@reginaholliday artwork hanging at Nottingham Contemporary #hcdc #thewalkinggallery

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Wearingmy jacket proudly

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Let’s talk about Rainbow Button Initiative as our HIE at HealthCa.mp/dc on 6/8/11 (#hcdc at #kpcth)

Today I read a report from a recent speech by David Blumenthal, until recently the National Health IT Coordinator. The part that stood out most from the speech was the one that also formed the headline for the post:  

Blumenthal: Building national health network could take decades

I completely agree! This is something that I have been saying for a few years. 

While products like Google Health seem to be going in to Stasis and adoption of other Personal Health Records (PHR), such as Dossia, have achieved very little visibility, we are seeing increased examples of integration using Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault.  This is the real value of the Personal Health Record. It is not a destination – it is a conduit. The more we can connect devices and services to these platforms (like the fitbit), the more valuable they become. 

The Health Care Industry and the government has to wake up to the fact that we (the patient and consumer) are the de facto Health Information Exchange. We need a combination of cloud and device PHR solution. They need to work in tandem and not be an either/or solution. Imagine a Fitbit device that could also download an extract of my critical health data and hold it on the device, ready to be accessed via a suitably secure access control challenge.

Make it Simple – The Rainbow Button Initiative

The Federal Government have taken great strides in promoting the Blue Button as a means for Veterans and others to download their personal health data. 

At a recent Patients 2.0 meeting this idea evolved in to the Rainbow Button Initiative

We need a Green Button to allow us to anonymously share our data with organizations.

We need a White Button to leverage the Direct Project and make it easy to share our information, with our personal data, with members of our medical team.

Let’s move the idea forward at HealthCa.mp/dc. I have posted a topic on the ideascale board for HealthCa.mp/dc. Come along on Wednesday 8th June and let’s move this idea forward.

Let’s not spend Billions and still not get what we need

Building a National Health Information Network will cost billions of dollars and take years to complete. The end result will still not meet all of our needs – what happens when we travel outside the country? It will create an information network where the patient is once again on the outside of the network with little visibility in to the information that is being shared about them. 

Let’s instead leverage the Personal Health Record and the nascent interoperability and recognize that the patient/consumer/citizen is the de facto Health Information Exchange. We need initiatives like the Rainbow button initiative to make sharing health data simple and understandable. 

We need to leverage the fast paced innovation that is taking place in the wearable device and mhealth sectors.

Come along to HealthCa.mp/dc on Wednesday 8th June at the amazing Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health  and join in this vital discussion.

#mhealth Innovation and Reimbursement – it will come #hcdc Come and discuss at healthca.mp/dc on 6/8/11

Mobi Health News has an article today: 

How handheld devices will cannibalize existing medtech

The bottom line is the view that reimbursement, or more accurately – lack of reimbursement, is hindering adoption of new and innovative devices, like hand held ultrasound scanners.

It was interesting to read this article alongside another that cam out the same day on The Health Care Blog:

Wellpoint gets aggressive on inpatient payment changes

Wellpoint is moving to put hospitals in it’s networks on a performance plan whereby future increases will be based on a formula for outcomes, patient safety and patient satisfaction. 

The Switch to pay for Performance is an important step in opening up opportunities for innovative solutions. The idea of paying for the number of emails a physician handles is crazy. It just perpetuates the pay for volume approach of the past. By switching to a quality-based payment method institutions and providers that adopt innovative solutions that improve patient care while making them more efficient will see the rewards.

#Skype + Microsoft – What it might mean for Telehealth

Faisal Qureshi (@Faisal_Q) posted a question to me on Twitter after I re-posted a Techcrunch article on Microsoft and Apple heading for a Face-off.

Faisal’s question was “Will it disrupt Telehealth?”

My view on the TechCrunch post is that the real battle is with Google. Facetime is not currently a player in telephony, chat and video calling. Google is.

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Let’s take a look at that question.

In the past year I have seen a growing interest in using video calling technology amongst payers and providers. It is seen as a way to support the team sport of Health Care. My reservations have been that IT organizations have promoted the use of the same IT-supported Unified Communications infrastructure that they use inside their firewalls. The problem with this is that it is a radically different world out there. The proliferation of Smartphones and tablets means that interoperability is critical. 

If there is one thing that the Skype deal can bring to the table for Microsoft it is Voice and Video Calling that is NOT tied to a particular Operating System. Yes I know that Microsoft Messenger is available for the Mac but outside the Windows world other platforms have been treated as second class citizens. Just compare the capabilities of a Microsoft Live Meeting on a Mac or iPad against the capabilities delivered by services such as WebEx.

If we see Skype integrated with screen sharing and video calling, without feature crippling non-windows platforms then there is hope. 

If we want voice and video calls to take off they have to work regardless of the end points involved. 

But how does this apply to Telehealth?

Two things could happen.

