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Difference Between Google Fit and Apple Healthkit

There’s an article on iMedicalApps which looks at both Google Fit and Apple Healthkit’s offerings. The cliff notes version is that they both store the information in a very similar way (standard format based on type of data). The big difference is that Apple Healthkit also has an Apple Health app that provides a user display of the health data that’s being stored. Google has opted not to provide such an app, but to allow the app ecosystem to take care of it instead.

This shouldn’t really be a surprise. Apple has always been about providing the fully integrated experience. Google has always been about opening up their data and empowering a community of developers to innovate on top of that ecosystem. Look at Android vs iPhones to see what I mean.

These differences aside, I was intrigued by the idea that Apple Healthkit and/or Google Fit would basically create a standard for health data. You can imagine they’re starting with simpler data elements like heart rate, blood pressure, and other fitness measures like steps. I haven’t seen a full list of the various health data they’re standardizing, but it would be interesting to see.

I’m particularly interested to see how they handle a standard for more complex health data. Even something that many might consider simple, like blood pressure, has its own complexities. It’s more than just two numbers. How was the blood pressure taken? Was it sitting, laying down, or standing? Was it the wrist, arm, etc? Depending on what you’re doing this might not matter, but in other cases it does. Does their standard take these things into account?

The challenge for Google, Apple, and any other company that’s working in this space is making sure that the data they collect and share can be trusted. If there’s no trust in the data, then it doesn’t matter how much or what data you collect. A half baked standard leads a lot of healthcare professionals to not trust the data.

I’m hopeful that Google and Apple have put some serious, thoughtful effort into their health data standards. If someone knows where I can find those standards, I’d love to see them.

September 25, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

Goggles Help Surgeons See Tumors

I found this great article on the BBC news site which talks about a new Goggle technology that helps surgeons “see” cancer cells in their patients. The article is a bit old (April), but it’s a fascinating look at the amazing power of technology to transform healthcare.

Here’s a short excerpt of how the technology works:

In the study, patients are being injected with a dye before their surgery. The dye has a peptide – a small protein – attached to it that allows it to seek out and bind specifically to cancer cells.

The dyed cancer cells emit light at a wavelength that cannot be seen by the human eye, but can be detected by a sensor in the goggles worn by the surgeons.

“The sensor captures the fluorescence from the dye lodged in cancer tissue and projects the image into the surgeon’s [field of] view,” explained Dr Achilefu.

“This creates an augmented reality that allows the surgeons to see cancer cells glowing, providing real-time guidance during surgery.

The article does note that we still need a much larger set of patient trials for this technology to go mainstream, but it’s easy to see the potential.

I love these types of genius approaches to the use of technology in healthcare. The mix of technology with science is such a powerful combination. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of organizations that are doing a great job bridging both sides of the healthcare community. Are there other examples where you’ve seen the mix of science and technology in healthcare?

September 17, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

Apple Watch and Other Apple News

Yesterday you probably heard that Apple came out with the new iPhone 6, Apple Pay, and the new Apple Watch. The iPhone 6 wasn’t terribly exciting. They have some new form factors that are similar to what Samsung’s been doing with the Android and will be a pain for developers who have to deal with multiple form factors. The iPhone 6 also has a bunch more storage.

Apple Pay is an interesting announcement since it has the chance to really change the way we pay for things. I’m still torn on how retailers and consumers will adopt the technology, but it’s a big bet and could really revolutionize the way we buy things. Our phone literally could become our credit card like many have envisioned for a long time. Of course, the recent iCloud leaked celebrity nude photos was bad timing for the announcement that Apple wants you to use your iPhone as your credit card. In reality, they are two very different security issues, but for the consumer that will get lost in the discussion.

The bigger news from a health standpoint is the Apple Watch (they chose not to go with the iWatch name). As you’d expect from Apple, the design is beautiful and well thought out. They’ve added a scroll wheel on the side to do things like zoom and also can be pressed to go to the home screen. Hard to say how functional this feature really will be until we get a chance to try it.

The Apple Watch does have some health features, but it basically feels like a Fitbit, Fuelband (discontinuted), or Jawbone on your arm. It does have a heart rate sensor and accelerometor. I thought they’d probably announce more health features. So, that was a disappointment. Maybe they are working on other health features, but they didn’t announce them. The Apple Watch doesn’t come out until early 2015 and will have a $349 price point.

I expect that many will buy the Apple Watch, but they’ll do it more for the status of the watch than the functionality. The smartwatch space hasn’t done all that great. Will the Apple Watch change that dynamic? It doesn’t feel like enough for me to want to go back to wearing a watch. Apple is leading with style and so they’ll get some uptake, but I’d like to see a little more substance.

