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#AfricaHealthRising tweet chat 15th July Archive


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Anadach Series Webinar #2 – The Global Fund in Africa: Engaging the Health Diaspora

Approximately 11700 people die every day from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Nearly two-thirds of these people are living in sub-Saharan Africa. 2012 marks 10 years of the Global Fund and is an important turning point in its history. The Global Fund is transforming its operations to re-focus the organization on its core purpose as a financing institution; and implementing a new Strategy 2012-2016, Investing for Impact, approved by the Global Fund Board at its November 2011 meeting, in Accra. Have you wondered how the Global Fund  attracts and disburses significant resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria?

If you have, please join Dr. Debrework Zewdie, Deputy General Manager  & Head of Strategy, Investment and Impact Division, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria by webinar on October 3rd between 10.30 am and 11.30 am (EST).  Dr. Debrework Zewdie, an Ethiopian national, has dedicated the past 30 years to mitigating the impact of the AIDS epidemic in her diverse capacities as scientist, strategist, manager, policy maker, program implementer, advocate and activist. She will share her experience on the Global Funds’s work in Africa. She also wants to hear from you on how the Global Fund can invest more strategically and get more value for money in fighting AIDS, TB and Malaria in Africa! This would be a good opportunity to ask those questions you have always wanted to know about the Global Fund and contribute to bringing new thinking on the most efficient and effective way to spend scarce resources in a challenging economic climate for global health financing.

This webinar is one of the series of Anadach Webinars  targeting African Health Professionals in the Diaspora. Please send any questions you might have to info@anadach.com or tweet #anadachwebinar.  We encourage participants to send questions prior to the event.  However, there would be an opportunity to ask Dr. Zewdie some questions after the presentation.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to other friends or colleagues who may be interested. Participation is very limited so we suggest your register as soon as possible.

Please register here http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e6bh3hpue1ff4ed0&llr=qwyltnfab

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Alere acquires MedApps for home health monitoring

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 15, 2012

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Alere acquired wireless remote patient monitoring company MedApps last month for an undisclosed sum, MobiHealthNews has learned. MedApps CEO Kent Dicks confirmed the news in an email to MobiHealthNews this afternoon.

MedApps offers a suite of home health devices, including the HealthPAL, a small, portable, dedicated device that the company used to collect data from connected glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and weight scales. The data is then sent over a secure server to an online portal for caregivers, physicians or the patient themselves to view. The FDA granted HealthPAL 510(k) clearance about three years ago and a CE Mark in early 2010.

While more details about the acquisition are likely to emerge when the deal is officially announced (perhaps as early as next week), the MedApps deal is part of a larger strategy that likely builds on Alere’s announcement last week about its deal with AT&T to integrate WellDoc’s DiabetesManager mobile application and service into its offerings.

MedApps has inked deals with VRIAT&TCardioNet, and others over the years. The company has piloted HealthPAL at The Cleveland Clinic, Baptist Home Health Network, and New Jersey’s Meridian Health.

Alere already has distribution deals with AirStrip Technologies and Monica Healthcare for remote fetal monitoring technologies. The company also has an exclusive deal with Voxiva to offer that company’s Text2Quit smoking cessation service in the United States.


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Survey: Many physician-pharma interactions aided by iPad

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 16, 2012

According to the latest survey from Manhattan Research, many in-person interactions between pharmaceutical company representatives and physicians are now aided by the pharma rep’s iPad. Manhattan polled more than 1,800 practicing physicians in the United States during the second quarter of 2012 and found that of those that had met with a pharma sales rep in person, some 65 percent said they had seen a rep use an iPad. A similar survey in 2011 found that only 30 percent of physicians had an iPad-aided interaction at the time.

According to Manhattan Research, iPads help pharma reps better interact with physicians too. Of those physicians surveyed who had interacted with pharma sales reps with iPads, 35 percent said they were more likely to request a sample and 29 percent said they were more likely to consider prescribing the drug.

“We’re seeing more positive signs this year that the use of iPads by reps is driving the desired engagement and behavior among physicians,” Monique Levy, Vice President of Research at Manhattan Research stated in an announcement about the survey. “We’re also getting more clarity on the kinds of features and content physicians want on these devices such as demos of apps they can download and KOL [key opinion leaders] videos.”

More details from the Manhattan Research survey will be released next week.


