Want stay up to date with the rapidly changing world of mHealth? INSIDE mHealth is the monthly round up from Ruder Finn that lets you do just that by delivering the latest news, trends, facts and stats direct to your screen.
This month’s INSIDE mHealth highlights include U.S. hospitals absorbing a huge annual losses, Samsung’s increased efforts in mHealth, the latest Fitbit wrist-tracker, the mHealth trend in figures, this month’s most re-tweeted in mHeath and much more.
According to a Ponemon Institute survey of 577 health care professionals U.S. hospitals are absorbing an estimated $8.3 billion (about £5.45 billion) annual hit in lost productivity and increasing patient discharge times. The cause? Well much of it is linked to the lack of Wi-Fi access, deficient email and bans on use of personally owned devices.
The mHealth business model, which is currently nowhere to be seen in the majority of hospitals around the globe, seems to be a potential solution that will improve efficiency and reduce costs of healthcare delivery.
However, mobile healthcare is still facing several challenges.
mHealth technologies clearly have a major role to play in bringing these costs down but there are still significant challenges. One issue is that governments are still not sure which technologies are actually deliverable, as mHealth projects have, so far, only been evaluated for feasibility and not for impact on health.
Secondly, mHealth technologies are, in some cases, still too expensive for widespread adoption, both for governments and mobile users.
If you want to find out more about the potential of mHealth, then read the latest Imprivata sponsored report which asks just how long we’ll be able to continue wasting our limited healthcare resources on overly complex and out of date processes.
Samsung has announced that the company is working with the Olympic Medical Center (OMC) and a number of hospitals to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs by introducing innovative technology.
Smart display monitors that don’t require traditional hardware or mouse interaction have been installed in hospitals, allowing electronic health records to be stored on the cloud. Doctors have found that this new technology has reduced the time spent completing charts by approximately half an hour a day.
This year, tech company Jawbone, has been busy snapping up several smaller exercise tech firms and has recently acquired the leading on-body monitoring system company, BodyMedia.
So what does expansion mean for Jawbone? Essentially, this forward-thinking company is collecting the various pieces of the jigsaw that it needs to ensure that it is ready to lead the way in the area of exercise technology, an industry earmarked for remarkable growth in the coming years. Stay tuned for more Jawbone news, as it its likely that the acquisition process has only just begun.
Last week, Fitbit announced its latest fitness tracker - the Flex. The new wrist-worn device, which look vaguely resembles that of Nike+ Fuel Band and Jawbone UP, is leading the wrist-tracker pack thanks to its real-time-syncing capability.
The Guardian’s Public service reform hub has gathered a number of expertsfor a livechat about how IT can be most helpful in health and social care. The discussion focused on how health and social care managers can implement new technologies in a way that will be beneficial to users and there was a number of interesting perspectives on areas such as big data and the quantified self.
One of the highlights of the live chat was the opportunity to use data captured outside of the formal health system, for example from personal health technologies and by monitoring the conversation of online communities.
Other important topics were the fact that managers underestimate how much ICT employees actually use and that privacy and security should be analysed from a cultural point view, rather than technical, in order to educate technology users.
The late great Steve Jobs was quoted in his official biography on where he thought the next wave of innovation would come from. “I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning” he told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, before his death in 2011.
Not one to usually make statements based on hype and without thorough consideration, Jobs, the visionary and creative leader, coupled with his own experiences of dealing with terminal cancer, saw that the next phase of digital disruption would be at the intersection of hardware, software and wetware.
Technology has disrupted numerous industries in its wake. Publishing, marketing, media and customer service to name but a few that have gone through almost-like revolutionary changes because of digital impact. I personally believe that over the next five to ten years technology will disrupt the health industry in such a way that it will make these previous disruptions seem like minor blips.
A perfect storm of innovation is taking place that is creating a beautiful collision of different technologies. Sensor innovation, genomic breakthroughs, citizen science, super (mobile) computing, social media, biotechnology, big data, biohacking and the Quantified Self movement are each coming together to help us live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Like me, Ruder Finn sees the huge potential technology can bring to healthcare and has been investing in digital health before any other agency that I know of. Last year (prior to me joining) we launched our mHealth offering along with two research pieces looking at the mHealth landscape in both the UK and US [pdf].
As an outsider looking in at the time and as someone who feels passionately about how technology can improve health and ultimately save lives (corny statement but true non-the-less) it was something that I wanted to be a part of.
