Blurred Hospital

Hospitals’ In-Room Cameras Enable Seamless Visits and Better Safety

As COVID-19 swept across the country last spring, teams at Banner Health quickly acquired more tablets so doctors could conduct virtual rounding and other critical communications from a distance.

The solution, though effective, wasn’t good enough for James Roxburgh, the organization’s CEO of telehealth.

The approach still required a nurse to enter a patient’s room with the tablet to facilitate each telehealth session. “The doctor could remain safely outside, but the nurse was still at risk, which seemed unnecessary,” Roxburgh says.

Convinced that Banner Health could do better, he reached out to his previous employer, VeeMed, a California-based telemedicine solutions company, as well as Intel to convert existing televisions in nearly 1,200 patient rooms into “virtual care endpoints” across the Phoenix-based system, which operates 28 hospitals in six states.

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Covid Vaccine

Health and Tech Giants, Including Microsoft and Oracle, Are Creating ‘Vaccination Passports’ So People Can Prove They’ve Had A Shot Before Boarding Planes or Entering Stores

Major companies, health organizations, and nonprofits announced Thursday morning that they were working together to create a digital vaccination passport, in anticipation of people having to prove their immunization status.

The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VIC), a coalition of organisations including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic Systems, and the Mayo Clinic, are developing tech standards to verify whether someone has had their vaccine, it said in a statement Thursday.

The tech will help prevent people falsely claiming to be immune to the deadly virus, it said.

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Woman Wearing Fitbit

What’s Next for Senior Tech? 5 Insights From The Thrive Center

Technology adoption among older adults is growing, and there are no signs of slowing down: Those age 50 and older are using smartphones, wearables, voice-powered home assistants and other smart home technologies with almost the same vigor as younger people, according to a recent AARP report.

Three-quarters of this surveyed demographic indicate a desire to age in place. Helping them do so is a host of services and devices designed to support a healthier, safer and more independent lifestyle.

Tools that might once have seemed futuristic or out of reach are increasingly becoming a way of life, says Sheri Rose, executive director of the Thrive Center.

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Medical Network Tech

Lumen Health Tech Company Reveals New Data About Metabolism Training

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lumen, a health technology company at the forefront of metabolic health, has uncovered new data that reveals how training your metabolism is the greatest contributor to sustainable health and weight loss, not crash dieting.

The data analysis is based on 1 million metabolism measurements throughout 2020, as Lumen data scientists have discovered that metabolic flexibility, or the body’s ability to efficiently switch between carbs and fats as an energy source, is the key to optimal health.

By focusing on optimising their metabolism, users were able to increase metabolic flexibility by 33%. Two-thirds also reported losing weight at a rate of 2 pounds per week on a consistent basis.

On the nutrition end, users successfully completed an average of 12 hour fasts and mostly followed their personalised nutrition plan according to what their metabolism measurement prescribed. The top 2% were able to start their day in a state of burning fat for 4 consecutive days. Naturally, users also became more active and completed an average of 1000 more steps a day, and slept at least 7 hours.

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Digital Tech

How COVID-19 Has Accelerated Digital Transformation in Healthcare

At the beginning of 2020, digital strategy initiatives around telehealth, data analytics and digital engagement were well underway for many healthcare organizations — albeit as a “nice to have” addition in some cases.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of these efforts industrywide, making them absolutely essential for healthcare organizations.

Hospitals and health systems in hard-hit areas were overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, putting substantial constraints on space, supplies and staff.

Soon after, providers and payers faced a spike in call center traffic, while their websites were overwhelmed with individuals seeking information on changes to services, resources on testing, health plan coverage and locating in-network providers for care.

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Elder Man Using Tech

Health Tech’s Newest Unicorn is Running Toward Medicaid Patients Long Marginalized in Medicine

It has become a business imperative in American medicine to marginalize patients on Medicaid. Their health problems can be costly and complicated — often, the product of other structural barriers that stand in the way of good health — and lower government reimbursement means doctors typically lose money on their care.

But a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based startup called Cityblock Health is turning that equation on its head by running toward the very patients many providers run away from. This month, its model of delivering stepped-up primary care to low-income patients raked in $160 million from venture capital firms. That funding — which values the 3-year-old company at $1 billion — signals a significant bet from investors who believe Cityblock can succeed in an area where payers have failed for years.

Medical Tech Training

This Health Tech Startup is Trying To Disrupt The Drug Discount System. Here’s How

Technology executive Jeremy Docken spent several years advising drug manufacturers and saw an opportunity to help solve some intrinsic problems in the drug discount market.

In his previous work at consulting firm KPMG and healthcare information company IMS Health, which merged with Quintiles and is now IQVIA, Docken said he recognized ongoing compliance challenges resulting in duplicate discounts.

“You can’t address these problems by only thinking about what the drug manufacturer needs to do, but you have to look at what the state needs to do and what the covered entity needs to do. To meaningfully move the needle and prevent these compliance challenges, you need a multi-stakeholder platform approach that’s designed from the ground up,” Docken told Fierce Healthcare.

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Mental Health

Mental Health Tech Startups Fetch Record Investments with COVID-19

(Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on mental health tech startups, globally marking a record year for venture capital investment in the sector, according to data firm PitchBook.

PitchBook data showed 146 deals raked in nearly $1.6 billion in venture capital investments as of Dec. 10. Last year the total was $893 million from 111 deals. A decade ago there were only 3 deals, worth $6.6 million.

The investments come as employers are increasingly seen as customers for these startups. Consulting firm McKinsey reported last month that 52% of companies offer mental-health and bereavement counseling.

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Amazon Logo

Amazon’s New Health Band is the Most Invasive Tech We’ve Ever Tested

Amazon has a new health-tracking bracelet with a microphone and an app that tells you everything that’s wrong with you.

You haven’t exercised or slept enough, reports Amazon’s $65 Halo Band. Your body has too much fat, the Halo’s app shows in a 3-D rendering of your near-naked body.

And even: Your tone of voice is “overbearing” or “irritated,” the Halo determines, after listening through its tiny microphone on your wrist.

We hope our tone is clear here: We don’t need this kind of criticism from a computer. The Halo collects the most intimate information we’ve seen from a consumer health gadget — and makes the absolute least use of it. This wearable is much better at helping Amazon gather data than at helping you get healthy and happy.

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Apple Watch

Study Examines Role of Mobile Health Technology in Monitoring Covid-19 Patients

A 60-person task force, including MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers, has published a study reviewing mobile health (mHealth) technologies and examining their use in monitoring and mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. They found that mHealth technologies are viable options to monitor Covid-19 patients and predict symptom escalation for earlier intervention.

The study, “Can mHealth Technology Help Mitigate the Effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic?”, is published in the IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology. The task force was led by Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Paolo Bonato, director of the Motion Analysis Lab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, and included international experts and those from across the United States.

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