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15 Smart Marketers Share Insights on the Future of the Industry

15 Smart Marketers Share Insights on the Future of the Industry | medidata | Scoop.it
Garner some expert insights into the world of marketing that could help you with your campaigns this year.
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SoloHealth Station Kiosks Set to Provide Free Health Screenings Following FDA Clearance

SoloHealth, Inc. of Duluth, GA has announced plans to begin a nationwide rollout of its SoloHealth Station following FDA clearance of the kiosk. SoloHealth’s kiosks, which can be located just about anywhere, provide patients with an assessment of their vision, blood pressure, weight, and BMI in under 10 minutes.

Following the basic assessment, patients can use the kiosk’s touchscreen interface to locate and contact a local doctor’s office to schedule an appointment.

More from SoloHealth:

SoloHealth will place the SoloHealth Station in high traffic retail environments, making it quick and easy for prospective patients to access. These may include grocery stores, drug stores, malls and other high traffic environments.

A user may create an account at the kiosk using a user name, magnetic card, or bar code and password. The account can be accessed on any kiosk in the network and may be available via an online web portal. Users may also able to forward a set of results or their biometric history to their personal email accounts if they would like.


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eMedToday's curator insight, May 30, 2013 6:29 AM

anothe example of healthcare going into the field. Geat idea but you really need to tie contact with a doctor rather than a unmanned health station

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Doctors on demand: 5 startups wiping out the waiting room

Doctors on demand: 5 startups wiping out the waiting room | medidata | Scoop.it
The last time I went to the doctor, I sat in the waiting room, tapping away at my iPhone and sighing under my breath, for almost an hour. Maybe that’s extreme (for non-emergency room visits at least) but even the national average, according to a recent analysis, is 21 minutes. And that doesn’t include time spent booking the appointment, waiting for a slot to open up or transporting yourself to the office. Emergency room wait times can be much worse – from more than an hour to four hours, depending on who you ask.But an emerging group of startups is trying to make healthcare more convenient by connecting patients and doctors for phone calls, Web video chats or written replies. The virtual doctor concept isn’t new. Companies like Teledoc and American Well have been giving patients 24/7 access to doctors via phone and video chats since the early- and mid-2000s. But while those companies offer services through employers or healthcare organizations, newer startups are going straight to the consumer or appealing to them with lighter-weight, simpler options.

Virtual physicians certainly can’t replace an in-person counterpart in many circumstances (they can’t take your blood pressure, run lab tests or other simpler tests, for example). And they may not have a patients’ medical history or the personal context that comes with a doctor-patient relationship developed over time.

But these companies say that for basic questions and ailments – say allergies, skin conditions or sexual health questions – virtual doctors can be enough. Advocates of the concept say tele-health programs save consumers time and potentially money, while easing the burden on a healthcare system that increasingly doesn’t have enough doctors to meet the needs of patients. Skeptics worry that it will compromise the level of care and diminish the value of the doctor-patient relationship. But the trend seems to be picking up. According to a recent Kaiser Health News/USA Today article, tele-health is gaining traction among insurance companies, including Aetna and Cigna.

Many of the startups are local for now, as some state medical boards block the practice of tele-medicine, especially across state lines. But many say they plan to expand nationwide soon. Here are five startups tackling tele-health in different ways:

1. Ringadoc
Just as Netflix, iTunes and Spotify provide instant gratification in entertainment, Ringadoc founder and CEO Jordan Michaels thinks we ought to receive on-demand services in healthcare too. Launched in 2010, the San Francisco-based service charges patients a $40 flat free (slightly more than the average co-pay, Michaels said) to speak with a doctor (who can provide advice, diagnoses and prescriptions) over the phone anytime day or night. This month, it announced that the Founders Fund had invested $750,000 in seed money. The service currently has about 2,000 registered users, who make a couple of hundred calls a month, Michaels said, but he added the company has done very little marketing. Right now, Ringadoc’s network of about 100 licensed doctors is only available to patients in California, but the company plans to expand into more locations over the next six months. Michaels also said that in the coming weeks and months the company will roll out a video chat service, as well as a direct-to-doctor product to give physicians a virtual way to keep in touch with existing patients.

2. Direct Dermatology
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup doesn’t provide instant care, but founder David Wong said it cuts down the time patients wait to get a dermatologist consultation from more than one month to two days. For $85 per consultation, users sign on to the site and provide information about their specific question (including their medical history, written description of their skin condition and photographs). Direct Dermatology ensures a response from a board certified dermatologist within two business days, including a prescription if necessary. The service, which has raised $335,000, launched in July 2010, but Wong said it only accepted referrals from primary care physicians until this month. Earlier this year, Direct Dermatology was chosen to be a part of New York health tech incubator Startup Health’s first class of startups.

3. HealthTap
Launched in 2011, HealthTap connects patients with more than 10,000 licensed physicians nationwide, who provide immediate written answers to medical questions for free via desktop and mobile applications. The Palo Alto-based startup aims to give patients a quick way to access reliable health information and physicians a new avenue for reaching new customers and establishing their reputations. Participating doctors must be approved by the service, and once admitted, they can provide answers, as well as weigh-in on the responses of other doctors. To date, the company has raised nearly $14 million and attracted doctors from top institutions such as Mount Sinai hospital in New York and the Cleveland Clinic.

4. BreakThrough
BreakThrough, a tele-psychiatry service, launched in 2009 at the TechCrunch50 as a direct to consumer service. In the past few years, it’s shifted to provide services through health-care partners but said it plans to support self-pay by September. The Redwood City, Calif.-based startup lets patients search for certified mental-health professionals and schedule appoints conducted via chat, email, phone or a custom HIPAA-compliant video system. At the moment, it only serves California patients, but said it’s on track to be a covered service for three million members by the end of the year.

5. Sherpaa
A newcomer to the field, Sherpaa launched earlier this year to connect people with doctors in New York City. Employers pay the company a flat fee per employee per month and patients receive 24/7 phone and email access to the company’s physicians and specialists (which it calls “guides”) for free. For the past four months, Sherpaa has been working with tumblr with impressive engagement – so far, the company says, 80 percent of tumblr’s employees have used the service. Jay Parkinson, the company’s founder, said it’s still figuring out its expansion plans. Given the local nature of healthcare, he seems to want to take a deliberate approach, but he said once it figures out operations in New York it would make sense to open in other cities.

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AT&T Moves Aggressively Into Remote Patient Monitoring - Healthcare - Mobile & Wireless - Informationweek

AT&T Moves Aggressively Into Remote Patient Monitoring - Healthcare - Mobile & Wireless - Informationweek | medidata | Scoop.it

As AT&T continues to expand its services into the telehealth market, the company has signed an agreement with Valued Relationships Inc. (VRI) to deliver a remote patient monitoring service to more effectively manage chronic diseases and help reduce hospital readmissions. The end-to-end managed service is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2012.
Officials at AT&T said the target customers for the service are physician practices, hospitals, and payers (e.g., employers and insurance companies). It is up to the targeted customers to identify and create a list of patients. AT&T will then recruit from this list for the service, on the customers' behalf. Under the agreement, equipment will be installed in the patient's home that connects to VRI's nurse-staffed telemonitoring center to monitor patients around the clock who suffer from a number of chronic illnesses, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.
The system will capture data from wirelessly connected personal health devices, such as blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, and pulse oximeters. Patients then upload the information through AT&T's network to VRI's care representatives. VRI's advanced analytics tools and reporting capabilities can read patients' vital signs and indicate whether intervention is required. If patients require intervention, care representatives call them to check that the technology is working properly and being used according to clinical protocols, and then arrange the necessary treatment.
Andy Schoonover, CEO of VRI, said the service will help providers and payers manage clinical information and monitor the alerts gathered by the telehealth devices.
"Health plans and hospitals will no longer have to actively monitor the information because VRI's call center will monitor it for them. VRI will only contact them in a case in which a clinician is needed to give the care required to keep them from being hospitalized," Schoonover told InformationWeek Healthcare.
Eleanor Chye, executive director for mobility healthcare and pharma at AT&T Business and Home Solutions, did not give specific pricing details, but she did say the cost for the remote patient monitoring service will depend on the type of service requested.
"The pricing structure for chronic disease management includes a monthly service fee per patient, patient site dispatch fee, and professional services fees," Chye told InformationWeek Healthcare. "The pricing structure for acute care management (hospital readmissions) includes a 30 or 60 day flat fee per patient, patient site dispatch fee, and professional services fees."
Irene Berlinsky, IDC's senior analyst covering multiplay services, said there is a lot riding on this new service. "If this partnership succeeds, AT&T has a new product it can shop around anywhere in its wireless network--which is most of the U.S. VRI gains exposure and gets to be a part of a managed, end-to-end solution rather than a piece of a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle," Berlinsky said.
The new managed service is being introduced at a time when telecommunications companies are aggressively looking for new opportunities to serve the healthcare industry, which is applying new technology to its evolving business model.
At the same time, hospitals are seeking to reduce readmission rates as a way to lower healthcare costs. Research that examined the re-hospitalization rates of Medicare beneficiaries indicates that nearly 20% of Medicare patients are re-hospitalized within 30 days after discharge, at an annual cost of $17 billion.
"Hospital readmissions carry huge costs for hospitals and add greatly to the cost of healthcare. Remote patient monitoring has the potential to prevent many such readmissions," Berlinsky said.
If the AT&T/VRI partnership hopes to succeed in reducing hospital readmissions, they'll have to provide a platform with software that accurately interprets a patient's vital signs.
"The quality of the solution depends on the software used to analyze patient data. If it inaccurately flags problems--or worse, misses them--hospitals may not see the expected savings materialize," Berlinsky added.


