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Google Glass Shown Beneficial for Bedside Toxicology Consults

Google Glass Shown Beneficial for Bedside Toxicology Consults | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Although Google Glass may have been pulled as a product for the masses, Alphabet plans on continuing to develop the device for professional applications. And it’s certainly proving itself useful in medicine, as a new study in Journal of Medical Toxicology has shown that it’s useful and effective for tele-toxicology consults. The project involved emergency medicine residents who wore Glass during evaluations of poisoned patients while toxicology fellows and attendings in a remote location participated in the consults via a video connection. They essentially set back and reviewed the findings of the emergency docs, offering advice as necessary.


The study looked at how everyone involved accepted the use of the communication medium, as well as how it affected the care provided. Interestingly, the toxicologists changed their opinions of how to treat the patients in 56% of cases after using Glass. In six cases the antidote that was prescribed was accurately selected only after using Glass. In 11 of cases the connection was too poor for usability, but that can probably be attributed to the network used.

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Four Unique Healthcare Apps

Four Unique Healthcare Apps | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The last seven years has seen the rise of the smartphone and tablet as personal technology devices utilized by almost all professions in some capacity or another. The healthcare industry is no different and the veritable volume of applications or "apps" that have been developed and utilized by physicians and patients in the last few years has skyrocketed. Inevitably, the large volume of apps makes it difficult for individuals looking to make an impact to stand out in the crowd, as certain conventions become standard. Having a unique "hook" definitely helps to boost such apps into the spotlight, but it also serves to help physicians and patients look at new ways to utilize software (and the devices they run on).


CARROT Fit


Sometimes, "unconventional" is as simple as looking at something in a different or even humorous way. For example, CARROT Fit is an app developed by Brian Mueller that provides you with a sarcastic and merciless "fitness overlord" (modeled after his mother, sister, and wife) who motivates you through such innovative techniques as referring to you as "meatbag" and threatening you with "squirrel attacks" (yes, you read that right) when you fail to exercise. Mueller started out by writing alarm clock and to-do apps and received such a positive response about the personality of the Carrot A.I. (artificial intelligence) that a workout app seemed like the next logical step.


'"The CARROT series of apps are all about taking things that people hate doing … and making them fun and rewarding," said Mueller. "I think most people feel upset when they step on a scale … but CARROT's humor turns that around and makes it a positive experience they can laugh about — and because they connect with the character so much, they're actually motivated to do better the next day."


Bowel Mover Pro and Autism Tracker Pro


Another way to stand out in a field of "me too" health apps is to focus on areas of health that may be less common or more challenging to discuss. Case in point is developer Uwe Heiss. His company, Track & Share, developed Bowel Mover Pro and Autism Tracker Pro to empower patients with self-tracking tools that would make the patient-care team encounter more effective.


Any physician who has ever had to discuss bowel habits with an IBS patient knows how frustrating it can be to get vague feedback on patient symptoms. "All of my apps are designed to help people to spot trends, patterns, and how things might be related to each other," said Heiss. "For example, 'Does stress appear to aggravate my IBS symptoms?' 'Since I started Yoga, did my daily average stress level go down?' 'Was I able to avoid peak stress …?'"


Heiss stresses that three things which guided the design of his apps were the ability to highly customize what patients tracked, to provide powerful graphing options to identify patterns over time, and the ability to share data via external tools such as Excel, increasing the physician's ability to use the data in a meaningful way.


Symple


Developer Natasha Gajewski echoes some of these thoughts and developed her symptom-tracking app around one basic concept that also gave the app its name, "Symple." "I developed this app when I became a patient … one of my most important duties was to deliver an accurate symptom history between doctor visits," she said. "I had limited use of my hands and fingers … so I designed the touch interactions to be as simple as possible. We also worked hard to keep the cognitive load to a minimum."


One thing is certain. Regardless of the reason for defying convention, all developers believe the future of medicine will involve more integration of such apps and more active user interaction in an effort to enhance the patient-doctor encounter. At the end of the day, if visionaries succeed in this lofty endeavor, it will be because of the conventions they chose to modify or ignore in an effort to stand out and stand up for a better healthcare experience.

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Google health wristband is more than a "me too" wearable

Google health wristband is more than a "me too" wearable | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Google announced last week that they’ve developed a clinical grade health tracking wristband for use in medical research and clinical trials. In other words, the Google health wristband won’t show up on Amazon or in Walgreens. And that’s one of the most interesting things about it.

News of the device has been widely reported, generally with enthusiasm. Details on the device, developed out of the Google X group, are still scant however and it seems to be in relatively early phases of validation. According to Bloomberg, the device will measure heart rate, heart rhythm and skin temperature. It will also capture environmental information like light exposure and noise levels.


Clinical trials testing the device’s accuracy are set to begin this year with as-yet unnamed academic partners. I imagine, though, that partners in Google’s Baseline project like Duke and Stanford will play prominent roles.


Perhaps the most striking thing about the device and Google’s plans here is their intent to (1) do validation studies and (2) seek regulatory approval from the FDA as well as European regulators. While the field of health tracking wearables has taken off in recent years, we’ve generally been left to speculate on the accuracy of devices like those from Fitbit based on small studies. Most skirt FDA oversight by marketing their devices as intended for general wellness rather than for the management of specific health conditions.


Google appears to be taking a completely different approach here. They are developing a multi-functional wearable that will not only capture all kinds of health data but will also have evidence supporting it’s accuracy. And with Google’s seemingly endless access to information, it would be interesting to see the information captured through this device combined with other data streams. For example, arrhythmia or pulse oximetry data captured by the device could be correlated to air quality or allergen information.


This approach contrasts and in some ways complements Apple’s approach to health. Through HealthKit, Apple created a common language for how health data captured by wearables is recorded by their connected apps and makes it shareable. And throughResearchKit, clinicians can more readily deploy clinical studies using these devices. However, when it came to Apple’s own wearable – the Apple Watch – the health sensors don’t have validation data and avoided regulatory oversight by sticking with “general wellness” as their intended use. Clinical research will rely more heavily on compatible validated sensors like iPhone connected blood pressure monitors.


It will be interesting to see what sensors Google ultimately packs in here. If theirglucose-tracking contact lens is any indication, we can expect some creative & novel additions to this device.

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Baxter's curator insight, August 13, 2015 1:36 PM

Last year when Isabelle (my co-founder) and I attended the Samsung Digital Conference in San Francesco, 'wearables' like this watch and digital health were all the rage.

And they still are.

Our app will help not only users to manage their specific health conditions, but also give these devices more MEANINGFUL reasons to be worn than just collecting data after data after data (how many times do you need to see how far you walked today?).

When these devices pick up a rise in your heart rate/ rhythm and skin temp, they can send you a subtle warning and remind you to breathe. You can then queue up the breath most relevant to your situation (like the interview breath, or first date breath). Your vitals return to normal range, and you're more relaxed, and no doubt you'll perform better in the situation

Breath-Takingly simple practices for every occasion.

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Will Patients Embrace Wearable Health Technology?

Will Patients Embrace Wearable Health Technology? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Technology hype in the medical industry has been well distributed and plentiful for the last several years. Predictive analytics, personal health records, and other medical software have all enjoyed copious amounts of analysis, but none has garnered the attention that wearables currently enjoy.

And it's easy to see why: gathering biometric data directly from the patient and using that information to create more accurate treatment plans, deliver alerts, and generally improve population and individual health is a compelling use case.


Unfortunately, the wearables revolution remains stuck to the wrists of a particular young, affluent population, while patients who could truly benefit from wearable technology have yet to gain access to these devices.


If that access becomes viable on a broad scale though, it could invoke meaningful change.


A recent study by the Pew Foundation revealed that about 19 percent of people without chronic conditions track their health (with or without software). This is arguably the main demographic that use wearable devices or fitness trackers right now.


In contrast, 40 percent of people who have one chronic condition track their health, and 62 percent of people with two or more chronic conditions track their health.


