Wireless Health Blog

Evolution of Digital Health: Then & Now Evolution of Digital Health: Then & Now

15 December 2016, Written by James R. Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

This week Qualcomm Life is at the Connected Health Conference in Washington, DC. Since the conferences inauguration in 2009 we have seen a digital health evolution before our eyes. The health care landscape is transforming at an accelerated pace, with 67 percent of payers and providers anticipating that half of their contracts will be value-based by 2018. Medical device data is now powering insights and evidence, which this new health care economy demands. Investments in digital health has more than tripled in the last five years, reaching $3.9 billion in the first half of 2016 and electronic health record adoption has increased to close to 96 percent. Qualcomm Life too has expanded, growing our own ecosystem to over 2,300 members and connecting up to 900 connect devices across the care continuum.
See the infographic below for a breakdown of the digital health progression in the industry and from Qualcomm Life over the past five years – and follow the conversation along on our Twitter channel @QualcommLife.

Closing the Loop. An important first step towards patient-centered care. Closing the Loop. An important first step towards patient-centered care.

25 October 2016, Written by James R. Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

In 2001, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) defined patient-centered care as "providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions."

Patient-centered care is more than a trend and has moved from academic vision to implementation, with many early models demonstrating improved outcomes, including improvement in net revenue per adjusted admission1 and lower total cost of care.2,3 Patient- centered measures are also playing an increasingly important role in the transition from volume to value. The advent of CMS’ national hospital value-based purchasing program and the program’s incentives to measure and improve the patient experience4 have created an additional catalyst to embrace patient-centered care.

On the surface, the concept appears simple, but patient-centered care is not precisely defined, although individual components can be measured and tracked to help establish standardized milestones. One of these patient-centered components is patient communication and patient engagement. There is a significant body of evidence demonstrating that better communication can lead to improved clinical outcomes in the management of diabetes, hypertension and cancer.5

One of the biggest opportunities in patient-centered care is activating and motivating the patient by closing the communication loop. With the majority of patient activity happening outside of the hospital or clinic, improving communication and data fluidity represents and immense opportunity to personalize care. Connecting patients and providers has proven to have both an emotional and behavioral affect effect on patients. Patients that are remotely connected and monitored report reduced anxiety and physiological symptoms associated with anxiety.6 In addition to this emotional security blanket, remote monitoring and communication is a powerful stimulus for accountability and has proven to significantly improve self-care and adherence by as much as 56% in obstructive sleep apnea patients.7

Technology can play a pivotal role in closing the communication loop by providing near real-time patient surveillance and asynchronous communication between the patient and the entire care team. This feedback loop and connection with their care team enables patients to respond and act in the moment, allowing providers to encourage ideal behavior, course correct and further stratify patients and execute dynamic and personalized care plans.

When we can consistently close the loop on communication and patient data and enable "always-on" care that is tailored to the individual, we’ll make great strides in delivering the patient-centered care that our patients need and want. It’s something to think about this month, during Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month.

What are your thoughts on patient-centered care, and do you think closing the loop and liberating health data can indeed make a difference? Share your thoughts in the comments below.







1 Robison J. What is the "patient experience"? Hospitals are becoming increasingly frustrated - and wasting money - trying to hit the wrong target. Gallup Management Journal Online. 2010:1-3.

2 Stone S. A retrospective evaluation of the impact of the Planetree patient-centered model of care on inpatient quality outcomes. HERD. 2008;1(4):55-69.

3 Charmel PA, Frampton SB. Building the business case for patient-centered care. Health Finance Management. 2008;62(3):80-5.

4 HCAHPS fact sheet (CAHPS hospital survey): Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; 2010 [updated 2010/09/15/].

5 Levinson W, Lesser CS, and Epstein RM. "Developing Physician Communication Skills for Patient-Centered.Care." Health Affairs 29 (7):1310–18, 2010.

6 Centura Health remote patient monitoring program. Developing a Successful Remote Patient Monitoring Program. Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review. October 04, 2013

7 Nurit F, Hirsch-Allen AJ, Goodfellow E, et al. The Impact of a Telemedicine Monitoring System on Positive Airway Pressure Adherence in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Sleep 2012 Apr 1; 35(4): 477–481.

