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Great news from Health eVillages

As a board member of Health eVillages, I’m proud to share this video from rural Lwala, Kenya, where clinicians and other health workers are harnessing the power of mobile technology to deliver better care and, for some people, the first real healthcare they have ever had. This video, from from when Health eVillages Co-Founder Donato Trumato and Program Manager Matt Linder trekked to Lwala in October, shows how mobile health is helping local women deliver healthy babies.

Subsequent to this trip, the Lwala Community Alliance highlighted the work of Health eVillages here. Then, at a Health eVillages board meeting in December, Trumato issued a challenge to raise $150,000 to construct a dedicated maternity ward at the hospital in Lwala by year’s end. Physicians Interactive, of which Trumato is CEO, pledged half that total, and then others far wealthier than I stepped up and helped Trumato met the goal by Dec. 26. Operating funds are still necessary, and Health eVillages (or “Heal the Villages,” as one partner has pointed out) wants to help more people, including some at a site in rural Louisiana.

Since 2012, Health eVillages has helped the Lwala Community Alliance cut early infant mortality in half (from 60 per 1,000 births to 31 per 1,000). However, the Lwala still area happens to have the highest HIV/AIDS rate in all of Kenya, so education, care and prevention are critical. Here’s an overview on the Health eVillages-Lwala Community Alliance partnership (.pdf). To donate, visit http://lwalacommunityalliance.org/donate/.

Thanks, and stay tuned for more updates.

January 26, 2014 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Apple highlights Skyscape, Health eVillages, other health apps

As you may know, I am on the advisory board of Health eVillages, The program got a huge honor Monday by being featured in a video shown at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference — you know, the annual meeting that’s always a hot ticket among Mac-heads and app developers because Apple usually unveils its latest products there. (Last week was no exception. Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced iOS 7, albeit to mixed reviews.)

In the video, called, “Making a difference. One app at a time,” Apple highlighted Skyscape, the company that makes the mobile medical reference software that Health eVillages, and sent a camera crew to a Health eVillages pilot site in rural Lwala, Uganda. A nurse from the clinic showed how he visits patients by motorcycle, using an iPad to help treat and educate the area’s residents. (Skyscape parent company Physicians Interactive provides operational support to Health eVillages, and CEO Donato Trumato, also featured in the video, co-founded the program with Kerry Kennedy.)

Two of the other three apps that Apple chose to include also are related to healthcare: Galileo, an app from Orthocare Innovations that helps amputees adjust prosthetic limbs; and Proloquo2Go, a product from AssistiveWare that in the video helped an apparently autistic child learn to speak.

June 13, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Counting the health IT accelerators

Have you noticed all the digital health “accelerators” and “incubators” out there? I count the following, in alphabetical order:

In addition, the USC Center for Body Computing has announced plans for its own incubator/accelerator in Los Angeles, but we continue to await details.

That’s a lot. Is it too many? We have seen plenty of failures in digital health entrepreneurship over the years, in no small part because too many companies don’t understand the unique economics of healthcare, particularly in the U.S. With the possible exception of fitness products, direct-to-consumer simply does not work in healthcare because most of the expenses are paid for by third parties. (I’d argue that wellness and fitness are distinct from traditional healthcare anyway because healthcare really does focus on sick care.)

At least one report from the California HealthCare Foundation backs up my belief that the DTC focus is a recipe for failure, one reason why health accelerators probably have it harder than their counterparts in other industries.

June 4, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

So many types of telehealth

Here’s a short video (720p HD) I put together from the just-concluded American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference in Austin, Texas. No wonder it’s so hard to get a real sense of the size of the telehealth and telemedicine market when there are so many components and so many different definitions. This is a row of banners outside the meeting rooms highlighting the various types, not to mention some of the ATA’s constituencies and important topics at the conference. I did the voice-over at 1:30 in the morning.

May 8, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Health eVillages and mobile health in the developing world

I’m in New York today for a Health eVillages board meeting. It’s a program that provides mobile health tools to help extend the reach and knowledge of health workers in remote and underserved parts of the world — including in rural Southern Louisiana. The meeting opened with this powerful video that explains the power of this program.

I can’t say anything more about Health eVillages now, but there is some big news coming this summer.

April 30, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Attending Health 2.0? Donate your old smartphone

If you’re planning on attending the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco next Monday and Tuesday, Health eVillages, a program of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, will be collecting used Apple iOS and Android mobile devices. Health eVillages, of which I am a member of the advisory board, will refurbish your device and load it with medical reference materials, clinical decision support tools, drug dosage calculators and other mobile health tools and deploy it to a clinician working in a developing country, helping to bring higher-quality care to that community.

Current Health eVillages sites are in Haiti, China, Kenya, Uganda, with more to come.

If you have a used iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android phone or and tablet (sorry, no BlackBerrys, which is what I happen to have), drop it off at the Health 2.0 registration desk or at the Physicians Interactive booth (No. 37) in the exhibit hall.

