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Samsung’s vision of digital health

Samsung’s vision of digital health | Healthcare and Technology news |

An increasing number of academic research projects have been dedicated to wearable computing and smartphone apps. Samsung itself has made numerous forays into digital health in 2014, including key research partnerships and initiatives.

With UC San Francisco, Samsung recently established the UCSF-Samsung Digital Health Innovation Lab where researchers and technologists can trial new mobile health technologies. Samsung also released SDK’s for two new digital health platforms. On the hardware side, the company has developed Simband, an open reference design blueprint for building smartwatch-like wearable devices that incorporate advanced sensors to measure things such as galvanic skin response, ECG, heart rate, among others. SAMIIO — short for Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions — is a cloud-based software data exchange platform. It aggregates data from a variety of sources (including Simband and other devices) for analysis.

David Rhew, MD, is Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Global Healthcare for Samsung SDS. Previously, Rhew was an infectious disease specialist at UCLA. He and his team hope to connect patients and their providers via the cloud, and go beyond healthcare portals to digitally connect everything that patients use: televisions, beds, homes, cars, and more.

We spoke with Rhew about where digital health is headed, and what led him to his position at Samsung.

What is Samsung doing in digital health?

What we want to do is see if technology can assist individuals in their general medical care, to help them stay adherent to treatment regimens, and inform them about decisions made with healthcare providers. And that’s a very different area we know will require a lot of collaboration with healthcare providers and industry partners. We refer to that as our enterprise business.

What’s the enterprise business about? Samsung’s usually known for their smartphones, televisions, and home appliances.

Yes, while Samsung is very much known for consumer business, we’re now entering the enterprise area. We’re looking for key partnerships with provider organizations, providers, payers, and other groups to provide that level of guidance and support and also opportunities for collaboration and co-development.

We think what people see in Samsung is their traditional consumer apps, and we’ll continue to make health and fitness apps. But the newer area that we’re starting to create [has a] need for a healthcare provider in these deployments [to] help support the patient [and] provide better care. Two different models.

What does Samsung bring to the table, versus other electronics companies?

I think, in general, organizations see Samsung providing value in that we provide consumer tech that patients use every day in the home and on the go. We can deploy sensors for people to wear and interact with, through daily tools, whether it be the phone, TV, or home appliances that may capture important information to help further guide and educate individuals. That’s something every organization is trying to understand: [take] consumer grade technology and put in use cases that are relevant for the healthcare provider.

Many organizations can capture data during patient encounter visits, but as soon as [the patients] walk outside the hospital, they have no ability to understand or recognize what they’re doing, whether they’re adherent to treatment, whether there are questions, or whether they are progressing. Those are the things that organizations are trying to gain a better understanding of and develop tools for. So, at some point, patients can manage their own overall health.

So what kinds of things is Samsung offering the enterprise — the hospitals and the healthcare providers?

A lot of solutions we provide — [like] phones and TV’s — have direct implications on how healthcare providers communicate in the hospital, and the user experience that people have when they enter these facilities.

We’ve created a series of devices that can improve those opportunities that healthcare providers can take advantage of, with newer functionalities and capabilities. We think that’s very important: workforce efficiency and patient experience has become quite an important experience in healthcare as well. Samsung is focused on that…to deploy that. We work with many companies to make this [a reality].

It’s not so much about “hey, just improve paging,” but “wouldn’t it be great if we improved our mechanism of communicating with doctors and nurses with phones and wearables.” A lot of people are recognizing there are unique opportunities, especially since Samsung has created a closed container security called KNOX. These are enterprise grade devices that can be used for a variety of purposes.

We’ve created applications for tablets with guards that make them durable and rugged so people can drop them. We’re looking for ways to make batteries pop out so you don’t have to worry about charging. Those are huge pain points for healthcare systems. So we’re recognizing, “wow, if we apply this to enterprise for workforce efficiency, people can be more efficient.”

That sounds pretty cool. How can physicians take advantage of these things, with Samsung?