Logically, these numbers may not be surprising — these people must monitor their health to avoid staying out of the hospital. What is surprising is the lack of penetration health wearables have made in this market. Patients with chronic diseases make up a huge portion of total healthcare expenses, and theoretically, their health tracking could be made substantially easier with the help of wearables.


Yet wearables have not reached this demographic, although there are industry stakeholders trying to change that. Here's a look the most prominent forces at work.


CMS and meaningful use


With the new proposed rules for meaningful use Stage 3, CMS has eliminated the rigid view, transmit, and download requirement for patient engagement. Now, at least 25 percent of unique patients must engage in some way with their personal health information within the provider's EHR.


This can be accomplished in a couple of ways: view, transmit, and download, or syncing the EHR with a personal health record (PHR) or health wearable device. Both of the more complex data transfer scenarios bring health wearables directly into play. Even if the data is transferred from a personal health record to an EHR, it's still possible to use the PHR as a repository for wearable data, before it travels to the provider's system.


Insurers


Though the lines are not yet clearly drawn, insurers would surely like to begin using biometric data from wearable devices to make their risk profiles for patients more accurate, and more influential.

 

Data gathered from fitness trackers would provide a realistic picture of a patient's lifestyle, especially if more complex trackers are used to record glucose levels that indicate caloric intake.


The relationship between insurers could be critical, because wearables have a short track life in the consumer market. It turns out, most people stop using them after a few months. However, insurers can offer incentives that other stakeholders can't.


For example, UK-based Vitality Health has been encouraging patients to use wearable technology since 2006. In exchange for the data produced by these devices, Vitality offers life insurance customers points that can be spent on movie tickets and coffee, as well as reduced premiums.


Of course, the downside to insurers having this much information is that they could use the wearable data to increase premiums for patients who don't meet certain criteria (which may or may not actually indicate health risks).


Either way, this offer appeals to the people: 57 percent of respondents in a TechnologyAdvice survey said that the possibility of lower premiums would make them more likely to use a fitness tracking device.


Providers


The final group in the equation is stuck in an interesting position. Though 66 percent of physicians would prescribe an app to help patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes, it's well-documented that physicians worry about receiving too much (read: irrelevant) data from wearable health devices. Although physicians are likely excited by the possibilities of wearable devices, it will likely take some for them to decide on exactly how (or if at all) they want to incorporate such data into their diagnoses.


As it stands now, the industry is rapidly adopting new medical software to fix processes like information exchange and chronic disease management that have made for such obstinate opponents over the years. Of the proposed technology, wearables seem most likely to catch fire, in part because of their consumer appeal and obvious use cases. They certainly have the stakeholder support.

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A Hospital Is Already Giving Apple Watch To Its Patients

A Hospital Is Already Giving Apple Watch To Its Patients | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch began arriving in homes and businesses across America on Friday.


And in New Orleans, one doctor immediately strapped it to his patient’s wrist.


“We need to fundamentally change behavior,” says that doctor — Richard Milani. “And the Apple Watch has the potential to [do] it.”

Milani is the Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Ochsner Health System, and overseeing what the hospital calls a first-of-its-kind trial: Giving Apple Watch to patients who struggle with high blood pressure, and seeing if it prompts them to take their medication, to make positive changes in lifestyle, and simply, to just get up and move around.


And Milani believes that the potential opportunity is huge: More than 80% of U.S. health care spending goes toward chronic disease. And many of those diseases are exceedingly preventable.


Apple Watch part of Ochsner’s broader strategy

While it doesn’t have the national profile of some health systems, Ochsner has been working hard to be a leader in digital medicine.


  • More than a year ago, the hospital launched an “O Bar” — deliberately modeled on Apple’s Genius Bar — to help patients pick through the thousands of health and wellness apps available to them.
  • Six months ago, Ochsner became the first hospital to integrate its Epic electronic health record system with Apple’s HealthKit software.
  • And in February, Ochsner launched its “Hypertension Digital Medicine Program,” a pilot program where several hundred patients regularly measure their own blood pressure and heart rate ratings using wireless cuffs, which then send that data through Apple’s HealthKit (and collects it in their medical records). Based on the results, Ochsner staff then make real-time adjustments to the patients’ medication and lifestyle.


The new Apple Watch trial builds off the hospital’s existing digital medicine program, Milani says. And he began Friday’s pilot with his longtime patient Andres Rubiano, a 54-year-old who’s spent the past twenty years trying to manage his chronic hypertension.

Rubiano says that his two months participating in Ochsner’s digital medicine program have been “comforting” — he enjoys the constant monitoring — and have already led him to make changes in diet and exercise.

“It’s been a life-changer for me,” he says.

But the Apple Watch has the potential to go further. Its customized alerts and prompts encourage immediate interventions. When we spoke on Friday afternoon, just six hours or so after he began wearing the Apple Watch, Rubiano raved about the subtle taps on his wrist.

“It’s like I have Milani as my buddy right next to me,” Rubiano said, “just nudging me to get up off your [behind] and walk around, or saying, hey, take your meds.”

Milani acknowledges there’s limited evidence that wearable technologies can directly lead to the health improvements he’s hoping to see.


But he plans to quickly enroll about two dozen patients in his Apple Watch trial, in order to begin collecting data on whether the Watch is actually making a difference. (Other patients in the hypertension program will act as the control group.) And he’s optimistic that wearable technology will pay dividends in health.

“For whatever reason, health care doesn’t do a very good job of creating [the necessary] behavior change,” Milani says. “But many of these new technologies have that ability.”

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Is it time we teach medical students about wearables?

Is it time we teach medical students about wearables? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The growing wearable sensor market is yielding ever-increasing amounts of consumer-derived digital data. These data can consistent of many different physiologic measures such as heart rate and rhythm, sleep quality, brain activity, and physical activity levels. As many consumers and commercial organizations look toward using wearables to monitor medical conditions, clinicians may begin to find themselves in the role of a digital data decoder.


This will be no easy task, as a number of factors will complicate the decoding and force the clinician to become a digital detective. First, medical settings largely rely on using technologies and equipment that have been tested and validated for medical use. In contrast, most wearables are consumer products, and while they produce digital data, this does not mean the data are reliable or valid for medical use.

Secondly, most clinicians have limited awareness and formal training in how to evaluate wearables and the data they produce. Therefore, from a knowledge perspective, clinicians are disempowered from assessing the data they are presented with.


Finally, even if we have impactful and valid consumer-derived data, we must integrate the presentation of this data into the clinician workflow. Without workflow integration, clinicians will be disempowered from using these data from a process perspective. Clinicians need a time-efficient method of storing and standardizing the data obtained from different devices.


Lagging far behind our ability to collect data is the value driver for all of our sensor-driven devices or apps: big data analytics. Powerful analytics turn “bad” data into data that can drive improvements in medical treatment, research and cost efficiency. Pharmaceutical companies are beginning to see the value of data from wearable devices and are increasingly incorporating them into clinical trials in order to better understand disease processes. Health and technology collaborations like the one between UCSF and Samsung, to create the Center for Digital Health Innovation, are important in helping to make sense of all the available digital data and devices, and in defining which are the most useful and relevant to health care.


Many questions remain unanswered: Is it time we teach medical students about wearables? How soon will we prescribe a sensor or an app with a pill? Will big data drive the next generation of medical discoveries? I believe we should be preparing for all of these now.


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Apple Watch Has A Simple Killer App - And It's A Lifesaver

Apple Watch Has A Simple Killer App - And It's A Lifesaver | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Nearly 11.7 million people have either signed up or re-enrolled for insurance coverage under the U.S. healthcare reform law, more than the 9.1 million predicted by the Obama administration,health officials said on Tuesday.

As of Feb. 22, about 8.8 million signed up in one of the 37 states that use online exchanges operated by the federal government and 2.85 million were in the 14 states, and Washington, D.C., that operate their own exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

The Democratic-backed Affordable Care Act, narrowly passed by Congress in 2010 over unified Republican opposition, aimed to help millions of Americans without health insurance obtain coverage. Conservatives criticize the law, commonly called Obamacare, as government overreach.

The online exchanges, or marketplaces, are geared toward those who do not receive insurance through their employer and provide tax subsidies on a sliding scale to make health coverage affordable for low-income people.