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eHealth Global Technologies Introduces eHealth Referral Management Solution™

Inova Health System simplifies their referral process; improving timeliness of patient referral appointments, staff efficiency and data accuracy while reducing costs

Rochester, NY (PRWEB) August 08, 2012

eHealth Global Technologies, Inc. (eHGT) continues to improve the process of integrating external medical records and imaging into referral patient workflow, more cost effectively and efficiently while improving the coordination of care for all patients transitioning to a new facility. The new eHealth Referral Management Solution (RMS) gathers patient records not generated within the system and delivers them in a digital format, incorporating an automated communication and reporting stream with the referring physician population. Inova Health System’s transplant department is one of eHGT’s first customers to deploy eHealth RMS™.

“eHealth RMS enables cost effective web-based management of new patient referrals, while seamlessly integrating referred patient information into hospital information (EMR) and scheduling systems,” stated Tim Fischer, executive vice president of sales and marketing at eHGT. “This solution leverages a unified environment for managing fax, phone and electronic orders, while managing all related patient documents and images in a patient-centric, easy-to-use web interface. Our customers will appreciate how the workflow is built in making collaboration on new patient referrals for the entire care team, much easier.”

“eHealth RMS has been successfully launched at Inova Transplant Center in Falls Church, VA. The system allows our clinical and clerical staff the ability to seamlessly request and view outside medical records and quality diagnostic images for pathology and radiology over a secure internet connection, anywhere in the world,” stated Adam Rabinowitz, Sr. Database Administrator. “The user friendly interface, “real-time” integration with our transplant database, and intuitive design of RMS have streamlined our processes and allowed us to spend more time caring for our patients.”

eHealth RMS includes the ability to provide automated communication to the referring physicians and management reports to the hospitals. Communication back to the referring physician can be automated through customizable triggers, ensuring the referral base is updated quickly on the status of their patients – saving valuable staff time, eliminating faxes, enabling patients to be seen faster and driving direct marketing for the referral base.

Real-time customizable management reports provide insight into who is referring patients and the value of each referral, for easier direct marketing. With eHealth RMS care teams can automatically route reports, information, status updates and send confirmations to the referring physician.

About eHGT
eHGT is a leading referral management and diagnostic image exchange service provider, serving over half of the nation’s top 100 hospitals and leading health information exchanges (HIEs), including 13 of the top 17 hospitals selected to the prominent Honor Roll of the Best Hospitals from the 2011-2012 U.S. News & World Report. The company’s services include the eHealth Referral Management Solution™ and the eHealth Image Exchange™. These solutions utilize innovative health information technology to access medical records, pathology slides and diagnostic images in any format, and then securely deliver them to providers and clinicians in a digital format to improve continuity of care. Visit http://www.eHGT.com


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Saudi Arabia, Belgium to sign MoU on e-health partnership

(MENAFN – Arab News) Belgian Ambassador Marc Vinck said Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah is expected to leave for Belgium in September for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on e-health partnership with his Belgian counterpart Laurette Onkelinx.”Dr. Al-Rabeeh was extended an invitation to visit Belgium when Crown Prince Philippe came to the Kingdom in October 2009 as part of a Belgian economic mission. He and Al-Rabeeah discussed ways of improving bilateral agreement in the health sector and it was decided that this could be done through an MoU,” Vinck told Arab News in an interview over the weekend.

The Belgian envoy called on Al-Rabeeah recently and renewed the invitation for him to visit Belgium. “During the meeting, it was agreed that Al-Rabeeah will leave in autumn,” he said.

Vinck said that Al-Rabeeah insisted that the Belgian offer in the MoU should include the transfer of technology in e-health as well as the dissemination of information on it by Belgian drug companies with operations in the Kingdom.
He said Agfa, a Belgian firm which is a big e-health player in Canada, is in a very good position to help the Kingdom in connection with the agreement between the two countries.

Explaining e-health, Vinck – who granted the interview just before he left for Belgium – said it involves imaging technology and interconnectivity of health centers under the Saudi Ministry of Health.

“It also involves exchange of information between the Kingdom and Belgium even before a patient reaches hospital. For this purpose, a patient has a code with which such information could be transmitted,” he said.

Vinck also said that during the meeting, he gleaned great insights from the Saudi health minister on e-health implementation in the Kingdom.

“The project has been carried out at different levels and our discussion centered on ways to secure in a better way the Belgian offer,” he said.
He said that apart from Agfa, many Belgian companies in the health sector
could also help in the implementation of the partnership.

Vinck also had the opportunity to discuss with Al-Rabeea health care activities in Belgium, which was among the leading countries in global heath care in 2010-2011.

Vinck expressed optimism regarding relations between the two countries. He said that the first group of Saudi students to study in leading institutions of learning in Belgium had been identified.

“The first batch of six Saudi students are about to leave, if they have not yet left, to study in different universities and colleges in Belgium,” he said. Vinck said that Belgium is among countries that have renowned universities.

