Friday, August 29, 2014

Apple and HealthKit Is it HIPAA Compliant ? mHealth Part III

Consumers rarely are aware of privacy and confidentiality regulations except when interfacing with a hospital registration, or a medical office environment.  HIPAA applies to a wide variety of industries, insurers, insurance companies, medical device manufacturrers, home health services, and HIT such as EHR, HIX, and growing influence of home remote monitoring, and mobile health apps already on the market at the Google Chrome Store, Apple's iTunes site, and Window's Store.

Apple announced it is tightening privacy rules for  HealthKit, it's new mobile health developer's site. Apple appears to be the first company to satisfy HIPAA and gives it an advantage in the market place for serious adoption of mHealth for both remote monitoring and consumer oriented fitness monitoring apps that have become ubiquitous. The latest update to apple's iOS developer program licene agreement, Apple said developers must "not sell and end-user's health information collected throught the HealthKit API to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers". 

The privacy clampdown comes as Apple seeks to differentiate itself against rival Google, which relies on targeted ads for much of its income.

Apple, known for it's domination by games and chat apps discussed 'medical applications' with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  during January 2014.

Predictions that mobile health medical apps would experience more popularity among consumers in 2014.  In June 2014 Flurry, a mobile analytics firm recently acquied by Yahoo reported a 62 percent increase in usage of health apps, outpacing the wider market's growth. Many of those apps, especially if free to download rely ofn a dvertising for their income.

This announcement coincides with the release of Apple's new iOS8

HealthKit allows apps that provide health and fitness services to share their data with the new Health app and with each other. A user’s health information is stored in a centralized and secure location and the user decides which data should be shared with your app. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Is Aetna dumping its health data platform a bad omen for HealthKit and Google Fit?

This week  Aetna dumped it's mHealth offering, CarePass.   At almost the same moment Apple announced "Health Kit' and       also .  

Our last post, Can we rely on Mobile Health App analyzes how mHealth apps can stagger even the largest user.

The Apple OS store and the Android OS (Chrome Play store)  offer two highly visible marketplaces for mobile health apps. Microsoft also offers mobile health apps such as Health Vault, HealthVaultmobile, Microsoft also features a Health and Fitness guide for developers but has no specific product of it's own. The Windows phone store offers Fitbit, Active Fitness  Gym Pocket Guide, Runtastic, and 30-Minute Boot Camp. All of these collect and store data, however have no remote monitoring functions. Microsoft and others have multiple focused apps for excercise with titles such as: Ab Builder to Pullups

While mHealth pertains to a wide spectrum of devices in size, as a wearable, or implanted device, it oftens require merging many different components to work, requiring wifi,smartphones, tablets and pcs to integrate an application.

Smartphones are being replaced by Smartwatchs such as Gear S

The latest reports suggest that Apple will announce a wearable device, the so-called "iWatch," in September—earlier than previously expected. The only clue to its function in Apple's documentation is HealthKit's ability to record heart-rate data from a wrist-based device.  HealthKit also records sleep-quality information, distinguishing whether you're in bed or actually asleep—data that devices like the Jawbone Up, Fitbit, and Runtastic Orbit can collect.

 Start the Countdown Timer on Whatever Old-Fashioned Piece of Junk You Have on Your Wrist Right Now

Remember back in June when I said Apple hoped to schedule a special event in October to show off a new wearable device? Remember how I also said this: “Could things change between now and fall? That’s certainly possible.” Turns out that was a prescient hedge, because things have changed. Apple now plans to unveil a new wearable alongside the two next-generation iPhones we told you the company will debut on September 9. (Funny “joke,” Gruber.) The new device will, predictably, make good use of Apple’s HealthKit health and fitness platform. It will also — predictably — make good use of HomeKit, the company’s new framework for controlling connected devices — though it’s not clear how broadly or in what way. Sure would be nice to turn the lights on and off from my wrist, though — or navigate my Apple TV (caution: Total speculation). Oh. Could things change between now and September 9? That’s certainly possible — har-har — but I doubt it. Invitations should be going out any day now, right? No word yet on the fate of the October event I mentioned earlier this summer, though I imagine it’s still on. With its best product pipeline in 25 years, Apple should have more than enough hardware to fill two events. Apple declined comment.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Can We Rely on Mobile Health Apps?

