising that people would post misleading or false information because well, people are people and I don’t think social network pressure or virtual identities are enough to restrict what people will do. It reminds me of the story of an airbnb customer getting their house ransacked and the ensuing PR disaster for airbnb.

This is a good story on telepsych services. Telephysh makes so much sense because a lot of services can be done virtually. Combine that with lots of these services being self pay and it’s a perfect setup. I went to, mentioned in the story, and it was pretty cool to see prices and availability immediately. The challenge if people pick therapists randomly based on availability is continuity of care. It would be nice if therapists were required to chart or upload notes to the site for future therapists to see.

With the mHealth Summit only about two months away, we’re starting to see press releases for different organizations and speakers. I’m betting this will ramp up shortly. EXTENSION, INC. CEO Todd Plesko will speak on the panel "Achieving Effective Healthcare Communications by Unifying Enterprise Phone Systems with Smartphones." EXTENSION offers smart phone apps for enterprise clinical communication as well as secure messaging services.

A McKinsey report finds that despite the many benefits of home care technologies, adoption is still very low. The reasons for this lack of widespread adoption are found to be financial, effectiveness, and accessibility-related problems. The drivers in the future will be healthcare reform and increased evidence for home monitoring. This seems right, but I think home care tech service providers will have to be more creative about where to find revenue and not count on ACOs or health reform to Kaiserize health systems.

Speaking of mobile summits, here is a link to a random Mobile Healthcare Summit in Tampa in a few weeks.

The FCC is hoping to update the legacy, voice-only 911 emergency system to receive texts, pictures, and video. I guess it would be nice in certain scenarios. The example given in the story was the Virginia Tech shootings when students tried to text to 911. Estimated costs would be $1.4-2.7 billion nationwide.

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

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