Connect 2016: Five years of looking forward. Connect 2016: Five years of looking forward.

04 October 2016, Written by Rick Valencia, President

Connect 2016 was our fifth annual ecosystem conference, and by far our biggest yet. The conference attracted many of the world’s leading health companies and executives in beautiful Coronado, California. We heard from some of the top minds in connected health and covered pressing issues including security, converting data to insight and best practices in creating a more seamless care continuum.

The growth and interest in the connected care space has been nothing short of phenomenal with our ecosystem rapidly expanding to over 2,300 device and drug manufacturers, payers, retailers and health systems. It was increasingly apparent at this year’s conference that connectivity has permeated all aspects of health care with our members demonstrating innovative and novel ways to deliver patient-centered care.

The theme for this year’s conference was the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which spurred lively discussion during the meeting and online. Some of the highlights that emerged for me:

  • The IoMT – and its nodes of intelligence and contextual data -- will influence precision medicine and traditional care models
  • Patient-generated data is the new vital sign
  • Health care is becoming decentralized as health care is delivered wherever the patient may be
  • And without a doubt, outcomes has become the new currency of health care

Qualcomm Life made two major announcements at Connect 2016. The first was to welcome Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals as the newest member of the Qualcomm Life Ecosystem. One of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies, Boehringer Ingelheim, is leveraging our 2net Design service to develop the connectivity solution for RESPIMAT®, the platform inhaler for the Boehringer Ingelheim family of respiratory therapies to allow patients and providers to track and share COPD data to improve outcomes.

We also announced a new strategic collaboration with Philips, a global leader in connected devices and health informatics. Our 2net Platform will power the medical device connectivity for Philips remote monitoring and home health programs. Data from the 2net Platform can also now be hosted in Philips HealthSuite, a cloud-based health ecosystem of devices, apps, and tools. This collaboration marks a pivotal moment in health care – two leaders in the industry coming together to leverage each other’s respective strengths, ultimately validating the need for open, scalable ecosystems in health care.

One of the first implementations of this connectivity collaboration recently went live with Philips’ Trilogy ventilator family and Care Orchestrator care management application, which aims to advance care for patients with COPD and other respiratory conditions.

After this year’s meeting, it became clear to me that connected health is turning a corner. It’s both exciting and humbling to see what these new technologies are doing to improve health care as we know it. In just five short years, we’ve made great strides in creating a world where medical-grade, intelligent care is accessible anywhere–in the hospital, at home, and all points in between.

Thanks to everyone who was able to join us in Coronado!

Small data, big possibilities. Could predictive analytics become the gateway to personalized medicine? Small data, big possibilities. Could predictive analytics become the gateway to personalized medicine?

28 June 2016, Written by James R. Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

In the health care industry, big data receives a lot of attention, promising to improve everything from readmissions to medication costs. But there’s another type of data that has equal promise. “Small Data,” a term coined by author Martin Lindstrom in the book of the same name, represents a data set that applies to one specific item – or in the case of health care, one person. Small data is occurring at the transactional level of an individual patient in real-time and is relevant, predictive and everywhere -- across the care continuum.

For more than two thousand years, dating back to Hippocrates, medicine has aspired to be personalized. But delivering that quality, personalized care has become increasing more challenging requiring the knowledge and experience to read and interpret a growing set of health data and compare that to individual patient profiles to determine the best possible treatment. This is why predictive analytics and algorithms applied to small-personalized data is so promising and is the next big thing in patient-centered care. Predictive analytics is the process of learning from historical data in order to make predictions about the future and for health care, predictive analytics will enable the best decisions to be made, allowing for care to be personalized to each individual.

Small data analytics uses statistical methods to scour and analyze tremendous amounts of medical data, then compare it with a patient’s own biometric data to predict numerous possible outcomes – medication responses, recovery time, the likely cause of disease and ultimately targeted interventions.