In the states that use the federal exchange, called healthcare.gov, 87 percent qualified for a tax credit averaging $263 per month, according to HHS. It said more than half of consumers in states using healthcare.gov bought a plan that cost $100 or less after tax credits.

Enrollment across the board has largely exceeded expectations, health officials said. The enrollment period for 2015 coverage opened on Nov. 15 and closed on Feb. 15.

President Barack Obama's healthcare policy has been challenged in the courts since the outset. In the latest case, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on March 4 and is expected to decide this year whether or not to throw out tax subsidies in states that do not operate their own marketplaces.

If the court rules against the Obama administration, up to 7.5 million people in at least 34 states would lose the tax subsidies, according to consulting firm Avalere Health.

More than 4.1 million people under 35 years old have purchased health insurance through state and federal exchanges, the HHS said Tuesday, about a third of enrollees.


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saturat van's curator insight, March 13, 2015 2:51 AM
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Nicole Gillen's curator insight, March 16, 2015 7:58 AM

I'm standing as I type this.  Not!

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Tim Cook outlines Apple's role in health and wearables

“I think when you’re dealing with wellness, fitness and the proactive pieces of health. I don’t see Apple getting in to cancer research and this kind of stuff. That’s well beyond our expertise but I think in terms of things that you wear and things that you can know about your body and be able to proactively reach out to your doctor when certain things happen, I think that’s right up our alley and I think it’s something that the world needs. Apple is about making great products that enrich people’s lives.

“We wouldn’t build just a great product, we would only build it if it only enriched somebody. I think this is a fantastic example of something that enriches lives. So this is something that is highly interesting to us and you’ll notice that the watch has a health and fitness component. This is the area where we’re starting but where we go in the long term we’ll talk about later but it’s an area that I’m very excited about from multiple points of view. The opportunity and need for the world to have these types of products.”


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Samsung and Fitbit currently leading wearables markets

Samsung and Fitbit currently leading wearables markets | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

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.”


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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.

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How Wearable Startups Can Win Big In The Medical Industry

How Wearable Startups Can Win Big In The Medical Industry | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As attention shines down on fitness trackers and smartwatches, one of the biggest opportunities for wearable devices remains shadowed in the corner — medical wearables. Medical wearables present colossal opportunities, but they tend to frighten entrepreneurs and elicit polarizing sentiments from investors. As a healthcare and digital health investor, I am often asked my opinion on the subject, and can unequivocally say that I love wearables.

However, that does not mean I pursue every wearable investment that comes my way. The startups that catch my eye meet specific criteria shaped by the years I spent developing novel medical products that the FDA approved and payers reimbursed. When it comes to saying yes to medical wearable startups, here are the key things I look for:

Clinical Endpoints

When considering a medical wearable startup for investment, I focus on what type of data the product collects and if it is an endpoint. A primary clinical endpoint is defined as “an event or outcome that can be measured objectively to determine whether the intervention being studied is beneficial to a patient.”

For example, how long a patient survives is the primary endpoint for most cancer products, and reducing blood pressure is the primary endpoint for hypertension. Endpoints demonstrate that the product delivers value, and most importantly, whether other companies’ products deliver value as well.

Endpoints are not only the source of truth in healthcare, they are also the gatekeepers. Improving a primary endpoint in a clinical trial can unlock FDA approval, reimbursement by payers, and market share when physicians recommend the product to their patients.

For these reasons, a wearable company that accurately tracks primary endpoints commands power in the medical market. For instance, Empatica’s wristband is designed to accurately measure the onset of seizures, which in the long run could determine if one anti-epileptic medication works better than another or when an ambulance should be sent to someone’s home. I’m betting that pharmaceutical, medical device companies and hospitals will pay wearable startups for that type of value.

Aspiring medical wearable entrepreneurs should start by figuring out the strongest endpoints for the disease they want to impact. One good strategy is to look up clinical trials for the last 3-4 medical devices or drugs approved for that disease. Also check out this resource on endpoints from the FDA.

Bulletproof Data Management

Accurate data can be the difference between life and death, which means your data collection methods have to be ironclad. Consumers need to know that they can trust the data from your product, as does the FDA, larger medical community and investors.

Preventice provides an always-on, remote-monitoring wearable that measures arrhythmias outside of the hospital, as well as a dashboard that lets physicians and caregivers know when to reach out to help an individual with cardiovascular risks. It is imperative that the company measures each heartbeat correctly and securely stores patient data in order to avoid creating false alarms or introducing security risks.

Targeting your product to the medical community requires a high bar for how you measure and manage your data. Wearable startups will need to integrate design and quality controls, hire a regulatory affairs employee or consultant, and spend money on legal fees. While these obstacles may seem high, overcoming them means you can sell your product at a premium to medical companies. You have also created a high barrier to entry for competitors. The opportunities are huge, so going through the FDA and selling to medical companies is not a barrier to investment for me.

Designed for Engagement

The reality is that customers won’t use a product for long unless it proves worthwhile. So how do you keep users engaged with their medical wearable? By creating a feedback loop that extends beyond medical benefits. The device needs to be convenient, save time, and improve self-image. Consumers do not like to think of themselves as patients and want to minimize the energy focused on their disease. As we saw with Google Health’s failure, active data entry is not viable.

Aspiring medical wearable entrepreneurs should start by figuring out the strongest endpoints for the disease they want to impact.

Passive data tracking, just-in-time nudges, and clean design are must-haves for medical wearables. Chrono Therapeutics’ SmartStop is a wearable nicotine replacement patch to help smokers quit. SmartStop delivers nicotine in programmable intervals to prevent cravings before they occur. Chrono takes design-centered thinking a step further by integrating consumers’ compliance and behavior data into a mobile-enabled cessation plan designed with guidance from the Mayo Clinic.

The Right Partner

Turning a product into a business is actually quite simple — get paid. The time is now for wearable companies to build corporate partnerships into their business model. Existing medical companies need to keep proving that their products offer reimbursable value even after they complete clinical trials and are FDA approved. Wearables enable them to collect “real world evidence” as people go about their daily lives.

Some companies are even expanding in population health management and healthcare services to ensure their products deliver on their promise. One case of this is Medtronic, which has expanded beyond cardiovascular devices into telehealth and remote patient monitoring services. Its Cardiocom business unit uses a number of wired products to provide telemedicine. Imagine what its platform would look like if it had 24/7 data from patients on key physiologic measures.

The right partner can also help startups by validating products in clinical trials, which is appealing to an investor. For example, pharma company UCB signed a deal with electronics company MC10 to test its “BioStamp” in clinical trials for new neurological therapies.

Selling to the medical community may seem like a daunting proposition, but I believe this is where the big opportunities lie for medical wearable startups. For one thing, consumer-focused wearables aren’t living up to their promise. Research from Endeavor Partners found that one-third of consumers abandon their wearables after just a few months. Clearly the appeal of tracking steps is not enough to keep people interested in these devices.

Furthermore, focusing wearable device development on the consumer market (specifically young, wealthy, and tech-savvy early adopters) means that, in the words of J.C. Herz, “wearables are totally failing the people who need them most” — the old, the chronically ill, and the poor. Medical wearables are one of the rare and exciting areas where technology can have a marked, positive impact on people’s lives while also making big money at the same time. I can’t wait to see more entrepreneurs taking on these challenges.


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jean marc mosselmans's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:07 PM

a true potential and some nice insights with useful clickable links

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Wearables As Tools For Precision Medicine

Wearables As Tools For Precision Medicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
A key premise driving typical staid EMR companies like Epic to integrate with Apple’s Healthkit is the presumption that these data will be clinically useful and medically informative. I’ve already experienced this with my physician at One Medical Group, who (with my permission) is able to access data from my Withings blood pressure cuff and wifi scale, and gain more granular insight into these aspects of my health.

Less obvious, however, is how we’re faring on some of the larger ambitions around wearables; in particular, have wearables lived up to their promise to segment patient populations, and identify subgroups that are clinically or scientifically meaningful?

