The phone is a gateway drug to health: what MyFitnessPal knows, and what Under Armour gets

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

The following post first ran on Health Populi.

65 million people know that food journaling works for losing weight, that it’s engaging to do on a well-designed app, and that health is social. MyFitnessPal (MFP) has the distinction of being a top health app used longer by more people and more effectively than probably any other mobile health tool.

MFP-acquired-by-Under-Armour-Connected-Health-Feb-15Under Armour, the athletic goods company, now has MFP under its corporate umbrella, along with Endomondo, another very popular motivating mobile health tool.

You may know Under Armour as a company that manufactures and markets functional workout gear. But this deal is so not about the wearable.

It’s about building a health data ecosystem, the kind my smart colleague Carol Torgan terms an Electronic Fitness Record (EFR). Carol riffs off of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) concept, which is taking off in the health care system: in doctors’ offices and in hospitals, motivated by financial incentives afforded through the HITECH Act which was bundled into the Stimulus Bill (aka ARRA, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. That’s the digital locus for patients’ personal health care information generated during visits to doctors, clinics, clinical labs, imaging centers, pharmacies, and other touchpoints in the health care system. (more…)

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Documenting To Death: Are EMRs Eroding The Soul Of Medicine?

Val Jones, MD

The following post originally ran on Better Health.

Electronic medical record systems (EMRs) have become a part of the work flow for more than half of all physicians in the U.S. and incentives are in place to bring that number up to 100% as soon as possible. Some hail this as a giant leap forward for healthcare, and in theory that is true. Unfortunately, EMRs have not yet achieved their potential in practice – as I have discussed in my recent blog posts about “how an EMR gave my patient syphillis,” in the provocative “EMRs are ground zero for the deterioration of patient care,” and in my explanation of how hospital pharmacists are often the last layer of protection against medical errors of EPIC proportions. (more…)

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HIMSS or Bust

Regina Holliday

Last year I had the opportunity to do an amazing interview with Tim from HIStalk.  It was a wide-ranging discussion that covered a great deal of the HIT (health information technology) landscape.   Toward the end of our conversation, Tim and I began to talk about the challenges patients face attending HIMSS.  Many patients would like to go this enormous conference with its thousands of attendees, great educational sessions and access to numerous health care venders; but cannot afford to pay for hotel lodging, airfare and an attendee pass.  We talked about the possibility of working together to create patient travel scholarships.

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So today we would like to jointly announce the HIS-talking Gallery Patient Scholarship for travel to HIMSS 2015, April 12-16, in Chicago! (more…)

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Trend-weaving the 2015 health care trends

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

‘Tis the season for annual health trendcasting, which is part of my own business model. Here’s a curated list of some of my favorite trend reports for health care in the new year, with my Hot Points in the conclusion, below, summarizing the most salient trends among them.

TechCrunch’s Top 5 Healthcare Predictions for 2015: In this succinct forecast, Walmart grows its presence as a health plan, startups get more pharm-funding, hospitals channel peer-to-peer lending, Latinos emerge as a “most-desired” health care segment, and Amazon disrupts the medical supply chain.

Experian 2015 Data Breach Forecast: Healthcare security breaches will be a persistent and growing threat in 2015, with “the expanding number of access points to Protected Health Information (PHI) and other sensitive data via electronic medical records and the growing popularity of wearable technology,” based on this credit/risk management company’s assessment. The value of medical identity threat is very high. As a result, the FBI warned the health care industry that their security systems were insufficient compared with other industry sectors, according to Reuters. (more…)

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Music as Medicine

Lisa-Suennen-photoThe following post is written by Lisa Suennen one of our 2015 Women to Watch. It originally ran on her blog Venture Valkyrie.

It happens every time. I hear “Bad to the Bone” on the radio and suddenly all is right with the world. I love music and I have learned that if I choose the correct genre and tempo  I can improve a depressed state or calm a hyper one. I have song lists on my iPod called Cranky and Stressed, F the World, and Happiness, all designed around my various moods. Music can have a profound affect on my state of mind. I think this is true for most people, actually.

The therapeutic value of music has long been known to the medical world. Famed neuropsychologist Oliver Sacks used music to engage his patients (this was dramatized in the movie The Music Never Stops, where a brain-damaged patient is able to recall memories otherwise lost when he hears the favorite music of his youth). (more…)

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Women-centered design and mobile health: heads-up, 2014 mHealth Summit

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

This post is written as part of the Disruptive Women on Health’s series celebrating the 2014 mHealth Summit taking place December 7-11 Washington, DC.

Women and mobile health: let’s unpack the intersection.