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The Usage of Tablets in the Healthcare Industry

Since they were brought to market, the healthcare industry has dreamed of embracing tablets and leveraging the innovative technologies and features innate to these types of mobile devices. The ability to gather and access information with the touch of a fingertip, and carry it around wherever you go is invaluable for those working in this sector and a trend that is transforming the industry as we speak.

The launch of the first truly portable, user friendly and user experience (UX) rich tablet the Apple iPad, a revolutionary device in terms of mobile computing is changing the way in which the healthcare sector operates.

Regarding the iPad and other portable tablets, the healthcare industry was enthusiastic about their features and abilities, yet slow to jump on the bandwagon and truly adopt/embrace the technology. The reason for this slow adoption is primarily due to issues including security, privacy of patient information and data (regulations such as HIPAA), and integration with backend systems. Additionally, no one truly figured out how to create a compelling user experience for mobile applications in this space. There was a lack of understanding about which apps would be best suited for tablets in the healthcare segment.

This however, is all starting to change. The rapid adoption of tablets, including the iPad both in the consumer and enterprise world has put pressure on the healthcare industry to evolve and truly embrace this new technology. This pressure stems from increasingly prevalent industry trends and factors such as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomena, the use of healthcare apps in the consumer sector, and the overall adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices by doctors, patients and vendors alike.  All of these trends have brought a whirlwind of change to the healthcare sector.

The pressure to evolve was felt by healthcare industry segment, as other segments of the industry were adapting mobile technologies at a rapid pace, and the healthcare industry was increasingly being viewed as laggards. Perceiving this weakness, many entrepreneurs started writing apps for this segment as they realized that doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare personnel had acquired tablets and smartphones but they were lacking the apps to do their day to day work using these devices. There was a vacuum in this space, and this reinforced the pressure on the healthcare industry to move fast and close the gap.

Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of tablet adoption across the healthcare spectrum:

Doctors and nurses were the early adopters of tablets, which is no surprise given they were also the early adopters of smartphones, and today, are the demographic that uses them the most in the healthcare industry. Drugstores followed doctors and nurses as they searched for better, more efficient and more convenient ways to serve consumers. Drug stores began leveraging tablets to offer prescription and non-prescription drug order applications and provide store and pharmacy locations as well as drug-related information to patients.

The pharmaceutical industry followed suit by developing apps and tablet-friendly mobile web sites that offered important information about the drugs to doctors, nurses and patients alike. The ability to access drug-related information on the go as well as a patient’s allergic information at the same time helps doctors and pharmacists to avoid prescribing and issuing medicine to patients that may cause them harm, thus saving lives and costly healthcare expenditure in treating unwanted drug interactions. Instant availability on patient and drug, disease and treatment information results in fewer cases of misdiagnosis, quicker and safer drug prescriptions, quicker approvals for Rx and a reduction in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The bio-tech industry soon hopped on board as they started adopting tablets for collecting observation data, field level monitoring and quick image capture using the highly advanced tablet cameras. Genentech is an example of a company that has embraced tablet use, having standardized and issued more than 7,000 iPads to its employees worldwide.  The tablets run customized native and mobile web apps that provide accurate reports including current state of research on the many drugs and treatments that Genentech is working on. It provides the dashboard customized for each user and a communications hub built on top of Apple Facetime and iChat that allows employees in its San Francisco headquarters to be connected over voice and video with field offices in 30 other locations worldwide. Genetech also uses tablets to collect the field information and patient data on clinical trials. Unlike the traditional data collection methods, iPads enable them to record audio, video and high resolution images of the patients and send them for processing and reference in a centralized repository.

Finally, hospitals, healthcare management facilities and institutions have now warmed up to the notion of tablet use. These organizations are starting to use tablets for patient monitoring, financials, inventory updates, notifications, communication as well as to manage task lists.  Stanford medical Center Hospital in Palo Alto, California and its affiliates across the nation, The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) medical center, Kaiser Permanente, the largest healthcare provider in US, The Washington hospital group among others now provides tablets to its doctors, paramedics, pharmacists and administrative staff. They use the tablets to schedule patient checkups in both outpatient and inpatient wards, issue and authorize prescriptions, record and transmit patient data in multimedia format and use instant live audio and video conferencing and chat features to enhance collaboration. This model is being rapidly adopted across the spectrum by healthcare providers in the United States.

There are several factors driving the change in how the business and processes run inside healthcare organizations. Healthcare organizations are moving from traditional methods of information collection and retrieval to a mobile and on site and on demand collection, retrieval, collaboration and communication in the healthcare sector.  Some of these changes are being driven by the doctors, some by patients and others by pharmacies. Additionally, bio-tech and pharmaceutical companies are in fierce competition which forces them to evolve and embrace new technology if they wish to be successful. On the provider side, no hospital or healthcare provider wants to be tagged as laggard and outdated in terms of technology adoption, which is causing these institutions to embrace tablets. It’s interesting to note that according to data collected by Manhattan Research, 81% of physicians used a Smartphone in 2011, up from 72% in 2010. Doctors, nurses and patients are demanding access to information on their tablets and smartphones, which is driving organizations to embrace tablets.

