Mobile health is on the big world stage now, at the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting.Last week, the UN introduced its first mobile app, delivering news from various UN agencies and programs to Android, iPhone/iPad and Windows Phone devices. Among other functions, the app allows users to support and get customized updates from UN Foundation efforts in healthcare, including the mHealth Alliance. (The alliance, a collaboration of the UN Foundation, the Vodafone Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, this month named Patricia Mechael as its executive director.)
Then, this week, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, who is presiding over the 66th session of the UN General Assembly now underway in New York, called on world leaders to embrace mobile technologies in disease control and prevention. Al-Nasser, the UN ambassador from Qatar, said that new information and communications technologies like mobile connectivity offer a “fresh and invigorating approach,” according to an official UN account of his remarks.
“Only five years ago, who would have imagined that today a woman in sub-Saharan Africa could use a mobile phone to access health information on bringing her pregnancy safely to term?” Al-Nasser said at an awards ceremony accompanying the General Assembly’s High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs). “Or that today a young person in the Middle East could use a mobile phone to help manage diabetes?”
Al-Nasser added that mobile devices could help achieve the health component of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, including greater access to health services, the reduction of maternal and infant mortality and control of diseases that disproportionately affect poverty-stricken regions of the world, by 2015. “Indeed, there is growing evidence that the use of these technologies can be a critical component of some aspects of health. I fully believe that information and communications technologies can enable countries to meet the 2015 deadline,” the Qatari diplomat said.
At the meeting on NCDs, UN officials including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon introduced a global campaign to tackle conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer, that the UN says is responsible for 63 percent of all deaths worldwide.
Smartphone apps are increasing in popularity and are being widely used in healthcare as health apps. An online survey was conducted by Consumer Health Information Corporation (CHIC) to gauge consumer interest in health apps and evaluate the likelihood of patient adherence to them. The survery was distributed to smartphone consumers at affiliated universities, businesses, and posted on Facebook in April 2011. Survey results were collected from 395 respondants..
Apple has allowed educational institutions to have volume purchases of medical apps for some time, but is now extending this to businesses and offering new types of functionality — such as an easier method to distribute apps within an organization and also allowing companies to sell and distribute custom B2B apps for business customers.
In the past when medical schools have implemented iPad’s to students it’s been difficult to distribute apps across a large segment of individuals — this is no longer the case. With more hospital systems starting to create custom medical apps, they could use these enterprise features to easily distribute their apps across their employees.
A new report by InMedica predicts that the global market for telehealth technologies will climb from about $163.3 million in 2010 to almost $1 billion by 2015. According to the report, the market could grow to about $6.28 billion by 2020.
Scientists at la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M - Carlos III University in Madrid) who participate in the LOBIN consortium have developed an “intelligent” t- shirt that monitors the human body (temperature, heart rate, etc.) and locates patients within the hospital, as if it were a GPS system that works in closed spaces; it can even determine if the subject is seated, lying down, walking or running.
Using this garment-based patient biomonitoring platform allows us to register a number of the patient’s physiological parameters in a non-intrusive manner. “The information gathered by an intelligent t-shirt using e-textile technology is sent, without using wires, to an information management system, which then shows the patient’s location and vital signs in real time”, explain the UC3M researchers. The system is designed to be used in hospitals and can be divided into two parts: the fixed infrastructure, which would be pre-installed in the hospital, and the mobile units, which would move with the patients.
The mobile units include an “intelligent t-shirt” and a localization device, which can be carried in a pocket and, which they intend to incorporate into the garment in the future. The t-shirt is washable and includes electrodes that detect bioelectric power through which an electrocardiogram can be obtained. In addition, it has a removable device that includes a thermometer and an accelerometer, which are used to take the patient’s temperature, his/her relative position (reclining, standing, etc.) and his/her level of physical activity. Finally, the indoor localization unit is activated periodically, receives signals from the units that make up the fixed localization infrastructure and wirelessly sends that information to the information management system. Once the information is received there, the localization algorithm that has been developed is able to establish the individual’s position within a two-meter margin of error, and to mark the spot on a map of the hospital.