September 10, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

The Fitness Tracker Fallout

We’ve talked about this a bit before. Fitness trackers are all the rage, but they have yet to overcome the challenge of becoming an enduring product line.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised by this fallout. When I look at the graveyard of fitness products that my wife has purchased, they’ve all gone through a similar fallout. They get purchased, used briefly and then set to the side. It’s very much the nature of the fitness market.

Unfortunately, I have yet to see anything in the fitness market that will change this reality. The closest I get is the health sensors that are integrated directly into the cell phone. Our cell phones have GPS, accelerometors and other health related sensors built in. We’re really close to being able to track much of our health on our smartphone with no interaction from us as the end user. That will be a game changer.

Another example of this is some of the amazing ways that our health data can be calculated and tracked through our cell phone’s video camera. Imagine if much of our health data could be collected by taking a selfie a day. I can’t market a product that asks you to sit in front of a camera every day. I can market taking a selfie a day. We’re almost there.

Other wearables like smart clothing are interesting as well. Last I checked we all wore clothing regularly. There’s no change of habit required to wear smart clothing that monitors your health. This is going to be the key to avoiding the fall out.

What else do you see happening with health tracking? What will help us avoid the seemingly inevitable fall out?

September 4, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

Aetna Shuts Down CarePass – What’s It Mean?

Looks like MobiHealthNews was the first to break the story that Aetna had chose to shutdown their CarePass product. This is big news since CarePass was Aetna’s baby and calling card in the mobile health world. They had a lot riding on it. Although, I think that iTriage, which Aetna acquired, was certainly the most used app under their umbrella.

If you’ve been on the mobile health/mHealth conference circuits you know that Aetna has been everywhere. Plus, the CEO of Aetna was even a keynote speaker at HIMSS (makes you wonder how much they paid for that spot). Without their CarePass product I’ll be interested to see what Aetna does in this space. Will they basically pull out almost completely?

Sure, Aetna will always take part in some way or another, but will they be pumping money into it like they’d been doing for a while now? I don’t think they will. I think we’ll see Aetna take a backseat approach to the IT part of the industry and just hop on board other people’s work like they did with iTriage.

Another piece of the MobiHealthNews article mentioned above that really intrigued me is this:

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, Personal.com, Healthline, GoodRx, GymPact, Pilljogger, mHealthCoach, Care4Today, and meQuilibrium.

I think there’s a lesson here when it comes to API integrations. Who would have guessed that after making such a huge investment in CarePass, Aetna would just close up shop? I’m quite sure none of these companies that integrated with CarePass’ API thought CarePass would be gone. These types of integrations can be very time consuming and now all that effort is down the drain.

Although, the bigger lesson here is that just because you integrate a bunch of data from other applications doesn’t mean your app is going to be a success. It’s what you do with the data that’s integrated that matters. That’s why I’m really skeptical about Apple Health and HealthKit. Getting the data is one thing. Making that data useful is something very different.

August 27, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

Timex SmartWatch Doesn’t Need a Smartphone

We’ve been covering a lot of the movement in the SmartWatch space. It’s a really interesting set of technology since every one of them integrates some piece of healthcare into their technology. One of the features of pretty much every smartwatch out there is that they’re essentially just a second screen for your smartphone. That means you need a smartphone to be able to use the smartwatch. That’s not really too much of an issue since most of us have smartphones.

While it’s true that most people have smartphones, when it comes to health and fitness you often don’t want to carry around your smartphone while you’re running, swimming, biking, etc. With this in mind, I was intrigued by the announcement of the Timex Ironman smartwatch that doesn’t require a smartphone. Here’s a short description from the WSJ article:

The point, for Timex, was to create a device that could keep someone connected during hardcore workouts without having to bring along a smartphone or music player. It’s waterproof down to 50 meters, so it’s fine for swimming and even diving, and has a Qualcomm Mirasol display, which is more visible in direct sunlight than many LCD screens.

The watch tracks a user’s speed, distance traveled and pace in real time, and can share it with friends and family who want to follow along. The wireless connectivity enables the watch to send email messages, and a “find me” mode allows users to send an alert to emergency contacts such as friends and family if trouble arises.

I see this as another great evolution of the smartwatch environment. First, it provides a health and fitness alternative that makes a lot of sense. Second, it’s really interesting to see a company like Timex getting involved in the space. It will be really interesting to see how Timex does developing a touchscreen watch since that’s not their usual skill set.

August 20, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

Physician Use of Mobile Technology Infographic

Physician Use of Mobile Technology Infographic

August 13, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

FitBit Makes You Gain Weight

How’s that for a headline? That’s the story that caught my eye on this NBC – Today show article that talks about the Fitbit, Jawbone Up and Nike Fuelband tracking technology and its impact on people’s weight. First, it’s worth noting that the Today show is talking about fitness trackers. That’s a great sign of the mainstream appeal of these fitness trackers. Although, I guess we have to ask if it’s a fad.

