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Bill Gates At mHealth: How Mobile Health Can Improve Healthcare

bill gates.jpg[We reported last week from the mHealth Summit in Washington, DC — a conference covering the integration of mobile technologies with medical research, information, diagnosis, treatment, and care.]

One of the highlights of last week’s mHealth Summit was the keynote interview of Bill Gates. While inseparable from his history as founder and leader of Microsoft from 1975 to 2008, his current passion is global health.

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has now given 3.8 billion (with a “b”) of targeted philanthropy into global health since 1994, he and his wife Melinda are helping bring about profound change to the lives of millions around the world. In a meeting dedicated to exploring the power of mobile devices to shape health in developed and developing countries, Bill Gates eloquently refocussed our attention towards the real urgency of saving the millions of our fellow humans who die needlessly for want of vaccinations or the simplest treatments. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

mHealth Summit Opens With The Director Of The NIH Explaining The Importance Of Mobile Health

201011082322.jpgThe explosion of smart phones, originally led by the iPhone 2007, has catalyzed the explosion of mobile medical apps which our readers are surely familiar with. But, along with the proliferation of medical reference apps and interfaces to electronic health records (EHRs), there is a much broader world of mobile medical devices and simpler phone interfaces collectively termed “mHealth,” which is an area of intense interest for governments, industry and care providers.

This year, this interest has been punctuated by nearly half a dozen different mobile health meetings — many that iMedicalApps has attended and participated in. Perhaps, the largest one of all — the mHealth Summit — is now in session in the Washington Convention Center, sponsored in part by the Foundation at National Institutes of Health (FNIH) — an event we are currently attending. This type of sponsorship is an indication of the importance mobile health (or “mHealth”) is now reaching. To further accentuate this, the keynote speaker to launch the event was Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the NIH himself. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Notes From The Connected Health Symposium 2010

I [recently] attended the Connected Health Symposium in Boston. I enjoyed many of the sessions (sometimes wished I could have attended two simultaneously, though the livetweeting — #chs10 — helped on that front), and as usual enjoyed the hallway and exhibit floor conversations too. As is often the case at conferences these days, I had the opportunity to meet several online connections in real life for the first time. 

(I will not attempt to give a comprehensive report of the symposium here. Please see the livetweeting archive and other reports to get a sense of the rest of the event.)

This year’s exhibit floor included a diverse mix of distance health tools. Most striking from my perspective was the fact that most of these tools do one of two things: Enable patient-clinician videoconferencing, or upload data from in-home monitoring devices. The best of the second category also trigger alerts resulting in emails or PHR/EHR alerts to clinicians if vital signs are out of whack, or phone calls to consumers or their caregivers if, for example, meds aren’t taken on time (one company had a pill bottle with a transmitter in the cap that signals when it’s opened; another had a Pyxis-like auto-dispenser, that looked like you’d need an engineer — or a teenager — to program it). One tool — Intel’s — seemed to combine most of these functions, and more, into one platform, but it’s barely in beta, with only about 1,000 units out in the real world.

The speakers this year seemed to return again and again to several major themes: (1) Is any particular connected health solution scalable? (2) Who will pay for connected health, or mobile health (mHealth)? and (3) Does it work? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at HealthBlawg :: David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog*

Mobile Health: Joy Or Dismay?

Last month, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) issued a report, Healthcare Unwired, examining the market for mobile health monitoring devices, reminder services, etc. among both healthcare providers and the general public. One of the big take-away points seems to be that 40% of the general public would be willing to pay for mobile health (or “mHealth”) devices or services ranging from reminders to data uploads — and the reaction by insiders is either joy (40% is good) or dismay (40% is not enough).

PwC estimated the mHealth market to be worth somewhere between $7.7 billion and $43 billion per year, based on consumers’ expressed willingness to pay. Deloitte recently issued a report on mPHRs, as well — and there is tremendous interest in this space, as discussed in John Moore’s recent post over at Chilmark Research. I agree with John’s wariness with respect to the mHealth hype — there is certainly something happening out there, but significant questions remain: What exactly is going on? Is there reason to be interested in this stuff or is it just something shiny and new? Can mHealth improve healthcare status and/or healthcare quality and/or reduce healthcare costs? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at HealthBlawg :: David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog*

iStethoscope App Does Not Replace A Doctor’s Stethoscope

An article in The Guardian, the popular British newspaper, on an iPhone medical app that attempts to replicate the stethoscope starts out as:

The stethoscope — medical icon, lifesaver and doctor’s best friend — is disappearing from hospitals across the world as physicians increasingly use their smartphones to monitor patients’ heartbeats.

More than 3 million doctors have downloaded a 59p application — invented by Peter Bentley, a researcher from University College London — which turns an Apple iPhone into a stethoscope.

It’s obvious to those intimate with medicine that “3 million doctors” using this app was a ridiculous number. Unfortunately, it took The Guardian one full week to realize this egregious error — they meant to say “3 million overall downloads” –- but by then the news had been disseminated to hundreds of news websites, blogs, and potentially millions of readers. Leading readers to infer that with “3 million physician downloads” the medical community had signed off on the app.

The story went on to say:

Experts say the software, a major advance in medical technology, has saved lives and enabled doctors in remote areas to access specialist expertise.

Lets be clear what this application does. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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