Mobile health tourney advances to Elite Eight: Who will be in the Final Four?
April 2, 2013by Stephanie Baum
Alongside the NCAA basketball tournament, we’ve developed a competition among mobile health devices and apps. The Sweet Sixteen has been reduced to the Elite Eight that includes an operating room app, remote monitors, tools to engage patients in their own healthcare and apps to make it easier to exchange information between physicians. Unlike the weekend’s drama, I’m happy to report the intense competition has not yet resulted in any compound fractures.
On with the results.
AirStrip ONE vs. iBlueButton: AirStrip Technology’s AirStrip ONE unites the company’s previously U.S. Food and Drug Administration-cleared apps into one FDA-cleared diagnostic tool. It aims to break down barriers between data sources from different vendors. It customizes the way the data is presented according to the clinician’s specialty, by patterns in the way they use it, work flow and visual preferences. It provides data on fetal heart rate and maternal contraction patterns, vital signs, and nursing notes to a clinician’s mobile device. An electronic medical record setting allows physicians to access health record information in real time from smartphones and tablets. The vendor agnostic component of its technology could help providers meet some of the requirements of meaningful use stage 2, which requires several different types of interoperability. Giving clinicians the ability to access all this data in real time could help them catch problems earlier.
iBlueButton by Humetrix has an ambitious goal of giving patients access to their personal health records and exchange information with physicians through a patient portal. It also is designed to achieve meaningful use interoperability requirements. The mobile version of the federal BlueButton program is less than a year old — Humetrix won an innovation challenge last year.
Winner: Airstrip ONE
Why? This was another matchup that went into overtime. And, really, it all comes down to this: I would like to see how iBlueButton performs over a longer time frame. I am enthusiastic about its goals, but I think at this juncture, AirStrip Technologies has been able to prove its technology because it has had to.
Mobisante vs. iTriage: A portable ultrasound tool on a smartphone faces off against a patient information reference app. Mobisante’s SP1 System has eight different ultrasound imaging exams that use an ultrasound probe and display video and images using the smartphone camera. The device has wide-reaching potential because it could be used to help triage patients in the emergency room as well as byemergency medical technicians at the site of care. More importantly, it could make it easier to treat patients at the bedside. Additionally, it can be used to confirm pregnancy, fetal presentation and fetal viability, a feature that could help improve mortality rates in developing countries by spotting potential problems earlier in pregnancy. Although portable ultrasound technology has been around since the 1980s, cost has been a prohibitive factor in its development. Innovations like Mobisante’s technology, priced at roughly $7,500, is allowing these systems to be made available with lower price tags.
iTriage is a patient eduction tool to engage people in their healthcare and give them a better understanding of their medical conditions. Providers are also using the system to help patients schedule appointments and get a better sense of emergency room wait times. It also recently added a pharmacy discount program. Its profile got even bigger with the invite of co-founder Dr. Peter Hudson to the president’s State of the Union Address.
Winner: Mobisante SP1 System
Why? It was a close matchup, but Mobisante’s miniature ultrasound tool can address more pressing needs healthcare providers face.
Mobile MIM vs. AliveCor: Mobile MIM by MIM Software, which enables the MRI and X-ray mobile image-sharing app to be shared between mobile devices and through its cloud, and is the first company to get FDA clearance for that technology, has paved the way for much bigger image-sharing platforms like the Image Sharing Project overseen by the Radiological Society of North America and lifeIMAGE. It’s particularly useful for second opinions and consults. It also saves a great deal on healthcare costs because it prevents the need to do multiple scans because the images can be shared between providers. It counts imaging centers, hospitals, specialty clinics, research organizations and pharmaceutical companies among its customers. AliveCor’s electrocardiogram helps physicians expedite decision-making. One goal of the device is to reduce medical expenses by helping providers remotely monitor patients with an irregular heartbeat, for example. The device is to be used by one of the remote sensors and smartphone-based monitors as part of a study of 1 million adults. The Health eHeart Study is being described as a digital version of the Framingham Heart Study.
Why? It’s more versatile and can be used by physicians and their patients.
HemaGo vs. Gauss Pixel App: Two apps focused on blood face off against each other; one estimates blood loss during surgery and the other helps people with bleeding disorders better manage their conditions.
Medical innovations such as the increase in minimally invasive surgical procedures and coagulant devices have helped reduce blood loss in the operating room. Complications can result from overestimating or underestimating a patient’s blood loss on the operating table. Gauss Surgical’s app reflects a critical milestone for apps to be used as part of an OR procedure. Until recently, most apps making their way into the operating room were simulation tools to help physicians familiarize themselves with new procedures.
HemaGo provides a way to track bleeding events and medication adherence. It’s designed to help people with bleeding disorders like hemophilia track their adherence to clotting factor. There is no comprehensive information on the level of patient adherence for hemophiliacs. But the need to track how many bleeding events they have had along with infusions is critical to providers giving the best care. The increase in obesity is also affecting people with blood disorders and can cause complications for joint conditions.
Winner: Gauss Pixel App
Why? Having an app that’s part of a surgical process used in real time is a big advancement. It also contributes to an inadequately met need and could improve outcomes.