1. Microsoft integrates Skype in to enterprise products like Amalga and even HealthVault.

2. Apple fixes Facetime on iOS to allow calls over 3G (Apple really needs to do this. Facetime needs to just work). Apple releases Facetime for Windows and Android. Yes – that seems a little far fetched, but if Apple wants to be a player in the video calling market then they need to spread Facetime far beyond their MAC OS and iOS realms.  

I would like to see Apple release Facetime for Windows, just like they did with iTunes. It could help sell more iPhones and iPads. I would also like to see them release their Facetime code as open source. This would allow developers to create Linux and Android versions that could interoperate. 

As things stand Facetime does not fit the Apple “It just works” ethos. You have to be on a Wi-Fi network. You have to know your calling party has an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad2, or has installed Facetime on their Mac. There is no Chat feature. I am surprised that Facetime hasn’t been integrated in to iChat. 

Ubiquity is the platform for disruption

Ubiquity is the platform for disruption.  But Ubiquity does not mean 100% adoption. Look at the power of Twitter and Facebook. They do not have 100% adoption but the impact they have is enormous. 

As I recently tweeted about Susannah Fox’s Pew Internet Study – “The Social Life of Health Information, 2011” When you are reaching 1 in 5 Americans then you can be considered “mainstream.”  We need Video calling to reach the same level of penetration. We also need it to “Just work.”

When that happens, Innovators in Health Care will seize these tools to create new and more efficient and effective solutions to solve health challenges. You are already seeing this happen with trail blazers like AmericanWell.

Why Microsoft???s Skype purchase means a Face-off with Apple???s Facetime

Microsoft???s purchase of Skype for $8.5 billion in cash is a massive bet for the tech giant.

Although it look like it may well have over-paid by $4.5 billion, and bid against companies who weren???t seriously in the running (Google and Facebook), owning Skype means Microsoft has a much better positioning in mobile.

But that???s not all.

The implications of this deal for Facebook are actually far more interesting. Since Microsoft is an investor in Facebook, the latter will now have deep access to its investor???s assets.

Being able to Skype from within Facebook means Mark Zuckerberg will not have to build his own VOIP communications platform ??? a seriously complex affair for 600 million users. Plus, the social network already has tie-ins with Skype.

But it also means both Microsoft and Facebook now have a stick with which to beat Apple and its emerging comms platform, Facetime.

With Facebook integration Skype will not be so heavily linked to an actual device ??? as Facetime is with Apple devices. Note that Microsoft has pledged to ???continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms???.

This means Apple is going to have to really pull of the stops on its communications strategy. Perhaps that???s what the new server farm is for?

Facebook’s loss of trust the seed of doubt is sown – great post from Michael Arrington on @techcrunch

Michael Arrington wrote a fascinating post on TechCrunch today about Facebook secretly employing a PR firm to smear Google. 

The seemingly invincible Facebook doesn’t seem so confident today. The bigger question is what seed of doubt has been sown in the mind of Facebook’s users.  When a company holds so much power over our data they have to be perceived as straight and above board. Facebook’s constant changing of policies around privacy raise the question of “Who benefits?”

Facebook has been growing at a crazy pace and the financial deals that have been struck just increase the pressure to perform. Crude acts like this smear campaign just go to show that Facebook is desperate to keep growing quickly and to monetize the social graph we have donated to them. The chatter around the introduction of Facebook’s local deals offering suggest that they are resorting to crude and heavy handed techniques that may not be in the best interests of their users and the ecosystem that depends upon Facebook.

If Facebook wants to own us and our social graph then they have to act in a responsible and straight forward manner. 

Google is not beyond reproach but they do at least appear to position themselves as not holding our data hostage. Facebook –  not so much.

Qualcomm stimulate the imagination with $10M X Prize Star Trek Tricorder contest

Yesterday, Qualcomm created a $10M X Prize. The objective is a Tricorder type device that we all remember from the TV Series, Star Trek. With the growing shortage of physicians we will need tools like this that allow patients to monitor their health.


How will we see this manifest itself – Think about a wireless sensor that can communicate with an App on your iPhone, iPad or Android smart phone.

What would you invent?


Qualcomm and the X Prize Foundation Move to Energize Diagnostics with $10M ???Tricorder Prize???

Bruce V. Bigelow 5/10/11

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs revealed today that the San Diego-based wireless technology giant has been working with the X Prize Foundation to develop criteria for a new $10 million X Prize grand challenge that is straight out of Star Trek???a ???Tricorder X Prize.???

The idea???which is still being distilled???is to offer a $10 million incentive prize to the team that can develop the first diagnostic device that actually works like the ubiquitous medical tricorder of Star Trek fame. Generally speaking, the technology would have to be portable, use wireless sensors, be minimally invasive, and capable of providing rapid, low-cost diagnoses of medical ailments and injuries. Oh, and organizers also want the gadget to be able to diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board-certified physicians.