That’s a question we wanted to address at the mHealth Summit conference, and at the Samsung Developers’ Conference. Samsung has created an open software platform with API’s that developers — whether they be individual physicians or hospitals or companies — can write to and share data and be able to look within all the other data that’s shared, and find ways to better understand how to leverage those kinds of data.

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Is Apple HealthKit Headed For Hospital Dominance? | Hospital EMR and EHR

Is Apple HealthKit Headed For Hospital Dominance? | Hospital EMR and EHR | Healthcare and Technology news |

Even for a company with the cash and reach of Apple, crashing the healthcare party is quite an undertaking.  Not only does healthcare come with unique technical challenges, it’s quite the conservative business, in many cases clinging to old technologies and approaches longer than other data-driven industries.

Of late, however, Apple’s HealthKit has attracted the attention of some high-profile healthcare institutions, such as New Orleans-based Ochsner Medical Center and Stanford Healthcare. All told, a total of fourteen major U.S. hospitals are running trials of HealthKit. What’s more, more than 600 developers are integrating HealthKit tech into their own health and fitness apps.

What’s particularly interesting is that some of these healthcare organizations are integrating Apple’s new patient-facing, iOS HealthKit app with Epic EMRs and the HealthKit enterprise platform.  If this works out, it could vault Apple into a much more lucrative position in the industry, as bringing together health app, platform and EMR accomplishes one of the major steps in leveraging mobile health.

According to MobiHealthNews, the new app allows patients to check out test results, manage prescriptions, set appointments, hold video visits with Stanford doctors, review medical bills — and perhaps most significantly, upload their vital signs remotely and have the data added to their Epic chart. This is a big step forward for hospitals, but even more so for doctors, many of whom have warned that they have no time to manage a separate stream of mobile patient data as part of patient care.

For Apple leaders, the next step will be to roll out the upcoming Apple Watch and integrate it into its expanding Internet of Apple Healthcare Things. CEO Tim Cook is pitching the Apple Watch as a key component in promoting consumer health. While the iPhone gathers data, the smart watch will proactively remind consumers to move. “If I sit for too long, it will actually tap me on the wrist to remind me to get up and move, because a lot of doctors think sitting is the new cancer,” Cook told an audience at an investor conference recently.

All that being said, it’s not as though Apple is marching through healthcare corridor’s unopposed. For example, Samsung is very focused on becoming the mobile healthcare  technology provider of choice. For example, in November, Samsung announced relationships with 24 health IT partners, including Aetna, the Cleveland Clinic and Cigna.

At its second annual developer conference last December, Samsung introduced an array of software tools designed to support the buildout of a digital health ecosystem, including the Samsung Digital Health SDK and Gear S SDK, which lets app makers create software compatible with Samsung’s smart watches. Also, Samsung is already on the second generation of its Simband reference design for wearable device design, as well as the cloud-based Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions, which collects sensor data.

And Microsoft, of course, is not going to sit and watch idly as a multibillion-dollar market goes to competitors. For example, late last year the tech giant launched a fitness tracking wristband and mobile health app. It’s also kicked off a HealthKit-like platform, imaginatively dubbed Microsoft Health, which among other things, allows fitness band users to store data and transfer it to the Microsoft Health app. Microsoft isn’t winning the PR war as of yet — Apple still has a gift for doing that — but have no doubt that it’s lurking in the swamps like an alligator, ready to close its powerful jaws on the next right opportunity to expand its healthcare presence.

Bottom line, Apple has captured some big-name pilot testers for its HealthKit platform and related products, but the game is just beginning. Having users in place is a good start, but Apple is miles away from being able to declare itself the leader in the emerging hospital mobile health market.

No comment yet.!

Who Are The Emerging Leaders in Wearable Workflow?

Who Are The Emerging Leaders in Wearable Workflow? | Healthcare and Technology news |

Who Are The Emerging Leaders in Wearable Workflow?