In my new digital health role (while keeping a foot firmly in digital comms I should add) I’m not only lucky to take advantage of Ruder Finn’s established digital health presence and piggyback on its previous successes, but have been given the flexibility to explore this new innovative and emerging area that impacts everything from medical organisations to employee wellness to insurance companies.
Working in the healthcare sector, it’s quite clear from conversations with contacts in the industry that pharmaceutical companies are well aware of the opportunities that exist for them on social media. What they’re also aware of is the risks that come with this medium in such a heavily regulated environment.
A recent report from eMarketer stated this caution from the pharma industry is causing them to fall behind on social platforms. That may well be true in a broader marketing sense, but from a pharma perspective there are very good reasons to be hesitant.
Firstly, it’s worth pointing out the report is solely focused on the US, where there’s a slightly different regulatory environment (even if the Food and Drug Agency are still yet to issue definitive social media guidelines in this area). And in many respects the report is nothing new. The pharma industry has always been cautious in utilising social media and will continue to be so.
The biggest issue around pharma and social in the UK is that direct to consumer (DTC) marketing is illegal. So while companies may be cutting DTC budgets in the States, in the UK thereís nothing really much to cut in the first place. And the idea of using social media for discounts in pharma could never be used in the UK as regulations stand.
But even so, there have been tentative steps and some of the stats from eMarketer are fascinating. Research quoted from Capgemini says 33% of pharma companies rate as digital beginners, but it’s doubtful the other 67% are experts.
Where the numbers start to tally with our experience is how pharma plans to use social media in the future. The research says around 43% of pharma companies plan to increase their social media activity, which is a very high number and shows that it is on the industryís radar, even if there’s still plenty of debate on best practice.
One of the more realistic recommendations from the report is around listening points on social, and this is definitely an area we see plenty of value in, especially given the UKís growing use of the web for health advice.
A recent Ofcom report (PDF) noted that around 68% of adults in this country had, at some point, used the web to find information about health-related issues, while 9% of the internet-using population did this on a weekly basis. These figures certainly show why listening exercises across social are useful to the industry.
Ultimately, though, many of the concerns and challenges listed by the pharma industry - from measuring ROI to educating staff on social media to compliance concerns - closely mirror those of non-pharma marketers.
We may work in very different regulatory environments compared to other brands, but the driving principles, interests and concerns are no different from our colleagues in more social-friendly industries.
Last week we gave everybody in the Ruder Finn UK office wireless activity and sleep trackers. Fitbits. I don’t think that’s anything new. We are far from the first company to do that, and I know at least two other PR agencies who have done the same. The importance of this is not in the gesture; it’s in the motive.
Call me a bad employer, but it’s not to make our staff healthier. Of course, that’s an additional benefit – deskbound jobs are not great for the body or the mind, and any encouragement to move about is a good thing. But this is more about opportunity.
Digital health is already big and it is only in its infancy. It will change the way people look at themselves and their lifestyles. It will forge links between healthcare professionals and patients. It will (hopefully) stop me having to read daily articles like this and this.
That’s why we recently launched our global digital health practice. With extremely strong teams in healthcare, technology and digital disciplines this makes sense.
But success is about attitude as well as opportunity and ability (to paraphrase what a wiser man than me recently said). Unless people start immersing themselves in this area and seeing the possibilities of new technology they will never be able to embrace it, get passionate about it and (of course) sell the benefits.
So it’s an immersion programme, masquerading as free gifts for staff. But I’m not ashamed of that. The enthusiastic reaction we’ve had on the floor, and the competitive streak it has fostered (trying to walk more steps than your team members seems to be strangely motivating to some people) show that sometimes just opening a door slightly is enough to stimulate their curiosity.
And if you’re curious about where this space is going, here’s a report our New York colleagues put together on mobile health trends in the US market.
Struggling to stay up to date with what’s new in the rapidly changing world of mHealth? INSIDE mHealth is the monthly round up from RFI delivering the latest news, trends, facts and stats direct to your screen.
From the best apps to the latest NHS news to most Re-tweeted tweets, INSIDE mHealth has got it all covered. Here is your chance to take a look INSIDE the trend that is reshaping our healthcare system and our lives as patients.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary will launch the project for a paperlessNHS on Wednesday, which will see patients’ medical details going digital and becoming sharable between all parts of the health andsocial careservices.
This project could save nearly £5bn a year and, most importantly, should improve patient care and save lives.