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Beyond fitness: New frontiers for improving health through video games

Beyond fitness: New frontiers for improving health through video games | medidata | Scoop.it
Long gone are the days when the idea of "games for health" meant exergaming. The mobile and social world has virtually exploded with a wealth of productivity apps, interactive personal trainers and beyond -- to say nothing of the complex effect the gamification movement has had on the concept of digital games that can help people feel better and do things better.

Portable phones now come equipped with GPS and accelerometers that can help people keep track of fitness goals, and reward-oriented game design shows promise in helping people engage with their health goals. But Ben Sawyer, founder of the games for health conference, says there are even more big things about to happen that can create opportunities for game developers.

"You're seeing this whole cadre of people rethinking software-based health," Sawyer tells Gamasutra. "They're getting very interested in games, and you're seeing this gamut from apps and apps with gamification through things that are true games."

A happy side effect of current venture capitalist interest in game mechanics has been a stronger, business-oriented push into the field. They may be coming from the busines world, "but they're bumping into people who have been working on games for a while," Sawyer explains.

The upcoming Games for Health conference, set for June 12-14 in Boston, will convene health, gaming and business professionals looking to explore these synergies. Keynote speakers include Constance Steinkuehler Squire, senior policy analyst for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Bill Crounse, MD, senior director of worldwide health for Microsoft, and SuperBetter Labs' Jane McGonigal.

"You're seeing people who aren't grant-based, not research-based, but product people looking at this mass opportunity in health and wellness, and they know games are going to be part of it," Sawyer says. "That's why you see this quick glom-on to gamification... then they have to figure out how to go further."

It's game developers that can take intrigued health and wellness companies beyond the sort of participation that comes from imitation or a sense of obligation and into meaningfully-fun experiences that can help people improve their health. A number of wellness and productivity apps -- take the popular Runkeeper for example -- are making APIs available for developers to use, too.

In particular, Sawyer is interested in a future for biometric sensors: "I think it's going to be a significant opportunity. It's still one of those things where you can see the pieces of it, but you haven't had that kind of 'aha' moment."

Right now, the tech -- sensors like Nike's Fuel band, which provide detailed feedback on fitness and body performance and interface with interactive software -- is a little too cost-prohibitive to create a ton of mass market opportunity, but "it's going to happen," Sawyer says. "If I were [a sensor company], I'd be talking to developers already, saying over and over, 'this is a big opportunity."

When you get those costs down, what's going to happen is if we can show that people who wear these bands get healthier because they change their behavior ever so slightly... then the large health companies might step in and start saying, 'okay, we're going to subsidize this.'"

Sawyer expects two distinct groups to emerge: Developers doing apps directly, and companies that focus on enabling app economies for game developers. From there, it could only be a matter of time before major healthcare providers look to buy in.

The gamification movement is useful in that it offers a starting point for companies from well outside the world of games -- but it can only do that, Sawyer warns. Without a strong, engaging infrastructure, layering game-like qualities on top of things will provide health companies only a temporary blip -- with the downside being that the minimal response might put them off games altogether, or make them believe gaming is a "box" they've already checked. Goal-setting or reward apps are only the beginning, not the sum of the whole.

"There's this real ability to present to people what those differences might be, so that's good; one doesnt exist without the other right now," Sawyer says.


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Doctors Believe Using Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits [INFOGRAPHIC]

Doctors Believe Using Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits [INFOGRAPHIC] | medidata | Scoop.it
Many doctors believe that using apps that keep track of your health will help cut down on doctor visits, a new infographic suggests.According to data revealed by Float Mobile Learning, 40% of doctors believe that using mobile health technologies such as apps that monitor fitness and eating habits can reduce the number of office visits needed by patients. About 88% of doctors are in full support of patients monitoring their health at home, especially when it comes to watching weight, blood sugar and vital signs, and many believe consumers should take advantage of the apps currently on the market to help along the process.

“With the forthcoming changes to the U.S. healthcare system, there will be an increased focus on wellness programs and preventative medicine,” Chad Udell, managing director of Float Mobile Learning, told Mashable. “Mobile health offers a tremendous opportunity for people to become more involved in their own health and wellness.”

It’s no secret that the mobile health industry is growing. There are more than 10,000 medical and healthcare apps available for download in the Apple App Store, making it the third-fastest growing app category among iPhone and Android users.

Doctors are also getting in on the trend, as 80% said they use smartphones and medical apps. Physicians are also 250% more likely to own a tablet than other consumers.

Udell noted that doctors continue to buy tablet devices in droves largely because they offer an easy way to stay in touch with their co-workers and patients. The infographic also noted that 56% of doctors said they turn to mobile devices to make faster decisions, and 40% said it reduces time spent on administration work.

SEE ALSO: iPad Credited With Saving Man’s Life

“It will be interesting to see the impact of the new iPad on medical imaging professionals such as radiologists, who will be able to take advantage of its great graphic capabilities,” Udell said.

Among some of the most popular apps are Nike Plus — which turns a smartphone into a personal trainer — and iStethoscope that allows iPhone users to record and play back a heartbeat. Meanwhile, Welldoc is a series of programs and apps that can reduce hospital and ER visits in half by having patients monitor and manage their own chronic diseases.

Do you use any mobile health apps? Will apps play a big role in the future for the health industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Doctors Believe Using Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits [INFOGRAPHIC]

Doctors Believe Using Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits [INFOGRAPHIC] | medidata | Scoop.it
Many doctors believe that using apps that keep track of your health will help cut down on doctor visits, a new infographic suggests.According to data revealed by Float Mobile Learning, 40% of doctors believe that using mobile health technologies such as apps that monitor fitness and eating habits can reduce the number of office visits needed by patients. About 88% of doctors are in full support of patients monitoring their health at home, especially when it comes to watching weight, blood sugar and vital signs, and many believe consumers should take advantage of the apps currently on the market to help along the process.

“With the forthcoming changes to the U.S. healthcare system, there will be an increased focus on wellness programs and preventative medicine,” Chad Udell, managing director of Float Mobile Learning, told Mashable. “Mobile health offers a tremendous opportunity for people to become more involved in their own health and wellness.”

It’s no secret that the mobile health industry is growing. There are more than 10,000 medical and healthcare apps available for download in the Apple App Store, making it the third-fastest growing app category among iPhone and Android users.

Doctors are also getting in on the trend, as 80% said they use smartphones and medical apps. Physicians are also 250% more likely to own a tablet than other consumers.

Udell noted that doctors continue to buy tablet devices in droves largely because they offer an easy way to stay in touch with their co-workers and patients. The infographic also noted that 56% of doctors said they turn to mobile devices to make faster decisions, and 40% said it reduces time spent on administration work.

SEE ALSO: iPad Credited With Saving Man’s Life

“It will be interesting to see the impact of the new iPad on medical imaging professionals such as radiologists, who will be able to take advantage of its great graphic capabilities,” Udell said.

Among some of the most popular apps are Nike Plus — which turns a smartphone into a personal trainer — and iStethoscope that allows iPhone users to record and play back a heartbeat. Meanwhile, Welldoc is a series of programs and apps that can reduce hospital and ER visits in half by having patients monitor and manage their own chronic diseases.

Do you use any mobile health apps? Will apps play a big role in the future for the health industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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AT&T Moves Aggressively Into Remote Patient Monitoring - Healthcare - Mobile & Wireless - Informationweek

AT&T Moves Aggressively Into Remote Patient Monitoring - Healthcare - Mobile & Wireless - Informationweek | medidata | Scoop.it