The theory is compelling – with the opportunity to monitor patients more comprehensively, and track patients in a fashion that more closely follows the contours of their lives, it should be possible to derive a more complete dataset that enables useful subgroups to be identified.

Rather than diagnose patients with diabetes, or asthma, it might be possible to tease apparent phenotypically distinct subgroups, in which the underlying cause of disease might be molecularly distinct. Even without an identification of a root cause, subgroups defined by wearable technology might still benefit from distinct therapeutic approaches.

View through this lens, data from wearables could be enormously valuable in precision (or personalized) medicine (the distinction is less important to me than to some others), helping to identify the right patients to receive the right therapy at the right time. This vision becomes even more compelling when the rich phenotypic data are combined with detailed genetic information; such an integrated database is core to President Obama’s recently-announced Precision Medicine initiative. (Disclosure/reminder: I work at a genomic data management company.)

Despite this promise, there seems very little published data to suggest that wearables have contributed to meaningful patient segmentation – though of course, absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. At best, I can seem to find only promising feasibility studies, and suggestive preliminary data.

Are there relevant published data I’ve missed? I’m keenly interested in legitimate studies demonstrating a wearable (defined as broadly as you like) can be used more effectively than traditional approaches to identify relevant subpopulations in a way that meaningfully impacts clinical care, or that robustly and reproducibly distinguishes subgroups that can be used as the basis for in depth molecular analysis.

If these data really don’t exist anywhere, it could be because digital health such a young field, and good science takes a long time to carry out and publish. It also could be because many first-generation wearables weren’t up to the task, but subsequent generation instruments might be, either because they’re more reliable or because they collect data that’s more relevant. It’s also possible the data from wearables will never prove as scientifically useful as advocates like me believe.
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The Apple Watch Will Bring Glucose Tracking to Your Wrist

The Apple Watch Will Bring Glucose Tracking to Your Wrist | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
With Apple Watch quickly approaching its April release month, app developers are giving us a better sense of the wearable's capabilities than the designers at Cupertino. For instance, we know how the watch will work with your car or draw up a to do list. Now its health merits are getting some attention.

With help from DexCom, a company that makes monitors for diabetics, the Apple Watch will be one of the first wearables to bring glucose tracking to your wrist. The Apple Watch itself will only act as a display for the information being pumped out every five minutes by DexCom's continuous glucose monitor or CGM, a hair-thin sensor embedded under the skin.

DexCom teased its intentions to bring glucose monitoring to the Apple Watch at CES 2015, as pictured below with the company's current iPhone app. Diatribe, who originally reported the CES news, also says that DexCom's new CGM will also integrate with Apple's Healthkit platform, which until now has largely been associated with fitness apps. Doctors may also benefit from the partnership as Apple's Healthkit adoption rate in hospitals is outpacing Google Fit and Samsung's S Health.

The Apple Watch Will Bring Glucose Tracking to Your Wrist

The Apple Watch isn't the first smartwatch to bring CGM monitoring to a wrist wearable. The Nightscout CGM system, which is an open source project that allows remote access to DexCom sensors, has already developed an app for Pebble. It's been hoped since the Apple Watch was announced that the wearable would follow in Pebble's footsteps, and that seems to be what's happening.

Last summer Reuters reported that Samsung, Apple, and Google are all investigating how to incorporate glucose monitoring into wearables. The one hurdle being that any device marketed for diabetics would fall under the Food and Drug Administrations stringent regulations on Class III medical devices. The CGM sensor in this case is still considered a Class III device, but because of a recent rule change, any apps or software associated with the wearable device only needs to be registered with the FDA, meaning DexCom's Apple Watch app can bypass the agency's tortoise-speed approval process and be ready to go when the wearable ships in April, according to The Wall Street Journal.

So it seems the FDA's relaxed regulations on diabetes software has given developers some room to work, and they're taking advantage.
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Google, Biogen will use wearable sensors to study multiple sclerosis

Google, Biogen will use wearable sensors to study multiple sclerosis | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Biogen Idec has partnered with Google X, Google’s business unit for long-term “moonshot” projects, to study outside factors that might contribute to the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a report from Bloomberg.

Google and Biogen will use sensors, software, and data analysis tools to collect and analyze data from people who have MS. The companies aim to explore why MS progresses differently in each patient.

Bloomberg pointed out that Biogen has used digital tools for its disease research in the past. Last month, Biogen announced that it was using Fitbit activity trackers to gather data from people who have MS. It gave 250 Fitbit bands to participants to track their level of activity and sleep patterns. Last summer, the pharma company worked with Cleveland Clinic to develop an iPad app to assess MS progression. 


Via nrip, pcorral3432
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Farid Mheir's curator insight, January 29, 2015 7:43 AM

Companies should do this more often: experiment with new technologies - cloud, analytics, wearables, etc. - to explore new business opportunities with minimal investments. All technology companies do it yet few in the traditional environments seam to grab the opportunity. Why?

ChemaCepeda's curator insight, February 2, 2015 1:08 PM

Cuantificación personal, wearables y big data al servicio de la captura y análisis de información para el estudio de la progresión de enfermedades como la esclerosis múltiple.

Nadine Quinn's curator insight, February 18, 2015 10:38 AM

ajouter votre aperçu ...

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NIH is asking for feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect medical information

NIH is asking for feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect medical information | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The NIH is currently asking for pubic feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect health and lifestyle data for its Precision Medicine Initiative — an initiative that hopes to collect data on more than 1 million individuals. The NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative is described as:


a bold new enterprise to revolutionize medicine and generate the scientific evidence needed to move the concept of precision medicine into every day clinical practice


What exactly that means is a bit nebulous, but a New England Journal of Medicineperspective sheds some light:


Ultimately, we will need to evaluate the most promising approaches in much larger numbers of people over longer periods. Toward this end, we envisage assembling over time a longitudinal “cohort” of 1 million or more Americans who have volunteered to participate in research.


Qualified researchers from many organizations will, with appropriate protection of patient confidentiality, have access to the cohort’s data, so that the world’s brightest scientific and clinical minds can contribute insights and analysis.


The NIH is specifically asking the following:


  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.


It’s exciting to see the NIH see the potential of digital health. They specifically mention how smartphones and wearables can be utilized to collect a wide variety of data: location information, mobile questionnaires, heart rate, physical activity levels, and more.


There is already a robust discussion taking place in the comments section at the NIH website, and we encourage our readers to contribute.

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Richard Platt's curator insight, July 30, 2015 7:37 PM

The NIH is specifically asking the following:

  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.
Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek's curator insight, July 31, 2015 1:31 AM

The NIH is specifically asking the following:

  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.
Heather Taylor's curator insight, August 31, 2015 10:33 PM

#wearables #healthcare #wearabledevices

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Will the smartwatch be the key that unlocks connected health?

Will the smartwatch be the key that unlocks connected health? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The market for wearable technology devices is still in its infancy but consumers are already favoring health and fitness applications.

New Parks Associates research published Tuesday shows that just 9% of US broadband households intend to invest in a smartwatch in 2015 and that 40% of shoppers have set a price limit of $100-$250.


This is "roughly equivalent to a high-end fitness tracker," said Harry Wang, director, Health and Mobile Research, Parks Associates. "We are in the early stages in the likely merger of smartwatch and fitness tracker product categories."


Fitness applications are already proving to be the most popular use cases for smartwatch owners and this could have a huge impact on the future of digital health. 


"The smartwatch is a key entry in the connected health market, which is rapidly becoming more oriented toward the end user," Jennifer Kent, Director, Research Quality & Product Development, Parks Associates, said. "The adoption rate for connected health devices among U.S. broadband households increased from 24% to 27% over the last year, opening the door for connected device manufacturers as well as service providers to take advantage of the growing consumerization in healthcare."