The prototype was developed as part of the project “LOBIN: Localización y Biomonitorización a través de Redes Inalámbricas en Entornos Hospitalarios” (Locating and biomonitoring by means of Wireless Networks in Hospitals), funded by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, Plan Avanza I+D (Advance R + D Plan) (TSI-020302-2008-57), and is the result of the collaboration of the national consortium made up of researchers at UC3M and other companies and R+D centers, such as Simave Sistemas, Nlaza Soluciones, Nuubo and the Centro Tecnológico de Telecomunicaciones de Galicia (Gradiant). The wireless communications infrastructure and the communications software for the prototype were designed at UC3M. In addition, the UC3M researchers carried out the phases in which the different technologies developed by the associates were integrated; this integration was later validated in the Cardiology Unit of La Paz Hospital in Madrid. During this validation phase, the system was tested 24 hours a day, with five patients being monitored simultaneously.
“Thanks to this experience with the hospital personnel, who were very satisfied with the platform, we found several valuable possible improvements to the system”, explain researchers Víctor Custodio, Gregorio López and José Ignacio Moreno, of UC3M’s Department of Telematic Engineering.
Health has always been a huge concern in Africa, now mobile is revolutionizing how doctors are administering healthcare.
Health has always been a huge concern in Africa, now mobile is revolutionizing how doctors are administering healthcare.
A slew of mobile initiatives are revolutionizing the way that healthcare is delivered in Africa and other developing communities. While much has been made of the “mobile revolution” in North America, phones are even more important in developing communities where they are sometimes the only way for people to share and receive information.Health and healthcare have always been a huge concern in Africa, especially when doctors and hospitals can get isolated in remote areas where care is often most needed.
Mobile has been the answer in many cases. In 2010, mobile phones represented more than 90% of all telephone lines in Africa with market penetration expected to pass 50% of the population. Some of the continent’s most advanced markets have already hit nearly 100% penetration, according to Developing Telecoms. Mobile’s big and only getting bigger. Here we take a quick look at four mobile campaigns changing the way that doctors operate in Africa.
The Praekelt Foundation has a variety of products designed to promote mobile penetration and universal health in Africa. TxtAlert, for example, is a mobile tool that sends unique, automated SMS reminders to patients on chronic medication. This reminds them to take their medication or perform other necessary tasks. A special tool, called “Please Call Me” allows patients to call their doctors even if they don’t have any airtime available by pinging their doctor who then calls back.
Young Africa Live is a digital forum where African youths can share stories and get information about HIV and AIDS. It also has helpful numbers and contact details for HIV and AIDS-related organizations. The goal is to destigmatize the diseases while also providing clear facts and support groups for African youths. The portal also features live chats with doctors and relationship experts.
The Robert F. Kennedy Center and Physicians Interactive launched Health eVillages (pronounced “healthy villages”) to arm doctors in underserved regions with inexpensive phones and high-powered diagnosis tools. The program will deliver those doctors and healthcare workers with new and refurbished mobile devices preloaded with clinical decision support reference tools like drug guides, medical alerts, journal summaries and references pulled from Skyscape, a medical reference app company.
Health eVillages has already run pilot programs in Haiti, Kenya, Uganda and the Greater Gulf Coast. It will be rolling out in earnest in Fall 2011. It estimates that there are more than 1 billion people worldwide living in underserved areas and nearly one-third of countries are low on skilled healthcare workers. The phones will not only reach new areas but hopefully improve the quality of care offered.
The mHealth Alliance is like the A-Team of mobile health initiatives. It draws together some of the largest companies and organizations to further health in developing countries. It’s founding members include The UN Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Vodafone Foundation and U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the GSM Association and HP, among others.
Some of the alliance’s projects include SMS-based drug-counterfeit checker developed by HP, communications systems that connect patients to their doctors, send SMS alerts on the spread of local diseases, a SIMpill, a senso-equipped pill bottle that informs doctors if patients are actually taking their meds, and creating local databases via mobile to improve on-the-ground care. The alliance staunchly believes in open communication and is working to develop interoperable technology that any organization can use.
Medic Mobile is all about patient-to-doctor care. The SMS-based platform allows patients to get home-based care even if they can’t be physically visited by a caregiver. The organization launched a pilot program in Malawi which, in six months, saved the clinical staff an estimated 1,200 hours follow-up time and more than $3,000 in fuel and transportation costs. In addition, more than 100 patients received treatment for TB after their symptoms were noticed by the community and reported by text message.