As AT&T continues to expand its services into the telehealth market, the company has signed an agreement with Valued Relationships Inc. (VRI) to deliver a remote patient monitoring service to more effectively manage chronic diseases and help reduce hospital readmissions. The end-to-end managed service is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2012.
Officials at AT&T said the target customers for the service are physician practices, hospitals, and payers (e.g., employers and insurance companies). It is up to the targeted customers to identify and create a list of patients. AT&T will then recruit from this list for the service, on the customers' behalf. Under the agreement, equipment will be installed in the patient's home that connects to VRI's nurse-staffed telemonitoring center to monitor patients around the clock who suffer from a number of chronic illnesses, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.
The system will capture data from wirelessly connected personal health devices, such as blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, and pulse oximeters. Patients then upload the information through AT&T's network to VRI's care representatives. VRI's advanced analytics tools and reporting capabilities can read patients' vital signs and indicate whether intervention is required. If patients require intervention, care representatives call them to check that the technology is working properly and being used according to clinical protocols, and then arrange the necessary treatment.
Andy Schoonover, CEO of VRI, said the service will help providers and payers manage clinical information and monitor the alerts gathered by the telehealth devices.
"Health plans and hospitals will no longer have to actively monitor the information because VRI's call center will monitor it for them. VRI will only contact them in a case in which a clinician is needed to give the care required to keep them from being hospitalized," Schoonover told InformationWeek Healthcare.
Eleanor Chye, executive director for mobility healthcare and pharma at AT&T Business and Home Solutions, did not give specific pricing details, but she did say the cost for the remote patient monitoring service will depend on the type of service requested.
"The pricing structure for chronic disease management includes a monthly service fee per patient, patient site dispatch fee, and professional services fees," Chye told InformationWeek Healthcare. "The pricing structure for acute care management (hospital readmissions) includes a 30 or 60 day flat fee per patient, patient site dispatch fee, and professional services fees."
Irene Berlinsky, IDC's senior analyst covering multiplay services, said there is a lot riding on this new service. "If this partnership succeeds, AT&T has a new product it can shop around anywhere in its wireless network--which is most of the U.S. VRI gains exposure and gets to be a part of a managed, end-to-end solution rather than a piece of a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle," Berlinsky said.
The new managed service is being introduced at a time when telecommunications companies are aggressively looking for new opportunities to serve the healthcare industry, which is applying new technology to its evolving business model.
At the same time, hospitals are seeking to reduce readmission rates as a way to lower healthcare costs. Research that examined the re-hospitalization rates of Medicare beneficiaries indicates that nearly 20% of Medicare patients are re-hospitalized within 30 days after discharge, at an annual cost of $17 billion.
"Hospital readmissions carry huge costs for hospitals and add greatly to the cost of healthcare. Remote patient monitoring has the potential to prevent many such readmissions," Berlinsky said.
If the AT&T/VRI partnership hopes to succeed in reducing hospital readmissions, they'll have to provide a platform with software that accurately interprets a patient's vital signs.
"The quality of the solution depends on the software used to analyze patient data. If it inaccurately flags problems--or worse, misses them--hospitals may not see the expected savings materialize," Berlinsky added.


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PwC - Consumers Are Ready to Adopt Mobile Health Faster than the Health Industry is Prepared to Adapt, Finds PwC Study on Global mHealth Adoption

PwC - Consumers Are Ready to Adopt Mobile Health Faster than the Health Industry is Prepared to Adapt, Finds PwC Study on Global mHealth Adoption | medidata | Scoop.it
Widespread adoption of mobile technology in healthcare, or mHealth, is now viewed as inevitable in both developed and emerging markets around the world, but the pace of adoption will likely be led by emerging markets and lag consumer demand, according to a new global study conducted for PwC Global Healthcare by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The ground breaking study, Emerging mHealth: paths for growth, found that consumers have high expectations for mHealth, particularly in developing economies as mobile cellular subscriptions there become ubiquitous. In emerging markets, consumers perceive mHealth as a way to increase access to healthcare while patients in developed markets see it as a way to improve the convenience, cost and quality of healthcare.

According to PwC, if the promise of mHealth is realized by consumers, the impact on healthcare delivery could be significant and fundamentally alter traditional relationships within the healthcare industry. The use of mHealth and speed of adoption will be determined in each country by stakeholders' response to mHealth as a disruptive innovation to overcome structural impediments and align interests around patients' needs and expectations.

"Despite demand and the obvious potential benefits of mHealth, rapid adoption is not yet occurring. The main barriers are not the technology but rather systemic to healthcare and inherent resistance to change," said David Levy, MD, Global Healthcare Leader, PwC. "Though many people think mobile health will be ancillary or bolted on to the healthcare industry, we look at it differently: mHealth is the future of healthcare, deeply integrated into delivery that will be better, faster, less expensive and far more customer-focused."

In the report, the EIU examines the current state and potential of mHealth (defined as the provision of healthcare or health-related information through the use of mobile devices) and the barriers to adoption and opportunities for companies seeking growth in the mHealth market. The report includes findings of two surveys conducted by the EIU: one of consumers and one of physicians and government and private payers in 10 markets, including Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.

The consumer survey found:
•Roughly one-half of consumers predict that within the next three years, mHealth will improve the convenience (46 percent), cost (52 percent) and quality (48 percent) of their healthcare.•Fifty-nine percent of emerging market patients use at least one mHealth application or service, compared with 35 percent in the developed world. Nearly half of consumers said they expect mHealth will change the way they manage chronic conditions (48 percent), their medication (48 percent) and their overall health (49 percent). Six in ten consumers (59 percent) expect mHealth to change the way they seek information on health issues and 48 percent expect it to change the way they communicate with physicians. •Among consumers who already are using mHealth services, 59 percent said they have replaced some visits to doctors or nurses. •The top three reasons consumers want to use mHealth is to have more convenient access to their doctor or healthcare provider (46 percent), to reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs (43 percent) and to take greater control over their health (32 percent). •Sixty percent of consumers said they believe doctors are not as interested in mHealth as patients and technology companies are.

The study found that physicians and payers are more cautious than consumers in their outlook for mHealth. Specifically:
•Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of doctors and payers said that mHealth offers exciting possibilities but there are too few proven business models. In addition, the effectiveness of mHealth changing patient behaviour is evolving. For example, more than two-thirds of consumer respondents who have used mHealth wellness or fitness applications with manual data entry discontinued it after the first six months. •Only 27 percent of physicians encourage patients to use mHealth applications to become more active in managing their health, and 13 percent of physicians actually discourage it.•Forty-two percent of doctors surveyed worry that mHealth will make patients too independent. •Payers appear to be far more supportive of mHealth than physicians. Forty percent of payers compared to 25 percent of physicians encourage patients to let doctors monitor their health and activities using mHealth services and devices. •Payers and providers both cited multiple barriers to the adoption of mHealth, notably the complexity and scope of change associated with mHealth. Public sector doctors and payers cited lack of existing technology as the biggest barrier to greater use of mHealth adoption. Sixty-three percent of physicians in the private sector versus only 40 percent in the public sector have access to wireless connectivity at work.•Forty-five percent of doctors and payers said that the application of inappropriate regulations originally developed for earlier technologies is slowing the adoption of mHealth. •More than one quarter – 27 percent of doctors and 26 percent of payers – cite an inherently conservative culture as a leading barrier to the adoption of mHealth.

"The adoption of mobile health in emerging markets versus developed markets is a paradox," said Christopher Wasden, EdD, Global Healthcare Innovation Leader, PwC. "In developed markets, mHealth is perceived as disrupting the status quo, whereas in emerging countries it is seen as creating a new market, full of opportunity and growth potential. In younger, developing economies, healthcare is less constrained by healthcare infrastructure and entrenched interests. Consumers are more likely to use mobile devices and mHealth applications, and more payers are willing to cover the cost of mHealth services."

According to PwC, innovators seeking opportunities in mHealth, including telecommunications and technology companies, must work to overcome the barriers slowing widespread adoption of mHealth. They can help to alleviate healthcare's resistance to change by focusing less on the technology and more on effective, customer-focused solutions that add value for health organizations and patient quality of life.

In its analysis, PwC identifies strategic considerations for companies active in the mHealth arena. In addition, PwC will publish a series of insights over the next several months on the evolving mHealth landscape with perspective on what it means for stakeholders, including government and regulators, pharmaceutical and life science companies, payers and providers.

A full copy of the EIU report is available for download at www.pwc.com/mhealth.

About PwC Global Healthcare
PwC Global Healthcare works with leading healthcare providers, payers and health sciences organisations across the globe to provide business insights and real-time health solutions. We help public and private executives meet the challenges of their healthcare agendas including regulatory reform, revolution in care and the impact of new science. Our global network of healthcare professionals provide assurance, tax and business advisory services paired with industry experience and a deep understanding of the entire healthcare ecosystem and the dynamics that drive it. We invest heavily in bringing industry-wide, global perspectives to create sustainable healthcare systems for our clients.

About the PwC network
PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they're looking for. We're a member of the PwC network of firms with 169,000 people in more than 158 countries. We're committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

© 2012 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership. All rights reserved. PwC refers to the US member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure. for further details.

This content is for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors.

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eHealth Initiative Shifts Focus to Chronic Diseases

eHealth Initiative Shifts Focus to Chronic Diseases | medidata | Scoop.it

At its annual conference in Washington, D.C., this week, the eHealth Initiative announced a change in focus. Starting this year, eHI plans to concentrate on the role health IT can play in addressing chronic diseases. Specifically, the organization will target cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

eHI CEO Jennifer Covich Bordenick said that after 10 years, it's time for the organization to "sharpen our focus." She told iHealthBeat, "Focusing on chronic diseases is a natural progression of the mission of the group; it brings us one step closer to the end goal." She added, "We are not just talking about technology for the sake of technology. If you want to greatly impact the cost and quality of health care, you must focus on the deadliest and costliest diseases."

Covich Bordenick said reaction from members and other health IT stakeholders about the group's new focus "has been overwhelmingly positive." She said, "When you talk to physicians, patients and providers they get it: You can share social media technologies with cancer patients that help them better understand their disease, highlight apps that doctors can recommend to patients to manage diabetes [and] identify gaps where vendors can develop analytical tools that identify patients at risk for heart disease."

Covich Bordenick said, "It is not a hard sell; it just makes sense."

While speaking at the conference, Carolyn Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, commended eHI on the change. She said, "I think the focus is fantastic."

Clancy noted that the 2010 National Health Care Quality and Disparities reports found that care quality improvement remains suboptimal and that access to care is not improving. She said that few disparities in care quality have been reduced and that nearly no disparities in access to care are getting smaller. Clancy added that cancer screening and diabetes management remain particular problem areas.

