Top 10 mHealth Stories of 2013

For those working in the trenches of connected health, 2013 will be remembered as a year of business consolidation and federal regulation. It was the year that crowd-funding proved that it could deliver multi-million seed funding rounds to healthcare startups, and a year that analyst predict will once again break venture capital investment records.

To those working day-in and day-out to bring innovative solutions to healthcare’s problems, thank you. Here is HIStalk Connect’s top connected health stories of 2013.

1. Athenahealth Acquires Epocrates for $293 Million

Athenahealth started 2013 strong when on January 7 the cloud-based EHR vendor announced that it would acquire mHealth giant Epocrates for $293 million. Epocrates had been one of the most successful mHealth companies to date prior to the acquisition, driven by their popular drug reference app.

2. The FDA Releases Final Guidance for mHealth App Developers

The FDA releases its long-awaited regulatory guidelines for the mHealth app market, bringing an end to uncertainty that was credited with both stalling innovation and dampening investment activity in the mobile medical app market.

3. Jawbone Acquires BodyMedia For More Than $100 Million

Jawbone acquired rival activity tracker manufacturer BodyMedia for an undisclosed sum that was reported north of $100 million. BodyMedia’s 60 employees were absorbed in the deal, and both company’s devices continue to be marketed.

4. HIMSS13 Recap

Back from New Orleans, Travis recounts this year’s HIMSS conference, saying “The two main themes were that: 1) EMRs were only the starting point for really interesting technology to be layered on top, and 2) somebody now needs to figure out how to optimize care around these new technologies, something that’s been missing as we’ve rushed to implement technology and meet Meaningful Use.”

5. mHealth Summit Identity Crisis

The mHealth Summit catches a good deal of flack as it tries to establish an identify since being acquired by HIMSS. The once global health focused conference that attracted heavyweight keynote speakers like Bill Gates, has turned into a more commercial and empty experience.

6. The Power and Hype of Google Glass

As Google Glass units are received by early app developers, ideas for what the device will be able to bring to healthcare are taking shape.

7. Watson Goes Live at Cleveland Clinic

IBM’s supercomputer Watson took huge strides toward making a commercial impact in healthcare this year. Projects at Cleveland Clinic are helping IBM build an EMR assistant capable of analyzing historical and current visit EHR data, and then applying probability-based logic to create a list of likely diagnoses to guide care delivery.

8.  Happtique Halts Its mHealth App Certification Program

After years of build up, Happtique throws the breaks on its mHealth app certification program just weeks after its inaugural class of certified apps is shown to have significant security issues.

9. JOBS Act Deregulates the Fundraising Process for Startups

An 80-year ban on general solicitation for investments was lifted with the passing of the JOBS act, which allows crowdfunding websites to now facilitating actual equity-backed funding rounds for startups.

10. The Critical Problem With Patient Portals

During 2013, half of US hospitals and 40 percent of practices had implemented some form of patient portal. This trend, brought about by stage 2 requirements of the ARRA Meaningful Use program, is leading to a national framework for patient portals that leaves patients with a different portal for every organization they received care from.

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