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FeibusTech: market insight & analysis. Influencer, analyst in IoT, digital health/fitness, wearables, connected car, smart home, privacy/security. Columnist for Tech section of USA TODAY and Fortune.

FeibusTech is brought to you by TechKnowledge Strategies, which has been providing clear, critical and independent insight to technology buyers and suppliers for more than a decade.  TechKnowledge offers a mix of business acumen with a discerning grasp of technology and a savvy honed by years of hands-on experience. If you have questions, TechKnowledge has answers.

HIMSS16: New Care Models Take Shape

The HIMSS Conference and Expo is a great opportunity to take the mHealth industry’s temperature each year. To be sure, the show earlier this month in Las Vegas was a very different show than last year, and not just because it moved west from Chicago. Last year was all about the seemingly insurmountable transition to electronic health records (EHR).

This year, EHR was more of a foregone conclusion. As a result, more attendees seemed interested to take the next step, and talk about what they might be able to do with the data.  So bring on the cloud!

The cloud has become one of the greatest healthcare innovation enablers of the 21st century. Developers, hospitals, academic institutions and manufacturers are coming together to solve for improved patient care across disease areas and care pathways, departments, hospitals and freestanding clinics. 

One company that is seriously focused on the overall opportunity in cloud based systems for healthcare is GE.  As the digital industrial leader, GE is betting big on the GE Health Cloud. I moderated a panel at GE Healthcare’s booth where we discussed real examples of bringing together the brains in healthcare with the brawn of a large-scale cloud solution. Jan De Witte, President and CEO, GE Healthcare IT, discussed the company’s new GE Health Cloud. Boudewijn Verstraelen, Director, Pie Medical Imaging, and Lynda Domogalla, VP Marketing, Barco Healthcare Division were the ISVs with the brains to take advantage of GE’s new cloud solution.  GE is changing healthcare at the system level and they have a shot at making a big difference with their healthcare solution.   Keep an eye out for the official launch of GE Health Cloud this spring.

Beyond GE’s spacious booth, there was still 1.3 million square feet of exhibit space to comb through, with an awful lot for the FeibusTech team to take in. Here are a few key themes we picked up

They’re not patients. They’re consumers

Motivating patient and provider engagement was a big topic at HIMSS this year.  To Samsung, ease of use in their healthcare solutions – for both provider and patient – is critical. We found Samsung to be keenly focused on solutions for the aging population with devices and applications that are convenient and provide comfortable care across this very important segment of the global population. Samsung has made major advancements and continues to focus on the patient engagement side of things, which is extremely important as we move from provider-centric care to patient-centric care.  The company presented advancements in healthcare by highlighting these three key areas: In-Hospital, In-Home and In-Health. Each category focused on the particular solutions that make each end-goal possible, whether it’s tablets for remote patient monitoring, or digital signage for clearer in-hospital communication.  

On the wireless connectivity front, the secure, HIPAA-compliant 2net hub from Qualcomm Life makes remote data collection and transmission easier, particularly for medical devices that rely on frequent updates such as heart monitors or glucose monitors, any of which could trigger a healthcare intervention.  Whether healthcare providers employ the hub or the secure smartphone app, 2net is truly a plug-and-go solution that has helped to enable medical-grade remote care that continues to reduce readmissions and manage at-risk patient populations. 

In fact, 2net is what’s powering UnitedHealthcare’s new Motion program, which compensates members by meeting daily activity goals. You can read more about it in my Fortune column HERE.

Driving incentives through analytics

WellTok has taken incentives to a whole new level by harnessing data to optimize your health and get rewarded at the same time.  WellTok’s CafeWell Concierge is leveraging the intelligence of IBM Watson to do just this.  By combining CaféWell with Watson's ability to understand natural language and learn with each interaction, the CaféWell Concierge app becomes knowledgeable about a user’s health status, available benefits, preferences and behaviors, and can then deliver highly personalized and actionable recommendations. FeibusTech found the Welltok solution to be unique because they are intent on showing value. So the app won’t give you any suggestions until it learns enough about your habits, likes and dislikes. This will go a long way with consumers.

MedHelp is a platform to help patients with chronic diseases manage their health. The service manages contact with healthcare providers, offers up new studies and other care information, and nudges patients to take their medications. Executives at MedHelp, the Aptus subsidiary, know that it can be tricky to strike a balance between the carrot and the stick. One thing you have to watch out for is “alert fatigue.”