The multibillion-pound scheme, however, is likely to raise concerns about a repeat of the fiasco over the NHS database, set up by the previous Labour government and scrapped by the coalition in 2011 after more than £6bn of public money had been spent.
Moreover, details of 25 million people claiming child benefit werelost by HM Revenue and Customsin 2007, hence the plan will succeed only if it’ll focus on reassuring/convincing patients that their records will be kept private.
mHealth is growing at a tremendous rate and undoubtedly has the potential to revolutionise healthcare services around the globe. As with many emerging sectors, a vital area to get right is regulation. This report just launched by Vodafone Global Enterprises takes a look at this critical subject.
According to Blair Reeves from IBM, writing in The Guardian, donors must let healthcare consumers in emerging markets show us the future of mHealth innovation, not the other way around. According to Reeves outsiders should take a big step back and look at what is already happening in developing countries and the global health community should place a much larger priority on mobile health business models that work for providers and patients and help share these technologies more broadly. Examples of these business models are Apollo Hospitals Group in India and Grameenphone’s Health Line Product in Bangladesh.
The company last week unveiled Cisco HealthPresence 2.5, a software-driven version of its telemedicine platform that enables providers to build their own network with the tools at hand. The new solution is designed to enable standards-based connectivity to third-party medical devices and videoconferencing services, as well as flexibility in choosing hardware and deployment resources.
“This is not just a ‘nice-to-have’ solution any more,” said Wes Wright, senior vice president and chief information officer at Seattle Children’s hospital.
It allows you to create new books of business, as the telemedicine program is enabling clinicians to confer with patients before a hospital visit. It’s already in use in some schools and it may soon be adopted in prisons too.
One of the prevailing myths about mHealth is that it doctors aren’t adopting it because they fear it will replace them.
According to Patty Mechael, PhD, MHS, executive director of the mHealth Alliance the doctor role will not disappear but rather it will change for the better, as mHealth technology will enable them to deal more with acute cases than with the routine types.
Furthermore, writes, Mechael, devices will be used for preventive work and diagnostics, but clinicians are still needed to translate the data recorded on those devices and to make clinical decisions for their patients.
In addition, patients will have a more targeted interaction with the health system where and when it’s needed. Hence, doctors shouldn’t fear loosing they jobs as face-to-face interaction will always be required in more severe cases.
WHO TO FOLLOW
British twitterers who are driving the mhealth conversation
THIS MONTH MOST RE-TWEETED
drchrono Enters Patient Portal Business As Google Health Shuts Down http://t.co/EOcRd6ur #ehr #emr #healthit #mhealth #medicalrecords
16 Jan 2013 (3057 estimated RTs)
Increasing trends in tracking health indicators using smartphone apps http://t.co/CGYO10Dw #mhealth #ehealth
28 Jan 2013(90 estimated RTs)
“The smartphone is no longer just a portable computer …. It has become the remote control for your life.” http://t.co/vwEIMDtC #mHealth
Struggling to stay up to date with what is new in the rapidly changing world of mHealth? INSIDE mHealth in the new weekly round up from RFI delivering the latest news, trends, facts and stats direct to your screen.
This week INSIDE mHealth highlights include the latest news from CES, predictions on the big innovations set to hit in 2013 and how prosthetic limbs will soon be talking to your mobile:
2013 will be the year that Google Glasses will hit the market creating the possibility of delivering data and digital information direct to healthcare professionals in the operating room.
Smartphone apps get evidence based background: There are more and more studies focusing on whether certain smartphone apps and concepts can be used in medicine and healthcare, hence, doctors should soon be able to prescribe mobile apps for their patients besides drugs and therapies.
No hospital can live without social media accounts: This has been a clear trend for a couple of years and now every hospital manager needs to understand the importance of using social networks to keep in touch with (future) patients.
Reachability is the term that is used for when our devices are on but we aren’t using them – we are ‘reachable’. This concept is considered the primary reason for the rapid adoption of the newest mass media and needs to be understood by everyone developing mHealth services.
Magellan has introduced their latest galileoTM connected lower limb prosthetics. The technology provides a total new mobile patient- care provider experience by sending constant feedback from the limb to the patient’s mobile and care provider’s device.
Mobile Healthcare, or mHealth, it’s a rising topic of interest, which promises to change the way we manage our health, cut NHS costs and improve the quality of healthcare services. But is mHealth set to last or will it disappear as soon as the excitement around it starts fading?