12.3 1On the supply side of the equation, Good Housekeeping covered health tracking-meets-fashion bling in the magazine a few weeks ago in article tucked between how to cook healthy Thanksgiving side dishes and tips on getting red wine stains out of tablecloths. This ad appeared in a major sporting goods chain’s 2014 Black Friday pre-print in my city’s newspaper last week. And along with consumer electronics brand faves like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung, Sony’s plans for a watch were hiding in plain sight on a Japanese crowdfunding site since September 2014; speaking of fashion-meets-wearables, the strap is designed to morph into 24 different designs. (more…)

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Mental Health Care Game-Changers: Technology and Social Networks

Jen Hyatt

Jen Hyatt

The world of health care breeds innovative thinkers, radicals, people who see and act to ‘make things better.’ So why is health care so often not a place of change, but a place of stasis?

Change can be disorientating, and large systems can suffer from barriers to innovations that are hard to break through. And while, with resolve and vision, these can be tackled it is much harder to bring about change that requires a shift in power. This sort of change tends to create fear, often legitimate, that something will have to be lost or given up to enable a change to become embedded. But, by using technology and social networks such changes in healthcare can be realized.

(more…)

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Health Anywhere-Data Everywhere: All Roads Lead to Data

Meryl Bloomrosen

I cannot help but notice (and comment) on the overwhelming number and type of notices, headlines, press releases, meet ups, mash-ups, Code-A-Thons and hackathons all around us.   Digital health is booming as is obvious by the types of emerging technologies and their capabilities.[1]  [2]  [3]  There seems to be a vast array of diverse options for remote, embedded, wearable, swallow able and implantable devices and gadgets.  Our houses, vehicles, furniture, and clothing are becoming wired to help sense, monitor, track and collect health related data.[4]  [5]   New terms, terminology and jargon abound (i.e., big data, little data, small data, open data,  open gov, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and data analytics and visualization).

Data are available from many sources including: genetics, health records, clinical registries, public use data files, birth and death registries, clinical trials, insurance claims, public and private sector surveys, drug interaction studies, and patient-generated sources. The availability of increasing amounts and types of data from such diverse data sources presents challenges (technical, technological, legal, political, financial, and cultural) and opportunities.[6]  The ubiquitous nature of devices and gadgets may indeed help patients and consumers have continuous data vital signs such as on blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and fitness indicators such as calories consumed, steps walked, miles run. (more…)

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The Rise of Consumer Centricity: Comments on the Gamechanging Opportunities

Cyndy Nayer

In commenting on the new IMS Pharma Letter, we highlight the emergence and widespread build up of the consumer’s role in prevention, care and outcomes. Consumer centricity is being driven by the rise of CDHP (consumer directed health plans), but it’s quite different from these insurance products, with their high deductibles and variable co-pays.

Consumers are learning and experiencing more about consumer-directed health plans (CDHP) as they enter the exchanges, even though CDHP has been around for fifteen years or more.  Most new health insurance products have a deductible that must be met, so consumers must pay for services and treatments until they reach that goal.  NOTE:  the ACA (Obamacare) mandates that no individual pay more than $6350 in total out-of-pocket costs in Y2014).  If they have not paid the sum, they will pay more of their own money for the care.

Consumer centricity in health care means that control for choice of service and for outcomes will shift to the  consumers and they will become the ultimate arbiters in their health and health care.  It’s a value-based concept that drives this shift in decision-making. IT supports the data so that the consumer can decide where, when, why and who to choose for care based upon personal preferences and goals, total costs, incentives to engage and time to get to the outcome preferred. (more…)

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A quick guide to health care innovation and the NHS

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Disruptive Women UK will be launching Tuesday, September 30th in the House of Commons. This post is a part of a series running up to the launch welcoming Disruptive Women UK.

So you’re officially a health innovator. You have a product that works, so now you just need some people to use it. Broadly, you have two options at this point – to get users to pay for it themselves, or to sell it to a healthcare provider to use with their patients. Selling direct to the public is great if you have the right sort of product, but it might be trickier in the UK than in the USA or in some parts of Europe because there isn’t much of a tradition here of self-payment for healthcare. It might be possible to sell to private health companies or clinics in some form, but this isn’t likely to be an option for most innovators.

This means that most UK health innovators are going to need to try to supply the NHS. Old hands tend to offer doom-laden prophecies at this point, saying that selling to the NHS is absurdly difficult and – more trenchantly – that the NHS is responsible for the failure of many viable, sensible innovations. Is this fair? (more…)

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Are we stuck in a digital cul de sac?

MLF pic

Disruptive Women UK will be launching Tuesday, September 30th in the House of Commons. This post is a part of a series running up to the launch welcoming Disruptive Women UK.