Next summer there will likely be slightly more than 13,000 health apps intended for use by consumers available for download in Apple’s AppStore, according to MobiHealthNews’ latest report: Consumer Health Apps for Apple’s iPhone. Based on an analysis of 18 months of data from Apple’s AppStore, it’s also clear the the average price of a paid health app is trending upward. Last February the average paid health app cost $2.77. As of July 2011 the average cost of a paid consumer health app was $3.21.While MobiHealthNews predicts that there will be 13,000 consumer health apps available in the AppStore by next summer, today there are about 9,000 health apps available to consumers. While Apple’s Health & Fitness and Medical categories claim to offer thousands more apps, many of these are actually not health, medical, or fitness-related.
Given the title you’ve probably guessed that our new report, Consumer Health Apps for Apple’s iPhone, does not include a discussion or analysis of healthcare professional apps for the device platform. We are currently working on our healthcare professional apps report, which we plan to publish soon.
The number of health apps for consumers has grown at a steady, linear rate over the past 18 months. We expect it to continue on this track unless the regulatory environment changes drastically and scares off would-be developers from creating useful health apps for consumers:
No surprise here: The largest group of consumer health apps in the AppStore are cardio fitness apps, particularly running apps, a number of which have claimed many millions of users during the past year.
For more up-to-date stats on today’s consumer health apps market, be sure to get your copy of Consumer Health Apps for Apple’s iPhone today.
NEW YORK, NY, Sep 23, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- New technologies in remote patient monitoring have the potential to combat soaring healthcare costs and personnel shortages, and reduce hospitalization times, according to Kalorama Information. In a new report, the healthcare market research firm values the U.S. market for remote patient monitoring at $7.1 billion in 2010 and forecasts an annual growth rate of 25.4%, reaching $22.2 billion by 2015. The report details one area of remote patient monitoring that is blossoming, the 'eICU' or 'tele-ICU.'
Due to the predicted shortages of intensivists, cardiologists and nurses in the U.S. in the next 5 to 10 years, the concept of these eICU systems in a critical care setting is growing. The Swedish Medical Center in Seattle has been in the vanguard with the adoption of an eICU, according to Kalorama's report. This medical center installed the Visicu (Philips Healthcare) electronic ICU, which allows intensivists and critical care nurses at the eICU command center to make virtual rounds of patients through an elaborate network of cameras, monitors, and two-way communication links via T1 lines. Another facility, Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Virginia, also installed an eICU program and has reported that it reduced intensive care mortality rates by 25% and shortened the average length of stay for patients in the eICU setting by 17%. In this example, per patient costs dropped $2,150 based on reduced patient expenses and increased ICU capacity, generating approximately $3 million in savings for the facility.
"With an eICU intensivists can remotely monitor the condition of patients, check vital signs, and communicate with hospital personnel, patients and their families in multiple locations from one command center," said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "It should help to relieve stress on cardiologists, critical care physicians and nurses."
Philips' Visicu is just one of many systems hospitals are purchasing for remote patient monitoring. Products by Draeger AG, GE Healthcare and Abbott are among those featured in Kalorama's report and figure into their market numbers.
More information is available from Kalorama Information's report, Remote and Wireless Patient Monitoring Markets, including market forecasts, company profiles and product offerings, and trends in the industry. The report covers equipment and applications for wireless and remote patient monitoring, for processing data, and for transferring patient monitoring data into an EMR.
About Kalorama Information Kalorama Information supplies the latest in independent medical market research in diagnostics, biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare; as well as a full range of custom research services. We routinely assist the media with healthcare topics. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
A scheme to raise awareness about diabetes, whose backers include Nokia, aims to reach one million users across India with an SMS campaign over the next two years. The campaign, which is led by US NGO Arogya World, will be delivered via Nokia Life Tools, the vendor’s information service. Its backers claims it is one of the first nationwide mobile health initiatives targeting diabetes in a developing country. It was announced during the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting.
Arogya World will provide free content for six months to both new and existing subscribers to Nokia Life Tools' health channels in India. Text messages will be delivered twice a week in 12 different languages. Once the campaign is finished users will be able to opt in to receive further diabetes-related messaging for a nominal fee.
“Arogya World is committed to preventing diabetes through lifestyle changes in India and is leveraging mhealth as a solution to the diabetes crisis,” said Nalini Saligram (pictured), the NGO’s founder. If successful the current campaign could act as a benchmark for similar initiatives elsewhere in the developing world, she said.
The consortium behind the scheme is led by Arogya World and in addition to Nokia its backers are Emory University, research firm Synovate, pharmaceutical manufacturer Biocon, healthcare insurer Aetna and Lifescan, a