  • Apple
  • Google
  • Samsung
  • Salesforce
  • Intel
  • Vandrico
  • Blackberry
  • Jawbone

I’ll not provide a detailed account of how I derived this list. I literally simply asked myself this question, and these are the companies that came to mind. In other words, it is an idiosyncratic list. I will, however, describe my general criteria for why a company interests me, from a wearable workflow perspective.

If you go back to my discussion of orchestrated versus choreographed wearable workflow in What’s The Connection Between Wearable Workflow Platforms and Health IT? you’ll recall the need for either a maestro directing the orchestra or distributed proactive cooperative behavior. In either case, app-to-app behavior is called for. The apps may be on different wearable devices, but it’s still app-to-app behavior. App-to-app behavior has been quite a bugaboo in the mobile health space. Everyone loves their tablet or smartphone, but many hate their EHR. So why not replace EHRs with collections of apps! The problem here is two-fold. First, mobile apps don’t share patient data and context. Second, app-to-app navigation and coordination is, in some ways, even worse than moving from screen-to-screen in a traditional EHR.

Regardless of whether wearable workflow relies on orchestration (workflow engine in the cloud) or choreography (local customizable rule-based interaction) apps on wearable devices will need to communicate, coordinate, etc. So the companies I’m most interested in are those that either have some kind of app-to-app tech, or the kind of sophisticated cloud infrastructure that could participate in a an ecosystem of wearable device to wearable device communication and coordination. Apple is heading down this path with recent iOS upgrades and Continuity. Blackberry has the Flow app-to-app system. Samsung also calls its nascent app-to-app system Flow. Android has had an app-to-app invocation system for some time. It’s likely that wearable device to device workflow tech will evolve out to, or at least leverage this kind of technology.

Then there’s the workflow engine in the cloud approach. Google and Amazon (not listed, maybe next year when they wade more fully into the wearable space) both have cloud-based workflow tech that could be adaptive to orchestrating wearable workflows. Vandrico is a small company in Vancouver, BC, specializing in cross-platform wearable notification management. Their server sits between legacy systems (say hospital EHRs) and wearable devices such as smartwatches. It can format and distribute and accept, in return, acknowledgements and inputs from wearable devices. Salesforce also uses workflow tech, and is bringing cross-platform cloud support to wearables. Jawbone has received enormous private investment, compared to all other wearables. With multiple devices and apps, Jawbone is a natural investigator of wearable healthcare workflow. Finally, Intel, whose chips are to be used in the next version of Glass, already has a partner, Symphony Teleca, working on auto/home automation integration. Wearables are a natural add-one.

Like I said, these are just the companies that pop in to mind, when I ask myself who are the emerging wearable workflow players. I see new potential participants almost every week. It’s really not about the hardware. The hardware are just analogues to desktop widgets. It’s the systems behind the systems that will determine who will dominate wearable tech for the next decade.

No comment yet.!

Samsung and Fitbit currently leading wearables markets

Samsung and Fitbit currently leading wearables markets | Healthcare and Technology news |

With the Apple Watch launch, and its potential to upend the wearables market, a few months away, Canalys reports that the current market leader for “smart wearable bands” — any wristworn device that can run third-party applications — is Samsung. Meanwhile, the “basic wearable band” market, which Canalys defines as wearables that can’t run apps, is still led by Fitbit.

The up-and-comer in the non-smartwatch wearable market is Xiaomi, whose focus on the Chinese market and low price point have catapulted it into the spotlight. It has shipped more than a million Mi Bands, 103,000 of those on the first day. 

“Though the Mi Band is a lower-margin product than competing devices, Xiaomi entered the wearables market with a unique strategy, and its shipment volumes show how quickly a company can become a major force in a segment based solely on the size of the Chinese market,” analyst Jason Low said in a statement.

Canalys didn’t share the total shipment numbers for basic bands, but said 4.6 million smart bands shipped in 2014, only 720,000 of which were Android Wear. Of those, Motorola led the market with its Moto 360.  Samsung led the smart band segment overall, owing to the wide range of devices the company has available.

“‘Samsung has launched six devices in just 14 months, on different platforms and still leads the smart band market,” VP and principal analyst Chris Jones said in a statement. “But it has struggled to keep consumers engaged and must work hard to attract developers while it focuses on [operating system] Tizen for its wearables.”