Exclusive: Aetna to shut down CarePass by the end of the year

Troubling news from CarepassAfter MobiHealthNews spotted and reported on the departure of two Aetna executives on the CarePass team, Aetna has confirmed exclusively to MobiHealthNews that it will be phasing out the platform, and that the previously announced employer pilots will not be going forward.

Carepass has been available in the Chrome Store and on iTunes, however Aetna will cease to support the platform.

“At this time, we have decided to make no further investments in the CarePass platform,” an Aetna spokesperson told MobiHealthNews in an email. “Current CarePass users will continue to have access to the CarePass platform for the time being, but we plan on closing the CarePass web and mobile experiences by the end of this year. In addition, we will not be conducting pilot programs with Aetna plan sponsors that were previously reported.”

In additional comments, the company emphasized the exploratory nature of the platform and stressed that valuable lessons had been learned.

The company found no shortage of willing partners to feed data into the app. Over the two years of its existence, CarePass interfaced with MapMyFitness, LoseIt, RunKeeper, Fooducate, Jawbone, Fitbit, fatsecret, Withings, breathresearch (makers of MyBreath), Zipongo, BodyMedia, Active, Goodchime!, MoxieFit, Passage, FitSync, FitBug, BettrLife, Thryve, SparkPeople, HealthSpark, NetPulse, Earndit, FoodEssentials,, Healthline, GoodRx, GymPact, Pilljogger, mHealthCoach, Care4Today, and meQuilibrium.

The news is noteworthy because CarePass, which Aetna launched last year and allowed consumers to track certain health apps from one online hub, was a unique mobile approach in the insurance industry that garnered widespread support and collaboration from mobile companies, including MapMyFitness, FitBit and Care4Today.
Aetna's CarePass also received consumer support, at least initially. "Overall, for the CarePass integrated apps, the downloads are more than 100 million. We started around the most popular spaces in mHealth--fitness and nutrition really dominate. So those are where you get the most downloads," Martha Wofford toldFierceHealthPayer in an interview before she departed Aetna as head of the CarePass program. Recent surveys have shown a very high dropout rate for users after an initial spurt of interest.

Aetna cancelled another mobile project — InvolveCare — earlier this year, although the company had invested considerably fewer resources in that product than in CarePass. Although Aetna had begun to downplay CarePass in recent months, for most of its existence it was the face of Aetna’s consumer health outreach and its mobile health endeavors.  This was despite expertise from Pivotal Labs after initial difficulty developing the platform.

The comments from Aetna follow a pattern of what has become a 'boiler-plate' statement by insurers and anyone connected with HIT. 

“One of the primary ways that Aetna is improving health care is through the increased use of innovative technology,” the spokesperson wrote. “We are consistently creating technology-based solutions that make it easier for consumers to navigate the health care system and get the most out of their health benefits. While we are continually developing these solutions, we also need to evaluate our investments to ensure that we are providing the most value to our members.”  “Aetna is committed to being a consumer-focused company that helps build a more connected and effective health care system,” 

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini had high hopes for the product, saying it would reduce healthcare costs and “make our economy healthier”.

Aetna is a major insurer with deep pockets. Software is not inexpensive to develop and early failures will lead to increasing costs.  Despite measures to create uniform interoperable electronic health records for providers, the same cannot be said about consumer oriented products.

When all is said and done, many enthusiastic and dedicated developers will find the going difficult.  Time will tell, and those mHealth apps with the most demand on the consumer side, or provider dependent mobile apps which are necessary for practice operations will suceed. 

Providers will insist on mobile health portals for communication and accessing data on the run.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Curmudgeons and Physician Branding

Get Social Health is  Get Social Health is the  website published by Janet Kennedy..

Dr Faust details  his experience how a very successful orthopedic surgeon became interested in social media. His take on social media in medicine is valuable to anyone, those who are not interested, nor have the time and see social media as a 'time sink' and those who are enamored with health care social media.

Dr. Faust views health care social media users as thought leaders.   His experience in medical education and background in computer program created  a nexus for his new goals.

