The U.S. Department of Defense will investigate commercial options for an EHR system instead of developing one based on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ VistA system, Nextgov reported. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote in a memo that he was “convinced” a competitive process was best.
Health care information technology company Healthland acquired American HealthTech, an EHR software provider, to develop a complete EHR solution for hospitals to help reduce re-admissions and improve patient outcomes.
ConsultingMD announced a $10 million funding raise from Venrock. ConsultingMD created a technology platform that creates a “virtual clinic” where expert physicians in the network access a comprehensive digital profile of a patient’s history and medical records to speed and streamline diagnosis.
Scanadu launched an Indiegogo campaign to sell its SCOUT device. The company launched its crowdfunding campaign without FDA 510(k) clearance, with the intention of conducting the usability tests needed to get the clearance via the campaign. Scanadu surpassed its funding goal in a mere three hours.
Health 2.0 is excited to announce the launch of the Novartis Thalassemia App Challenge sponsored by Novartis Oncology. There is a critical need to develop an innovative app solution that assists Thalassemia patients and their families in managing the disease, including monitoring/tracking of key parameters, treatment/medication adherence and recording of daily personal facts.
Thalassemia is a diverse family of genetic disorders affecting red blood cell production, causing anemia and consequently, patients suffer significant complications.1 Thalassemia can range from milder types to severe cases that start in infancy and require regular blood transfusions for patient survival.2 Clinical complications can vary by type of thalassemia, and patients also may develop iron overload as a consequence of the disease or because of extra iron absorbed from blood transfusions.3 Most patients with thalassemia are of South and Southeast Asian, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern origin, with immigration broadening the global prevalence.4
Phase I of the challenge focuses on ideation and closes on June 30, 2013. Five submissions will be awarded $5,000 based on the quality and viability of their idea. Phase I requirements include:
Mock-up or drawing of concept
5-page written document explaining the proposed application
Phase II of the challenge will challenge the finalists to develop working prototypes of the applications proposed in Phase I of the competition. Submissions for Phase II are due September 8th and the top three submissions will receive $100,000, $20,000, and $5,000, respectively.
If you’re interested in participating in the challenge, please visit the challenge website and register for the informational webinar.
1. Weatherall DJ. The definition and epidemiology of non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia. Blood Reviews. 2012:26S:S3-S6
2. Taher AT, Musallam KM, Karimi M, El-Beshlawy A, Belhoul K, et al. Overview on practices in thalassemia intermedia management aiming for lowering complication rates across a region of endemicity: the OPTIMAL CARE study. Blood. 2010;115:1886-1892.
3. Musallam KM, Cappellini MD, Wood JC, Taher AT. Iron overload in non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia: a clinical perspective. Blood Reviews. 2012;26S:S16-19.
4. Thalassaemia International Federation. The Thalassaemia International Federation’s (TIF) New Focus: Addressing the Management of Non-Transfusion-Dependent Thalassaemias (NTDT). Position Paper 5.2. March 20, 2012. Accessed at: http://www.thalassaemia.org.cy/pdf/NTDT_Position_Paper_Final.pdf.
Mobile devices are moving quickly from convenient social gadgets to legitimate accessories for health care workers and other professionals. Doctors, nurses and hospital administrators are discovering that mobile technology can be used in a variety of practical and efficient ways to improve administrative, technical and medical tasks.
In fact, more than eight in 10 physicians in the United States own a smartphone, according to Manhattan Research. Meanwhile, 62% owned a tablet computer in 2012, with half of the physicians using the devices at the point of care. A year before, just 27% of physicians owned a tablet, Manhattan Research reported.
The advantages are obvious: mobile devices quickly deliver medical records and other information directly into the hands of the treating physician and other members of the health care team. Tasks are synched and streamlined, meaning health care professionals can focus more on patient care than on administrative duties.
As the availability, functionality and quality of handheld devices increases – at the same time as price points are decreasing – it’s a safe bet that health care professionals will be using mobile technology for many of the same functions they previously performed from behind a desk.
Also, physicians and other medical providers are increasingly likely to use mobile devices to consume medical news and information. A March 2013 report by BulletinHealthcare found that 52% of health care professionals accessed the company’s news briefings via handheld computers or smartphones. That represented a 25% increase over 2012.
Q. Can you give us an overview of Castlight Health?
Ethan Prater: Castlight Health makes tools for self-insured employers and their employees and also the members of health plans to make better decisions about health care primarily on the basis of cost and quality. So we offer tools to help people understand the cost of their care, the quality of their care, and alternatives to their care so they can make good decisions. This is really important in the world where a lot of the cost of health care is being transferred from employers to their employees.
The company has been around about five years and our major market self-insured employers, and our users are the employees and spouses of those large self-insured employers in the U.S.
Q. And what are you specifically working on at Castlight?
A. I’m specifically in charge of product marketing and product management so, what do we build, in what order, and why? The main goal of Castlight is to make sure that our products are easy to use and meaningful to the end employee or the end consumer of health care, and that they make the health care system somewhat accessible and somewhat approachable at least to the end consumer.
Costs vary hugely in health care and if they know before they go, they can get much better quality at lower costs just by using conventional e-commerce style, consumer shopping tools to help make their decisions about which providers to see and which services to get.
