Tag Archives: mhealth

Fortnightly Healthtech Update #7

Current Health (formerly Snap40) partners to add axillary temp and spirometry to the parameters it measures.

Detecting antibiotic levels in real-time.

Bioformis ups its game with FDA clearance for BioVitals to help manage chronic conditions.

MC10 partners with University of Rochester to collect real-world evidence for how people live with Parkinson’s. Reminds me a bit of this collaboration between IBM and Pfizer.

Interesting perspective that I hadn’t considered before: Dated US regulatory policies are endangering the US lead in healthcare technology.

Direct primary care (DPC) might help achieve half of the quadruple aim, clinician satisfaction and patient satisfaction. But lower healthcare costs overall, and higher quality overall, I’m not so sure. It’s also typically positioned as an up-sell to people who already have health insurance. But just thinking out loud, maybe there’s another angle. If you can’t afford a traditional insurance plan, would a low cost primary-care-only option with a strong focus on preventative care be better than nothing…?

Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen, Rensselaer County launches online emergency room for Medicaid patients. I’m sure the intent is good, to prevent unnecessary ER visits. But, pitching an app called “ER Anywhere” to a patient population might just be asking for trouble.

I expect to see more of this from large employers tired of rising healthcare premiums: Walmart to use Embold Health’s analytics to herd it’s employees to high quality providers.

Can a simplified cardiac risk score also predict strokes?

In case anyone was still in doubt, new research published in JAMA suggests 25% of al, healthcare spending could be waste (free registration required). And that doesn’t include administration. Candidly, a primary care doc once told me the rule of thumb in primary care is 3 admins for every medical practitioner. Their practice at the time had a 5 to 1 ratio! I’m inclined to think that admin overhead is a direct result of the complexity of the payer/reimbursement model. And they say that government managed healthcare would be inefficient…

Best practice for in-hospital rapid response teams (RRT) include having a dedicated RRT, and the ability for anyone to trigger the RRT without fear of reprisal.

The only thing that surprises me about this is that patients still have to pay some of the cost: Devoted health to use Apple Watch with Medicare Advantage patients. I would be shocked if most payers/providers aren’t paying for wearables like this in a few years – and financially encouraging patients to use them. If they’re not, it probably means the push for value-based care has failed.

The ECRI Institute releases its top 10 technology hazards for 2020. Not for the first time, the problem of over-alarming makes the list.

In Pennsylvania a patient tragically expired in the ER after being left unattended. A potential market opportunity for wearables perhaps. But unfortunately, hard to make a business case for it that is going to make a hospital CFO jump for joy.

Funding for digital health startups has cooled a tad, but still an estimated $1.3bn in Q3 according to Rock Health.

Fortnightly Healthtech Update #1

Caretaker Medical is the only (deep breath…) FDA-approved, Bluetooth-enabled, non-invasive blood pressure monitor for hospital use that I’m aware of.  Now adding end-tidal CO2 via a partner, this should help to bring broader appeal.  Note the use of both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, which opens up the possibility for monitoring both in the hospital and in the home.  Since Medicare added reimbursement codes for remote monitoring at the start of the year, many more device manufacturers have started to focus on the home.  While accountable care and bundled payments could ultimately drive that change, there’s nothing quite like a good ol’ fashioned reimbursement to get the market moving…

On that note, CMS reports almost 100% growth in the number of physicians taking part in alternate payment models.  And here’s another change driven by the shift to value-based care: Bundled payments often cut costs by discharging patients home rather than to skilled nursing.  That’s perfectly OK – as long as patients are monitored and rehabbed in their homes.

Intermountain Health has been pushing down the value-based care road for some time.  It’s become so adept that it’s spun off Castell as a platform to help other providers down that path.

While financial incentives need to align for change to happen, communications technology also has to be up to snuff for monitoring in the home to become fully widespread.  So, good to see that the UK is pushing ahead with 5G pilots to fully evaluate the potential for rural communities.  Another (vendors) viewpoint on 5G here.

Talking of financial incentives, the FCC is lining up $100m for 3 years of pilots in telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

Also in the UK, using Amazon’s Alexa to dispense medical advice.  The aim is to take the pressure off overworked primary care docs (general practitioners).  Much easier to try that somewhere with a single payer from cradle to grave – the financial incentives simply align.  Much harder in the fragmented world of US healthcare, but I can see accountable care organizations going down this path too.  Every dollar saved is a dollar in the ACO’s pocket….

The FDA gets more interested in monitoring medication adherence.  Measuring adherence is one thing, improving it something else entirely though….

A new study looks at the use of wearables and machine learning for helping people stay on the path to overcome opioid addiction.  Since we know opioid use depresses respiration rate, it might be good to have a sensor to monitor that too. On a similar thread, Jefferson Health is using analytics to spot opportunities to rein in the prescription of opiates, and that’s no bad thing.

Not the first company to try measuring heart rate and respiratory rate using a camera, but Brainworks is new to me.  Philips has been down this path, while Smart Beat has a direct to consumer device for babies.  And you can find an app for heart rate in your phones app store already.  But, in a clinical setting, respiration rate is often a strong early indicator of impending doom.  For me, the biggest potential application for this type of approach is to help keep people with chronic conditions healthy in their homes.