Clancy said, "We can do a whole lot better than this." She noted that "health IT has been front and center" in AHRQ's priorities and often is tied to patient safety efforts.

Clancy said that if the country is able to address diabetes, heart disease and cancer, there is no limit to the power of health IT.

Micky Tripathi -- president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative and chair of eHI's Board of Directors -- said that although eHI's work now will target improving outcomes in cancer, diabetes and heart disease, it is important to "always be mindful of the extrapolation we can do to other disease categories," like multiple sclerosis or mental health.

At the conference, physicians, payers and patients discussed how health IT tools can help improve care, increase efficiency and reduce costs in the treatment of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Covich Bordenick said, "The industry has spent a lot of time talking conceptually about transforming care. Now we want to talk practically about what doctors and patients can do right now that works."

Health IT as a Tool for Physicians

Jack Lewin, CEO of the American College of Cardiology, said that health IT is a critical tool for cardiologists, noting that it can help increase care coordination and improve outcomes. He said electronic health records, mobile apps and secure physician-patient email can help cardiologists stay in touch 24/7. He added that data registries can help cardiologists measure and improve their performance.

Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, said that "e-health technology is transforming the way health care is being delivered in this country." She explained that remote monitoring tools allow health care providers to constantly monitor their patients and adjust medications as needed.

Brown said that a home blood pressure monitoring program at Kaiser Permanente Colorado found that patients who used AHA's Heart 360 home monitoring program were 50% more likely to have their blood pressure under control than patients who monitored their blood pressure through physician office visits. She also noted that technology now allows health care providers to remotely and more quickly assess patients having a stroke -- the fourth leading cause of death.

Ileana Piña, a cardiologist at the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., said EHR systems allow health care providers to share information about patients even when communication between doctors isn't where it should be. She added that health IT tools can allow physicians to educate patients better and could lead to early interventions.

Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said progress has been made in cancer treatment and detection, but "we're not there yet." He said that the technology exists to improve cancer care but that the lack of standards in cancer communication is a significant barrier.

Lichtenfeld said, "We are doing things like Neanderthals," adding that to deliver on the promise of health IT, there needs to be a strategy on how to link information. Lichtenfeld also encouraged health care providers to embrace social technologies and "go where patients are."

Health IT as a Tool for Payers

Robert Greene, vice president of Clinical Analytics at UnitedHealthcare, said that as an insurer, United's goal is better health, better care and lower costs.

Greene noted that health plans have access to a huge amount of claims data. United uses that information for transparency programs, benefits design and other reform-related efforts. He said, "We strongly believe that both physicians and patients need this information."

Greene said that health information exchange could help create a consolidated database that would allow insurers and others to better understand variations in care, which might lead to better outcomes and lower costs.

United also offers incentives to encourage patients to become more engaged in their care, according to Greene. For example, if patients input data into their personal health records or comply with their diabetes management plan, their premiums are lower.

Health IT as a Tool for Patients

According to government data, more than 133 million U.S. residents, or about 45% of the country's population, have at least one chronic condition. While doctors' and insurers' use of health IT could lead to care improvements, many experts say that patients' engagement in their own health and health care is the true key to addressing chronic diseases.

Daniel Treadwell, a cardiac patient, said there are "no better resources than the patients themselves."

Talking about his experience undergoing an aorta valve replacement in 2007, Treadwell said, "Knowledge is power, and I wanted to learn as much as I could before my surgery." Treadwell said the Internet has made it much easier for patients to become engaged in their care. In addition to researching the benefits and drawbacks of mechanical versus tissue valves and the different brands of valves, Treadwell participated in online forums where he connected with other patients who had gone through similar experiences.

More and more patients, especially those with chronic conditions, are turning to social media and other tools for health-related purposes.

Daniel Garrett -- partner and health IT practice leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers -- said PwC Health Research Institute's 2011 Consumer Survey found that:

Nearly one-third of consumers have used social media for health care-related reasons;22% believe the use of social media for health-related reasons will increase next year;38% said that a hospital's social media presence would at least somewhat affect their decision to receive treatment at that facility; and54% would be comfortable with doctors going to online physician communities to discuss patients' health to improve treatment.

Regan Minners -- managing director of Diabetes Prevention, Youth and New Patient Programs at the American Diabetes Association -- said that social media and mobile apps can be leveraged to encourage patients to engage in moderate lifestyle behavior changes that can reduce diabetes costs and help prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes.

She noted that 73% of U.S. residents visit Facebook each month and that 83% of adults own cellphones and half of them have mobile applications on their phones. Minners said that research has shown that e-health works but patient motivation is key.

Minners noted that there are more than 7,300 health-related apps in the Apple store. She said that while some of the apps -- like those that track users' body mass index or help users stay on track with their fitness routines -- seem promising, others -- like "Slim While You Sleep" or "Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days" -- are less realistic. Still, she remains optimistic about the potential of leveraging e-health to reach out through social networks, noting that prevention can be contagious.

Harold Freeman -- president and CEO of the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute -- warned that it is important not to forget about underserved patients who might not have access to computers or other technology. He said, "Nothing beats person-to-person contact," but electronic tools can augment that relationship.


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Kaiser Permanente Makes Electronic Medical Records Accessible to Patients Through Android App and Mobile Website

Kaiser Permanente Makes Electronic Medical Records Accessible to Patients Through Android App and Mobile Website | medidata | Scoop.it

Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed care organization in the United States, has unveiled an Android app and mobile-optimized website through which its 9 million patients can access their own medical information anywhere in the world on their mobile devices. The app and mobile website contain the same information and possibilities that were already available through kp.org, i.e. lab results, diagnostic information, secure email access to doctors, ordering of prescription refills, scheduling appointments and locating of healthcare facilities. It is also possible for family members to get access on behalf of a patient and accomplish the same tasks. The Android app is available for free from the Android market. An iPhone app will be released in the coming months, but for now iPhone users will have to do with the mobile website.


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GPs 'to prescribe health apps' to maintain health conditions

GPs 'to prescribe health apps' to maintain health conditions | medidata | Scoop.it
GPs could soon offer their patients free smartphone apps to help with managing health conditions.

The Department of Health says its initiative is the "next step" in the drive to give patients more control over their own health.

The apps could help diabetics keep a check on their blood sugar and patients monitor their own blood pressure.

Details of how this will work will be in the government's Information Strategy expected this Spring.

It may be that GPs will be able to prescribe apps that would normally involve a cost to the individual to buy.

At an event showcasing the best ideas for new and existing health smartphone apps, the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "So many people use apps every day to keep up with their friends, with the news, find out when the next bus will turn up or which train to catch.

"I want to make using apps to track blood pressure, to find the nearest source of support when you need it and to get practical help in staying healthy the norm.

"Information about your health is a service - just like the GP surgeries, Walk-in Centres and hospitals that millions of people access every week. With more information at their fingertips, patients can truly be in the driving seat.

"Innovation and technology can revolutionise the health service, and we are looking at how the NHS can use these apps for the benefit of patients, including how GPs could offer them for free."

One app that has already been trialled by GPs and community nurses as well as hospitals, including Great Ormond Street, is called Patients Know Best.

This enables each patient to get all their records from all their clinicians and controls who gets access to them.

Using the app, patients can have online consultations with any member of their clinical team, receive automated explanations of their results, and work with clinicians for a personalised care plan.


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Design of an mHealth App for the Self-management of Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes: A Pilot Study

Design of an mHealth App for the Self-management of Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes: A Pilot Study | medidata | Scoop.it
Background: The use of mHealth apps has shown improved health outcomes in adult populations with type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, this has not been shown in the adolescent type 1 population, despite their predisposition to the use of technology. We hypothesized that a more tailored approach and a strong adherence mechanism is needed for this group.
Objective: To design, develop, and pilot an mHealth intervention for the management of type 1 diabetes in adolescents.
Methods: We interviewed adolescents with type 1 diabetes and their family caregivers. Design principles were derived from a thematic analysis of the interviews. User-centered design was then used to develop the mobile app bant. In the 12-week evaluation phase, a pilot group of 20 adolescents aged 12–16 years, with a glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) of between 8% and 10% was sampled. Each participant was supplied with the bant app running on an iPhone or iPod Touch and a LifeScan glucometer with a Bluetooth adapter for automated transfers to the app. The outcome measure was the average daily frequency of blood glucose measurement during the pilot compared with the preceding 12 weeks.
Results: Thematic analysis findings were the role of data collecting rather than decision making; the need for fast, discrete transactions; overcoming decision inertia; and the need for ad hoc information sharing. Design aspects of the resultant app emerged through the user-centered design process, including simple, automated transfer of glucometer readings; the use of a social community; and the concept of gamification, whereby routine behaviors and actions are rewarded in the form of iTunes music and apps. Blood glucose trend analysis was provided with immediate prompting of the participant to suggest both the cause and remedy of the adverse trend. The pilot evaluation showed that the daily average frequency of blood glucose measurement increased 50% (from 2.4 to 3.6 per day, P = .006, n = 12). A total of 161 rewards (average of 8 rewards each) were distributed to participants. Satisfaction was high, with 88% (14/16 participants) stating that they would continue to use the system. Demonstrating improvements in HbA1c will require a properly powered study of sufficient duration.
Conclusions: This mHealth diabetes app with the use of gamification incentives showed an improvement in the frequency of blood glucose monitoring in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Extending this to improved health outcomes will require the incentives to be tied not only to frequency of blood glucose monitoring but also to patient actions and decision making based on those readings such that glycemic control can be improved.
(J Med Internet Res 2012;14(3):e70)
doi:10.2196/jmir.2058

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What Happens When Medical Science Meets Data Sc...