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Gerard Dab's curator insight, July 16, 2015 8:32 PM

Watches or Cell phones for the connected health market.. #medicoolhc #medicoollifeprotector

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Why mHealth and Patient Engagement are Critical to the Future of Healthcare

Why mHealth and Patient Engagement are Critical to the Future of Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

In the health IT industry, a lot of the focus on mobile health (mHealth) lies on the provider side—specifically how digital health tools are helping clinicians be more “mobile” within their workflows. In fact, this was precisely what HCI Senior Contributing Editor David Raths wrote about in this year’s Top Ten Tech Trends. This perspective is undoubtedly exciting and fascinating, and worth a read if you haven’t seen it already. But there’s another angle to mobile computing that has perked my interest lately—that being the care management side to mobile health tools, and how patients, in addition to providers, are using these technologies to improve their care.


Indeed, for the May/June issue of Healthcare Informatics, I wrote a fairly lengthy feature (now online!) on how mHealth tools are paving the way for better chronic care management. While doing my research for the story, I quickly noticed three important trends: First, the level of significance that provider organizations are putting on patient engagement shows how they are increasingly willing to adapt to the way healthcare is changing; Second, much of this engagement is starting to be done via mobile technologies; and Third, while the era of patient-generated health data (PGHD) is upon us, plenty of work is still needed for this type of data to be integrated into electronic health records (EHRs).


Regarding the first point,  as I wrote in the feature, according to findings of the 26th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, sponsored by the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and released at the annual HIMSS conference this past April, “patient satisfaction, patient engagement, and quality of care improvement have raced to the top of healthcare CIOs’ and senior IT executives’ agendas in the past year, a stark change from previous years which found that health IT leaders were more focused on business and financial goals. Nonetheless, it’s been a struggle for physicians to truly engage their patients, especially the 45 percent of U.S. adults with at least one chronic condition, and particularly in underserved populations.”…As such, “another recent survey from HIMSS found that more than 90 percent of survey respondents are utilizing mobile devices within their organizations to engage patients in their care.”


Certainly, healthcare delivery is no longer limited to face-to-face encounters between patients and providers, a concept that has been pushed by the federal government when you consider their recent meaningful use Stage 3 proposals. In practice, there is clear evidence that mHealth tools can be effective for chronic disease management—a HIMSScase study gives an example of how this can happen in the real word. In Sacramento, Calif., a mother posts the results of her son’s latest round of treatment for neuroblastoma on a protected social network website. More than 2,500 miles away in North Carolina, a man who has been struggling to control his diabetes receives a text message from a health coach about a recent spike in his blood sugar level and asks what he ate for breakfast. Every day, from every corner of the United States, people are turning to mobile technologies to help them understand, manage and cope with chronic illness. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 72 percent of Internet users look online for health information and one in three cell phone owners have used their phone to access health information.


Leading provider organizations such as Duke Medicine and Stanford Health Care are following this trend, using mobile tools to improve care, both of which I wrote about in the feature. Another innovative patient care organization, the New York City-based Mount Sinai Hospital and LifeMap Solutions, also in New York, recently announced the launch of a large-scale medical research study that uses Apple’s  ResearchKit to help individuals who suffer from asthma to participate in studies right from their iPhone.  The Asthma Health app is designed to facilitate asthma patient education and self-monitoring, promote positive behavioral changes, and reinforce adherence to treatment plans according to current asthma guidelines. The study tracks symptom patterns in an individual and potential triggers for these exacerbations so that researchers can learn new ways to personalize asthma treatment, officials say.


While Duke and Stanford have been slowly progressing with integrating this data into EHRs, in a recent interview, Yvonne Chan, M.D., Ph.D., director of personalized medicine and digital health at the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mount Sinai, told me that the Asthma Health app is in the research phase now and that when it comes to care management, it’s important to take baby steps. “This is the very first step. We are essentially collecting information, developing algorithms, and the next phase is further validated before you can start providing actual medical management feedback,” she said. “Integrating this into the EHR is something we definitely want to do down the road.”


Even the organizations that are incorporating patient-generated data into EHRs are doing it slowly, with plenty of challenges. Still, the market for wearable technologies continues to grow with a seemingly limitless future— market researcher Visiongain recently assessed that the value of the global wearables technology market will reach $16.1 billion by the end of this year. Other analysts predict that the wearables market will grow tenfold to $50 billion over the next three to five years.

And for certain healthcare organizations, the opportunities to leverage the wearable data go beyond just tracking. Nick Reddy, senior vice president of information system investments at the Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health, touches on this point in an interview featured in this year’s Top Ten Tech Trends on consumer-generated data. “The prevention side of healthcare is where the clinically-relevant things are happening, compared to just the 10 steps that are tracked by a wearable device. “We want to spin business intelligence and analytics on it,” Reddy said. “If you’re a diabetic and you haven’t been walking your steps or taking your [metmorfin], let’s flag you so your case manager can intervene. That’s where our roadmap is taking us,” Reddy said, referring to the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance (BSWQA), a 3,700 physician-strong network that is one of the largest accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the country.


At the core of all of this—patient engagement, mHealth tools, and EHR integration—is one very important factor: the patient, or as some now call us, the “consumer.” Are we ready for this type of engagement and activeness in our own care to be able to lower costs and improve health outcomes through the use of mobile tools? I think we’re certainly on the way there—and if you look at how the federal government wants to shape the healthcare industry—we better be.

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Apple Watch Changes the Health Wearables Game

Apple Watch Changes the Health Wearables Game | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

After months of speculation and hype, the Apple Watch has finally arrived. 


What are some first impressions? How does it compare with other watches, bands and wearables? How will it impact the digital health landscape? (By the way, if you are reading this review for information on how to deliver your one-way banner ads brand messages via Apple Watch, you're already missing the point.)

I have been an avid user of wearable fitness and health trackers for a few years. After losing several Nike FuelBands on the soccer field, I recently switched to the Microsoft Band. Although it's slightly bulky, I truly enjoy the simple interface for tracking my activities, instantly measuring my heart rate and even paying for my Starbucks coffee.

Then along comes the Apple Watch. Of course it's got a great design, but it's not going to be for everyone initially. The learning curve is steep, especially if you're like me and don't take advantage of the online or in-store training. It does have a limited battery life and seems to be missing some core health functions. It might not be ideal for people with poor vision, and it doesn't currently have independent GPS capability. I was particularly worried about whether I could wear it while playing soccer, but I simply placed a wristband over it. Voila! I didn't find a default sleep-measurement function, but I assume that there will be apps to do that. Maybe Apple would rather I charge my watch while I sleep.

It's been only a few days, but I can already say that the Apple Watch experience is a great improvement over my other fitness bands. In addition to tracking my heart rate and how much I'm moving or sitting, the Apple Watch lets me do everyday things like receive texts and email, take phone calls and use Apple Pay. But I'm most excited about how it and other wearables will help me modify my behavior for better health. There's something very motivating about receiving visual and sensory cues from a device attached to your body. For instance, the Apple Watch gives you a nudge every hour to get up and move for a minute. It's very subtle and it may be a minuscule benefit, but it can be a great tool to combat the 21st century “disease of sitting” that so many of us are facing. 

We have been talking about big data, value beyond the pill and behavioral economics for some time. 

These wearable devices provide a great opportunity to do more than simply be shiny objects for early adopters. Wearables aren't just for fitness—they can make a big impact on adherence, compliance and cessation of unhealthy behaviors. 


Two hospital systems are currently conducting digital medicine trials using the Apple Watch to help manage hypertension and to determine how nurses and physicians can benefit from incorporating the Apple Watch into a medical home program. There are already a number of industry-related apps available for Apple Watch, including those from Drchrono, Lark, Doximity, WebMD, HealthTap and others.

The uptake has been rapid: Consider the fact more Apple Watches were sold in one day than Android Wear devices in an entire year. As a digital marketer, don't expect every demographic to immediately adopt the Apple Watch or other wearables. But ignore the Apple Watch effect at your own risk. The impact of this new technology and interface will manifest over time, just like our mobile phones did. 

Remember when they said social media was only a fad?