Using techniques such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, predictive modeling creates a unique, individualized algorithm (known as a prediction profile) for each patient. As more data becomes available, the profile becomes more accurate; making associations the human brain may never arrive upon. Unlike evidence-based medicine, prediction modeling does not rely on a bell curve, nor does it make assumptions based on a “typical” patient. In the world of small data, treatment guidelines become much clearer because the evidence is collected and applied to a data set of one.

Predictive analytics can greatly increase the accuracy of diagnoses, allowing physicians to see patterns more easily and quickly. It can also be used to identify at-risk populations, almost down to an individual, so physicians and payors can target them with disease prevention or early interventions. It can also help create cost transparency around individual patients and similar cohorts.

Patients will benefit most of all from this new form of hyper-personalized health care, and data shows they are ready and willing to embrace this new era of health care. In fact, 90% of consumers said they would be willing to share wearable or app data with medical providers[1]. Physicians will be able to offer more definitive diagnoses and more effective treatments for all sorts of conditions, and they’ll be better able to prevent or tamp down complication associated with many common diseases like diabetes and COPD. Patients will become more informed and seeing the “writing on the wall” could activate patients to take more responsibility for their health.

Where do you see the future of small data and predictive analytics going? Will it deliver on the promise of truly personalized medicine? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


[1] Accenture Research. Patients Want a Heavy Dose of Digital. 2016.

Enabling Improved Remote Monitoring for Chronic Patients in the South of France Enabling Improved Remote Monitoring for Chronic Patients in the South of France

25 May 2016, Written by Laurent Vandebrouck

Qualcomm Life’s 2net™ technology is selected by the URPS Médecins to power its PASCALINE program

I am excited to share that Qualcomm Incorporated, through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Life, Inc., announced today that it was awarded, together with its collaborators, the request for proposal by URPS Médecins supported by the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region’s Health Agency (ARS), for the national project “Territoires de soins numériques” (TSN) and its PASCALINE program focused on coordinated care delivery and digital innovation.

Qualcomm Life is collaborating with industry leaders on this project, including Gfi Informatique, one of the main IT service firms and systems integrators in France, and P2link, which provides a multimodal telemedicine platform. In the program, Qualcomm Life’s 2net technology will securely connect medical devices to P2link’s cloud-based platform, enabling health care professionals to more efficiently care for chronic patients remotely. Qualcomm Life made the announcement at the industry-leading annual HIT Congress, taking place in Paris at the Porte de Versailles May 24 – 26, 2016.

 

Running until March of 2017, The PASCALINE project includes equipping approximately one hundred chronic patients, or those patients who are at risk for chronic conditions, with a connected weight scale, blood pressure cuff and activity monitor to remotely monitor the patients and ultimately measure the impact on the care. Using Qualcomm Life’s 2net Platform, data from the connected medical devices will be collected, transmitted and aggregated in near real-time, and visualized in P2link’s web-based platform, enabling health professionals to more easily and remotely monitor and make informed interventions.

 

By remotely monitoring patients outside the framework of a consultation, the project aims to reduce the frequency of required face-to-face visits between care providers and their patients, and to reduce the instances where “white coat syndrome” may affect patient’s biometric readings. The platform will also enable improved communication and coordination between health professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, biologists and physiotherapists. The Regional Union of Health Professionals of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region is also set to carry out a study aiming at measuring the impact of connected health on the practices of health professionals.

 

Additional Program Details

Gfi Informatique is the project management lead and will coordinate between URPS doctors from the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region and the industry collaborators responsible for implementing the technical solutions, and will manage the data stored at IDS, the authorized health data host.

 

Around twenty health professionals joined the PASCALINE program, whose challenge is to empower and educate patients to manage their own health and to enhance the information exchange between care professionals. The main differentiators of the solution that Qualcomm Life, P2link, and GFI are delivering include:

  • Convenient and timely operations and implementation;
  • Medical-grade, secure connected medical devices;
  • Effortless connected experience for the patients;
  • Qualcomm Life’s scalable, open ecosystem allows for future devices to be integrated as needed;

 

Qualcomm Life at the HIT Congress

We hope to see you at the HIT Congress this weak in Paris. Qualcomm Life and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Capsule, will be exhibiting at the HIT Congress with P2link in Stand C40. Qualcomm Life is also hosting an Industry Roundtable for conference attendees focused on the benefits of connected health across the care continuum on May 25 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm CET in Space 2000, Room F.

