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Verizon Hopes To Be Secure Healthcare Network For All

Posted on September 11, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

If you’re like me, you might be wondering how carriers are  looking at their role in the healthcare business — and whether some of their talk about mHealth is just noise.  (I’ve always seen mHealth as a space ripe to be be dominated by applications developers and device manufacturers, not carriers.)

To get my head straight, I recently had a conversation with Dr. Peter Tippett, chief medical officer and vice president of Verizon Connected Health Care. In it, he changed my view of what Verizon is doing in mHealth, and moreover,  what ground Verizon specifically hopes to own in healthcare over the next several years.

When I think Verizon I think switches and routers and cables, not consumer-facing applications and medical devices. And before I talked to Dr. Tippett, I assumed that Verizon’s main healthcare efforts likely involved going head to head with other wireless/wireline connectivity players for connectivity business in some form.

Well, think again.  Verizon’s Connected Health Division, says Tippett, is aiming to set the bar much higher.

“The question is, ‘what happens after wireless data?’,” Dr. Tippett said. “This isn’t a two month plan, this is a strategic extension of Verizon to transform the healthcare industry using our huge capability around the world.”

On the more immediate front, Verizon has mHealth technology under development which, to my mind, would solve a difficult problem.  For five years, he says, Verizon has been developing a new mHealtlh platform which will tie together data from testing devices like blood pressure cuffs, weight scales and EKGs into an analytics engine that makes sense of it all.

“No doctor wants four glucoses a day from 1,000 patients,” Dr. Tippett says. “Just mobilizing the data isn’t enough. You’ve got to create a cloud service that can do big data analytics on it and normalize the data, then trigger the alerts to the right people — including patients.”

I’m going to keep my eye on the mHealth platform, which definitely intrigues me.

But the really big play for Verizon in this space seems to be in HIPAA-secure data hosting and exchange.  Verizon already has a massive presence around hosting, app management, security, identity management and the cloud, having added Cybertrust and Terramark (enterprise hosting) to build up its lineup.

Verizon now offers secure data sharing on multiple levels:

*  A “medical data exchange” — not unlike the exchange banks use to pass transactions back and forth — allowing any member to share information using Verizon’s security services.

* An exchange “identity layer” which is secure enough to allow Schedule 2 drugs to be prescribed. According to Dr. Tippett, 40 percent of doctors in the U.S. are already using it.

* A global network of highly-secured data centers.

Members of the medical ecosystem who use secure Verizon services can consider their HIPAA compliance and security matters handled, then focus on their core business, Dr. Tippett says. And that can scale to hundreds of millions of users on the network, he notes.

Clearly, this doesn’t sound like the broadband carrier talking — these folks are out to take business from players as diverse as Verisign, IBM and the database giants.  It makes sense to me, on the surface, but in any grand vision there are holes to be picked.

You tell me:  Does Verizon sound like it’s positioned right to become the default secure healthcare backbone?

Studycure: Experiment Your Way to Better Health

Posted on I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Next on the list on our journey through a list of five personal data innovations to watch that I talked about last week is Studycure.

Now, before I get everyone too excited, this website is in beta, so it’s a bit rough. You have to request an invitation, but I got mine within about five minutes of registering. Despite all that, I love the idea of Studycure.

To put it simply, it’s part motivation to get healthier and happier, part experiment. Sometimes, when you are trying to accomplish a certain goal, such as weight loss, it’s hard to know what is working, and what is not. Studycure users take a basic, scientific procedure — an if, then statement — and apply it to different “theories” concerning their health. You can select any amount of time you want to test out your if, then experiment, and at the end of that time period, the data is analyzed and helps you to make a decision on that particular theory. As I’m writing this, it sounds kind of confusing, but it makes total sense. Here’s a video from the website, which makes things far more clear:

There are quite a few different sections, like sleep, diet, exercise, and spirituality. Before creating my own tasks, I decided to see what other experiments were going on. By doing this, I was able to get a better feel for the website. People can put a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” on experiments that are listed, and you can join ones that have already been created. Because a lot of the experiments that were already created were along the same lines as what I was going to do, I just joined those. The more the merrier, right? You can invite friends and family to join in, or just to see progress. You can even share the data with healthcare professionals.

Here are the four I decided to try out for seven days:

IF: I turn off my computer at 11pm, THEN: I won’t feel tired in the morning

IF: I make a ‘to-do’ list, THEN: I will be less stressed

IF: I eat breakfast, THEN: I’ll lose weight

IF: I exercise for 20 minutes or more each day, THEN: I will feel happier

From what I gather, users receive email or text reminders throughout the day, encouraging them to keep going. As the video mentioned, articles and studies that are discovered concerning your topics of choice will be recommended, as well as studies you can participate in. At the end of your “experiment,” you can determine whether or not it really worked or not by using the data compiled by Studycure.

I’m excited to see if this works. It’s definitely an interesting idea and I think there is a lot of potential for expansion. I could see doctors using Studycure to try and determine patterns in patients lives, and help them eliminate (or create) certain habits. Only time will tell if Studycure will take off. Have you joined or created any experiments on Studycure?