Here are some thoughts.
Fist of all it’s important to understand the scope of this new trend and identify whether people perceive it positively and as something that will make their lives easier.
Emma Sinden, head of Corporate and Technology at Ruder Finn, explains that the RF’s 2012 mHealthreport discovered that mobile phones, which are the most widespread form of communication in the world (in the UK 51% of the people own one), are providing a real opportunity to revolutionise the healthcare system. Although health and lifestyle apps are currently among the least used (9%), smart-phone and tablet users have expressed their desire for apps that help them manage practical aspects of healthcare such as booking an appointment with their GP (42%), accessing test results (31%) and medical record (30%).
Introducing mobile healthcare is not as easy as it sounds. Patients, or consumers, are not the only cog in the highly regulated healthcare wheel; the government, the NHS staff, app developers and private healthcare providers also play a vital role in determining what shape and direction mobile healthcare is going to take.
The panel speakers attending the event, including Dr Tom Barber, Christopher J. James, Owen Booth and Jon Hoeksma, suggested that in order to get a clearer picture of what mHelath is, it’s important to pay attention to some key areas, such as current trends in app development and usage, R&D, the role of mHealth in service delivery and the obstacles to widespread use of mHealth due to regulations and confidentiality.
It seems that the current trend in app development is that developers create apps and launch them in the marketwithout consultation with GPs and patients; hence, without knowing what is wanted from a health and lifestyleapp.
In light of this, Owen Booth from Diabetes UK states that “social media plays an important role in the development of mHealth” as it facilitates asking users exactly what their expectations are in terms of features, functionality and usability.
So what do people expect from mobile healthcare?
Dr Barber of the University of Warwick / UHCW says that confidentiality is key to the successful adoption of mHealth technologies. As expected, users fear for their privacy when submitting their personal details to the app provider, especially when providing very personal information about their health.
Data management, security and connectivity are also keyelements for the development of mHealth apps. However, these will require an infrastructure and regulations to be put in place as, for instance, smartphones and apps are not currently legally recognised as a medical device.
On the other hand Jon Hoeksma argues that changing mindsets is a bigger issue than infrastructures and that there shouldn’t be the presumption that all patient-healthcare interactions should be face-to-face.
This is could be true, but it leads to the question what services mHealth can and cannot provide.
The panel agreed that for a diagnosis, face-to-face interaction will always be vital. Moreover, people suffering from diseases such asdiabetes are not only physically unwell but often have emotional, psychosocial and social issues that can’t necessarily be addressed by apps.
On the other hand, “for physiological measurements, such blood pressure and insulin levels, the limit of mHealth is currently only technological and it is only a matter of time before our mobile devices will be able to generate such measurements”, says Professor James.
However, it is not just about the app and technology but also about people, as apps require patients to input their own data. Long-term conditions tend to appear in older patients who are usually not as familiar with new technologies and could struggle to enter their own data. Hence, minimal user input, icons and the engagement of relatives will be paramount for the adoption of mHealth by elderly patients. Furthermore, “you can have the best app in the world but you need NHS admin to support it if you want it to work”, says Dr Barber. The NHS is a huge and highly regulated organisation; therefore the adoption of mHealth could become very difficult and slow without strong input from the government.
The government has appeared to be slightly reluctant in investment and support so far. However, this isn’t because it’s against mHealth, but rather because it was waiting to create the perfect conditions for it to happen, say Professor James and Jon Hoeksma. The aging population is placing ever increasing pressure on the healthcare system and mHealth represents a chance for the government to give people more responsibility for managing their own health. For this reason all the speakers agree that 2013 will be a big year for mHealth as the government is keen for this channel to grow.
Now that all the elements are coming together what will be the next step for mHealth?
The feeling is that there isn’t only one path to go down but rather several approaches that should be taken to ensure the growth of mHelth.
First of all, developing an app can be as cheap as £30k. Hence, it’s important to keep launching new mHelath apps in order to get useful feedback and push technological development.
Also, collaborative events like ‘The future of mHealth’ are vital as they allow different parts of the mHelath ecosystem to commutate and establish new agreements.
Lastly and most importantly, mHealth needs the main stakeholders such as the NHS, pharma companies and private healthcare providers to invest in a big money project that bring together its many elements. This will establish a first framework for mHealth and will pave the way for the improvement of new infrastructures and technologies as well as the creation of a new mobile healthcare regulatory paradigm.
