Weekly Recap 1/4/13

Independa Raises $5 Million in Series A Funding Round

Independa, a telehealth company focused on independent living solutions for the elderly, announces that it has raised $5 million in Series A financing. The new injection of capital will be used to fund expanded sales, research and development, and distribution of its technology.

Dr. Travis publishes his annual Connected Health predictions for the year ahead. His leadoff prediction is that we will see strong growth in the trend of organizations, such as health networks and payers, creating approved formularies of mobile health apps to treat patients and improve outcomes.

HIStalk Connect’s Top 10 mHealth Stories of 2012 recaps the biggest news items of the last year for the Connected Health industry, including expansion of the Blue Button network, more mainstream adoption of telehealth solutions, and medical device innovations like the tricorder-inspired Scanadu Scout.

Sneak Peek of the 2013 Digital Health Summit at CES

Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the massive industry tradeshow synonymous with market-changing product releases, kicks off next week. A preview of the show predicts a new armband unveil from BodyMedia, along with Jawbone’s redesigned Up. The Digital Health Summit will run in conjunction with CES. This will be the first year that the Digital Health Summit speakers will share the main stage at CES, signaling a growing respect for the booming connected health industry.

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Researchers at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich are concluding work on a tendon-driven service robot, considered one of the most advanced in the world. Researchers speculate that it could be used in healthcare to help elderly patients maintain their independence. Helping to maintain a clean house, reminding patients about medications, and monitoring for falls, the service robot could prove itself useful in a number of important ways. On the other hand, its absolutely terrifying looking and is certain to induce anxiety in any poor soul that has to be alone in a house with one.

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A market analysis released by the Pew Research Center concludes that one in four Americans now owns a tablet. That number is up from 10 percent last year and represents a faster growth rate than even smartphones for 2012. If the number is accurate, it makes tablets the fastest adopted mobile technology in US history.

Four years ago, laptops outsold desktop PCs for the first time, suggesting a general market swing toward leaner, more mobile computing preferences. Now, spurred by Black Friday sales, Q4 of 2012 looks to be the very first quarter that tablet devices outsell laptops. Perhaps 2017 will be the year Google Glasses outsell tablets.

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Rock Health startup Kyruus raises $11 million in series B financing to support its rapidly growing physician network management solutions.

A big welcome and thank you to Divurgent, a three-year HIStalk Platinum sponsor stepping up to also support HIStalk Connect at the Platinum level. The company’s consulting work spans activation management, advisory, clinical transformation, and RCM. You may know Partner Colin Konschak, who is active in HIMSS and has co-authored books on consumer behavior and medicine and ACOs. The rest of the team has a lot of healthcare experience as well, and the company has won awards for growth and being a “best place to work.” The company blog has meaty rather than fluffy posts, critically examining ACOs, the use of physician scribes, and hospital readmissions. We appreciate Divurgent’s ongoing support.

Thanks as well to Intelligent Medical Objects (IMO), another HIStalk Platinum sponsor that is extending support to both HIStalk Connect and HIStalk Practice. I (Lt. Dan) have had the opportunity to work with IMO in the past and can say that, from a problem list usability standpoint, it’s a topnotch product.  The issue that IMO so successfully tackles is that ICD codes are fundamentally ill equipped to act as the backbone of a problem list lookup, which is essentially what Meaningful Use requires. From a usability perspective, ICD codes are too specific in some areas and not specific enough in others. Here is a prime example: ICD-10 does not differentiate between Stage 1-4 breast cancers, but most clinicians would want this distinction on their problem list as it would have an impact on treatment options for other conditions. IMO has created a problem list lookup that is exhaustive and optimized for clinicians, mapping the hundreds of thousands of choices in their database to the respective ICD and SNOMED codes in the background. IMO also includes common medical abbreviations, like GERD and HTN, and maps this to the appropriate ICD code. It will let you search with shorthand so “Lef fem frac” will return a left femur fracture. It also incorporates spell check corrections, similar to Google’s “did you mean:” functionality. Above and beyond this, all the problems that return on the search are automatically scrubbed by age and gender to ensure that the results being displayed to clinicians are relevant to the patient. This all results in a sleek, responsive end user experience. IMO also addresses CPT procedure codes in much the same way. We appreciate IMO’s support.

Half the folks at my office are out sick this week.  If you are home sick too, first of all I hope you feel better soon. Second, thank you for doing the right thing by staying home. There is a woman in my office shuffling around in a oversized sweater, sniffling, drinking tea, coughing everywhere, and complaining loudly about how miserable she feels.

If you are sick, though, you shouldn’t be on the computer — you should be in bed getting rest. If you’re worried you’re going to miss something important, fear not! Just subscribe for update alerts from HIStalk Connect and then go back to sleep. We’ll watch the Internet for you until you get better, if something interesting is happening, we’ll let you know right away. We’ve got you covered like that.

Lt. Dan

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