In the UK we have a problem. The big digital movers and shakers – Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon and many others – were founded in America. We are stuck in a cultural cul-de-sac. There are no easy answers as to why the UK does not have the digital confidence of the US, but we must do our best to tackle our low digital self-esteem. One reason is location. The UK is a test-bed for American companies before they go into other markets in Europe. Innovation from US companies is tried out in the UK at the earliest stage. When Google tests a game here before it goes international, it stamps out home grown innovation. My second observation would be about the dominance of the BBC. I believe it is a phenomenal organisation but a great deal of digital innovation in the UK has happened inside the corporation. It is impressive that the BBC develops something as good as the iPlayer so I would argue that this national institution is perhaps our best scale tech business – this presents interesting challenges as well as opportunities.

There are basic structural difficulties with digital development. In the UK we are not especially ambitious entrepreneurs and this is true in the digital world. While the number of startups indexes well with other countries, growing them into global billion pound companies is rare. (more…)

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The Best Innovations Come in ‘Human Size’

Jenny-Hyatt--003Disruptive Women UK will be launching Tuesday, September 30th in the House of Commons. This post is a part of a series running up to the launch welcoming Disruptive Women UK.

Recently, I was at TEDMED 2014 in San Francisco where game changers turned their minds to the future of science and humanity. Not even that famous fog could dampen the atmosphere, warmed by the sparks flying from ‘out of the box’ thinking.

The world of health care breeds innovative thinkers, radicals, people who see and act to ‘make things better.’ So why is health care so often not a place of change, but a place of stasis? Why do large health care systems praise innovation, yet struggle to adopt at scale the radical changes that are needed?

Change can be disorientating, and large systems can suffer from structural barriers to innovation that are hard to break through. And while, with resolve and vision, these can be tackled it is much harder to bring about change that requires a shift in power. (more…)

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My Remarks from Eliminating Telehealth Barriers Briefing

Wen Dombrowski

Thank you for inviting me to share my perspective on telehealth barriers as a physician who is specialized in the care of older adults, people with disabilities, and technology. Much of my clinical experience has been house calls to visit patients who are too frail to leave their home.

Currently I am the Chief Medical Information Officer at the VNA Health Group, a nonprofit with a mission to care for as many vulnerable and underserved patients as possible in their homes and communities.

I have spent more than a decade watching technologies that would be helpful to people with sickness or disability. However, while many telehealth engineering inventions have existed for over a decade, they have been largely unused – not deployed to help patients. These patients could have been your spouse, grandparent, neighbor, or friend. Why isn’t technology that could enhance care not being utilized? It is disheartening to see that federal and state policy and regulatory barriers are preventing patients from receiving the best care that could be available to them.

Let’s think about an analogy for a moment: email – can you imagine doing your job today if you weren’t allowed to use email? (more…)

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Eliminating Telehealth Barriers Briefing Recap

7.18Yesterday, Disruptive Women was on the Hill to host a briefing that looked at the need to accelerate the use of telehealth. Through telehealth we have the technological know-how to remotely bring the doctor to the patient, but because of current barriers it cannot be used to its fullest extent.

Telehealth allows physicians to monitor vital signs and symptoms remotely and conduct consultations over the Internet. It can improve the quality of health care delivery while also making it more cost efficient.   Additionally, it has the potential to address the growing shortages in the health care workforce. So with all these benefits why isn’t telehealth being deployed to its fullest extent? The panelists at yesterday’s briefing discussed the various barriers and why it is critical to address these barriers as soon as possible. (more…)

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A Disruptive Conversation with the Co-founders of Personal Medicine Plus

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We love stories about women that are truly changing the face of health care, particularly through innovation. Today is no exception. We recently sat down with Co-founders Natalie Hodge, MD and Brandi Harless, MPH of Personal Medicine Plus, an app that allows individuals to self-manage health through behavior tracking and health data metrics. Both Hodge and Harless shared their experience in developing their tool, being a woman innovation leader, and a few words of wisdom and inspiration to other women interested in following their goals. Check it out below.

What drew you to health innovation technology?

NH: My first passion was in medicine. I always had a deep interest in people and solving problems, so naturally that fits well with a career in medicine.  The interesting thing is that the problems of my early career have largely been solved by vaccines.  And in the 15 years we spent diagnosing disease, the obesity epidemic floated to the top. That’s when the opportunity for me to marry medicine and innovation arose.

BH: After studying global health at Boston University and working on health issues in Kenya, Haiti and Sierra Leone, I accidentally moved back to my hometown in rural Kentucky.  Not knowing if I would stay around, I started working with HIV patients and getting involved in the health of the local community.  After leading a local health clinic for a while, I realized the extreme need to help rural patients turn back their lifestyle illnesses.  When Natalie approached me to work on this startup that would do exactly that, I WAS IN!  (more…)

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