From India, the $1 Doctor’s ‘Visit’

January 10, 2012, 8:02 am

From India, the $1 Doctor’s ‘Visit’

By HEATHER TIMMONS
A patient at the Chennai Telemedicine center consults a doctor via video conferencing.
Healthnet Global
A patient at the Chennai Telemedicine center consults a doctor via video conferencing.

A private hospital, a for-profit microfinance company and an information technology company have joined forces to attempt what state and local governments have struggled to do for decades – bring quality, affordable medical treatment to India’s hundreds of millions of poor people.

Apollo Hospitals, Equitas and HealthNet Global are setting up “telemedicine centers” in Equitas’s 300 offices, mostly in urban slums, which will be staffed by nurses and stocked with medical testing equipment and a laptop with video conferencing.

Women who take loans through Equitas and their families (about 8 million people, the companies estimate) can schedule a doctor’s “visit” at the center, and consult with an Apollo doctor by video about symptoms and care. The nurse will measure vital signs like blood pressure and heartbeat, through equipment that transmits readings directly to the doctor and into a patient’s computerized medical file.

Total cost to the patient: 50 rupees, or about 96 U.S. cents.

The project started in December, and so far there are just three telemedicine centers set up in Equitas offices. The companies involved don’t make a profit. But Rahul Thapan, global head of sales and marketing at HealthNet, said the companies hope to expand the project far beyond Equitas customers in the future.

“We are looking at different types of audiences here, at elderly people who may not be able to afford health care, for example, and there is a huge potential to go into semi-urban and rural areas, as well,” Mr. Thapan said.

Separately, Apollo and HealthNet have started a for-profit virtual doctors’ visit business with telecommunication companies Aircel and Idea Cellular. Some customers of these telecom providers can schedule a virtual doctor’s appointment, in which a paramedics with a laptop and medical testing equipment come to their home. The patient is connected via video conferencing to the doctor. The cost of these visits varies according to the tests done, but starts at about 300 rupees ($5.74).

Report from http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/from-india-the-1-doctors-visit/

First EU-Approved Mobile App

How safe is that app? App released today is the first to be registered as a Class I medical device by the MHRA

UK charity draws attention to the regulation of health apps and publishes guidance document to help health professionals, organisations, patients and industry

10 January 2012, London – A new app, Mersey Burns, has been released on to the market that represents a first in the UK – it has been registered with the MHRA as a Class I medical device as per the EU Medical Device Directive.   To coincide with this, d4 have simultaneously published a new guidance document to help draw further attention to the issue of health app regulation and provide practical guidance to both users and manufacturers of apps for the healthcare market.

Health professionals make considerable use of mobile phones during their working day, as do their patients.  As the popularity of running software applications on mobile devices continues to increase, we anticipate that the use of apps to aid medical diagnosis and treatment will gain in popularity with a corresponding increase in risk to the general public.  Specific regulations that accompany this nascent technology are in their infancy, but should not be ignored.

For all stakeholders concerned, it is in our collective interest to support responsible use of this new technology. It will take one high profile failing to cause a loss of trust that can take months, if not years, to rebuild.  In their guidance document, Regulation of health apps: a practical guide, d4 make the following recommendations:

  1. Health professionals should carefully consider the risks when using apps to determine a patient’s care.
  2. Developers should test their apps thoroughly and maintain adequate technical documentation to evidence this.
  3. Publishers should ensure compliance with the necessary regulations before releasing apps on to the market.
  4. Organisations should investigate ways to manage the use of apps by their employees, and put in place mechanisms to identify those apps that are deemed fit for professional use.
  5. Patients should examine carefully the source of the apps they use to manage their health.  Within Europe, health apps that influence a patient’s treatment should carry the CE mark to demonstrate their conformity with the appropriate regulation.

“mHealth is a new industry and the regulatory environment is evolving,” said James Sherwin-Smith, CEO of d4. ”Regulators are necessary to safeguard the public and uphold confidence in markets that would otherwise be open to potential abuse. But regulations also need to support, and not stifle, innovation. The regulatory issues that surround health apps are complex and open to interpretation. We hope that this guide provides a useful steer for individuals and organisations alike.”