If you want to learn more about Health eVillages, founder Donato Trumato, CEO and vice chairman of Physicians Interactive, will be speaking for about 5 minutes on the main stage the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 9, and then will lead a lunchtime presentation at 12:50 p.m. PDT in the Imperial B ballroom at the Hilton San Francisco.

I will be there, too, participating the “3 CEOs” session Tuesday at 8:10 a.m. I will be interviewing Phytel CEO Steve Schelhammer live on stage. Am I nervous? Only about having to get up that early.

 

October 2, 2012 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Health eVillages is Monday’s AOL ’cause of the day’

Health eVillages, which I am on the advisory board of, has been selected as AOL’s “Cause of the Day” for Monday. That means it’s highlighted on the home page of AOL. If you have an old smartphone you’re not using, donate it to Health eVillages and help save a life. Thanks.

September 17, 2012 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Learn about Health eVillages at HIMSS12

Remember Health eVillages, the program launched last fall to bring mobile medical reference and decision support technology to clinicians in underserved parts of the world, including poor communities right here in the U.S.? You know, the project of the Robert F. Kennedy  Center for Justice and Human Rights and mobile medical content provider Physicians Interactive, the one I am serving on the advisory board of?

You probably haven’t heard too much of late, but you will be able to learn more about Health eVillages at the upcoming HIMSS conference — slightly more than a week away, if you can believe it. That’s because co-founding partner and Physicians Interactive CEO and Vice Chairman Donato Tramuto will be presenting about Health eVillages a week from Thursday, Feb. 23. Here are the details:

Title: “No Power, No Internet, No Problem:  Mobile HIT Improves Care Worldwide” (Session #138)

Description: This session will use real cases to explore how “Health eVillages” brings mobile medical technology to challenging rural clinical environments around the world, helping clinicians deliver safer, more effective healthcare.

Date/Time: Feb. 23, 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. PST

Location:  Venetian-Palazzo-Sands Expo Convention Center, Las Vegas

Room:  Marco Polo 803

Objectives:

  • Describe how Health eVillages and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights have partnered to improve patient care via mobile technology and medical information
  • Recognize the value of easily adaptable mobile devices deployed in remote areas
  • Discuss the unique needs and challenges of rural medical environments in developing nations
  • Outline how you can help Health eVillages enable practitioners to deliver safer and more efficient medical care worldwide

If you are interested at all in how mobile technology is having an incredible impact on healthcare and health education in low-resource communities all over the world — perhaps even a greater effect than in wealthier areas — you will want to attend the session. This is taking place immediately after the keynote address by national health IT coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari. You’ll probably be pretty energized after Mostashari speaks, and Donato’s session is sure to be eye-opening and uplifting. That’s not a bad morning, if I do say so myself.

By the way, Health eVillages is seeking additional sponsors and sources of funding. Drop me a line or speak with Donato at HIMSS if you are interested. Thanks.

I hope to see you in Las Vegas.

 

February 12, 2012 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Podcast: mHealth Alliance Executive Director Patty Mechael

Patricia Mechael is the newly installed executive director of the mHealth Alliance, a joint effort of the United Nations Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation. The mHealth Alliance this week is joining with the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health to put on the third annual mHealth Summit in National Harbor, Md.

I first met Patty in 2008, at the mobile health week of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Making the eHealth Connection conferences in bucolic Bellagio, Italy, when she was m-health advisor to the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, a post she continues to hold. I was impressed by her international credentials in applying mobility to public health.

She was chosen in September to lead the mHealth Alliance, and joined just a few weeks ago. I interviewed her by phone last week in anticipation of the mHealth Summit. This is the result. (I’ll have a companion piece in MobiHealthNews in the next day or two.)

Podcast details: Interview with Patricia Mechael, executive director of mHealth Alliance. Recorded Dec. 1, 2011. MP3, mono, 64 kbps, 5.1 MB. Running time 11:05
0:40 Roots in Bellagio meetings
1:30 mHealth Summit
2:05 Vision for mHealth Alliance and mHealth Summit
3:50 Legacy of Bellagio
4:45 Global reach of mobile phones
6:45 Multiple communication channels to account for literacy differences
7:25 Smartphones in global health
8:20 Separating hype from reality in low-resource environments

December 5, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Australia considers huge fines for EHR snooping

How’s this for a deterrent against unauthorized snooping into patient EHRs? Australian Health Minister Nicola Roxon recently proposed whopping fines of A$13,200 for individuals and A$66,000 for companies that illegally access patient records. The Aussie dollar is nearly on par with the greenback these days, so the numbers are virtually equal when you convert to U.S. currency. That’s a lot of money.

Now, Australia doesn’t actually have much in the way of EHRs just yet, so this is somewhat speculative, but I think those numbers will get people’s attention. At least it will make records clerks think twice before peering at the records of people like Hugh Jackman or Nicole Kidman, right? The celebrity snooping at UCLA Health System cost the organization $865,000 in a legal settlement, and two employees were convicted of crimes, but I’m not aware of an individual being fined more than $2,000.

Would the threat of automatic big-dollar fines prevent unauthorized peeking at EHRs, or are lawsuits like the one the HHS Office for Civil Rights filed against UCLA more of a deterrent?

October 11, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.