Canalys predicts Apple’s entry into the market will blow up the category, and says the device’s battery life will be the main advantage over Android Wear to begin with.

“Apple made the right decisions with its WatchKit software development kit to maximize battery life for the platform, and the Apple Watch will offer leading energy efficiency,” analyst Daniel Matte said in a statement. “Android Wear will need to improve significantly in the future, and we believe it will do so.”

Cheryl Palmer's curator insight, February 19, 2015 7:06 PM

WEARABLES - Market report summary on the current (Feb 2015) state of the wearables market with link to data source.  Useful to get insight into where major players are focusing their development dollars.!

Prediction: Health wearables to save 1.3 million lives by 2020 | mobihealthnews

Prediction: Health wearables to save 1.3 million lives by 2020 | mobihealthnews | Healthcare and Technology news |

Smart wearable devices may help save 1.3 million lives by 2020, according to a prediction made by Switzerland-based firm Soreon Research. According to the analyst group: “Smart wearables, a set of sensors attached to the body with a direct link to smart devices, are the most industry-disrupting innovation as well as a major opportunity to transform the healthcare system.”

The firm’s lives saved number is mostly accounting for reduction in mortality thanks to wearables employed for in-hospital monitoring, which will likely help save about 700,000 lives of the 1.3 million.

“New wearable technology can easily extend monitoring functions beyond the intensive care unit and alert medical professionals to any follow-on medical problems a patient may develop. Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved as a result,” Pascal Koenig, Research Director at Soreon said in a statement. “Two other areas where innovative wearable healthcare products could have major benefits are cardiovascular conditions and obesity.”

Monitoring cardiovascular diseases with wearables could prevent 230,000 deaths, while obesity related deaths could be reduced by 150,000. 

“Smart wearables are in a fast-paced, exploratory phase, where the breadth of available solutions reflects their market potential,” Koenig said in the statement. “Soon patients with all different disorders will be using wearables for personalized diagnostics and full-time monitoring. Along with organizing their everyday lives, health data will be handled conveniently via a mobile device. Compared to existing health tracking options, these devices will be life guardians and their adoption rate will be enormous.”

Soreon believes that patients with chronic conditions will help drive the smart wearables market from $2 billion today to $41 billion by 2020.

Another separate report this week from TechNavio predicts that the global location-based services market for the healthcare industry will grow about 31 percent over the next four years.

The firm notes that real-time performance monitoring has become more popular in healthcare to increase hospital efficiency. Doctors, staff, and patients are using all kinds of wearable devices: pedometers, smart watches, and health monitors.

“In 2014, around 10 million units of wearable devices were sold worldwide and this number is expected to grow nearly tenfold in the coming years,” Faisal Ghaus, Vice President of TechNavio said in a statement. “The constant use of wearable devices in the healthcare industry is anticipated to reduce hospital costs by a significant amount over the next six years.”

No comment yet.!

Wearables Are Totally Failing the People Who Need Them Most | WIRED

Wearables Are Totally Failing the People Who Need Them Most | WIRED | Healthcare and Technology news |

As the Internet of Things becomes an actual thing, more steps are being counted, more sleep patterns are being logged, more activities are being app-ified. What isn’t appearing in the data is much common sense or ambition. Instead, developers continue flocking to a saturated market filled with hipster pet rocks, devices that gather reams of largely superficial information for young people whose health isn’t in question, or at risk.

It’s a shame because the people who could most benefit from this technology—the old, the chronically ill, the poor—are being ignored. Indeed, companies seem more interested in helping the affluent and tech-savvy sculpt their abs and run 5Ks than navigating the labyrinthine world of the FDA, HIPAA, and the other alphabet soup bureaucracies. This may be their own undoing, as there is a very real—and potentially lucrative—potential to shake up the healthcare system and frack the $2 trillion annual cost of chronic disease.