It seems like there is a tremendous potential for innovation and creative ideas regarding not only mobile devises but also other channels of upcoming technologies such as smart TVs. Cameras and movement sensors could revolutionise the interaction between patients and GPs, as well as help preparing A&E and surgeons for those patients being brought in by paramedics.
The challenges are many but the expectations are high and, although we are still in a beta-testing phase, there is a strong feeling that mHealth is here to stay and change the status quo. So, what would you like to do to take control of you own health?
For further information on ‘The Future of Mobile Healthcare’ check out the tweets from the event (using #RFmHealth) and the 2012 RF| mHealth presentation.
I suspect the news my smartphone will soon turn into my doctor is exaggerated. While a consultation with my phone will always be easier to arrange than an appointment with my GP, I know for a fact that even the techiest among us still want to see a living, breathing, qualified person when they’re under the weather.
I say this with confidence as this is one of the key findings from the first ever mHealth report by Ruder Finn. The report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 smartphone and tablet users, shows that while there’s an appetite for healthcare applications, and consumers generally love a good app, developers of health applications have not convinced the public of this kind of app’s value to them. The survey’s results show that apps for social media, games and news are the most popular with users of smartphones and tablets; healthy living apps languish in last place in terms of popularity.
The survey, conducted on our behalf by pollster YouGov, reveals some interesting links between type of device and the likelihood of the user to use health & lifestyle apps. The research suggests apps that help take away some of the pain associated with healthcare – booking appointments and getting hold of test results for example – are more popular than those to actually manage health. Our results suggested a great deal of caution around apps to help patients manage long term health conditions – significantly even among those suffering from chronic disease/ health problems. These findings may come as a disappointment to the World Health Organization, which along with The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is launching an mHealth initiative to help combat noncommunicable diseases, based on the fact that mHealth is cost effective, scalable and sustainable.
In our survey, there is a difference between the generations and the impact that might have on app usage. While 75% of respondents between 25-34 owned a smartphone fewer than 30% in the 55+ category did. Although everyone accesses healthcare it’s usually the oldest among us who use it most. It will be interesting to see how usage patterns change as the gamers and Tweeters of today get older.
The below blog post was written by my lovely colleague in Healthcare, Esmé Newton-Dunn:
As we watch the amazing bodies of the athletes competing at the Olympics, it was interesting to see that the two winning pictures at the 2012 BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery were of older people showing a realistic, but affectionate view of the effects of gravity, sunlight and living a life have on normal mortals.
Aleah Chapin’s portrait, ‘Auntie’ is an outstanding painting, even if some find it an uncomfortable reality in an age where most of our images of the human body have been edited by photo shop.
The second prize also went to a portrait of an older person; Ignacio Estudillo’s paternal grandfather, of which he says, ‘It’s not a purely analytical portrait of my grandfather, but a way of showing part of the human condition to which he belongs. I’m not only creating a portrait of my grandfather but also revealing a part of myself.’
Do you ever consider what shape will your body be in when you reach your sixties and beyond?
Dr Phil, an MJA member, has successfully combined a career as a doctor, one of the most trusted professions, with that of a journalist, one of the least trusted professions. He said the similarities between the two professions were the urge to get to the heart of the matter, whether that be a diagnosis or the truth.
It was Dr Phil, writing in Private Eye 20 years ago, who first detailed serious failings in children’s heart surgery in Bristol and his delight in presenting Shaun Lintern with Staff Journalist of the Year for his work in exposing problems at Stafford Hospital, was obvious.
Both pieces of investigative journalism have lead to changes, however slowly, of health services that one hopes will result in better care of patients. Dr Phil commended the MJA finalists for their ability to handle sometimes complex stories, making them not only engaging to readers and viewers, but also for the light it shone on the health services we all receive.
Contrast this to last week’s lecture on Value and Trust In The Digital Age, where former BBC Director of Global News, Richard Sambrook, said the public’s demand for a clear and simple narrative was bad news for complicated news stories.
Sambrook, now Professor of Journalism and Director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff, was joined on stage by Helen Boaden, Director BBC News Group and John Lloyd, Director Journalism, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. They both agreed it was difficult to get strong investigative pieces into the media. Lloyd noted that “facts don’t always command attention” and “people don’t like complexity”, which leads investigative journalism to suffer.
Good job Shaun Lintern didn’t know this when he began his investigations into Stafford Hospital.