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Why Wearable Technology is Good for your Health

Why Wearable Technology is Good for your Health | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch and Adidas’s plans for including wearable technology in its shoe and clothing lines have been drawing attention recently, as the age of always-accessible information is upon us. In the era of the Internet of Things — when our homes are linked to our smartphones and everything else is linked to a network — it’s still somewhat surprising to realize that entire industries have yet to be transformed by increased connectivity. Until recently, one of those areas was arguably the health field. Yes, files have been switched to online servers for some time now. But it’s only been in the past year or so that the health industry has begun to be revolutionized by the possibilities technology offers.

With an increase in the number of apps and medical devices that patients can use on their own, the challenge becomes providing a way for that information to be shared seamlessly, said Liat Ben-Zur, senior vice president and digital technology leader at Philips. Ben-Zur spoke with The Next Web at SXSW about how the company is attempting to create a platform that could share numerous data points about a person’s health with their doctors.
 
 
Health solutions at your fingertips

“Right now, what we’re seeing is there’s a general health care problem on the horizon that we want to be focusing on,” she said in the interview. The aging population in America is seeing an uptick in chronic diseases, Ben-Zur said, and almost 70% of the health care costs in the industry right now are going toward managing those diseases. As patients seek to monitor those, they’re using more apps and devices that monitor diet, blood pressure, weight, and all sorts of data that can help doctors to determine the best course of treatment. And while that allows consumers to take their health into their own hands, much of that data is still scattered and fragmented, because of the framework of how the data is collected.

“All of these different wearables … they’re all sending their information to their own databases, and nothing’s being shared,” Ben-Zur said. Patients might track their biological data over time, but it’s not easily combined with x-rays taken by a specialist, a list of medications they’re currently taking, and the environmental factors like air quality that could also affect their prognosis.

The benefit of all sorts of “smart” technology is that doctors could start to get a better picture of what is actually affecting a patient’s health by looking at a myriad of factors. Some health devices are already HIPAA-compliant for medical use and regulated by the government, Ben-Zur said. Not only is there a potential to collect traditional health data, she added, but there’s a possibility that non-regulated home devices like HVAC systems, refrigerators, and coffee makers could be connected to an open-cloud platform that could provide a wealth of contextual information. If all the devices are truly “smart” and are able to connect to the Internet but also share information, “we can start to actually leverage the benefits of wearables devices, of home monitoring devices.”

So the company, in a partnership with salesforce.com, created HealthSuite, a secure cloud-based platform that aggregates all sorts of health data that is accessible for patients and health care providers. If a patient is wearing a device that transmits their vital sign information to the cloud, a doctor can view that data on an app and monitor the person’s health even when they’re not in the same room. The video above gives an overview of how HealthSuite works.

Philips isn’t the only brand to offer real-time medical collaboration, though the idea is still rather novel. Though perhaps not as comprehensive as Ben-Zur describes as the potential for Philips, drchrono.com offers one-stop health care services with its Electronic Health Record, or EHR, platform. Patients can upload health information, make appointments with their doctors, and receive electronic prescriptions through one website and app. Apple also began offering a Health app with its iOS8 launch in September 2014, which can track all sorts of data such as calories consumed, sleep data, vital signs, and more. Along with that launch, Apple also created HealthKit for app developers, which enables independent fitness apps to share their data with the Health app dashboard. All of that information can be shared with medical professionals, directly through the app.


Security’s role in connected health care

So what’s the catch with all of this seemingly great cooperation? According to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, it’s security. In her statements at the International Consumer Electronics Show in January 2015, Ramirez said that addressing security issues is paramount to ensure that consumers truly benefit from the Internet of Things. “That data trove will contain a wealth of revealing information that, when patched together, will present a deeply personal and startlingly complete picture of each of us – one that includes details about our financial circumstances, our health, our religious preferences, and our family and friends,” she said. Later in the speech, she elaborated on the specific threat that data breaches have, the probability of which increases with the more connected devices people use. “Moreover, the risks that unauthorized access create intensify as we adopt more and more devices linked to our physical safety, such as our cars, medical care, and homes,” Ramirez said.

The health care industry is particularly at risk in the current digital environment. The Global State of Information Security Survey for 2015, administered by PricewaterhouseCooper, shows that “information security incidents” (read: breaches) jumped 60% in 2014 compared to 2013, and the costs attributed to those incidents increased by 282%. A growing number of health providers are reporting that they are investing more in security, especially at an executive level, according to the study. However, there’s a disconnect in bringing those discussions to a board of directors level.

The potential for adding health care initiatives to the Internet of Things is a huge benefit, because it can allow consumers and doctors to become more proactive, instead of reactive to a current health need. Ben-Zur praised this, as did the Atlantic Council and Intel Security in a report titled, “The Healthcare Internet of Things: Rewards and Risks.” According to a separate Intel Security survey of more than 12,000 adults in 2013, a large majority of people are receptive to using this form of sharing information to improve their health. Of the respondents, 70% of adults said they would be willing to use swallowed monitors, prescription bottle sensors, and even toilet sensors to improve personal care.


How does the field move forward?

With that in mind, it’s likely that the biggest obstacle for widespread use is the potential for data theft. While that might always be a concern with online files, several of the companies are already addressing the issue. Apple’s information is encrypted and drchrono’s data is under HIPAA protections. Philips doesn’t discuss the security details of its HealthSuite, but in every announcement about it, including a press release to publicize the launch, the company emphasizes the platform has built-in security to create a secure cloud environment.

The risks are still present. “Since the IoT is still in its infancy, no one yet knows all the ways this information can be used for malicious purposes,” the Atlantic Council and Intel Security wrote. However, with companies continuing to try to improve their security measures, while also providing new tools to monitor health, it’s likely that the health field will become the next industry reshaped by the Internet of Things.

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Facing data integration demands

Facing data integration demands | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The healthcare industry is naturally rich with data -- clinical, patient, claim, hospital system, financial, pharmacy and, most recently, data from wearable technology.


It’s clear that analyzing this data collectively can drastically improve patient care and both clinical and financial outcomes, but how to actually collect, read, integrate, understand and leverage the data remains a broken process.


From a technology perspective, data is sourced from a myriad of systems with varied levels of sophistication, accessibility, transparency and quality. Systems designed decades ago prior to the advent of Big Data are still prevalent, and pulling data from them can range from merely difficult to downright arcane. On top of that, between payers, providers and patients, the opportunities to combine data sets can far exceed the willingness or ability of all parties to collaborate. Add to that the poor state of healthcare data integration tools, and you have quite a challenge to make sense of the healthcare puzzle.


The industry is faced with the challenge of enabling these vast and varied systems to talk to one another in a meaningful way that generates actionable value. So, where do we stand when it comes to facing data integration demands, and where can we improve?

We’re still sorely lacking when it comes to addressing integration. Large legacy software systems and the practice of manually collecting information is just the tip of the iceberg. Sadly, much of the healthcare analytics story still remains buried in hidden spreadsheet formulas. To really solve the data dilemma, we need to rethink our approach to integrating data by first integrating teams, integrating concepts and integrating technologies. Only then can we meaningfully integrate data.


Integrating Teams – Team design is one of the largest hindrances to quality data integration. Too often, IT teams are tasked with collecting data for an entirely separate analytics team, who then needs to provide reports to drive a separate clinical transformation team. Those who use the data are too far disconnected from the data collection process, while those tasked with collecting the data frequently have a poor understanding of the business need or even the source of the data itself. There are definite silos throughout the data lifecycle process. Not only are teams operating under singular mindsets, the points of data transfer or handoff can be sloppy and important details can be missed. Skill sets for data retrieval, organization, interpretation and action must become intertwined in order for data integration to improve. Crossover of team members can also help mitigate the lost efficiencies.

Without the full picture or people available to connect the dots, there is a huge margin for misinterpretation or missed opportunities. Building teams that include skilled professionals who understand and have access to the full picture will result in quicker and more effective advancements. We need good, accurate, timely data from all different parts of the business.

Integrating Concepts – Teams of data professionals will universally agree that your systems don’t talk to one another well because they model data differently, and lack solid relational keys to tie similar concepts across systems. As a common example, each data system will contain its own definition of what constitutes a person, an eligible member, and a patient. And each system represents these concepts with, at best, their own internally created unique keys, or at worst, no meaningful key at all. Either way, important concepts don’t map cleanly across systems. There are techniques for data unification across systems, but they often require system experts, external key lookups, a sophisticated data integration team, and constant grooming. Proper data warehousing techniques can help, but frequently the grander promises of a full-on Enterprise Data Warehouse have overshadowed the simpler and smaller utilitarian wins such as this.