Bangled with Fitbits and Jawbones and peering through their augmented reality spectacles, the audience at D.C.’s Wearables + Things conference saw the hype cycle of the industry buckle in on itself. Peter Li, a twenty-something inventor who studied biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins, demonstrated a fitness watch that accurately detected and counted the push-ups and jumping jacks he performed onstage. Nike’s chief scientist pooh-poohed smart watches’ most commonly collected biometrics—steps, temperature, and blood oxygen—as irrelevant to athletic performance, while promoting the importance of smart algorithms for analyzing human performance. Adidas demonstrated a heart rate monitor that clips onto its biometric sports bra. At least someone finally figured out that women already run with a band around their chest.

But then there was Kabir Kasagood, director of business development for Qualcomm Life, which manufactures the semiconductors used in many wearable gadgets. He exhorted developers to stop screwing around in a saturated market for activity trackers and embrace the red-tape and regulatory friction of the healthcare industry. “Go from the children’s table to the grown-up table,” he said. “If you’re serious about this, embrace the FDA. Learn how HIPAA works. Make sure it’s connected to the [electronic medical record] and that all the health laws are observed. There’s a tremendous dearth of innovation here. I would move away from fitness and go hardcore into health. That’s where the money is.”

The audience response was lukewarm. After all, regulation is yucky. Clinical trials are a drag. Integration with legacy systems is boring. Security requirements and limitations on how user data can be monetized? Meh. As if to prove the point, minutes later, the marketing director of iStrategy Labs demonstrated “Dorothy,” a shoe clip that allows you to click your heels together three times to call Uber. By far the biggest hit of the conference, this hacked-together prototype snowballed into an appearance on Good Morning America.

As of September 30, there were 266 wearable devices on the market (including 118 fitness wearables), with 23 slated for release before the year is out. From Silicon Valley and San Francisco to Austin and MIT, young, healthy, highly educated, mostly male entrepreneurs are developing marginally useful apps and gadgets for people just like themselves. And indeed, most of the information technologies we currently use started this way, from personal computers to the Internet and social media. The alpha geeks home-brew technologies that are taken up by early adopters and spread until your mom is on board. The Silicon Valley assumption is that health and wellness will follow that same path.

But if you follow the money, and you really understand the population with the most to gain from improvements health and wellness, that assumption falls apart. It turns out the wave of wearables adoption isn’t rolling out the same way as the web or smartphones. More than half of US consumers who have owned an activity tracker no longer use it. A third of them took less than six months from unboxing the device to shoving it in a drawer or fobbing it off on a relative.

So who’s made a long-term commitment to measuring and tracking their health? People with two or more chronic diseases. According to a Pew Foundation survey, 45 percent of US adults are dealing with at least one chronic condition. While only 19 percent of people with no chronic conditions track their health indicators, 40 percent of adults with one chronic condition do so, and 62 percent of adults with two chronic conditions do so. So far this year $2.8 billion has been spent on wearable medical devices, and that’s expected to grow to $8.3 billion in the next five years. If you took all the fitness bracelets and smart watches sold in 2014 and multiplied that retail number by six, it still wouldn’t match the $6.3 billionUS market for blood glucose test strips.

People with chronic diseases don’t suddenly decide that they’re over it and the novelty has worn off. Tracking and measuring—the quantified self—is what keeps them out of the hospital. And yet there are more developers who’d rather make a splash at a hackathon than create apps and devices for people who can benefit hugely from innovation in this area.

At some point, you’ve got to ask yourself whether it’s just the friction created by health-industry regulation—the HIPAA security rules and FDA approval (or waiver) process and the hassle of integration with legacy systems. Or is it too daunting for a twenty-something engineer to develop technology for people who aren’t like them at all? An obese diabetic on a motorized scooter? Or a frail old lady with memory loss? Or her caregiver? Someone who’s three bus transfers away from a doctor’s office?

Can our innovators rise to the challenge of an aging, chronically ill society whose medical costs are swamping our economy? Or will techies just click their heels together three times, and call Uber?

J R's curator insight, December 3, 2014 6:17 AM