However, back to the original part of the story. Does the FitBit make you gain weight? Obviously, a medical device doesn’t make you gain weight or make you lose weight. However, the information it offers you can influence the choices you make. The article talks about how one person compared the estimated calories burn vs the estimated calories eaten and there was a disconnect with what was happening with their body. According to the fitbit, they were burning a lot more calories than they were taking in, but they were still gaining weight.

What this highlights to me is something most of us have known forever. Weight loss is really hard and is a much more complicated problem than we want it to be. It’s simple to say that it should just be a mathematical equation of calories in and calories burned, but it’s not that simple. People’s metabolism matters. The type of calories you eat matters. I could keep going, but you get the point.

We should of course know this since the weight loss industry has to be a trillion dollar industry. People will spend hordes of money losing weight. Unfortunately, much of that money is spent on things that don’t get results. However, it’s worth noting that it’s not often the devices fault as much as the user error (or lack of user use).

Let’s also be clear that we’re still really early on in the fitness tracker and other wearable sensor technology evolution. Five more years from now I think the sensors and algorithms will be so much better than today. Although, I might be most hopeful that people will find some amazing psychological solutions that really change people’s behavior for good. The potential is there to make an enormous difference in so many people’s lives.

August 6, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

Seniors and WiFi

I’ve had a number of long and deep discussions with people about seniors and their adoption of technology to deal with their health. So, I was really hit by this tweet I saw a few months ago about Seniors and their access to wifi:

I imagine that some would argue that many seniors don’t need wifi since they’re just going to use the internet on their phone. This is a fair point that’s worthy of deeper consideration and understanding. However, I find really interesting that so many seniors don’t have Wifi. I’ll be watching to see how this changes over time.

I guess the key healthcare question is: How important will wifi be to the future of healthcare?

While I love what’s happening in the mobile space, our data plans aren’t ready for what we can accomplish on wifi. I don’t see them getting there for a while either. Plus, our mobile phones become even more powerful when they’re connected to wifi. Kind of reminds me of the difference between when I paid for long distance by the minute versus our current unlimited long distance plan. That’s the difference between mobile data and wifi.

Of course, every good senior healthcare technology aficionado will tell you that in many cases the senior doesn’t need to have internet or be tech savvy. The seniors aren’t the ones that will use the technology. It’s the caregivers that are going to use the technology and you can be sure to a large majority of them have wifi.

July 30, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

What’s in the DNA of Your Mobile Health Startup?

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about startup companies. I love startup companies and I love working with people who can start with nothing and create something interesting. We need more of that in healthcare.

I recently realized how important it is that a health startup company realizes who they are and what’s in their DNA. As a startup company you don’t have the money or resources to be able to attack multiple markets, multiple product lines and see what works. So, it’s extremely important that you know who you are and don’t try and be something you’re not.

A great example of this is reflected in this questions: Are you an enterprise company or a slow and steady bootstrapper?

This question explains a totally different mentality when it comes to a startup company. Both of them can work, but these two types of startup companies will act very different. You shouldn’t mix the two or you’ll waste your limited resources in the process.

Let me explain a little better. A health startup company that is an “enterprise company” has to create an enterprise product. This means including enterprise features. This also means that you’ll need to prepare for the enterprise sales process. It’s much more involved and much more difficult. However, when you make a sale, they are for half a million dollars minimum. It’s a high risk, high reward way to approach building a product, but can work really well if you can solve an enterprise problem or are working in a space where the enterprise has allocated money. The enterprise approach takes quite a bit of up front capital to build the enterprise features and enterprise sales force required to be a success. While this has a high bar to participate it also means you won’t have nearly as many competitors.

On the other hand is the slow and steady bootstrapped approach. Instead of going after the big enterprise customers, this startup focuses on creating the simplest product possible that provides value to a company or even an individual. Instead of building an entire salesforce, they can rely on direct customer sales using social media, advertising, and other direct to consumer marketing techniques. They have to focus on user acquisition, user churn, and user referrals to grow the business. Instead of trying to build an enterprise product they focus on a very specific piece of value and deliver just that one thing. Over time this may eventually lead to an enterprise product and they may use the initial small customers to get them into the larger customers, but that’s not the focus of the growth of the business. That’s a long range plan.

What I’ve found is that many startups don’t know what type of company they are and so they waste a lot of resources trying both sides. This is a mistake that can be easily avoided. Figure out which type of company you want to be and build a culture around that approach. That doesn’t mean that you might not adjust course and try something different later. However, in the beginning it’s a mistake for most companies to try and be a direct to consumer product and an enterprise product at the same time.

July 23, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.