Earlier this week, Verizon hosted a media event at its Innovation Center in San Francisco to highlight some of its recent business ventures and tech projects. There were glass-paneled tables, a huge interactive mural, and a handful of promo videos explaining how the Center partners up with other companies, big and small, to solve problems in health care, environmental, and consumer industries using technology. Oh, and there was hummus. It was nice.
Baby boomers -- and their children caretakers -- may need to warm up to robots as they get older.
In the years ahead, robots could operate in homes to care for elderly people, helping with tasks such as dispensing meds or running virtual doctor's visits. Already, other forms of robots, such as droid-like machines in hospitals or prosthetics, are starting to make a mark in health care.
Many robotics companies are gravitating toward health care which they see as a potential high-volume consumer market for robots. The primary hurdle is finding solid business plans for getting robots in the … Read more
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--At the Launch 'Pad conference today, two back-to-back presenters showed how they are trying to modernize the doctor/patient relationship with iPad apps.
The more ambitious and better-established company, Dr Chrono, is an iPad-centric, complete office automation suite aimed primarily at small medical practices. Patients may encounter it when they're asked to sign in at their doctor's office; it will collect the insurance information and medical history data that most offices collect on generations-old paper forms.
But doctors can use the app for ordering labs, handling billing, and even taking medical notes.
What's interesting to … Read more
Medify CEO Derek Streat is trying to resolve the combination of data overload and knowledge underload that patients and families often suffer from when they have to deal with a chronic medical issue, like cancer, diabetes, or autism.
"There's no Kayak in this space," Streat says. "It's very 1999. There's WebMD, and thousands of Google results." He calls it the "missing middle" problem. You can get over-simplified pablum or a sea of highly technical data. But it's the information in the middle--the synthesis of hundreds of current research reports, filtered … Read more
Plenty of teens can tell you about the therapeutic benefits of video games. Health care companies are increasingly looking at the value of games too.
That's because games offer incentives that health care providers can harness to alter patient habits. "Health behavior change is hard," Alex Tam, a senior interaction designer at frog design, said at the Innovation Learning Network conference for health care providers in Seattle hosted by the design consultancy. "It's frustrating. There's extra work."
Health care providers can use the tools of game design to innovate in prevention and treatment. That's important because patient behavior often gets in the way of their recovery. Physical therapy after surgery can be grueling, leading many patients to forgo, or delay it. Busy schedules can often get in the way of taking medication or checking important gauges of health such as blood-glucose levels.
Tam works with health care providers on building game mechanics into products. When faced with competition, timers and progression measurements, all the tools of game design, patients perform better. "Games get people engaged," Tam said. "They will play for hours and hours."
Take Expresso Fitness exercise bicycles. The indoor training cycles come with a video game that users navigate by pedaling. They get points by chasing and catching dragons, for example, or picking up coins. Cyclists spin faster and longer. "You're very focused on the game and not on your pedaling," Tam said.
Some games simply educate patients about treatments, which helps them follow proper protocols. HopeLab created Re-mission, a first-person shooter game, where a pilot named Roxxi travels through the bodies of cancer patients destroying cancer cells, battling bacterial infections, and managing treatments. It's not Call Of Duty, to be sure. But studies have shown that cancer patients who played the game at least one hour per week maintained higher levels of chemo in their blood and took their antibiotics more consistently.
"This isn't just blue sky thinking," said Teaque Lenahan, frog's director of business development. "There really are a lot of opportunities."
Updated at 9:15 p.m. to correct the spelling of Alex Tam's name. … Read more
I recently gave a presentation at a small gathering of IT "enthusiasts" in Albany, N.Y. I say "enthusiasts" because the audience was an eclectic mix of IT technologists and people with advanced expertise in non-IT fields. For example, I met two people from an architectural firm, and neither was an IT administrator. One was an architect and the other was a building systems engineer (HVAC, wiring, etc.). They were there specifically to learn more about an IT systems requirement for a new elementary-school building project. I had not expected to see an architect in the … Read more
Microsoft is trying to tighten up security on medical information that is sent by e-mail, while at the same time making it easier to share.
At a U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services event earlier today in Washington, D.C., the company unveiled an updated component to its HealthVault online personal health platform that can send encrypted copies of a patient's medical records via a secured e-mail address.
Microsoft says the new feature should make it easier for health care records and other information updates to be sent to its system, while at the same time meeting … Read more
Intel and GE joined forces to develop a health care alliance back in April of 2009. Today, they unveiled the name of this venture, Care Innovations, which they say has received final regulatory clearances and is now fully operational.
The Sacramento-based Care Innovations combines teams and assets from Intel's Digital Health Group and GE Healthcare's Home Health division to address issues faced by and because of the growing number of elderly people in the U.S.
"Our vision as we launch this exciting new company is for Care Innovations to positively affect millions of people by providing … Read more
Intel and GE will form a joint venture focused on monitoring chronic and age-related diseases and delivering health-related services remotely, the companies announced Monday.
The agreement calls for the formation of a 50-50 joint venture that will create a new telehealth company combining the assets of GE Healthcare's Home Health division and Intel's Digital Health Group. It will be owned equally by GE and Intel.
"We must rethink models of care that go beyond hospital and clinic visits, to home and community-based care models that allow for prevention, early detection, behavior change, and social support," said … Read more