What Happens When Medical Science Meets Data Sc... | medidata | Scoop.it
Its fun to track your steps now but wearable sensors will start to be a serious diagnostic tool. (Its fun to track your steps now but wearable sensors will start to be a serious diagnostic tool. See it on Scoop...
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eHealth Initiative Shifts Focus to Chronic Diseases

eHealth Initiative Shifts Focus to Chronic Diseases | medidata | Scoop.it

At its annual conference in Washington, D.C., this week, the eHealth Initiative announced a change in focus. Starting this year, eHI plans to concentrate on the role health IT can play in addressing chronic diseases. Specifically, the organization will target cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

eHI CEO Jennifer Covich Bordenick said that after 10 years, it's time for the organization to "sharpen our focus." She told iHealthBeat, "Focusing on chronic diseases is a natural progression of the mission of the group; it brings us one step closer to the end goal." She added, "We are not just talking about technology for the sake of technology. If you want to greatly impact the cost and quality of health care, you must focus on the deadliest and costliest diseases."

Covich Bordenick said reaction from members and other health IT stakeholders about the group's new focus "has been overwhelmingly positive." She said, "When you talk to physicians, patients and providers they get it: You can share social media technologies with cancer patients that help them better understand their disease, highlight apps that doctors can recommend to patients to manage diabetes [and] identify gaps where vendors can develop analytical tools that identify patients at risk for heart disease."

Covich Bordenick said, "It is not a hard sell; it just makes sense."

While speaking at the conference, Carolyn Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, commended eHI on the change. She said, "I think the focus is fantastic."

Clancy noted that the 2010 National Health Care Quality and Disparities reports found that care quality improvement remains suboptimal and that access to care is not improving. She said that few disparities in care quality have been reduced and that nearly no disparities in access to care are getting smaller. Clancy added that cancer screening and diabetes management remain particular problem areas.

Clancy said, "We can do a whole lot better than this." She noted that "health IT has been front and center" in AHRQ's priorities and often is tied to patient safety efforts.

Clancy said that if the country is able to address diabetes, heart disease and cancer, there is no limit to the power of health IT.

Micky Tripathi -- president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative and chair of eHI's Board of Directors -- said that although eHI's work now will target improving outcomes in cancer, diabetes and heart disease, it is important to "always be mindful of the extrapolation we can do to other disease categories," like multiple sclerosis or mental health.

At the conference, physicians, payers and patients discussed how health IT tools can help improve care, increase efficiency and reduce costs in the treatment of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Covich Bordenick said, "The industry has spent a lot of time talking conceptually about transforming care. Now we want to talk practically about what doctors and patients can do right now that works."

Health IT as a Tool for Physicians

Jack Lewin, CEO of the American College of Cardiology, said that health IT is a critical tool for cardiologists, noting that it can help increase care coordination and improve outcomes. He said electronic health records, mobile apps and secure physician-patient email can help cardiologists stay in touch 24/7. He added that data registries can help cardiologists measure and improve their performance.

Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, said that "e-health technology is transforming the way health care is being delivered in this country." She explained that remote monitoring tools allow health care providers to constantly monitor their patients and adjust medications as needed.

Brown said that a home blood pressure monitoring program at Kaiser Permanente Colorado found that patients who used AHA's Heart 360 home monitoring program were 50% more likely to have their blood pressure under control than patients who monitored their blood pressure through physician office visits. She also noted that technology now allows health care providers to remotely and more quickly assess patients having a stroke -- the fourth leading cause of death.

Ileana Piña, a cardiologist at the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., said EHR systems allow health care providers to share information about patients even when communication between doctors isn't where it should be. She added that health IT tools can allow physicians to educate patients better and could lead to early interventions.

Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said progress has been made in cancer treatment and detection, but "we're not there yet." He said that the technology exists to improve cancer care but that the lack of standards in cancer communication is a significant barrier.

Lichtenfeld said, "We are doing things like Neanderthals," adding that to deliver on the promise of health IT, there needs to be a strategy on how to link information. Lichtenfeld also encouraged health care providers to embrace social technologies and "go where patients are."

Health IT as a Tool for Payers

Robert Greene, vice president of Clinical Analytics at UnitedHealthcare, said that as an insurer, United's goal is better health, better care and lower costs.

Greene noted that health plans have access to a huge amount of claims data. United uses that information for transparency programs, benefits design and other reform-related efforts. He said, "We strongly believe that both physicians and patients need this information."

Greene said that health information exchange could help create a consolidated database that would allow insurers and others to better understand variations in care, which might lead to better outcomes and lower costs.

United also offers incentives to encourage patients to become more engaged in their care, according to Greene. For example, if patients input data into their personal health records or comply with their diabetes management plan, their premiums are lower.

Health IT as a Tool for Patients

According to government data, more than 133 million U.S. residents, or about 45% of the country's population, have at least one chronic condition. While doctors' and insurers' use of health IT could lead to care improvements, many experts say that patients' engagement in their own health and health care is the true key to addressing chronic diseases.

Daniel Treadwell, a cardiac patient, said there are "no better resources than the patients themselves."

Talking about his experience undergoing an aorta valve replacement in 2007, Treadwell said, "Knowledge is power, and I wanted to learn as much as I could before my surgery." Treadwell said the Internet has made it much easier for patients to become engaged in their care. In addition to researching the benefits and drawbacks of mechanical versus tissue valves and the different brands of valves, Treadwell participated in online forums where he connected with other patients who had gone through similar experiences.

More and more patients, especially those with chronic conditions, are turning to social media and other tools for health-related purposes.

Daniel Garrett -- partner and health IT practice leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers -- said PwC Health Research Institute's 2011 Consumer Survey found that:

Nearly one-third of consumers have used social media for health care-related reasons;22% believe the use of social media for health-related reasons will increase next year;38% said that a hospital's social media presence would at least somewhat affect their decision to receive treatment at that facility; and54% would be comfortable with doctors going to online physician communities to discuss patients' health to improve treatment.

Regan Minners -- managing director of Diabetes Prevention, Youth and New Patient Programs at the American Diabetes Association -- said that social media and mobile apps can be leveraged to encourage patients to engage in moderate lifestyle behavior changes that can reduce diabetes costs and help prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes.

She noted that 73% of U.S. residents visit Facebook each month and that 83% of adults own cellphones and half of them have mobile applications on their phones. Minners said that research has shown that e-health works but patient motivation is key.

Minners noted that there are more than 7,300 health-related apps in the Apple store. She said that while some of the apps -- like those that track users' body mass index or help users stay on track with their fitness routines -- seem promising, others -- like "Slim While You Sleep" or "Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days" -- are less realistic. Still, she remains optimistic about the potential of leveraging e-health to reach out through social networks, noting that prevention can be contagious.

Harold Freeman -- president and CEO of the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute -- warned that it is important not to forget about underserved patients who might not have access to computers or other technology. He said, "Nothing beats person-to-person contact," but electronic tools can augment that relationship.


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PwC - Consumers Are Ready to Adopt Mobile Health Faster than the Health Industry is Prepared to Adapt, Finds PwC Study on Global mHealth Adoption

PwC - Consumers Are Ready to Adopt Mobile Health Faster than the Health Industry is Prepared to Adapt, Finds PwC Study on Global mHealth Adoption | medidata | Scoop.it
Widespread adoption of mobile technology in healthcare, or mHealth, is now viewed as inevitable in both developed and emerging markets around the world, but the pace of adoption will likely be led by emerging markets and lag consumer demand, according to a new global study conducted for PwC Global Healthcare by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The ground breaking study, Emerging mHealth: paths for growth, found that consumers have high expectations for mHealth, particularly in developing economies as mobile cellular subscriptions there become ubiquitous. In emerging markets, consumers perceive mHealth as a way to increase access to healthcare while patients in developed markets see it as a way to improve the convenience, cost and quality of healthcare.

According to PwC, if the promise of mHealth is realized by consumers, the impact on healthcare delivery could be significant and fundamentally alter traditional relationships within the healthcare industry. The use of mHealth and speed of adoption will be determined in each country by stakeholders' response to mHealth as a disruptive innovation to overcome structural impediments and align interests around patients' needs and expectations.

"Despite demand and the obvious potential benefits of mHealth, rapid adoption is not yet occurring. The main barriers are not the technology but rather systemic to healthcare and inherent resistance to change," said David Levy, MD, Global Healthcare Leader, PwC. "Though many people think mobile health will be ancillary or bolted on to the healthcare industry, we look at it differently: mHealth is the future of healthcare, deeply integrated into delivery that will be better, faster, less expensive and far more customer-focused."

In the report, the EIU examines the current state and potential of mHealth (defined as the provision of healthcare or health-related information through the use of mobile devices) and the barriers to adoption and opportunities for companies seeking growth in the mHealth market. The report includes findings of two surveys conducted by the EIU: one of consumers and one of physicians and government and private payers in 10 markets, including Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.

