Mobile Healthcare (mHealth) News Roundup

New FDA Rule For mHealth Apps Help Streamline The Approval Process One of the many roadblocks developers face when innovating in the mHealth space is the approval process for clearing new applications with the FDA. A new rule that was recently introduced, however, aims to streamline that process for certain applications.  The new “Medical Device …   Read More

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New FDA Rule For mHealth Apps Help Streamline The Approval Process

One of the many roadblocks developers face when innovating in the mHealth space is the approval process for clearing new applications with the FDA.

A new rule that was recently introduced, however, aims to streamline that process for certain applications.  The new “Medical Device Data Systems” (MDDS) rule now exempts a portion of smartphone apps and wireless peripherals from the FDA’s pre-review requirements.  Put simply, the new MDDS rule applies to medical devices or software that only collects, stores or transfers patient data.  An example being an app that collects weight or other vital signs from plug-in peripherals and forwards that data to physicians.

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Walgreens: 1M subscribe to prescription text alerts

After just four months of launching “Refill by Scan,” Walgreens have found that users of its smartphone application have embraced the feature which enables them to use the camera on their phone to scan the barcode printed on a prescription label to order a refill. Walgreens said half of all refill orders originating from a mobile device are now from Refill by Scan. The feature has been available to users of Walgreens’ iPhone and Android apps since November 2010.

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New Tablet announcing at CTIA, hints of medical applications

CTIA Vice President Rob Mesirow has hinted that a new Android tablet will be announced at the annual wireless trade show. And though he wouldn’t go into any detail as to who’s making it or what the specs are, Mesirow did go on to talk about how tablets in general are changing Heath care thanks to what he calls “M-health” and that M-health news at CTIA this year. And as if hinting to one spec, Mesirow went on to state that a 7″ tablet fits rather nicely in a lab coat.

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Some Developers of Mobile Health Apps Seeking FDA Review

According to physicians, FDA has not provided guidance about which mobile health apps would need the agency’s approval and which would not. So far, few medical apps have undergone clinical trials or testing in academic medical centers.  Some developers of medical apps are pursuing FDA approval on their own. For example, AirStrip Technologies decided to classify its remote patient monitoring software as a medical device, making it subject to FDA safety and efficacy reviews. FDA cleared the app in July 2010.

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12 mobile health stories from HIMSS

A number of longtime HIMSS attendees, including my colleague Neil Versel, pointed out that this year’s event in Orlando, Fla. had renewed energy. The past two years’ events were more staid on account of the down economy. The magicians at vendor booths had less flourish, anyway.  Whether you are of the opinion that HIMSS has its mojo back, is tapping into a hype cycle or neither — what is undoubtedly true is that HIMSS has discovered mobile in a big way. As predicted by many, countless vendors demonstrated how potential customers could use tablets (overwhelmingly Apple’s iPad) and smartphones (still a good mix, but mostly iPhone and Android) to run new apps or legacy software.

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AT&T Announces New Initiatives for the Healthcare Industry

Continuing its momentum to help the healthcare industry improve patient care and reduce medical costs, AT&T* today announced two new patient care technology pilots, and new enhancements to the services delivered by AT&T ForHealthSM, AT&T’s healthcare practice area. The company also said it has been accredited to provide specialized information security consulting services to help healthcare customers streamline their security and compliance processes.

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Four more must-read mobile health reports

Last April we published a list of “five must-read mobile health reports” that were free to anyone to download. The list was an instant hit and in recent weeks I have had requests from a number of people for a refreshed list. As of March 2011, there have been four free, must-read mHealth reports by my count — and together they do a fine job of encapsulating a good portion of the mHealth conversation. Reading (or even skimming — some are lengthy) these four reports (in addition to last year’s five) makes for a fine primer on mHealth.

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GE Healthcare pushing its EMR onto iPad

Anxious to ride the iPad wave, GE Healthcare demoed two new iPad versions of its primary health software, Centricity Advance and Centricity Practice Solution, at HIMSS11 in Orlando last week. The applications already are available for use on smartphones and other mobile devices, but company statements indicate the iPad may actually be better suited to the software, given its ability to flick quickly through multiple pages of documents, and zooming in on certain parts of the screen.

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Healthcare App Dev Platform Supports More Mobile Devices

Diversinet has released an upgrade of its MobiSecure healthcare mobile application development platform, providing support for more devices as well as new features.  Diversinet provides a secure middleware application development environment that lets its clients develop and deploy mobile health applications, ensuring that they’re HIPAA compliant. Among the applications it supports are case and disease management; personal health record access, storage and exchange; medical visits and treatment scheduling; and patients reminders.

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New app will give docs access to records ‘anytime, anywhere’

Doctors soon will be able to look at medical records whenever and wherever they need to–and email or video chat with other doctors about those records–thanks to a mobile application created by Southern California-based innovation leader Palomar Pomerado Health being unveiled this week at HIMSS11 in Orlando.  The app, known as Medical Information Anytime Anywhere (MIAA), gives docs the ability to view records from any number of providers without having to worry about the compatibility of different software systems used, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. MIAA breaks down records into a common format, according to the newspaper.

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Is passivity the future for home health monitoring?

Think there’s not enough evidence to prove the efficacy of wireless, home-based patient monitoring?  Robin Felder, associate director of clinical chemistry and toxicology and a pathology professor at the University of Virginia, disputes that notion. Felder likes to cite a 2007 paper in the Journal of Telemedicine and e-Health. That paper showed a 74 percent reduction in the cost of caring for patients in assisted living with “passive” monitoring devices, and, notably, the rate of urinary tract infections in the study group dropped to near zero.

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Patient monitoring system earns FDA clearance

North Carolina-based wireless communications company Ascom announced Monday that Cardiomax, a patient monitoring component within its ClinicalConneX integration suite, received 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration as a medical device. Now, the company is looking to deploy its system nationwide, reports MedCity News.

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Would mHealth Profit From Cost-Effectiveness Research?

A respected health economist from the University of Chicago argued recently that cost-effectiveness research should be part of the scrutiny that new medical technology undergoes. The researcher, David Meltzer, was points out that since 1960, growth in health care spending has outpaced the rest of the economy by 2.5 percent per year. Compound that for 50 years and its no wonder we are facing health care financing crisis.

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HIMSS Interview: Humana’s chief strategy officer talks mobile health

Following the healthcare legislation and in a move toward diversification, last November health plan Humana acquired health care provider Concentra for about $790 million. This week the health plan built on that acquisition with a much smaller deal with South Africa-based Discovery Holdings: Humana is launching a joint venture with Discovery called HumanaVitality that will provide Humana members with wellness tools and rewards. Humana also will own 25 percent of The Vitality Group, Discovery’s US subsidiary, which will still offer its wellness solution to US employers that are not necessarily Humana customers.

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HP launches new telehealth push

After Hewlett-Packard bought Palm and it’s WebOS, for $1 billion last year, we knew the company was serious about mobile health. This year, HP is following up with a cadre of four new mHealth product partnerships–which it debuted at HIMSS11 in Orlando last week–plus some new hardware for mobile applications. It doesn’t exactly catch HP up to the blazing fast development going on at Apple or Google, but may signal growing momentum.

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