 

2netTM is a registered trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United-Stated and other countries. 2netTM is a solution by Qualcomm Life, Inc.

 

Health Care Cyberwar Wages On. Health Care Cyberwar Wages On.

12 May 2016, Written by Rick Valencia, President

2015 may be forever remembered as the year of the ‘health care hack’. As early as February, major health insurer Anthem revealed that hackers broke into a database containing the personal information of nearly 80 million consumers.[1] After only a few more months, another 20 million records were compromised, bringing the total to 100 million by mid-2015 alone.[2]

Since 2009, more than 1,100 separate heath care breaches have compromised data affecting more than 120 million people – or about one in three Americans.[3] Hacks in banking and retail receive a lot of press, but health care remains the #1 breached industry.[4]

Even more chilling are the tactics hackers are using. Instead of stealing patient information, new methods include infecting computer systems with ‘crypto-ransomware’, which locks down data while hackers ask for a ransom. Already, this type of techno-terrorism has affected multiple hospitals in California, Kentucky, and Maryland.

Data security has emerged as the hottest topic in health care and is one of the key themes we’ll be addressing at this year’s Connect 2016 conference [Learn More]. As stewards of health care data, these vulnerabilities can cost companies both in reputation and affect the bottom line. In 2014, an estimated 85% of large health organizations experienced a data breach with 18% of breaches costing more than $1 million to remediate.[5] In 2015, the price paid for each lost or stolen health care record was $363, making health care #1 per capita cost industry.[6]

Another risk lies in regulation. Data breaches can result in fines and sanctions for your company, as well as open the door to more stringent regulation. This can put an entire sector on the defensive. It pays to be proactive. For device manufacturers, this means ‘defense in depth’ design that spans infrastructure, people, and processes. And requires the deployment of rigorous risk management programs to examine and test for vulnerabilities across the entire chain. For providers, segmentation and device management are critical. Device fleets must be standardized and kept current behind firewalls and on networks separated from key medical and personal data.

At Qualcomm Life, we are tackling this issue head-on by leveraging Qualcomm’s 30-year history in connectivity and security. Our platforms are uniquely designed and engineered to provide the secure infrastructure needed to ensure data is fluid and accessible, yet protected from exposure and risk. Our medical-grade network is a powerful combination of encryption technologies, restricted access facilities, and dedicated, highly trained teams. By controlling the hardware design, software, communications profile, and certifications, we enable secure and reliable sharing, transmission, and cloud-based storage of vital health information. This allows our ecosystem members to rapidly scale and specialize in their health care vertical, while integrating securely for greater clinical context and improved outcomes [Learn more about our 2net medical-grade platform].

I hope you will join me at Connect 2016, our fifth annual connected health conference, where industry leaders from across health care will meet at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego August 30th – 31st, to discuss data security, emerging trends, real-world health care business insights, and so much more.



[1] The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2015 “Health Insurer Anthem hit by Hackers”. Anna Wilde Mathews and Danny Yadron. http://www.wsj.com/articles/health-insurer-anthem-hit-by-hackers-1423103720.

[2] IBM Security Incidents data from Jan. 1, 2015 to Oct. 31, 2015.

[3] According to Department of Health Human Services.

[4] Symantec 2015 Report 21347932. Internet Security Threat Report Volume 20. 2015.

[5] PwC, “Global State of Information Security Survey 2015,” September 2014.

[6] 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis Ponemon Institute, May 2015.