Healthcare elsewhere

Keep an eye on Vivify Health.  This company has been involved for many years with hospitals across the United States watching patients and providers suffer with the exhausting need for improved healthcare services.  Through their remote patient monitoring systems, Vivify partners with consumer electronics suppliers and mobile device manufacturers to engage patients when they leave the healthcare facility. Vivify Health has also created remote patient monitoring systems that healthcare organizations can use with patients based on their risk level. Given their unique ability to align and deliver patient-centered remote care across integrated payer/provider system Vivify stands out as a winner in this space.

Dictum Health is another one to watch. The company’s IDM100 is a “medical tablet” that has a hefty set of diagnostic capabilities for remote-care, virtual exam-room scenarios. It has interfaces to myriad diagnostic equipment, including blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes and thermometers. With more is on the way. Dictum Health’s software suite automatically updates patient records over the cloud.

For remote-care settings, I haven’t seen another company strike such a compelling balance of ability and portability. Keep an eye on Dictum Health.

Decisions anywhere

The best way to a physician’s heart is through his … iPad? Could be. Airstrip’s clinical mobility platform gives physicians the information on their mobile devices that they need in real time to make care decisions wherever they may be. That’s the kind of stuff that gets physicians excited. More than because the platform might save them money. Or that it might help drive their practice toward a more value-based model.

Indeed, what physicians love about AirStrip is that it allows them to view patient data streams on mobile devices in near-real time, enabling them to respond quickly to critical alarms while away from the patient’s bedside.  Brilliant.

data everywhere

Orion Health understands that the transformation of healthcare isn’t about the rising tsunami of data, but the actionable insight that comes from the data. Orion has the ability to simplify the aggregation and reporting process across health management systems, which puts them in a leading position.

FeibusTech participated in a demo of Orion’s Amadeus platform, which blends extensive data integration capabilities with scalability and performance. The distributed architecture is designed to handle massive volumes of high-velocity data from diverse sources. It incorporates predictive modelling to identify the most at-risk patients in a population to drive rapid decision-making.

Amadeus is a unique, modular end-to-end platform with the potential to dramatically improve the patient experience and care outcomes. Orion Health is solving the medical data integration problem.

Heavy lifting required

As mentioned, GE introduced its Health Cloud platform to help ISVs. Other heavyweights are also bringing their at-scale resources to the party. At HIMSS, Dell announced it is adding genomics capabilities to its Cloud Clinical Archive Services. Genomics promises to revolutionize healthcare with vast new insights for precision medicine: what diseases are we predisposed to? And what medications are more likely to be successful for treating our conditions?

To get there from here, we need gobs of genomic data storage and analysis. For the analysis component, Dell also announced that it has integrated Zebra Medical Vision’s Analytics and Research platforms with the Cloud Clinical Archive.

Another big cloud presence, Salesforce.com, also jumped in with both feet, targeting its CRM capabilities at patient-care management. Treating “patients” as “customers” is a good approach to healthcare in the emerging value-based care model, so Salesforce expertise should be a good fit.

Security

Keeping data safe is more than just the law. It’s crucial to the success of the digital transformation in healthcare.

AT&T, which teamed up with Qualcomm Life on its 2net hub, highlighted their secure data transfer capabilities between the cloud and myriad devices that collect healthcare data in clinical facilities and beyond. AT&T’s novel “foundry” concept helps companies incorporate cellular capability for their medical devices. The company definitely intends to be a major player in healthcare connectivity.

Folks like VMWare also understand that compliance isn’t the goal. Security is. VMWare employs what FeibusTech calls a “containerization” methodology. By enabling multiple virtual work environments – each with their own firewalls – VMWare can dramatically reduce the potential damage of an attack by restricting the malware to the infected workload or workgroup.  

VMWare has also used its IT prowess and security know-how to provide physicians with solutions that make their life easier through a platform called Always On Point of Care.   This platform makes clinical data available to caregivers whenever they need it, wherever they are. Accessing the platform is as simple as taking a badge, tapping it on the machine, and you are ready to go almost instantaneously. Physicians went from taking 4-5 minutes to get ready to see a patient to 10-15 seconds. Always On Point of Care completely transformed the way clinicians leverage IT in patient care.   The efficiencies of Always On Point of Care are numerous from both the care provider side and the IT side.  VMWare is definitely leading in clinician workflow from a combination of innovation and technical expertise.