MedApps and MedMinder Partner to Expand Medication Compliance in the Remote HealthCare Market

Solutions’ Ease of Use – Key to Adoptability and Patient Adherence

 

Scottsdale, AZ- Jan 9, 2012– MedApps, Inc., a leading mHealth (mobile telehealth) innovator is pleased to announce its alliance with MedMinder to bring connected, remote medication management to MedApps’ product and service offerings of flexible ScalableCare services.

 

Both companies have led the way in their respective areas of expertise within the telehealth market with affordable, easy to use, patient-centered remote monitoring solutions.

 

“Our partnering with MedMinder is very synergistic and our products compliment each other extremely well”, says Kent Dicks, Founder and CEO of MedApps. “The challenge with any prescribed therapy for patient care is compliance – whether that’s a patient taking their blood pressure or glucose readings on a daily basis, or taking their medication when they’re supposed to – and if it doesn’t get done, the caregivers’ efforts to manage patient conditions are ineffective.”

 

Dicks continues, “Our clients’ satisfaction has validated the fact that we’ve gone a long way in helping doctors and nurses gather the accurate and timely biometric data they need to more effectively mange patient health – and we think that MedMinder provides an equally valuable solution for the medication management side of things.”

 

Like MedApps, MedMinder provides products designed to keep patients connected to their care providers with a focus on ease of use to ensure a high degree of adoptability from the patient. MedMinder offers a unique solution to medication compliance through its “smart cellular pillbox”: Maya. On the surface, Maya appears to be an ordinary daily pill organizer, but it’s fully loaded with innovative features that effectively, yet simply enable medication management.

 

MedMinder pill dispenser can track patients’ dosage activity and deliver optional medication reminders or alerts to the user if medication is not taken within an assigned timeframe or if an incorrect medication compartment is inadvertently accessed. Additional options allow the patient’s family and care providers to be contacted if necessary to offer a more cohesive support system. MedMinder keeps records of patient medication activities and can provide access to reports for the user, their family and their caregivers via the Internet, email and text notification.

 

Combining MedMinders’ capabilities with MedApps’ supply of consistent, near-real time biometric data will deliver the most robust coordinated solution for medication management on the market.  Clinicians will have the ability to ascertain the effects of a given medication for an individual patient more rapidly – making adjustments and / or intervening when necessary.

 

“We are very excited about partnering with MedApps and integrating into their remote health monitoring platform – they are a true innovator in the field, said MedMinder Founder and CEO Eran Shavelsky.  “The companies’ philosophies of providing simple to use, transparent technology is a perfect fit. Our solutions’ ability to cost-effectively improve medication adherence and deliver a consistent supply of clinical and behavioral data will be unparalleled in medication management.”

 

This latest product offering is another illustration of the dynamic and scalable integration that is made possible by the MedApps CloudCare™ platform. MedApps has built a unique infrastructure for health information delivery that allows a variety of OEM devices to be integrated into a remote monitoring program very quickly with a minimum of coordination time.  CloudCare delivers the first true “Plug & Play” platform in the telehealth field.

 

 

 

About MedMinder

 

MedMinder provides technologies to enable seniors, the chronically ill, and those with disabilities to maintain their independence and avoid long-term care facilities and hospitalization. MedMinder medication management system includes a cellular pill dispenser that records user activity then reports to the MedMinder back end system. Accordingly, MedMinder provides reminders to the users to take their pills on time and informs families and care managers if dosages are missed. MedMinder technology is proven to simplify medication management and improve medication adherence. For more information, visit www.medminder.com

 

 

About MedApps

 

MedApps provides innovative technology solutions for the collection, transmission and remote management of patient health data. MedApps utilizes wireless and machine-to-machine technologies, hardware, software, and cloud computing to efficiently connect patients with their care providers and electronic health records. MedApps is an acknowledged innovator in the field of remote health monitoring, most recently recognized with a 2011 Edison Award in the product category of Health, Wellness & Safety. MedApps is a member of Continua, an industry consortium setting Medical Device Interoperability Standards worldwide. For more information, please visit www.medapps.com.