HIMSS 2016 Key Takeaway: A View from the CMO HIMSS 2016 Key Takeaway: A View from the CMO

14 March 2016, Written by James R. Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Five years ago at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference, the prominent theme was “meaningful use,” and companies across the exhibit hall touted their functionality in the space. Naturally, over the last few years, the trends at HIMSS have migrated toward other buzz-worthy phrases like “care coordination” and “interoperability.” You can see this come to life by simply looking down one of the aisles on the show floor, where twirling banners and prominent signage hype these themes.

 

This year at HIMSS, a predominant theme and discussion point was population health management – a big catalyst of this is the transition to value-based payment models where clinicians are given financial incentives for outcomes, like lower blood pressure. The value-based payment model has turned the health care industry on its head, but it also represents an evolution in the way care is given, by focusing on outcomes and taking advantage of technological innovations in care delivery.

 

Interestingly, this year’s 2016 Cost Accounting Survey from HIMSS found that only 3 percent of providers believe their organization is highly prepared to make the transition from fee-for-service to a value-based payment system, but 45 percent noted that they are participating in some form of alternative payment model.

 

 

This indicates that providers know that that the shift from fee-for-service is imminent –coming within the decade for sure – but organizations are still trying to figure out how to structure for success. The discussion on this topic was prevalent across HIMSS this year and the truth is, while technology is a piece of the puzzle, one of the biggest challenges is adopting the processes and protocols to support these alternative payment models. The biggest hurdle is more about change management.

 

A great example of a new health plan in the vein of value-based care is the United Healthcare Motion program which was announced at HIMSS. The Motion program is designed to help participants become healthier and more active, and subsidize the cost of their health care as a result. Data acquired from participants’ wearable devices can earn them Health Reimbursement Account credits that can total up to $1,460 per year, based on their usage.

 

 

The significance here is that for the first time in history, we have the sufficient enough medical-grade data to build and launch an entirely new plan design predicated on data from a wearable device. This is a significant breakthrough for our industry, and a sign that we are indeed moving toward value-based care.

 

What trends caught your eye this year at HIMSS? Connect with us on LinkedIn or on Twitter @QualcommLife for more.

The Makings of Medical-Grade The Makings of Medical-Grade

10 March 2016, Written by James R. Mault, M.D., F.A.C.S., Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

In my last post we explored the idea of “intelligent care” – personalized and continuous care supported by technology that helps health care professionals aggregate and better examine patient data. Intelligent care will unlock data and streamline care, but it cannot work without medical-grade technology. Medical-grade technology is incredibly important to safeguard patient data, as health care is one of the most targeted industries in the world. In 2014, 37% of reported breaches were in health care, and the largest number of disclosed breaches overall were in the health care sector.

Security and Privacy

When we talk about the term medical-grade it seems like an obvious way to describe the way we connect devices that track and analyze patient data to diagnose us. However, with the rise of so many devices on the market capturing health data, such as activity trackers that count your steps, it can be a challenge to decipher between which systems are consumer-grade versus medical-grade. And it’s an important distinction.

 

While activity and fitness trackers are useful as far as encouraging consumers to become more cognizant and involved in their health, most are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as medical devices. Since the devices are consumer-controlled, users can edit, modify or change the data being collected, sometimes leading to incorrect entries, accidental transcription errors and more. Furthermore, there’s no assurance of privacy or security and many are also not compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires the protection and confidential management of health information.

 

By contrast, medical-grade devices and wearables require rigorous regulatory review and approval from the FDA, making the data that they emit certifiable and more reliable for health care professionals to make informed interventions. Certifying these wearables as medical-grade goes beyond just the device itself, it encompasses the digital network that supports the data transmission, aggregation and storage, meaning that once the medical-grade device captures data from the patient is it transmitted through a secure and certified wireless network.

 

Once the data is captured from the medical-grade device, it is delivered into a patient record system, which doctors utilize to make important diagnoses and treatment decisions based on the information generated. With medical-grade devices, health care professionals can rely upon the data for life-saving medical decisions.

 

Eventually, we won’t have to talk about the importance of medical-grade connectivity and integration solutions; as they will be a normal part of how we manage our health. But in the interim, which medical-grade devices do you think are the most transformative? Tell us in the comments below!

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