The consumer survey found:
•Roughly one-half of consumers predict that within the next three years, mHealth will improve the convenience (46 percent), cost (52 percent) and quality (48 percent) of their healthcare.•Fifty-nine percent of emerging market patients use at least one mHealth application or service, compared with 35 percent in the developed world. Nearly half of consumers said they expect mHealth will change the way they manage chronic conditions (48 percent), their medication (48 percent) and their overall health (49 percent). Six in ten consumers (59 percent) expect mHealth to change the way they seek information on health issues and 48 percent expect it to change the way they communicate with physicians. •Among consumers who already are using mHealth services, 59 percent said they have replaced some visits to doctors or nurses. •The top three reasons consumers want to use mHealth is to have more convenient access to their doctor or healthcare provider (46 percent), to reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs (43 percent) and to take greater control over their health (32 percent). •Sixty percent of consumers said they believe doctors are not as interested in mHealth as patients and technology companies are.

The study found that physicians and payers are more cautious than consumers in their outlook for mHealth. Specifically:
•Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of doctors and payers said that mHealth offers exciting possibilities but there are too few proven business models. In addition, the effectiveness of mHealth changing patient behaviour is evolving. For example, more than two-thirds of consumer respondents who have used mHealth wellness or fitness applications with manual data entry discontinued it after the first six months. •Only 27 percent of physicians encourage patients to use mHealth applications to become more active in managing their health, and 13 percent of physicians actually discourage it.•Forty-two percent of doctors surveyed worry that mHealth will make patients too independent. •Payers appear to be far more supportive of mHealth than physicians. Forty percent of payers compared to 25 percent of physicians encourage patients to let doctors monitor their health and activities using mHealth services and devices. •Payers and providers both cited multiple barriers to the adoption of mHealth, notably the complexity and scope of change associated with mHealth. Public sector doctors and payers cited lack of existing technology as the biggest barrier to greater use of mHealth adoption. Sixty-three percent of physicians in the private sector versus only 40 percent in the public sector have access to wireless connectivity at work.•Forty-five percent of doctors and payers said that the application of inappropriate regulations originally developed for earlier technologies is slowing the adoption of mHealth. •More than one quarter – 27 percent of doctors and 26 percent of payers – cite an inherently conservative culture as a leading barrier to the adoption of mHealth.

"The adoption of mobile health in emerging markets versus developed markets is a paradox," said Christopher Wasden, EdD, Global Healthcare Innovation Leader, PwC. "In developed markets, mHealth is perceived as disrupting the status quo, whereas in emerging countries it is seen as creating a new market, full of opportunity and growth potential. In younger, developing economies, healthcare is less constrained by healthcare infrastructure and entrenched interests. Consumers are more likely to use mobile devices and mHealth applications, and more payers are willing to cover the cost of mHealth services."

According to PwC, innovators seeking opportunities in mHealth, including telecommunications and technology companies, must work to overcome the barriers slowing widespread adoption of mHealth. They can help to alleviate healthcare's resistance to change by focusing less on the technology and more on effective, customer-focused solutions that add value for health organizations and patient quality of life.

In its analysis, PwC identifies strategic considerations for companies active in the mHealth arena. In addition, PwC will publish a series of insights over the next several months on the evolving mHealth landscape with perspective on what it means for stakeholders, including government and regulators, pharmaceutical and life science companies, payers and providers.

A full copy of the EIU report is available for download at www.pwc.com/mhealth.

About PwC Global Healthcare
PwC Global Healthcare works with leading healthcare providers, payers and health sciences organisations across the globe to provide business insights and real-time health solutions. We help public and private executives meet the challenges of their healthcare agendas including regulatory reform, revolution in care and the impact of new science. Our global network of healthcare professionals provide assurance, tax and business advisory services paired with industry experience and a deep understanding of the entire healthcare ecosystem and the dynamics that drive it. We invest heavily in bringing industry-wide, global perspectives to create sustainable healthcare systems for our clients.

About the PwC network
PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they're looking for. We're a member of the PwC network of firms with 169,000 people in more than 158 countries. We're committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

© 2012 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership. All rights reserved. PwC refers to the US member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure. for further details.

This content is for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors.

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Ten Hurdles to Patient Adherence

Ten Hurdles to Patient Adherence | medidata | Scoop.it

There are many factors which can influence the level of patient adherence in any given treatment, Jeanne Barnett looks at how social platforms can provide the answers and presents her findings.

You may already be aware of the great success of the Khan Academy for educating students with self-paced online learning that can be accessed anywhere and anytime. Their mission is “A free world-class education to anyone anywhere.”

At CysticFibrosis.com, we have offered a free, world-class education on the optimal management of cystic fibrosis since 1996.

Patients with chronic diseases face multiple barriers to adherence with regard to treatment regimens. On our social health community, CysticFibrosis.com, we have observed thousands of conversations about adherence and conducted surveys on this subject. Our Health Opinion Leaders (HOLs) identified the following particular adherence issues that we feel apply to other chronic diseases as well.

1. Time Management: A recent poll on our site identified time management as the #1 barrier to adherence. The CF treatment regimen can take up to five hours a day, and other disease care is similarly time-consuming. Many patients are choosing between doing all their treatments or sleeping, working, going to school…etc.

2. Tracking and Scheduling: Patients often have trouble keeping track of medications and treatments on a daily basis, as well as ensuring there is no gap between refills or loss of functionality of equipment in the long term.

3. Comprehension: Doctors and other medical professionals often have limited time in which to convey treatment information, and patients and caregivers take away a only portion of the instructions or misunderstand them.

4. Lack of Knowledge: Patients are often unaware of all the treatments available to them, and they are often confused about the method of administration of medications and the maintenance of durable medical equipment.

5. Cost of Treatments and Equipment: Patients sometimes lack sufficient finances to cover co-pays for expensive medications, supplements, food and other helpful resources such as exercise equipment or gym memberships.

6. Distance to Appropriate Doctors and Centers: Patients sometimes have to drive 1-3 hours to be treated at a clinic, and they postpone check-ups and admissions due to scheduling or transportation issues.

7. Social Factors: Patients often face awkward or discriminatory social situations with regard to doing treatments in public, the workplace or even with friends. Additionally, CF patients cannot socialize with one another due to the risk of cross-contamination.

8. Mental Health Factors: Stress and depression are more than occasionally cited as reasons patients do not complete their treatments. Depressed or stressed patients may lack motivation or have trouble focusing on the tasks needed to adhere to a complicated and time-consuming treatment regimen.

9. Unsafe Health Facilities: Patients are often hesitant to seek treatment, whether routine or in an acute situation, for fear of acquiring multi-resistant strains of bacteria.

10. Perceived Inefficacy of Treatments: Patients are often misinformed as to when they will see results, or they draw unfounded conclusions regarding positive or negative effects of the medication/treatments. We’ve analyzed the barriers to adherence listed above, and our nonprofit organization, CFTechnology, is striving to take the next step with that knowledge. We are organizing and disseminating adherence knowledge and techniques in a broader and more accessible manner than even our message boards. We are aiming to develop technology that promotes adherence along two interwoven fronts: education and motivation.

Education
Informational apps on mobile devices to educate patients and caregivers, with “teach the teacher” programs for patients, parents and relatives, education faculty, and healthcare providers to advance understanding of the disease pathology and its comorbidities, as well as comprehension of the importance of adherence to care routines.
Web-based multimedia content, such as video tutorials and podcasts, educating on subjects such as proper airway clearance technique, maintenance of durable medical equipment, medication storage and delivery, tips for extenuating circumstances (vacations, natural disasters, etc.), and disease-specific nutrition and exercise recommendations.
Motivation
Interactive applications to keep patients involved in their care and motivated to complete treatment regimens.
Games and picture-based scheduling applications geared to children to encourage self-monitoring and adherence in early childhood.
Information and applications focused on the time of transition from child- to adulthood, a time when patients are most likely to be non-compliant.
The e-patient model is here to stay, and the wave of the future is adopting the technology that is available to us for education and motivation—the keys to patient adherence


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Redefining Medicine With Apps and iPads - The Digital Doctor

Redefining Medicine With Apps and iPads - The Digital Doctor | medidata | Scoop.it
SAN FRANCISCO — Dr. Alvin Rajkomar was doing rounds with his team at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center when he came upon a puzzling case: a frail, elderly patient with a dangerously low sodium level.

 

As a third-year resident in internal medicine, Dr. Rajkomar was the senior member of the team, and the others looked to him for guidance. An infusion of saline was the answer, but the tricky part lay in the details. Concentration? Volume? Improper treatment could lead to brain swelling, seizures or even death.

Dr. Rajkomar had been on call for 24 hours and was exhausted, but the clinical uncertainty was “like a shot of adrenaline,” he said. He reached into a deep pocket of his white coat and produced not a well-thumbed handbook but his iPhone.

With a tap on an app called MedCalc, he had enough answers within a minute to start the saline at precisely the right rate.

The history of medicine is defined by advances born of bioscience. But never before has it been driven to this degree by digital technology.

The proliferation of gadgets, apps and Web-based information has given clinicians — especially young ones like Dr. Rajkomar, who is 28 — a black bag of new tools: new ways to diagnose symptoms and treat patients, to obtain and share information, to think about what it means to be both a doctor and a patient.

And it has created something of a generational divide. Older doctors admire, even envy, their young colleagues’ ease with new technology. But they worry that the human connections that lie at the core of medical practice are at risk of being lost.

