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Sprint and Techstars Mobile Health Accelerator

Not that we needed another mobile health accelerator, but I was really intrigued by the companies that are backing this mobile health accelerator. First, besides loving healthcare IT, I also love the startup community. I consider myself more of an entrepreneur than a journalist, but no doubt I have parts of both in me. As part of that love, I addictively read a venture capitalist, Brad Feld’s blog. So, I was really intrigued by his post announcing the new “Powered by TechStars” Mobile Health Accelerator with Sprint.

I also find it interesting that this is the second mobile health accelerator that is Powered by TechStars (Nike+ Accelerator was the first).

We’ll see what comes out of the accelerator. I have a lot of confidence in the TechStars mentorship approach to accelerators. Plus, Sprint has some deep pockets and it seems every telco is looking at how to do mobile health. Although, I was a bit surprised to see Sprint’s name on this since I haven’t seen their name at the various mobile health events I’ve attended. Instead, that’s usually been dominated by Verizon, AT&T, and Qualcomm. We’ll see if that changes at this year’s mHealth Summit.

If you want to be part of this mobile health accelerator in Kansas City, they’re accepting applications.

October 21, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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 and LinkedIn.

Is Your State Health Department’s App on Your Mobile?

I came upon this excited tweet from Geeta Nayyyar, MD, CMIO for AT&T, where she excitedly links to the announcement of the Alabama state health department mobile app.

I of course was interested to know what a state health department would include in an app. The linked article talks about it being used to disseminate public health info and share opportunities for public health workers to get continuing education. Do we really need an app for this?

I’m trying to imagine a public health worker getting excited to download their state health department’s application. I don’t think we’re going to be seeing it on the home page of people’s cell phone. It’s likely to be one of the many applications that gets downloaded and never used. If that’s the case, it makes me wonder why it was even created in the first place. I guess I’m interested to hear how much engagement they really get on the app.

What I do think is interesting is the possibility for using a mobile app to disseminate public health alerts. I could see many people opting in for that type of notification. Although, does that need an entire app? I like the idea of the government trying to use the latest technology, but it seems like there could have been better ways to accomplish their goals.

I guess I don’t see what’s so “awesome” about an app that likely won’t get much use.

August 9, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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 and LinkedIn.

Future of mHealth Dependent on Interoperability and Use of Available Technology

My education in the healthcare industry is still somewhat in its infancy, but I really enjoy learning about mHealth in particular.  This probably stems from my general love of technology, but also from my fascination with business and watching companies and industries grow.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks with mHealth is there are way too many people developing products rather than businesses.

One of my favorite shows is Shark Tank which gives everyday people the opportunity to present their business to billionaires looking for an investment of some sort.  One of the most common comments the investors make is that the person has a product and not a business.  It is such a thin line but essential to true success.  Products of some sort are essential to a business, but they are not in and of themselves a business.

That is the problem with most of the companies in mHealth at this point.  There are tons of apps and gadgets and other fun things out there, but there is no one company that is trying to bring it all together.  Interoperability is the real basis of success in this industry.  Having to go to ten different companies for your healthcare needs is no different from what we have always had, except you are using electronics instead of paper.

While that is a step in the right direction, it is not the level of change that will be needed for real success in the industry.  There will inevitably be more companies that fail than succeed, as is the case in any industry.

The healthcare industry is very similar to aviation in this area.  The air traffic control system is essentially the same system that has been in use for decades.  While there have been great advances in technology, namely GPS, we still use the same archaic tools that keep the industry inefficient and cluttered.  Clearly major advancements have been implemented in terms of aircraft and related systems that make air travel faster and safer, but we are not even close to using all of the tools available.

There are plans in development to better use the improved tools that are available, but they have still not been widely implemented for numerous reasons.  Instead aviation remains inefficient and the consumer is the one who suffers in the form of increased costs with reduced service.

Healthcare is quickly following the same path.  While there have been amazing developments in the technology doctors use on a day-to-day basis, the system itself is still incredibly inefficient.

That being said, I have great hope that this will change in the coming years.  As more major companies like AT&T, Qualcomm, Verizon, etc. become involved in the industry we will start to see the real breakthroughs that will give mHealth its legitimacy.  What will be even more incredible is when some of these tech companies really link up with traditional healthcare companies that have real power in the industry.

About a decade ago eHealth companies were all the rage, and now they are all essentially gone.  While there is no guarantee that mHealth will not end up the same way, you have to think they stand a better chance.  Smartphones are an increasingly essential part of everyday life for almost everyone.  It only makes sense to include healthcare in that arena.

December 22, 2011 I Written By

Non-Traditional Healthcare Companies Emerging in mHealth

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but there is a trend that I am noticing as I learn more about mHealth: the companies involved are not new to most of us.  There are of course traditional healthcare companies, like GE who has been around since my grandpa was young, as well as any number of start-ups of various sizes, but what is becoming increasingly more common is other large companies expanding into the mHealth market.

Some of these companies may not be too surprising, such as AT&T who has a variety of interests in mHealth.  The obvious reason is because they own a huge portion of the mobile phone market.  As more mobile apps are developed, it is important for them to support the technology necessary for those apps to operate.  Not to mention creating mobile networks so that the customers can access their phones in the first place.