There was a lot of humility on stage when members of government organizations presented this week at the Healthy Communities Data Summit (HCDS) in San Francisco: “We could never pull this off on our own.” “We move at snail’s pace.” “We are poor.”
Like its cousin event Health Datapalooza, taking place in Washington, D.C. next month, HCDS’ purpose is to rally different groups around open data. Last year at Datapalooza, the government showcased applications and tools built with the data it had released. It called on private organizations to follow suit and to release their own data. And its strongest call was to anyone and everyone able to make useful things with that data. The message was to keep trying.
Government organizations in the Bay Area, and all local governments for that matter, have a big advantage over the federal government when making the same call to action. On their side is the fact that local developers are motivated to work on projects that can have a direct and observable impact on the place they call home.
Take the technology executive turned fire chief of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District in California. He was having lunch one day when he heard sirens nearby. They continued to get closer and closer. It wasn’t until the fire chief left the restaurant that he realized an emergency team was responding to a man who had gone into cardiac arrest next door. Had he known, he could have reached the man and started administering CPR long before EMS arrived.
Goopatient, a personal health record app, is now available for Android. The mobile app allows patients to keep everyday health records, store personal electronic medical cards, use #hashtags to organize records, and attach medical files.
VHA, a network of not-for-profit health care organizations, partnered with Phytel to help its members tackle population management. Phytel’s technology combined with VHA IMPERATIV, a suite of advisory services, will help hospitals establish value-based care delivery models.
DoctorBase, a provider of mHealth-as-a-Service, grew its user base to 10K physicians, a growth of 104% within one year. DoctorBase’s PANDA software allows more than 4.1M patients to communicate with their health care providers through smartphones.
Vice President of Jawbone Aza Raskin via Rachel Kalmar, a data scientist at Misfit Wearables, managed to put into 140 characters what most people can only intuit. And what better constraint than Twitter to force Health:Refactored attendees to get creative as they summarized, synthesized, and interacted with the conference?
Over the course of two days, Health:Refactored generated nearly 2,000 tweets, averaging 16 tweets per hour and five tweets for each of 387 participants. The folks at symplur did the number crunching, but the #hrefactored stream was a constant companion at the conference.
The selection below is a completely subjective grab bag of tweets, but they all reflect the constrained creativity Raskin alluded to. Let’s just hope the health care constraints we delved into over the course of Health Refactored continue to fuel the sort of creativity we’ve seen thus far and on display in the tweets below.
For all non-techies at the conference, confusion was no constraint. The event was a time to learn something from the experts:
David Fauth-talking about Hadoop and Mortar data (what??)-oh yeah forgot this is a developer’s conference-we talk in code here #hrefactored
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A Libyan man named Mafi drives through the streets of Benghazi. Mafi’s vehicle suddenly collides with another car, and the accident leaves him seriously injured. A witness to the accident moves quickly and takes him to the closest hospital.
The problem is that the hospital is closed. A militia group came in, and the staff felt unsafe and left the facility. But Mafi still needs help and he needs it soon.
This is the story that Kim Garcia, a public health graduate student at UC Berkeley, told during a recent presentation. The story isn’t true, but it’s based on true recent events.
“In doing our research we found that this is a reality,” Garcia said. “The Libya Herald reported that four weeks ago, a militia group came into the Benghazi Medical Center and intruded on the laboratory testing center, which forced a closure for about three hours and put patients at risk.”
“We were brought on to address a very specific problem within the establishment of that ambulance system, which is how do you create an ambulance system in a part of the world that has no formal addressing system,” Bobby Stahl, Garcia’s team member, said.
As the group dug into its research, it concluded that the lack of addresses wasn’t the crux of the problem. The issue they first had to tackle was how to create a reliable way to tell residents about hospital closures.
They came up with several text messaging solutions. One allows residents to opt in to a message alert system, which sends a text when a hospital is closed. Another lets users text a number so that they can receive a list of local medical facilities and their current open or closed statuses.
PingMD, an app facilitating communication between pediatricians and patients, raised $2.5M in new funding from angel investors, as reported by GigaOm. The company recently expanded the scope of this app to include patients from other disciplines as well as allow peer-to-peer communication.
In order to squeeze waste out of the health care system, campaigns have been developed mostly on two fronts, informing both providers and receivers of care about the actions they can take to hold down increasing spending. For example, through education and information, Costs of Care aims to get both doctors and patients to reject unnecessary medical tests and treatments. There’s also Choosing Wisely, which encourages patients to start conversations with their doctors along the same lines. On a third front for nurses, there is Lean Six Sigma.
Lean Six Sigma isn’t actually a formal campaign. It’s a managerial strategy meant to help businesses eliminate process waste, and it’s the basis for a proposed course at the College of Nursing at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The curriculum is being developed by two UAH associate professors, one in the nursing school and one in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Management.
Lean Six Sigma incorporates ideas from both the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. Lean’s goal is to eliminate waste while Six Sigma aims to streamline processes. In the context of health care, it’s easy to imagine that these manufacturing methods promote conveyor belt medicine, encouraging nurses to see patients one by one without paying attention to the individuals and their varied needs.
On the other hand Lean Six Sigma applied to health care is, by definition, patient-focused. That’s because the strategy calls for identifying what customers, in this case patients, define as quality and then using that as a performance measure. For example, since patients value shorter wait times, part of a medical facility’s success would be determined by how well they keep wait times low.