“Just adding an app won’t necessarily make people better doctors or more caring clinicians,” said Dr. Paul C. Tang, chief innovation and technology officer at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Palo Alto, Calif. “What we need to learn is how to use technology to be better, more humane professionals.”

Dr. Paul A. Heineken, 66, a primary care physician, is a revered figure at the San Francisco V.A. Medical Center. He is part of a generation that shared longstanding assumptions about the way medicine is practiced: Physicians are the unambiguous source of medical knowledge; notes and orders are written in paper records while standing at the nurses’ station; and X-rays are film placed on light boxes and viewed over a radiologist’s shoulder.

One recent morning, while leading trainees through the hospital’s wards, Dr. Heineken faced the delicate task of every teacher of medicine — using the gravely ill to impart knowledge.

The team arrived at the room of a 90-year-old World War II veteran who was dying — a ghost of a man, his face etched with pain, the veins in his neck protruding from the pressure of his failing heart.

Dr. Heineken apologized for the intrusion, and the patient forced a smile. The doctor knelt at the bedside to perform the time-honored tradition of percussing the heart. “Do it like this,” he said, placing his left hand over the man’s heart, and tapping its middle finger with the middle finger of his right.

One by one, each trainee took a turn. An X-ray or echocardiogram would do the job more accurately. But Dr. Heineken wanted the students to experience discovering an enlarged heart in a physical exam.

Dr. Heineken fills his teaching days with similar lessons, which can mean struggling upstream against a current of technology. Through his career, he has seen the advent of CT scans, ultrasounds, M.R.I.’s and countless new lab tests. He has watched peers turn their backs on patients while struggling with a new computer system, or rush patients through their appointments while forgetting the most fundamental tools — their eyes and ears.

For these reasons, he makes a point of requiring something old-fashioned of his trainees.

“I tell them that their first reflex should be to look at the patient, not the computer,” Dr. Heineken said. And he tells the team to return to each patient’s bedside at day’s end. “I say, ‘Don’t go to a computer; go back to the room, sit down and listen to them. And don’t look like you’re in a hurry.’ ”


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What's the largest FM database you've worked on by records or gigabytes?

What's the largest FM database you've worked on by records or gigabytes? | medidata | Scoop.it
What's the largest FM database you've worked on by records or gigabytes? Was there a certain point where you started to see problems?

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Redefining Medicine With Apps and iPads - The Digital Doctor

Redefining Medicine With Apps and iPads - The Digital Doctor | medidata | Scoop.it
SAN FRANCISCO — Dr. Alvin Rajkomar was doing rounds with his team at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center when he came upon a puzzling case: a frail, elderly patient with a dangerously low sodium level.

 

As a third-year resident in internal medicine, Dr. Rajkomar was the senior member of the team, and the others looked to him for guidance. An infusion of saline was the answer, but the tricky part lay in the details. Concentration? Volume? Improper treatment could lead to brain swelling, seizures or even death.

Dr. Rajkomar had been on call for 24 hours and was exhausted, but the clinical uncertainty was “like a shot of adrenaline,” he said. He reached into a deep pocket of his white coat and produced not a well-thumbed handbook but his iPhone.

With a tap on an app called MedCalc, he had enough answers within a minute to start the saline at precisely the right rate.

The history of medicine is defined by advances born of bioscience. But never before has it been driven to this degree by digital technology.

The proliferation of gadgets, apps and Web-based information has given clinicians — especially young ones like Dr. Rajkomar, who is 28 — a black bag of new tools: new ways to diagnose symptoms and treat patients, to obtain and share information, to think about what it means to be both a doctor and a patient.

And it has created something of a generational divide. Older doctors admire, even envy, their young colleagues’ ease with new technology. But they worry that the human connections that lie at the core of medical practice are at risk of being lost.

“Just adding an app won’t necessarily make people better doctors or more caring clinicians,” said Dr. Paul C. Tang, chief innovation and technology officer at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Palo Alto, Calif. “What we need to learn is how to use technology to be better, more humane professionals.”

Dr. Paul A. Heineken, 66, a primary care physician, is a revered figure at the San Francisco V.A. Medical Center. He is part of a generation that shared longstanding assumptions about the way medicine is practiced: Physicians are the unambiguous source of medical knowledge; notes and orders are written in paper records while standing at the nurses’ station; and X-rays are film placed on light boxes and viewed over a radiologist’s shoulder.

One recent morning, while leading trainees through the hospital’s wards, Dr. Heineken faced the delicate task of every teacher of medicine — using the gravely ill to impart knowledge.

The team arrived at the room of a 90-year-old World War II veteran who was dying — a ghost of a man, his face etched with pain, the veins in his neck protruding from the pressure of his failing heart.

Dr. Heineken apologized for the intrusion, and the patient forced a smile. The doctor knelt at the bedside to perform the time-honored tradition of percussing the heart. “Do it like this,” he said, placing his left hand over the man’s heart, and tapping its middle finger with the middle finger of his right.

One by one, each trainee took a turn. An X-ray or echocardiogram would do the job more accurately. But Dr. Heineken wanted the students to experience discovering an enlarged heart in a physical exam.

Dr. Heineken fills his teaching days with similar lessons, which can mean struggling upstream against a current of technology. Through his career, he has seen the advent of CT scans, ultrasounds, M.R.I.’s and countless new lab tests. He has watched peers turn their backs on patients while struggling with a new computer system, or rush patients through their appointments while forgetting the most fundamental tools — their eyes and ears.

For these reasons, he makes a point of requiring something old-fashioned of his trainees.

“I tell them that their first reflex should be to look at the patient, not the computer,” Dr. Heineken said. And he tells the team to return to each patient’s bedside at day’s end. “I say, ‘Don’t go to a computer; go back to the room, sit down and listen to them. And don’t look like you’re in a hurry.’ ”


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Beyond fitness: New frontiers for improving health through video games

Beyond fitness: New frontiers for improving health through video games | medidata | Scoop.it
Long gone are the days when the idea of "games for health" meant exergaming. The mobile and social world has virtually exploded with a wealth of productivity apps, interactive personal trainers and beyond -- to say nothing of the complex effect the gamification movement has had on the concept of digital games that can help people feel better and do things better.

Portable phones now come equipped with GPS and accelerometers that can help people keep track of fitness goals, and reward-oriented game design shows promise in helping people engage with their health goals. But Ben Sawyer, founder of the games for health conference, says there are even more big things about to happen that can create opportunities for game developers.

"You're seeing this whole cadre of people rethinking software-based health," Sawyer tells Gamasutra. "They're getting very interested in games, and you're seeing this gamut from apps and apps with gamification through things that are true games."

A happy side effect of current venture capitalist interest in game mechanics has been a stronger, business-oriented push into the field. They may be coming from the busines world, "but they're bumping into people who have been working on games for a while," Sawyer explains.

The upcoming Games for Health conference, set for June 12-14 in Boston, will convene health, gaming and business professionals looking to explore these synergies. Keynote speakers include Constance Steinkuehler Squire, senior policy analyst for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Bill Crounse, MD, senior director of worldwide health for Microsoft, and SuperBetter Labs' Jane McGonigal.

"You're seeing people who aren't grant-based, not research-based, but product people looking at this mass opportunity in health and wellness, and they know games are going to be part of it," Sawyer says. "That's why you see this quick glom-on to gamification... then they have to figure out how to go further."

It's game developers that can take intrigued health and wellness companies beyond the sort of participation that comes from imitation or a sense of obligation and into meaningfully-fun experiences that can help people improve their health. A number of wellness and productivity apps -- take the popular Runkeeper for example -- are making APIs available for developers to use, too.

In particular, Sawyer is interested in a future for biometric sensors: "I think it's going to be a significant opportunity. It's still one of those things where you can see the pieces of it, but you haven't had that kind of 'aha' moment."

Right now, the tech -- sensors like Nike's Fuel band, which provide detailed feedback on fitness and body performance and interface with interactive software -- is a little too cost-prohibitive to create a ton of mass market opportunity, but "it's going to happen," Sawyer says. "If I were [a sensor company], I'd be talking to developers already, saying over and over, 'this is a big opportunity."

When you get those costs down, what's going to happen is if we can show that people who wear these bands get healthier because they change their behavior ever so slightly... then the large health companies might step in and start saying, 'okay, we're going to subsidize this.'"

Sawyer expects two distinct groups to emerge: Developers doing apps directly, and companies that focus on enabling app economies for game developers. From there, it could only be a matter of time before major healthcare providers look to buy in.

The gamification movement is useful in that it offers a starting point for companies from well outside the world of games -- but it can only do that, Sawyer warns. Without a strong, engaging infrastructure, layering game-like qualities on top of things will provide health companies only a temporary blip -- with the downside being that the minimal response might put them off games altogether, or make them believe gaming is a "box" they've already checked. Goal-setting or reward apps are only the beginning, not the sum of the whole.

"There's this real ability to present to people what those differences might be, so that's good; one doesnt exist without the other right now," Sawyer says.


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Ten Hurdles to Patient Adherence

Ten Hurdles to Patient Adherence | medidata | Scoop.it

There are many factors which can influence the level of patient adherence in any given treatment, Jeanne Barnett looks at how social platforms can provide the answers and presents her findings.