Perhaps the less thought of reasoning is the huge number of people that AT&T insures, both currently working for them, and those who have already retired.  By improving healthcare they will also lower their costs to insure people.

Last week I wrote about how Ford is entering the market to help improve drivers’ health.  It would not be at all surprising to see all of the other major automakers follow suit once they see the success Ford is having, and I have every reason in the world to believe they will be successful.

Cisco is another company that is becoming hugely important to the healthcare market as they help hospitals establish more reliable networks.  Through the installation of WLAN networks, doctors and nurses are able to more reliably access the information they need to take care of their patients.  As these networks become more reliable, hospitals will become more inclined to take advantage of the benefits they provide.

There is no doubt that technology, and smartphones in particular, will increasingly be a part of our lives.  Some people get freaked out because they feel like machines our running our  lives like we are in a movie or something.  As for me, I think any technology that can improve our quality of life, and in some instances save lives, is the kind of technology that we need to be pursuing.

May 23, 2011 I Written By

Connecting Wireless, Mobile and the Future of Healthcare: Healthcare Honchos Address Issues Head-on

There are tons of conferences out there relating to healthcare, and an increasing number are related to technology and specifically to mobile healthcare.  This conference focuses specifically on taking advantage of the opportunities that wireless and mobile healthcare provides.  Plus, it is in San Diego so you can’t really miss there.

Convergence Summit Runs May 10-12, 2011 in San Diego

How will advances in mobile technology improve access to healthcare in the U.S. and globally? What role will wireless technology play in improving productivity in healthcare? Will the new regulations outlined recently by the Health and Human Services department regarding Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) play a role? Wireless and mobile healthcare may well form the basis for new methods of healthcare delivery—for instance, “to treat an individual patient across care settings—including doctor’s offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities” (CMS Office of Media Affairs).

These and other wireless healthcare issues are to be the star subjects of the Convergence Summit, a three-day event to be held May 10-12, 2011 in San Diego, hosted by the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA) and its partner TripleTree, LLC.

Featured speakers include:

  • Paul Jacobs, Ph.D, CEO of Qualcomm, who is slated to give the opening-day keynote on May 10, 2011;
  • Bill McGuire, M.D., the former CEO of United Healthcare, who is to open the second day of the summit on May 11, 2011;
  • Harry Greenspun, M.D., chief medical officer at Dell, kicks off the final day on May 12, 2011.

A post-lunch keynote on May 12 is to feature Dan Buettner, the New York Times best-selling author of, most recently, Thrive: Finding Happiness in the Blue Zones Way (National Geographic, 2010).

The Convergence Summit is an exclusive gathering of executives, investors, developers and policy makers who come together annually to address issues of advancing innovations in wireless and mobile healthcare technology. Other speakers include John Kelliher, The Marwood Group; Richard Migliori, Optum; Preetha Reddy, Apollo Health Systems; and Tien Tzuo, Zuora.

“Wireless coverage is nearly ubiquitous within the U.S. and many parts of the world. This opens up opportunities for advancing healthcare globally in ways we haven’t even dreamed of,” says TripleTree senior director and chief marketing officer Chris Hoffmann.

WLSA organizers devote each day to a forward-looking theme about uniting wireless and healthcare. Conference themes for this, the sixth annual Convergence Summit, include “Defining a global platform for wireless and mobile health” (Day 1), “Best approaches for streamlining patient-doctor interactions” (Day 2) and “The convergence of mobile and cloud, and the simplification of healthcare solutions” (Day 3). Day 2 also features the presentation of the third annual I Awards, sponsored exclusively by TripleTree, for innovation in wireless healthcare.

Several lively forums dovetail with the conference themes; the forums are open exchanges, with executives, innovators, investors and others brainstorming the topics. No PowerPoint presentations allowed!

Conference participants for the three days of forums include representatives from large and small companies on the cutting edge of the convergence of wireless and healthcare. A sampling of participating companies includes Appirio, Ascension Health, AT&T, Banner Health, CareFusion, Dell, EmpowHER, Healthagen, InstyMeds, WhiteGlove House Call, Johnson & Johnson, Jitterbug, Mental Workout, Optum, Procter and Gamble, RehabCare, Teladoc and Telcare. A total of 300-400 participants are expected to attend the summit.

“When we put all these people in the same room—innovators and users, entrepreneurs and HMO chiefs, technology wizards and policy wonks—the mix is exhilarating,” TripleTree’s Hoffmann says. “The future of healthcare swirls into shape before your eyes.”

The WLSA is an international nonprofit think tank that puts CEOs from the world’s most innovative wireless and mobile health companies together with global leaders in healthcare and technology and financial sponsors.

TripleTree, LLC, a founding member of the WLSA, is an independent investment bank and strategic advisor providing growth companies in healthcare and other technology-enabled vertical industries with merger and acquisition, private capital and principal investing services.

For more information about the 2011 WLSA Convergence Summit, go to http://www.wlsa2011.com.

April 23, 2011 I Written By