In a separate study conducted by American Electronics Association, doctors and patients were asked about how they would like to use wireless devices (smartphones and tablets). Most of the respondents wanted to use their device to communicate with their doctors, pharmacists and nurses and vice versa. Many of them also want to be able to store and access their healthcare records including diagnostic records online through the mobile device.

The figure below explains the questions asked and the response in detail:

What specific applications in the consumer and enterprise space are driving tablet adoption?( Conversely, what apps are driven by the adoption of tablets in the enterprise?).

The biggest use of tablets is driven by the fact that patients feel the need to stay in touch with their healthcare providers including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and health plan administrators at all times. Patients are connected to their mobile devices 24/7, creating a natural platform from which they can interact with their healthcare providers through applications.

A Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities’ study conducted by CompTIA found that 38% of physicians with smartphones use medical apps on a daily basis. This figure is expected to rise to 50% by the third quarter of 2012.  It was also found that two-thirds of respondents consider implementing or improving mobile technologies to be a high or mid-level priority. Within clinics, doctor’s offices, hospitals and laboratories, the biggest usage of tablets stems from four main areas:

•    Patient monitoring and data collection – this includes using the Bluetooth enabled sensor devices and Wi-Fi+ Bluetooth enabled interfaces to patient monitoring devices, to medical instruments that can transmit information to the tablet when in the vicinity.
•    Dashboard and Reports – covering patients, prescriptions, diagnostics, legal, financial and operational information summaries and details
•    Appointment scheduling – this includes doctor and nurse visits, laboratory tests, reminders, re-scheduling, cancellations and delegation, doctor to assistant/junior doctor, nurse etc.
•    Prescriptions, authorizations, refills, patient-drug interaction and dosage management. Fast and timely approval of Rx refills and Rx authorizations means the difference between life and death in many cases and this is an area that smartphones and tablets help in reducing the turnaround time required by doctors to approve the requests from pharmacies and patents by up-to 90%.

What are the key advantages of using the tablets in healthcare space?

•    Tablets avoid cumbersome and error prone human data entry. They eliminate human introduced errors such as in data entry by feeding in data form patient care systems.
•    Tablets eliminate the need to record information on paper and enter into systems.  This saves time, energy, money and improves efficiency.
•    Easy information access: Tablets provide rapid access to information wherever healthcare personnel need it
•    Paperwork minimization: Tablets help minimize the messy paperwork and the manual workflow process – again, increasing efficiencies
•    Voice, Video, Image and Text: The visual, multimedia (audio, video) and graphics capabilities can be leveraged to record and provide on demand information such as the visual images of a patient, disease progression and sounds, such as an irregular heartbeat.
•    Communication capability: Allows doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel to communicate virtually and more effectively
•    Privacy and Security of data: The iPad and similar tablets provide 128 and even 256 bit encryption of data on storage and transmission. This minimizes data leak and security violations from manual handling of un-encrypted paper forms and other hard copy documents

Where is the industry headed?

Tablets are gaining an increasing foothold in the healthcare sector across all segments. Tablets are improving patient care wellness programs, hospitals, laboratories, clinic management systems, pharmaceutical services and bio-technological advancements.

With doctors increasingly using their own tablets to manage and maintain their schedules and reminders, the healthcare organizations are now forced on building applications that are optimized for tablets.   These applications provide the integration of existing information systems, and introduce tablets as a form for both data gathering and dissemination of critical information.

New and emerging advancements in technology have enabled patient monitoring devices and instrumentation to communicate directly with tablets within a vicinity using tools such as Bluetooth. These devices can also upload patient data using a Wi-Fi network over the web, which can then be monitored in real time by nurses and doctors.

Increasingly sophisticated apps are being created, which cater to all aspects of healthcare management for usage by both healthcare personnel and patients. These apps range from providing dashboards for patient information, disease and condition monitoring to patient data collection and consolidation. Apps also help with business intelligence and analytics, scheduling and calendar management, prescription dispensing, pharmaceutical refills and authorizations, drugs and new treatment information, collaboration, and communication. In terms of tablet adoption in the healthcare industry, we have only begun to scratch the surface. With technological advancements increasing by the day, the possibilities are endless as healthcare professionals continue to search for better ways to provide care.


Rauf Adil is director of technology at Virtusa.


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