Integrating Technology – Even with more comprehensive teams and data model concepts we still need technology for these vast data sets to talk with one another. Currently, we’re dealing with legacy systems that can’t handle the magnitude of data being generated, or collaborate effectively with new software. On top of these outdated systems, the integration tools the industry has adopted serve general-purpose data integration needs, requiring custom build-outs to address the specific demands of the healthcare system. Tooling that effectively and naturally understands and validates industry coding, provides meaningful data profiling, componentizes processing for reuse, and can handle the sheer volume of healthcare data is a must. Off-the-shelf general-purpose data integration tools may be appealing at the time of purchase, but require a huge investment in building up the missing library of established healthcare data expertise, making the hard path from data, to knowledge, to wisdom that much longer.

Data integration demands can’t be solved in one fell swoop, but if the cornerstones of people, processes and technology are each properly advanced, we can effectively begin to see more immediate, effective and impactful outcomes from healthcare data analysis. 

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Health checks by smartphone raise privacy fears

Health checks by smartphone raise privacy fears | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Authorities and tech developers must stop sensitive health data entered into applications on mobile phones ending up in the wrong hands, experts warn.

As wireless telecom companies gathered in Barcelona this week at the Mobile World Congress, the sector's biggest trade fair, specialists in "e-health" said healthcare is fast shifting into the connected sphere.

"It's an inexorable tide that is causing worries because people are introducing their data into the system themselves, without necessarily reading all the terms and conditions," said Vincent Genet of consultancy Alcimed.

"In a few years, new technology will be able to monitor numerous essential physiological indicators by telephone and to send alerts to patients and the specialists who look after them."

More and more patients are using smartphone apps to monitor signs such as their blood sugar and pressure.

The European Commission estimates the market for mobile health services could exceed 17.5 billion euros (19 billion euros) from 2017.

The Chinese health ministry's deputy head of "digital health", Yan Jie Gao, said at the congress on Wednesday that the ministry planned to spend tens of billions of euros (dollars) by 2025 to equip 90,000 hospitals with the means for patients to contact them online securely.

Patients are entering health indicators and even using online health services for long-distance consultations with doctors whom they do not know.

"There is a steady increase in remote consultations with medical practitioners," particularly in the United States, said Kevin Curran, a computer scientist and senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

"Your doctor can be someone who's based in Mumbai. We have to be very careful about our data, because they're the ones who probably will end up storing your data and keeping a record of it."

- Cloud-based healthcare -

Other users are entering personal health data into applications on their smartphones.

This kind of "e-health" could save governments money and improve life expectancy, but authorities and companies are looking to strengthen security measures to protect patients' data before such services become even more widespread.

"I think tech companies are becoming more concerned with privacy and encryption now," said Curran.

"The problem quite often is that a lot of this data is stored not on the phone or the app but in the cloud," in virtual storage space provided by web companies, he added.

"We are at the mercy of who the app providers are and how well they secure the information, and they are at the mercy sometimes of the cloud providers."

Others fear that insurance companies will get hold of customers' health information and could make them pay more for coverage according to their illnesses.

Various sources alleged to AFP that health insurance companies have been buying data from supermarkets about what food customers were buying, drawn from the sales records of their loyalty cards, following media reports to that effect.

The kind of "e-health" indicator most sought after by patients is fitness-related rather than information on illnesses, however, said Vincent Bonneau of the research group Idate.

A study by Citrix Mobile, a specialist in wireless security, showed that more than three quarters of people using e-health applications were doing so for fitness reasons rather than for diagnosing illnesses.


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How the Apple Watch Will Help You Take Charge of Your Health

How the Apple Watch Will Help You Take Charge of Your Health | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Looking at its hardware, the Apple Watch might not seem all that different from other wearables: a touchscreen display, a heart rate sensor, haptic feedback for taps and notifications, a mic for voice controls. Even so, it is poised to have a major impact on connected health management. As with the iPhone, it’s the software that will move the needle.

“What excites me the most about the Apple Watch is its ability to build positive habits,” says Jeremy Olson, founder of Tapity. Tapity is an award-winning app maker with plans for Watch apps. “The killer apps will be the ones that make positive interactions so convenient and front-of-mind that users can’t help but live healthier, more productive lives.”

After revealing its watch to the world in late September, Apple gave developers access to the Apple Watch API (WatchKit) in November. Developers currently have only limited access, but it’s becoming clear that won’t keep it from becoming a powerful, popular consumer tool, particularly with regards to health management. Services focused on tracking health will be able to use the Watch interface to display relevant, up-to-the-minute statistics in a way that’s more convenient than on a smartphone, or on a monitoring device’s screen. It will do this using the processing power of your iPhone, rather than a mobile chip onboard the watch itself, and updates will be sent to the watch wirelessly.

The patient who only wants to track weight and steps can use the same platform to capture lung function and blood glucose.

DexCom Monitor will work this way. It will use the Apple Watch to show blood glucose levels for Type 1 diabetics by presenting an easy-to-read graph on the smartwatch’s display. The glucose information itself is tracked from DexCom’s monitor, a tiny Class III medical device positioned under the skin. It measures glucose levels every five minutes, transmits the data to a phone app, and then the app sends the graph images to the smartwatch.

Respiratory health tracking will also get a boost from the Watch’s platform. Cohero Health is working on an Apple Watch app so asthmatics can better track their medical adherence and lung function. The company currently makes an inhaler strap and mobile spirometer, a Class II medical device that captures important respiratory performance metrics like functional expiratory volume (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) levels. These sync with its AsthmaHero mobile app, which tracks this data for the user and relays it to their healthcare provider through HealthKit.

For Cohero Health CEO Melissa Manice, the beauty of the Apple Watch is that it doesn’t make health tracking burdensome anymore. It de-stigmatizes chronic illness.

“The patient who only wants to track weight and steps can use the same platform that can also capture lung function and blood glucose,” Manice says. “It levels the playing field.”

But managing a chronic disease often requires long-term changes to a person’s lifestyle. Malay Gandhi, managing director at Rock Health, says that giving people continuous feedback, prompting and reminding them at the right times, is key to inducing those sorts of lifestyle changes. Wrist-based notifications are perfect for this.

Take Propeller Health, another tool for those with respiratory conditions. In addition to monitoring inhaler usage with the company’s Bluetooth sensor, its location-sensing mobile app tracks weather, pollen count, and air quality (along with other personal trigger factors) to notify a patient when conditions arise that might initiate an asthma attack. The notifications are personalized and contextually relevant, and since they’re on the wrist, they could be even less obtrusive than they are on a smartphone. Current users of the app see a significant reduction in rescue inhaler use—and more asthma free days. Propeller Health plans to begin work on an Apple Watch app after it begins shipping.

The Apple Watch could lure in new users who never previously thought about tracking their fitness activities because now they’ll get the functionality and convenience for “free.”

Gandhi, whose company Rock Health wants “to fund the first iconic company” to take advantage of the wrist interface for health monitoring, also sees the Apple Watch being useful in supporting good mental health.

“I use an anxiety coaching app, and it would be helpful to get prompts throughout the day rather than whenever I have an opportunity to open the app,” Gandhi says.

And of course, the Apple Watch has the potential to make fitness and activity tracking more accessible, especially to new users. Runtastic CEO and co-founder Florian Gschwandtner thinks the Watch will intrigue people new to fitness-tracking by letting them play with types of data they’ve never seen before. He first saw this when his company’s app debuted on the iPhone.

“People weren’t previously aware of the ability to track their runs and soon, they were nearly addicted to doing so,” Gschwandtner says. The Apple Watch could lure in new users who never previously thought about tracking their activities because now they’ll get the functionality and convenience for “free.”