Russel Faust is well spoken, articulate and frames this topic well, appealing to both newbies and advanced social media gurus.  He served to affirm my thoughts which began ten years ago and have only grown more.  In the beginning we were largely alone, and as time has gone on we have seen enthusiam for this media which outweighs our belief in  electronic health records.  It also did not require federal incentives to catch on, which demonstrates it's return on investment, and growth.

Russel Faust MD Blog

Monday, August 18, 2014

Atlassian’s San Francisco Health Hack, and More

Atlassian’s San Francisco Health Hack (and More)

Coming up soon:  Atlassian’s San Francisco Health Hack in partnership with Health 2.0 Silicon Valley

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed to support the Hack. If you are interested in helping out, email Kevin

Connie Kwan, Product Manager at Atlassian took the stage at the July 2014 Health 2.0 Silicon Valley Meet-up to tell the audience about the first ever Atlassian Health Hack scheduled for September 27, 2014 in San Francisco. She says Atlassian is uniquely suited to partner with the Health 2.0 community to do a hackathon because the company makes products for software development teams
There are more than enough software projects for developers in the health niche.  The past decade seems to have spawned many proprietary electronic health record vendors.  The next evolving stage  seems to be a 'developer's paradise'.   Thousands of health mobile apps have appeared in the consumer market.  



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Aug. 27th Twitter Chat to examine social media in healthcare | HIMSS Future Care

Aug. 27th Twitter Chat to examine social media in healthcare | HIMSS Future Care

Jeff Rowe is the editor of Future Care and a veteran healthcare journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on initiatives to improve the healthcare system at the local, regional and national level.

Do you tweet?
Not so long ago, such a question would likely have resulted in people backing slowly away from the questioner, but that was in another era, long before the explosion of what we know as "social media."
Virtually unknown just a few years ago, social media can be found in pretty much every corner of society, including, of course, the healthcare sector.  In response to recent surveys, nearly half of consumers say social media tools influence their choice of hospital or physician, while more than half of surveyed physicians say that social media enable them to care for patients more effectively.  In addition, over 40% of large hospitals report using social media.  
But despite the wildfire spread of social media across healthcare, the exact value of it is still difficult to determine. As a result, many healthcare stakeholders are still uncertain as to how much time, energy and resources they should dedicate to building and sustaining a social media program.
On August 27th, at 12:00 PM EST, HIMSS Future Care and the Center for Connected Medicine, based at UPMC, will be hosting a Twitter chat, organized under #futurecare, that will take a look at, among other things, the evolving role of social media in healthcare, how "connected medicine" lends itself to social media and how social media can be leveraged to engage patients in meaningful dialogue.
Set your hashtag to #futurecare..See you then @glevin1

Let's Hear it for Google Glass !

Indian physicians are often on the 'cutting' edge' of developing technology. Especially surgeons (no pun intended)  

OK, Glass, say docs at city hospital’s operation theatre

One of our social media gurus #kathibrowne of Health Talk Community group on Google + while visiting India had a glass glimpse of how surgeons are adapting Glass. Formal training sessions with Glass and  Doctors in Bangalore will soon make wearable technology a permanent feature of their surgical attire — several surgeons at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences at Whitefield are being trained to perform surgeries wearing Google Glass.

Will this new technology be integrated into medical training here in the United States?  Like most innovations in surgical technique a few brave doctors will begin using Glass.  If it proves to be effective, reduce operating room time, improve outcomes, and yes maybe even save money, the early adopters will begin formal 'skills' courses at national meetings.

Kathi Browne, a healthcare-focused social media consultant from the United States who helped co-ordinate the Google Hangout on Air for the three-day ASEF project in Bangalore, said hundreds of doctors were trained by representatives of the Google Glass community for healthcare, thereby turning them into Google Glass 'explorers'. 

Kathi, who specialises in using Google Glass and other contemporary tools in healthcare, told Bangalore Mirror, "In addition to recording a live operation, Google Glass also helps to access medical records online or through the intranet. In case of a doubt one can stop the procedure and take advice and consultancy from other physicians during a surgery." 

Google glass eventually will become a main stay in many industries for education, training and archiving events. 

The next application may very well be in law enforcement, adding to the 'dash cam'.