You may already be aware of the great success of the Khan Academy for educating students with self-paced online learning that can be accessed anywhere and anytime. Their mission is “A free world-class education to anyone anywhere.”

At CysticFibrosis.com, we have offered a free, world-class education on the optimal management of cystic fibrosis since 1996.

Patients with chronic diseases face multiple barriers to adherence with regard to treatment regimens. On our social health community, CysticFibrosis.com, we have observed thousands of conversations about adherence and conducted surveys on this subject. Our Health Opinion Leaders (HOLs) identified the following particular adherence issues that we feel apply to other chronic diseases as well.

1. Time Management: A recent poll on our site identified time management as the #1 barrier to adherence. The CF treatment regimen can take up to five hours a day, and other disease care is similarly time-consuming. Many patients are choosing between doing all their treatments or sleeping, working, going to school…etc.

2. Tracking and Scheduling: Patients often have trouble keeping track of medications and treatments on a daily basis, as well as ensuring there is no gap between refills or loss of functionality of equipment in the long term.

3. Comprehension: Doctors and other medical professionals often have limited time in which to convey treatment information, and patients and caregivers take away a only portion of the instructions or misunderstand them.

4. Lack of Knowledge: Patients are often unaware of all the treatments available to them, and they are often confused about the method of administration of medications and the maintenance of durable medical equipment.

5. Cost of Treatments and Equipment: Patients sometimes lack sufficient finances to cover co-pays for expensive medications, supplements, food and other helpful resources such as exercise equipment or gym memberships.

6. Distance to Appropriate Doctors and Centers: Patients sometimes have to drive 1-3 hours to be treated at a clinic, and they postpone check-ups and admissions due to scheduling or transportation issues.

7. Social Factors: Patients often face awkward or discriminatory social situations with regard to doing treatments in public, the workplace or even with friends. Additionally, CF patients cannot socialize with one another due to the risk of cross-contamination.

8. Mental Health Factors: Stress and depression are more than occasionally cited as reasons patients do not complete their treatments. Depressed or stressed patients may lack motivation or have trouble focusing on the tasks needed to adhere to a complicated and time-consuming treatment regimen.

9. Unsafe Health Facilities: Patients are often hesitant to seek treatment, whether routine or in an acute situation, for fear of acquiring multi-resistant strains of bacteria.

10. Perceived Inefficacy of Treatments: Patients are often misinformed as to when they will see results, or they draw unfounded conclusions regarding positive or negative effects of the medication/treatments. We’ve analyzed the barriers to adherence listed above, and our nonprofit organization, CFTechnology, is striving to take the next step with that knowledge. We are organizing and disseminating adherence knowledge and techniques in a broader and more accessible manner than even our message boards. We are aiming to develop technology that promotes adherence along two interwoven fronts: education and motivation.

Education
Informational apps on mobile devices to educate patients and caregivers, with “teach the teacher” programs for patients, parents and relatives, education faculty, and healthcare providers to advance understanding of the disease pathology and its comorbidities, as well as comprehension of the importance of adherence to care routines.
Web-based multimedia content, such as video tutorials and podcasts, educating on subjects such as proper airway clearance technique, maintenance of durable medical equipment, medication storage and delivery, tips for extenuating circumstances (vacations, natural disasters, etc.), and disease-specific nutrition and exercise recommendations.
Motivation
Interactive applications to keep patients involved in their care and motivated to complete treatment regimens.
Games and picture-based scheduling applications geared to children to encourage self-monitoring and adherence in early childhood.
Information and applications focused on the time of transition from child- to adulthood, a time when patients are most likely to be non-compliant.
The e-patient model is here to stay, and the wave of the future is adopting the technology that is available to us for education and motivation—the keys to patient adherence


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INTRODUCING THE NIKE+ FUELBAND for fitness monitoring

The Nike+ FuelBand is designed for anyone who wants to be more active. It measures your daily activity and turns it all into NikeFuel. So you can set a goal ...

The device provides readouts right on its face, but can also wirelessly transmit gathered data to an iPhone app or a computer via a built-in USB plug. Users can then do a more comprehensive review of what they’ve been up to and can adjust their activities accordingly.

From the announcement:

Designed to be worn throughout the day, the ergonomic, user-friendly NIKE+ FuelBand uses accelerometry to provide information about different activities through movement of the wrist via a LED dot matrix display. Four metrics are available: Time, Calories, Steps and NikeFuel. Unlike calorie counts, which vary based on someone’s gender and body type, NikeFuel is a normalized score that awards equal points for the same activity regardless of physical makeup.

Users set a daily goal of how active they want to be, and how much NikeFuel they want to achieve. The NIKE+ FuelBand displays a series of 20 LED lights that go from red-to-green as the user gets closer to their goal. The FuelBand syncs with the Nike+ website through a built-in USB, or wirelessly through Bluetooth to a free iPhone app, to record activity and track progress every day. The app interface also provides encouragement and motivation as goals are achieved.


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LowestMed's New App Uses GPS to Find Best Prescription Prices Near You

LowestMed's New App Uses GPS to Find Best Prescription Prices Near You | medidata | Scoop.it
LowestMed is a discount prescription service that shops for the lowest price for prescription medications. The idea is that you enter the medication prescribed, and whether you are at the doctor’s office or out looking for a refill, the app tells you (and shows you, via GPS), the pharmacy with the best deal on that prescription.

The app launched Wednesday, and we had a chance to interview Brad Bangerter, CEO of LowestMed.

Q: From looking at your website, it seems that LowestMed is basically a discount prescription program. Does this mean that members get a lower price than they would if they weren’t members, or does it just compare prices between pharmacies?

A: LowestMed is a discount prescription program with tools to empower consumers in making purchasing decisions. To get the prices listed on the app, users must present the discount card on their mobile device. The prices are negotiated discounts for our users, not retail price comparisons.

Q: Couldn’t consumers get the same prices just by calling several pharmacies or going to pharmacy websites? What advantage does LowestMed offer over the “manual method.”
A: Pharmacies only give “retail” prices over the phone and on their websites. They will not give insurance card negotiated prices nor discount card negotiated prices over the phone. To know those prices, a consumer must go to the pharmacy and present a prescription at which time the pharmacy submits a claim, fills the prescription and gets a price. Then the consumer can decide whether or not to buy it. It’s kind of a convoluted system. That’s why we make it easy for users to see what our negotiated discount prices are without having to go to each pharmacy to find the best price. The app makes it easy and convenient to save time and money.

Q: Is there any charge to use your application, for example a monthly subscription fee?
A: No, there is no monthly charge or subscription to use the LowestMed app.

Q: Tell us about the app – are the results displayed as a list, on a map, or in some other format?

A: The app shows a quick comparison of prices in list form on a results screen. The comparison is very powerful yet easy to use. (See sample screen shots and list of features attached). Users can click on the pharmacy name to see a map of locations and get driving directions.
Q: Is this primarily for people who have insurance through their employer, are self-employed, or those with no insurance?
A: The app is primarily for individuals with no insurance (49.9 million) and those with High Deductible Health Plans (over 11 million). However, many times, the prices available through LowestMed may be less than insurance plan co-payments so those consumers should use it too.

Q: When you sign up on your webpage, there is some personal information (e.g. address requested). How is this information kept secure? Will it be sold or shared with other companies?

A: No personal information is required to use the app. If a consumer chooses to enroll on the website, their information is kept secure and is not sold or shared with any other companies.


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Doctors Believe Using Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits [INFOGRAPHIC]

Doctors Believe Using Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits [INFOGRAPHIC] | medidata | Scoop.it
Many doctors believe that using apps that keep track of your health will help cut down on doctor visits, a new infographic suggests.According to data revealed by Float Mobile Learning, 40% of doctors believe that using mobile health technologies such as apps that monitor fitness and eating habits can reduce the number of office visits needed by patients. About 88% of doctors are in full support of patients monitoring their health at home, especially when it comes to watching weight, blood sugar and vital signs, and many believe consumers should take advantage of the apps currently on the market to help along the process.

“With the forthcoming changes to the U.S. healthcare system, there will be an increased focus on wellness programs and preventative medicine,” Chad Udell, managing director of Float Mobile Learning, told Mashable. “Mobile health offers a tremendous opportunity for people to become more involved in their own health and wellness.”

It’s no secret that the mobile health industry is growing. There are more than 10,000 medical and healthcare apps available for download in the Apple App Store, making it the third-fastest growing app category among iPhone and Android users.

Doctors are also getting in on the trend, as 80% said they use smartphones and medical apps. Physicians are also 250% more likely to own a tablet than other consumers.

Udell noted that doctors continue to buy tablet devices in droves largely because they offer an easy way to stay in touch with their co-workers and patients. The infographic also noted that 56% of doctors said they turn to mobile devices to make faster decisions, and 40% said it reduces time spent on administration work.

SEE ALSO: iPad Credited With Saving Man’s Life

“It will be interesting to see the impact of the new iPad on medical imaging professionals such as radiologists, who will be able to take advantage of its great graphic capabilities,” Udell said.

Among some of the most popular apps are Nike Plus — which turns a smartphone into a personal trainer — and iStethoscope that allows iPhone users to record and play back a heartbeat. Meanwhile, Welldoc is a series of programs and apps that can reduce hospital and ER visits in half by having patients monitor and manage their own chronic diseases.

Do you use any mobile health apps? Will apps play a big role in the future for the health industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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