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Broadband Mobile Should Change mHealth Game

Posted on June 22, 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.

You never know what you’re going to learn when you wander into a cell phone store,  other than being hit with some fairly slick marketing slicks and rapid-fire pitched on that sweet, sweet iPhone upgrade. (Sorry, letting my Apple lust get in the way here.)

In all seriousness, this time I learned something which excited the heck out of me. While this is probably old news to some readers, I was surprised to learn that the cellphone industry is now rolling out support for new mobile protocols allowing for dramatic improvements in broadband mobile speeds.

One standard, LTE, can offer peak downlink rates of 300 Mbps and peak uplinks of 75 Mbps.  LTE, which takes advantage of new digital signal processing techniques developed roughly 10 years ago, is being rolled out by more or less every major U.S. carrier. Existing 4G networks are should shoot up in capacity as well. The next revision of the family to which 4G belongs, standards-wise,  should have a throughput capacity of 627 Mbps.

So let’s bring this around to our ongoing EMR discussions.  What are the HIT implications of these mobile nodes having the throughput to process live streaming video, download multiple imaging studies, conference effortlessly with parties across the world and more?

Well, for one thing, it’s pretty clear that our idea of mHealth will have to change. It makes no sense to plan networks around data sipping apps like the current iPhone crop when you’ll soon have iPads, Android devices and even Microsoft’s Surface tablet drinking it in gulps.

Obviously, the whole notion of telemedicine will evolve dramatically, with roving doctors and nurses consulting effortlessly over mobile video.  Skype calls will be as easy to conduct as traditional calls. And reviewing charts from the road will make much more sense, including looks at, say, CT scan results.

But all of this wonderfulness will be severely constrained if EMR makers keep forcing clinicians to use their systems via mobile-hostile devices. This is the time — this month, week and even day — to admit that desktop computers aren’t the platform of choice for smart clinicians.Vendors will have to step up with native clients for remote devices, and moreover, clients that take advantage of the emerging high-speed phones and tablets. If they hang back, the whole mobile high-speed revolution won’t be happpening.

Lots of Investment in Healthcare IT

Posted on June 24, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

There’s been a ton of interesting news about investment in healthcare IT lately. Much of what I’m seeing is happening in the mobile health space. No doubt mobile health is a really exciting market right now and I think it’s also really exciting because the cost to develop a mobile health app these days is so low.

Here are some interesting investment groups, incubators, etc that are focusing on healthcare IT:
Healthbox – A leading venture capital firm and incubator for startup companies launched Healthbox to focus exclusively on the healthcare industry. They offer $50,000 in seed capital, along with standard incubator services (office, mentor/leaders, etc) and are based out of Chicago. The program will culminate in an investor’s day (I might have to get Neil Versel to attend the investor’s day).

Rock Health – Another startup seed-accelerator program that offers $20,000 along with mentorship and office space for 5 months. It just started this month in San Francisco and has connections to a lot of the major players in healthcare.

Blueprint Health – A startup accelerator based in New York City. It provides $20,000 of seed capital along with mentorship and a work environment to be able to build your idea. They’re initially planning for 10 companies.

Startup Health – This isn’t an investment vehicle yet, but I could see it becoming one very quickly. It’s part of the Startup America Partnership and has some big names like Time Warner Chairman and CEO, Steve Krein, Esther Dyson, and the founders of Health 2.0 Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya.

I’m guessing that there are even more programs that I’m missing. I’d love to learn about others in the comments as well. Either way, it’s exciting to see all this investment happening in healthcare applications.

Ford’s SYNC Technology Looking to Include Mobile Healthcare

Posted on May 20, 2011 I Written By

When you think of cars and the types of assistance that they provide you immediately think of getting directions or various sources of entertainment such as music and movies.  Recently many car companies have developed programs that can locate businesses and restaurants in your area followed by giving you directions to get there.

Ford is now going a big giant leap farther by working together with healthcare companies to develop mobile apps that could help people better manage their health.  Initially they are looking at developing apps that will help diabetics monitor their blood glucose levels as well as helping those with asthma or allergies better avoid environments that may cause them issues.

Much the way apps that already exist can help you avoid areas with large amounts of traffic, users will be able to avoid areas with allergens in the air that could irritate their allergies.  In the future, Ford is looking at developing apps to help monitor heart rate and even using technology to help relieve stress when driving.

Some may look at this move and wonder why Ford is stepping into what seems like an entirely new realm, but this quote from Gary Strumolo of Ford sheds some light on what they are trying to accomplish.

“Ford’s approach to health and wellness in the vehicle is not about trying to take on the role of a healthcare or medical provider, we’re a car company,” said Gary Strumolo, global manager, Interiors, Infotainment, Health & Wellness Research, Ford Research and Innovation. “Our goal is not to interpret the data offered by the experts, but to work with them to develop intelligent ways for Ford vehicles using the power of SYNC. In essence, creating a secondary alert system and alternate outlet for real-time patient coaching services if you will.”

I have an early version of SYNC in one of my cars, and I absolutely love it.  It makes so many things more convenient, and it interfaces so well with all of the devices that I have hooked up to it.  There are already numerous upgrades to the program since I bought my car in 2009, but reading about stuff like this gets me even more excited about what the future holds, especially in the realm of improving my health.

The full press release fro Ford can be found here.

Africa Passes Europe in Mobile Connections

Posted on April 7, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Here’s the excerpt from the link that matters:

Africa has passed Western Europe in the number of mobile connections during the final quarter of 2010, Wireless Intelligence reported on Thursday.

The new report said that African mobile connections reached 547.5 million during the final three months of 2010, up nearly 20 percent from the previous year.

In comparison, Western Europe reported 523.6 million connections, or an increase of less than one percent from 2009

That’s a pretty amazing thing to consider. No wonder I saw someone on Charlie Rose last night that was talking about Africa as a great opportunity for people to grow their business. Some of the coolest mobile healthcare projects that I’ve seen are happening in places like Africa. It’s no wonder why mobile healthcare is so popular considering this growth.

Mobile Health Expo in Las Vegas and MGMA Annual Conference

Posted on October 7, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Mobile Healthcare Expo
I recently signed up to be a media partner for the Mobile Health Expo in Las Vegas. It’s happening October 19,20, and 21st and it looks to be a really interesting conference with some really power players in the mobile healthcare market.

I’ll be “moderating” a couple sessions on Wednesday, but that’s just misuse of a term. I’m going to be introducing the speakers and opening it up for question and answers as needed. I of course will be doing the HITECH and mHealth session by Vince Kuraitis and then I also was asked to do the session titled “The Role of Mobile in Professional Marketing Programs” by Robert Kadar.

I must admit that I’ve gone pretty light on the mobile healthcare and mHealth coverage on this site. Hopefully this conference will open my eyes to some new elements of mobile healthcare that I hadn’t considered before.

Of course, if that doesn’t work, it looks like they have some pretty good parties. It is Las Vegas after all.

If you’re planning to attend, I’d love to meet up with you.

MGMA Annual Conference
I was hoping to go to the MGMA annual conference in New Orleans October 24-27, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. I thought I had a vendor who was going to sponsor my flight and hotel in return for sponsorship of my posts from MGMA, but that fell through. There’s always next year. I hear that registrations numbers for MGMA are way up. If you’re planning to go, I’ll be interested to hear how it goes.