The watch could even potentially help you make better decisions when you’re having a night on the town. Breathalyzer maker BACtrack is working on an Apple Watch app that will work with its Mobile and Vio smartphone breathalyzers. It adds a bit of convenience: users will be able to test their blood alcohol content by tapping the Apple Watch and then blowing into the BACtrack, leaving their phone in their pocket. Sure, it’s mostly a novelty. But sometimes, that little bit of convenience is all it takes for people to increase their engagement with a product.

Apple is reportedly assisting developers at its Cupertino headquarters so their WatchKit apps are primed for launch day. Take this as evidence that the Apple Watch apps we are learning about now are only a fraction of what we’ll see in the days and months following its April launch. But if what we see on launch day is anywhere near as impressive as the tidbits we’re learning about during this lead up, we can expect big steps toward better health management.


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Melanie Ferreira's curator insight, February 24, 2015 2:29 AM

Think this will be a change in the fitness history!

David Greene's curator insight, February 24, 2015 8:20 PM

Good for Apple - innovation leading the way to better health...

Little Moose's curator insight, February 25, 2015 11:57 AM

I can't wait to try one of these!

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A new wearable device could let you know you're stressed before you even realize it

A new wearable device could let you know you're stressed before you even realize it | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Ever arrived to work so flustered by your perilous commute that you just want to scream at someone?

What if you could go back in time to that stressful part of your morning, play it in slow motion, and press "pause" right at the beginning — when you first feel the blood rush to your cheeks and the thoughts in your brain start to blur? What if you could stop, take a deep breath, and ride it out — instead of letting your emotions get the best of you?

Tech startup Neumitra, one of billionaire Peter Thiel's newest Breakout Labs grantees, wants to give you that option. (The exact amount of funding Neumitra received from Thiel is undisclosed, but Breakout Labs typically invests between $100,000 and $350,000 on each of its selected companies.)

The new company, headed by former MIT neuroscientist Robert Goldberg, is designing a wearable device to measure our stress levels in real time — whether we're paying attention or not — and alert us to the first signs of stress via a gentle vibration.

The idea behind the technology is simple: Since stress triggers a physiological response in the body (quicker heart rate, faster breathing, sweating), measuring it could give us an opportunity to nip it in the bud.

Goldberg's device is a smartwatch with sensors embedded inside that use skin conductance, a century-old technique (still widely used for things like biofeedback therapy, in which patients learn to control body functions with specific thoughts) that measures the electrical conductivity of the fingers, palms, and feet. The more we sweat, the more electricity we conduct in these areas.

Since sweat is controlled by the same part of the nervous system that handles our stress response, our skin conductivity can serve as a potential indicator of whether or not we're stressed — though of course it's not quite that simple.

NeumitraScreenshot of the Neumitra app, which pairs with a smartphone. The color-coded squares are designed to show your stress levels during each activity: The darker orange a square is, the more stressful that activity; the darker blue a square is, the less stressful.

How it works

Users wear a smartwatch with the Neumitra hardware embedded inside. After a few days of wearing the device, it "learns" the user's typical levels and picks up on when those levels dramatically rise or fall — such as when someone is exercising or sleeping. If the device starts to vibrate and you're at the gym, for example, you could simply press a button to turn it off.

Which brings us to the purpose of the device: To alert people to places, situations, or events that they may never have identified as "stressful," but may nonetheless be triggering a physical stress response in their bodies.

Say you're in the middle of a meeting or driving on the freeway when suddenly your wrist starts to buzz.

This is your opportunity to change how you respond to the stressful incident. Rather than carrying on, business as usual, as your stress levels mount, you could ideally stop, take a breath, and calm yourself down.

"We often don't recognize a stressful situation until far after it's happened," Goldberg told Business Insider. "This allows you to know in the moment what's happening to you mentally and physically."

NeumitraScreenshot of the Neumitra app showing stressful periods of a user's commute. Blue-highlighted areas show places where stress levels were low; red areas show places where stress levels were high.

This could be especially useful at work, where stress can snowball throughout a long

day at the office until suddenly you feel emotionally overwhelmed or burned out. 

Even if we're completely unaware of it initially, stress over the long term can mess with our memory, make us more emotionally reactive, and decrease our ability to focus. When we're constantly under stress, we also become more prone to illness.

Neumitra could help show people what parts of their day might stress them out without their knowledge, so they can come up with solutions to avoid added anxiety. "If you find out the most stressful part of your day is your commute," Goldberg suggests as an example, "and you're coming to work already stressed out, you're not going to do your best work. Maybe it would be better for you to work from home."


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Cheryl Palmer's curator insight, February 19, 2015 6:53 PM

WEARABLES - Interesting Business Insider article detailing a new wearable in development in Australia to monitor stress by startup Neumitra.  Describes how the wearable will work and what research is still needed before it can be successful.  I was pleased to come across this article as so much tech development happens overseas,  yet Australia has such a great a history of innovation and I know many great things will be created here by startups like this one. 

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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 | Scoop.it

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.


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14 U.S. Hospitals Are Launching Pilots To Test Apple's HealthKit

14 U.S. Hospitals Are Launching Pilots To Test Apple's HealthKit | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

At least 14 major U.S. hospitals have launched or will launch pilot programs to test the use of Apple's HealthKit platform to manage chronic health conditions, Reuters reports.

Background on HealthKit

In June 2014, Apple introduced a new mobile application and platform that aims to consolidate health data tracked by various other health apps into one location.

Apple's product includes both the platform, called HealthKit, and a user-facing app called Health. It was bundled into Apple's iOS8 software, which powers iPhones and iPads.

In September 2014, Apple announced that Duke University School of Medicine and Stanford University's School of Medicine would be testing its products.

Details of Pilot Projects

The hospital pilot programs aim to help providers monitor patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, by tracking patient-generated data from tools that report several metrics, including:

  • Blood pressure;
  • Caloric intake;
  • Exercise levels;
  • Glucose levels;
  • Heart rate; and
  • Weight.

For example, New Orleans-based Ochsner Medical Center is working with Apple and Epic Systems on a pilot program that tracks several hundred high-risk patients in an effort to control blood pressure. The patients use devices that track their blood pressure and send the data to providers' iPhones and iPads.


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Technology is changing healthcare

Technology is changing healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
Personalised medicine is becoming a reality.

Just as high speed broadband and smart phones have empowered consumers in retailing and banking there is talk of the same happening for patients in medicine.

All this offers exciting opportunities for BBC News. Our health news offering can reflect and benefit from the big leaps forward in the world of medical technology.

The business of health in the UK is flourishing. The UK is now the top destination for fundraising by life sciences companies, ahead of Switzerland, France and Germany. A report for the BioIndustry Association showed there were 460 biotech drugs under development in the UK, up 15% on the previous year. The so-called "golden triangle" of London, Oxford and Cambridge has the largest concentration of life science brainpower of any leading economy - with rival academic clusters geographically more widely spread.

As biotech companies grow, so too do start-up ventures creating apps to help people monitor everything from pulse to sleep patterns. NHS England has launched an apps library to help people find appropriate programmes to monitor their health. Opportunities for patients and app developers are opening up rapidly.
iOS8 screens News has a part to play in explaining how health technology is developing

Health monitoring in the home, using wristbands, laptops and smartphones, offers the potential to change the face of healthcare. Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director for NHS England, told me in an interview that "the hospital of the future is in the home". Sir Bruce raised the possibility that in a couple of decades time people will wonder why previous generations paid for large buildings with beds in them.

BBC News has a part to play helping people chart their way through this fast-changing but potentially confusing world. Explaining what's available, perhaps even providing health apps, opens up interesting possibilities. Just as genomics is developing a new world of tailored treatments rather than single drugs or therapies for patients of cancer or other diseases, so consumers may expect more individually relevant health news.

The NHS is looking to make better use of constrained resources at a time of rising demand for care because of the growing and ageing population. There are major challenges as budgets are stretched. Technology is no panacea but the NHS sees it as a potential source of greater efficiency across the service.

Consumer interest in health news is always high. So too technology. With the two fields converging, the appetite for information can only intensify. The BBC health offering can play an important part and rise to the challenge.
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